Cultivating a Heart of Worship
Week Nine: Laying the Foundation – Accountability and Growth
“The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image but giving them the opportunity to create themselves”. – Steven Spielberg
Q: Do you currently have a mentor in your life? Have you ever been a mentor to someone else?
I really loved the church I attended in the 1990’s where I was first able to experience the “rejoicing and blessing” dimension of grace mentioned in our introduction. It was called Restoration Church and I believe the name was so appropriate! Some of you may remember, the 1980’s and 1990’s saw a lot of spiritually wounded people – not just casual church attenders but also many church pastors and leaders. Restoration Church was just large enough to be the perfect place for many in this category to come and “hide”. By that I mean they could be loved on, but not necessarily plugged in. They could slip in during the worship songs and quietly slip out before the last prayer, and often no one paid much attention.
This kind of obscureness can be okay for a time when all one wants to do is “lick their wounds” and try to understand what happened in their past and how God may or may not have played a part. But would you agree the danger side to that is a lack of accountability?
I think about what Paul says in his first letter to the Thessalonians: “How we thank God for you! Because of you we have great joy as we enter God’s presence. Night and day we pray earnestly for you, asking God to let us see you again to fill the gaps in your faith” (3:9-10).
This reflects to me the importance of relationship, of knowing and being known. Think about it in terms of a piece of coal or wood that falls off the fire. Once the coal is disconnected from the source, how long will it be before it grows cold? You can also think of it as a sheep that has wandered off by itself away from the herd. How long before the wolves come and find that one? No wonder the Lord used this as part of an illustration of a Shepherd that would leave the 99 to go in search of the one (Matt 18:12-13).
Q: Why is it important for us to be accountable to others?
Q: Have you ever thought about what your crown will look like, the one you present to Jesus? Imagine it is filled with all manner of sparkling, precious jewels. How do we attain such a crown, such a valuable and wonderful gift?
It has to do with learning to love. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, strength. Love others as yourself (from Mark 12:30-31).
This is a picture of a diamond in the rough, still in the rock. I don’t believe the precious jewels on our crowns come already cut and polished. I believe that happens as we continually pour our lives into others and become the face of Jesus to them.
Mentoring is about seeing people as diamonds or other precious stones in the rough, and purposing to chisel them out of the sharp, hard rock, cultivating them, polishing them – all with the love God pours into our hearts.
“For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?”
1 Thessalonians 2:19 NIV
In Larry Kreider’s book titled “The Cry for Spiritual Fathers & Mothers”, he notes that people are longing for spiritual family relationships, fulfilling and real. I can testify to this. Outside of my mom and the precious – but prejudiced – love she gave me (which likely kept her from saying things I needed to hear), there are two special ladies in my life I have the privilege of calling spiritual mentors. Given the valuable insight I have gained during times we spent together, I’m not only more confident in my spiritual journey and ready and able to be that mentor to someone else, but I also grieve for all the many years I went without seeking to cultivate a mentor relationship.
Kreider goes on to say that people want someone they can sit down with and talk to, someone they can trust and be honest with about the questions they have or the problems they face. Think about that in your own life. How often do you wish you could just sit down with a trusted friend who you always know will be honest and tell you the truth in love, encourage you to be who God created you to be, pray with you during hard times, and help answer some of your toughest questions?
Q: Is there anyone who would like to share within the group a positive mentor relationship you have experienced?
My desire for us is that we will begin to develop those types of relationships with others. I pray you are open to that in both directions – seeking to mentor as well as seeking to be mentored. No matter what our age or where we are in our spiritual journey, we are just that – on the journey still, and we need the accountability and growth that a relationship like that can help provide.
When you are looking out for someone you could possibly mentor, you will begin to notice the Lord lays on your heart some more often than others. Invite them to coffee and get to know them better. Do you see potential? Do you see a hunger in them for the things of the Lord?
As we move forward in this, here are a few critical lessons I have learned about being a mentor that may help you as well:
- Just like our quote for this lesson (from Steven Spielberg, no doubt!), God does not want you to produce a replica of you.
We must be careful not to replace the life of Christ for any one person. I like the way Oswald Chambers puts it: “If they are drawing their life from any other source than God Himself, if they are depending upon anything but Him, they will never know when He is gone”.
- Always point them to Jesus so that they learn to seek Him for answers and counseling instead of you. It is not up to you to be their advisor or counselor. You are a listener, prayer partner, safe place, friend, and guide.
- Having the right to speak into another person’s life must be earned. Build trust through relationship and bathe that person in prayer! Ask for their permission to speak into their life.
Larry’s book also mentions the following points on what a spiritual father or mother looks like:
- They demonstrate love
- They train and discipline
- They provide
- They reproduce
- The bless and impart (Romans 1:11-12; Ephesians 1:3)
- They have “been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13)
- They are models and examples (Hebrews 13:7)
- They give their (daughters) a sense of significance
- They see the potential (Proverbs 22:6)
- They are available
SONG: “Broken Vessels”