Monthly Archives: March 2013
Today I met with my Christian Education leaders for the first of three ministry leadership development sessions I have planned for the year. I absolutely love these people. They are such a joy to be around. They encourage and inspire me, in ways they may never know, to be a better follower of Jesus and a pastor to His people.
For the first half of our meeting (we met today for two hours), we sang, prayed, ate, and fellowshipped. I also bought them Dave Kraft’s book, Mistakes Leaders Make, of which they read the first three chapters. I broke them up into their leadership teams and each ministry leader led their teams in reviewing and discussing each chapter.
For the second half, I reconvened them and spent about 45 minutes teaching on “Leadership and Jesus.” Here’s what I covered (I deleted the “Questions for Reflection” sections after each one so as to not make this post too long). I pray it will be helpful to you.
Leadership and Jesus
If our leadership – not to even mention our lives – is going to be faithful to and fruitful for God, we must follow God’s model of leadership. Here are five foundational characteristics that defined Jesus’ leadership when he was here on earth:
Jesus’ leadership was marked by prayerful communion with God the Father (Mark 1:35; Luke 9:18, 28; 11:1; John 17)
After successfully completing a major miraculous “project” of feeding 5,000+ people, Jesus goes up on a mountain by himself to pray (Matthew 14:22-23; Mark 6:45-46)
Feeling the weight of of his impending inexplicable and excruciating sin-bearing, wrath-absorbing sacrificial death on the cross, Jesus spent time in the garden of Gethsemane praying (Matthew 26:36-44; Mark 14:32-39; Luke 22:39-46)
Jesus prays all night before selecting 12 of his disciples to become Apostles (Luke 5:12-16)
Jesus prayed for Peter who would fail him by denying him (Luke 22:31-32)
We need not only to personally spend time in prayer, but we need to also model prayerfulness amongst our leadership teams. Our prayer times with each other need to be flavored with a sense of unhurried sincerity. This is not necessarily an appeal for you to pray long prayers. It has more to do with praying heartfelt prayers.
From the very outset of his life and ministry, Jesus was acutely aware of and fully dependent on the Holy Spirit’s empowerment and guidance.
Jesus’ conception was supernaturally brought about by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:35)
At Jesus’ baptism – the inauguration of his ministry – the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus like a dove (Matthew 3:16-17)
Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit and was led by Him into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1; Luke 4:1)
Jesus casted out demons by the power of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:28)
Jesus’ ministry was empowered by the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:17-19)
Everything about Jesus’ life and leadership was in sync with and informed by the Old Testament and soon-to-be-written New Testament.
Jesus lived his life according to the Old Testament. He perfectly fulfilled the Law of God. (Matthew 5:17)
Jesus used the Word (i.e., Old Testament) to successfully combat the temptations of the devil (Matthew 4:3-11)
Jesus endorsed John’s ministry before the crowd by quoting an Old Testament passage about him in Malachi 3:1 (Matthew 11:10)
Jesus referred to a passage in the book of Isaiah to describe the spiritual state of crowd and why he spoke to them in parables (Matthew 13:13-15)
Jesus committed the Scriptures to memory (Matt. 21:13, 16, 42; 22:29-32)
Jesus’ ministry was framed by the Scriptures (Luke 4:17-19)
The Gospel, i.e. his redemptive death on the cross for our sins and his resurrection from the dead, was central to and influenced Jesus’ ministry and leadership among the people. When you have a moment, just trace Jesus’ interactions with people throughout the Gospels. Here are just a few that I want to highlight:
How could God the Son, who became human, come into this sinful world and not condemn it? The Gospel (John 3:16-18)
How could the sinless Son of God offer forgiveness and accountability to a sinful woman who was caught in the act of adultery, instead of allowing her to be stoned to death according to the Law of Moses? The Gospel (John 8:1-11)
How could the righteous Son of God live among and even eat with unrighteous/self-righteous people, and not justifiably separate himself from us and leave us in spiritual darkness? The Gospel (Luke 7:36-39)
So too must the gospel be central to our lives and leadership. When it is, we and others will be able to tell because the culture or environment in our ministries and in our church at large will exude:
Grace – expressing undeserved loving kindness
Truth – embracing biblical standards and accountability
Forgiveness – erasing of intentional and unintentional sins and offenses committed
Repentance & Reconciliation – owning up to and turning from the sins committed against each other, & opening up our lives again and extending trust to the offender who has genuinely demonstrated fruits of repentance.
Love – doing good to others regardless of their actions towards us
Non-Judgmental – withholding prejudice and self-righteous judgment against others
Unity – realizing Jesus is the common denominator between us and accepting (i.e., not passing judgment or despising) each other and not fighting over personal opinions or preferences
How do we remain Gospel-centered? We must revel in it (1 Peter 1:3-6a) and remind ourselves of it (2 Timothy 2:8).
Jesus was clear on his mission, on his purpose for coming. He came to give his life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28). He was focused on the Father’s mission for his life, so much so that he would not allow people to derail him from it by accepting their attempt to make him an earthly king (John 6:15) or allow even one of his own disciples to dissuade him (Matthew 16:21-23).
Anything that we do as a church in general and as a department and ministry in particular should connect to and advance Jesus’ mission for us as recorded in Matthew 28:18-20. If not, then we shouldn’t commit energy or resources to it.
Worship On Wednesday
This is what we call our mid-week worship service. Our Pastor, Dr. Karry D. Wesley, was out of town preaching a revival this past week. So he asked me to preach in his stead. I am always grateful to have the opportunity to preach God’s Word to my church family. It is a high honor to me. I preached on “It’s Going To Cost You” from Luke 14:25-35. It was one of those sermons in which I struggled at times, not from lack of preparation, just one of those times in which you are not real sure if you might be saying something clearly enough. In spite of that, God was faithful and made up the difference. I am always amazed at how the sermon where I think I struggled some was the very one that spoke to people the most. Only God!
All of this was just a reminder for me to always and ultimately depend on God to transform lives through the faithful preaching of His Word, and to remain humble before God.
I continued my teaching series on Proverbs today looking at chapter four with a lesson I entitled, “From Generation To Generation.” I probably would have retitled it, “Wisdom For All Generations,” but that’s neither here nor there. I didn’t finish. Out of the 27 verses, we got through 11.
I absolutely love studying and preaching/teaching God’s Word. I couldn’t dream of doing anything else. I would do this (and have) even if I didn’t get paid for it. The fact that I do is a bonus, better yet, a blessing!
In addition to my regular weekly ministry responsibilities, I have a few preaching engagements outside of Antioch this month. As I said in my last post, this is truly “March Madness” for me…but I’m loving every bit of it! Here are the two that will be happening this coming week:
2013 Spring Revival
Tuesday, March 19th
Morse Street Baptist Church (Denton, TX)
Young Adult Men’s Gathering
Friday, March 22nd
If your remember, please pray for my strength and focus this week. Thanks.
Sunday Reflections (March 3, 2013): Men’s Breakfast, Proverbs, “March Madness”, The Bible Miniseries
Yesterday, I was invited by the Mt. Zion Church (Dallas, TX – Pastor Tim Collins) to speak at their Men’s Breakfast gathering. Their topic or theme was, “Brothers Taking A Stand” (1 Cor. 16:13-14).
Paul’s five commands in this passage served as my outline:
1. Be watchful
2. Stand firm in the faith
3. Act like men
4. Be Strong
5. Let all that you do be done in love
We had a great time in the Word, and the food was awesome too!
I continued my Proverbs teaching series, looking at chapter 3 verses 13 through 24. I entitled the lesson, “Wisdom: A Woman’s Worth”. Wisdom is personified as a woman in Proverbs, so I sought to frame my lesson title and outline accordingly. I only made it through verse 18. So we will pick up the lesson at that point next week.
No, I am not talking about College basketball. This month is going to be crazy for me in terms of ministry. God has afforded a few opportunities this month that I am excited about and grateful for. As they happen, I will be sure to post about them here on my blog.
The Bible Miniseries
In less than 30 minutes, “The Bible” miniseries, produced by Mark Burnett (who produced hit shows like, “Survivor,” and “The Voice”) and Roma Downey, will premiere on the History Channel and will conclude on Easter (Resurrection) Sunday. It should be interesting to say the least. I hope that those who really don’t read or know the Bible will have their interests piqued by this series to at least begin the journey to know more about it, and will hopefully come to know the one of whom the entire Bible points to – our great God and Savior, Jesus.