A Leader’s Nudge And Covering

Nudge & coverLeadership carries a heavy responsibility. I often paraphrase what the Apostle James wrote, “Not many of you should presume to be leaders because you know leaders will be judged more strictly” (see James 3:1).

Consider what was said to Jeroboam, the king of Israel: “And God will give Israel up because of the sins Jeroboam has committed and has caused Israel to commit” (1 Kings 14:16, emphasis added).

A leader’s action has consequences not only for himself, but for all the people under his care. Sure, some Israelites were going to sin regardless of how Jeroboam lived, but his sinful lifestyle gave a nudge to those who took their cues from him. In other words, Jeroboam’s sin made it that much easier for others to sin.

I’m sure there were some Israelites who didn’t follow Jeroboam into sin, yet they were now exposed to God’s “jealous anger” (1 Kings 14:22) because Jeroboam’s sin removed the covering of God’s blessing on those northern tribes.

These principles still hold true today for me as a dad, a husband, a pastor, a citizen of Cedar Springs. And they hold true for you in your role as a spouse, a parent, an employer or employee, a Christian. Your sin may be the nudge to others that causes them to sin; your sin will remove God’s covering and expose people to His judgment.

Leaders best serve by staying wholly committed to God. 

It’s only as I am wholly—and holy—His that I can nudge people toward righteousness and preserve the covering of God’s blessing.

May our lives never arouse God’s righteous anger, but may we be a blessing by wholly serving Him all the days of our lives.

Painting With Your Words

My dear fellow pastors, please heed this admonition from A.W. Tozer. Our responsibility of presenting the Good News of Jesus Christ must include mastery of the language in which we will be speaking. We must not be lax in this!

Tozer“For the very reason that God has committed His saving truth to the receptacle of human language, the man who preaches that truth should be more than ordinarily skillful in the use of language. It is necessary that every artist master his medium, every musician his instrument. For a man calling himself a concert pianist to appear before an audience with but a beginner’s acquaintance with the keyboard would be no more absurd than for a minister of the gospel to appear before his congregation without a thorough knowledge of the language in which he expects to preach.” —A.W. Tozer

Boomerang

BoomerangI was very hesitant to enter the pastorate. As I look back now, I see God had been preparing me for this all my life, but I was reluctant to take on such a heavy spiritual responsibility.

When I finally submitted, I made a covenant with God: “I never want to preach a sermon where my finger is pointed at the congregation, where I am saying, ‘You people better listen to this!’ But I only want to share what You have been challenging me to do and become. I want the congregation to hear an overflow of the work being done in me.”

I recently read a paragraph from Oswald Chambers that validates that covenant I made—

“It is an easy business to preach, an appallingly easy thing to tell other people what to do; it is another thing to have God’s message turned into a boomerang—‘You have been teaching these people that they should be full of peace and of joy, but what about yourself? Are you full of peace and joy?’ The truthful witness is the one who lets his light shine in works which exhibit the disposition of Jesus; one who lives the truth as well as preaches it.

My pastor friend, don’t preach it if you’re not living it! Or another way: live it first, then preach it.

6 Quotes From “The Global War On Christians”

The Global War On ChristiansYesterday I shared some eye-opening statistics from The Global War On Christians by Jeff L. Allen, Jr. Below are some of the quotes which especially stood out to me. If you want to read my full review of this book, please click here.

“Spectacular outbreaks of violence are often produced by less intense incidents, such as believers being harassed on the streets, slurred in the media, shunned in the workplace, and hassled as they gather to worship. The usual cycle is for complaints to be made about these incidents, which are then ignored or dismissed. That failure to act usually serves to emboldened the perpetrators, who then may become more likely to move on to even more lethal assaults, in effect testing the limits of official tolerance.”

“The bottom line is that the global war on Christians will never be won as long as the myth persists that nobody’s really responsible for it.”

“Perpetuating the idea that Islam is by far the primary threat facing Christians in the early twenty-first century also stokes the idea of a ‘clash of civilizations’ between the two faiths, adding fuel to the fire of those who long for a new holy war. That doesn’t do justice to the complex reality of the situation, as there are examples of both conflict and coexistence, and for every virulent and dangerous current in the Islamic world there are also movements and individuals devoted to peace.” 

“Politically correct silence does no one any good, and arguably insults the dignity of those who run risks to life and limb on a daily basis to keep the faith alive.”

“Politics distorts perceptions of the global war on Christians in another sense. Ideological bias tempts observers in the West to see only part of the picture. Those on the political left may celebrate martyrs to corporate greed or to right-wing the police states, but fear to speak out about the suffering of Christians behind the lines of the Islamic world. Conservatives may be reluctant to condemn the situation facing Christians in the state of Israel or in regimes that are presently in fashion on the right has allies in the ‘war on terror.’ Either way, the result is a reductive reasoning of the true score of anti-Christian persecution, and a double standard when it comes to engaging its protagonists. If we want to see the global war on Christians clearly, we have to stop looking at it through the funhouse mirror of secular politics.”

“Historically, waves of persecution have fueled major advances for Christianity. … Today, it’s no accident that zones where persecution of Christians is the most intense… are also the places where Christianity is growing the most dramatically.”

Ho Hum, It’s Election Day

Calvin CoolidgeSadly, that’s the attitude of far too many people in the United States of America. And it’s flat-out wrong! 

If America is to stay true to the designs of our brilliant Founding Fathers, we must vote intelligently. In this age of easy internet access, there is no excuse for you not to find out where each candidate stands. So get informed and go vote!

Almost 90 years ago President Calvin Coolidge had some challenging words for Americans which should still grab our attention today—

“All the opportunity for self-government through the rule of the people depends upon one single factor. That is the ballot box…. The people of our country are sovereign. If they do not vote they abdicate that sovereignty, and they may be entirely sure that if they relinquish it other forces will seize it, and if they fail to govern themselves some other power will rise up to govern them. The choice is always before them, whether they will be slaves or whether they will be free. The only way to be free is to exercise actively and energetically the privileges, and discharge faithfully the duties which make freedom. It is not to be secured by passive resistance. It is the result of energy and action. … Persons who have the right to vote are trustees for the benefit of their country and their countrymen. They have no right to say they do not care. They must care! They have no right to say that whatever the result of the election they can get along. They must remember that their country and their countrymen cannot get along, cannot remain sound, cannot preserve its institutions, cannot protect its citizens, cannot maintain its place in the world, unless those who have the right to vote do sustain and do guide the course of public affairs by the thoughtful exercise of that right on election day.” (emphasis added)

More Spirit-Filled Leaders

MosesMoses was so right on the mark when he cried out, “I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me!” (see Numbers 11:14)

It takes a confidently humble man to ask for help (see Numbers 12:3). But God gives more grace to that humble person, while He stands aloof from those know-it-alls and those I-can-do-it-all-by-myselfs.

God anointed leaders to assist Moses. He took the same Spirit that was on Moses and imparted it to those 70 leaders. But—note this carefully—the Spirit on Moses was not at all diminished!

Moses’ responsibility was to pick the 70 “who are known to you as leaders” (11:16), then the Lord placed His Spirit on them (vv. 17 and 25). There were 70 who prophesied but Moses correctly desired “that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put His Spirit on them” (v. 29).

Leadership is necessary, and it is meant to be shared. From the senior leader, this requires (1) humility, (2) responsibility, and (3) willingness.

Oh Lord, raise up more Spirit-empowered leaders!

Sometimes You Win—Sometimes You Learn (book review)

Sometimes You WinIf you’re like me, you grew up being able to quickly finish the phrase, “Sometimes you win, sometimes you… lose.” But John Maxwell gives us a far better way to finish this well-worn phrase in his latest book Sometimes You Win—Sometimes You Learn: Life’s Greatest Lessons Are Learned From Our Losses.

As in his other books, Dr. Maxwell shares very candidly about his own missteps, and the lessons he learned from them. He also brings in the insight from other friends and authors who have also learned the value of making mistakes and learning the hard lessons from them.

What always amazes about John Maxwell’s writing is the depth of insight. On the surface you would think there wouldn’t be much to say about learning from our losses except another well-worn cliche, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” But that try-again spirit is only one part of the learning process. John shows us the value of:

  • Humility
  • Reality
  • Responsibility
  • Improvement
  • Hope
  • Teachability
  • Adversity
  • Problems
  • Bad experiences
  • Change

Following through on all of these aspects leads to the most important step in the learning process: Maturity.

The insight, historical stories, personal anecdotes, and wisdom of other been-there-done-that people are woven together with John’s unique teaching style to give us a book that is highly beneficial. I’d especially recommend this book to parents, coaches and mentors.

I am a Center Street book reviewer.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,935 other followers

%d bloggers like this: