The surrender of discipleship

I love the phrase I learned years ago: As a leader you have to give up to go up. As a leader you give up “rights” and “privileges” so you can keep growing as a leader. The whole point was to keep “rising” as a leader.

Over the years I’ve realized that “rising” as a leader has a lot of different definitions, and I didn’t hit the “right” ones apparently. Yet, in reading 1 Corinthians again and seeing Paul trying to navigate his way through some very murky waters in regards to sexual activity, idol worship, meals, etc., he carries with him a sense of wanting to be fully surrendered to Christ and in doing so HE is willing to “give up” things so others can keep growing.

If I could modify the above maxim, I think I would change it to this: “Be willing to give up so OTHERS can go up.”

All things may be “lawful,” but why use that as arrogance? Also, why “give up” in a way that I brag about how “good” I am so the “WEAKER” brother can have his way? (And out of pride, I emphasize my absolute humility and the poor brother who is so weak he obviously needs my help to get better in his walk with Christ.)

What I need is an absolute surrender of all I am to Christ so I can live in all he has for me. There will be times when my “liberty” needs to be set aside to help others along… and I don’t need to brag to the “WEEEEAAAAAKKKKKKEEERRRR BROTHER” what a privilege he is getting for my sacrifice!

I need to be willing to give up so others can go up. Lord, help me understand the power of true leadership.


Praying the prayers of Paul over people

There are times when I need more than, “Lord, just bless them,” as I pray for people.

There are needs to pray for in people’s lives, to be sure, but there are BLESSINGS to pray into people’s lives as well.

Colossians 1:9-14 has a beautiful prayer to pray on behalf of others. I have found it to be a great guide in truly asking for something a bit deeper than “just bless them.”

Am I praying for someone that they may be filled with the knowledge of his will? I am praying for spiritual wisdom, along with understanding, in their lives?

Am I asking that they live lives fully pleasing to the Lord (and not to me)? Do I ask the Lord to strengthen them with ALL power? (Or, do I want to have slightly more power and recognition than them?)

I have a hunger to pray blessing into the lives of others and ask they be filled with ALL that God can give them.


The Difference Between Knowing God and Knowing ABOUT God

I am preparing for my Acts class this week and find myself in Acts 19, one of my favorite chapters in the Bible.

The sons of Sceva always intrigue me. They are the picture of spiritual formulas. This is the picture we get when we are so caught up in the design of a program rather than the power of the gospel. We have a hammer, so everything is a nail.

Their formulas had worked to that point. They saw Paul as another magician, so they try to get some clues as to how his power seems to be a bit greater. When they hear him use the name of Jesus, they figure they have another key in their arsenal. Another password to pull out and use.

They found out there is a difference between knowing about the Jesus Paul preached, and knowing Jesus.

We need to understand this in our own lives, and we need to understand it sooner rather than later. We can get by on formulas for awhile, but there will be a time when we have to go beyond praying a prayer we heard someone else pray, or saying a part of a Scripture we heard someone else say.

Here is the scary thing I meditated on today as I read this story: There will be a time when we hit a spiritual brick wall and we need to know God rather than know ABOUT him. And in that day, we need to truly know him, or it might be too late. The sons of Sceva found that out.

Don’t settle for formulas in your life. Do NOT settle for formulas in your ministry. We need to know the living God, not just know about him.