KEY: Leadership is not about doing what makes people comfortable, it’s about taking them to where they are supposed to go.
PROMISES KEPT AND UNKEPT
Tim Jack, Apostolic Church Australia National Leadership Team, challenges…
Most would know that keeping a promise is more difficult than making it.
Most would know that to be true, some having experienced it painlessly in the small things of life and others, painfully, in life’s larger issues.
Changes and challenges
Abraham, the father of all who live by faith, built his life on God’s promise. It changed his …
As Abraham found, waiting for a promise to be fulfilled has its challenges. In trying to artificially fulfil God’s promise, Abraham, using the creativity that God gave him, brought into being a people enslaved to law and where the children, Paul says, ‘live in slavery’ (Gal. 4:25NLT).
Promises not kept or not properly fulfilled
Unkept promises and promises fulfilled with wrong methods can produce …
God’s good promise
Contrasting Abraham and his well-intended but dangerous departure into fulfilling God’s promise by himself, is God’s own work to deliver the child of promise. At a ‘local’ level, this was the arrival of Isaac, the son of Abraham’s freeborn wife.
The same promise came with a second fulfilment, this time on a global level – Jesus born at Bethlehem. The ‘child’ who was sent and who willingly came to make good the promise of God to redeem humankind.
This is the promise we’ll be remembering with joy next month!
Jesus’ great promises
Jesus made his own promises – one was to send the Comforter, the Holy Spirit (John 14:12), who would continue to do in us what Jesus did among us.
This would continue until the fulfilment of his second promise – that he would return to the earth (John 14:1-3; Luke 12:40; 21:25-27; Mark 13:32).
Kept promises and promises fulfilled produce…
Until Jesus’ second promise is fulfilled, we live in faith and with patience in the reality of his first promise, now fulfilled – the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit.
Tim Jack is moving into the next God-prepared exciting opportunity of promises for his own ministry! News and links – firstname.lastname@example.org / mobile: 0412 277 918
WILLINGNESS TO DO WHAT YOU’RE UNQUALIFIED FOR IS WHAT QUALIFIES YOU
Ed Delph shares another thought-provoker…
As a pastor now since 1980, I am continually amazed by the people whom God choses to be his team members. God loves to turn what the world think are losers into winners. If a person is willing, God makes something out of nothing, the best out of their worst and the most out of their least.
When I’m tempted to judge, criticise, or marginalise under-performing Christians, I read this article that someone wrote – a Report from the Pastoral Search Committee.
‘We have been unable to find a suitable candidate for this church, although we have one promising prospect left. We do appreciate all the following suggestions from the church; we have followed up on each one with interviews and reference checks.
The following is a confidential report on those whom we have rejected for the following reasons; only first names given:
• Adam – Good man but has wife trouble. Gives in to her whims too much.
• Noah – former pastorate of 120 years with no converts, problem with the bottle, and a wayward son morals problem.
• Abraham – Scandal ridden, offered wife to another man, child abuse.
• Joseph – A big thinker but a braggart, a dreamer and a prison record.
• Moses – Poor communicator, stutters, unanswered murder charge.
• David – Affair with neighbour’s wife, then hired a hit man to kill her husband.
• Solomon – Husband of more than one wife, in fact parsonage too small for all the wives.
• Elijah – Prone to depression, nervous break downs and collapses under pressure.
• Hosea – Our congregation could not handle his wife’s occupation.
• Jeremiah – Emotionally unstable, alarmist, negative, lamenter, buried underwear on a river bank?
• Isaiah – On the fringe, claims to see angels.
• Jonah – Refuses to preach to the lost unless forced to by God.
• John – Doesn’t dress like a Baptist, weird diet, and provokes higher powers.
• Peter – Has bad temper, curses, hypocrite in racial matters, and a loose cannon.
• Paul – Thrown out of cities and preaches all night.
• Timothy – Too young and is single.
• Jesus – Dwindled a church of 5,000 down to 12 leaders and 120 in attendance, offends folks.
• Judas – His references are solid. Good connections. Knows how to handle money, has compassion for poor. He is preaching for us Sunday. Possibilities here.’
Isn’t that interesting? Everyone except Judas was unqualified for the pastoral position. But all the others had one qualification that Judas didn’t…willingness.
God looks at the heart!
God starts with someone who is willing to be on his team. Then, he slowly and surely transforms them into his image.
The rejected candidates were greatly used by God. They had the willingness and the capacity. They just didn’t have the competency yet.
Judas had competency but not the right capacity. Judas was a pastor by career. The others were pastors by calling.
The Christians around us may have all kinds of problems in the beginning. But give them a few years hanging around God’s word. The stuff we criticise them for starts fading away. They are not perfect, but they are forgiven. God is turning their mess into a message. They are becoming trophies of grace, messengers with a great message which shouts to both the churched and the unchurched, ‘Look what the Lord has done.’
You see, God will take us just as we are, even with our past and our ‘craziness.’ Why? He looks at the heart. God didn’t let the rejected candidates stay the same. He didn’t let them get away with, ‘Well, that’s the way I am and I can’t change.’ He expected better things and he got better things. That’s an inside job. It takes time, grace and patience.
Yes, God chose the lowest so he could confound the highest that the earth has to offer. He chose the unqualified and then qualified them. That way God gets the glory and we get the blessing.
Dr Ed Delph is president of Nationstrategy, an organisation with the strategy of envisioning and empowering today’s leaders in the church to be some of tomorrow’s leaders in the community. Links: email@example.com / http://www.nationstrategy.com
LISTENING FOR THE MASTER’S VOICE
Colin Stott, Special to ASSIST, has a thought to encourage us in our prayer life…
We can talk to our heavenly Father at anytime, anywhere, about anything. Isn’t that great? But the best relationships are those where friends both talk and listen to each other.
God wants that kind of relationship with his people. He wants us to be as ready to listen to him as he is to listen to us.
The need to listen
As much as we might want to hear from God, our natural tendency is to be concerned with our own needs. Our prayers for them are usually all we make time for. Our busy lives don’t leave much room for listening which is an essential part of prayer. How can we know what God wants us to do if we don’t listen to what he has to say?
Perhaps another reason for not listening is because we might not want to hear what God has to say to us. There may be an area of our life we don’t want him to disturb. If we listen too closely we might hear him ask us to give up something or do something we are not quite ready or willing to do.
It is easier to stay busy with our Bible reading and prayer lists (all good things) but without allowing any time for God to speak to us!
The need to meditate
If we are serious about listening to God, it will help to cultivate a habit of meditating on God.
• Let him speak to us from scripture.
• Ask questions.
• Make it personal. What is God saying to me through his word?
• Give him time to answer. Let him impress his thoughts on our spirits.
• It helps to be in a quiet place, but we don’t have to be. God can speak to us in the storm.
• An ear used to listening can hear the master’s voice anywhere.
‘Speak for your servant is listening’ (1 Sam 3:10)
The need to avoid loss
Psalm 25:14 says God wants to confide in his people. How amazing is that? God reveals the deep things of his heart to those who will listen.
If we don’t develop a habit of listening for the still, small voice of his Spirit, it will not just be our great loss, but we will grieve our heavenly Father.
Colin Stott is International Prayer Coordinator for Global Recordings Network (GRN), a mission that provides audio Bible stories in over six thousand languages and dialects. Links: www.globalrecordings.net / firstname.lastname@example.org
CHURCH HISTORY HEROES – WHO SAID IT?
Esther Laurie asks, ‘How well do you know these foundational quotes from pastors and missionaries?
Take this quiz to find out!
1. What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.
Francis of Assisi or AW Tozer
2. Prayer is an earnest and familiar talking with God.
John Knox or Mary Slessor
3. Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.
Martin Luther or Deitrich Bonnoeffer
4. You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.
John Bunyan or Jim Elliot
5. Character is what you are in the dark.
John Wesley or DL Moody
6. Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.
Mother Teresa or Elisabeth Elliott
7. God forbid that I should travel with anybody a quarter of an hour without speaking of Christ to them.
John Newton or George Whitfield
8. Wilderness is a temporary condition through which we are passing to the Promised Land.
John Bunyan or Cotton Mather
9. Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! O what a foretaste of glory divine! Heir of salvation, purchase of God. Born of his Spirit, washed in his blood.
Fanny Crosby or Issac Watts
10. Hope itself is like a star- not to be seen in the sunshine of prosperity, and only to be discovered in the night of adversity.
John Gill or Charles Spurgeon
11. Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.
Wilbur Wilberforce or Jim Elliot
12. Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.
Martin Luther or James Hudson Taylor
13. Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.
John Wesley or Martin Luther King Jr
14. You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.
Elisabeth Elliot or Amy Carmichael
15. Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.
Francis Schaeffer or Augustine of Hippo
16. God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply.
James Hudson Taylor or Martin Luther King Jr
17. Life is pitiful, death so familiar, suffering and pain so common, yet I would not be anywhere else. Do not wish me out of this or in any way seek to get me out, for I will not be got out while this trial is on. These are my people, God has given them to me, and I will live or die with for him and his glory.
William Tyndale or Gladys Aylward
18. All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.
Mother Teresa or Francis of Assisi
19. Forgiveness is the economy of the heart… forgiveness saves the expense of anger, the cost of hatred, the waste of spirits.
Hanna More or Joan of Arc
20. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile.
Billy Graham or Billy Sunday
Answers: 1. Tozer, 2. Knox, 3. Bonnoeffer, 4. Bunyan, 5. Moody, 6. Taylor, 7. Whitfield, 8. Mather, 9. Crosby, 10. Spurgeon, 11. Elliot, 12. Luther, 13. Wesley, 14. Carmichael, 15. Augustine, 16. Taylor, 17. Aylward, 18. Francis, 19. More, 20. Sunday.
Esther Laurie is a staff writer at Church Leaders. She believes in the power of the written word and the beauty of transformation and empowering others. Laurie’s goal to work the word ‘whimsy’ into most conversations. Links: http://estherlaurie.com
Excerpted from the highly recommended Church Leaders (http://ChurchLeaders.com)
Dick Hardy, pastoral leadership consultant, writes …
I had a chance to talk with my pastor, John Lindell, about leadership influence and this is what he had to say …
John’s candid thoughts reveal how he views real leadership in ministry and for today’s blog at The Hardy Group, I thought you might like to see it.
Dick Hardy and John Lindell
Dick Hardy is president of The Hardy Group, an executive consulting firm for senior pastors and churches
Recommended Hardy Group products – link: email@example.com.