Archive for February 2012

Jesus is the norm

The first heresy that came into the Church was launched by a group called the “Palagians” who believed that Jesus was only God and not man at all – that he was only divine and not human. In defense of their thinking they went so far as to say that when Jesus walked he didn’t leave a footprint because he wasn’t physical – he was only an apparition that appeared to be physical.

They rejected all the Scriptures where Jesus called himself the “Son of Man” saying he was a little confused at those points.

Their heresy is probably the most dangerous of all those that ultimately would come into the church world.

If he is only God and not also true Man he is only perfect with no struggle. We can’t relate. Therefore…

  1. …we aren’t called to imitate him.
  2. …we aren’t called to see his life as the norm we are to aspire to.
  3. …we aren’t called to treat people the way he treated them.
If he is only God and not Man then

…the Poor will stay the Poor and uncared for

…the Lost will always be Lost and unreached

…those captivated by evil will remain prisoners in their minds and souls all their lives

The Palagians didn’t read their Bibles very carefully. Clearly, Jesus is the Son of Man. We have been called to be about the actions of Jesus, to do all he did, all our days as long as we have breath in us.

Mentees: Are you failing enough to succeed?

As much as you like the group you serve, one day you will move on. Others may carry you out feet first, but you will definitely move on from your group.

Are you raising up others to take your place when you leave?

Early on in my life as a Believer a mentor of mine impressed on me the vital importance of replacing myself with others I felt good about leading after my time was up. I’ve led and transitioned with a number of groups since then. Some of those have gone well, others not so much!

Here are some gleanings I’ve picked up.

  1. Pray your replacement in. God wants to bring a mentee(s) your way. Ask him to stir it up.
  2. Scan the horizon. Someone is always on the way. You won’t notice what God is providing if you aren’t looking.
  3. Make yourself available. Be willing to be inconvenienced.
  4. Decide to fail a lot. We usually fail when we aspire to not fail. You won’t succeed unless you fail frequently. Take on the counsel of G.K. Chesterton. “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly.”
  5. Pray that when they leave you won’t hold it against them for long. What am I saying? It’s common to part ways with a mentee under stress. It happened with Paul and those he coached in the Book of Acts. Don’t be surprised if the same thing happens to you, at least for a time after you part ways.

Reading in the power of Spirit

I’ve heard the adage, “Leaders are readers.” That seems to be generally true.

I want to suggest another adage that is just as true – “What is written in the power of the Spirit needs to be read in the presence of the Spirit.”

As with most things in life, as Believers we can operate in our own power and do alright or we can move forward in humility, empowered by God’s Spirit and see different, inspired and usually lasting results. I have found this is the case with most things in life, including reading books. Think of it as “Reading in the Spirit.”

It’s one thing to simply read a book, but it’s another thing to really READ an article or book. With one we are being informed. With the latter we are being formed by God’s presence.

Granted, not all books are written by people who are inspired by the power of the Holy Spirit, but many books can be used by the Spirit to speak into our life adventure with God.

Consider this strategy for reading in the Spirit.

Invite

Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you. This might be an automatic prayer or attitude as you pick up a book, but it’s vital that you are open to him or a connection between you and God more than you and the author who has shared her thoughts on the page. Often God has breathed his breath upon that writer. Let his breath come upon you now.

Listen

God tends to speak when we expect him to speak. Let your soul speed be in sync with the Spirit by saying “Here I am” as so many prayed in the Scriptures.

Notice

More than the actual words of the author in black and white, what is God speaking to you in and between the words? God usually speaks in nuances. He is subtle. Listen for his whispers. They will sound like your own voice, only quieter.

Obey

It is vital that you are willing to do what God invites you into. Remember the wisdom to Yoda – “Is no try, only do.”

Who’re making successful?

I’m in the midst of compiling the top ten lessons I learned when I went through my near death experience a few years ago. An important lesson is coming to the question “Who am I making successful – myself or others?”

Jesus repeatedly said, “If you want to find your life you must lose your life.” Looking back I now realize I had it backwards. I spent decades making myself successful, all the while thinking I was becoming a better “leader.” I believe much of our absorption with leadership, in the Church as well as the culture at large, amounts to the justification of selfish desires that fly in the face of Jesus’ words and example.

What can you do today to obey Jesus? In all our lives, God has placed people who feel like anything but successful. Your job and mine is to come alongside those he has assigned to us to offer lift them up.

Maybe some of the leadership books you’ve been reading will come in handy as you promote others into the limelight you used to live in.