Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Test post...

Here I am...

I'm typing this right now!

Oh yeah.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What is a 'servant leader'?

John 13:1-17...

1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.
2 And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, 4 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. 5 After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. 6 Then He came to Simon Peter. AndPeter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?”
7 Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.”
8 Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!”
Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”
9 Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!”
10 Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, “You are not all clean.”
12 So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16 Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

Andrew Murray said that 'true humility isn't thinking lesser of yourself, but not thinking of yourself at all'.

The preceding text is ushering in the teaching that Jesus would share in verse 35 of chapter 13, and that was 'By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.'

Those last days leading up to the cross, Jesus wasn't thinking about himself. When the temptation came, He would simply pray to the Lord, 'Not my will, but Yours be done'.

We read in the first 2 verses of our text that Jesus realizes that His hour is approaching. He was going to betrayed and handed over to the high priests and Pharisees.

Yet in verse 3 we read that Jesus understood that this was the will of the Father, and He willingly accepted this. Jesus had liberty to love because He knew that He came from God.

If you are a believer in Christ, then the blood of Christ has washed away all of your mistakes, misdeeds, failures, and faults. Your sin is forgiven and forgotten, as Hebrews 8:12 reminds us.

If you're still working through your past, living in your past, or haunted by your past, you won't be able to love in the present because the more that you try to love someone, the more Satan will whisper in your ear “You're a hypocrite.”

So as Christ knew that He came from God, let's also know that, as Christians, we are in Christ.

In verses 4 and 5, we read about something that would totally change the disciples way of thinking. Jesus took on the role of the servant.

He was setting up a model for love in such a radical and mind blowing way. And this act was unannounced, so Jesus didn't say “OK boys, break out your notebooks, class is in session. You will now see how true love and leadership is displayed.” No way! He just began to do it, just as we just need to jump into loving people and not wait for others to be watching or form a crowd to perform our love for others.

So with that said, we see in verses 6-10 this very genuine conversation between Jesus and Peter.

“... are You washing my feet?

There were so many things that Jesus taught His disciples, and at that time they had no idea what He was talking about or why He was doing what He was doing. This was definitely one of those times, and Jesus even had to say “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.

Aren't you glad that we don't have to have it all figured out before we can have a real relationship with Jesus?

He meets us where we are. He took 12 guys that had no idea, no 'proper' teaching; just 12 guys that when He said 'follow Me', they dropped what they were doing and followed Christ. And that's what we're called to do. Follow Him in faith.

And we also see how Jesus didn't forbid them from asking questions or get upset that His disciples didn't get it from the beginning. Jesus responds to Peter's question in love. He assures them that though they don't understand now, they will soon.

And we see that in verses 12-17. Jesus explains the reason for why He did what He did in washing the disciples feet, and taking on the role of the servant even though He is their leader. He equips us with this priceless teaching for the ministry, as well as just our daily lives.

He begins in verse 12, “...He said to them, 'Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed Your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.

Jesus gives us this call to serve, just as He has served. And yet, He is still fully God in human flesh. Wow! What a radical concept!

Jesus didn't come to be served, but to serve, and to an extent where he served as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. He gave up His life for us, so why can't we give up our time and effort for one another?

Jesus tells us in verse 15, “For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.”

That doesn't mean that we need to necessarily need to 'wash' one another's feet... but there are tons of things that we can do for one another to show love, and be an example of Christ. Washing someone's car, gardening someone's lawn, taking out someone's trash -- these are all practical things we can do.

And that is why Jesus closes this text in verse 17 by saying, “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”

He's saying that just because you know this, that doesn't mean much if you're not doing something about it. And when you do serve one another, you will be blessed. You will learn that it makes you happy. It's satisfying to serve.

Serving makes an impact in people's lives that observe a person with a heart after God's heart.

If we serve with a bad attitude, that's not going to make much of a difference. We need to serve with an attitude of humility.

And that brings us back to what Andrew Murray said...

Humility isn’t thinking less of one’s self, it’s not thinking about yourself at all.

Servant leadership is God’s way of building us spiritually. It takes great faith and maturity to believe that you win by surrendering, gain by losing, and lead by serving. But all those things are true and displayed in the life of Christ.

The work of a servant leader is the greatest approach that glorifies God. It takes the focus off us. We are no longer trying to be out there making name for ourselves, but humbly serving others to further the name of the Lord.

Two words that are synonymous with humility are gentleness and meekness.

In today’s world view of leadership, those are two words you’re probably not going to find in their vocabulary. But we need to understand that humility shouldn’t be mistaken for weakness. Humility is power that is under control... under the control of our King.

As servant leaders, we need to be submissive to the Lord. And submission is a voluntary surrender to authority completely motivated by love. We need to recognize that though we might be given a position of power or leadership, we are also accountable to our Lord and Savior. We need to be ready to give an account for that position that the Lord graciously appointed us to.

Phil 2:3-11 tells us...

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

So here again we see the perfect example of the servant leader. Not only is Jesus our Savior, but He is also our Lord. High and lifted up, the Name above all names, Jesus humbled himself to come down to earth as a man, live a sinless life, and die the death of a criminal. Suffering for our shame, He humbled Himself to even death on a cross.

If that doesn’t move you to respond to the love of Christ, then I don’t know what would.

Closing with a quote from someone whom Jesus said was the greatest of all the prophets...

John the Baptist proclaims in John 3:30 that “He (Jesus) must increase, but I must decrease.”

In Christ,


Sunday, November 7, 2010

1 Peter 1:18-19 "knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish and without spot."

There was a price that was paid for our salvation, and it was a check that we could never write. Christ's blood is priceless, yet He poured it out upon the cross once for all. He died for wretched sinners... and by God's amazing grace, we are saved through faith. And its a gift that only God can offer.

Jesus was perfect, Peter says here that He was 'without blemish and without spot'. We fall so short in the eyes of God, but Jesus is our Advocate. He is our Attorney with iron clad evidence to redeem us from an eternity of damnation. That evidence was His blood. And for the christian, it is through the lens of Christ's blood that God looks at us and deems us righteous.

What can wash away our sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can make us whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
-- Robert Lowry

In Christ <><

A.E. Sexton

Thursday, October 21, 2010

James 5:12 "... let your 'Yes' be 'Yes', and your 'No' be 'No'..."

Do you remember when you used to say things, as a kid, like "cross my heart and hope to die or stick a needle in my eye"? Anytime I was ever trying to convince someone of the truth, I would 'swear' to them that they can believe me. But what James is telling us here is that we don't need to be crossing our hearts or anything like that... he simply encourages us to stick with a straight-forward & honest 'Yes' or 'No'.

I've found that the best way for my 'Yes' to be 'Yes' and my 'No' be 'No', is to allow my actions to speak louder than my words. What we say needs to always line up with what we do. That is a foundational principle with establishing character in one's life.

We are representatives of our King. We serve the Most High God. And we have the best example when it comes to 'character', and that is Jesus Himself.

In Christ <><

A.E. Sexton

Monday, October 18, 2010

James 4:14 "... you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away."

Life is so short.

We've heard that time and time again. That's probably because its so true. In the spectrum of eternity, it seems even shorter. Whether the Lord comes back, or He brings me home; when that day arrives I want to know that I was ready and accomplished His will for my life here on earth.

So we must take one day at a time. The Lord's will for our lives consists of one moment after the next, building upon the foundations of His love, and abiding in that love with the conscious decision to follow Christ.

We can't accurately predict the future 100% of the time, but God already knows our future. (Whoa! What a thought...) That is why James encourages us, that instead of taking tomorrow for granted, we ought to rather say 'If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that'.

Does that mean that I think we should all throw away our annual planners or clear our calendars in our iPhone? No, not at all! Scripture has so much to say about being a good steward & being prepared.

When it really comes down to it, the question is...

Are we focused on continually seeking the Lord's will for our life on a day to day basis & trusting in Him to set our schedule?

In Christ <><

A.E. Sexton

Sunday, October 17, 2010

James 1:14 "... each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed."

Have you ever heard someone tell you, "You need to do what's best for yourself"? When we start thinking what's best for us is when our focus is shifted from God's perspective to our perspective. The world is pretty convincing that we need to watch out for numero uno, but the Lord provides us with the great acronym JOY. Our priorities should be (1) Jesus, (2) Others, and finally (3) Yourself... JOY.

When we get entangled in our 'own desires', James goes on to tell us that it gives birth to sin, and sin brings forth death.

But we, as Christians, don't need to worry about our own desires; because the psalmist reminds us the God gives us the desires of our heart. (Psalm 37:4) So we don't have to be concerned with doing what's 'best for ourselves'. God knows!

In Christ <><

A.E. Sexton

Friday, October 15, 2010

Hebrews 12:29 "For our God is a consuming fire."

Paul has just concluded with saying that there will yet once be a day that approaches when God will shake the heavens and the earth and all things shaken shall be removed. What remains is that which cannot be shaken, which is the kingdom of God.

Since we, as Christians, are heirs to that kingdom, Paul encourages us to that we are to have grace to serve God with reverence and godly fear... 'For our God is a consuming fire.'

Isn't that something to think about... we ask the Lord to burn away our desires of anything that is not of Him, but is of us. We petition to the Lord to light the fire again. We state that the Refiner's fire is our heart's one desire. These are songs we sing to the One who has saved us from the lake of fire.

God's fire consumes us in a way that nothing else can. Tim Hughes has a song in regards to this called 'Consuming Fire' (go figure!), and at the end of the song he sings "stir it up in our heart, Lord, a passion for Your name". The objective is that the Holy Spirit would light the fire and be the bellows that fans the flame.

Let's run with that, because one day all will be shaken and the only thing that will remain is His kingdom. Let's make sure that the actions we take, the words we speak, and seeds we sow are geared to that which will always remain... furthering the kingdom of God.

God bless <><

A.E. Sexton