““Get out!” he told them. “The girl isn’t dead; she’s only asleep.” But the crowd laughed at him.”Matthew 9:24 NLT
Laughter. Ridicule. Rejection. Judgment.
Every leader must embrace these.
Every follower of Jesus must embrace these.
They are your friends.
They are a gauge for you. They let you know that you are not conformed to the status quo. Jesus told his disciples to “beware when all men speak well of you”
When that happens you know you are going with the flow and have stopped swimming upstream. You are now aligned with the status quo which is the exact opposite of your calling. You were made to disrupt and speak forth s new reality for others.
Leaders are allergic to the status quo.
Jesus never gave in to the status quo. He made sure things were changed for the better.
The status quo is antithetical to your calling. When people want to do things the same way they’ve been doing them. It is because they have something to lose. To live out your calling you must have a nothing to lose attitude.
People with nothing to lose are usually looked at with contempt. Be okay with that.
Rejection and ridicule show that you are making progress
They let you know that you are proclaiming and living out the upside down kingdom. The kingdom of God.
Embrace the laughter. Make friends with rejection. It means you’re taking risks. It means you are living a life of faith. It means you are walking in the footsteps of the Son of God
Leadership is not the same as being a knowledge broker. Leadership requires action without having a full grasp of the situation. You will never know as much as you need to know in any given circumstance. So the true test of leadership is action.
Pulling the trigger and actually initiating something is leadership.
If that is the case then most of the way we do discipleship, seminary, and even bible study is all wrong. We are constantly dispensing knowledge to people and not giving them enough opportunities and resources to take action.
What good is it to load our heads with facts and information and never apply it? What good is it to know all about the Bible and never obey it? It’s not the well informed but the obedient folks that make good leaders.
I’ve heard an analogy that church planting is like giving birth and church revitalization is like resurrecting the dead. And given the choice I think it’s better to take the easier of the two: church planting.
On one level I get this. It’s harder to step into an already existing and a lot of times dysfunctional organization and inject life into death and create order out of chaos. At the same time I think there is also the excruciating pain of childbirth that any mother will attest to.
The way that they are similar is this: without God neither of these scenarios can happen. Although resurrecting the dead is not an everyday occurrence I think that is the business God is in.
What do you think is it easier to give birth than to resurrect the dead?
“We live in a world of competing passions. If we do not die to self and fill our lives with the consuming passion of the worship of God among the nations, we will end up with other passions. It’s possible to deceive ourselves into thinking we have biblical passions when, in reality, all we have done is to baptize the values of our culture and give them Christian names”-Floyd McClung
What is your passion? Notice that I said passion in the singular. You can only have one.
Some may say they have a passion for sports and for good food and for a great cause. I don’t think all of those can be passions. One will win out over the other. When it comes to passion there is only one throne and only one ruler can sit on it. That’s why Jesus says “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” Matthew 10:37 NIV
My passion is to make Jesus famous among the nations. Part of that is pursuing what Phil Strout and the Vineyard have described as EDLD. So whenever I’m around anyone my goal is to see what God is doing in their life in regards to evangelism, discipleship, leadership development, and diversity.
This past weekend me and a team from South Suburban Vineyard church went to serve with folks from Without Walls Vineyard. We got to pray for people at a roller rink and I preached on Sunday morning. What gave me joy the most was seeing our team excited about Jesus. Seeing God confirm their words as they risked embarrassment. Talking to strangers and inviting them to church. Jesus was so real to us. Those are the things that give me joy and I can’t stop talking about them.
I used to think that pursuing those things with anyone anywhere at anytime was off balance. But looking around at the passions of others I see that the person who is into rock climbing is off balance. The person who is into football is off balance. The person who is into Empire or Scandal or Star Wars is off balance. We are all imbalanced. The question is What are we imbalanced about?
Passion is a part of what it means to be human and when you supress it you become less than yourself. I’ve come to a point in my life where I can’t supress the passion I have for Christ. If I am going to be imbalanced then let it be for Jesus.
As John Wimber once said “I’m a fool for Christ. Whose fool are you?”
“O give me that book! At any price, give me the book of God! I have it: here is knowledge enough for me. Let me be “homo unius libri.”
Here then I am, far from the busy ways of men. I sit down alone: only God is here. In His presence I open, I read His book; for this end, to find the way to heaven. Is there a doubt concerning the meaning of what I read? Does anything appear dark or intricate? I lift up my heart to the Father of Lights: “Lord, is it not Thy word, ‘If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God’? Thou ‘givest liberally, and upbraidest not.’ Thou hast said, ‘If any be willing to do Thy will, he shall know.’ I am willing to do, let me know, Thy will. ‘ I then search after and consider parallel passages of Scripture, “comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” I meditate thereon with all the attention and earnestness of which my mind is capable. If any doubt still remains, I consult those who are experienced in the things of God; and then the writings whereby, being dead, they yet speak. And what I thus learn, that I teach.”-John Wesley
If only all of us in the ministry could be “homo unius libri”. That’s “man of one book.”
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/7230219@N08/3433680608″>Morning Quiet Time</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>
“Father, make me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road. Make me a fork, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.”-Jim Elliot
This is my prayer during this season of my life. I want to be more than just a milepost-a marker on the road to destruction. I want people to see Jesus in me. I want them to be confronted with the decision to accept or reject the furious love of God.
And it’s hard to be that type of person. My flesh says it’s easier to go with the flow and blend in. It’s easier to care only about me and mine.
But…if I believe Jesus is the way,the truth, and the life and without Him our lives are condemned and we are doomed then easy or hard the choice is simple.
Jim Elliot prayed this prayer and it cost him his life.
What will it cost me? Do you want to just be a milepost or a fork in the road?
Carrots and sticks. These are the two most common motivational tools.
You can dangle a carrot out in front of someone. It can be a raise, a promotion, the promise of sensual pleasure, the feeling of being in the “in” crowd.
You can also beat them or at least scare them with sticks. They could be fired. They could lose money. They could be demoted. They could be an outcast.
This kind of thinking can even be seen in the church.
Carrots=prosperity, being a part of the “true” church, a title and authority.
Sticks=fear of hell, being ostracized, lack of God’s blessing in your life.
What if we threw away the carrots and sticks and looked for another kind of motivation? What if instead the motivation came from the inside?
Authentic lasting motivation comes from our identity. When we live the life we are called to live no one has to move us to act according to our identity. Our motivation comes from a higher source.
Instead of carrots and sticks how about calling people into their true identity as followers of Christ.
Accepted. Beloved. Disciples. Sons and Daughters of the King. Missionaries. Servants.
Now that’s motivation.
photo credit: Carrots via photopin (license)