Monday, June 25, 2012

The Anatomy of a leader - Arm

A towel over your arm

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. - Mark 10 v 45

Many times a leader can be seen as someone to "strong arm" people into doing something or taking a certain path. It is interesting to me that the greatest leader of all time used his arm to carry a towel.

On the eve of his greatest accomplishment when he was about to serve the whole of mankind he chose to serve His followers. He chose to serve people that should have known better after being with him for so long. He chose to serve those who only wanted to be served. He chose to serve those who wanted the glory of His Kingdom without that attitude of the King.

He had a right to read the riot act but he faced down selfishness with silence and servitude. Make no bones about it leadership in our saviours Kingdom is about serving, serving in the lowest place, no questions asked, even those who don' deserve it.

It's counter cultural but its the culture of His Kingdom:

Jesus intervened: "Kings like to throw their weight around and people in authority like to give themselves fancy titles. It's not going to be that way with you. Let the senior among you become like the junior; let the leader act the part of the servant. "Who would you rather be: the one who eats the dinner or the one who serves the dinner? You'd rather eat and be served, right? But I've taken my place among you as the one who serves. - Luke 22 v 26 - 27


Sunday, June 24, 2012

The danger in politicizing the church

Powerful forces are often at work to try and take the church off its mission. Often the carrot tempting the church can look tantilising and even good but its not the mission.

The church or church leaders entering the political field can be one of these areas. The following video from John Piper says it in a better way that I ever could:

Cant see the video click here

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Discipleship is about God's Faithfulness

The central reality for Christians is the personal, unalterable, persevering commitment that God makes to us. Perseverance is not the result of our determination, it is the result of God’s faithfulness.

We survive in the way of faith not because we have extraordinary stamina but because God is righteous. Christian discipleship is a process of paying more and more attention to God’s righteousness and less and less attention to our own; finding the meaning of our lives not by probing our moods and motives and morals but by believing in God’s will and purposes; making a map of the faithfulness of God, not charting the rise and fall of our enthusiasm.

- Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, 128-129

HT Tullian

Friday, June 22, 2012

The anatomy of a leader - Eyes

Keeping our eyes on Jesus

Some people are just easily distracted. There you are in a serious discussion where you are engaging totally and you see that the persons eyes have detached from you and are now focused on someone or something else over you shoulder. At that point my first reaction it to punch them on the nose. That will get their attention.

But its not that they are bad people or are being disrespectful (in most cases) it is just that their make up presupposes them to distraction visually. Some secondary event is causing them to take their eyes off the main thing.

Christian leadership to be clear is all about Jesus. The Bible says he has taken the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. He chose a number of high school dropouts to be on his dream team. Leadership in Jesus kingdom is not about our greatness but about His greatness.

It really is amazing when we have the opportunity to look Jesus square in the eyes and learn from Him how we get distracted by people and things so far below his divine majesty.

  • We start looking at other leaders and idolise them instead of worshipping Jesus.
  • We start looking for people's approval instead of Jesus smile.
  • We start looking at the success of our ministry (The fruit) rather than the victorious saviour (The Vine)
  • We start looking at our weaknesses rather than His strength.
  • We start looking to the church down the road or round the world for creativity rather than to the creator & sustainer of the universe.

The writer to the Hebrews makes it quite clear:

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honour, right alongside God.  Heb 12 v 2-3


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Soul refresh summer

Summer holidays are fast heading our way. Many of us taking some valuable time off to spend with or family or to recoup some much needed energy.

Make sure you take some time to refresh your soul as well. Get into your Bible that little bit more. The YouVersion Bible app for most types of smart phones is great. They have a wide range of suggested reading plans for a short period of time. Remember If you are going abroad its a good idea to download a version of the Bible into the app. That way it is always accessible offline ensuring you have no roaming charges for data if you are abroad.

But also alongside that here are a few books that I have read and would highly recommend if you haven't read them already: 

Links below to Amazon for paperbacks but all are available on kindle.

Empty Promises: The Truth about You, Your Desires, and the Lies You've Believed 

God is the Gospel: Meditations on God's Love as the Gift of Himself

Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God

Explicit Gospel, The 
EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

No holds barred....

A few months ago we had an incredible privilege of hosting Steve Saint and his son for an incredible service at MKCC. Steve talked about his families journey of forgiveness and hope since his dad was killed on a missionary journey.

Steve has recently had an accident which has left him with serious health problems. Please pray for Steve.

Take a few minutes to watch his message as he gives an update on his health but also calls us to action for Jesus.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Anatomy of a Leader - Ears

Ears to hear

Through John, Jesus send a message to 7 churches in Asia. At the end of each message he mentions the following phrase over and over again:

"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."

  • What God thinks about your leadership and ministry is vastly more important that what anyone else says about it.
  • Don't worry about looking like a success to others focus on what God says. What looked successful to people was far from it in God's economy & what looked like a failure was bringing a smile to God's face.
  • Jesus had an individual and specific message to each church. What he said to one did not necessarily apply to another. God has a specific message for each of us.
  • Jesus even portrayed a different part of John's vision of Him (Recorded in Rev 1) to each individual church. God may give you a vision that is a little different to what he gives to someone else. If its still Jesus don't fall out about it.
God has given us 2 ears and one mouth so learning to listen is so important. Normally good leaders have learned to listen. But with all the competing voices suggesting different ways to "success" this can be overwhelming. Learning the art of listening to God is vital.

Time alone in the silence, with no tv, radio, ipod etc etc. is the first step to opening our ears to hear God.

Today we ventured out to the countryside and had a coffee in the middle of what seemed nowhere. It was early and the coffee shop had only just opened so there was no one around and it was far from a main road. The silence struck me. It was so unusual. But then as I listened I could hear the birds tweeting. I just felt God prompt me to say just like the birds his voice was always there but I couldn't always hear it because I hadn't taken the time to find the silence and then listen.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Anatomy of a leader - Nose

Keep your nose in THE book

I love reading books but I really don't often read a novel. Some biography's but mostly spiritual books of some sort of another. My most enjoyable holiday is spent at our favourite camp site in the Vendee. Sitting on the bar patio overlooking the pool with a Cafe au Lait by my side and a book to challenge my walk before God or to help me be a better leader. These moments refresh me. I'm sure to others that description of a holiday would be anathema.

However I can sometimes find myself reading copious amounts of what other people say about God or his Word and neglecting reading His Word.

Nothing, not even your favourite author, can come close to the experience of devouring the direct inspired Word of God made alive to us through the Holy Spirit.

Reading books about His Word does not equate to reading His Word.

My prayer is summed up in 1 Peter 2 v 2

"As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow"

The Anatomy of a leader - Knees

The image on this post belongs to Henti Smith and is used with permission under this licence. Direct link to the image on flickr

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Anatomy of a leader - Knees

In Church world one of the buzz words (other than Awesome. lol) is leader. Without doubt Leadership is important but I often think what we are looking for in others and continuously trying to develop in ourselves is a little different to what we find in the Bible.

It made me think about the Anatomy of a leader. The next few posts will be some thoughts on the make up of a leader.

Knees on the floor

Often our biggest strength can be our most glaring weakness and our biggest blessing can also be a curse.

We live in the information age and information now comes from all over the world and it comes quick and fast. Growing up in church in the extremes of North East Scotland your information consisted almost exclusively of local people and the odd visiting preacher that would visit for some special occasion. Even getting hold of a christian book was difficult because a trip to Aberdeen 40 miles away was not something you would do every day or even every week.

Gradually this changed over the years till today I can read of a book that has been read yesterday & recommended by someone half way around the world and press a few buttons and have it delivered to my iPad immediately.

I can listen to almost any preacher I want to around the globe by downloading their sermon a few hours after the preached it and even watch the services of a few live online even though they are a million Miles away.

The biggest danger we face is that we substitute information for revelation.

It is brilliant to learn wisdom form Godly leaders but nothing can replace wisdom that has been revealed to you direct by the omniscient God.

The Bible often talks about fasting and it is normally associated with food. Not a bad idea but somehow I think if the Bible was being written in today's culture our challenge would be to fast from consuming information give our thumbs a rest from hitting the screen keyboard and put our knees into action by hitting the floor and begging for diving revelation.

Friday, June 15, 2012

What we have lost God will restore...that and himself forever more

Job lost everything: his wealth, his health, and his ten children. All swept away in one satanic storm. Reduced to a heap of flesh, ashes, and tears—rebuked by friends and jeered by strangers—righteous Job wrestled over the purpose and presence of God in the midst of unbearable pain.

This trailer of a longer 45 minute movie incorporates music, graphics & the stunning poetry of John Piper to recount the story.

Full movie available on iTunes

Jōb the Film from Chris Koelle on Vimeo.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

For all the single ladies....

I often see heroic ladies around church doing an incredible job bringing up a family on their own. I am in awe of them. But that doesn't remove an ache in my heart that it is not really how it should be.

I am sure there are a million reasons and I would never want to simplify this problem because I am sure I don't understand it all. But I think the quote below from Matt Chandler is one possible cog in the wheel.

Ladies do not settle for anything less that a man who is totally sold out for God. A man who is pursuing God with continue to pursue you. A man who loves God with all of his heart will always care for your heart. 

I know things can change and people can take their eyes of God but if there eyes are not firmly fixed on God before a relationship don't fool yourself into thinking his love for you will bring him to love God.

Don't settle for second best.

HT for the picture to @supersimbo

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Patience of God

Preparing to preach at MKCC this past Sunday God broke into my studies and challenged me to my core with this piece of Scripture.

What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory – Romans 9 v 22 – 23

I had little option to sink to my knees and give glory to a God that continues to take me surprise as a tear rolled down my cheek.

The picture of the almighty God wanting to show how angry he is about sin and to use his limitless power against it and us as "vessels of wrath" yet he waits. He endures with the patience that only he has so that he could display to us his unbelievable Glory to change us into "Vessels of Mercy".

If anyone had the right to show his anger, to show his power then it is God. Instead he shows His love in Jesus.

Makes me embarrassed to think of the times where I have acted because "I was right" and "I just couldn't keep quiet any more".

Lord help me to stop listening to my wicked heart and to continually look to you for a Divine perspective.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Surprise of the Explicit Gospel

I am nearing the end of reading Matt Chandler's book the Explicit Gospel. The book is split into two parts. The Gospel on the ground and the Gospel in the air. Having read and listened to much of Matt's teaching over the last few years part one was like chatting with an old friend. An enriching conversation that brings into focus the most important theme of our faith which once viewing we can never be the same. The pure unadulterated good news that God's grace though his Son came knocking at my door.

Turning the page to the Gospel in the air was a total surprise. Here the conversation took a turn that I never expected as Matt zoomed out and looked at the epic and cosmic nature of God's restoration plan for not only us as individuals but for the whole of creation. You are left blown away immenseness of the plan that God is orchestrating through the cross and left bowing the knee and shaking your head in humility and wonder.

He quotes Martyn Lloyd Jones description of this:

"Here, it is important for us to emphasise once more that we must present the total Gospel. There is a personal side to it, we must deal with that, and we must start with that. But we do not stop with that; there is a social side, indeed a cosmic side as well. We must present the whole plan of salvation as it is revealed in the scriptures. We must show that the ultimate object, as the Apostle Paul puts it in Ephesians 1:10, is to head up in Christ all things, "both which are in heaven, and which are in earth; even in Him."

"You are emphasising that salvation is not merely something subjective, a nice feeling, or peace, or whatever it is they are seeking. All that is important, and is part of it; but there is something more important, namely that the whole universe is involved. We must give the people a conception of this, of the scope and ambit and the greatness of the gospel in this all-inclusive aspect."

To be honest I still haven't cottoned on the greatness, scope, majesty and beauty of God's ultimate plan and purpose that he is achieving through the towering masterpiece of His Gospel

Buy or download Explicit Gospel here you will not regret it.