way of Jesus

Spiritual Growth: The Ways of Jesus

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I became a follower of Jesus in December of 1970. Something had changed when I returned to my bachelor officer’s quarters that evening. I went expecting a party and came home a changed man. In the weeks and months following, many came to help me grow and understand what happened. They showed me how to live for Jesus, learn from Him, and help others do the same. This is called follow-up. My growth in Christ would have floundered without it.

We look at orphanages, abused children, or child trafficking and know it is a personal tragedy for each child affected. No one is there to care for, nourish, and love each child. Their growth is limited. In a similar way, think of the spiritual children coming to Jesus with no one to help them learn to walk with Him, pray, read their Bibles, or so many other basic things received when we are adopted into the Father’s family by His amazing grace and mercy. Just because a person is a new Christian does not mean he or she knows how to walk with Jesus.

The flesh (our sinful nature) is our natural default way of operating. As we mature in Christ, we can move away from spiritual immaturity and move toward godliness of life, character and relationships. To learn the ways of Jesus is a process that takes time and constant focus.

I’m working on a series of short videos I’m calling “Mentoring Moments with Stacy,” which I am excited to begin sharing with you in the new year. My prayer is that through these videos, I will be able to journey with you as we study and learn what Jesus has to say about leading in His kingdom – addressing issues of the heart, values, character and motives.

Maranatha,

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James, John and the Leaders of Today

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Sadly, the culture of the world has become the culture of the church, and leaders lead in churches and ministries just like they do in the culture around it. In fact, the way most ministry leaders operate in each part of the world is like power leaders of the culture – the Indian guru, Chinese mandarin, African chief, Arabic sheik, or Western CEO.

I know the temptation of power leadership. I know what it means to run over people, and I know the freedom of serving people and letting God build His church.

I identify with James and John who, through their mother, asked for power positions sitting one on His right and one on His left in Jesus’ coming kingdom. Most leaders would ask for the same. When the other ten heard about it, they raged in anger. The issue was not the request of sitting on the right or left in Jesus’ kingdom, but that James and John dared to ask first. Behind their hot anger was ambition for the same power, influence, and perks that would come with being numbers one and two after Jesus. All twelve wanted to be great. They were each ambitious.

Jesus called all of them together and said, in effect, your ambition for influence and desire for greatness is not the issue but your strategy for attaining it in the kingdom is 180 degrees off. The issue, said Jesus, is not a position of power but rather taking a servant attitude and acting like one for the sake of others.

One has to learn to be a servant, to really look out for others’ interests and put Jesus’ kingdom first.

Those who have large organizations or churches with many people and resources can easily be deceived into thinking that Jesus has authenticated their leadership. Numbers of people, size of organization, and position of power mean nothing to Christ. What the Lord mandated of leaders in His kingdom is that they be servants.

This is radical, but in light of eternity, ask yourself this question: Do I follow the ways of the flesh or the ways of Jesus?

More on this next week.

Maranatha,

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