Chp 215 Notice to Appear
Chp 215 Notice to Appear document sample
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Dr. Pete Charpentier, DMin 41026 Adams Road Hammond, LA 70403 email@example.com Dear Editor, I want to thank you for this opportunity to submit a writing sample for your consideration. Please find below a list of my writing credits to date and a portion of the first chapter of the leader’s guide for my book proposal entitled Reaching the Next Level: Partnering with Others for Spiritual Growth. I’m already using this resource in my pastoral ministry and seeing it’s effectiveness for personal disciple-making. I trust that you will also find it beneficial. My writing credits include: I’ve had some comments describing our local Church’s outreach philosophy published in On Mission: Pastor’s Edition magazine (Winter 2008, page 4). A full-page feature developed from my description of one of our Church’s creative community outreaches to women who were victims of domestic abuse was published in On Mission: Pastor’s Edition magazine (Winter 2008, page 34). My doctoral project report (completed in December 2009, 215 pages) entitled Mentoring New Believers at Woodland Park Baptist Church, Hammond, LA, in the Basics of Spiritual Formation is copyrighted and in the general circulation and reference room of the John T. Christian Library of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, New Orleans, LA. One of my devotional pieces entitled God Never Says, “Phew!” won an Editor’s Choice award in the FaithWriters’ weekly Writing Challenge (February 2010, 680 words) and is slated for publication in an upcoming edition of the book, The Best of FaithWriters. I have an AP style article entitled It’s a God-Thing: Evangelism and Education in the Ministry of Pastor Chad Grayson (March 2010, 706 words) scheduled to be published in a future edition of the Vision magazine, a publication of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. I recently had a sermon illustration I submitted to PreachingToday.com entitled The Impact of a Life (March 2010, 565 words) which describes the symbolism of one of the architectural structures dedicated to Abraham Lincoln accepted for publication on their website. Another devotional I’ve written entitled That’s All I Need to Know (March 2010, 391 words) is tentatively scheduled to post to the Christian Devotions’ website (www.christiandevotions.us) on July 22, 2010. The following sample is from the first chapter of the leader’s guide of my book proposal entitled Partnering and the Spiritual Disciplines. Please use the above information to contact me with any questions concerning the full manuscript of my book proposal, and thanks again for your time and consideration. Chapter One: Leader’s Guide Partnering and the Spiritual Disciplines Notes to Participants: All of the answers for the blanks in each chapter are compatible with the New International Version of the Bible. In other words, the Scripture references in bold print which appear in a sentence(s) with blanks contain the answers for the blanks. Also, the chapters are divided into six days so they can be completed easily in one week. On the seventh day, participants should meet together to review the chapter for the week. Lastly, the words marked with an asterisk (*) indicate key terms also defined in the glossary at the end of each chapter. Day One Introduction: The Essence of the Christian Life Jesus says in John 10:10 that He came to give you life to the full. Of course, the “full life” that Christ promises isn’t painless nor problem-free. In fact, Jesus also says in John 16:33 that you will face trouble in the world, but you can take heart because He has overcome the world. Yet, how can you focus on Christ in a world filled with difficulties and distractions? Simple. You must concentrate on the core of Christianity. Jesus describes the essence of the Christian life in Matthew 22:35-40 when He says that all of life and all of God’s commandments are summarized as follows: Love God, and love others. Basically, Christ teaches that the bottom-line of the Christian life is relationships. You have a primary relationship with God in Christ, and you have secondary relationships with others in the name of Christ. But you might ask an important question concerning the essence of the Christian life: What forms the healthy dynamics of my relationship with God and with others? The answer is found in six essential spiritual disciplines.* Four of these disciplines shape the dynamics of your relationship with God in Christ, and the remaining two guide your relationships with others in the name of Christ. The Four Essential Disciplines of Our Relationship with God The Scriptures: The Breath of God. The first essential spiritual discipline of your relationship with God centers on the Bible. Paul teaches in 2 Timothy 3:16 that all Scripture is God-breathed. When you take in the truth of God’s Word through study and biblical meditation,* it’s like you’re “inhaling” God’s spiritual breath. This pure “oxygen” of God’s revealed truth fills your spiritual lungs and supplies you with the essential “air” necessary for your walk with Christ. Jesus also teaches how crucial God’s Word is for your spiritual life in Matthew 4:4 when He says that you don’t live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. Prayer: The Never-Ending Conversation with God. The second key discipline of the Christian life is prayer. Every good relationship is built on communication, and your primary relationship with God is no exception. The Lord “speaks” to you through His Word, and you speak with Him according to the truth of Scripture through prayer. So learning God’s Word is like “inhaling,” and prayer is like “exhaling.” With these first two disciplines, Scripture and prayer, the cycle of spiritual “breathing” is completed. And just as breathing must be continual to sustain physical life, the constant inhaling of the truth of God’s Word and exhaling through prayer is essential for a healthy spiritual life. Paul makes this point plain when he teaches you in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to “pray continually.” But you must do more than merely pray constantly. You must pray according to God’s will because this alone is effective praying. John tells you in 1 John 5:14-15 that you will have what you ask for when you pray according to God’s will because He will accomplish His will. Of course, you might immediately ask, “How can I pray according to the Lord’s will?” Simple. Praying in agreement with God’s will is praying in line with His Word because the Scriptures reveal His will (see 2 Timothy 3:16-17; John 14:23-24). Discernment: Distinguishing God’s Voice from Others. The third essential discipline for your spiritual growth is discernment.* While communication is necessary for healthy relationships, people must obviously interact beyond just communicating. Relationships also involve actions. As you “hear” God speak through His Word and respond to Him through prayer, you’ll learn to discern what God is calling you to do and take the appropriate steps to obey His voice. Jesus says in John 10:27 that His followers listen to His voice and follow Him. But how can you distinguish between the truth of God’s voice and all of the noisy lies clamoring in your ears? The Psalmist says in Psalm 119:9 that a pure life is a life lived according to God’s Word. God’s Word is described in Psalm 119:105 as a lamp to your feet and a light to your path. Thus, you learn to distinguish God’s voice from others as you seek to obey the Scripture, and God’s Word is the standard by which the truth and/or falsehood of every voice is measured. Confession: The Ebb and Flow of Spiritual Growth. The fourth core discipline of the Christian life is confession.* As you seek to obey God’s voice, you’ll inevitably stumble. In fact, James tells us in James 3:2 that we stumble in many ways. We sin and stumble when we willfully disobey God’s clear call in Scripture or when we mistake God’s voice for another lying voice. But the great news is that the crux of the Christian life is about experiencing God’s forgiveness and forging deeper faithfulness to Him beyond our failures. Although we all stumble, we don’t need to remain mired down in sin. God desires to restore us, and we can respond to God’s compassionate correction through confession and learn to carry on. This is why the spiritual discipline of confession is essential because it keeps the ebb and flow of spiritual growth moving forward. The writer of Proverbs instructs us in Proverbs 28:13 that anyone who conceals sin will not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces it will find mercy. Day Two The Two Essential Disciplines of Our Relationships with Others Community: Serving Together for the Good of All. The first essential spiritual discipline of your relationship with others in the name of Christ is community. Every person is born into a family, and their first relationships are with their family members. This physical truth has its parallel in the spiritual realm as well. When you were born again (see John 1:12-13; 3:3), you were born into the family of God and now enjoy relationships with other Believers in the name of Christ. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:13 that you were baptized into Christ’s body, the Church, by the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, Paul instructs you in Ephesians 3:14-15 that you’re a part of God’s family. Again, just as children first learn to interact lovingly with others in their family, we learn in 1 Corinthians 12:11 that Christians are equipped with spiritual gifts as the Holy Spirit determines, and Peter calls you in 1 Peter 4:10 to use your Spirit-given gifts to serve others in the Body of Christ. Therefore, you’re called to love others and to serve alongside them in the Church so that the Body of Christ might grow to reach its maximum ministry potential (see John 13:34-35; Ephesians 4:11-13). Witness: Shining Christ’s Light for the Glory of God. The second key discipline of your relationships with others focuses on living as Christ’s witness. All productive people eventually have a positive influence beyond their family, and this is true of your spiritual life as well. Jesus calls you in Matthew 5:13-16 to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world and to let your light shine before others so that they can see your good works and praise your Father in heaven. In other words, while your productive interaction with others begins within the Church, your influence extends to the whole world. Jesus describes His followers in Acts 1:8 as His witnesses who are called to make an impact both at home and abroad. In fact, Christ commands you in Matthew 28:19 to make disciples of all nations. Now you can see how the six essential spiritual disciplines create a perpetual cycle. As you heard the Good News of salvation in Christ alone through the message of God’s Word, faith and spiritual life began (see Romans 10:17) as the breath of God filled your spiritual “lungs”. The spiritual breathing-cycle for you as a new Believer is completed as you communicate with God through the never-ending conversation of prayer. And when you hear God speak through the truth of His Word, you take steps of obedience. Of course, as you follow Christ, you’ll also inevitably stumble and fall. But through the spiritual discipline of confession, you respond to God’s compassionate conviction and forge deeper levels of faithfulness as you move through the ebb and flow of your failures and God’s forgiveness. Also, just as no one lives in isolation, you interact with others in productive ways in the Body of Christ. You learn to serve together with your brothers and sisters in the Church so that the family of faith can reach its maximum impact potential. But your influence as Christ’s follower isn’t confined to the Church. You also must let your light shine as Christ’s ambassador (see 2 Corinthians 5:20) so that others can hear God’s message of salvation and be born again of the Spirit. Then when others come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior through the power of God through your witness, the entire process of spiritual life repeats in these new Believers. In this way, the essence of the Christian life is perpetuated throughout the nations. As implied above, when personal mentors partner with their fellow-Christians to help them grow in the six essential spiritual disciplines, they play a crucial role for cultivating spiritual formation* in others. In fact, these spiritual disciplines work best in the context of partnering relationships as God creates maturity in faith through the exercises of the spiritual disciplines so that you can be conformed continually into the image of Christ and help others come to know Him. Day Three The Nature of Personal Mentoring Partnering with others for spiritual growth takes place in personal mentoring* relationships. And in order for us to understand the importance of personal mentoring in spiritual formation, we must first define this key idea. Personal mentoring is the partnering relationship you develop with another Believer for the purpose of cultivating spiritual growth. Now if personal mentoring is crucial for spiritual formation, then you should see examples of it in the Scripture, and this is exactly what you find when you consider a biblical basis for mentoring. Biblical Examples of Mentoring Old Testament Examples. Three key passages in the Old Testament provide examples of mentoring. First, in Genesis 39:4 you discover a mentoring relationship between Joseph and Potiphar. The nature of their relationship largely centers on managerial skills as Joseph learned how to manage Potiphar’s household, property, and assets (see Genesis 39:4-6a). Of course, God used this mentoring relationship in Joseph’s life to equip him with the skills he would later need as a leader in Egypt during a time of intense famine (see Genesis 41). Second, in Numbers 11:28 you can identify a mentoring relationship between Joshua and Moses. Through this relationship, Joshua learned the spiritual leadership skills that he would later use as Moses’ successor to guide the Israelites in their conquest of the land of Canaan. Third, in 1 Kings 19:21 you notice a mentoring relationship between Elisha and Elijah. This relationship focused largely on imparting to Elisha the ministry skills he would need as a prophet among God’s people. Four important aspects of personal mentoring surface for us from these Old Testament examples. First, mentoring relationships have different purposes. The passages above show that mentors can help others grow in managerial skills, leadership skills, and ministry skills. Of course, these are not the only beneficial goals for mentoring, but they illustrate the fact that personal mentoring equips others with various skills for many purposes in life. Second, God uses mentoring relationships to prepare His servants for His special calling on their lives. For instance, just as Joseph learned to manage a single household before he was largely given the reins of an entire nation, God uses the skills and truths we learn in mentoring relationships to posture us for effective service as we obey His calling in our lives. Third, mentoring is personal. While this point may seem obvious, we often learn best by interacting with our mentors and observing their teachings in action. It has been well-said that people are a lot better at following examples than they are at merely following instructions, and you can clearly see this is true in light of the dynamics of personal mentoring relationships. Fourth, mentoring for the purpose of spiritual growth signals a special relationship between you and your partner. In all of the mentoring relationships cited above, a particular Hebrew word is used to describe these relationships as including a high level of trust in contrast to involving only the menial tasks of lowly servants.1 In others words, healthy mentoring relationships focus on mutual respect. Both the mentor and the mentoree learn from one another because God is the ultimate Teacher in their relationship, and He calls both to respect one another as they follow Him. New Testament Examples. As with the Old Testament, three key passages provide examples of personal mentoring in the New Testament. First, in Mark 3:13-14 you recognize that a mentoring relationship existed between Jesus and the twelve Apostles. Second, in Acts 9:27 you see a mentoring relationship develop between 1 BibleWorks, ver. 6.0 (Norfolk, VA: BibleWorks, 2003). Barnabas and Saul, and third, in Acts 16:1-5 you learn that Paul and Timothy also engaged in a personal mentoring relationship. In light of these New Testament examples, we discover three additional aspects about the nature of personal mentoring. First, mentoring is rooted in the heart of God. The Scriptures include many examples of how God desired to place people into groups in order for them to work together for His purposes. For instance, God created Adam and Eve in a relationship to help one another (see Genesis 2:20-24). The Lord led Moses to select seventy elders who would help him bear the burdens of leadership (see Numbers 11:10-17). God instructed Joshua to settle the people of Israel according to their respective tribes in the land of Canaan (see Joshua 11:23). David and Jonathan supported one another during difficult times (see 1 Samuel 20), and Daniel and his three friends obeyed God together during the Exile (see Daniel 1:3-21). Also, Jesus, the Son of God, called twelve disciples to follow Him and to be a part of His ministry (see Luke 6:12-16). The Apostles called for seven men to help them serve others when the needs of the Church continued to expand (see Acts 6:1-6). The Holy Spirit commissioned Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey (see Acts 13:1-3), and Paul instructed Timothy to pass his teachings on to other reliable men who would in turn be able to minister beyond his lifetime (see 2 Timothy 2:1-2). Even when God declared His plan to create Adam in His image, He acted within His nature as the triune Godhead – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (see Genesis 1:26-27). Thus, the biblical principle that God desires to work through us as we partner with others for common purposes is rooted in the heart of God and is clear throughout the Scriptures. Second, personal mentoring is the most effective way to make a sustained impact in the world. Even Jesus Christ didn’t work alone during His ministry on earth; rather, He invested His life in the lives of others so that He could commission them to make disciples of all nations (see Matthew 28:19-20). Also, Paul called Timothy to pass along his teachings to others so that his ministry would not die with him but would continue to have an impact (see 2 Timothy 2:1-2). This is why Jesus commissions us to make disciples versus mere decisions because decisions are fickle while disciples are fruitful (see Matthew 13:18-23). Third, mentoring involves giving others chances beyond their failures. Jesus’ disciples made many mistakes as He taught and trained them. For instance, the disciples lacked understanding at critical points in Christ’s teaching (see Matthew 13:36; 15:10- 20); they argued about positions of prominence (see Mark 9:33-37); they lacked faith (see Matthew 8:23-27); and they responded in fear rather than faith at the initial news of the resurrection (see John 20:18-29). Also, Barnabas gave Saul/Paul an opportunity to grow in his new-found faith in Christ even though others initially rejected him because of his past reputation as a persecutor of Christians (see Acts 9:22-27). And Paul himself appears to have changed his mind about John Mark’s usefulness in the ministry (see 2 Timothy 4:11) although John Mark had earlier given up during the first missionary journey (see Acts 15:36-40). So one truth about partnering with others for spiritual growth is clear: Both mentors and mentorees will make mistakes. Yet, God uses the support of personal mentoring relationships to nurture us beyond our failures as we learn from our mistakes and grow in Christian character. Day Four Characteristics of Healthy Mentoring Relationships As implied above, Paul followed in the steps of Jesus, the Master-Mentor, as he worked to obey Christ’s commission to make disciples of all nations. Therefore, we can learn a lot from Paul concerning the characteristics of healthy mentoring relationships. When we read how he interacted with new Christians through his missionary ministry, we see how he exemplified Christ’s character before them in order to teach and train them. A helpful passage which gives us a glimpse into Paul’s personal mentoring relationships is 1 Thessalonians 2:1-20. In these verses, we discover six crucial insights into the characteristics of healthy mentoring relationships. Sacrifice (1 Thessalonians 2:1-2). As Paul ministered to the Believers in Thessalonica, he made personal sacrifices for their spiritual growth. This is a universal principle for mentoring because mentoring is hard work. It requires sacrifice from everyone involved in the relationship. For example, mentors and mentorees must exercise patience with one another. Mentors need to encourage new Believers to continue in their Christian journey even when they stumble repeatedly in the same struggles, and mentorees must be committed to work diligently in their studies, disciplines, and priorities in order to make progress in their spiritual formation. Through these and other mutual sacrifices, personal mentoring relationships flourish in spiritual fruitfulness. Sincerity (1 Thessalonians 2:3-6a). Paul never exploited his authority as an apostle in order to take advantage of his fellow-Believers in Thessalonica. Rather, he labored with pure motives out of a heart of love for God and for others. Remember: To love God and to love others is the essence of the Christian life and summarizes all God’s commands according to Jesus (see Matthew 22:35-40). So Paul sought to serve his new brothers and sisters in Thessalonica with sincere motives before God. Sincerity is crucial for healthy mentoring relationships. If either the mentor or the mentoree is suspicious of the other’s motives, the relationship is doomed to failure. For instance, if mentorees think that their mentors are attempting to use their position to manipulate or overpower them, they will not be open to their instruction and will not respect their example. On the other hand, if mentors think their mentorees are not being honest with them when it comes to matters of accountability, they will lose their enthusiasm to remain committed to the relationship. In light of these examples and many other possible scenarios, sincere motives are very important for nurturing healthy partnerships for spiritual growth. Gentleness (1 Thesslonians 2:6b-9). Paul didn’t want to be a burden to the Believers in Thessalonica as he served God among them. Like a mother who compassionately cares for her children, Paul made every effort to be gentle with the new Thessalonian Christians. He wanted to share both the Gospel and his very life with them in order to posture them for sustained spiritual growth. In the same way, mentors must work gently with new Christians. They need to see an imaginary “Handle with Care” label on the foreheads and hearts of their mentorees. For example, when new Believers share a personal struggle with their mentors, they are risking vulnerability. They are conveying a deep level of trust by asking for help and support. Mentors must respond to this tender moment with gentleness and compassion. While they should never compromise the truth of God’s Word nor godly convictions in an effort to gloss over sin (for example, see the discussion below on the characteristic of “firmness”), they must nevertheless find ways to speak the truth in love with their mentorees (see John 8:1-11; 2 Timothy 2:24-26; Jude 22-23). Mentors must work to strike a delicate but necessary balance between compassion and conviction. Firmness (1 Thessalonians 2:10-12). The fact that Paul was gentle with his fellow-Believers in Thessalonica does not mean he wasn’t bold with them as well. Paul tells us that he issued God’s clear call to these Christians to pursue personal holiness (see Romans 12:1-2; 1 Peter 1:14-16). In other words, Paul teaches us that mentoring is really an “art” more than a “science” because it includes moments of reaffirmation and rebuke. Of course, we should base all of our interactions with one another on love. Yet, the writer of Proverbs wisely writes in Proverbs 27:5 that open rebuke is better than hidden love. We know this is true because we learn in Hebrews 12:5-6 that God disciplines those He loves. The fact that gentleness and firmness are placed side-by-side in Paul’s words to the Thessalonians insightfully teaches us that mentors and mentorees must have balance in their relationships. Through sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s leadership, we can navigate the dynamics of healthy mentoring relationships in terms of compassion and correction based on biblical convictions. Respect (1 Thessalonians 2:13-16). Paul clearly appreciated the respect that the Believers in Thessalonica showed to him. The Thessalonian Christians recognized Paul and his mission team members as men of God who preached not themselves but the Word of God. Therefore, Paul reveals the deep level of mutual respect which existed between himself and his audience. They respected him (see 1 Thessalonians 2:13), and he appreciated their stand for Christ in the face of persecution (see 1 Thessalonians 2:14). Mutual respect is also needed in every healthy mentoring relationship. Mentors should respect mentorees for their willingness to learn, and mentorees should respect mentors for their commitment to invest time, effort, and energy in their relationships. When mutual respect exists between a mentor and mentoree, this respect energizes them with an enthusiasm to endure all of the challenges their relationship will encounter. Unending (1 Thessalonians 2:17-20). Paul signals in the final verses of 1 Thessalonians 2 his passion to see his fellow-Believers continue to flourish in their faith even though he was no longer able to be with them personally. In other words, although Paul was only with the Church in Thessalonica for a season of time, he desired to visit them again in order to help them continue to grow spiritually. While mentors and mentorees may establish a set period of time for their formal mentoring relationships, they should also have an understanding that they’re available to one another beyond this as needs arise. A set period for mentoring relationships is important because it allows mentors the regular opportunity to invest in new mentorees, and it encourages mentorees to use what they learn to equip others. Yet, Believers never stop learning and growing in spiritual formation. Therefore, they always need opportunities to partner with others for spiritual growth.