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Pastor: One who loves the People — Part 3

Filed under: Leadership — Pastor David Apr 18, 2012 @ 10:00 pm

“The greatest recognition that I think we probably need is to totally re-define what pastors do in leading our contemporary 21st century church. We tend to in our Protestant traditions to evaluate a pastor first and foremost by how well he or she preaches. If they’re a good preacher that covers a lot of sins.” Gordon MacDonald

The pastor has been defined in the last century by his preaching ability more than any other quality. The result has been the failure of his life impacting the lives of his congregation and especially his leaders. The pastor of the recent years has not multiplied himself, but has been set up as a superstar who impresses his listeners. The mega church scene in America is proof of this ideal. If the pastor is on TV or the radio that is even more credibility for his effectiveness. But the sad reality is few of those listening to him, even those who are deeply impressed by the preaching, become fruitful in reproducing themselves in others. What is missing? Personal touch! The listener is doing what was done to them, nothing in terms of building relationships. So we have millions of disconnected people listening to a well-educated and skillful talker but have no relationship with them.  It has led to a disconnect to others on a massive scale. We must begin to touch the lives of those we lead.

“He anoints my head with oil” says David about Yahweh’s leadership. The relationship between the sheep and the shepherd was strong. The shepherd knows their names, holds the sheep in his arms and handles them with familiarity whenever he anoints one of his sheep. Anointing was a very personal act between two parties. Samuel anointed David to be the king (1 Samuel 16). It only took place when David came in from the field and knelt in Samuel’s presence. Anointing cannot happen at a distance. But here is how Samuel raised up a new leader. The personal interaction was the foundation for the development of this key leader.

Once the personal touch has happened then the anointing takes on a new significance. Anointing means David was selected and set apart from is other brothers. How do we know whom we should spend our time with and train into leaders? If the follower does not respond to our voice and touch they will always chaff against our development of them. Their response and desire to be around us is a first indicator that we can develop them.

The next indicator is what they do with our anointing, or our empowering of them. That is what anointing is; empowering them for action. They are given credibility from us as leaders to do a job, or service of some sort. Do they take on that task with joy and responsibility? Do they become independent and rogue or start to use their new authority to boost themselves? This faithfulness to follow you after they are given authority and endorsement is something to watch.  If they are faithful then you can enlarge their scope of leadership and authority.

Anointing also meant acceptance and affirmation of the worth and value of the sheep. The time and effort we invest in someone must have the tone of love, affirmation, and value. Do we affirm them, their skills, and their importance to the team? Our words are crucial to build them up. “Encouragement is oxygen for the soul” says John Maxwell.

Recall the leader who anointed your head with oil. They believed in you and your potential. They took you with them when they did their ministry. You watched them and then talked about what happened afterwards. They gave you a job. They watched you and reflected on what had happened afterwards. They encouraged you and gave you key insights into how to improve. They listened and listened some more. These are some of the qualities that build up the leaders for the future of the church.

Leadership must anoint new leadership. The fallacy that leaders are developed by going to a four year program in some institution is clear when so many of those who have a credential cannot lead their people effectively. Why? They lacked the personal touch of being anointed by another leader. They have become like the those who taught them from a distance. A credential merely tells others you have sat and listened to another give data, and have successfully repeated the data back to them at 70-90%. But the greater need is that someone spent time with that student and developed them on a personal level. In my doctoral program I had a field mentor. He was a great leader and had many accomplishments behind him. But what impacted me was the time we literally spent every week talking, praying, and reflecting together. That is where he passed on to me the true lessons for the day. Relationships are everything!

One scholar has said that Jesus spent 80% of his time with his key people, walking, talking, listening, asking them questions, eating, and serving them. He knew people forget what we say but they do not forget who we are. Then they remember what we say.

What leader are you anointing this week? If you have one or more, pour your life into them all the more.

Father, we thank you for calling us, anointing us, and empowering us to serve you. Thank you for the personal encounter that you had with us that has made us leaders today. Now help us as we select and develop new leaders. Make our words and our touch effective, full of love and affirmation. Use us to raise up a whole new set of leaders for your glory. Amen.

Good Friday: The Greatest Battle Ever Fought

Filed under: Passion Week — Pastor David Apr 6, 2012 @ 12:01 am

See also Easter Season Dates,
Calendar of Events of Jesus’ life,
Monday: Victorious Over Personal Sin
Tuesday: Victorious in His Vision
Wednesday: Victorious in Accomplishing All
Thursday: Victorious in Ministry

Good Friday: The Greatest Battle Ever Fought

The battlefields of the world are the sacred places where evil plans have been defeated and man’s good has been forwarded. Freedom has been won, tyranny has been put down. The Battle of Bunker Hill, Gettysburg, and Normandy Beach are but a few of these special places.

“These are the times that try men’s souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict the more glorious the triumph.” Thomas Paine, The Crisis – December, 1776

The greatest battle ever fought was fought at Golgotha when Jesus–the Champion of all men– faced Satan–the bully over all men. There, a battle was fought for the destiny of mankind!  Here, we see the glorious triumph of Jesus!

We can see that Satan fought Jesus His whole life! He tried to kill Him as an infant through Herod’s evil heart, and we see that he even tried to wipe Him out when He was barely a new leader during 40 days of fasting in the desert.  Satan was constantly harassing His public preaching through demon possessed people. He fought Jesus with the betrayal of His own fellow servant Judas, His friend and co-laborer. The Garden of Gethsemane was the location of the worst battle by far.  For three hours He battled in prayer, and angels were sent to give Jesus supernatural energy to go forward. So exhausting was that three hour fight, that Jesus was sweating drops of blood! He was emotionally and physically “spent,” but still came out as the Champion. However…an even worse fight is yet to come, the cross event.

Jesus entered Jerusalem as a Champion and then went head-to-head and hand-to-hand with the former “champion over men,” Satan. Satan’s strategy is to trick men into obeying his will rather than God’s will through his lies. Lie after lie has vanquished man after man. All of mankind succumb to his deceit and confess with their tongue that they have actually believed what Satan suggests. Lies like, “Money is all important.” “You need to prove to people you are something if you will ever be respected and valued.”  “Pleasure is what life is all about, take what you can get now.”  “When you fail, you are nothing, you will never recover, you have lost everything and no one loves you.”  “God hates you and wants nothing to do with you.”  These arrows of falsehood can derail even the most confident and self-assured life!

Knowing that we have already sold our soul to the devil, Jesus enters the ring and fights for us. He is going to fight the very root of the lies of Satan, but can He win? The Devil only needs one second of time for Jesus to falter in some respect in trusting His Father or in staying focused on His mission. Only one second is needed for self-pity to rule, for self-preservation to kick in, for one word to be uttered asking the angels to release Him from the tyranny of men. See the battle rage. See Him being beaten and mocked. Satan is tempting Him with the news that His followers have failed Him. Why should He still love them? Satan reminds Jesus that the leaders hated Him and refused to let Him be their king. Why should He still care for them? “Let them face God’s wrath alone,” he leers.

Jesus will need to fight the temptation that God’s wrath on sin will be too much to bear. No one can endure that. This unrelenting judgment has always been reserved for hell in eternity. Will He be able to bear this on His pure life in the place for all mankind? It is shocking enough to know that His physical pain and fatigue was so acute He almost died before He came to the cross. He was so very weak at one point that someone else was forced to carry His cross…all so He could die for us.

What will Jesus say to all this? What will his first words be as He battles this intense battle for mankind’s eternal destiny? Listen! Hear Him speak… “Father forgive them…” What? No! The clash of swords strikes a deadly blow! Forgive them? Yes, His mission was the forgiveness of sins, even those sins being committed against Him during this very brutal conflict.

He fights the lies of Satan and wins. He fights the temptation to quit and to think of Himself. He stays at the fight for you and for me. He will take the full wrath of God on sin and swallow it whole. He will bear the anguish of being separated from His Father. His life must be forfeited to accomplish this and so He marches to His own death.

He gave His life willingly so that He could rescue us from the lies of Satan. He has won the victory! Do you stand in that victory? It was won for you. Have you received His loving gift of full forgiveness and freedom from sin, Satan, and selfishness? Receive it today.

Father, what a battle we see in this event. We are overwhelmed with the courage, the perseverance, and the faith that Your Son demonstrated in this moment. His love for us is greater than we know. Thank You for this gracious and loving gift, the freedom and forgiveness of our sins. We receive it gladly and gratefully. What has been won for us is now the finished work in which we rest. Peace fills our hearts as we accept the gift You have given us. There is no more condemnation to stand in between us as we are fully  and permanently made Your children. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Thursday: Victorious in Ministry

Filed under: Passion Week — Pastor David Apr 5, 2012 @ 12:01 am

See also Easter Season Dates,
Calendar of Events of Jesus’ life,
Monday: Victorious Over Personal Sin
Tuesday: Victorious in His Vision
Wednesday: Victorious in Accomplishing All

Thursday: Victorious in Ministry

Jesus served like no other. He was hard working and tireless. He was not just busy… He was very effective! He did two things constantly, teaching and performing miracles. He was constantly being criticized and confronted. People were always trying to trick Him and his opponents were constantly trying to stumble Him on theological, moral, or political issues. Even with all these various attempts, they never could stop Him or stump Him. He stood undefeated!

His many miracles were signs or demonstrations of His claim to be Messiah.  They were also meant as “snapshots” that revealed His character and purpose. Think of each miracle as a picture of what Jesus does for our souls, not just our bodies.

He healed the leper. This healing restored the alienated person back to their family. Therefore, we can see from this external healing the spiritual picture. He heals the leprosy of sin in our hearts and reconciles us with the very people we damaged by those sins.

Think of the blind man. He restored his sight and gave him back a place of dignity in the community. This individual who was forced to beg for a living is now a productive part of his community. In the same way, our spiritual blindness leads us to spiritual poverty. We are actually unable to serve God. We stumble around in the “darkness of guessing and superstitions.” He, then, heals our minds (eyes) and opens our thinking to be able to see the truth about ourselves, about sin, about God, and about how to be right with God. We now are able to move forward with confidence and security following Jesus with a clear mind and true understanding (sight).

We can find spiritual application in every miracle Jesus performed.

I also want to highlight something else about His miracles. He healed people either by His words, or with His touch, and He did this in a myriad of ways. Sometimes He would only speak a word, and other times He would only touch them. There were also times when He both spoke and touched the person. This kind of miracle actually illustrates to us how He transforms our lives. It is His word that transforms us. He speaks it to us today as He spoke it years before. His word is alive and powerful, just as it was when it first fell from His lips while on this earth. He touches us through the presence of His Holy Spirit. He literally touches our inner human spirit. His presence is real and powerful, able to transform us from one condition to an entirely new condition.

Some who are transformed are changed as they read and meditate on His Word. In their study of the Word they find great power and transformation. Others have experienced His presence in a very real and meaningful way as they pray or fast, or when they are quiet and alone with God…resulting in meaningful life breakthroughs and transformation.  Sometimes the music touches us and we soar in our spirit as we worship the living Christ.  Nature, and being outside, enjoying God’s creation can often result in a genuine experience of the living presence of God.

There are various ways to experience the presence of God…and most especially when two or more gather together in His Name, He is always there in their group. But catch this, His Word and His Presence (the Holy Spirit), work hand-in-hand transforming unbelievers into believers, crippled frail believers into strong vibrant believers, blind men into seeing men, deaf men into hearing men… and on the list goes!

His ministry was Victorious then, and is nothing less than Victorious now! He never fails to help those who come to Him. There is no problem He cannot solve. Nothing baffled Him then and nothing baffles Him now!

Jesus can help you.  Jesus will help you. With which side of that statement do you struggle? He can or He will? “Can He” questions His power, while “will He” questions His heart of desire. His ministry was a constant declaration that Jesus both can and will help those who come to Him. I encourage you to turn to Him and trust His power and His heart of compassion to help you, as well.

O Father, Your Son came to serve and give His life as a payment for us. How can we say thank You? Your Son served and solved every problem brought to Him. I give you the problems I am facing right now. I trust in Your heart to help me and Your power to make the situation one that glorifies You and changes me. May You be honored and understood by what You do through my problem. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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