As I was reading today’s readings, something caught my attention from a book of the Bible that I typically don’t turn to. That’s why it is good to have a plan of reading scripture that isn’t just books or concepts … Continue reading
One of the stories in Exodus that is most beloved by leadership folks is Exodus 18, where Moses learns how to delegate. It’s a great story and today’s reading focuses on it. But I don’t want to read all that story … Continue reading
S – scripture
Slow down. No matter where you read this at, at work, at home, wherever, take this moment to breathe. Take this moment to let the worries to this moment, the worries of tomorrow, the regrets of the past leave your mind. Listen. Listen to the Word of God. Listen.
A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.
O – observation
How leadership works in the world
The disciples are fighting about who will be the greatest in the kingdom that is to come. And Jesus basically handles that question in two ways. First, he poses the question, how does leadership work in the world?
It’s about power, prestige, and money. He says, they lord over you. The leaders act better than you, more powerful than you, they use that power to get you to do what they want you to do. You do what they want you to do, because you don’t have any choice. You have to. That’s what the kings of Jesus day did.
How leadership works in the church
Jesus then asked, what about us? How should it be for us?
Instead of power being the driving force of leadership for His people, greatness for us does not come from power, but from service. Jesus tells us, that for us to be truly great in God’s kingdom, we must serve. To truly be great or a leader or respected in God’s kingdom, it’s about how we serve. How we love. How we forgive.
That’s what greatness looks like for us.
How Jesus lived
Jesus asks, in their culture, who would be “seen” as greater? The one “reclining at the table” would basically be the one at the seat of honor. Jesus says, what do I do? I serve you. And yet, who is more honorable that Jesus? Who is greater than Jesus? No one. So, Jesus doesn’t just tell the disciples that they should serve and love, He actually does.
He is the greatest. And He is the servant.
A – application
Am I using my “status” for my good or God’s?
God has you where He has you for a reason. Your friends, your job, your connections, everything. He has you there for a reason. Are you using the place He has you for His purpose in your life, or for you own? Are you using your resources for His good and His purpose, or are you using them only for your power, or position, or appearance.
He tells us that that’s what the world does. And He has told us that as Christians, that’s not what we are supposed to do. How are we using all that God has given us?
Am I serving today as Jesus would have?
Jesus tells us to truly be great for Him, we have to serve. Today, are we doing that? Are we serving others? Are we placing them ahead of ourselves? Are we placing their needs, their stuff ahead of ours? That’s were true greatness, true peace, true purpose comes from. Not from living for ourselves, but for living for God’s purpose.
Jesus modeled that, He lived that, He showed that.
Today, as His followers, do we do the same?
P – prayer
Dear Father, today, help us to use everything that you have given us for your purpose and for your glory. Help us to be truly great in your kingdom. Help us to serve each other, as you served us. Amen.
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First, go check out this passage.
1. Church matters. Everything in Acts happens in the confines of church. We see folks converted and plug into church. We see discussions and arguments within the church and the church say – we will go this way, this what we will do.
We see the church pray over and send folks out. We see church structure established. We see leaders emerge.
In short, even though we live in an age where the growing edge of the evangelical world loves to critique and criticize the church for not “doing” more or not being perfect, church is a good thing.
Yes, I said it. Church is a good thing. Church matters. It’s important. The actual church matters. Yes, the institution of the church matters.
It’s not just “me and Jesus.” We as Christians are called to be part of something, part of this body.
Yes. The institution of the church is a good thing. Is is perfect. No? But it matters.
Even though it is fashionable to beat up on the institutional church, it still matters. I agree with Bill Hybals, the local church is the hope fo the world, because in the local church people meet Jesus.
2. There are moments of disagreement – Conflict is ok. We see the church argue over what to do, where to go in regards to the Gentiles being converted. There were arguments.
The church is also made of people. That means we are going to have disagreements. That’s ok. What do we do then? Can we stay focused on Jesus and His mission for the church? Our will we love our opinion and “getting our way” more than we love Jesus and His mission for His church?
Conflict is not avoidable. It will arise. How will we handle it.
3. Leadership requires courage. Peter had to speak. There was silience. Folks were looking, waiting. Peter stepped up to the plate. He spoke and gave leadership.
To be a leader means you have to make the hard call sometimes. Make the hard choice. Speak when no one wants to. It ain’t easy. But, it’s what you have to do, if you lead.
These are just a few thoughts. Hope they are are helpful to you!
I was thinking this morning about being different. As I’ve been working on my first sermon for Asbury Church, I’ve been thinking about how I will introduce myself, my beliefs, my family, all these things that make me who I am. And I’ve been thinking about how we are all different. No two of us are the same, no two of us have the ideas about everything, the same passions, the same dreams, the same beliefs, even.
And, that’s ok. There’s something awesome about all us, with our ideas and own stuff gathering together around the table, worshiping our resurrected Lord.
Today, in one of the passages, Jesus talks about being different. And He says, not only is it a good thing, but that we as Christians are called to be different. He says in Matthew 20:
24 When the ten heard it, they were angry with the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. 26 It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; 28 just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
Jesus tells us today, the world understands greatness in terms of power. Who’s the boss? Who is the one in control? Who is right? Who wins?
That’s how the world works.
It is not so among you. We are called to be different. We are not called to be like the world. None of us are the boss – God is. Those of us that lead, lead not by our own wisdom or knowledge, but by God’s wisdom, and God’s knowledge.
The greatest among us is not the smartest or strongest, it is the one that serves.
We are called to be different. We are called not be the same. We are called to find life, not in our own life, but in His life.
We are called to love. To love our God and love each other.
So, don’t feel bad about being different. In fact, be proud! Jesus wants us to live different, to love different, to be different. It is not so among us. We are called to serve one another. And serve Him.
And, in these acts of service, though simple, small things, we find that power of God. We find the life of God. We find a purpose of life and for faith.
Though love. Through service. Through being different.
Today, an amazing, abundant day, an amazing abundant life are our there for that taking. Through Jesus Christ.
Today, let’s go live that life. Let’s find that life. Through His grace, mercy, and strength. Let’s love and serve with the power of God. And let’s find what it is we seek.
Tonight, I’ve been thinking about leadership, particularly within the church. I just heard the story of preacher somewhere within the state of Mississippi that did something so incredibly stupid that it made my head hurt.
This action made me mad for a a couple of reasons. But, the main was because this person had been given a group of souls by the church, but more importantly, by God, that he was supposed to take care of. And for some reason that I don’t understand, he didn’t.
Why? Why do people do dumb things? Why do people not see the results of their actions? I don’t know.
But, in truth we all do that. We all do dumb things. We all do not think through our actions. But, for most of us we have more common sense than the person I’m thinking about.
What does this have to do with leadership?At the core, I think leadership is about one thing. Trust. To lead Ripely FUMC, above all, my people have to trust me. They have to trust that God is leading me and that I’m listening to Him. They have to trust that I’m listening to them as well. That I value them. That I know God doesn’t just speak to me, but to all of us.
And sometimes, in fact most of the time, it’s not about what I teach others. It’s about what they can teach me.
And maybe that’s why this person did something terribly dumb. He thought He was the only source of wisdom. It was just him and God. And if the people didn’t listen to him, then they weren’t listening to God. He didn’t trust them. And, because of that, they didn’t trust him, and it all blew up.
Trust. It’s hard to earn. It’s easily lost. And without it, ministry, or any type of leadership is impossible. If we are going to lead, in whatever setting we are in, we have to earn the trust of others.
How? By valuing them. Loving them. Respecting them. Listening to them. Serving them. Know that we as the leader are not the only source of wisdom. Remembering that all wisdom come from God. And in that, they will trust. And we can lead.