Pick any sport with a ball. Doesn’t really matter the sport. If there’s a ball, all eyes are on the ball. Actually what happens to the ball is the whole point of the sport. Think of all the other aspects of the sport you thought of, and bottom line, it all comes down to where the ball is, and who’s got it.
In basketball, 9 other on-court players and two benches full of players and coaches along with countless fans are watching the one guy bouncing the ball. In baseball, 18 guys are watching the ball as it speeds from the hand of the pitcher at 90 miles an hour or as it explodes off the bat and out 300 plus yards. Again, all the players, coaches, investors, fans, are all watching the ball and watching to see if the player can cross home plate before the ball does. You see how this works? Soccer, tennis, football (yes! it’s finally here!!), even four square and kickball…it’s all about the ball.
When Jesus got ready to leave this planet and head home, He looked into the eyes of His small group of followers and He saw the future ball-carriers. He told them they’d have to wait on the Holy Spirit and then they could run with vicious passion to get the ball across the line. They’ve since passed it to us. All Jesus came to do, His ‘mission’, has been passed on to us. He finished the work, He completed the gift of salvation. And now today He’s given us the ball to carry right where we are and in the exact times we live in. Through lives dedicated to Him and His mission of loving others in truth and grace, we carry the ball He so carefully has tossed to us.
You got the ball? What are you doing with it?
There’s an old song I remember hearing the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir sing, “God is working, He’s still working, God is working even now”. That was the essence of this past Sunday’s sermon. According to Ephesians 2:10, we are in fact God’s masterpiece because of the gift of salvation we’ve been given by His amazing grace. We are who we are because of Him. And He’s still working on us. Our salvation is secure, but our sanctification is a daily, growing process. You can listen to the sermon and watch the video we used by going to our website.
Don’t forget to sign up this week to help the Flagstaff Connect opportunity. I’m so in awe of how our church is stepping up to serve throughout Flagstaff. I’m telling you guys, this is huge. I’m hearing of people filling sandbags for flood victims, and groups going to Hope Cottage and others giving blood and some serving our senior citizens. This is taking the message of Grace and living it throughout our local community. I’m so thankful we have these opportunities. God bless each of you for giving of yourself!
On Tuesday, August 17th we’re having a Leadership Vision Night! I am so pumped about this one night event where we will gather as a church and hear what’s coming and pray for God’s blessing on this coming semester. I am really looking forward to sharing my heart with the Grace family and encouraging you to say “Yes” to what God is leading us to be and to do! Mark the date and remove all excuses. I really want you to be there for this evening. We’ll have something for all the kids, so you don’t even have to get a babysitter. We got you! Plan now.
Remember, you’re God’s masterpiece. You’re in His hands. He’s got you.
So… trust Him!
Sunday I taught on Titus 1:5-9 on the qualifications of church leaders. I knew that “leadership” in general is a difficult topic in an environment where ‘independence’ is king. Not many of us like the idea of submission and obedience. We don’t like to turn over our rights to allow someone else to tell us what to do, or to give us direction without input. Ours is a very ‘democratic’ community where popular opinion and the voice of the people is what directs our way.
Clearly, nothing is wrong with democracy, or group-think, or team-work. But please don’t misunderstand God’s clear teaching on leadership. There’s leadership in the family, the government and yes, the church.
In preparation of leading our church through the study of Titus 1, I first of all looked at a few other scriptures to give us a sense of God’s standard of leadership for the church. Among the passages was Hebrews 13:7 and 17.
“Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” And later in 17… “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”
Honestly, I rather thought this a hard teaching, due to the times we live in. But, I soon discovered that people are hungry for leadership. They’re hungry for direction. We all need encouragement on the things that are right, on things that God has already established and put into place. Things like leadership. Leadership in the home, at work, and yes, even within our church.
Leadership: it’s not really a hard thing. It’s the right thing. Leaders, go ahead and lead. No apologies, no hesitations. Step it up. People are counting on you.
Okay, here’s a swing at blogging. I know I’m a little late on the scene, but it’s worth trying. I’m experimenting with a blog on google and this one on wordpress. I’m thinking I may have one that’s for leadership and pastoring, and another that’s more personal, a place to spout off. Not sure it’s good to try to keep both. My guess is, they’ll converge into one mess. Any bloggers out there with some free advice? Let’s give this a shot.
In 1 Samuel 23:1-5, you get 4 great leadership tips in the first 4 verses. At this point in his life, David is “the King w/o a Throne”, or better, “the King on the Run”. When “they” told David about an injustice, we learn just how David took the right actions. You can see some basic principles in leading.
1. Ask God specifically. (v2) What’s up with the “God bless my ministry” or the “God, please, please, please give me direction” kind of vague prayers? David brought the exact need to God. Be specific in what you’re asking for on behalf of those you’re leading. This might be the most convicting part for me.
2. Listen for clarity. (v2) Really, how often do we ask, then cut and run on our own before ever hearing from God? We’d all like to think that God answers within just a few moments, sometimes He does…sometimes not. Wait and listen, for the sake of those you’re serving.
3. Don’t let your followers distract you. (v3) Yep, they have a serious faith issue, but they’re also being honest enough to say, ‘no, we don’t think so’. He didn’t bull his way through without giving them a voice, but neither did he stop short of leading them. The plans didn’t change because of timid followers.
4. Bring fears and doubts to God for confirmation of the call. (v4) This is real life. Stuff happens, doubts, fears, agendas, they all can muffle the voice we thought we heard. Isn’t it great that God allows us…no, He invites us back for the confirmation of the call?