Titus Email July 2019

Volume 13, Number 7– JULY, 2019

Greetings.  I share with you a couple of articles that hopefully encourage or spur you on.  Coming up at the end of this month is WILD’s once ever two years SUMMIT.  Nearly forty WILD personnel from over fifteen countries will join together in Kampala, Uganda, for five days to pray, encourage and sharpen WILD’s vision.  Please pray for our time together.  Thank you.  Mike
Jesus was quite clear in counting the cost of being a disciple of His and also being a leader for Him, when he addressed a large crowd in Luke 14:25-33.  He gave a couple of ways to decipher His cost analysis.  One was if you were going to follow Him, your commitment and love for Him would be so great that in comparison, it would be as if you hated your love ones.  He is not saying we are to hate.  Rather our level of commitment to Him comparison wise would be like hating our family members.  That is a far-reaching level of commitment.  Going through life as a spiritual leader does not offer comfort in His commitment equation.
Second, Jesus offered two situations where He was saying to consider the cost of following Him, to serve (lead) for Him.  He laid it out clearly that we need to think things through in making this decision.  Do not go into this half-heartedly.  He wanted full commitment and that commitment has nothing to do with the comfort and approval leaders so often crave today.
Possibly because leadership is a major buzz word in our world today, considering the commitment of leadership often is not discussed.  True I am leading you right now because you are following me by reading this article.  Leadership is influence and anyone following you allows you to be called “leader”.  Being a spiritual leader is much greater than that definition. 
If your desire for comfort or the status quo is keeping you from doing difficult, messy, painstakingly slow work of investing in future leaders, then you are certainly dealing with a leadership idol.  Anytime you carry out the concept that you can do something faster (and more efficiently) than training/developing others, that you do not want to take the time to intentionally develop others, then you are involving this idol in your life.    
Comfort issues include the thought that it would take too much time from other things for me to carry out the responsibility to develop leaders.  Uncomfortableness is where I would have to adjust my leadership approach to include and to mentor others.  Additionally, I may have to do things differently to help assist in the development of the person.  I really enjoy doing things my way and I do not want to change.
          Developing others is messy and uncomfortable.  It makes you think outside the box because someone will not do something the same way you do.  It takes mental and spiritual wisdom to determine whether the way the other person is doing something, will succeed just like the way you do it.  (And their way may be more efficient and effective than your way.  That concept is quite scary for some because we figure our way is the best way.)  Things get messy also because your planned-out day may get thrown out the window because you have to spend time with the person.  Reality says it does take more time to have someone come alongside you to observe and then to do something together. 
          A longing for comfort will keep a leader focused on the short-term, temporary and the easy.  Developing others is a long, tedious process.  If you struggle teaching or having patience to help someone work through learning what you are attempting to teach them, the process becomes even more tedious.  Leadership development is not taking a pill or simply taking one leadership course.  This is hard work and has significant eternal consequences. 
          The cost of being a disciple and then a discipler is significant.  Yet, the eternal ramifications can be life changing, not just for the current generation but for generations to come. 
          As Christians, in everything we do and say, we should bring glory and honor to Jesus.  That principle is found in I Corinthians 10:23-33.  Being Christians, we represent Jesus (Matthew 5:16, 2 Corinthians 5:17-21) or as Paul clearly explained that people should follow or imitate what he did and they, too, would be following Jesus. 
          That is all fine until when you try something and it fails, does that mean you have failed Jesus?   In everything that you have attempted in your life, were you perfect at what you did?  It is a very safe guess that none of us have ever done everything perfect.  So does that mean people can follow Jesus even when we make a mistake or do not get all the correct answers on a test? 
          Perhaps the larger aspect is how we handle ourselves when we make mistakes.  Granted there are the sin issues.  We need to have an attitude of confession and intentionally working to change a habit or action so as not to repeat that sin.  There are the mistakes that occur when we attempt something and do not do things perfectly.  Do you look at yourself as a failure and give up or do you handle things differently?
          When life gets difficult, some people respond with a positive, focused attitude while others become basically hard to live with.  There is another group of people who due to mental illness, hormonal imbalance or had something major go wrong in their life where they are purely the victim, we are not talking about them.  
          Let’s say you have just completed a test or a project and ended up with a grade or mark where you did not do as well as hoped or expected, what will your response be?  Or as a soccer player, you attempted four shots and made one goal, are you a failure because you missed three out of the four?  How you answer these questions will put you in a category where you are an achiever or an average person.  Your perception of what failure is and how you respond to failure classifies you as average or achiever.
          What is failure?  Some would say quitting, others would say trying something and not getting it right, or some will indicate it is when you begin making excuses and play the blame game.  Then there is a group of people who say if you do not try because you fear failing at what you are attempting, that is failure. 
          Ponder this.  There is no achievement without failure.  If you would change your perception of what failure is and how one responds to failure, would you attempt to achieve something you have been hesitant over?
          An author John Maxwell coined the phrase, Failing Forward, on how we should handle failure.  You are not failing forward when you blame others for the mistake or error, when you repeat the same mistakes, expect never to fail again, quit or expect to always fail and to simply think, “I am a failure”.  A person fails forward when he or she takes responsibility, learn from your mistakes, realize that failing is part of forward progress, maintain a positive attitude, are willing to take risks, persevere and know that, “I am not a failure; something did not work right but I am not a failure”.
          Honor and bring glory to Jesus in all aspects of your life.  Deal with sin as the Holy Spirit shows you.  Know what you attempt at life will rarely be done perfectly.  That is failing forward.