The purpose of Starting Points is to introduce new Christians to the foundations they need to better know Christ and faithfully follow him as his disciples throughout their lives.
This introduction to the life of Christian discipleship focuses on six key components: Meet Jesus, New Life, Becoming More Like Jesus, A Disciple’s Life, Help for the Journey, and A Disciple’s Call.
This book was written with new membership classes and other small groups in mind. However, it can also be a helpful resource for one-on-one discipleship, sharing your faith with others, or for your own personal devotional time.
You can order it by clicking here.
Check out my new video series that we’re calling, Theology for Men. Today is more of a “meet and greet” to introduce ourselves, tell you why we’re doing this and what’s coming up down the road. Enjoy.
Part 1 of The Man in the Mirror Remix
by Pat Morley
Produced by Man in the Mirror Ministries
Men, here are some study and fellowship opportunities coming up at Southside this Fall.
Seeking God’s Will
Monday Nights (7-8:30pm)
Family Life Center
Men, do you know God’s will – his purpose – for your life? If so, have you aligned your life with God’s will and are you seeking to live according to it – in your private life, at home, at work, etc.? In this study we’ll seek to discover the ways in which God reveals his will to us, why it matters, and how we can faithfully follow it through the various details and circumstances of our lives. (8 Lessons)
Leading Your Family
Wednesday Mornings (6:30-7:30am)
Family Life Center
What does it mean for a man to lead his family? What does it look like in practice? This study will make practical this vital responsibility – loving and serving your family as a shepherd. From taking ownership of this calling, to developing relationships with your family, to discipling those who mean the most to you in the whole world, this study will both equip and encourage you to be the man at home that God has called you to be. (8 Lessons)
Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood
Wednesday Evenings (6-7pm)
Family Life Center
Are you happy and content with the images portrayed in popular culture regarding what it means to be a man? Or, is there something more to it? Something deeper. Something vastly more significant. In this study, we’ll learn what it means to be a man (as God intended) and how to develop a vision of what that means in the various spheres of your life – your “alone” time, at home, work, community, and so on. (10 Lessons)
Marketplace Ambassador Training
One-On-One (Once a month. We’ll meet according to your schedule)
Perhaps you’ve wondered what it means to faithfully represent Christ at work but are unsure of what it would look like or how to go about it. This study focuses on encouraging and equipping you to serve our Lord faithfully at one of the places in your life that gets most of your time and energy – your workplace.
There are two ways to be a part of this: One way is to meet face-to-face, in person, (once a month) to discuss the lesson and to talk and pray together. The other option is to meet online, face-to-face, to discuss the lesson, talk and pray. I know not every man can meet each week in a study at church. Therefore, my hope for this study-opportunity is to make it convenient for those who have tight schedules, or who travel regularly, to still have an opportunity to grow as faithful disciples of Christ. (10 Lessons)
For further information about any of these studies, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your Brother in Christ,
The following contains notes from a Father's Day sermon I preached several years ago on the power of men who study God's Word together. Again, these are just notes from my sermon, not an article, so it may be a bit choppy and aggravating in that respect. However, I hope there might be some words of encouragement for you.
Men + Bible = Strength
2 Timothy 3:14-17
June 15, 2013
When we first began our 52 Promises we had several sessions where we attempted to identify things we wanted to focus on.
The title of this sermon came out of one of those brainstorming sessions. And yet the title and focus of this sermon could just as easily be…
Women + Bible = Strength ·
Youth + Bible = Strength ·
Children + Bible = Strength
And they would all be just as true.
However, It’s Father’s Day and our PROMISE this week relates to our Men’s Discipleship ministry. So that’s the reason for the title and focus of the sermon this morning.
Here are a few facts about our men's ministry here at Southside...
12 ½ years ago ·
6 or 7 men… my house ·
Saw need for men to be in Scripture with other men… sharing things they wouldn’t share in co-ed studies or even with men in other settings.
(Even JOHN WESLEY had men-only and women-only studies and small groups, which he called BANDS)
Within just a few months… we had 18 men crammed into my living room. The men were inviting other men… on their own. A need was being met.
Finally, we had to move to the Family Life Center.
About a year later we added the Monday night men’s group.
There are different kinds of men’s groups. Some have only 3-4 men and provide a safe place for men to share with each other… confess struggles, hold each other accountable, etc.
Our men's ministry has plenty of prayer and concern for one another. (What John Wesley called “Watching over one another in love.”)
But the main emphasis in our ministry, from the beginning, has been STUDYING God’s Word TOGETHER. Men + Bible = Strength
Now, as I often say, we don’t study the Bible just so we can just learn a lot of Bible information and win Jeff Foxworthy’s Bible Trivia TV show. We learn the information for transformation.
The Apostle Paul says in Romans 12:2…
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
A paraphrase of this verse is: “Don’t let the world squeeze you into its mold.”
If men are going to prevent being squeezed into the world’s mold, to be conformed to the world around us, then we have to renew our minds. And Paul says this mind-renewal will help to transform our lives into the likeness of Christ.
The King James Version of the Bible quotes Proverbs 23:7 as saying, “As a man thinks, so is he.” In other words, our “DOING” usually follows our “THINKING.”
So we’re encouraged to renew our minds. But how? With what? Well, the “What”… is God’s Word. And an important part of the “HOW” is… with other men.
Proverbs 27:17 says,
“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”
I can’t tell you how much wisdom flows on Monday evenings and Wednesday mornings as men sharpen one another through study, encouragement, challenging one another, etc. I have learned so much from our men.
But we’re not just meeting together to share our own wisdom. We’re there to hear a Word from God. To get God’s perspective on whatever topic we’re talking about.
Our Scripture this morning tells us why that’s so important.
Let’s look at our text again (2 Timothy 3:14-17)
Scripture makes us wise for salvation through Christ Jesus (verse 15) ·
Scripture is God-breathed (verse 16) ·
Scripture is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training us in righteousness (verse 16) ·
Scripture equips the man of God thoroughly for every good work. (verse 17) Ephesians 2:10 says we’re created to do good works. Bible equips us.
That’s why we don’t just sit around and share our own opinions. We study God’s Word on our own… and then come together to hear from one another about what God taught us. And in the process, God takes that collective synergy and gives us even greater wisdom and understanding as his Spirit moves leads our discussion of his Word. To be sure, this takes humility and a teachable spirit, but we think it’s worth it.
What if there was a practical way a group of men could grow closer with God and become more and more the men God created, redeemed, and called them to be… in every sphere of their lives (Baxter)…
* In their private lives when no one else was looking
* At home with their families ·
* At work ·
* At church ·
* In the community
What could a man look like if his mind was renewed each week with a group of men who opened God’s Word together?
Men, we would love to have you come and join us… on MONDAY nights or WEDNESDAY mornings.
Our greatest desire is for you to know Christ and become all that God wants you to be, in every sphere of your lives.
We think our men's ministry here at Southside can be a great instrument in the hands of God to help make that happen.
Everyone Is A Theologian
Godly men know that, for good or ill, everyone is a theologian. We each think thoughts and imagine ideas about God, even if those thoughts and ideas are that God does not exist. Some have plumbed the depths of theology while others have only skimmed along the surface. Regardless of one's efforts or abilities, thinking theologically is unavoidable.
Far from being dry, boring, and stale, theology ought to be spirit-renewing, soul-forming, and life-transforming. It isn't (or, shouldn't) be merely for academic and intellectual pursuits, but instead, to draw us closer to God and conform us more to his likeness. Thinking more intentionally about God should lead us to know him better and love him more. Indeed, the more we learn of God's magnificence, the more worship, joy, and gratitude ought to break out among us. In fact, it will become impossible to contain our pleasure brought forth from our discoveries of the person and work of God.
Soli Deo Gloria
The first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism asks:
"What is the chief end of man?"
"Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever."
To increasingly know ("about" and "relationally") and love God leads men pursuing godliness to seek their Lord's glory in all aspects of their lives. They shift from self-centered to God-centered lives in which every sphere is integrated because each is connected to and empowered by God, who is at the center. And each part exists to bring God the glory due his name.
Studying textbooks about God alone won't accomplish all of this. But pursuing God more intentionally will move us in the right direction of knowing, loving, following, and trusting God, as well as seeking and submitting to his will. This is theology at its best.
Brothers, is God your chief pursuit and greatest desire?
Soli Deo Gloria,
I wrote the following post a few years ago but have lately been revisiting the themes of work, vocation, and calling as they relate to ministering to men. Since I’ve established my “ministry purpose” (at least, one of them) as helping men become all God has created, redeemed, and called them to be, it’s been much on my mind.
I thought I would share this again because it has some great links to websites and ministries that are doing important work in this area of ministering to men. (I've updated the list since the first time I shared it.)
Grace and Truth,
One of the men in our men’s ministry began his talk several years ago by introducing himself as an ordained lawyer. That was the point he and I were trying to drive home to our men that morning… to think of themselves as ordained ________ (fill in the blank with whatever it is that they do.). In other words, your work IS your ministry.
To think of your job as your ministry is foreign to many of us. Many of us grew up thinking that only pastors and missionaries "did ministry." Thankfully, there has been a surge of books and studies that have tried to steer folk away from that sort of thinking.
What we want to get people thinking about is “vocation” or calling. This is a horrible paraphrase, but Martin Luther once said something like, “A cobbler who makes shoes to the glory of God during the week is every bit the minister as a pastor who preaches a sermon on Sunday morning.” The Bible does not draw a distinction between the sacred and the secular. All work should be for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31). Paul wrote in Colossians 3:23-24,
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,  since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
While God may give you the opportunity to communicate the gospel, hold a Bible study, or wear a John 3:16 button in your workplace, it’s more likely that your faith will be exercised by simply doing your job well. Beyond that, it may include representing Christ faithfully to hurting, lost, angry, bitter, fearful, restless, or despairing people. How can Christ use you to minister to those sorts of people in your workplace? What might that look like?
In order to help you with those questions, here are a few links to enable you to discover what your faith at work might look like in your spheres of influence…
The High Calling
Center for Faith and Work
The Institute for Faith, Work & Economics
Christian Business Men Connection
Called Into Work
On Call in Culture
Called to Business.com
Christian Faith at Work
Fellowship of Companies for Christ International
How to Build a Ministry through Your Work by Pat Morley at Man in the Mirror
Work and the Man in the Mirror (audio and video messages) by Pat Morley
A Biblical View of Work by Ken Boa
The Theology of Work (print and mp3 audio available) by Robert Rayburn
Working out a Theology of Work and here by Justin Taylor (also see the related resources at the bottom of the article)
Theology of Work (website)
Business for the Glory of God (book) by Wayne Grudem
God at Work (book) by Gene Edward Veith
Blog posts on vocation by Gene Edward Veith
Grace and Truth,