WISE INTENTIONAL LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
Volume 13, Number 1– JANUARY, 2019
Greetings, 2019 is upon us. Time goes by faster and faster. But to get in touch with God, the great majority of time, we need times to slow down. Slowing down to spend with the Father, to be alone with Him will reap great benefits. I am not just talking about our daily devotions or quiet time. Plan once or twice a month to spend an extended time with Him and see what happens. Happy and Blessed New Year to you. Mike
IDOL OF POWER PART 2
When we have power, whether a certain title or nor and control over others, the temptation is very high to use our position to intimidate, coerce or seek the recognition we feel we deserve. We have to diligently and conscientiously remember we are called to serve, to be slave to overcome those intoxicating thoughts.
Why do you think the apostles had numerous discussions on who would be the greatest (for example Mark 9:33-37/Luke 9:46-50 and on the night Jesus was betrayed – Luke 22:24-28)? Why did Jesus spend a very focused time at the Last Supper (John 13:1-17) to tell the apostles that He had given them an example to serve? The apostles were normally embarrassed that they were caught but it was foremost on their mind.
Just imagine being part of the inner group of the guy that has everyone talking about him. You would be tempted to say, “Yeah, I hang around with him, we go places together and he spends quality time with me.”
It was cool to be an apostle because the apostles were thinking Jesus was the one who would overthrow the Roman empire in their region. Think of the power positions that would come when Jesus set up His new administration! They had to be dreaming of what roles they would be given in the new kingdom.
Peter Koestenbaum recognized that the best use of power contains at least one element of altruism. “Leadership is the use of power. But power, to be ethical, must never be abused. To ensure that, one rule cannot be broken: Power is to be used only for the benefit of others, never for yourself. That is the essential generosity and self-sacrifice of the leader.”
Jesus knew what power does to someone or something. Even before people showed up on the scene, Satan fell from the heavens because he let power and pride get in the way of his affection for God. Pride drives power. The apostles had seen just enough of how majestically powerful Jesus could be and they could not help but think of the potential power opportunities they would have.
For the number of times that Jesus brought up the concept of who would be greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven, you know that He knew it was on the apostles’ minds and secondly, how potent power is. Even one of the apostles’ mothers (James and John who were the same ones that suggested to destroy the Samaritans in Luke 9) requested Jesus to allow her sons to have special positions in heaven (Matthew 20:20—28).
When the other ten heard what she had done, they were indignant, irate and outraged. Power is intoxicating! Perhaps they were also irate because they were not the first ones to have made such a request. Jesus’ response was to not be like the rulers here on earth, using power to their advantage, but rather if they wanted to be first, then be a slave!
Several times when the topic of who was going to be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven was brought up, Jesus would involve a child, stating that if you welcomed a child in Jesus’ name, you would be welcoming Jesus Himself. In other words, if you want to be first, be like a little child who is innocent, considered to have very little value and few if any rights in their culture. Be last and serve others to be great was Jesus’ response.
Most likely what the apostles were not expecting and not wanting to hear. But leadership is exactly that – be the least and servant of all. It is amazing what God will do with a person who has that attitude.
YOUTH ILLUSTRATION – HAVING THE THOUGHT PROCESSES OF JESUS
About twenty years ago, Christians were encouraged to wear WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) bracelets. These bracelets were big and many wore them. Personally, I thought we were getting it wrong because acronym should have been WWJT – “What Would Jesus Think”. The reason for this is simple. If I get you to think a certain way, your behavior will consistently follow your thinking.
This philosophy has been used on youth for centuries. Why did Nebuchadnezzar select young men to take back to Babylon when he conquered Judah? Basically, they were of the age that you can influence and shape the thinking process of young people. If you can get young people to think a certain way, they have many years to live out that thinking. This was what the Communists did and more recently, we have seen radical groups like Al-Qaeda train young children to become terrorists.
For way to long Christians have focused on the behavior of youth. You need to be developing your thinking processes. Romans 12:2 indicates, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (NLT). Changing the way you think is called renewing your mind.
Among the African population, about 70% are 25 and younger. The largest age group in India are the 25 to 40 year old. In America, there are approximately 95 million 18 to 41 year old. About 60 percent of these Americans say they are Christians and only about three million have a Biblical worldview (“UnChristian”). What is a worldview? Essentially it is how a person views at the world; where you go to get your standards and values. It helps you make sense of the world.
As you go through your teen years, you are developing your thought processes as you work through the whys and how’s of life. You question why you do or do not believe something or how something works. Accepting something because your parents say so no longer carry much weight. You are working out reasoning, to believe something because it is your own personal belief, asking, “Can I trust God?”
Do you know how Jesus thought, why He did the things He did and said what He did? In order to work this through, you need to get to know what Jesus said and what else is written in the Bible. Think it through, ask questions and ponder whether what you are studying from the Bible is evident in your life. If not, why not?
A simple test of this is can you share about your faith without using “church” words? Many of your friends do not know what most of the words we use in church mean, so you need to communicate with them in a way that they will understand, properly contextualizing. If you can only use “churchy” words, then you need to work through what you really do believe and why you believe what you do.
Many groups of people want you to think their way. “It is okay to lie or steal as long as no one gets hurt.” Or it can be as radical as, “If someone does not believe about God the same way you do, you can kill them.” Many different types of people are after your mind. Jesus wants your mind, heart and soul to transform you into a loving person of His. If you are a Christian, you need to work to think as Jesus thought. To do that, get to know Him better as you learn the Bible, meditating on what it says and interacting with other Christians and Bible teachers to understand its meaning.