I stumbled upon a marvelous leadership principle by accident some 10+ years ago. I was reading The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson. He stated the the single most important thing that we can do to develop leaders is to get them in over their heads. At first, I was surprised. I took a few minutes to ponder this unexpected thought. It challenged my thinking and my style.
Up until that moment, I had focused on protecting those I led. In short, I was a helicopter leader, which meant that those I led were stunted by my myopic style. Suddenly, a different seed had been planted in my mind. It germinated and grew to a thought that attracted me. Had I really, unintentionally, kept young men from developing? Yes, I had! Continue reading
Isaiah 50:4 “The Lord has given me an ear to hear His inaudible voice as a disciple SO THAT I can be His voice to those who need encouragement. Morning by morning He awakes my ear to listen to His voice.”(Paraphrase)
As followers of Jesus Christ, most of us long to be used in meaningful ways to further the advancement of the Kingdom. One of the greatest things that we can do is to be an ambassador for Christ (2 Corinthians 5). An ambassador is one commissioned to represent an authority and speak on their behalf. Typically this is thought of as sharing our faith with others who do not follow Jesus. But there is a twin aspect to this, which is the encouragement of the saints.
While it is noble to long for and desire to be used of God to strengthen and encourage our fellow believer, the efficacy of our attempts are often found to be less than we had hoped. One of the great secrets to fruitful encouragement is found in Isaiah 50:4. Here the prophet reveals his own habit which led him to become the greatest Old Testament messianic prophet. No one else in the Scriptures prophesied about the coming Messiah as clearly and distinctly as did Isaiah. Continue reading
I ponder the often repeated warning of our Lord to not be led astray by false prophets. Although this warning is abundant, many today are falling prey. My thoughts fly to the question, “What makes a prophet false?” If we fail to grasp this fundamental distinction, we have little chance of escaping the gravitational pull of error.
False prophets can fall into two camps. Those who are false from conception, meaning they do not know Jesus at all. They teach false doctrine about the Person and Work of Jesus Christ and deny Him outright. The second group arises from within the Church. These individuals are often born again yet carry a “falseness” to them. Perhaps it is wrong to call them “false prophets” since I consider many of them to be redeemed individuals, but bear with this term and thought. It is not important to have agreement on this (in this blog), but it is vital to grasp the distinction. Continue reading
Abel was the 2nd son of Adam and Eve. He was a shepherd while his older brother, Cain, a farmer. His story is short and sad and he has the unfortunate distinction of being the first human to be murdered. Not much is spoken of Abel in the Bible apart from this original account in Genesis 4. Yet there is a remarkable quality and characteristic about him which few ponder. Abel’s voice still speaks.
When Cain murdered him, God confronted Cain saying “the voice of your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground.” Jesus called Abel a prophet and laid the guilt of the shedding of the blood of all the prophets (from Abel to Zechariah) upon Jesus’ own generation. Continue reading
Weeds have no need whatsoever to be planted or cultivated. They just spring up. They are very tolerant of drought and other inhospitable environments and push their way to the forefront while crowding and choking out the desired plants. They do not need fertilizer and actually do quite well without it. On the other hand, our garden plants, the ones we desire for beauty or food, require a great deal of care or they will flounder and die.
Jesus taught us that all of nature is a textbook for what is happening behind the scenes in the invisible, spiritual realm. In the parable of The Sower, the birds of the air ate the seed and this pictured the reality that there is a host of demonic minions whose objective is to prevent a person from having faith in the Living God by hearing in their heart the Word spoken….. the “birds” (demonic host) ate the “seed” (Word of God). Continue reading
The creation of God is a Bible in itself. The Apostle Paul says that all of God’s invisible attributes are CLEARLY seen thru looking at (what I term) the Bible of nature/creation (Romans 1:20). Again, Paul, quoting Psalm 19, goes on to say in Romans 10:18 “…I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for ‘Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.'” So whose “voice” is Paul referring to? He is quoting Psalm 19 so the answer is found there and that answer is that Creation is “speaking” of God and His glory….. so one may deduce that creation is a Bible “speaking” to us of God.
Jesus Himself is also The Word of God…..John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and The Word was God.” Then again a few verses later John writes “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” And finally we see a name by which Jesus is known in Revelation 19:13 “He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God.” Continue reading
I love the discipleship process that Jesus initiated. The utterly amazing fact that He took 12 VERY ORDINARY men who had little to no education and these 12 men ignited a fire across the world that remains to this day.
There are several things that Jesus did that are key to the success of His followers. One in particular is that He invested His time and Himself.
The Apostle Paul likewise picks up on this in 2 Corinthians 12: 15 “I will most gladly spend and be expended for your souls….” Unlike the popular preachers of today, who fill the airwaves with their pronouncements of God’s word and too often fill their pockets with the dollars sent in by the naive, Paul laid his life down on behalf of others. He expended himself. I do not think this concept is understood by American churches. Continue reading
The Scripture says that all the character traits and attributes of the Invisible God are clearly seen thru nature and all creation (Romans 1:20)
One of my great joys of life is to grow trees, flowers, vegetable gardens and to even grown caterpillars into butterflies or moths…. I am utterly amazed and become transfixed on these glorious things of nature. I am ever on the hunt for a new reflection of God thru something growing or some other aspect of creation.
Furthermore, in the Gospel of John 1:18 “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.” (NASB)
The great Greek scholar, Kenneth Wuest says that the Greek word for “explained” (ἐξηγέομαι) means “to lead out” and then goes on to say “God the Son, through his incarnation, has led the Father out from behind the curtain of His invisibility into full view”. Continue reading