biblical mentorship

In our MAN -2-MAN  Bible Study Breakfasts we are learning as a group of men how important it is to “hang out” with a Bible character for a period of time. The idea is to allow that man or group of men to “mentor” us in life.  Most of the mentoring concepts today involve choosing a man or woman we know or highly respect to help advise us on our life journey.  There is nothing wrong with this whole approach. In fact I think it is practical, Biblical, and valuable. And yet, perhaps,  we have missed tapping into the best mentors the world has ever seen.

What if you could spend a week with JOB in the Old Testament and seek his advice on trials and difficulties. What if you could listen to his responses and watch his reactions and hear him pray and interact with his wife and friends? You would go with him to the funeral home, sit by his bedside when he was sick. You would peek in on a meeting at his business and hear of his financial losses. You would see him discouraged and tired. You would witness God interact with him. WOW! I know I would never forget that experience and probably would want to share that time with my friends who find themselves in similar life trials.

Or suppose you could hang out for a few weeks with King David?  You would watch in sympathy as he is hounded, pressured, and threatened by a former friend. You would hear his cries of despair, loneliness, fatigue, and triumph as he lives life and goes to work.  You would see him “blow it” on several occasions by committing adultery and murder by failing his family and children. You would then see that same family go astray and betray him. How does a man survive that kind of failure? How do you go on? Is there any hope for you? You would then observe a man’s heart  express a deep  love for the Lord and see God forgive him and restore him to usefulness. You would read some  of the most incredible stuff ever penned by man under the direction of God’s Spirit. Imagine hanging out with him for a time. Your life would be indelibly marked.

Or just imagine spending an afternoon with Samuel, or a month with Moses or Joshua, or several days with Nehemiah, Jeremiah, Isaiah and the list goes on?

Best of all, how about spending three months with Jesus in the flesh!!

Don’t forget joining a group of men for a week like the 12 disciples who lived with Jesus for three years, or the 12 spies sent into the promised land to spy it out,  or David’s mighty men who trekked with him for several years in the wilderness.

The good news is this. You can hang out with these guys (Ladies there are mentors for you to hang out with too like Ruth, Esther, Hannah, etc.). Some Biblical people that were “train wrecks” may be good for us to hang out  with too,  so we do not walk their path…people  like  Lot, Pharaoh, Korah and his clan, Queen Jezebel, King Ahab, King Jeroboam, Judas, etc).

Wayne Cordeiro in his great little book “The Divine Mentor” made this astute observation:“There is only one book in which you can meet with all the mentors specially selected by God to teach the saints. Only the Bible’s men and women are His designated divine mentors. He has put His imprimatur on them alone.”

I want to challenge you to pick a Bible mentor, let’s say for a month, and “hang out” with that guy or gal. Learn all you can about him/her.  Put yourself in their shoes, listen to their words, watch their actions and note how they related to their Creator God.  And see if your life is not hugely impacted.  May I suggest to you that is real, lasting  mentorship.  Think it Thru









I am reading a great book by  Gregory Koukl entitled “Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing your Christian Convictions.” Have you ever felt the guilt or pressure of trying to the share the Gospel immediately with a co-worker, friend, or acquaintance? I know I have.  I think our motives are right because we truly want people to come to know Christ.  After all there is no other solution to the problem of sin that plagues all of us is there?  Apart from salvation in Christ alone there is no answer. Hundreds of books have been written to help us apologetically defend or advance the claims of the one true Gospel. And yet it seems like we are missing  something. Maybe where we drop the ball is in simply learning how to use what we know so that we might  share the Gospel more effectively.

Gregory Koukl in his book made this insightful statement that has been extremely helpful to me in sharing the Gospel with others. He said “I try to put a pebble in someone’s shoe.”  Now that very idea really grabbed me. He went on to demonstrate how to put a pebble in someone’s shoe  by using the “Columbo Method” in gaining an audience. In our conversations with unbelievers we can introduce “the pebble” without introducing tension early on in the dialogue.

Some of you will remember the TV series about the bumbling-appearing detective named Columbo. With his rumpled coat and stubby cigar he would enter the crime scene looking for all the world like a fish out of water. He would appear hesitant, dumb, confused, inept, and just plain at a loss as to how to proceed.  He gave the appearance of not being able to think his way out of a wet paper bag. He would poke around the crime scene, scratch his head, hesitate, and then he would make his move with these words: “I’ve got a problem. There’s something about this thing that bothers me.  Maybe you could clear it up for me. DO YOU MIND IF I ASK YOU A QUESTION?”  And there it is. “The pebble in someone’s shoe.”  The question that lingers in the mind and disturbs the thought process.  You know how aggravating, how insistent a pebble in your shoe can be?  That first question is often innocent enough, but then it leads to another question and then another. And who can forget when Columbo is about to exit the scene he would turn and say something like this: ” I’m sorry, I know I am making a pest of myself. It’s because I keep asking these questions. I can’t help myself. It’s a habit.”  And then he would ask just one more question.  Author Koukl concludes this little tactic with these instructive words for us: “The key to the Columbo tactic is to go on the offensive in an inoffensive way by using carefully selected questions to productively advance the conversation. Simply put, never make a statement, at least at first, when a question will do the job.”

As I thought about this little principle I could not help but notice that Jesus did the same thing. Remember these questions Jesus asked?

He asked the lame man the question:“Do you want to be healed?” (John 5:6). He asked a certain crowd curious about John the Baptist: “What did you go out into the desert to see?” (Matthew 11:7). He asked a critical group of leaders who were bothered by his healing on the Sabbath day: “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out?” (Matthew 12:11). When some confused Jesus with Satan and Satanic powers, Jesus asked: “How can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man?”  (Matthew 12:29). When Jesus wanted people to think about eternal matters he asked: “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). After Jesus told the story of the Samartian man who helped the wounded man on the Jericho road, he turned to the lawyer & the crowd and asked this question: “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” (Luke 10:36)(for further reading on this topic check out Randy Newman’s book: Questioning Evangelism).

These are but the tip of the iceberg of all the questions Jesus asked. I wonder if we should not ask the Spirit of God to help us use more questions as pebbles in a person’s shoe.  Sooner or later the person we speak to is going to have to stop and try to get that pebble out of his shoe. Then is our chance to share lovingly the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Load up on pebbles! Think it thru