Sometimes Life Brings Lemons, Then Add Real Water – Mark 5:35-43

Vol. 2 No. 49 – 12-3-2017

Your daughter has died; why trouble the Teacher anymore? Mark 5:35

At times life drives on to their knees in disappointment, fear, or unexpected grief. This is especially true when it is for someone we love—a daughter, a son, a spouse, a co-worker, even a friend.

This text reports on a leader, a synagogue ruler, Jairus. How could a religious man have this experience? His lifestyle was exemplary; even his theology was to be envied. He was the kind of person that everyone looked at as having his act together. His façade of life comes tumbling down; it crumbles when his daughter takes a turn toward death.

Things are not different today, are they? People, including leaders, have tender spots in their heart for ones they love. In June of this year, a group of teens, seniors and juniors along with some adult workers, were traveling from Huntsville AL to Hartford International Airport in south Atlanta GA. Their bus was involved in a horrific accident that made national news. One young teen girl died at the site of the accident, 39 others were carried to hospitals in the area. Life-flight ambulances were called to the scene. There were several in very critical condition.

How could this happen to a group traveling to Botswana Africa to conduct a VBS in that needy land? Sometimes we act tough, used to the rough and tumble world we live in. When something happens to others, we recite Bible verses, and encourage those who hurt. However, when something happens to those close to our hearts, most often panic sets in.

We expect to face problems, threat, and even risk—but this kind of event leaves many of us in a petrified state. Suddenly the “fixer” mode we generally carry does not work; the event exposes our helplessness. We want a miracle. We pray; and we experience an unexpected death of a beautiful teen who was headed to do a work of servant ministry.

Some might think it is all over. But it is not.

Sarah Hamening wrote in her journal of her love for Jesus, and expressed the humility of being able to minister in a far-away country. Her mother, the day following the death, said, “I hope you will listen (to what her daughter said) because it is what she lived and breathed for.” She cited 1 Peter 5:6 – Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time.

Jesus challenged Jarius, as He challenges us, “Do not be afraid any longer, only believe.” Even the death of a very precious one does not end Jesus’ ability to act.

We will not know the outcome of the effects of Sarah’s life perhaps for years; however, we are promised that God’s Word does not return void. Whatever walk of our life we are in, or position that we hold, we must first trust in the One who can move in areas that we cannot. Often our words to others fail; but the Word of the Lord never fails.

Mark’s Gospel takes us to an outer edge of our life experience where only God can make a difference. Perhaps getting on our knees before we even start our day is not such a bad position to be in.

These parents took early steps to expose their daughter to God’s truth and it mad a difference for her life. Last Sunday Donna and I were in a church that had a dedication service–one that dedicates the parents and the church to have a godly influence on children. Did you ever think of how many weekends a two-year old will experience before they turn eighteen? 832. We have 832 weekends to influence our children for Christ. The parents in the dedication service were presented with a jar of marbles — 832 marbles. They were encouraged to take a marble out each weekend and purposely spend time teaching their child about Christ and how to live biblically. Could we be challenged to lead our child with that reminder?

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.

 

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