Vol. 25, No. 2, September 2006

Iron Sharpens Iron

by Dr. Waylon B. Moore

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17 (NIV)

I grew up wealthy and didn't know it. I was rich with 32 first cousins to play with and get to know. Things were tough in my childhood. There was little money. Only nickles or dimes in those days for a kid who lost a tooth. My Dad bartered music lessons for food and things we needed, and led music in our church. Dinner together every few months at the grandparents in Waxahachie, TX was a fabulous sampling of the best in country cookin’. I got to know all my 14 uncles. Each of these men gave me counsel at one time or another. Some counsel proved invaluable. Four of the men were successful farmers. The 12 uncles on the Moore side of the family had multiple professions. I couldnít keep up with the two salesmen who would visit my grandmother, and “sell” me on their current hot item.

My closest uncle touching my life over the years was a pastor in Oklahoma. The one I saw every few days was a master talker-barber. Three uncles were medical doctors. I asked one MD uncle how he studied? He said, “Letís talk.” He took me aside, listened, then “touched me” with an unforgettable sentence: “When learning anything commit it to memory for recall.” He went on, “Most people just memorize to pass a test, not to remember it at all. What a waste.” His advice taken built up a cumulative memory edge of facts through my University and Seminary years. Iím still using treasures other students forgot. Most of my uncles were “passing” mentors. They one-touched my life.

Charlie Riggs

In contrast, Charlie Riggs had a menís Bible study in his home in Ft. Worth, Texas. Soon he would begin a world ministry with Evangelist Billy Graham for 38 years. I was now called into the ministry, going to Seminary. Charlie asked me to join his men doing Inductive Bible Study, i.e., answering four questions about a Bible book chapter (on this web site). I went prepared, week by week. Charlie checked us on our studies and we discussed the practical application of any verse. I was stretched and convicted by the Word of God. Over the years Iíve used this Study nugget to hand out gold to others. This simple tool greatly accelerated my sermon preparation as a pastor, and made my devotions fresh. Iíve taught Inductive Study to every man Iíve mentored.

Dr. Bruce Miller

Dr. Bruce Miller was a student, and peer when we were undergraduates at Baylor University. He challenged me in prayer and believing God. He was used by the Spirit to stretch my faith and up-grade my dating. Bruce mentored me faithfully in many areas, also sharing the treasure of reading biographies of men of God like Finney and D. L. Moody. In each of these mentoring relationships where I unknowingly learned a life altering spiritual discipline or attitude, I had to first submit my time and temperament to be accountable. Gordon T. Smith teaches that “Spiritual growth most likely takes place in a context of routine and discipline.” Other men like Bill Bright, A.W. Tozer, Daws Trotman, Chuck Dam, and Robert D. (Bob) Foster each gave me some of their life. They walked with giant steps tracking ahead of me, modeling a life that worked. In the mix of meeting, praying, playing ball together, and sharing the Word, I got a scripture mirror that showed me my rough edges. I got sandpapered by my mentors, and experienced conviction by the Spirit. Responding positively to straight talk from a mentor, began to slowly mold me into usefulness. Do you have a mentor, who will stick with you, pray for you, and give you some of their iron to sharpen your dullness?

Gold For Us

Think about those who have really marked your life? Many mentors pass through oneís life by “chance.” They had no idea God brought them for “such a time as this” to you. We need a mentor who will invest in us purposefully as we likewise purpose to be available and open. Often we donít choose our mentor, they choose us. And sometimes they arenít the person we would have picked. But God picked them, if we have sense enough to see they are sharing words we need to heed, and change our walk. Few people will level with us, except possibly parents or an angry boss. Mentors are gold if we see it.

The Bible is biographical, with some 2,900 people sketches. Many of these people are “historical mentors.“ Christ Jesus is our master Mentor and model to follow. The Holy Spirit wrote through mentor Paul of Tarsus and his mentee Luke. We learn much about attitudes and life under pressure walking with Paul (2 Corinthians and Acts 24:16). God has flavored the Bible with historical mentors, like these from the Old Testament: Jonathan with David, Moses with Caleb and Joshua, Naomi with Ruth, and Elijah with Elisha, and others. In the New Testament we have intensive mentoring by Jesus with the 12, then Barnabas with Saul of Tarsus, Paul with Timothy and Titus, and Barnabas and Peter with John Mark.

What A Difference!

Perhaps you had a passing mentor who was a friend at church, a parent, teacher, advisor, coach, guide, a peer, or a relative? They encouraged you, and met a need. But you needed consistent time for real growth. Notice the words in our key verse (here). “Iron sharpens iron” through contact, a rubbing off that involves deliberate action and some time. To gain this sharpness we must agree to link up with someone who can sharpen us. We must yield and be accountable. Many hesitate being open and available to a person. We all are more comfortable going our own way. Lone wolf Christians loose terribly by separation. We need closeness with another, where we grow to become friends in the Lord. We need a mutual trust to share, dig into ministry together, have times of eating and family fellowship together. Thatís what good mentoring provides.
When we choose to go side by side with a mentor God can use him to energize our growth socially, mentally, as well as spiritually. What would having a mentor now do for you? You will have a good model to copy, a friend to help you clarify and process toward solid goals. Mentors help you discover and use your spiritual gifts. For me, mentors have been Godís great tool to give me perspective and balance on people and issues. Gaining Godís mentor this month can become the most productive single step in your spiritual growth this year! Satan wants to block and stop this major growth blessing. Heíll keep you too busy. Seek God in prayer; ask for His eyes to find someone more mature and spiritually knowledgeable than you. Who can fellowship with you and teach you in areas of need if you are available? Ask a strong Christian who is older than you and of the same sex to be your mentor for a few weeks. They will want to get your agreement to some regular time to meet, and also reach out in ministry to others. What a difference a mentor can make!
Itís not ABILITY; itís AVAILABILITY that is more important. The disciples of Jesus at first had a full schedule of daily responsibilities. James and John worked for their father as fishermen. Peter probably worked with the same company. Others worked as tax collectors, different jobs, even as anti-government zealots. They all eventually became available to follow Jesus. This personal time being with Jesus day by day for three short years changed them forever. “And He ordained twelve, that they should be with Him, and that he might send them forth to preach” (Mark 3:14). From no education, a small town, and redneck country Galilean culture, after three years with the Master mentor others “. . . observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men they were marveling, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13 NAS). Others said about these maturing, effective mentored men, “they which have turned the world upside down are come hither also” (Acts 17:6). How did this growth and change take place? These men became available to a mentor, his modeling, life, words, and vision of fire. “With him” was not an hour in “church” on Sunday. Their commitment to be available and accountable to spiritual leadership in Christ changed the world. They had no idea what God would do through encouraging fellowship with a purpose.

Exemplary Examples

As a working member in a new church plant, young couples that are new believers surround us. I grieve as I hear them talk about their pressures of money, the time spent in driving the kids multiple places a week to exercise with a ball. Many of these winsome couples are like a Texas hard-shell pecan, tough to crack open. They are slow to see that with a godly mentor and time together, their marriages might last another forty years instead of the average few years today. These new couples need to discover Godís will for their lives. He would surprise most of them with what He has in mind, if they would put a godly mentor into their schedules and dig into Scripture daily. John Jowett has observed that “We get no deeper in Christ than we allow him to get into us.” Our capacity for ministry, when weíre in Godís hands is unlimited! I recall a Georgia telephone lineman, who got into the Word with his wife, Cookie. God led them step-by-step into foreign missions. I had a fabulous time learning from them, staying in their home in Zambia. His language skills were rapid. He has a gift for languages and winning men to Jesus. Later, after a strong ministry in Africa, God moved them to Thailand to serve.
Another guy I knew in Tampa, was warm and open to Christ. He was a paint store salesman. I was preaching at his church when God led him to make a radical sellout to Christ. We met a number of times for Bible study. They were called into His service and after Seminary went overseas. Terrorists shed their blood but they recovered and went back to reaching people again. Eddy, one of our dear pastors, was a high school all-state football player. He married a beautiful girl from our church. Eventually I led Eddy to Christ. He grew and directed our bus ministry that won dozens of children and teens. God called them into the ministry, then foreign missions in Mexico, Spain, and Africa. Mentors multiply their lives all over the world. You can also.

God isnít calling everyone into a church vocational ministry. Charlie was an educated guy with a doctorís degree. He joined our church with his family. Eventually he warmed to the Word through the care and strength of a Sunday School Teacher. We would meet at his office and do Bible study at lunchtime. Then we began to visit and win young couples. Charlie became a master teacher in our church. Multiple couples came to Christ in his class, and were called into Christian service and the mission field. Thirty years later, heís still teaching and reaching dozens of men each week in First Church, Jacksonville. Giving time to others as a mentor, is the most profitable single ministry I know, with winning others to Christ. Anyone with a heart for others can grab time, and mentor.


As a mentor Iím hoping to lift a guy toward Godsí will and best. It will take a few months as we meet for prayer, study and ministry a couple of hours a week. Mentoring is a two way street of blessings. Each of us will grow and learn. Long term mentoring produces more life-change. Looking for a protégé, I hope to find qualities linked to the word “H-E-A-R-T.” Some have smiled and said to me after a first meeting, “Pastor, this has been really good. Iíll check my schedule and get back with you.” That was 30 years ago. Think of missing out on learning how to mine the nuggets of Godís promises that when claimed can change a family or business supernaturally. Being a Christian isnít wrapped up in a building with a cross. Christianity involves getting to really know and follow a Person who is alive from the dead!

Thatís a wild, radical, exciting, walk toward eternity, full of joy. A small amount of regular time can produce giant strides in discipleship. If you choose to be mentored, we will begin to experience an intimacy with the living Christ.

H-E-A-R-T! Iíve been praying this heart verse about King Josiah and his “all” commitments for my life: “And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him” (2 Kings 23:25).

Be a Mentor. Find a Mentor. Live it UP!

Practical Resources

GET NEW DVD and CDís that will change your life and church – Deepen leadership, inspire potential leaders, and move groups to growth and outreach. Have A Mentoring Workshop in Your Bible-study Group or Church Today! Begin with your staff, then key church or leadership group now! So practical. Get a complete workshop for your TV or computer, in 2-camera digital DVD. 16 messages on 8 DVDs with leaderís and one student workbook. Learn from Dr. Waylon B. Moore and Dr. Bill Steeger and others. Special price: $95. Message titles here.

Family News

Martha after six years in Jena, is launching out to another University for student evangelism and discipleship. After much prayer, and looking, God has opened the door in Braunschweig, some two hours northwest of Berlin. It is an old city of 250,000 with Universities that teach Engineering. PRAY for Martha as she moves to Godís apartment base, for home in Germany, office, and student center for Bible study and planned events hosting interested students.

Bruce & Heather have experienced Godís grace as they reach many couples. Group home studies are blending us together. We are maxing out the church service facilities. PRAY for Godsí new home for us.

Clemmie & I are so thankful to be going overseas together again. God is good, giving us the strength to match the opportunities for service. PRAY for both of us.

Pray For Our Ministry Schedule

September 2006

11-28 Switzerland/Germany. Martha will pick up Clemmie at airport. Dr. Moore will teach Mentoring and Bible Study ďHowĒ

13-17 Zurich – Pastor Brad Beevers Church

21-24 German Baptist Pastorís Conference


We are missing John McKeown. This winsome Irishman with a twinkle in his eyes won men to Christ, impacted our two children and hundreds of others on our church bus ministry. He raised a lovely family with his love and wife, Marlene. Quiet and listening, he never hesitated to share his convictions and all about his wonderful Lord. He was a brother, a soldier of Christ, our friend, and a mentor to so many. His encouragement and servant-heart strengthened our ministry. He is irreplaceable here, and in the hands of his Saviour.
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