Titus Email August 2018

Volume 12, Number 8– AUGUST, 2018
Greetings.  I trust you are doing well.  Several weeks ago WILD had an informational booth at a large Christian music festival.  I was able to connect with many people and share about WILD.  A few were very interested.  Many had some interest.  I met three young women from Africa, one from Zambia, one from Liberia and one from Senegal as they are living in the US right now.  It was wonderful to share with them about their continent and they in turn loved the fact that one person at this festival understood somewhat where they came from.  That was a blessing for the four of us.  Mike

We all need to be honest with ourselves to allow God to truly flow through us.  Leaders especially need to maintain a high standard of integrity to be used by God for His glory.  How often have spiritual leaders had the conversation of whether their leadership is idolatry to themselves?  An idol is anything beneath the surface and drives sinful, destructive behavior in one’s life.  Having an idol in our lives will prevent a leader from the holy task of developing other leaders.
You may not have associated “holy task” with developing leaders.  Ephesians 4:12-13 spells out that church leaders are “to equip (to completely furnish) God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
Jesus commands us to provide whatever is necessary for the Christians in our churches to be able to serve in the way they are created by God to build/develop the Body to reach unity or oneness in our faith and understanding of Jesus.  That is the spiritual maturity process.  We are not to keep our maturity and roles in the Body to ourselves but develop Christians so they mature in their faith.  Is this not a “holy task”?
Over the course of several month we will look at four idols. Any idol inhibits us who call ourselves a spiritual leader from fulfilling that “holy task”.  I pray you are willing to search your heart to rid yourself of idols in your lives.
The first idol is the concept of control which means I long to have everything go according to my plan.  We micromanage people.  Do it my way or else.  Perhaps that is why we do not delegate responsibilities or only to certain people.  You think that no one can do whatever task is at hand like I can.  It is like allowing someone to drive and handing them the steering wheel or handlebars and suddenly you grab the wheel or bar back because you do not like the way the person drives or where you are going.
Some issues with this idol includes you do not trust people.  Possibly you were not trained as you were going through the process or levels to get where you are, so you are not going to train or develop others.  Another struggle comes in the form of I will give you tools to accomplish the task at hand but you have to accomplish the task my way and in my style.  How many of you teach like me, Mike Prom?  Only one person teaches like me and that is me, Mike Prom.  So why should I expect you to teach just like me when we are made differently?  But that is what we do to people we “equip” but not empower them to be themselves to complete the task.
How about this thought?  I must be in charge because I cannot let go, which again is a trust issue.  This shows I am insecure.  I am afraid someone will take my job, position or status if I give up control.  Then I will have no significance in my life.  I do not want to follow anyone I cannot control as it makes me uncomfortable.  King Saul had a major problem with control, to the point where he attempted to kill David.  Now we are spiritual and would never kill, but do we take the opportunity to tear down someone just a little bit when we do not want that person to be in control?  Or do we never offer that person an opportunity to be developed because we are afraid?
Our spiritual language comes out and says, “I just want to ensure this gets accomplished the right, godly way.”  Here we have the tendency to say to God, “I will follow You, but….” and list conditions how you will follow Him?  We still need to be in control of our lives at all times.
Take time to reflect on the questions posed in this article.  Ask God whether you struggle with control and then ask people you work with if you struggle with control.


One of the harder challenges Jesus laid before his apostles and us is from Luke 14:27, “And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”  Being a follower of Jesus is not just for the idea of “fire insurance”, meaning asking forgiveness of your sins keeps you out of hell.  It means that if you truly desire to seek forgiveness of your sins, you also want to turn away from a life of sin and be obedient to what the Bible teaches us.
Back in the day when Jesus spoke Luke 14:27, the concept of taking up or carrying your cross meant you were heading to your death.  Remember Jesus carried his physical cross partway to where He would be crucified until Simon of Cyrene was ordered to carry it for Him due to how brutally beaten and scourged Jesus was.  Being a follower of Jesus is not something you pick up on weekends to do.  It is to be our lifestyle and a commitment that is not to be taken lightly.
Following Jesus costs each of us something.  At the very least, it is our own will to do just what we want.  Instead we are seeking Jesus for His direction for our lives, often at first reading something from the Bible and then applying (obeying) that principle or truth to our lives through changing our attitude or behavior.  As we grow spiritually, the applications are often more life changing.  We place ourselves under the control and are willing to develop however Jesus leads.
That takes discipline.  For the great majority of us, reading something and then immediately applying that concept or principle to our lives does not automatically happen.  We may need to have reminders through reading the Bible, having the Holy Spirit or another Christian prompt us and practice that principle.
Let’s say you have a tough time saying bad, negative things about people.  Those bad things come out of your mouth so easily and without thinking.  You definitely can memorize a couple of verses like Ephesians 4:29-30 or Colossians 3:8-9, which allows you to ponder over and over in your mind what the verses are saying.  This gives Jesus and the Holy Spirit opportunities to prompt your mind of what should come out of your mouth.
Letting a good Christian friend who keeps your confidences remind you of how your speech is doing or stop you when something bad comes out is good accountability.  We do need to talk with Jesus and ask for forgiveness when you do speak bad about others.  It is a process and a renewing or changing of your thinking over time that will help you to become more like Jesus in your speech.
Following Jesus is a daily, continuous process that takes the discipline to keep saying yes to ways to be like Him and turning away from wrong, sinful patterns.  Leadership developer John Maxwell said, “What you are going to be tomorrow, you are becoming today.”  We all have to make conscience decisions to follow Jesus’ way of living.  It would be so nice to take a pill and then be like Jesus, but it does not work that way.  His ways are the best for us.