Christian Citizenship = Stewardship

“For the Christian, citizenship is about stewardship. That’s especially true in a country where our most important governing document begins with ‘We the People.’ That means we have a lot of responsibility. …  

“God has ordained a government as one way that He shows grace to all people. Government should recognize the God-given duty of human beings and respect the roles and responsibilities of family and church. Government is to keep the peace through the rule of law and to use force to punish those who break it. The role of government is to maintain justice and peace in society so other institutions, especially the family in the church, can do what they are designed to do. …

“Christians should enter the public square with a biblically shaped perspective. To apply a Christian worldview to questions of public policy is not exercising self-interest. It is simply serving our neighbor by testifying to the way God has made the world.” —Jennifer A. Marshall 

For the Christian, citizenship is about stewarding the responsibilities God has given us to the countries in which we live. Those include things like:

  1. Showing proper respect to those in leadership positions (Romans 13:1-6)
  2. Submitting like we’re servants of the King of kings (1 Peter 2:13-17)
  3. Praying for our leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-4)
  4. Voting for those people who uphold biblical principles

“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.” —President Calvin Coolidge

Both Immovable And Flexible

The vision of Isaiah…in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah (Isaiah 1:1). 

Israel (the 10 northern tribes) was in the final stages of collapse, with kings only serving short spans, idolatry running rampant, and enemies closing in on every side. Isaiah boldly proclaimed that Judah was on the same path unless she repented and turned wholly to God.

Isaiah had the same message for four kings:

  • Uzziah—who started off well, but fell away from God
  • Jotham—who faithfully served God
  • Ahaz—who never wanted to serve God
  • Hezekiah—who led a powerful revival in the return to worshiping God alone

Isaiah’s message never waivers. Through 66 chapters, 4 monarchs, and 60 years of ministry, Isaiah never compromises, waters down, nor alters the message God has given him.

But he does use different methods to deliver God’s consistent message—sometimes he thunders, sometimes he weeps, sometimes he uses illustrated messages, sometimes he speaks plainly, and sometimes he uses word pictures.

A mark of a godly leader is one who is both immovable and flexible.

Immovable on God’s principles; flexible on his delivery.

Can that be said of you and me?

This is part 21 in my series on godly leadership. You can check out all of my posts on this topic by clicking here.

Interpretation Of The Scriptures (book review)

Bible reading and Bible study will be of immeasurable benefit to the reader if the Scriptures are interpreted correctly. Fortunately for us, A.W. Pink gives us some timeless principles for doing just this in his book Interpretation Of The Scriptures.

Pink acknowledges something that the Apostle Peter also acknowledged: sometimes the passages we read in the Bible can be challenging to understand. But Pink quickly adds, “God does not ask for blind credence from us, but an intelligent faith, and for that three things are indispensable: that His Word should be read (or heard), understood, and personally appropriated.”

In this book, Pink systematically gives us guidelines for the proper and effective interpretation of the the Scriptures. He does so by using many of the age-old maxims of logic and hermeneutics, but he also emphasizes the invaluable role the Holy Spirit plays in our Bible reading times. After all, the Holy Spirit was the One who inspired the writing of the Scriptures, so He is best able to illuminate the true meaning to our hearts and minds.

This is NOT a book exclusively for pastors and Bible teachers (although both will be greatly benefitted by studying this text), but it is for anyone who wants to read the Bible accurately, with an eye toward correctly applying the principles that God gives us.

I’m not sure how many times I have read through the Bible in my life, but while reading Interpretation Of The Scriptures I noticed a new attention to concepts and insights that I had previously overlooked. I highly recommend that all serious readers of the Bible read this book as well.

10 Quotes From “Legacy Leadership”

I just finished an outstanding reading plan on YouVersion called Legacy Leadership by Dr. J. Lee Whittington. For anyone interested in the biblical concept of servant-leadership, I highly recommend you check out this reading plan.

Here are a few quotes I especially liked…

“Legacy Leadership is a process of intentional influence that takes place in the context of a relationship.”

“There is a recurring pattern of affirmation and exhortation in Paul’s leadership. He provided a dynamic balance between challenging his followers to grow and acknowledging their progress. He was affirming, but never content.”

“There is a growing trend to attack, criticize, and resent anyone who has talent or achievements that sets them apart from others. This tendency extends to those who resent the efforts of leaders who challenge the status quo. Opponents of change initiatives often attempt to marginalize leaders by attacking their character and questioning their motives. If the messenger is flawed, then the message and vision they offer cannot be trusted. As disappointing as it is, these challenges come with the territory of leadership.

“If I am to lead with integrity, I must always confront my own lack of integrity. This demands a willingness to constantly reflect on my motives and the courage to confront my own hypocrisy. It also requires me to allow myself the discomfort of inviting the scrutiny of both the Lord and others who care enough to confront me about my motives, my attitudes, and my behavior.”

“The most effective leaders are able to exert influence without asserting their formal authority. … Paul deliberately chose to forego the legitimate, reward, and coercive power inherent in his position. Instead, he leaned into another base of power: referent power. Referent power is based on respect and admiration. When this is present, the followers identify with and want to emulate their leader. This power base does not come from the leader’s position or control of resources. Rather, it is based on the leader’s character and integrity. Referent power is based on who the leader is.”

“Legacy Leaders do not lead from a distance. They imitate Jesus who said, ‘I am among you as one who serves’ (Luke 22:27). They are comfortable sharing their lives with their followers.”

“The best relationships between a leader and their followers are those that are characterized by a great deal of mutual trust and shared information. The responsibility for creating this type of relationship rests squarely on the shoulders of the leader.”

“Authentic leaders have a seamless link between their values and their actions. But the congruence between values and attitudes is just the starting point for authentic leadership.  From the perspective of scripture, a leader’s attitudes and actions must be anchored to God’s standards. When a leader’s enacted values are in congruence with their espoused values, and those espoused values are in turn anchored to God’s principles, the leader had moral authority.”

“It’s easy to critique the authenticity of others.  But, if we are really serious about developing our own authenticity, we must focus on ourselves. I read this statement several years ago: ‘If we are to be people of integrity, we must constantly confront our lack of integrity.’”

“Legacy Leaders embrace the principles of servant-leadership and understand that the conscious choice to lead comes after the desire to serve. This inclination is not natural. It must be energized by continuous reliance on the empowering presence of God’s Spirit.”

Liquid Leadership (book review)

Liquid LeadershipIn Liquid Leadership, Brad Szollose proposes to teach leadership principles for those who have younger employees, or for those who lead organizations that need to relate to a younger demographic. Brad says that liquid leaders are able to flow effortlessly between older and younger generations.

Brad’s seven laws say that a liquid leader…

  1. …places people first.
  2. …cultivates an environment where it is free and safe to tell the truth.
  3. …nurtures a creative culture.
  4. …supports reinvention of the organization.
  5. …leads by example.
  6. …takes responsibility.
  7. …leaves a lasting legacy.

I agree with all of these points: not just for “liquid leaders” but for all leaders. If leadership principles (or laws, as Brad calls them) are true, then they are also applicable in every setting: Gen Y or Baby Boomer, for-profit or charity, Western or Eastern.

The “meat” of Liquid Leadership comes in the opening chapter, with the remaining chapters consisting primarily of Brad’s personal experiences, or his observations of other success/failure stories, to help bolster his point.

If you are looking for a book with good stories to make your case for leadership, check this out. But if you are looking for a book about serious leadership development, look elsewhere.

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