BETA

Facts of the Matter

A weekly letter of encouragement and challenge to business and professional men and women

Archive for July, 1997

Wednesday, July 30, 1997

THE TRUE MEASURE OF A SHEPHERD-DISCIPLER

Good Morning!

I wonder how much of what is accepted today as “shepherding” or “discipling” has the imprimatur of  Christ’s life  upon it?

BIBLICALLY-BASED SHEPHERD-DISCIPLERS:

  • Appear to be indiscriminate in their selection of people:

Jesus ministered at large to lepers and princes, outcasts and the elite. In selecting the twelve, He chose rebels. Working-class men.   Non-descripts. Their one commonality seemed to be a mutual hunger for God (Judas excepted).

By contrast, we tend to choose those with whom we find a natural affinity: Those who “fit in” with our social, educational, or economic milieu.

  •  Are willing to suffer whatever is necessary to see their sheep mature:

Consider Paul’s example:

“Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect…I am in the pains of  childbirth until  Christ is formed in you.”  (2 Tim. 2:10a; Gal. 4:19b)

By contrast, we tend to evaluate “success”  in our ministry by  such relatively superficial criterion as our disciples’ (1) mastery of certain disciplines, (2) their endorsement of our ministry objectives for them, or (3) their continued affirmation of us as their spiritual leader.

  • Point people to the Master – never to  themselves:

When John’s disciples met Jesus, John immediately stepped into the background, thereby  allowing them to follow the Master. (Jn. 1:35-39;3:30)

By contrast, we run the risk of developing in our sheep an unhealthy sense of dependency upon us, or obligation to us. Unwittingly, this aberration is fostered through subtle manipulation or abuse of authority, thus delaying or inhibiting  their matriculation toward healthy independence.

“…Make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.” (Rom. 14:13b)

QUESTIONIn ministering to others, what is our primary motivation: The furtherance of God’s Kingdom and Glory, or something as mundane or minuscule as our personal fulfillment or aggrandizement?

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, July 23, 1997

BROKENNESS is the one quality God looks for in visiting and enabling the needy:

Good Morning!

“…The Lord has anointed me (Christ) to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.”  (Isa. 61:1b)

 PROUD, UNBROKEN PEOPLE   BROKEN PEOPLE
 Work to maintain an image/protect their reputation  Die to their own reputation
 Find it difficult to share their spiritual needs with others  Are willing to be open/transparent with others
 Want to be sure nobody finds out about their sin  Are willing to be exposed (once broken, you don’t care who knows as  you have nothing to lose) 
 Have a hard time saying, “I was wrong; will you forgive me?”     Are quick to admit failure and to seek forgiveness
 Deal in generalities when confessing their sin  Deal in specifics
 Are concerned about the consequences  Are grieved over the cause/root of their sins of their sins
 Are remorseful over their sin; over the fact that they got caught/found  out  Are repentant over their sin (forsake it)
 Wait for others to come and ask for forgiveness  Take the initiative to be reconciled
 Compare themselves with others and feel deserving of honor      Compare themselves to the holiness of God and feel a desperate need  for mercy
 Are blind to their true heart condition   Walk in the light
 Don’t think they have anything to repent of  Have a continual heart attitude of repentance
 Don’t think they need revival (but every body else does!)  Continually sense their need for a fresh encounter with the filling of His  Spirit!+

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, July 16, 1997

B R O K E N N E S S is the product of a person who has come face to face with:

Good Morning!

  • The holiness of God:

“I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted…above Him were seraphs…calling…’Holy, holy is the Lord…’”  (Isa. 6:1, 2)

  • His own depravity:

“Woe to me!…I am ruined!  For I am a man of unclean lips…and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”  (Isa. 6:5)

 PROUD, UNBROKEN PEOPLE       BROKEN PEOPLE
 Are driven for self-advancement  Desire to promote others
 Are driven to be recognized/appreciated      Possess a sense of unworthiness; are thrilled to be used at all; are  eager for others to get the credit
 Are wounded when others are   Rejoice when others are lifted up promoted and they are overlooked
 Think of what they can do for God    Know that they have nothing to offer God
 Feel confident in how much they know     Are humbled by how much they have to learn
 Are self-conscious  Are not concerned with self at all
 Keep people at arms length   Risk getting close to others/are willing to take the risk of loving  intimately
 Are quick to blame others wrong  Accept personal responsibility – when you can see where they were
 Are defensive when criticized  Receive criticism with a humble, open heart
 Are concerned with being “respectacle”  Are concerned with being real
 Are concerned about what others think  Care only about what God thinks+

                    

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, July 9, 1997

B R O K E N N E S S

Good Morning!

  • Is a prerequisite to usability by our Heavenly Father
  • Is viewed by the pride-driven world as a sign of weakness.

Which category do you fall into:

 PROUD, UNBROKEN PEOPLE   BROKEN PEOPLE
 Focus on the failures of others     Are overwhelmed with a sense of their own spiritual need
 Are self-righteous; have a critical, fault-finding  spirit; look at their own  life/faults through a telescope but at  others with a microscope   Are compassionate; forgiving; look for the best in others
 Look down on others       Esteem all others better then self
 Are independent/possess a self-sufficient spirit   Possess a dependent spirit/recognize the need for others
 Maintain control; must have it their way  Surrender control
 Have to prove that they are right     Are willing to yield  the right to be right
 Claim their rights   Yield  their rights
 Have a demanding spirit     Have a giving spirit
 Are self-protective of their time, rights, and reputation

 Are self-denying

 Desire to be served   

 Are motivated to serve others

 Desire to be a success 

 Desire to be faithful to make others a success+

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”  (Psa. 34:18)

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, July 2, 1997

YOU WILL NEVER BE SORRY-

Good Morning!

  • For thinking before acting,

Be very careful, then, how you live…making the most of every opportunity…do not be foolish…” (Eph.5:15-17)

  • For hearing before judging,
He who answers before listening–that is his folly and his shame.” (Prov. 18:13)
  • For forgiving your enemies,
“…If you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not .. your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matt. 6:14,15)
  • For being candid and frank,

Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”  (Matt. 5: 36,37)

  • For helping a fallen brother  

 “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. Carry each other’s..” (Gal. 6:1, 2a)

  • For being honest in business,

The Lord  abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are his delight.” (Prov. 11:1)

  • For thinking before speaking

“…Everyone should be  quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”  (Jms. 1:19)

  • For standing by your principles,
Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary?…He…who keeps his oath even when it hurts…” (Psa. 15:1,4b)
  • For stopping your ears to gossip,

A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much.” (Prov. 20:19

  • For bridling a slanderous ..  
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” (Eph.4:31)
  • For sympathizing with the afflicted,
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who ”  (Rom. 12:15)
  • For being courteous and kind to all.
…Live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.” (I Pet. 3:8)

 

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!