Posts Tagged ‘Leadership’

Luke 5

Luke 5 has Jesus in the midst of people, right where they lived and worked.  The chapter begins with His teaching from a boat owned by Simon Peter, after which, he asks them to go out into the deeper water and drop down their net.  Peter replies “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing”!  Based on the facts, this seems like a futile effort.  They were tired as they had worked through the night to attempt to catch some fish, but Jesus ignores those facts and asks Peter to go out and give it another try.  Peter was a seasoned fisherman, who had his doubts.

He does what Jesus asks though. “But at your word I will let down the nets. And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking”. Jesus didn’t just give them some fish in their nets.  It was an overwhelming catch.  So much so, that they had to ask for help from their partners.  When Jesus moves in our lives, it often isn’t just for our own benefit but is for the world around us to see too. “They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them.  And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink”.  The harvest was enough to fill both boats to the point of sinking.  Abundance because they obeyed His command.  That’s the reality of being a Christ Follower and walking in His ways.  Jesus made that clear in John 10:10 when He told us He came to give us life in abundance.

But as you might expect.  This wasn’t really about the fish.  “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men. And when they had brought their boats to land,  they left everything and followed him”.  Jesus had got the attention of four fishermen who became the first of the Twelve that would follow Him and make up the ministry.  Jesus continues touching people by healing a leper.  After the leprosy is cleared, Jesus instructs him to “go and show” the change to the priests.  That’s how we need to live as Christ Followers – to let our lives shine with the power and impact of Jesus to all those in our patch.  Our personal testimony is the most powerful tool we have to show others the power of Jesus.

There is quite a buzz about the things Jesus is doing.  You’d think He might set up shop and take advantage of all the interest.  “But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray”.  Jesus managed the tension between the need to be where the people were that needed Him, and His need and desire to be with His Father whom He needed.  Being a Christ Follower isn’t always about activity and ministry to others.  We also have to make time and take time to be with Christ so we can stay connected and grounded.  Being a Christ Follower isn’t about us – it’s about Jesus and walking with Him in a moment by moment and day by day relationship.  That means we have to spend time with Him and not always be doing in the midst of chaos.  It’s about ‘being’ first.  We have to be with Him in order to ‘be’ like Him!  How are you doing spending time alone with Him?

Mark 11

Mark 11 has Jesus continuing to teach the Twelve and minister to the people.  He comes into Jerusalem in style, riding on a donkey with people preparing the way along His route with palm branches and much noise.  As “he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons”.  This has been going on for years, but Jesus isn’t about leaving the status quo alone.  He is about moving people toward obedience and God.

You can imagine how that went over with the establishment of religious leaders.  Not only was He challenging their methods and approach, He was messing with their money and how they created income.  So “the chief priests and the scribes heard it and were seeking a way to destroy him, for they feared him, because all the crowd was astonished at his teaching”.  The religious leaders could sense their control was slipping away, and they wanted no part of watching that erode.  So they begin to focus on removing the threat whom they deemed to be Jesus.

He teaches his disciples about the power of prayer as they were walking along the road.  He used a fig tree to get their attention.  Then He makes it crystal clear.  “Have  faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, Be taken up and thrown into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours”.  If you wonder what power is available through prayer – it’s limited only to the level of our faith.  Jesus gave us the keys to the kingdom when it comes to prayer.

But there is one more thing He teaches about prayer.  “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that  your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your trespasses”.  Prayer is a matter of the heart.  First it is about faith and believing that God is in control of all things and not only can but will do what He says.  But secondly, it is about relationship and making things right with others.  We have to be willing to forgive to truly set the power of prayer loose in our lives.  That’s often where people struggle.  They think hanging on to past wrongs puts them in a place of power over someone.  In face, it limits our prayer life and hurts us.  We need to forgive and set people free so we can receive that same forgiveness from the Father!

Mark 10

Mark 10 has Jesus addressing the way that we need to come to faith in Him.  “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it”.  Faith is not about anything more than a heart that believes that Jesus is the Christ and came to save us from our sin.  There was a young man who came to Jesus asking what he needed to do to be saved.  “You know the commandments: Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother”.  Jesus starts by telling the young man that obeying God’s commandments is the foundation.

The young man says “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth”.  This was a guy who was keeping track of how he lived and was intentionally following the law, at least to the best of his ability.  But that isn’t the only requirement.  “And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me”.  Being saved is about more than just keeping the law.  No one can truly do that.  So that means we have to have a saving relationship with Jesus.  He alone can set us free from the penalty of sin.  He alone is our way to eternal life.

The young man was unwilling to give away his stuff and follow Jesus.  He was trying to go through the motions of the law without the heart.  “Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions”.  Following Jesus is an all or nothing thing.  You can’t sort of follow Him.  It takes complete trust, belief and a willingness to give up self. Jesus tells his disciples a very difficult truth.  “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter  the kingdom of God….It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter  the kingdom of God”.

The disciples were arguing about who would get to sit next to Jesus when they entered heaven.  Jesus rebukes them for their focus on self and teaches us the truth of servant leadership.  “Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be  slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”.  Servant leadership is all about who is being served, not the person who is leading.  It turns traditional leadership thinking upside down but putting the person or people being served above the leader who is doing the serving.

Mark 3

Mark 3 has Jesus with the religious leaders and a man with a withered hand. It was the Sabbath, and they were testing Jesus to see what He would do about healing this guy. Jesus knows their motives, and He asks them if it is ok to heal on the Sabbath.  Crickets.  They don’t answer at all and just watch to see what He would do.  Of course, He heals the man whose hand is restored and he is set free from his bad hand.  Immediately, Jesus’ enemies plot to get rid of Him. “The Pharisees went out and immediately, held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him”.

Jesus knows His time is limited.  So “he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him”.  Jesus is going to build His leadership team.  He needs to put together the people that would carry forth His ministry after He would be crucified.  Remember He is the Son of God.  He decides to pick twelve men to serve as His disciples.  A disciple is a learner – a follower who learns from another to then carry forth that to others.  So “he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons”.

An Apostle is one who actually spent time with Jesus in person.  That was the method He would use to prepare them – time together in His presence to learn and live life.  “He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him”.  Twelve common guys that were hand picked by Jesus to be His messengers of the gospel.

Jesus didn’t pick the religious scholars around Him.  He picked twelve men who were fishermen, farmers, tax collectors, etc.  They weren’t the group that might be the obvious choices.  But Jesus knew their heart, and the potential they had to not only follow Him but carry the message forward.  They head to the top with Him to receive their call.  As Jesus comes down, the scribes accuse Him of being of Satan.  He tells them “no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man.  Then indeed he may plunder his house”.  Jesus makes His case that He is of God, not the enemy.  He in fact is the one who will bind the strong man!

Mark 2

Mark 2 has Jesus in a packed house preaching and teaching.  It was jam packed and so full no one else could enter.  Four guys had carried their paralyzed friend to the house hoping to get Jesus to heal him, but they couldn’t even get close.  “And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd”.  We’re talking epic failure here.  They carry their friend to Jesus only to find out they can’t get near Him because of the crowds.  It had to be a huge letdown.

But they don’t give up.  They are determined to find a way and “they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay”.  That’s determination.  They were not going to be stopped from getting their friend to Jesus.  Can you imagine the impact we could have on the world if we were as determined as they in getting those we know to Jesus.  Remember, He is busily preaching and teaching to a standing room only house full of people.  So what does Jesus do?  “Ad when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, Son,  your sins are forgiven”.  He heals him.  Just like that he changes his life forever.  “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home”.  The persistence of his caring friends sets him free from his paralysis.

Jesus was later walking down the road “And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, Follow me”.  Remember that Jesus had already gathered four fishermen as disciples – Peter, Andrew, James and John.  And now the invites this tax collector to join them.  Matthew does exactly that, which certainly adds some diversity to the group.  He invites Jesus to come to his house for a meal and the scribes of the Pharisees, “when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners”?

They were beside themselves seeing Jesus mingle with people they felt were unworthy.  They complain that He’s keeping poor company and hanging with people unworthy of His time and attention.  But Jesus makes it clear why He came to earth.  “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  I came not to call the righteous, but sinners”.  Jesus didn’t come to earth to spend His time with the religious and righteous.  He came to set sinners free and to have a relationship with them that would lead to salvation.  That’s what Jesus is all about.  He came to save the lost, and that means you and me!

Matthew 21

Matthew 21 has preparation going on for Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem.  His disciples are in the dark, but Jesus tells them to go secure a donkey He can ride.  “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, The Lord needs them, and he will send them at once”. Seems like a crazy plan, but they follow His direction and things go exactly as Jesus said.  The owners asked, they told them why they were taking their donkey, and off they go.  God at work to prepare the way.

Jesus fulfills prophecy by riding this donkey into town.  The people lined the streets and places branches on the road He was traveling.  And they cried out “Hosanna to the Son of David!  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest”!  The religious leaders were in the dark about Jesus coming to town.  But they quickly found out.  “Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons”.  Jesus stirs up the status quo.  People had sold items for sacrifice and made change for people for many years.  Corrupt and self-focused as it was, the religious leaders allowed it since it supported their traditions.  But Jesus gets to the heart of it and demonstrates God’s wrath regarding people who take advantage of others in the name of religion.

As Jesus walks with the Twelve He becomes hungry and comes upon a fig tree with no fruit.  He curses it and it immediately withers and the disciples are amazed.  Then Jesus gives (again) a truth about prayer we need to understand and cling to.  “If you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, Be taken up and thrown into the sea, it will happen. And  whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith”.  Jesus gives us the secret to answered prayer – it has to be asked in faith.  Total, complete, with out doubt faith.  Prayer is limitless in its power when we ask it with faith.

The chapter ends with a showdown at the synagogue with the religious leaders.  They see Jesus infringing on their turf and undermining their power, so they want to get Him.  They attempt to trap Him with questions but He sees right through their efforts and turns the tables on them.  Then Jesus gives us the truth about God and His plan for mankind.  “The kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits”.  God is not impressed by title or power or status.  God will bless those who bear fruit – His fruit which is bringing people to Him and helping people grow in their walk with Him.  That’s what God wants from us – to make Him known and to walk in obedience to His Word.  Lightbulbs finally go on.  “When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them”.  Now they will shift to a plot to get rid of Jesus.  Too much risk and competition to their way of life.  They have to get rid of Him.

Matthew 9

Matthew 9 has Jesus continuing some impressive things in His public ministry.  He certainly is no longer under the radar.  “Some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven”.  The religious leaders challenged Jesus for what He was saying and doing, but rather than back down, Jesus tells the paralytic to “Rise, pick up your bed and go home”.  Faith healed this man, but it wasn’t his faith, but that of those who brought him to Jesus.  We can learn much about the power of faith to impact others through this story.

Jesus continues to select His disciples and selects Matthew, a tax collector who was “sitting at the tax booth”.  Jesus asks Matthew to follow Him, and he rose and came along.  “As Jesus reclined at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples”.  They were enjoying a nice meal together, but the religious leaders were still on the rampage about Jesus.  He was getting too close to their turf.  “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners”?  They were looking for anything to discredit Him.  But Jesus has the answer: “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners”.

Jesus deals with a couple other faith situations.  First a woman who had a long time disorder comes to Him and says she knows he can make her whole.  Jesus responds with healing based on her faith – “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you wellAnd instantly the woman was made well”.  There was no waiting, no lag time, just faith that turned into healing.  There also was the man whose daughter was ill who came and asked Jesus to come heal her.  When He arrived, He was told she was dead.  But Jesus tells them to “Go away, for the girl is not dead but sleeping. And they laughed at him”.  But Jesus gets the last laugh as “he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose”.

There was yet another incident where two blind men come asking Jesus to heal them.  When they said they believed He could, He said “According to your faith be it done to you”.  Jesus ministry was all about caring for people.  “When he saw the crowds, He had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd”.  Jesus loves all of us.  His power wasn’t limited to those who were alive while He walked the earth.  His power is equally as strong today, and faith is still the key to activating it in our lives!

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