Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for January, 2010

Wednesday, January 27, 2010



The first servant leader in Scriptures was Moses who was described as, more humble than any other person on earth. (Num 12:3)  (See Exo. 32:11-14, 30-35)

In the New Testament, Jesus summarized the idea of servant-leadership in stating, "You know that in this world kings are tyrants, and officials lord it over the people beneath them. But among you it should be quite different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be the slave of all. (Mk. 10:42-44)

Christ personally demonstrated servant-leadership by: (1) Selflessly relinquishing his rights as God and dying the death of a common criminal for us (Phil. 2:5-8),  and  (2) Selflessly serving the needs of others.  (Mt. 20:24-34; Jn. 13:1-17)

The self-serving leader and the servant-leader can be contrasted as follows: 1

 Self-serving leadership  Servant Leadership

The leaders objective is to be served.  The leaders object is to serve.

Seeks first to be understood, then to understand.  Seeks first to understand, then to be understood.

Considers self-image, advancement, entitlements   Values followers potential and achievement and pro-

of his own position primary.  motes them before self.

Sees and treats co-workers as inferiors who do  Sees and treats co-workers with respect as a team that

not usually participate in decision-making, nor  works together to accomplish a task and make decisions  are offered important information.  with shared information.

Creates an atmosphere of dependence, using  Creates an atmosphere in which others are encouraged and

power of  position to manipulate and direct.  power is used to serve others.

Rejects constructive criticism and takes credit  Encourages input and feedback and shares credit for results.

for results. 

Uses expediency as the main criteria; makes  Uses biblical and moral principles as the main criteria;  

decisions in secret from ones own view of truth  makes decision openly and in consultation.

and wisdom.

Is accountable only to superiors and shuns    Is accountable to God and others and welcomes  personal

personal evaluations as interference.  evaluations as a means to improve performance.

Clings to power and position.  Is willing to step aside for someone more qualified.

In summary, servant-leaders aspire to be great only in their service to others. They are committed to serving others with integrity; humility; sincere concern; a generous, forgiving and giving heart; and self-discipline. They relate to others by investing, empowering, caring for, and consulting others. They are willing to sacrifice personally for the well being of others. 1

QUESTION  Which type of leader are you:  A self-serving leader? Or a servant-leader?


1 Trinity Western University Core Values Statement No. 3 (February 5, 2000)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


There is little around me that is pure.

–  The food I eat is loaded with preservatives, food coloring, etc.

–  The media routinely twists and distorts the truth. 

–  In business and the professions smoke and mirrors is standard fare.

–  Even my own speech is sprinkled with subtly shaded meanings, withheld truths, etc.

All the while Christ calls me to a pure heart as a requirement of seeing God: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.  (Matt. 5:8)

Just what is purity? The Greeks used the term to describe metals that had been refined of their impurities.  They were unmixed, unalloyed, unadulterated.  A pure person has pure motives, is single-minded, is undivided in his devotion and spiritual integrity. The opposite is true of a double-minded person: "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.For truly, let not a double-minded person imagine that he will receive anything he asks for from the Lord, for being as he is, a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), he is unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything he thinks, feels, decides.  (Matt. 6:24; Jms.. 1:7, 8 Amp. N.T.)  (See. Jas. 4:4)

Where do I begin in my pursuit of purity

  • With God. I need to know he is the essence and standard of the purity I am to become: As for God, his way is perfectAnd the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven timesBe perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfectAs obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: Be holy, because I am holy."  (Psa. 18:30a; 12:6; Matt. 5:48; I Pet. 14-16)
  • I need to comprehend the importance of cleansing if I desire to be close to God and to be used by him: Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. .(Heb. 12:14; 2 Tim. 2:20,21)  (See Psa. 51:7, 17; 65:3; Isa. 1:18; Jms. 4:8; I Jn. 1:9)
  • I need to understand the importance of soul-searching:  Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlastingExamine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test? (Psa. 139:23, 24; 2 Cor. 13:5) (See Psa. 26: 2; 119:59; Ezek. 18:28; Lam. 3:40; Hag. 1:5,7; I Cor. 11:28, 31; 2 Cor. 7:1; Gal. 6:4)
  • I need to pack my heart and mind with the word of GodHow can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your wordI have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against youYou are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.  (Psa. 119:9,11; Jn. 15:3)
  • I need to take prudent steps to avoid the impure: Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heartDo not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way.  (2 Tim. 2:22; Pro. 4:14, 15)

QUESTION: Do you have a passion for holiness?  A passion for seeing God? If so, you are willing to take whatever steps necessary – however painful – to be liberated from the enslavement of a spiritually adulterous life?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Humility is a rare quality in a society that loves to strut its stuff. The Apostles Paul and John summarize the strut thus:

  • They want to appear important. 
  • They are self-absorbedself-promoting [and] stuck up.
  • They are swaggers [and] insufferable windbags! (I Jn. 2:16, 2 Tim. 3:2; Rom. 1:30 Msg Selected)

In a world where people worship at the alter of power, position and influence, the very idea of humility comes off as rather paltry stuff.  Not so from the Fathers perspective: The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.  (Psa. 51:17) (See Pro. 3:34; 29:23; Mic. 6:8; Lk. 1:52; I Pet. 5:5)

To understand humility, we need first to understand pride.  All of us who are seeking to follow Jesus struggle with this insidious cancer. Daily. The essence of pride is rebellion against God simply because we attribute to ourselves the honor and glory that are His, and His alone. Pride manifests itself in undue confidence in and attention to our own skills, accomplishments, possessions and status in life. 1 Pride evidences itself as arrogance, presumption, conceit, self-satisfaction,  and boasting. Proud people dont find it necessary to ask forgiveness simply because they fail to see their own inner corruption. Our blinding pride leads us to look down on others in terms of their abilities or worth. Tell tale indicators of pride are when we begin to feel or act with contempt (or even cruelty) toward others. 

By way of contrast, the consummate example of humility we are to emulate is found in Jesus Christ: Let Jesus Christ be your example as to what your attitude should be.  He, who had always been God by nature, did not cling to his prerogatives as Gods equal, but stripped himself of all privilege by consenting to be a slave by nature and being born as a mortal man.  And, having become man, he humbled himself by living a life of utter obedience, even to the extend of dying, and the death he died was the death of a common criminal. (Phil. 2:5-8 – Phillips Translation)

How would Christs humility translate out in our lives?

  • Recognition of our sinfulness before a holy God:  "Woe to me I cried. I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty."  (Isa. 6:5) (See Lk. 5:8; Rom. 7:8; 8:6-8)
  • Living a life of uncompromising surrender and obedience to God: "Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.   (Matt. 7:21) (See Jn. 14:21)
  • Living a life of sacrificial service to others for the glory of God:  This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives brothersWhoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to himNot to us, O Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. (I Jn. 3:16; Jn. 14:21; Psa. 115:1)

QUESTION:  As others observe your life, what conclusion do you think they come to?  That it is all about you? Your feelings? Your fulfillment? Your need for appreciation and recognition? Or that your life is truly centered in a deep relationship with Jesus Christ that manifests itself in putting others first before yourself?  One reason these hard questions need to be asked is because of Jesus sobering statement, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 18:3)

1 Holman Bible Dictionary

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Another characteristic of a knight is kindness – that rather rare quality of steadfast love that graciously hangs in there with folks in their time of need, manifesting itself not so much in emotions, but in action.  Kindness has to do with helping the less fortunate; people such as orphans and widows in their distress  (Jms. 1:27)  People who are in no position to reciprocate. How easy it is for us in our rush-packed lives to brush past the less fortunate, the unattractive, the unaccomplished.  How easy it is to be unkind to the people who are not to our liking. 

It is interesting to observe that God is kind to the ungrateful and wicked, and expects the same of us: Love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything backLove your enemies and pray for those who persecute youBless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.  (Lk. 6:35; Matt. 5:44; Lk. 6:28) Impossible, it would seemunless we are rightly connected to the Spirit of God. The fruit of the Spirit is lovekindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness (Gal. 5:22,23a)

The Scriptures are loaded with commands to be kind.

  Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. (Rom. 12:10 )

  Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other.  I Thes. 4:9)

  Keep on loving each other as brothers.  (Heb 13:1)

  Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. (I Pet. 1:22)  

We see Gods kindness in his response to Israel, even in her stubborn waywardness. The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.  (Num. 14:18) We see the kindness of Christ in his act of redemption:  But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.  (Tit. 3:4, 5) We also see the kindness of the Father as we look into eternity: In the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. (Eph. 2:7)

I wonder if you have someone in your life who is rude, pushy, garish, self-serving, sarcastic, or manipulative.  Someone  whom you would just as soon avoid. The easy thing is to take a wide path around  them; not engage them. Just rule them out of your life. Yet the way of the cross is to love and serve them, gently winning them to the Savior. Jesus modeled kindness in doing the unthinkable when he touched a leprous social outcast:

While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.  Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. I am willing, he said. Be clean!  And immediately the leprosy left him.  (Lk. 5:12, 13)

Just the other day I had to call Jeff and apologize to him for my unkindness.  He was attempting to do some repair work on our house but was unable to finish the job due to his lack of technical skill.  I am ashamed to admit it, but I was pushy, impatient and demanded to speak with his boss in an attempt to gain assurance from the company that they could finish the job. My wishes were not being honored and I was irritated at Jeffs incompetence.  

So tell me my friend, are you inclined to show kindness to the unpleasant, the disenfranchised, the marginalized, the bunglingthe losers of our society?  How about obnoxious relatives, co-workers, or neighbors?  Are we willing to exhibit the kindness of Jesus to them? If not, the authenticity of your profession of faith is seriously called into question.