Servant Movers (Character and Conduct)

December 10, 2012 at 11:23 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments
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Previously we looked at the principle of commitment in servant leadership. Commitment will produce character. Character involves not only a person’s integrity (how he behaves when no one is watching), but it also goes into the perception people have of him based upon his integrity.

Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.

Acts 6:3 (emphasis added)

Character produces conduct, and, for a servant leader, spirituality is more important than personality. Conduct, again, implies that we are going somewhere: a “conductor” rides on a train that is moving. A conductor on a non-moving train is not really a conductor. He’s a tour guide. As servant leaders, our job is not to lead people on tours of the church grounds or buildings. The person who helps people find a seat is an “usher,” but we have got to start “conducting:” getting them up and getting them moving.

A non-moving Christian is in trouble. Physically speaking, a lack of exercise leads to a condition called “atrophy,” which is weakness resulting from non-use. It’s the same way spiritually. Christians who don’t “exercise,” don’t grow in Christ.

As servant leaders, our conduct must be the conduct of men who are in love with Jesus Christ. Vance Havner once said, “A revival is the church falling in love with Jesus Christ all over again. We are in love with ourselves, in love with our particular crowd, in love with our fundamentalism, maybe, but not with Him.”

Here’s the solution:

So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

John 21:15

Feeding lambs is busy work. Leading necessitates moving. The Bible describes the Christian life as “walking” with God.

Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.

I Thessalonians 4:1 (emphasis added)

Worshiping, studying the Word, praying, witnessing may be done while sitting, standing, or walking in the physical sense, but they are not “sedentary” activities, spiritually speaking. Servant leaders need to feed God’s people and fight for God’s people. We feed them the Word, and fight against the enemy with the Sword of the Spirit.

Servant Movers (Commitment)

November 16, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 13 Comments
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When we talk about someone in a position of leadership in Christian ministry, I prefer the term “servant leader.” This is far from original, but I believe it is apt, because the New Testament paradigm for leading is to lead while, through, and by serving others. The Lord Jesus led by serving, and He was the greatest Servant Leader of all time.

Although we put an emphasis on serving, we must not deny the “leading,” either, and “leading” means “moving.”

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

Romans 5:3-4

Biblical patience is more than just a willingness to wait. It contains the concept of “perseverance,” and perseverance is evidenced by commitment. When we persevere in our commitments, we gain the right kind of “experience” and we develop the right kind of character. Our character then governs our conduct.

“Leading” implies that people are following, and leading and following imply that we are going somewhere – or at least that we are moving. “Church” is not just a place to come sit. It should be a place to come serve. After salvation, regular attendance at church is very important, but it should not be the end of your journey. Instead, it should be the place where we meet to restock, to refresh, to prepare, and to train for our journey. A local assembly of believers (a “church“) must be moving. If people in our churches are not going or growing, we who claim to be servant leaders must bear a great deal of the responsibility for failing to lead.

Qualifications of New Testament servant leaders include commitment, character, and conduct. We think of someone who is easily able to influence others or who tends to attract loyal followers as someone who has “charisma,” and this word is actually the Greek word translated as “gifts” in several New Testament Bible verses. I would argue that while the “gifts” of ministry given by God to leaders are certainly important, commitment is just as (and possibly even more) important than the gifts themselves. Gifts by their very definition are things “given.” In other words, they are not earned.

Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:

Jeremiah 9:23

Too much focusing on our “gifts” over and above our commitment can lead to boasting in our own “giftedness.” If we are not to boast on our gifts, then on what are we to boast?

But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.

Jeremiah 9:24

What do we have that is any good at all that didn’t come from God? Gifts will attract followers to the gift-receiver, but Godliness will attract followers to the Gift-Giver. Therefore, being Godly is more important than being gifted. Godliness comes from being committed. Servant leaders are servants who are moving. People can’t follow someone who is going nowhere, doing nothing. That’s not leading.

Next time, I will say more about character and conduct.

Holy

June 30, 2010 at 11:04 am | Posted in I Peter, The Leadership P.A.T.C.H. | 5 Comments
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P.erceived
A.dvancing
T.urning
C.onstant
H.oly

The H. in P.A.T.C.H. is for Holy.

And it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunem, where was a great woman; and she constrained him to eat bread. And so it was, that as oft as he passed by, he turned in thither to eat bread. And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually.

II Kings 4:8-9, emphasis added

“Holy” means separated: cut and culled; set apart from the world, and separated unto God. Christian servant leaders are to consider themselves specially designated to be used by God.

God uses clean vessels; consecrated vessels; set-aside vessels. Holiness is out of vogue in this world, in this 21st Century. But it is not out of style with God. We ought not to be average, 21st Century American, one-of-the-crowd Christians. We ought, with God’s help, to rise to a higher standard.

But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

I Peter 1:15

Constant

June 16, 2010 at 11:19 am | Posted in The Leadership P.A.T.C.H. | 3 Comments
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P.erceived
A.dvancing
T.urning
C.onstant
H.

The C. in P.A.T.C.H. is for Constant or Consistent.

And it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunem, where was a great woman; and she constrained him to eat bread. And so it was, that as oft as he passed by, he turned in thither to eat bread. And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually.

II Kings 4:8-9, emphasis added

A servant leader who is inconsistent is a poor servant, and is unqualified for being a “leader.” The Shunammite woman was impressed with this in Elisha: He passed by “continually.”

There is a sense in which Christian leaders ought to meet the true Biblical definition of being “charismatic.” “Charisma” is from the Greek word for the grace-gifts given to born-again believers by the Holy Spirit. This has nothing to do with the current meaning of “Charismatic” Christianity which has more to do with emotions, wild behavior, and counterfeit signs and wonders. We must remember, not just the idea of being “charismatic,” but the importance of being “automatic.” Do not be a “mood-swing” Christian – up one day and down the next; hot one minute and cold the next. Be consistent for Christ.

Peter learned this lesson when Jesus wanted to wash his feet. Peter went from being unworthy of Jesus washing his feet one minute, to wanting Jesus to wash his whole body the next. However, Peter overcame this as he grew in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. You will be consistent if you do the same.

Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;

Colossians 4:2, emphasis added

Next time: the “H” in P.A.T.C.H.

Advancing

May 7, 2010 at 10:04 am | Posted in The Leadership P.A.T.C.H. | 11 Comments
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P.erceived
A.dvancing
T.
C.
H.

And it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunem, where was a great woman; and she constrained him to eat bread. And so it was, that as oft as he passed by, he turned in thither to eat bread. And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually.

II Kings 4:8-9, emphasis added

The life of a Christian servant is a life of walking, of moving forward. Elisha was moving. He was passing by continually. If you are of the age when your flesh, this world, and our enemy, Satan, is telling you that you need to retire, to rest – then I exhort you, by the mercies of God, to reject this lie. As Christians, God has called us to a position of active service. He would not call you, and then fail to give you the strength and the energy to walk in His calling.

I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,

Ephesians 4:1, emphasis added

Keep passing by. Stay busy for the Lord until He comes back or calls you home.

Next time, the “T” in P.A.T.C.H.

Quarterback Commandment No. 10

July 13, 2009 at 5:39 pm | Posted in John, Quarterback Commandments | 8 Comments
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Only two more to go… We are nearing the end of the list of 11 Quarterback Commandments which Bill Parcells gave to Tony Romo during their time together with the Dallas Cowboys.

Quarterback Commandment No. 10: Don’t panic. When all around you is in chaos, you must be the hand that steers the ship. If you have a panic button, so will everyone else. Our ship can’t have a panic button.

Spiritual Application: In the heat of spiritual battle, when things seem as though they are getting out of control, God’s leaders must be thermostats, not thermometers.

We’ve all been there. You have been planning some event or occasion in detail. Maybe for hours, maybe for days, or even weeks, you have pictured in your mind just how it will go. You finally arrive and nothing is the way you expected it. Things are in disarray and people are panicking. What will you do?

A good quarterback knows that even the best gameplan does not contain a solution to every possible predicament. Sometimes your star receiver is injured in pre-game warmups. Sometimes the opposing defense has concocted a blitz package you’ve never seen in your life. Once in a while you find yourself trailing by three touchdowns halfway through the fourth quarter, and there is no play in the playbook for making a first down when it’s third and 29 to go.

When ten anxious faces gathered around a huddle stare pensively at their leader, there’s only one right response: calm collected confidence tempered with firm determination. If the quarterback loses control, everyone else is going to lose control.

On the football field, leaders need a steady hand and a positive demeanor. Christian quarterbacks need the same attitude and posture during regular counseling sessions, church services, hospital visits, and in all types of spiritual calamities and unforeseen chaos.

When God prepared his people for battles in the land of Canaan, He told His priestly quarterback to tell the troops to:

…approach this day unto battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them;

Deuteronomy 20:3

Peter hit the panic button when Jesus was arrested, and almost interfered with the plan of redemption:

Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.

John 18:10

But Jesus, the greatest Spiritual Quarterback of all time, stayed cool:

Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?

John 18:11

Read Acts 27:41-44 for the account of a shipwreck, and the Apostle Paul’s great response, and you will almost be tempted to think Parcells was reading his Bible when he said, “Don’t panic. When all around you is in chaos, you must be the hand that steers the ship. If you have a panic button, so will everyone else. Our ship can’t have a panic button.”

As a Christian quarterback, when I walk into a chaotic situation, I must ask God to help me not to be a thermometer. A thermometer just reflects the temperature of a room. When things get hot, the mercury goes up. When things are cold and dead, the mercury dies down, too. I must instead ask God to make me a thermostat. A thermostat is not controlled by the temperature; it does the controlling. When I walk into a room of spiritually cold people, I need to warm things up in the Spirit of God. And when I walk into a room of hot-headed chaos or knee-knocking panic, I need to be calm, and help to cool things down.

Quarterback Commandment No. 6

May 6, 2009 at 1:41 pm | Posted in Quarterback Commandments | 6 Comments
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We are at the halfway point in our list of Bill Parcells’s 11 Quarterback Commandments to Tony Romo, and their spiritual applications.

Quarterback Commandment No. 6: Be the same guy every day – in condition, preparing to lead, studying your plan. A coach can’t prepare you for every eventuality. Prepare yourself and remember, impulse decisions usually equal mistakes.

Spiritual Application: Christian ministers, like good quarterbacks, need to be consistent, insistent, persistent, and resistant.

“Be the same guy everyday,” says Coach Parcells. We have discussed this principle before, from a Biblical perspective. Daniel, God’s faithful servant in Babylon, made it his habitual practice to pray three times every day. He had a consistency that kept him even-keeled and focused on God even when adversity hit like a ton of bricks.

Quarterbacks are team leaders. They are being watched all the time – by their own teammates, as well as their opponents. They are not allowed to “take a day off,” and just be “one of the guys.” The Apostle Paul and his ministry team were aware of this same scrutiny being applied to Christian ministers.

Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe:

I Thessalonians 2:10

Be the same guy every day = Be consistent.

Of all the things a quarterback must be prepared for, he must place an emphasis on leadership. There’s no real delicate way to say it: Quarterbacks, as leaders, tell other people what to do, and how to do it.

The same goes for Christian ministers.

As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children,

I Thessalonians 2:11

Paul followed Jesus Christ. But he was not shy about insisting that the other Christians follow him as he followed Jesus.

Be prepared to lead = Be insistent.

A quarterback is often in the limelight, but as we’ve noted before, he has work to do even when no one else is watching.

Quarterbacks and Christian ministers both have “plans” to study. One studies his playbook. The other studies God’s Holy Book. Paul was keenly aware of his obligation not to deviate from the revealed Gospel, whether he was preaching in the daytime (in public) or at nighttime (in private). He was nothing if not persistent.

For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.

I Thessalonians 2:9

Studying your plan = Be persistent.

Studying before a game or a battle is all well and good, but there will always be temptations in the heat of battle to act instinctively – to forget about the gameplan, hit the panic button, and improvise. Both quarterbacks and Christian ministers must beware of this impulse.

Paul expected the Christians at Thessalonica to do what they had been called to do (to walk worthy), even when persecution came.

That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.

I Thessalonians 2:12

Quarterbacks must show trust in their teammates, and not try to carry the success of every play on their own shoulders alone. Christian ministers must resist the temptation to try to do God’s job for Him. We plan, we prepare, we study, we train, we exhort, admonish, and encourage. But, when the battle rages, we must trust God to enable His people to do what He has called them to do.

Impulse decisions usually equal mistakes = Be resistant.

Be consistent. Be insistent. Be persistent. Be resistant.

Christian quarterbacks must lead. Leading involves both training and trusting.


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