Sunday, August 28, 2011

Radical Mentoring

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Radical Mentoring
Philippians 3
Pastor Joe Donaldson, Our Savior's Baptist Church, Federal Way, Wash. (www.oursaviorsbaptist.org). Notes from 10:45 am service on Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011. (Notes are my own, I pray that they are helpful to you.)

--- Attributes of Paul ---

Paul was confrontational.

Paul was confident.
Not just in who he was or where he came from, but in his relationship with Christ.

Paul was committed.

--- Themes of Paul's Letters ---

* He was concerned with who we are in Christ
1 Cor.6:20
Romans 14:7-9
Galatians 2:19-20

* He was deeply concerned about our purity.
1 Cor. 6:9-10
Gal 5:19-21
Col 3:5-6

* That we should give up our rights and live for Jesus
(especially if it negatively impacts a weaker Christian)
Romans 14:17-19
1 Cor. 8:12-13
Gal 5:6

--- Words that describe those themes ---

Discipleship, Christian Living, Spiritual Growth

--- Philippians ---

Paul is in prison when he writes this letter. He begins with greetings. By verse 9, he begins to challenge them to grow in their purity and character.

In chapter 2, he gets more direct, challenging them to get along, describes the attributes of Jesus to challenge them to grow up. He lets them know that he hopes to send some friends/co-laborers to them shortly. What's he doing here? Mentoring. He gets right in their faith and boldly calls them to change.

The difference between mentoring and living an example? The
level of intentionality. As an example, we hope they will magically absorb Jesus through how we live our lives, but hope we never have to actually witness to anyone. Mentoring means being much less passive.

In closing, he offers words of thanksgiving, affirmation and encouragement.

--- Passive vs. Active ---

Notice the change in tone. Much of chapter 1 starts in glowing phrases, but then becomes more specific with calls to action towards the end. He gets them going with a bunch of things they can answer "Yes, yes!" to but then it starts to get more personal, more painful, now they (we) must be more introspective, more honest. And that continues into chapter 2.

By the end of chapter 3, he's saying "Look at me. Here is my credentials, here is what I know. Pattern your lives after mine after I pattern mine after Christ."

If Paul were to stand up and say that today, we'd say "Who does he think he is?" and "Where does he get off?" and "What about that evident sin in his own life?"

So today, we advise and counsel and suggest. We are worried about being politically correct or coming off as prideful or arrogant. Or that we'll hurt people's feelings.

We don't mentor.

All too often today, we plug our ears and sing "lalalala" and attend church each Sunday pretending there are no difficult issues in our lives. We sweep them under the rug, we try to deal with them ourselves, we try to address with our co-workers.

But the fact that so much of Paul's writings in the Bible (and that Paul's writing makes up so much of the New Testament) are on this topic should tell us that this is important.

--- Mentoring Barriers ---

1. Lack of study - we're not spending time studying anything of significance

2. Self-responsibility - we fail to accept responsibility for our own spiritual-growth. We're just looking to our pastors to do it for us, or we come to church and maybe we take notes. That's not enough.

Perhaps we have a drought of radical Paul-ine Biblical mentoring taking place today because we have a lack of radical Paul-ine Biblical mentors. Think of how many people could be raised up as better parents, spouses, Christians if we intentionally raised up more and more mentors (and then how it would multiply.)

"Follow me as I follow Jesus!"

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