Leaders At Times Go Through Troubled Water – Mark 4:35-41

Vol. 2 No. 48 – 11-26-2017

High waves began to break into the boat until it was nearly full of water and about to sink  . . . Mark 4:35-41

Over the years there have been major disasters around water. The Titanic sank with 2224 souls on board—the result was a loss of 1513 lives.

There are hurricanes and tidal waves. Our recent experiences with storms have had major impacts on lives, property, and economies.

In the Sea of Galilee, situated at 680′ below the level of the Mediterranean Sea, winds often come at a surprising time making for a violent sea.

The sea is actually a lake and is a placid lake on the whole, but the winds can get to 100 mph with 12-15 foot waves. Death lurks. It is a stunning sight when the storms come.

In the biblical passage, a storm was fully upon them, and things did not look good. The chance for survival seemed slim to none. Jesus was aboard the ship in the middle of a storm. The occupants of the ship began to holler in fear: “Don’t you care that we are about to drown?”

Jesus had been asleep; not particularly concerned with a storm. He awoke to a rocking ship, and then simply announced: “Winds and waves, hush now, be muzzled.” The storm immediately stops and the water is in a state of dead calm.” That would not happen in our experience—storms die down and take some time to settle. However the leader was in charge of the creation, being God the Son. Whatever He pronounced to the physical creation, the creation obeyed.

Those in the ship were startled and amazed, and began to do what we do, ask: “Who is this man? (41)

  • The same One who spoke creation into being
  • The same One who blew an east wind and the Red Sea separated and the bottom dried up for the escaping Jews
  • The same One who shut the mouths of the lions in a den where Daniel was thrown
  • The same One who shouted to Lazarus to get up and step out of the grave
  • The same One who is present in our present (God of the present who presents Himself to us)
  • Of course, there is much more

It is interesting how a leader operates and where the power derives. It is also interesting to note that in each instance listed above that a crisis existed. The leader’s tendency is to reach out for the appropriate authority and power when there is a crisis—however, in the calm not a lot of attention is paid to where power derives.

We are that way, are we not?

The reality is, as we look back on the events of our lives, storms of life do build character; even the difficult storms. The storms bring us to cry out: God, don’t you care? We need your power and protection!

When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned  . . . the flames will not consume you, for I am the Lord your God, your Savior, the Holy One of Israel” Isaiah 43:2-3

How goes the trek through the storms and waters; what are you learning about the dependency upon God; what are you learning about walking in faith instead of by sight?

Hope you had a healthy and rich Thanksgiving. I was experiencing a storm in life. Emergency surgery that caught me by surprise, and the ongoing difficulty of a new grandson in NICU. God is present and He addresses our storms. So many leaders could learn from Him.

The Leader Touch, Voice, and Heartfelt Care – Mark 7:31-37

Vol. 2 No. 47 – 11-19-2017

The brought to Jesus a man who was deaf and stuttered  . . . Mark 7:31-37

Can you imagine the difficulty of living with a “double whammy” of impediments?

Ludwig van Beethoven was such a man—one of the greatest of composers to ever grace us (1770-1827).

Beethoven’s life had encroaching deafness; yet he produced great works that he could not hear, except in his heart.

There are those who gather at our “feet of leadership” that feel isolated, embarrassed, or otherwise impaired to perform their tasks in life.

A “dual-challenged” man was living on the shore of the Jordan River; in Decapolis. The leader by the name of Jesus (The Christ) used communication to change his life. Jesus provides a stunning teaching lesson for us in the use of non-verbal communication skills: a touch of the hand, the feeling of His fingers, and a look toward Heaven—along with a deep-seated groan.

Too many leaders are long on talk, major on their promises, and are frequently short in their actions. The first thing that Jesus did in this man’s presence, before He said a word, was to begin building a relationship by just “doing it.” He leads the man away from the crowd (7:33), intending for His work with the man to be in private.

Jesus puts His finger in the man’s ear; body language that says to the man “I understand your problem and I intend to do something about it.” Jesus spits [how would that work out where you are in life]. He uses the spittle to touch the man’s tongue. Jesus intends to do something for the man’s inability to speak.

Jesus looks to Heaven because this help resides there—it is there that the power resides for this application. Jesus looks to His heavenly Father for the work that needs to transpire. Jesus sighs as one who takes the situation into His heart. He is demonstrating the quality of love for His neighbor. The man’s sorrows become His sorrows. Jesus never does anything half-hearted—He puts all He is into His work (we really need to read that again!). .

Then Jesus utters one word: Ephphathah—the Aramaic that means be opened. Instantly the man could speak and hear plainly.

Even though this was done in privacy, the effects have tremendous impact on the crowds that were standing apart. They are astounded in great degrees. This leader for the man accessed the available power to make a change in the man; along with adding to society a man of value to impact those around him.

Leaders do that.

Great leaders seek the power available to change lives. They come near those that need their help. They touch them and they speak to them. Leaders express their concern to the Heavenly Father so that the Almighty God will bring His mercy and grace upon the one in need; in order that others will not just get a glimpse, but be impacted for the work they are called to do.

How are you doing with touching, speaking, praying, and seeking the power that is necessary for those who are following you; those for whom you are responsible; those who are your neighbors.

God does not have accidental connections for you. He has always had a plan and purpose for you. He always includes your availability to act in the mercy and care of those He has gathered around you. Do not miss God’s intentions.

Leaders seek God’s power to be effective. If a “leader” does not do this, they are not really leaders; they are clearly something else.

 

Headlines – Mark 8:22

Vol. 2, No. 46 – 11-12-2017

And they brought a blind man to Him, and entreated Him to touch him. Mark 8:22b

On our trip to India we, my wife Donna and I, were saddened to see children suffering diseases that are distressing and physically debilitating (and treatable). When you have children of your own, it is hard on the heart to see others having suffering children.

We live in a country in which there is not a significant number of people suffering in the way of the people who live in the Mid-east or in the Asian countries. On our Asian mission trip, we observed blind children; eyes fly-covered. Blindness is a bane of that part of the world. What seems almost worse is that people in the culture do not even seem to care. Heartbreaking! These afflicted by blindness do not even know if they are clean; sores are prevalent (lice, skin rash, blisters, boils, leprosy, and more).

It is sad that people from far away countries need to come; to minister to the needs of the people, while natives themselves are blind to the needs.

Jesus heals the blind man. He asks if he sees anything. The response: “I see men, for I am seeing them like trees, walking about” (8:24).  No one seems to doubt the miracle, yet division and discord follow. That is almost unbelievable, except we all have experienced this reaction to the work of God in our own history.

What is the question in the division and discord? Not “what did He do?” The question was “how did He do it?”

Jesus had used spittle and He laid His hand on the blind man’s eyes—and He spoke. There were three camps arguing about the event (the favorite pastime of “know it all’s”). Who would have guessed? The groups:

  1. Spitites
  2. Handtites
  3. Mouthites

It was like a lot of leadership and church splits—grab hold of a view and do not pass “Go,” do not collect “$200,” just argue. It also reflects the arguments of political parties. The arguments too often are not truth-based, but opinioned-based. Soon there is an infinite variety of opinions, and an infinite number of misguided people.

The real issue is that people need to understand from the actions of Jesus; that He is unchangeable (immutable). He can choose to be powerful by spit, touch, or speaking (or a host of other methods). The issue is to recognize that Jesus, the genuine leader, can do what man cannot accomplish—all to His glory.

But humankind would rather argue than recognize the Almighty God. And, because of that non-recognition, people of the earth are blinded to truth, harmed by opinion, and people of the earth could care less about others.

Could we, as we begin journeying toward still another year, be challenged to look at others crossing our paths; God never crosses our paths with someone by accident. Will our next days bring change to how we function in our living for God? Believers need to come together in projecting the truth of God’s Word so that others’ lives may change. Unfortunately, we are too busy with fads, programs, and, in addition, we are focused on entertainers in the church instead of worshiping our Almighty God.

Sad.

Who we believe unites us; what we believe by way of opinion can potentially divide us. If it is not principled in the Scriptures, it is not reliable.

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