BETA

Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for February, 2009

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

MANHOOD: (Part 1 of 3)

Manhood.  What is it? What, in our convoluted world is it suppose look like? John Wayne? Woody Allen? A hybrid of the two? What does biblical manhood look like? How is it played out in real life between exhausting commutes, financial and family challenges, and the sheer complexity of surviving in todays pressurized multi-media, multi-tasking, multi-everything world? Following are ten statements of true manhood from a biblical perspective, compliments of John Piper.+

My earnest prayer for you as Gods man is:

That all your life in whatever calling be devoted to the glory of God:  Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulnessMay I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.  (Psa. 115:1; Gal. 6:14) (See Isa. 48:11; Rev. 4:10, 11)

Question:  If you are raw honest, is your life focused primarily on you?  Or do you possess a deep passion for Gods glory?  What does the fruit of your life attest to as to the true object of your passion?

That the promises of Christ be trusted so fully that peace and joy and strength fill your soul to overflowing: We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promisedI pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God (Heb. 6:12; Eph. 3:16-19) (See Eph. 1:6-8; 1 Tim. 1:14; 1 Pet. 1:3; 2 Cor. 8:9)

Question:  In your gut are you joyfully feeding on His great grace, or are you dried out, shriveled up, and living on spiritual fumes?

That this fullness of God overflow in daily acts of love so that people see your good deeds and give glory to your Father in Heaven: Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heavenFor we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Matt. 5:16; Eph. 2:10) (See 1 Tim. 5:10; 6:18; Tit. 3:14)

Question:  As you make your way through the day, are you sensitized to the Spirits prompting in touching the lives of people He has placed in your path?  Or are you pre-occupied with your agenda?  Your priorities?

That you are a man of the Book, who loves, studies and obeys the Bible in every area of its teaching. That meditation on Biblical truth be the source of hope and faith.  That you grow in understanding through all the chapters of your life, never thinking that study and growth are only for others: For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word. (Ezr. 7:10; Jn. 8:31b, 32; Psa. 119:14-16) (See: Psa. 119:9-11; 119:45-49; 2 Tim 2:15; Jos. 1:7-9; 22:5; Jms. 1:22-25)

Question:  Are you seriously digging into Gods word on a consistent and systematic basis, as though your very life depended on it?  Or are you dabbling at it when your whimsical appetites happen to point you in that direction?

Whats The Difference?   John Piper – Crossway Books, Wheaton IL. 1990, pages 72-80 (Questions and Scriptures added by Dwight Hill)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

IS YOUR LIFE ROOTED IN THE PROMISES OF GOD?

I have just spent several days with a friend who has languished for 20 years in a career that is dead in the water, and in a job he dreads facing each day.  Finances are tight. His wife is numb to the bone with despair.  And he views the future as more of the dreary same.  These are godly people, who are doing a remarkable job with their kids.  But they are stuck in the mud. At the root of his problem is deep insecurity.  The fear of failure. Low self-esteem. His father is an emotionally disengaged authoritarian figure who has grudgingly parceled out his approval over these many years.  No surprise then that all four of his children have grown up loved-starved and plagued with deep insecurities.

If you and I are to be liberated from the wounds and mistakes of our less-than-perfect parents, and if we are to grow into Christ likeness, and if we are to accomplish the great work God has appointed for us, we need to find our identity, not primarily in our parents, but in God himself.  Our sense of worth and purpose must be deeply rooted in Scriptural truth.  The opening verses of Jeremiah, chapter one, provide answers to four basic questions every believer must settle in his heart:

Identify – Who am I? "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.  (vs. 1:5a) We need to find our security in the fact that we have been rooted in God from all eternity: Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are GodFor he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sightI have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psa. 90:1,2; Eph. 1:4; Jer. 31:3b; Psa. 139:13, 14)

Purpose Why am I? Before you were born I set you apart(vs. 1:5b) God has set you apart for his special work that you are uniquely designed to accomplish for his glory.  Paul certainly understood this: Godset me apart from birth and called me by his grace   (Gal. 1:15) (See Rom.1:1)

Guidance What am I to do?  I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." (vs. 1:5c) If you are confused about Gods direction for your life, disappear with your bible and wrestle it through with God. Determine not to return until he gives you his direction.  At age 24 I was at a crossroads in my life and did exactly that. God met me, deeply implanting certain Scriptures on my heart as to the focus and direction of my life. I have never doubted or looked back.  I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.   (Psa. 32:8; Pro. 3:5,6 (See Rom. 12:1,2)

Provision How will I do it?  Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified by them.  (vs. 17) "Ah, Sovereign Lord, I said, I do not know how to speak; I am only a child. But the Lord said to me, Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you, declares the Lord. Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, Now, I have put my words in your mouth. (Jer. 1:6-9) (See Jer. 1:10, 18)

Gods calling is his enabling for us, his pure but the weak vessels.  It is only in our weakness that God makes us strong. A profound sense of inadequacy and brokenness is a hallmark of Gods chosen instruments:  Moses: Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt? (Exo. 3:11) Gideon: "How can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family." (Jud. 6:15) Isaiah: "Woe to meI am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips  (Isa. 6:5a) Paul: He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor. 12:9,10).

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

POWER LEADERS COMPARED TO SERVANT LEADERS +


  Power Leaders

Feed on the spotlight: Everything they do is done for men to see (Matt. 23:5a) (See Matt 6:1,2; 6:16; 23:5; Jn. 12:43)

 

Are the focal point of the ministry: They loved praise from men more than praise from God.  (Jn. 12:43) (See Jn. 5:44; Phil. 1:15; 2 Thes. 2:4)

Dont develop other leaders: You load people down with burdens they can hardly carry.  (Lk. 11:46b)

 

Feed on being in charge and having power:  Jesus called them together and said, You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. (Mk. 10:42)  (See 1 Sam. 18:7-11, 25; 19:1, 9-11)

 

Leave people feeling hurt and abused: You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally…My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them. (Ez. 34:4, 6) (See Isa. 56:10-12; Zech. 11:16, 17; Jn. 10:12)

Refer to their titles frequently:  "But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ. (Matt. 23:8-10)

Are masters of manipulation and/or abuse:  They lead my people astray with their reckless lies (Jer. 23:32b)  (See. Ezek. 34:21; Jer. 23:16, 17, 25, 32; Lk. 11:46)

  Servant Leaders

Share the spotlight with others: In humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Phil. 2:3b,4) (*See Gen. 13:9; Rom. 12:10)  

Make Christ the focal point of the ministry: I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. (I Cor. 2:2) (See I Cor. 1:22-25; Gal. 6:14; Phil. 3:8-10)  

Develop many people: We dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God.  (I Thes. 2:11b,12a) (See 1 Thes. 2:7,8; Gal. 4:19)

Are committed to being a servant first and foremost: Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 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." (Mk. 10:43-45) (See Mk. 9:45; Jn. 13:13-17)

Are committed to reconciliation and relationships:  Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.  (Col. 3:12-14)  (See Eph. 4: 32)

May have a title but seldom refer to it.

 

 

Respect people for their freedom to think, act, and respond:  Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (2 Cor. 3:17b)

 

QUESTION:  Which leader are you?

+  Adapted from Upside Down Stacy Rinehart