Press toward the mark….
Press toward the mark….
When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.
They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
(John 17:1-26 ESV)
I have blown it more times than I would like to admit. In fact I would rather not talk about the ways that I have blown it when in comes to representing Jesus with my life. The ways I have blown it would say I am not worthy to serve Him. They would indicate Jesus is not a part of my life.
Yes, I have denied Him more times than I want to admit.
Peter may have denied Jesus with words but I have denied Him with my actions and It’s painful to know I have let Him down.
John 21 however, shows us that Jesus is about restoration and restoration is not as much about what I have done, it is whether or not I really love Jesus.
If I really love Jesus I will get back to serving Him after I have blown it…. I will not wallow in self pity.
If I really Love Jesus, it will not be woe as me all the time… woe as me just means I’m in love with myself. To love Jesus means I will hate the fact I let Jesus down, then repent of what I have done wrong and receive forgiveness from Him.
Its at this point Jesus does something that blows my mind… He restores me back into fellowship with Him, and places me back into the position of service I was in before.
Yes… Jesus lets us have do overs.
I am thankful for that restoration, I am thankful for a God who forgives me when I’ve blown it and wants me back doing what He has called me to do.
I no longer need to admit I have blown it… I just need to love Jesus more than these…
Whether you are trying to hire a person for your business, vote on the next staff hire at your church or are in the throes of deciding who you will vote for this fall politically, these actions are all a part of a bigger search…
a search to find a leader.
Someone to follow
Someone to trust
Someone that makes good decisions
Someone with a good character.
We are all looking for the next great leader, but do we really know what one looks like?
Maybe this will help…
at worst it will get us started.
What does a good leader…
a Godly leader look like?
1. He is tactful in all his dealings with people. If it is a sensitive situation he handles it with tact. If he is going on someone else’s turf, he extends territorial courtesy to make sure he is welcome there. In his interactions with people he intuitively perceives the situation he is in and reacts accordingly… with tact… never otherwise.
2. He has courage. No matter if the facts are bad or good he deals with them with courage. This is fully seen both in moral situations and when he stays faithful to God’s calling on his life regardless of what the “polls” say.
3. He is very decisive. His decisions are always clear and he will take responsibility for the consequences of his actions both when they are good and when they are not so good.
4. He encourages those around him. Especially those who have teamed up with him to complete “the task at hand.” Again, this is a case where even in the mist of discouraging circumstances he sticks with the task he has been called to do, finding a way to rise above any negative situations or events while being a strong source of encouragement for those who are with him. Encouragement that gives them the strength they need to endure and accomplish a task they may have thought impossible.
5. Faith and vision guides his path. In fact a leader understands that faith is vision, for there are times in every leaders life that “the vision” gets a bit blurry… but faith keeps us in the game when we can’t see like we used too.
6. He values relationships and does all he can to keep them (short of compromising moral beliefs). It has been said that a man’s ability to make and maintain enduring friendships will (in general) be the measure of his ability to lead.
7. He has a confident modesty. Fully realizing who he really is, he acts on who God has called and is making him to be. This helps the leader share openly to those he is leading. Both things that are weaknesses as well as personal strengths. This helps a leader maintain a personal sense of equality with those he is called to lead.
8. He has a progressive humility (a phrase not unique to me but a powerful one). This comes from an inward sense of indebtedness to Jesus which produces a humble-self image.
9. He has a way with words. If he is a preacher he knows how to get the most out of a passage of scripture… taylor making the message to fit the people he is speaking to. His words always breathe a spirit of loving concern for those he is addressing.
10. He listens well. Listening to what people are saying enables him to cut through the “mess” and arrive at the core of any issue. To do this he must listen in a way that prevents him from jumping the gun, from prejudging the issue. We always make a mistake when we make an assessment without fully listening to those talking to us.
11. He is broad-minded. Always aware that every situation he is in, or giving guidance to, is only a small piece that is at play in a much larger arena.
12. He understands the necessity of patience. He understands that this is essential in leading a person by virtue of influence rather than command.
13. He knows the importance of self-discipline. This is what keeps a leader on track and prevents him from falling into temptations, especially those that would ruin everything He has or is trying to accomplish.
14. Every task he sets his mind to, he goes at it with sincerity and integrity.
15. He relies on spiritual wisdom to guide him and realizes that spiritual wisdom gives him freedom while providing needed restraint from needless rash or eccentric actions that lead to regret.
16. He oozes with a zeal that fuels his intensity to accomplish the thing he sees needs to be done… the thing he knows he is called to do.
These 16 things describe the type of leadership we need in America…
provide a picture of the type of leader you and I need to be.
The analysis isn’t everything is bad and nothing will ever go right.
The attitude toward others should NOT be, I don’t like them therefore they will never be able to do anything right.
The objective should NOT be, I’ll just wait till they do something wrong then I’ll point that out.
The method should never be, I’ll just wait for my chance to make them look stupid.
The focus should never be, I am going to use this failure of theirs as my opportunity to put them in their place.
These things are true especially…
If you are a leader.
A good leader follows Christ and uses his/her authority to build others up – 2 Cor. 13:10
The fact is perfect people do not need to be lead, perfect situations only need a manager, and if everyone is acting like you would act…
You’re in the room alone.
So why are we so surprised when an unfortunate situation arrises? Why are we so shocked when people do not act correctly? Isn’t this all a part of this life?
Even good leaders have their dark side, the times they do not act correctly, moments where they mess up.
But life’s mess ups should never be what the leader should focus on. Whether it was their mess up or someone else’s. It’s so easy to focus on what is going wrong to the point we get distracted from what we really should be putting our effort toward.
We are not called to focus on mess ups, (even though sometimes we have to fix things) Instead there are several different things we are called to focus on.
If you are a Pastor we are called to focus on the follow aspects of leadership.
1. We are to be good stewards of what God has given us. In both people and resources. 1 Cor 4:1
2. We are to be an administrator, God has given us the responsibility of being the helmsman. The one who is responsible to steer the ship. – 1 Cor. 12:28
3. We are overseers. We are to guard and protect the people in our congregations to the best of our ability. Acts 20:28.
4. We are to be flexible – there is no exact scripture for this one. But this can be seen in people’s lives in scripture, like the Apostle Paul who adjusted to where ever he was at, was flexible in his responses to people and adjusted the way he did ministry to fit whatever came his way.
There of course is more to all of this… a book is needed to cover what a leader should focus on…
But the only purpose of this post is (just for) a reminder (for me) to not fall into the temptation of being distracted by what is wrong, for if I become distracted with that I no longer can lead like I should…
for true vision has nothing to do with seeing the problems…
instead vision sees a way out of them and charts a course to get there.
Well, this is an instance where salt was ineffective, because the mass of the food item engulfed the limited amount of salt you added, thus the food’s taste over powered the salt and the salt lost its ability to add flavor. The salt was out numbered and rendered ineffective.
Have you ever cooked something and put too much salt in it causing it to be hard to eat because the salt taste was so strong?
Well, this is another instance where the salt was ineffective because the amount of salt you used engulfed the item you were cooking, thus the salt over powered the food in a negative way The salt lost its ability to add positive flavor and became ineffective.
Have you ever had a salt shaker where the salt inside stuck together and some of the salt plugged up the holes in the top of it?
This is a case where salt becomes unusable. To solve the problem one must clean the top of the shaker, throw the salt in the shaker away and fill it back up with new salt (possibly adding rice to prevent further moisture problems). Sometimes you have to get rid of the good and the bad in order to make something usable again.
Have you ever put salt out on a sidewalk because of ice or snow? What happens after the ice or snow melts and the sun comes out?
Well, you are left with rocks. One time I left the rocks on the side walk at my house thinking they would work for the snow that was coming that evening. Guess what? It didn’t work. It had lost its effectiveness with the previous snow and was of no use. You could walk on it and hear a crunching sound but that was the extent of its usability at that point.
I drink Pepsi One…
which is an understatement.
I drink a lot of Pepsi One…
ok thats better.
Pepsi One has the right amount of salt to make it taste right in every can. It is constant across the board.
I also drink Welch’s Grape Juice, It also has the right amount of salt in every bottle. It is consistent across the board. However the amount of salt needed to make it taste just “right” is considerably less than the amount of salt that is needed to make Pepsi One taste “right”.
Jesus says, He has put us (His people) in various places and situations today to be salt. Each of these places requires a different amount of salt to be used if we are to steer the situation in the right direction. The trick is to use wisdom (and pray for it) so our actions and conversations will bring the right result.
Being too much or too little salt will be counter productive.
Using the same amount no matter where we are will is also counter productive, worthy of being trampled on or sent to the sewer.
But if we use our salt in variant amounts all depending on the situation we are in…
We… not only will be used by God to steer the situation in the right direction but we will also fulfill our calling from Jesus to be the salt of the earth. – Matthew 5:13-16
So no matter what you do or where you go today arrive with this thought in mind…
“I am here to be salt… now Lord give me wisdom concerning how much to use.” – Luke 14:34-35