Posts Tagged Jesus
This past Sunday we talked about the values of Proclamation and Demonstration — the idea that Jesus talked about the good news of his Kingdom and also did actions that proved his love.
I joyfully borrowed from Andy Stanley’s principle, “Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.” It’s a helpful principle, especially in light of how many overwhelming needs there are in our cities and communities.
I’d encourage you to watch a recent message that Stanley gave on this entitled, “One, Not Everyone.” In particular, don’t miss his personal story of how he has seen this principle work out in a very powerful way (starts around the 20:00 mark).
Justin Anderson is one of the lead pastors at Redemption Church, and he was kind to spend some time last night with our leaders at our monthly “2nd Tuesday” gathering. Training leaders is a high priority for us as a church, and Justin’s words were great things for us to hear. I had asked him to speak on the topic, “How to Accidentally Screw Up Your Ministry.” Unfortunately we didn’t have the audio equipment available to record his talk, but here’s a summary of what we learned.
Foundational Principle — Grace Leads to Action
In Ephesians 2:8-10, we learn that we are absolutely dependent on God’s grace. We are saved by God’s grace, period. But this always leads to action always follows from true grace. If you don’t think God loves you by grace, you miss the gospel. If you don’t act as a result of the grace you’ve received, you misunderstand the power of the gospel.
How to Accidentally Screw Up Your Ministry
1. Use guilt, shame, or moralism to motivate people. While guilting people into action is always easier and has power to produce results, it produces only short-term results. The gospel motivates by grace, love, and a compelling vision for the future. So should we. There are times when we need to administer a “kick in the pants” to those we love, but we should not make guilt our de-facto motivator.
2. Stay off mission. Many leaders convince themselves and their people that they “aren’t ready” for mission or that they need to grow more first. The result is that they end up insulated in a Christian subculture that never contributes to the overall Kingdom of God.
3. Use your ministry to prop yourself up. It’s wonderful to receive compliments and encouragement, but if you are using your ministry to find your identity, you are an idolater. One of Justin’s former pastors said, “Compliments are like perfume. Smell them and you’ll be fine, but drink them and you’ll be sick.”
4. Don’t let your ministry get bigger than you. Many leaders put themselves at the center where nothing can happen without them. As a result, the ministry stifles and young leaders never develop their full potential.
5. Forget that your ministry is just a piece of the puzzle of the church. Because we love the ministry we do, it’s easy to see our ministry as the ultimate one. As a result, many leaders and ministries compete with each other rather than serve each other. Leaders are called to raise their sights above this and keep the big picture in mind.
6. Sacrifice your family or personal walk with God for the sake of ministry. If your life is screwed up, your ministry is screwed up. If you don’t pray or love your spouse because you are “doing ministry,” soon you will have no ministry to do and your life will be in shambles.
7. Lead negatively more than positively. Rather than being an encouraging coach who celebrates others’ wins and allows them to have a voice in their development, many leaders focus too much on what is broken and on telling others what to do.
8. Forget that there is nothing more important than knowing, loving, and experiencing Jesus. The Apostle Paul says in Philippians 3 that everything was rubbish compared to knowing Jesus. If we forget this, then our ministries–which should be designed to help people love Jesus–miss the mark.
9. Overspiritualize your ministry. These are leaders who pray but don’t plan. They talk but don’t do. This is a mistake. We should both pray and strategize.
10. Underspiritualize your ministry. These are leaders who plan and do but don’t pray. They over-value their creativity and resourcefulness and forget that they desperately need the Lord to guide them.
11. Forget that millions of Christians have come before you. Leaders are prone to have “new” ideas that aren’t really all that new and to convince themselves that their ideas are novel. But they aren’t. For example, in the 90s Bill Hybels talked about being “Contagious Christians” and now people talk about being “missional.” Many of our ideas are not new or novel (if they were it might be heresy), but are simply repackaged versions of things Christians have done for centuries. We would be wise to learn from them and humble ourselves.
Tim Keller, King’s Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus, pp. 67-69, commenting on Mark 5:38-42:
Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement.
Do you think it is odd that when Jesus arrives at Jairus’s house he says that the girl is just sleeping? The parallel account of this story in Matthew and Luke’s Gospels make it clear that Jesus understands she’s dead. She’s not mostly dead; she’s all dead. Then why does he make that reference to sleep?
The answer is in what Jesus does next.
Remember, Jesus sits down beside the girl, takes her by the hand, and says two things to her.
The first is talitha. Literally, it means “little girl,” but that does not get across the sense of what he’s saying. This is a pet name, a diminutive term of endearment. Since this is a diminutive that a mother would use with a little girl, probably the best translation is “honey.”
The second thing Jesus says to her is koum, which means “arise.” Not “be resurrected”: it just means “get up.” Jesus id doing exactly what this child’s parents might do on a sunny morning. He sits down, takes her hand, and says, “Honey, it’s time to get up.” And she does.
Jesus is facing facing the most implacable, inexorable enemy of the human race and such is his power that he holds this child by the hand and gently lifts her right up through it. “Honey, get up.”
Jesus is saying by his actions, “If I have you by the hand, death itself is nothing but sleep.” . . .
. . . There’s nothing more frightening for a little child than to lose the hand of the parent in a crowd or in the dark, but that is nothing compared with Jesus’s own loss.
He lost his Father’s hand on the cross.
He went into the tomb so we can be raised out of it.
He lost hold of his Father’s hand so we could know that once he has us by the hand, he will never, ever forsake us.
HT: Justin Taylor
This past Sunday we shared Louie Giglio’s powerful message, “Anchor of Hope” from his series, “Hope When Life Hurts Most” (you can watch it here or buy the DVD here). One of the most memorable parts of the message was when Louie was sharing about Ashley, the college student who became a Christian after a friend attended the Passion 2007 conference and then died a few months later, just before her graduation (Louie’s talk, “Fruitcake and Ice Cream” tells more of Ashley’s story as well).
Louie also shared about his subsequent interactions with Ashley’s atheist dad, Mike. He said they were in dialogue about Jesus and pursuing a friendship but that there wasn’t a “bow” to wrap around the story — no obviously happy ending.
Well, I was informed yesterday that there is more to the story, which Louie shared with his church last January. In his message, “God is For Us” (about Romans 8), Louie concludes by telling what has happened with Mike in the last few years.
We’ve cut the audio down to about 18 minutes here. You don’t want to miss this!
P.S. Sometimes there IS a bow! It just takes longer than we might hope or expect.
Luke 10:38-42 says:
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” (Emphasis added)
There are all sorts of reasons why we fail to “sit at the Lord’s feet” (pride, busyness, self-deceit, laziness, etc.), but perhaps it’s because we fail to believe that being with him truly is the “good portion.” Being with him is better than serving him.
Will you believe that in 2011?
“For whatever reason, God chose to make man as he is — limited and suffering and subject to sorrows and death — he [God] had the honesty and the courage to take his own medicine. Whatever game he is playing with his creation, he has kept his own rules and played fair. He can exact nothing from man that he has not exacted from himself. He has himself gone through the whole of human experience, from the trivial irritations of family life to and the cramping restrictions of hard word and lack of money to the worst horrors of pain and humiliation, defeat, despair, and death. When he was a man, he played the man. He was born in poverty and died in disgrace, and thought it was worthwhile.”
-Dorothy Sayers, as quoted in Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus, p. 39.
This Sunday we kick off our new series, Jesus on Prayer, and we have one big, audacious goal for the series: We want to pray more in the next 3 months (individually and collectively) than we ever have in our entire lives.
Therefore, we’ve done two things to help you pursue this goal:
1. We’ve created a companion prayer guide book that will lead you into personal times of prayer, provide space for notes during Sunday sermons, and launch you into prayer as a group. These books are available for $5, so be sure to bring cash or check this Sunday. (Note: almost all Community Groups will be using this as their primary resource this fall). You can also download it here.
2. We’ve aligned our Community Groups with the sermon series to create a tangible environment to apply what you learn. The following community groups still have room if you’d like to join one (click here to sign up):
– Monday, 6:30pm – Brian & Angie Ring (Hunt Hwy & Johnson Ranch)
– Tuesday, 6:30pm – David & Ashley Cady (Recker & Ray)
– Wednesday, 7:00pm – Robert & Cheri Horn (Higley & Pecos)
– Thursday, 7:00pm – Doug & Linda Saul (Higley & Queen Creek)
Here are some other things you can do to get ready for this series:
- Invite a friend to join you. This would be a great series for anybody wanting to know more about how to grow in a relationship with God.
- Join a Community Group and get involved with people who will encourage you along the way.
- Read the Pastor’s blog posts on prayer.
- Buy Paul Miller’s outstanding book, A Praying Life: Connecting With God in a Distracting World.
- Read the Scripture passages that we’ll be studying during this series.
Hope to see you soon!