As the year comes to a close, it’s become an annual tradition for me to spend time reflecting on what I’ve learned. Here’s the first five of my top ten ‘learnings’ from 2016 . . .
- Sometimes in our efforts to understand God, we can end up redefining Him. We don’t mean to but we reduce Him to our level . . . to something, we can rationalize, hold to our view of justice, and apply principles to. But some things are not for us to know. Just like a good father doesn’t tell his child everything, God isn’t required to explain everything to us. He’s not being arrogant . . . He simply knows what’s best for us to know and not know. He’s set our lives up for maximum long-term joy, even though that means we must tolerate evil, pain, suffering, and silence in the short-term.
- God wants men to know they are loved and accepted by Him through Jesus. Engaging with His love is huge. It’s life-changing! It’s the only source of transformation. It all begins with grasping His love and then, out of gratitude, desiring to live a more consecrated life and to share that God-centric life with others.
- As husbands, our wives love us more than we believe they do. Because of our wounds, our self-doubts, and our selfishness, we struggle to believe they love us, but they really do! (In a very small-sample survey, wives’ responses said they love their husbands 12% more than their husbands thought they did).
- There are three stages of maturity in our lives. If we look and ask, we find our unique purpose in life . . . what we’re designed to do. We try out different careers, jobs, and ministries looking for a place where our purpose is leveraged. When we find it, we’ve found a calling . . . our purpose applied. When we pursue our calling long enough to be productive, peaceful and content in it, we’ve found our destiny. We no longer look left nor right. We’ve found our place.
- Doing ‘the next right thing’ is effective when you’re confused, but most of us are not confused. We’re busy and we like our autonomy so we don’t take the time to include God in our decisions. If we slow down and ‘enter in’ with the Father . . . regardless of how much doesn’t get done or how long it takes, we’ll make better decisions and we’ll get more of Jesus.
God’s hand in our lives can best be seen retrospectively. Take a little time away from the college football bowl games. Go to a quiet place with your journal and a pen. Then pray “Lord, please remind me of the times you showed up for me this year.” Write them down. Ask, “Jesus, remind me what I learned this year. I want to be closer to you, a better disciple and disciple-maker. Speak, your servant is listening.” And write what you hear in your journal. He’s your loving mentor. He loves questions like these!
Scripture: And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. (Luke 11:9)
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