Dear Brothers & Sisters at CCC,
Missing in Action. Due to unforeseeable circumstances and schedule conflicts the MIA (Men in Action) Readiness training Bible study has been postponed once again. In the wake of this "failure to launch" a men's Bible study over the years I have been asking myself a question: "Why do we need to have a men's Bible study anyway? Am I trying to force something that is unnecessary?" The answer comes from the Word of God itself. Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy:
"...and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything." (2 Timothy 2:1-7)
I am encouraged. We praise God for the 17 women who signed up to participate in the woman's Bible study this Fall. Most are from CCC, but several are from the greater Christian community and there are even two non-believers attending! We couldn't ask for more than to have our women enriched and equipped in God's word - even spreading God's word among those in our city who have yet to trust in Christ! Or could we....?
Yes, we can ask for more! Will you all commit to praying with me asking God to make the time in our schedules and the space in our hearts for the equipping of us men in God's Word for our calling: to lead by making disciples in our marriages, in our families, in our church, and in our community?
Brothers, in order to lead as God has designed us and called us to do, we must be well trained and always training together in the Word of God - our source of power for life and godliness. No soldier goes to the front lines without training in the disciplines of battle and learning to use his weapons. Neither does an athletic team compete in the Olympics without a great amount of exercise and training together according to the rules of their event. No farmer sows seeds without first tilling and plowing the field. And when there is sacrifice and dedication to preparation and training there is victory, there is endurance, there is a harvest! This is the reason why I am persistent to call us together for a Men's Bible Study. This Bible study is not primarily about fellowship or "hanging out" (as rewarding as those residual benefits are). It is first about life or death in the war against the kingdom of darkness. It is about having victory over sin and finishing the race well. It is about being a church that bears a gospel harvest.
Notice what this means for us according to 2Timothy 2:2. For me it means that as your pastor I am not fulfilling my calling unless I am training you - "faithful men who will be able to teach others also" in our church. I am not fulfilling my calling simply by training pastors in Lansing or Lebanon if that training isn't happening here at home as well. This also means that as the men of our church, you are not fulfilling your calling unless you are always being trained together and training others for the war, for the race, and for the harvest.
My brothers (and sisters), we will reschedule our MIA Readiness Training for another time so more of us can make it. But before we do, please "think over what [Paul] says..." and pray about the importance and priority of such biblical training in your life, in your marriage & family, in our church for the sake of reaching our city.
What to expect: 1) We will review the Dig & Discover Hermetical Principles (from Leadership Resources International) with our first focus on "Structure." 2) Our goal for the first cohort will be to map out the overall structure of a book of the Bible and determine the Main Idea of the book (making application along the way) 3) We will get out our calendars and schedule more times to meet until we have made our way through the entire book practicing the Dig & Discover Principles. We will also discuss and pray about ways you can put these tools into practice immediately in the church and in your spheres of responsibility. I so very much look forward to our enriching and equipping time together!