Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Interested in the Future.
We need more dreamers among our elders today. Yet, many people don't like that. Remember what Joseph's brothers said about him? "Behold that dreamer cometh" (Genesis 37:19). Bottom line -- leaders must have vision because without it we go nowhere.
Do you remember the story about the little boy who wrote an essay for his teacher? The essay was to be about what the boy wanted to be in 20 years. The little boy wrote that he wanted among other things a 2000 acre ranch and a 4000 square foot house. When he got the paper back from the teacher, he had been given an "F". The teacher said the little boy's essay was unattainable because he was so poor and he came from a low income family. However, the teacher did tell the young man that he could take the paper home and rewrite it and she would change the grade. When the boy took the paper back to the teacher, it had not been edited at all. He looked the teacher in the eye and said, "You keep the "F" and I'll keep my dreams." As the story goes, the little boy surpassed his dreams and the aging teacher took her class to his huge ranch every year for a field trip so they could see how important their dreams were.
Leaders need to set goals for the future. We also need to set objectives to reach those goals. When someone climbs stairs, they do it one step at a time. No one goes from the bottom of the stairs to the top in one step. Furthermore, God's leaders need to always look to the future. They need to be forward looking. Technology is also an important aspect of this vision. We need to take full advantage of the blessings that are available to us today and tomorrow.
Be result oriented! Sometimes it is not a question of what works, but what works best. The leader must identify what needs to be accomplished. Then he must forget what doesn't work or is just mediocre, and keep what works best to glorify God and save the souls of the lost.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Handle God's Word
Obviously, we cannot go into much detail on this point. However, just as Hosea wrote "My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6), we need to take the need for the knowledge of God's Word seriously today.
Many passages teach this importance. There is the need to "search the scriptures" (Acts 17:11). There is the need to "rightly divide the Word" (2 Timothy 2:15). There is the need to "grow in knowledge" (2 Peter 3:18). There is the need to be "filled with knowledge" (Col. 1:9-10).
What happens when God's leaders lack knowledge? The answer is often seen in two extremes. First, some become liberal in their dealings with the Word. In other words, they go beyond the Will of God. Second, some become traditionalist. What I mean by this is that they do things based solely on the way they have seen things done in the past. An example of this can be seen in the old practice of covering the emblems of the Lord's Supper with some kind of cloth before it is served. Of course, this was done to keep flies off the emblems in the days before air conditioners. Yet, some people attached spiritual significance to the old covering. They did this not based on scripture, but based on their tradition.
Paul summed this up best when he wrote to Timothy saying, "Take heed unto thyself and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee" (1 Timothy 4:16).
Friday, November 23, 2007
Solomon once said, "He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city" (Proverbs 16:32). Napoleon said there are two forces in the world - the sword and the spirit. He also said the spirit can always defeat the sword.
Although this is a qualification for an elder (2 Timothy 3:2), it also applies to all Christians. As a matter of fact, all but about four of the qualifications of elders apply to every Christian. This is the "temperance"(KJV) or self-control which is one of what we call the Christian graces (2 Peter 1:6). Of course, this is something that must be learned by most of us. The brothers James and John were called "Sons of Thunder", but now John is known as "the Apostle of Love." We must all work on this in our own lives.
A leader must be in control of body and mind. This does not mean he is not passionate, but he is always in control. There is an old quote that I have seen in church bulletins for years. It goes like this... "A man is like steel. It he loses his temper he is useless." There is simply no room for a short fuse in the Christian's life.
How can one lead others if he is not in control of himself?
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Here are some pictures from the wedding. Everyone from the Central Church of Christ helped make it a very special day for us and our children. We also enjoyed getting to know Derek's family. They are such wonderful people. Dianne and Derek are now living in Wichita. I hope you enjoy the pictures.
Even when there is a disagreement over a matter of judgment, a leader must be able to disagree without being "disagreeable." We find an example of this with Paul and Barnabas in Acts 15:39. They had a sharp contention over whether or not they should take Mark on the next trip. They decided to go on separate trips. However, we later find Paul asking for Mark by name and saying he was profitable to him for the ministry (2 Timothy 4:11).
Respect must exist for there to be genuine concern for others. The leader must be friendly and practice hospitality. These will go a long way to helping one to be respectful to others.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
The ability to encourage others is a fundamental part of leadership. This encouragement takes different forms according to the need that must be met. Notice, for example, 1 Thessalonians 5:14. "Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men" (KJV). Here we find that the unruly need to be warned, the feebleminded need to be comforted, the weak need to be supported, and leaders must be patient toward all men.
A boss can force someone to work with threats. However, a leader can make a person work because they want to . They come to appreciate and enjoy the work. I once read a story about how General Eisenhower would tell his officers to push a string which was on the table before them. Of course, the string would just pile up in front of them. Yet, when he told them to pull the string, it straightened out and followed along behind their hands. At this moment, Eisenhower would make his point about leading others. The ability to encourage others is a powerful part of the art of leadership.
Monday, November 5, 2007
Saturday, November 3rd, we had a clothing Give Away Day in Doniphan. Everyone who came was able to pick through all the clothes that had been donated for the event, and take them for free. In addition, we gave them a color brochure about the church and they could pick through several tracts written by Allen Webster for House to House/Heart to Heart. Someone told us that this "give away" was helping them get Christmas presents for their children. I want to thank everyone who helped make this day so successful.
Delegate Without Ignoring Responsibilities.
Do you remember when Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, saw how Moses was trying to judge every matter for all the people of Israel (Exodus 18:13-22)? Jethro said, "So Moses’ father-in-law said to him, 'The thing that you do is not good...'" It was because one man could not do what Moses was trying to do. It was not fair to Moses or the people. Jethro gave Moses some advice. It can be summed up in one word -- DELEGATE! When the work load is spread around, so much more can be accomplished. Furthermore, that same work can be done more efficiently and effectively.
On the other hand, a leader must not ignore or neglect his responsibility. It is not good for the church or the people involved when elders expect preachers to shepherd the flock. It is not right for elders to not allow and/or expect deacons to do their jobs. Deacons can also be allowed to make some decisions within stated parameters.
Jethro's advice to Moses in Exodus 18 shows us that the art of delegating involves using a certain kind of people (21). It also demands organization and job descriptions (21). Finally, delegating means we must let them do their job (22).
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Back in the 1970's, Dr. Anthony Flew debated brother Thomas B. Warren on the existence of God. Flew has now come out stating that he believes in God. Click here to read more about it . He has also written a book on the subject entitled "There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind." The book can be found online. At this point Flew considers himself a Deist, but he continues to study.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Leaders Must Be Authoritative Without Being Authoritarian.
Plato thought philosophers should rule the world. In his book "The Prince," Machiavelli said about the same thing. Even Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers of the United States, had similar views concerning government.
An authoritarian believes decisions are to be made by one man or group of men presumed to know better than others what ought to be done. Yet, we must remember that no man rules the Church. We are under a monarchy. Christ is our King, and no one has the right to make his own rules or to change what the Lord has already decided.
Elders have delegated authority to rule and make decisions in matters of judgement. In other words, their job is to expedite God's law. God has already made the decisions in matters of faith. Therefore, elders do have authority, but they must always guard against becoming authoritarian.