God Uses those who will Serve—March 26, 2017

Vol. 2, No. 14 – 2017time

When I was still in my mother’s womb, He chose me and called me out of sheer generosity!. Galatians 1:15 (paraphrased)

There was once a motivated bull in a china closet; he was a runaway freight train. His name was Saul, and he was headed toward Damascus; down the tracks toward a sudden stop. He was a religious zealot, a legalist in the full sense in his prime—so he thought. In addition, he was seen as a Rabbi, and a highly intelligent man.

Now he becomes the Apostle Paul.

My message came by a direct revelation from Jesus Christ himself—no one else taught me. Something happened  . . . (I was shown) undeserved mercy! Galatians 1:12, 15

It was like a 9.9 scale earthquake—his life was impacted like no other time in his existence. Now this Jewish leader, the legalist, was to be forever different. That happens to leaders and following leaders who listen, instead of mumbling through life.

Sometimes people dismiss total change in a person. It is said that a psychologist suggested that in the conversion of Saul he was greatly troubled by his conscience, because of his cruelty to Christians. On the way to Damascus some physical malady (perhaps an epileptic fit) precipitated an approaching crisis and made him imagine that he had caught a vision of Christ. What a foolish scholar!

This leader was not changed by imagination, nor by any psychological/chemical reaction; he was totally changed to be Someone he had never been. What happened along the highway was real. Warren Wiersbe paraphrases Saul’s words in verse 15, “God did it! God had designs on me!” Even Saul’s name was changed to Paul.

The change is through the grace of Christ. God, because of mercy and grace, stops him and changes him, 180 degrees. When Paul cries out (as depicted in Acts 26:15-18), the voice of Christ answers:

I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. Now stand up! For I have appeared to you to appoint you as my servant and my witness.

Paul has a new assignment as a leader. His leadership will take him a totally different direction from his past experience. His leadership will also place him in a position to develop following leaders.

God’s grace became a tremendous motivation. He was no longer self-centered; self left the premises. He could have chosen to remain a Jewish Rabbi; he could have replaced Gamaliel—but he chose to commit his life to right leadership with a focus on others.

This man who was named Saul, now Paul, cannot help but allow his change to influence his life and those surrounding him. That is what true leaders do!

Everything comes from Him
Everything exists by His power
Everything is intended for His glory  Romans 11:36

My life was completely changed 52 years ago following the preaching of Mason Cooper. Life change offered an opportunity to be a following leader in business, ministry, and education. Pastor Mason Cooper went home to be with the Lord in January of this year at the age of 97. I miss the times of our conversations. He was a great following leader to follow, because he followed The Leader. How is your leadership working out for you?

Profiles in Leadership—Tired Leadership that Never Gives Up—March 19, 2017

never give upVol. 2, No. 13 – 2017

Gideon (and his warriors) were very tired, but they kept on pursuing the enemy. Judges 8:4 Too pooped to participate? Keep on keeping on! Ready to throw in the towel? Victory is near.

The frog in the picture on the right has the right attitude–he never gives up!

The victory was almost won, time to scale back and bring your warriors home. Right? It is a matter of preserving the warriors’ lives, a matter of money, a matter of good image before your constituents. Right?

The enemy is almost defeated, under 98% control—is 98% really good enough? How many of us would be satisfied with a dentist who drills the right tooth 98% of the time, or a surgeon who cuts of the right leg 98% of the time. It is rather a foolish question is it not?

Gideon, tired, urges his warriors to move forward. He does what is necessary to fulfill complete victory. River crossings are blocked. He uses those who did not serve him as a result of their own pride and jealousy (they wanted a share in the spoils of victory, but it is not uncommon for people to want government funds with little contribution to the effort). The Ephraimites did not want to risk their own lives for their brothers in need; however, they were willing to do small things away from the battle to at least gain something for themselves.

Gideon and his warriors were tired, fed up with the lack of participation by those of the nation that could help. It is infinitely easier to quit than to endure. Quitting leaves scars and wounds that affect lives longer than one ever expected them to stay. God’s word to leaders is, “Do not quit!

An uncle of mine was a paratrooper in WW2. He, along with his unit, was dropped behind enemy lines in the Battle of the Bulge, the last great offensive of the German Army (lasting from December 16, 1944—January 25, 1945). Uncle Wayne survived—only five of his group did survive. His assignment was to cut the German communication lines; he did so at a high price—he experienced frost bite in both feet.

The doctors wanted to amputate his feet, saying he would never walk again. He refused the amputation, walked, and lived well into his 90s. He never gave up, running a large nursery business and operating a horse-drawn carriage service for weddings and events in upstate Washington.

  1. Glen Cunningham, who was threatened with leg amputations, and then became a great Olympic runner calls his efforts DEDICATION.
  2. Winston Churchill calls this NEVER GIVING UP.
  3. Thomas Edison calls this TRYING ONE MORE TIME.

How is it with you; do you as a leader keep pressing on, even in the midst of being tired? Remember as a leader you are developing following leaders who will do what you do, as you do it. What do your following leaders look like?

     Do not get weary of doing what is right, do not get discouraged, do not give up. Galatians 6:9

Those That Serve—March 12A, 2017

Vol. 2, No. 12 – 2017time

Recognizing the grace given to me, (they) gave me the right hand of fellowship. Galatians 2:9

A true leader comes to the point at which they become a solidarity with other true leaders. Solidarity is rooted in the Latin—”for the sake of the whole; involving everyone. It is the manifesting of community interests and responsibilities and standards; the knitting together of innumerable hearts” (Webster’s Dictionary).

Think back to your child growing up (or think of yourself if you do not have a child). The stages include dependence, independence, and finally a maturing that moves the child to inter-dependence. It is that way with leaders as well.

Leaders should mature to the place where there is no competition among them. Leaders and following leaders are in the work together. The picture is actually biblical; one body subject to one head. The eye, ear, hand, and feet are all inter-dependent.

The two self-willed, independent leaders (Paul and Peter) came together in an act of maturity and common goals. They shook hands, and embraced the warmth of fellowship as they worked to achieve God’s plan through their leadership strengths.

In the Near-East, the handshake, the clasp of the right hands, was making a solemn vow of friendship; it was the mark of fellowship/partnership. The handshake was customarily done publically, allowing for accountability. It represented a true partnership.

Several years ago, my wife Donna and I were part of a ministry in the Amish area of South-east Pennsylvania. The common agreement among the Amish (and from the Amish to the “English”) was a handshake. It was a contract; no paperwork was necessary. When the agreement was spoken, the handshake occurred, and the parties were accountable one to another. The practice is still current. The handshake is the token of teamwork, agreement, respect, and relationship. It was unheard of for there to be resulting division or discension. There was absolute unity, cooperation, and even “brotherhood.”

When I played in the high school, college, and community orchestras, there was a conductor. Each instrumentalist operated in unity, cooperation, and even “brotherhood.”

It is troubling to watch disagreement and discension occur in families, churches, institutions, businesses, and government. It ought not be. Agreements ought to be reliable among participants. Leaders and following leaders ought, above all, be models of reliability and unity.

If you are not a member of a unified organization, you are missing one of the great blessings of life. If you are a member of a unified organization, you are blessed. The Scriptures teach us how leaders and people should work together for the common goals.

The NT is not a hodgepodge of conflicting theologies  . . . it is a harmonious, beautifully variegated unity. These five men, having shaken hands in comradeship, between them produced no less than 21 of the 27 books recorded in the NT—William Hendriksen

Recognizing the grace given to me, (they) gave me the right hand of fellowship. Galatians 2:9

Scroll To Top