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Archive for the ‘Mentoring’ Category

~ Written by Viki Rife 

It happened during Christmas break from college my freshman year. During the break between Sunday School and church I stopped at the bathroom. I heard a mom bring her preschooler into the next stall. The youngster asked a question that had apparently been triggered by something he had heard in his children’s class. I held my breath. It was a tricky question. I felt sorry for the mother.

While I don’t remember the question any more, or what she said, I remember thinking, “Wow, you really need to know your theology to be a mom!” It awakened in me a desire to dig into God’s Word so that someday I would be a wise mom who knew how to take advantage of her child’s curiosity to point them to God’s truth.

I don’t think that mom knew how important her child’s question was, not just for him, but for a shy college student in the next stall. Her biblical perspective inspires me to this day. Thank you, dear friend—you never volunteered to be my mentor, but you are!

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~ Written by Cassie Harris

There were two men in my life. They both wanted to officiate my wedding. They both decided – separately – that if they never met the man I married, I wasn’t allowed to get married. Both Terry and Ray jokingly-but-not-so-jokingly fought each other as they planned for my future wedding together. Who would get most of the limelight as the officiator of my wedding? Who would get to kiss my cheek first? Who would get to harass my groom the best?

Usually, I just laughed instead of focusing on the confusion their bantering created. I was loved, that’s what I remembered. I was 16 and both these men had higher dreams for my future than I did. When I nearly ruined my life with childish decisions at 19 years old, they both spent hours almost daily on the phone talking me through my decisions and asking me hard questions no one else wanted to ask.

Both of these men passed away within a year of each other. It didn’t hit me until recently neither of these men get to see my wedding. Neither of these men get to ask me the hardest questions of all: “Can you support your husband when he seems unsupportable? Can you make him laugh when all you want to do is make him cry? Can you show him Christ when all you want to do is show him yourself?”

Even at 16, Ray and Terry warned me about those questions. They told me what they wanted the answers to be and what they would do if my answers didn’t represent Christ. They were futuristically minded when I couldn’t be. They cared more for my future than almost any other non-related acquaintance ever had.

They didn’t plan on not being around to help me grow up, but they prepared me for the future just in case they weren’t.

What if we discipled like that more often? What if we strove to be involved with our mentees but prepared them to be just as godly, wise and prepared without us as they are when they are with us? What if we didn’t shield them from hard things but rather taught them they can prepare for a storm before it comes?

What if we discipled in such a way that those we disciple don’t pine after us after we’re gone but rather strive to emulate the Christ-like characteristics we focused on the most?

(Adapted with permission from author’s blog Defining My Sanity.) 

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~ Written by Viki Rife

Don’t use a GPS to get to my house. You won’t make it there. Despite their amazing ability to track where you are, Global Positioning Systems will claim that you have arrived about a half mile before you actually reach our place.

Believe me, I’m not criticizing. I remember all too well the days of navigating LA freeways with a map in hand. I’d take my eyes off the road, finally find my place on the map, look up to check the road and lose my place on the map. It was just as dangerous as texting while driving.

So my recent trip to California felt like a breeze. My favorite feature of my GPS is the fact that it tells you ahead of time which lane to get into so you’re ready for the next exit. And I absolutely love its ability to redirect after I’ve taken a wrong turn.

It got me started thinking about how much I appreciate our spiritual GPS: God’s Purpose Secured. God has a purpose for me, and all I need to do is pay attention and follow directions. 

Even when He tells me to get into a lane I don’t want to be in, He is positioning me for whatever exits He wants me to take that will lead to arriving at His purpose for me. And He never gives up on me when I take a wrong turn. Praise God, He will fulfill His purposes for me. And He won’t stop until He brings me safely to my destination.

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~ Written by Sharon MacMillan

The Carrier Pigeon, a state-of-the-art clipper ship, ran aground 500 feet off shore in 1852 in fog and bad weather. It had traveled from Boston around Cape Horn at the southernmost point of South America, was only about 50 miles from its final destination, San Francisco. The disaster highlighted the need for a lighthouse at this particular location on the west coast. As a result, the Pigeon Point Lighthouse sent its first beacon of light out into the dark ocean on November of 1872 to warn ships and their crews of the impending dangers near the shore.    

A Fresnel lens was placed at the top of a 150-foot tower to direct focused light into its hundreds of prisms and lenses, sending out a strong bent beam of light every 10 seconds. That pattern is  known as a lighthouse’s “characteristic” pattern and identified it to sailors as the Pigeon Point Lighthouse. In those early days of the lighthouse, there would be no pattern of light without a diligent light keeper who would keep the candle burning, usually with sperm oil or lard.   

The Church projects God’s light to the world with her “characteristic” pattern. What do people learn about your Father through your speech, your actions and your attitudes? What is your  individual “characteristic” pattern of light?   

As we come to 2016 we are aware of the great need for the world to see our “characteristic” pattern of light. God designed us to be a people who intercede for the world, are inclusive with messy people, value them enough to train them for their place in Christ’s body, and encourage them along the way as they learn to participate in God’s purposes and plans for His Church. “They shall know you by your love.” That is our “characteristic” pattern for the world. 

We want to learn to pray for those who need light. In your daily prayers, please intercede for the design and implementation of the Women of Grace USA Prayer Summits that we hope to begin this year. Pray for Sue Knight, Nicole Miller and Sharon MacMillan as we seek the Lord for His direction in providing life-changing opportunities to grow deeper in the school of prayer and  intercession, enabling His women bring many to the Light.   

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~Written by Viki Rife

It happened again today. I was reading an article in a respected Christian magazine. As it described a young pastor’s battle with cancer, it referred to it as a tragedy. And I couldn’t help wonder: is it right for God’s people to describe a death, ordained by God, as a tragedy? Why are we buying into the world’s definition?

The word “tragedy” and its companions (disaster, horrendous, etc.) are descriptions of how the world sees such situations. But what are we communicating when we use those terms? That God is not in control? That He isn’t good? There is something about these descriptions that draws our attention away from trust and replaces it with helplessness and hopelessness. Of course these situations are hard and painful for those of us who remain, but it just seems to me that someone’s graduation to glory should never be couched in those terms.

As long as we use the world’s terminology to describe our circumstances, we will be just as fearful as they are. Let’s pray that God will give us eyes to see beyond to the victory He is accomplishing.

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Written by Viki Rife

“When our kids aren’t coming home for Christmas, we don’t bother to put up a tree,” I confessed to my friend the other day. She agreed, adding, “I figure it’s two whole days of my life used up, one to put everything up and one to take everything down.” We both had drawn the same conclusion: if no one’s there to enjoy it, why bother?

The Christmas story, however, shows us a very different attitude. God purposefully sent His perfect Son knowing only a few would enjoy the spectacular event. How many people actually recognized that this baby was different from all the others? Only a handful. God orchestrated a huge choir of angels for just a few shepherds. He provided a special star for just a few wise men. When Jesus was dedicated at the temple, the priests and religious leaders did not gather to celebrate—it was just another baby. Only two elderly people with prophetic gifts took advantage of the great moment.

That’s the amazing thing about God. He doesn’t hold back His creativity just because few will enjoy it. Instead, He touches our humble lives with His amazing beauty every single day, whether or not we open our eyes to recognize it, whether we are tuned in or not. I think He went to all that bother because He wanted to delight certain people. He knew exactly what their hearts longed for.

As we each revisit the Christmas story this year, let’s take time to enter the amazement that each of the participants in that first Christmas must have felt. Not everyone “got it,” but those who did were blessed beyond measure. That very same God wants to bless YOU with surprises that others may miss. Enjoy His beauty this season!

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~ Written by Viki Rife

The summer I was 10, I had a chance to go an hour away into the mountains of California for a children’s camp. For a nature-lover like myself, it was a delightful week of breathing in the rich smell of the pine trees and learning to recognize animal tracks.  

One night in the middle of an energetic pillow fight when we were supposed to be sleeping, our counselor walked in from the nightly counselor meeting. Strangely, she didn’t scold us. Instead, she sat us down and explained that we were going to have to spend the next few days cleaning the cabin top to bottom and preparing a special program. The Board was coming! 

It wasn’t long before the significance of the announcement began to sink in. Apparently, The Board had a lot of expectations and a lot of power. We were briefed on how we should behave when the Board Members were present. We scrubbed the cabin and aired our mattresses. We even hiked the paths into the woods picking up any sticks or fallen pine cones that might obstruct the Board Members if they chose to walk there. We overheard the kitchen staff planning the meals they would serve the Board Members. In my mind, it was comparable to having the Queen of England arrive at our camp. My greatest fear was, “What if one of them tries to talk to me?”

Several days later, running with my friends to lunch, I suddenly stopped dead in my tracks. There on the porch of the dining cabin sat my grandfather, his feet propped up on the railing. 

“Grandpa, what are you doing here?” I gasped as I reached him.  

He chuckled. “Enjoying the mountains and the sunshine,” he answered. Knowing my grandpa, it was no stretch for me to picture that he had driven all the way up here to sit on this porch for a little while. The twinkle in his blue eyes warmed my heart, and I was intensely thankful for his timing. 

No Board Member could hurt me while Grandpa was here. 

After a short chat, he said, “You’d better go on in. I’ll stay here and wait for my friends.”

As I entered, my counselor hurried over to me. “Why were you talking with that Board Member?” she asked. 

“I didn’t talk to a Board Member,” I told her.

“Yes, you did. Out there on the porch,” she insisted. 

I didn’t say anything, but I was hurt at being falsely accused. She should know I was way too shy to ever talk to a Board Member. Besides, I hadn’t seen any Board Members on the porch. I would surely have died if I had. 

Then the camp director grabbed a microphone and announced, “Boys and Girls, I want you to welcome our Board.” The door opened and in walked…my grandpa and his friends! It still took me a while to wrap my head around the truth: my tender, patient grandpa with a constant hint of mischief in his eyes, the man I could confide my deepest secrets to, the one who loved me just the way I was, was a Board Member. The term no longer held any fear for me

Sometimes in my life, I think of God as an unknown Board Member making sure I don’t do anything wrong. Then I remember he is also the one who loves me beyond anything I can imagine. 

Perfect love casts out fear. 

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