The Transparency That God Loves

Have mercy … heal me … deliver me … save me … (Psalm 6:2, 4).

A mark of a godly leader is one who is not afraid to share his vulnerabilities.

David freely admits his fear of punishment, his need for God’s help, and his grief that robbed him of sleep.

But he also admitted just as freely his rock-solid assurance of God’s help:

  • The Lord has heard my weeping
  • The Lord has heard my supplication
  • The Lord will receive my prayer

Godly leaders are confidently transparent before God and before those around them. God delights in that transparency, and He delights to answer vulnerable prayers.

This is Part 17 in my series on godly leadership. You can check out all of my posts on this topic by clicking here.

10 Quotes From “#Truth”

Josh McDowell has a book that is perfect for this generation of youth. #Truth is a 365-day devotional that brings biblical truth to bear on the issues today’s students face every day. You can check out my full book review of #Truth by clicking here. Below are a handful of quotes that caught my attention.

“All healthy relationships require a willingness to be known and have things pointed out so that all offenses can be addressed.”

“If a person is unwilling to forgive others, it’s a clear sign he or she hasn’t really experienced God’s mercy and grace. When people refuse to forgive those who wronged them, God knows that any confession of their own sins is less than genuine and sincere. How could anyone who truly experiences God’s amazing grace of forgiveness not also give mercy and grace to others?”

“Jesus died and rose again so that you could be set free from sin and death and enjoy the benefits of spiritual freedom. That freedom is not a license to live however you want to live, but to live as God meant you to live.” 

“Don’t believe the lie that you are alone and no one cares. Since Christ sees you as a member of His body, accept this as your new reality and realize that you are always wanted and very much needed.”

“Jesus too had a totally different view of this world than those around Him. … Because you have accepted Jesus as the Truth and follow Him, you too see the world differently. You see the world through a spiritual lens that makes you sort of like an alien.”

“Jesus’ Kingdom message is a whole new way to see God, yourself, life, and relationships. It is a view of the world defined by Jesus and His Word. … Loving God and making Him the first priority in your life develops a Kingdom mindset that brings everything into perspective—love God and those around you as you love yourself [Matthew 22:37-39].”

“This life is short in comparison to eternity, and God wants your thoughts to include Him and make His Kingdom a priority in your life. … Letting heaven fill your thoughts is about keeping Jesus first in your life.”

“Only those who have been made alive to God and have His Spirit can listen and understand the spiritual insights of Scripture.”

“When you read from the Bible you are reading God’s words as if He were writing them for you. … Scripture is a supernatural book that has come from God Himself.”

“Jesus felt misunderstood. He spent years telling His followers who He was and why He came to earth. ‘But they didn’t understand any of this…and they failed to grasp what He was talking about’ (Luke 18:34). Because Jesus faced misunderstanding He is able to identify with your hurt and give you the help you need when you need it.”

Be Your Sermon

Pastor, what’s God been speaking to you personally?

How has the Holy Spirit been working your sermon on your heart this week?

What has Scripture shown you about you (not just about your congregation)?

When you tell your congregation how God has been working on you, the Word comes alive. Because now they don’t see you as a perfect person preaching at them, but as a fellow traveler who’s hearing from God and learning on the journey just as they are.

“The preacher must throw his thought into his teaching. He must not weary the people by telling them the truth in a stale and unprofitable manner with nothing fresh from his own soul to give it force. Above all he must put heart work into preaching. He must feel what he preaches. It must be with him. It is never an easy thing. He must feel as if he could preach his very life away before the sermon is done.” ―Charles Spurgeon

I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day;
I’d rather one should walk with me than merely show the way.
The eye’s a better pupil and more willing than the ear;
Fine counsel is confusing, but example’s always clear.
And the best of all preachers are the men who live their creeds.
For to see the good in action is what everybody needs.
I can soon learn how to do it if you’ll let me see it done;
I can watch your hands in actions, but your tongue too fast may run.
And the lectures you deliver may be very wise and true,
But I’d rather get my lesson by observing what you do.
For I may misunderstand you and the high advice you give,
But there’s no misunderstanding how you act and how you live. (Edgar A. Guest) 
 

C’mon, pastor, let us SEE your sermon!

Fill ‘Er Up!

I sort of remember the days of full-service gas stations. My Dad would drive in and say, “Fill ‘er up,” and the gas station attendant would jump into action. Filling up the gas tank, cleaning the windshield, checking the oil level, and even checking the air pressure in the tires.

But, alas, those days of full service seem to be long gone, replaced by highly-efficient, less-personal self-serve stations. And I’m not necessarily talking just about gasoline stations either.

All of our lives seem to have become more efficient and less personal. We are a more do-it-yourself, leverage-technology kind of society today. And I wonder if the result is that many people aren’t getting filled up like they used to.

There is a well-known Bible story in 2 Kings 4. A widow is facing what would amount to foreclosure today. Except this foreclosure was on her sons. Her husband, a God-fearing man, had died and left her with debts she could not pay. The practice in that society was for her sons to be “sold” to pay off the debts. Her sons would have to work all day long for someone else, and whatever money they would have earned for their labors would go to the creditors.

In her desperation the widow turned to the prophet Elisha. He asked her if she had anything of value in her house, and she replied, “Just a little oil. But not enough to pay off my debts.” The counsel Elisha gave her is applicable for our self-serve society today —

Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few” (v. 3).

Elisha asked the woman and her family to humble themselves — ask all your neighbors. Sometimes this is one of our biggest hindrances: pride which keeps us from admitting we have a need. And this was no small task because she had to ask ALL her neighbors to, “Fill ‘er up!

Elisha asked them to be persistent — don’t ask for just a few. Not just a jar here and there, but ask for every available jar to, “Fill ‘er up!

This story shouldn’t just apply to times of desperation in our lives. Because maybe if we worked on being around our neighbors and asking what needs they have, and sharing our needs as well, maybe we wouldn’t get into such desperate situations.

In the story in 2 Kings the oil stopped flowing only after every available jar had been filled. If I want God to continue to pour His oil of blessing into my life, He has to have room in which to pour. That means that I need to be pouring into others’ lives daily. Listen to the blessings when we, “Fill ‘er up!”  —

I want you to know how delighted I am to have Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus here with me. They partially make up for your absence! They’ve refreshed me by keeping me in touch with you. (1 Corinthians 16:17-18, The Message)

In addition to our own encouragement, we were especially delighted to see how happy Titus was, because his spirit has been refreshed by all of you.(2 Corinthians 7:13, New International Version)

God bless Onesiphorus and his family! Many’s the time I’ve been refreshed in that house. And he wasn’t embarrassed a bit that I was in jail. The first thing he did when he got to Rome was look me up. May God on the Last Day treat him as well as he treated me. (2 Timothy 1:16-18, The Message)

Your love has given me much joy and comfort, my brother, for your kindness has often refreshed the hearts of God’s people. (Philemon 7, New Living Translation)

Get around other “full” people and let them fill you up.

Seek out “empty” people and pour abundantly into them.

The more you pour out into others, the more room there is for God to pour into you.

God is always pleased when our lifestyle is one of “Fill ‘er up!”

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