Sunday, October 25, 2015

Salvation and Understanding the Different Worldviews

Last week I was swamped with several things to do at once, including visiting a church member in her nursing home, entertaining guests, and going to appointments. As a result I didn’t get the blog out last Sunday. However, I have had two weeks to work on the next few blogs. So, I decided to start a series of blogs that will focus on understanding some of the different worldviews that Christians may encounter. We need to know how these worldviews relate to the Christian worldview and Salvation?

You may be asking yourself, “What is a worldview?” “Why do I need to know what a worldview is? Well, every Christian needs to understand the worldviews that we can encounter in our daily life so that we can be prepared to share the Gospel with anyone. We need to know what people believe and why they believe the way they do, because it can affect their relationship with God and His Son. Just as importantly, we all need to understand how others view our belief in Christ and why they see Christians the way that they do. Then and only then will we be able to explain to them what Salvation is in the terms they can understand. Furthermore, we need to talk about at least a few of the different worldviews expressed today, because they can directly affect our Active Relational Christian Mentoring and our lives

After this introduction to worldviews, we will then take some weeks to look at a few more specific, but common, worldviews, and we will discover how they can affect your Christian walk of shining the Light of Christ on others. I hope you enjoy learning about these worldviews and that you will be able to use the information gained when you mentor others for Christ.

Created to Serve God and Others

God created us to “serve” Him. We are to glorify and honor God in all we do. However, just as a bowl that was created to serve food can also be used to carry things other than food or may not be used at all, we, too, can do something other than serve God. For, even though we were created to love God and serve Him, God will not force us to serve Him. Instead, God gave us “free will” to serve Him or not.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
– (Ephesians 2: 10. HCSB).

Even though we were created to serve, many people are glad that they feel no compunction to serve anyone else. Some individuals even think so much of themselves that they selfishly believe they should never have to serve or do anything for another. Certainly, there are people who are so selfish that they even refuse to wait on members of their own family, refuse to develop relationships unless it is for their benefit, or refuse to care about anyone besides themselves. For some reason they feel that it is beneath them. This is all part of how they view the world. However, those who have truly given their life to Christ know how wonderful it feels to willingly live for and serve Christ. For, there is no better feeling than seeing the blessing of your service on the grateful face of another. Helping others and serving them and the Lord is all part of the Christian worldview.

Even though there are selfish people, there are many unselfish people in the world who care about others even without being “Saved.” Unfortunately, their goodness and caring alone will not get them to Heaven. For, each person must first have a personal relationship with Christ. For, Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” – (John 14:6. NASV). But, we can all have this wonderful relationship, if we choose to believe in and ask Christ into our heart, for anyone who believes in and calls upon the name of the Lord will be “Saved.”  (See Romans 10: 13). Then with their instantaneous “re-birth” into a new life, the growth of the goodness in a person’s heart is immediately accelerated. “Saved” individuals begin to see the world through the eyes of Christ. We can see the needs of others, and we should also want to express the Christ-like love that portrays or shows that we have really been “born-again” by becoming “doers of the word.” – (See James 1:22).

What Salvation can feel Like

Salvation affects our personal worldview. Actually something special happens to the person who repents of their sins, believes Christ rose from the dead on their behalf and then asks Christ into their heart. The Bible explains it this way: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.
– (II Corinthians 5: 17. NASV).

A Christian is someone who has been “re-born” into a new person. But, what are those “new things that have come?” Well, each person can describe how their “re-birth” through Salvation has made them feel and how it has changed them, but every true “born-again” Christian has no doubt in their mind that they have become a new creature.

Salvation changes the way a person views the world they live in. New things have come. For me, my “re-birth” was and still is a feeling of spiritual freshness, like a breath of fresh air after previously being held in a room filled with stale cigarette smoke. Furthermore, there is no longer an empty spot in my soul that needs to be filled. Christ fills that spot. There is no longer continual searching for things to fill that empty spot, because it has been filled with the Trinity of God. I have the comfortable feeling of knowing that I will never be alone again or be afraid. For, Christ is always there for me, and He can be there for you too.

Salvation has also given me a feeling of freedom as opposed to a feeling of oppression. I am free to live for Christ and to tell others about this wonderful freedom from the oppression of sin. For, “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; …” – (Gal. 5: 1. HCSB)

Moreover, there is a feeling of peace and tranquility, because I now know who I am and Who I belong to. I also am at peace knowing that when this body no longer draws a breath that I will be living with God. I am no longer afraid of dying. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.” – (John 14: 27. NASV). Certainly, the peace and tranquility within our soul, given through the gift of Salvation, is greater than one can ever imagine on their own and is more powerful than any peace found in this world. This peace changed the way that I viewed the world.

Among other things, my “re-birth” incorporates the excitement of first love and the comfort of a long established married couple’s love that has grown deeper and stronger throughout years. It is a love that grows sweeter with time. This love for God and His Son can almost overwhelm me on the days when I think about the love that it took for God to create us and the love that it took for Christ to lay down his life on that cruel cross for us. For, I “…have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God and God abides in him. … We love, because He first loved us.– (I John4: 16, 19. NASV). Love colors my view of the world.

Certainly, my “re-birth” also gives me a feeling of completeness or wholeness that most women only get a glimpse of after they have given birth and hold their new-born child in their arms. With my "re-birth" I have discovered that I am no longer alone in this world. I have a friend, Christ the Savior, that will always walk with me. I see the world through His eyes.

Finally, I know that I have inside of me the light of Christ that I can shine on others, if I don’t hide it under a basket. This is the “light of Christ” indwelling me with His love and His concern for my specific life. This is the “light” from which I have been newly created. I can share this light with others so they, too, can come to know Christ as their Savior. My view of the world now includes a light that is bright, and it guides my daily walk. In fact, Jesus said:
Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father Who is in Heaven.
– (Matthew 5: 16. HCSB).

I am sure that a poet could have described the wonderful feelings of Salvation and “re-birth” in a much more beautiful and expressive way. Unfortunately, I am not a poet. I do hope, though, that I have not done a disservice to the description of Salvation and re-birth, and how it affects my worldview. I pray that those who have yet to experience the glorious “re-birth” of Salvation will want to know Christ. They, too, can repent of their sins and come to Christ. They can experience the freedom from oppressive sin, along with the peace, tranquility and the love of Christ.

But, even with all these wonderful feelings and the changes that occurred changing me from the person I was to the person that I am now, there is so much that I still need to and want to do. I need to serve the Lord. I want to serve the Lord and show others that I care. I want to be a “fruit producer”. I want to be a “doer of the Word.”

My Salvation has given me a different way of looking at the world than of those who do not know Christ personally. My worldview encompasses my Salvation experience, which is the most important part of my life. Although, my worldview may not be exactly like others, in many ways it is similar to that of other “born-again” Christians’ view of the world because of our "born-again" experience. However, each person’s worldview will be at least slightly different than another’s. This is because each Christian’s worldview is not only affected by their belief in Christ, but it is affected by the life they have lived. For example, because of where I was born, the family that I was born into, as well as my personal relationship with Christ, I have a worldview that it different from many other worldviews that are out there in the world today. Certainly, I have a worldview that is totally different from the worldview of any non-believers. But, in order to understand the difference between your worldview and the worldview of others, you will need to know what your view of the world is and then see how others view the world as well.

If we truly want to reach others for Christ, we have to understand what our personal worldview is and then be able to describe it or explain our view of the world to others. But, just as importantly, we also have to understand the worldview of others, if we are to have any chance of telling them about and reaching them for Christ. So, it is important for any Active Relational Christian Mentor to know what they believe, but to also know what their mentee believes and how she views the world. So, what makes up a worldview? What is your worldview?

What makes up a Worldview?

A worldview is basically what the two words within this single word imply. It is your view or image of the world. It is a belief system based upon how you view the world that you live in. It is your personal philosophy and your conception of human life. We each get our personal worldview from the many things that we have encountered in life as well as from what we now believe in. For example, if you were born into poverty, and no one in your family has ever had the chance to make their life better, your worldview would be different from that of a rich person who has been given everything in life. So, in part, your worldview is based on your environment to some degree or another as well as on your economic status. It is also based upon your up-bringing, that is, what kind of parents you had, how you were treated, where you went to school or lived (East coast, West Coast, Middle East, Europe, Canada, India, Russia, etc), and it is based upon who has spoken into your life (Atheists, Christians, Hindu, Buddhists, Professors, Teachers, Liberals, Conservatives, Politicians, Parents, friends, etc.). All of these things taken together will have helped you develop your own personal philosophy of life or worldview. But there are many other things in your life that will contribute to the development of your personal worldview too.

Relationships that you have developed will affect your worldview. Whether it is a friend, an acquaintance, or a group of people that you hang out with, there is a great chance that you were or you are being influenced in the development of your personal worldview or philosophy of life. For example, if you hung out with pot-smoking friends in school who had no respect for authority, there is a good chance that you developed the same attitudes that those friends had. For, those that you allow to speak into your life and everything that you do in life will affect your attitude and eventually contribute to your view of the world.

As mentioned, your worldview is affected by your economic status too. For, those who are poor will have a different view of the world than those who are rich. However, even though your worldview is based on your personal environment, economic status and relationships, there are also beliefs, general philosophies and cultural situations that lend themselves to the development of broad categories of worldviews that can also contribute to our individual worldviews. So, let’s take a look at a few categories of worldviews that we can encounter today. These worldviews can affect our beliefs and our personal philosophy of life and can contribute to how we decide to live our lives.

Obviously, a blog cannot list every worldview that you could encounter. It would take several books just to list the many different beliefs, philosophies and cultural situations that could be the basis for the many different worldviews that one could encounter. I just want to give you a few examples, though, of some common worldviews that you could encounter today, so that you will understand what a worldview is and why it is so important for us to try to understand some of the more obvious worldviews that we will encounter in our life and our walk for the Lord. Remember too, that even though I am describing a generalization of a particular worldview, I cannot possibly know how an individual has incorporated that worldview into their life in order to make up their individual personal worldview. Let’s start first with the Conservative Christian worldview.

The Conservative Christian Worldview.

I will just highlight a few of the most pertinent points in the Conservative and Christian worldviews. As you read this, you may think of other points that you feel are important in one or the other. Although we could separate the Conservative worldview from the Christian worldview, I am going to lump both Conservative and Christian into one worldview, because I believe that most Christians are also Conservatives.
Although it is not impossible, I believe that it is hard to be both a “born-again” Christian and a liberal, because some of the liberal beliefs do not fit in with Christian beliefs and teachings. However there are some people who profess to be Christians, but also have a liberal philosophy. So, I guess it just depends on how liberal the person is and whether or not they are truly “born-again” in order to say that they indeed have a Christian worldview. Moreover, there are many cultural Christians (that is someone who goes to a church that believes in Christ, but has never asked for a personal relationship with Christ) who do not really have a Christian worldview. Just saying that you are a Christian does not make you one, which is why the world in general can have a bad attitude about Christians. For, seeing people act differently from what they profess is their Christianity and belief confuses non-Christians, and the word “hypocrite” arises quickly.

What then is a Conservative Christian worldview? Well, I will give you a hypothetical situation in order to give you an idea of the Conservative Christian worldview. Remember that this is just a “generalization”. But whether you are poor, rich or somewhere in between, the Salvation part stays the same.

Let’s start first with the Christian aspect of the Conservative Christian worldview, and let’s say that you were born into a middle income family that always put God first in everything that they did. Along the way, you have been given a good education, and you have also been taught that you need to work hard to achieve the things that you desire in life. Your parents have always been kind, but they have also expected you to develop Christian morals, integrity, kindness and humility along with a strong work ethic.

While you were growing up, your parents took you to a church that believes in God and in having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, so that you could study the Bible and eventually come to a decision about Christ on your own. At some point in your life, you chose to repent of your sins and ask Christ into your heart. Now you have been “re-born” into a new being who now has those wonderful feelings that I described earlier. You are a Christian, i.e. a follower of Christ.

Early on in life, you were also taught that you are to love others as you love yourself and that you should never want to intentionally hurt another person. In fact, your parents have constantly taught you to think of the other person as worthy and as having feelings that are just as important to them as yours are to you. Now with your Salvation, you understand what your parents were trying to teach you, and you want to serve Christ by helping others any way that you can and by allowing your Christ-light to shine. Your parents have also helped you develop a conscience about right and wrong. Indeed, truth has been one of their highest goals for you. This all has become part of your worldview.

People who have come to know Christ as their personal Savior and who want to be “fruit-producers” for the Lord, will have what is called a Christian worldview. In this worldview, although there have been the normal ups and downs of living in a fallen world, there really has never been anyone in your family who has developed ideas of liberalism or who has accepted the beliefs of a different type of philosophical culture. For example, most true Christians also do not believe in evolution, because we know that without a doubt God created each of us. In fact, to keep us focused on the Truth, the Bible also tells us to “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.– (Colossians 1: 23. NASV). This is why you test every statement against the Truth of the Bible.


The Christian Worldview generally also adheres to a Conservative worldview as well. This is because the conservative views of the Christian faith are generally based on the conservative views of the Bible. So, if you believe in the Bible as God’s inerrant Word, it is easy to have a Conservative worldview as well. It is then wonderful if a conservative politician also believes in the Word of God and tries to live for the Lord. However, you don’t have to be a “born-again” Christian to be a Conservative or a Conservative politician. You could have been raised in a Conservative family or taught in Conservative schools without ever asking Christ into your heart. 

Some people who think for themselves in their college classes or who have graduated from a Conservative college may have acquired Conservative beliefs along the way. Of those individuals, some will go on to find Christ and accept His gift of Salvation, giving them the Conservative Christian worldview, while others won't. They will still have the Conservative philosophy about life and politics. Additionally, Conservative beliefs often lend themselves to the person being a patriot who puts God, family, and country first in their life and in that specific order. Those, though, who are not Christians will still usually put family and country high on their list of patriotic ideals. So what else makes up the Conservative part of this worldview?

In America, a Conservative worldview believes in the preservation of Constitution and the freedoms that come with our Constitution, such as the freedom to worship the way that you want, even if you are not a Christian. A Conservative believes in taking care of the earth by being personally responsible for our actions and without the larger government telling us what we should and should not do, unless the actions of one or a few will hurt the many. Laws are for important, but they are to be there for our protection and to benefit us rather than to hurt us or take away individual freedoms.

Conservatives believe in the freedom of American capitalism or the idea that we live in a country where you can become an entrepreneur, begin you own company or start your own business, if you are willing to work hard to do so. Conservatives do not believe that the government should get involved in telling you when, where and if you can start a business or how many hours you are allowed to work. In other words, Conservatives in our country generally do not believe in having a big government who controls your life and actions. Moreover, Conservatives believe that you should have certain personal freedoms that the government should not be able to infringe upon.

There are many other aspects and beliefs within the Conservative Worldview. But it is important to note that the Conservative Christian Worldview has through Christian love established hospitals for the sick, orphanages for children without parents, Christian adoption agencies, and many other organizations to specifically help people to get back on their feet when life has knocked them down. But, in the Conservative Christian Worldview, we do not believe in handing out money to people who are healthy but are just not willing to work.

Most Conservative worldviews also incorporate a loving Christian attitude toward others. But even though they believe in caring for others, they do not believe in giving hand outs when someone who is capable of working has not attempted to work to make their own life better. Even the Bible tells us that we are to work in order to eat.  In fact, in the Bible the Apostle Paul told the Thessalonians:
For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘If a man will not work, he shall not eat.’ We hear that some among you are idle. … Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat.”  
-- (II Thessalonians 3:10-12. NIV).

You can probably add several other attributes to both of the Conservative and Christian Worldviews. However, I just want to highlight a few of the most pertinent points in these two worldviews. Please take a few moments to sit and write down what you believe and express why you believe what you do. How do you view the world and your life? You may be very surprised at some of the things that you have come to believe. If you are a Christian, just make sure that your beliefs follow the commandments of God and the teachings of Christ. If they don't you may want to ask Christ about your relationship with Him.

Next week, I will continue talking about some of the different worldviews that Christians can encounter. Remember that it is important to understand what is going on in our world and to especially understand the different worldviews today, if we want to reach others for Christ or help those who need our help. You can do it!  I believe in you. You can share Christ with others. You can become an Active Relational Christian Mentor for someone who is just waiting for a Christian friend. 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Lovingly Mentoring One Another is One Way to Fulfill Christ's Command

Throughout my blogs, I have emphasized that Christ wants us to “love one another as we love ourselves.” Unfortunately, we all have a tendency to think of ourselves a great deal more than anyone else or more than any other thing, which gets in the way of our loving others. But, I will say it again; Christians have to work at obeying Christ’s commandment found in John 13: 34-35 (NASV). For it is here that Christ says: 
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” 

The ministry of Active Relational Christian Mentoring is all about loving your neighbor as yourself. But whether or not you become a Christian mentor, engage in some other service for the Lord, or you are just a Christian living out your life, you must let your love of Christ shine out in everything you do, which includes showing Christ's love in how you react to other people.

Christians are to work while on their journey here for the Lord. Part of our journey requires us to work at or attempt to gain more spiritual maturity, as we grow closer to the Lord. As I mentioned last week, spiritual maturity comes from several different actions that we take. Although spiritual maturity can be increased by studying the Bible and the Scriptures, we can also gain spiritual maturity as we live for the Lord and obey His Commandments. This means that actions, or positive loving actions, which we do for others, is a way to gain even more spiritual maturity. For what we do here on earth will impact our rewards in Heaven. What we do here on earth will also impact the lives of not only the people that we encounter here on earth, but we will also get to see the impact that we have had on people’s lives when we encounter them in Heaven. One of the easiest and most productive ways to impact the lives of other people is through Active Relational Christian Mentoring (ARCM).

Befriending Others

Most Active Relational Christian Mentoring is fairly easy in that you generally are befriending someone while you are lovingly teaching or sharing information about something that you know well. For example, a Christian coach will certainly have knowledge of the sport or the work topic that she is coaching, but she should also be able to answer questions about her own faith and belief in Christ if asked. A spiritual guidance mentor will usually have acquired a certain comfort level on the knowledge of the Bible and the path to Salvation before she attempts to guide another person into greater spiritual maturity or awareness. A Christian sponsor will also already know the organization or company for which she is sponsoring another woman, as she exemplifies the standards of Christian behavior in her sponsorship. In other words, mentors know about or have a skill level that will make it possible for them to lovingly share with or teach another woman. At the same time, the Christian mentor should be able to provide insight into the basics of the Christian faith. Just as importantly the mentor’s life, while lived shining the light of Christ on others, can be a great way to help another woman gain more spiritual maturity as well.

Mentoring Misunderstandings

Most ARCM mentoring is fairly easy and rewarding, because the mentor already knows the information or skills that she willing to share. Helping another woman grasp or understand what you are trying to teach her, though, can sometimes require the mentor to call upon her own spiritual maturity in more ways than one. For, whether the mentoring relationship is formal or informal, there will undoubtedly be times when the mentee may not understand what you, the mentor, are saying or what you are trying to get across to her.

Sometimes, though, the mentee will just disagree with what you are saying. These moments can be very frustrating. But they can also be opportunities to kindly share your beliefs, as long as you don’t pressure the mentee into accepting what you believe. For, teaching and sharing information is not about pushing your beliefs and opinions down another person’s throat. Unfortunately, there may be times when you and your mentee will just have to agree to disagree.

Christians, however, need to remember that we can still love another person even if we disagree with what they are saying or with what they believe. Remember that Christ came to “Save” all people. He even loved the Pharisees and Sadducees who were out to kill Him. He did not accept or promote their greedy and unloving actions, but He still shared the Truth with them. In fact, because of Christ’s love, one of the Pharisees, Nicodemus, came at night to meet with Jesus to find out the Truth. Jesus told Nicodemus that
… unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.
(John 3: 3. NASV).

We know that Nicodemus eventually turned His life around, because at the death of Jesus the Scriptures tell us that, “Nicodemus, who had first come to Him by night, also came (with Joseph of Arimathea), bringing a mixture of myrrah and aloes, about a hundred pounds of weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.” 
(John 19: 39-40. NASV).

What would have happened to Nicodemus if Christ had not been willing to meet with Him?  What if Christ had said, “you guys are planning on killing me so I want nothing to do with you”? As Christians we have to be willing to listen to the other person, especially our mentee, and then give our best answers. The worst case scenario is that the disagreement will lead to the end of your mentoring relationship. But, the ending of a mentoring relationship should not cause grudges or hurtfulness to occur. It is a learning experience for the mentor, and we hope that the mentee will also get an opportunity to think on what the mentor has shared. Moreover, such a situation should not determine whether or not you will ever mentor another woman again.

Don’t let one negative mentoring relationship ruin your desire to mentor another woman. Out of the many mentoring relationships I have had, I have had only two that I had to gently terminate. One was the result of the mentee becoming prideful about what she had learned and then wanting to take on the role of the mentor toward me. The other mentoring relationship that I had to let go was because the woman became so convinced that her idea and opinions about the Bible were more viable than the ones that I had, which was fine, except that she also believed that her opinions were even more viable than the opinions of other Biblical scholars. She pushed her beliefs upon me; wanting to change the way that I thought. But, as Christian mentors we must remember James’ admonishment:
… But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.
– (James 1: 19-20. NASV).

Communication between Mentor and Mentee

In a situation where mentor and mentee disagree, the mentor should go to God in prayer asking for direction and the correct words to speak into the life of the mentee. Also ask God to show you where to find the Scriptures or information that will truly illuminate what you are trying to teach. At other times, there may be a far more simple explanation for the disconnect between mentor and mentee. Perhaps the mentee just doesn’t understand what the mentor is trying to get across. For example, if you are teaching a skill and the other woman just doesn’t seem to be able to understand your instruction or the way that you are trying to explain the situation, you need to stop and go back to the basics before you go any further.

Usually, taking a step back and asking your mentee questions about what she does or doesn’t understand will get you back on track. This will give you an opportunity to explain something a different way so that she can understand. If that doesn’t work, ask your mentee what you could do to help her understand. Sometimes it is just a matter of communication, while at other times the mentee needs a different teaching method. When you are communicating with her, ask yourself if you are using words that she understands? Are you talking over her present level of understanding or do you need to explain something in a different way? As a Christian, you are to mentor through love and caring.

Discovering How Your Mentee Learns the Best

All of us have a way that we learn the best, so you, the mentor, may have to take time to figure out what is the best way for your mentee to learn. For example, some people are very visual and need to see pictures and charts to understand. Others need only to be told once verbally, and they quickly pick up on what is being described or on what the mentor is saying. Still others like to write things down so that their brain both hears and sees the letters and words associated with what is being said. Personally, I like to write down what is being said, so that I can go back over my notes and see visually what I want to remember.

ARCM mentors need to understand that not everyone learns the same way. What works best for the mentor may not always work best for the mentee. Therefore, Christian mentors need to have a certain amount of flexibility in how we present information or skills to our mentee.  At other times, though, the mentee may just not agree with what the mentor is teaching and sharing. In such a situation, the mentor should not take offense when the mentee disagrees. Instead, determine the cause of the disagreement. Is it because you, the mentor, have not explained the information in such a way that the mentee can understand what you, the mentor, are trying to get across? Or is it because the mentee just does not agree with the premise or the findings? If the mentee doesn’t agree with the premise or the findings, try to find out why she disagrees. If you are discussing the Word, make sure that you have done your own research so that you can present it in a way that the mentee will understand. Do not get upset or angry, but just teach or share Biblical Truth.

Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander; like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the Word, so that you may grow in respect to Salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord. 
-- (I Peter 2: 1-3. NASV).

Searching for the Truth

Sometimes, though, a mentee will decide to search for answers on her own. This is fine, unless she is an immature Christian and can be easily swayed, or unless she accepts and believes everything that she finds on the internet is the truth. Sometimes, too, spiritually immature mentees will start to accept the common secular beliefs that oppose or that are against the Biblical Words of God. 

We have many Christians today who have been duped by the political correctness police today. To keep the peace or in order to notrock the boat”, these Christians agree with the common secular positions about things that are really against God and the Bible. I hope that none of you are so accepting of the secular world that you forget what God wants for you and those you encounter. Remember that God wants first and foremost obedience to His Word. Trying to make something right when the Bible says it is wrong, will not make it right.

Today, with all the false teachings that are being spouted in the secular world and now in some evangelical arenas, even Christians can fall for wrong beliefs.  Just as there were in past cultures, there are false prophets and false teachers today. For spiritually maturing Christians today, it often seems like there are more and more false prophets and teachers than ever before. But the Bible tells us that not only have they always been around, but that we can expect them to continue to proliferate. For, the Apostle Peter said:
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned, and in their greed they will exploit you with false words;….
– (II Peter 2: 1-3. NASV)

As both a Christian and as a mentor of other Christians, we have to be very careful that we are truly mentoring the Word of God. For it is easy to find ourselves accepting what is politically correct. Sadly, some Christians do not want to step into controversial situations, so even though they profess to be a Christian, they go ahead and just accept the common beliefs and determinations of the secular world. They accept them even if these beliefs, philosophies and determinations go against the Word of God. But if Christians cannot mentor the Truth of the Word of God no matter what the secular world believes, then they should not be involved in ARCM.

In Colossians, the Apostle Paul tells us to:
 “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceptions, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.”
– (Colossians 2: 8. NASV).

Later, Paul tells Timothy to, “… guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called ‘knowledge’ – which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith.”
– (I Timothy 6: 20-21. NASV).

Avoid Arguments and Squabbles

Even in his second letter to Timothy, Paul was extremely concerned about people quibbling over doctrines and philosophies that had nothing to do with the Truth of the Word of God or their Salvation from Christ their Lord and Savior. So Paul said,
 “Remind them of these things and solemnly charge them in the presence of God not to wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the Word of Truth. But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, and their talk will spread like ‘gangrene.
 -- (II Timothy 2: 14-17. NASV).

Sometimes, though, in defending our faith, we can get hung up on the details of a church doctrine. However, unless a mentor is very well versed in the truth of a church doctrine, she can confuse the immature Christian mentee. Just like great harm has been done to the church over useless arguments, a mentor who squabbles over church doctrine can also do great harm. Sometimes, being willing to lay aside your “opinions” is so much better than your mentee being confused or upset, because she disagrees with your opinion. In fact, Paul goes one step further and tells Timothy to:

refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels.” 
-- (II Timothy 2: 23. NASV.).

So, too, ARCM mentors are not to speculate about things; they just need the Truth of the Gospel message and the Word of God to stand on when they teach or share with another woman.

Lovingly Present the Truth of the Bible

Helping another woman acquire more spiritual maturity, means that you must present the Truth from the Scriptures. So, whether you are mentoring a skill, coaching a fellow Christian woman in a sport, or giving spiritual guidance to a woman who needs help, we have a responsibility to know the Truth of the Bible and to be able to present that Truth in an understandable and considerate way.

Christian mentors must be able to lovingly share the Word of God with others, without having malice or anger for someone not understanding or for someone who refuses to see what we consider to be obvious. However, if someone wants to debate the Truth of the Scriptures, you just need to stand on the Word of God. Make sure that you have your facts, and remember that ARCM Mentoring is not about debating philosophies and opinions. ARCM is about teaching or sharing what you have acquired through your study of the Bible and through the help of the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

ARCM is about loving your neighbor as yourself. Then, along with the Holy Spirit’s guidance and direction, it is your spiritual maturity that will provide the insights, discernment and information for your mentee no matter what subject that is being mentored. As a Christian mentor, you can help to increase your mentee’s spiritual maturity, while at the same time enhancing your own through your actions and your words of Truth.

You can do it!  You can become an Active Relational Christian Mentor who shares your knowledge, skills, talents, and information with other women who are searching for empowerment by gaining knowledge and understanding in the Lord. You can love your neighbor as yourself and fulfill the commandment of Christ’s to “love one another.”

Step up and enjoy sharing your love of the Lord with other women through a Christian mentoring relationship!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Developing Spiritual Maturity

October 4th is the day my life changed forever. I have grown so much since that day when I was struck by a car while in a crosswalk. I have spent many hours reading the Bible and many hours working on becoming a better person. No, I don’t think that I was a bad person, but I have certainly been on a journey to become more spiritually mature. Increased spiritual maturity helps us become better at living for the Lord. It is while on that spiritual journey that God has allowed me to mentor other women for the Him and His Kingdom.

Whether you are the Christian mentor or mentee, you are on a journey that will culminate when your life on this earth is over. In fact, all people are on an earthly journey. So, whether you are a Christian or not, you will someday arrive at your destination. I know where I will be when I leave this earth. When I arrive at my destination, I will be in Heaven with God. But, whatever service I am doing for the Lord while I am here on earth, when I get to Heaven I want to be able to say; that I have tried my best to know as much about God and His Son as I could, and that I worked hard at obtaining spiritual maturity along the way. Have you tried to know more about God and Christ the Son, and are you now journeying toward spiritual maturity?

Many Christians pridefully think that they have already reached spiritual maturity, while other Christians never even think about trying to obtain spiritual maturity. I don’t believe that we will gain full spiritual maturity until we live daily for Christ and then only when we reach Heaven. I believe that acquiring spiritual maturity is a daily journey of seeking to become closer to God. However, I do believe that in obedience to Christ, in studying God’s Word, in being “doers of the Word” and in attempting to live for Christ daily that we can gain much spiritual maturity along the way. That is certainly what has happened to me over the years. As I search God’s word and acquire godly wisdom, I grow ever more spiritually mature and you can too.

Our journey toward spiritual maturity is a lot like planning and then taking a journey here on earth to a particular destination. First, you have to know where you want to go on your journey. I want to go to Heaven to be with Christ forever. Here on earth, though, I may choose to take a trip or journey to Alaska or some other destination. After you have chosen your destination, you have to decide the route that you want to take to get there. You need a map or GPS to get to your destination. You also need to decide what sites you want to see along the way. But, before you get started, you have to pack your bags.

Our journey to spiritual maturity is similar. If I want to go to Heaven then I need to know how to get there. Just like you would need ticket to go on an Alaskan cruise, you need to purchase a ticket to Heaven through the repentance of your sins and your belief in Jesus Christ as your risen Lord and Savior who has already paid the price on the cross for you. Christ has paid for your ticket to Heaven, if you choose to accept Him as your Lord and Savior.

Now that you know your desired destination, you will want to develop a plan of how to live your life as you journey through this world. The map or GPS for your journey is your Bible. But you have to read it daily to make sure that you are staying on the right path. This means that you must also pack your Bible to take on your journey, and that your Bible is not left in the suitcase, but is taken out and read daily to make sure that you are staying on the right road.

On any journey you will see sites along the way. You will have to make choices about which sites you want to see and which you don’t. You will also meet people along the way. Some people you will spend more time with than others. But, sometimes you may be introduced to someone who you want to spend extra time getting to know. It is during these times that you may have the opportunity to share the Word of God.

Unfortunately, like on most long road trips, you will probably encounter detours along the way. It is at these detours that you will need to decide whether or not to continue on in the same direction by going ahead and taking the detour, i.e. without being grouchy and mad because it is going to take you longer to get there, or if you are going to turn around and reverse directions. Some people cannot handle detours in life, such as being laid off from a job or having to move and make new friends. They either shut down or decide that the Christian life is not working out for them. They may believe that God did not answer their prayers even though God may have allowed the detoured in their life to give them a better life or to introduce them to someone who needs to hear about the path to Salvation.

Of course, on any journey there is the possibility of trials and tribulations or accidents along the way. These, too, are a type of detour in your life. When those occur, you may have to stop and wait to heal from the accident or persevere in overcoming a particular trial. Or God may use that earthly accident or near accident as a way of getting your attention. Unfortunately, there are some spiritually immature Christians who get mad at God for the trial or accident. They forget that we live in a fallen world and bad things can happen here on earth, but that God will always be there to support us and care for us along the way, no matter what kind of detour we may encounter. For, we are never alone! Those who pull out their Bible and read of all the times that God was there for those who loved Him will be comforted, and those who pray and read the Word of God for strength and endurance will be on the road to even greater spiritual maturity. There are still other similarities between our journey here on earth and our journey to reach spiritual maturity and Heaven, but I will stop with those. Just remember that we have to continually strive for spiritual maturity in our life journey.

I hope that all Christian women, though, are reaching out to strive for spiritual maturity. In striving for spiritual maturity you can help another woman in some manner or another gain more maturity as well. Active Relational Christian Mentoring is a great way to encourage and to help other women to seek out or strive for spiritual maturity. Indeed, one of the most fulfilling things that can happen to a Christian woman is to find that she has mentored and helped another woman in gaining more spiritual maturity. It is great when you can say that you have made a difference in the life of another human. I often think of Sophia (named changed) who originally was just a stranger, but then became a friend. She eventually became a Christian friend who now has touched the lives of many other women as well. It took several years of Christian mentoring before Sophia accepted Christ as her Savior.  Although I gave her the Salvation information, I was not the one who was there when she was actually “Saved”. Sophia was “Saved” when she finally visited a church service. Later, though, we worked together on gaining even more understanding and knowledge of how we are to be obedient to God. We both wanted to work at becoming spiritually mature.

Becoming Spiritually Mature

The other day, I was studying the book of Hebrews. In chapter five, the author of Hebrews addressed the importance of striving toward spiritual maturity. Like some Christians today, the Hebrew Christians back then had stopped living for Christ. They were afraid of many things including persecution for their belief in Christ. It was just so much easier to reverse directions and stop the suffering. Although we are not persecuted for our faith here in America, we still can be ridiculed. Unfortunately, over the years and in living in a secular culture, some Christians also go ahead and give up some of the Christian things they once considered to be important in their lives. Many have already reversed course so they can fit into the current culture. Or they have gotten off on a road that is rocky and full of pitfalls for those who are no longer living for Christ. It may feel to them that it is so much easier to go along with secular beliefs than to stand up for Christ, but is it really?

All Christians, however, should continue to strive to live the way that Christ has asked us to live. That is why, in Hebrews 4: 14 the author says: “Let us hold fast to our confession.” In other words, that wonderful confession of faith in belief of Christ Jesus is important. It is powerful and illuminating. There is a wonderful peace and comfort that comes from knowing Christ as our Savior. So, there is no reason to hide that confession or to forget what should be the most important thing in your life – Salvation and striving toward spiritual maturity.  I don’t think that we can forget our Salvation, but I think that we can take it for granted, push it to the wayside and even reverse course when the going gets rough.

The author of Hebrews asked the Jewish Christians to “press on to maturity.” – (Hebrews 5: 9. NASV). But in order to press on to maturity, we need to know what spiritual immaturity is, and we also need to know how to strive for spiritual maturity. But first, a person needs to know whether or not they are spiritually immature. Obviously, no Christian really wants to admit that they are spiritually immature. So many Christians just ignore thinking about it. But if you want to do something about your spiritual maturity level, you first must know what spiritual immaturity is. Then you must want to do something about your spiritual immaturity. So, how do you recognize or realize that you are spiritually immature?

Like most things in life, if a person does not know that they are deficit in a particular area, they cannot change. In order to change, we need to know that we need to change. For example, a woman who has never heard of a well-balanced meal, which is composed of meat, vegetables, fruit, grains or breads, and milk or cheese, may never know she should change her eating habits to benefit her body. If she eats poorly, but without knowledge of something better, she will probably continue eating junk food.
Christians can’t move on or journey toward spiritual maturity until they recognize or realize that they are immature. So, in Hebrews 5: 11-12, the author tells the Jewish Christians that they are indeed immature. Then he tells them why they are spiritually immature. It is because they are do not hear and they do not comprehend. He says, “Concerning Him (Christ) we have so much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.

These Jewish Christians were not intellectually interested in hearing what was being said about God and His Son. They had Salvation, so they felt that was all they needed. They also had no interest in growing closer to God or to Christ. In other words, they were not interested in hearing the complete Word of God and His Truth. They had the basics, which the author describes as “milk” and were happy to keep feeding on just milk.

Today, many Christians are also not interested in studying the Word of God. Many spiritually immature Christians attend worship service out of habit or peer pressure. However, they seldom attend Bible studies, and if they do, they usually leave everything they have studied right there on the table and never apply the truths to their lives. Moreover, when they leave either church or the Bible study, they probably leave thinking they have given time to the Lord, so they are good for another week. The spiritually immature Christian probably has no plans to think any further on the sermon or to study the Scriptures, because these Christians are dull of hearing.

Notice in verse twelve, the author says that some of the Hebrew Christians have been Christians for a long time. So, by now they should be teaching others about God’s Biblical Truths. “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you… Does this statement touch you? 

Obviously, not all Christians have the gift of teaching, but we are all called to share what we know and what we have learned from the Word of God with each other. ARCM is just that; sharing what you know with another person in a loving and caring way. But if one has a “lazy mind” that person will not attempt to learn so that she can “teach” or share what she has learned with another. She may even need to be taught again about the elementary principles. So what are the elementary principles?

In verse twelve, the author of Hebrews refers to the elementary principles of the “oracles” of God. First the “oracles” of God means the “Words” of God. In fact, we should be sharing God’s Word, His “oracles”, with everyone we encounter. Obviously, the elementary or first principles of the oracles of God include the Ten Commandments, God’s creation of the world and many other Words of God within both the Older and Newer Testaments of the Bible; including God’s Words in the Older Testament about the coming of Christ before it actually occurred in the Newer Testament. Finally, those elementary principles found within the Newer Testament also include the Gospel message and all the instructions that Christians have been given on how to live their lives for the Lord.

Just like we need to learn our ABC’s before we can learn to read and write, we need to learn the ABC’s or elementary principles of God’s Word in order to live fully for the Lord and in order to teach others about Christ. Certainly, to teach others we have to first understand God’s Words and His directions for our lives. We have to become more spiritually mature. The Hebrew Christians, though, were just not putting God’s Word into their minds, so they could not pull out God’s Scriptures when they were needed to tell others about God and His Son. Both their ears and their minds were dull.

Many Christians today are a lot like those Hebrew Christians who refused to expand or grow their minds with the Word of God. They, too, are lazy or dull of hearing and thinking. They have lazy minds. Why? Well, it takes time to study the Word of God and to think and mediate on God’s Word. It takes time to memorize certain Scriptures that can be used to share Christ with others. 

As I mentioned last week, we all need to memorize The Roman Road, so we can share the plan of Salvation with non-believers who are searching for Christ. Then, whether you are a mentor or not, you also need to prepare for the “What if” questions that a searcher might have for you. For example, “What if” a woman asks you why you believe that Christ died and arose?  Can you take her to the Scriptures that explain how not only the disciples, but over 500 people saw Christ after He arose? (See I Corinthians 15: 6). Perhaps you can take her to the II Corinthians 5: 17 that says: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature, the old things passed away; behold new things have come.” A true “born-again” person has been changed forever, and people can see the change in you. That Scripture explains the change in you. Then, be sure and choose a Scripture that has touched your heart and your life, and use it to help another woman understand that Christ is indeed alive and back in Heaven with the Father, and that He is also alive in your heart and life.

The plan of Salvation is one of the elementary principles that we need to know and utilize in obedience to God. But if we have dull or lazy ears and minds, we will not learn those Scriptures, or understand or obtain the wisdom needed to share Christ with others. Our lives will become stagnant as well. If we do not recognize that we are spiritually immature we will never seek spiritual maturity.

Causes of Spiritual Immaturity

Spiritual immaturity is caused by not eating the right food. Just as we can become malnourished from not eating the right food for our bodies, we can become malnourished in our spiritual life too. Malnourishment in our spiritual life leads to spiritual immaturity. When we start out as babies, we can grow on just milk. But when we get to a certain point in our growth process, we begin to need more nourishing foods such as meat, vegetables, fruit, etc. It requires a well-balanced diet to have good health. It is the same with our spiritual life. If we do not feed on the meat of the Scriptures, we will not grow past a certain point in our Christianity.

There are many different types of meat too. Christians need to feast on the meat of the Scriptures in order to learn, but we also need the meat of Christian actions in order to be obedient to Christ’s directions in our lives. The Hebrew Christians needed both the strong meat of Christian learning and actions to live a full Christian life. We, too, are to pursue learning more about Christ, and at the same time we are to pursue actively working for Him and the Kingdom of God. We can work for the Kingdom of God in many different ways, including through Active Relational Christian Mentoring. But, whatever work that we do for the Kingdom of God, we are to become fruit producers for the Lord. For when we become fruit producers we are not only growing for the Lord, but we are helping other people grow as well.

Unfortunately, when we no longer grow, we stop learning, and we stop sharing with other people. That’s why we are told in II Peter 3: 18to grow in grace and recognition and knowledge and understanding of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.” For as a Christian, you are either growing closer to the Lord Jesus or you are moving farther away from Him, because of your inability or lack of desire to become spiritually more mature.

There is another cause for spiritual immaturity. It is the inability to apply the Biblical knowledge you have heard or read. Hebrews 5: 13 tells us that spiritually immature believers who are unskilled in the “word of righteousness” cannot apply the Word to their lives, even when they read the Bible. “For everyone that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness; for he is a babe.” -- (King James Version). The “word of righteousness” are the Scriptures that teach us the difference between right and wrong and good and evil. Unfortunately, spiritually immature Christians often do not pay attention, and they fail to apply the Scriptures that tell them how to live to their lives. They just continue to live their lives the way they want to live. But, in order to be fruit producers for the Lord, we have to clean up our lives for the Lord.

Colossians 3: 8 (Amplified) tells us to:
Put away and rid yourselves of all these things: anger, rage, bad feelings toward others, curses and slander, and foul-mouthed abuse and shameful utterances from your own lips.” Today, there are so many other things that we have to also rid ourselves of within our culture. We now have internet pornography and on-line internet gambling to just name two. However, even though those two may not be listed in the Scriptures, they are covered under immorality. There are still several other Biblical Scriptures that also enumerate other things as being evil or undesirable behavior for a Christian who is on a journey to become spiritually mature.

If you are a growing Christian, you should have already applied Colossians 3: 8 to your life. But, if you have an uncontrollable temper, or if you are guilty of malicious behavior, slander, or filthy, dirty language, you are just a baby and are not growing for God. There are other verses that I will include at the end of today’s blog that can help a Christian recognize behaviors and actions that are good or evil as you journey forward in your spiritual maturity, if you are interested.

If you are attempting to spiritually mature for the Lord, you should choose to read all the Biblical Scriptures and to personalize verses when you can, so that you can apply God’s Word to your life. In John 13: 17, Jesus told His disciples that they would be blessed for not merely knowing His will, but for doing His will. For Jesus said, “If you know these thing, you are blessed if you do them.” – (NASV).  Genuine faith always leads to godly actions and behaviors. The journey in acquiring spiritual maturity means that we are trying to obey God and His Word.

Curing Spiritual Immaturity

Finally, in verse 14 of chapter five, the author of Hebrews tells us that: “… solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”  To work on becoming more spiritually mature we have to practice and train our senses to recognize good and evil.

First, though, when we study the Word of God we are to “chew” on the Scriptures; meaning that we are to think about them. Another word that describes chewing on something is “meditate”. Both words simply mean that we are to try to discern how that Scripture should affect or will affect our lives. Of course in order to “chew” on something, it has to have a more solid texture than milk. It can be the meat or the solid food of the Scriptures that we chew on or work around in our minds until we finally process it. When we finally process what we have chewed on, then we can apply it to our lives. Such is the Word of God. For, if you hear or read the Word of God but then do not think about it after hearing or reading it or then do not attempt to apply it to your life, it is just milk, and it will not provide the needed nourishment for growth. But if you process what you have read and apply what you have read in God’s Word, it will give you nourishment for growth and spiritual maturity. For example Psalm 119: 9 tells us how to keep our life pure. “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to your Word.”  -- (NASV). God’s Word actually teaches us what we need to know to keep our lives pure. Just like a map or a GPS is needed for a trip, God’s Word is needed in order for us to journey toward spiritual maturity.

Besides, eating the solid food of the Scriptures there is one more thing that will cure spiritual immaturity. It is spiritual exercise. Notice that in verse fourteen of Chapter five that the author tells us that those who are maturing need more than just solid food. In the King James Version of the Bible, the words used to acquire more spiritual maturity are “trained” and “exercised”. In other words, Christians should exercise or train themselves to discern good from evil. So, the journey toward spiritual maturity requires more than just a good diet of chewing on the meat of God’s Word. It requires exercise and practice or daily applications of the Word to our lives. Along the way we are to train ourselves to recognize both good and evil and right and wrong so that we are never surprised. If we are on a trip or journey to Alaska, we will certainly be on the look-out for situations that could cause us harm or derail our journey. So, too, we can train ourselves to recognize right and wrong and good and evil based upon the application of the Word of God to our lives.

Today we are living in a culture that is constantly trying to change our view of what is good and evil or right and wrong. One of the things that spiritually maturing believers will do when there is a controversial issue is to find out what God’s Word says about it and apply the Word to the situation. Then we can go and do as Psalm 119: 169 tells us to do, which is to pray asking God to: “Give me understanding according to your Word.”

Spiritually maturing believers are not afraid to apply the Word of God to their lives.  They want to live in obedience to God’s Word, even if it might offend others. As we grow in Christ by applying the Word of God to our lives, we actually become more sensitive to good and evil and right and wrong. We recognize the difference and practice living for what is good and true.

It is important that all Christians, and especially those who serve in the Kingdom of God to journey toward spiritual maturity. The following are some Scriptures that you might want to look up to help you on that journey.

Galatians 5: 13-16 & 19-26
Ephesians 4: 1-3 & 31-32
Philippians 2: 3-5 & 14-15
Colossians 1: 9-12
Colossians 3: 8-17
Colossians 4: 2-6
I Thessalonians 5: 13-22
II Thessalonians 3: 5, 11-13
I Timothy 6: 2-12 & 18-21
Titus 2: 11-14
Titus 3: 8-11
James 1: 18-22
James 2: 14-22

Of course, there are many other Scriptures that tell us how to live or how not to live. Many describe both attitudes and actions. Remember, though, that if you are truly journeying toward spiritual maturity that you must have a proper diet of eating the meat of the Scriptures, then chewing and processing the Word of God. Finally, you must exercise and apply God’s Word to your life.

If, however, you have never thought about growing spiritually mature for the Lord, start by realizing that you are spiritually immature. Ask yourself if you have been “dull” of hearing, which means in the Greek that you are sluggish or lazy in hearing what needs to be heard. Second, recognize that you have allowed your mind to grow lazy as well. For, if you cannot share the path to Salvation with another, you have not taught your mind to memorize the verses or even the location of the verses in the Bible. The good news is that no matter how old we are, if our minds are still healthy we can still memorize verses. It just takes us a little longer and more effort or exercise to get the job accomplished. But, it can be done.

Once we realize that we are spiritually immature, we must change the way that we eat. Quit drinking just milk. We need solid food to “chew” on. We need the meat of the Word of God. Then we must process it and apply it to our life. This means that we need a proper diet of feasting on the meat of the Word of God. Finally, we need to practice and exercise our understanding and knowledge of what we have learned about right and wrong and good and evil. If we do those things we will have a wonderful journey of growing into greater and greater spiritual maturity. I pray that you, too, will go and grow in the Lord! You can do it! For, as you grow, you can then share what you have learned with your mentees. You can become a fruit producer for the Lord!