Reverence in Leadership

reverence b“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:28

Proverbs tells us that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. This type of fear is not being scared, or fearful of what will happen, nor is it distrust or terror of God. Rather, it is reverence and awe that fuels our worship and faith.

Why is this so important in church leadership? It is all about Who we lead others to!

Reverence is the understanding of the wonder and majesty of our incredible God, who transcends time and space, and who is bigger than the entire universe He created, yet, He personally knows and loves us with deeper and more love than we could ever comprehend. We need to keep this on the front burner of our mindset as we lead and manage His Church. Reverence to God is how we are to live, lead, disciple and teach the people God brings us! If not we, are being reverent only to ourselves, ideas and goals, keeping Him out of the loop of our lives and church. This is a prime factor for why many churches are in decline. There is no leading to the incredible green pasture of our Lord, just wallowing in the past, pride, apathy and infighting.

Read leading is directing others to a destination, what is yours? Is it to be on the path that Christ has laid out? Is it moving others in the love and care and learning on that journey of faith? If not, what are you doing?

In the Old Testament, the stipulation of this ‘fear’ was put to the Jews so they follow God and stick to the Covenant. The Covenant, we have now is grace; the stipulation is that we accept it by faith. The growth of our fear (awe) is the response with gratitude to His Majesty.  Thus, reverence will enable us to take the incredible knowledge of His Majesty, and applying it to our lives first, so we will walk with confidence in our Lord, and as we lead operate with respect to Him in our teaching and administration, and to the others around us whom He knows and loves.

Reverence leads to real worship and effectual leadership because we can acknowledge whom God is, and respond!

This is the only way we can lead biblically and effectually, to surrender our will to Christ as LORD! As His created being, saved by His grace from a destiny we created and deserved, we have an obligation to give Him all of our honor, all our praise, and all our adoration. This is the reason for the primary purpose of our saved lives–to give God the glory that is rightly due Him.

Why must we? Because He is the Holy, Sovereign, the Creator (Duet. 7:21; Neh. 4:14; Psalm 48:1; 86:10; 95:3; 97:2; 145:3; Dan. 9:4; 1 Cor. 13:12; Heb. 12:28,29)!

Too many Christian leaders have neglected the basics of the faith, replacing it with new teachings and trends, or neglect good teaching all together. They forget who God is, and who we are in Christ. If we do not know who God is and what our call and responsibilities are, then how are we to grow in our faith, in maturity, and in character, not to mention in leading others in the direction of God’s call? We can’t!

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We Are To Have the Attitude of Christ! P3

Read and study, 1 Peter 4: 1-11

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death-even death on a cross! Philippians 2:5 – 8

Why does God not want us to be controlled by the past or to be fearful or cowardly?

Does Love cover you? Do you use it to cover others? We are to be fueled and empowered by Christ’s attitude of love in all situations. 

How? Christian love is the turning of our backs on our self-concerns and facing our neighbors. It is the surrender of our will to His. If love does not take us beyond our self-interests, then we have only lust and pride, not real love! God’s love must be our model for life. It must flow into us from Christ, and in return, flow out from us to those around us.

Why? God’s love is the ultimate power for the Christian. Love is more than a feeling; it has segments and characters to it. Love is also a choice, a decision that must be perused and worked on (John 13:1; 15:13;1 Corinthians 13:3; 1 John)!

What will come from us? “God may be praised.” Here, this means for us to be good stewards, as we are called to live, serve, and do all that we do in life for the honor and glory of our Lord and Savior (Acts 7:38; Rom. 3:2; 1 Cor. 1:26-31; Jude 24-25)!

What does this mean? How will it benefit me and my church? God does not want us to be controlled by the past or to be fearful or cowardly. Rather, we are to learn from our experiences and grow from them, but not be tied to them so they become our identity.

We have been born again in Christ; our old life is old, and it is no longer who we are. Thus, we are to grow closer to Him and be an example to others who are still in the old life without being influenced and enticed by them. Our focus needs to be what is going on now, what God is doing, and how we can contribute to it. Not just what can I get, but what can I learn and gain to be better for His glory?

Take comfort; God does indeed have a plan for you even when you cannot see it. His will for your growth in Him is clear! He wants you to be faithful and good so others can see in you a demonstration model for the new life that they can have too. He gives you the ability, the power, and the strength to endure and to enjoy (Gal. 6:7)! The most important aspect is for us to keep our eyes focused on Christ, with racehorse blinders on to block off the rest.

How can you have a better mindset to learn and grow from your experiences?

What can you do to be on guard against the sins and enticements of others? If you are not, how do you suppose the sins of your heart would break you down and take you over? What can you do about it?

 

Yes, the Way is Narrow! P3

Matthew 7:13-20

Have you ever locked yourself out of your house or car? How did it feel? How would it feel to be locked out of Heaven because you made a lot of wrong choices? Thank Christ, He gives us Grace, when we trust in Him!

The Christian life can be a difficult journey! We live in a fallen world corrupted by sin. Consequently, all we do is imperfect, and a struggle. We will make choices that affect the direction in which we proceed in life and in relationships.

In so doing, we affect others around us in both positive and negative ways. Yet, when our efforts and motivations are centered upon being righteous, we will be doing as we are called to do, and even be blessed for it.

As Christ’s disciples, we must be willing to be led by the truth of His Word and by our faith and trust in Him. Everything that is worthy and excellent requires more work, from painting a house to preaching the Word. This journey of difficulty should not discourage us because it will build us up to be much better, stronger and of better use to God as we put into practice what He puts in us (Phil. 2:12-13).

So, enjoy your Christian journey! See it as an adventure from which to learn and grow. Our character will improve and enable us to overcome all obstacles and help others through them.

Thus, we should make it a point to give Him our best for His glory because He first loved us, and we respond to His Grace with our gratitude. At the same time, we can take comfort in the fact that He will not give us anything we cannot handle (Phil 2:10-13; Heb. 2:10)! So, let us live with excellence, to our best for His glory!

For reflection and small groups:

How is the Way (Christian life) simple in concept? Why do some people feel the need to add to it?

Read Matthew 7:13-20, how is it that the illustration of trees and fruit (Fruits of the Spirit, Gal. 5:18-23) can be the quintessential proof text of who you are?

Making a public profession or testimony of faith may be good, but do you believe that until it moves your Will and feet, it is of no good to God or those around you? Now, think through what you can do to make sure your testimony stays on God’s track and the fruits you produce are from Gal 5:22-23, not from verses 18-21?

What happens to your church, neighborhood, and relationships when you produce fruit to nourish and impact others?

What happens when you give out your rotten fruit to discourage and repulse all the people whom God brings to you? Can you see this from the perspective of others, or perhaps how God might see it?

Yes, the Way is Narrow! P2

Matthew 7:13-20

What is the price for choosing the wrong, or big gate? How can you help motivate others not to make that big mistake?

The illustration of trees and fruit is the quintessential proof text of whom you are, where you came from, and what you have, or can become. You have the choice to live out Galatians 5:19-21 or Galatians 5: 22-23.

The choice is yours; the fruit is to be made by you through the Holy Spirit.

The key is to receive and work it out (Phil. 2:12-13). You can be a good tree or a bad one. You can produce fruit to nourish and impact others, or give out your rotten fruit to discourage and repulse all those who are brought to you by God. Faith that is professed may be good, but until it moves your will and feet it is no good to God or those around you!

Today, it is no different. We still need to be “set straight” because of so much false, bad, shallow and lazy teaching in the church. Churches often add in what is not there, and lead people far away from the simple, yet profound teachings of our Lord. Leaders tell us to carry what we do not need, or cut essential aspects from the Gospel, as if it were a buffet.

Added to this, we have so many false religions, cults, lifestyles, and ways of living, we can be overwhelmed and confused. The price for choosing the wrong, or big gate is the ultimate cost of eternal consequences and despair. Do not cheat yourself, and exchange what seems easy and fun for ultimate loneliness and desolation.

In what ways is the Christian life hard?

“Difficult” is the Christian way. To teach that it is easy is true on the surface; however, it minimizes who and what Christ did and the price He paid (Acts 14:21-22). It also minimizes the realization of how much you have been forgiven, and how much sin corrupts and destroys. We will go though difficulties and sufferings, but these cannot distract us; rather, we need to see the hope and glory we have to come.

“Fruits,” is an illustration of good and valuable food such as barley, figs, and pomegranates, versus what is worthless and harmful to the harvesters, such as thorns or thistles (Isa. 5:2-6; 27:6; Hos.10: 1-13; 14:7-8; Prov. 11:30-31). This, in the O.T., refers to being obedient to God in order to receive His blessings. Now, it is more of a mirror to our character, to who we are, or can be in Christ (Gal. 5:18-23).

Do not focus on your situation, but on Christ.

The Christian life requires surrender of our Will, as in self-denial and obedience to Him (Rom. 6:3-7; 17-22). Few people desire to be convicted or challenged from their thinking and comfort zones. They see this as confining, or bigoted. What needs to take place, besides the work of the Spirit, to make this happen? In so doing, will it change our behavior, which is the main theme of chapters 5, 6, and 7 (Matt. 28:19-20)?

What is the price for choosing the wrong, or big gate? How can you help motivate others not to make that big mistake?

The Importance of Discipleship and Growth P3

 

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

How To Grow in Faith

We are to call upon Him! Second Chronicles tells us, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways…

Do you see the condition? The “if” needs to become a “do;” we are to carry out what He has accepted in us, so the rest of the passage becomes fulfilled in us. …then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14).

To grow means we are to turn from sin, seek Him, be praying, act with humility, seek His righteousness, and practice maturity. We are not to wander from Him or allow our desires to be selfish and sinful. We are to focus on His precepts and allow ourselves to be filled up with Christ. When we call upon our Lord, that call will echo over all those around us.

We grow as we look to and trust in Him, and as we pursue our lives in Christ.

That means careful pursuit and continual growth, not a simple look-over, but an in-depth and committed life. Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our faith. Growing is surrendering our will to His. Surrender is the process through which we grow toward Him and His will, and away from our will. Surrender is making Christ the Lord of all of our lives so that worship, discipleship, and growth can happen.

For this to truly happen, we must rid ourselves of false presumptions, perceptions, reckless ideas, faulty thinking, and other such things that are barriers to our growth, so we can make room for Him.

This can start by our realizing that Jesus “authors” our faith and teaches us how to run the race according to God’s will for His glory, His worship, and His purpose. Thus, we gain a deeper intimacy with our Lord as our Commander and Friend, as our God and our King, as the provider of Grace, as our Love, and as our reason for being.

In His purposes, we find real contentment, joy, and fulfillment. 

This can be summed up in the adage, “we cannot be doing the work of God unless we are the people of God.” We have to be growing before we can be effective.

 What have you done about pursuing your life in Christ?

Growing in Christ is the key, so is Christ LORD over you and your church, if not why not?

Some passages to consider: Psalm 119:89-90; John 3:30; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

How goes “The Great Commission” in your church?

The Matthew 28 passage presents us with “The Great Commission,” as these are the marching orders for our faith and practice! This is also the hallmark passage for evangelism and missions! This is the climax of redemption and the critical call of the Church. This passage contains the ultimate wonder of the universe-the incredible impossible, and the incredible triumph. Jesus was crucified; He died, and was buried.

 

The-great-commission

 

What does make disciples mean to your church? What has your church done with Christ’s most important call? Why do so few churches and Christians do this?

 

The history of man, his fallen state, the move of our Lord though history and our lives has interwoven to the finishing point. He lived on our behalf. He has died in our place to absorb God’s wrath and pay our debt of sin; now, He rises back to life, conquering death, and giving us victory and grace for a life of fulfillment and fullness (Psalm 16:11; 107:09; Isa. 26:3; John 14:21; Gal. 5:16; 22-23; 1 John 1:7-9; 3 John 4)! 

Let’s look at what this all means: 

“Make disciples” literally means someone who pledges to be a “learner.” Moreover, it is someone who follows another’s teaching, and adheres to it. It is a commitment and a process. It involves commitment, and time to undertake the learning, and, as a Christian, a yearning to imitate Jesus!  

This refers to what rabbis did, that is, take people under their wing and teach them the Scriptures and procedures of the Temple and life. Thus, they could then become rabbis, and so forth. There were few formal schools then; and, even after going to a formal school as Paul did, becoming a disciple was still paramount, as it is yet today! The Jews baptized, but not in the name of people, but rather, for repentance. Jesus is God and He saves; we respond by repenting (Matt. 4:17; Eph. 1:3‑14; 2:8-9; 1 Cor. 1:18‑2:16; 15:1‑8).  

The difference is that rabbis made disciples like themselves, with their traditions and beliefs. We are called to make disciples like Christ, and teach His precepts and ways!  

“Baptize” meant conversion and identification; the person was to become identified as a person of faith and as a follower of Christ. It does not presuppose a ritual, but rather a mindset. The physical act of baptism is essential (not for salvation), as it is a public showing of our faith and commitment. The specifics of how and when are not as important as the faith and obedience to follow Christ (Matt. 4:18-19).  

“Teaching” means to show what is in the Scriptures, how to understand God’s Word, what is God saying to us, and how to live by God’s Word. Personal instruction helps us understand and then apply His precepts into our lives. We are to live for Him and to serve Him. For the rabbi, this meant the Law, Commandments, and the Prophets. Now, it also means the teachings of our Lord.

“Observe.” We are called to learn what to believe and to obey. We do this by observing; it is cemented in us by doing! This passage is called “practical holiness.” Jesus calls us to observe (to learn and grow) and then to do it!  

“Always be with you.” The great comfort we have is that the God of the universe, our Creator and Lord, knows us, loves us, and will be with us! This also refers to Jesus being fully God. One of Jesus’ names is Immanuel, which means “God is with us (Matt. 1:23).”  

To make this all work, the remaining disciples had to surrender their will to His in order to know who He was and what He was doing in them (John 3:30). 

We cannot make disciples of others until first we, ourselves, become disciples of Jesus (2 Pet. 1:13)! 

The disciples bore witness to His call to make disciples of all nations; they were His witnesses and His messengers. What will you do about this today (Acts. 1: 22; 4:2, 10, 33; 2 Cor. 5:20)?

 The key to implement this is to realize who Jesus is-and His authority! When we have acknowledged His authority, then we can allow His work in us. Then, He can use us in the lives of others. The opportunities and potentials are limitless (Luke 10:17-20; John 15:7; Acts 20:24)! 

What can you do to help your church see the veracity of The Great Commission and do a better job of knowing Christ so they can then make Him known? What would your church look like doing this? What would your neighborhood look like?

 

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