Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Christian/Church leadership is a high and holy calling from God.  If a spiritual leader does not have this vertical dimension to the call, he/she will either fail to thrive or will fail to survive.  That's why the apostle Paul revealed to the Colossian Christians of his generation, and the contemporary Christians of our generation, what keeps him motivated… Colossians 1:28-29, “We proclaim him [Christ], admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect [mature] in Christ.  To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.” NIV

Paul experienced an incredible amount of resistance from the world without, yet he persevered.  Paul weathered a fair amount of resistance from within the church, yet he remained hopeful.  His zeal to reach lost people was not extinguished.  His love for his brothers and sisters in the family of God was unfailing.

He maintained a positive vision – ‘… that we may present everyone mature in Christ.’
He maintained a strong work ethic - ‘To this end I labor…’
He maintained a dependency on Christ - ‘… struggling with all his energy.’
He maintained a confident spirit - ‘… which so powerfully works in me.’

Pray with me… Father God, renew in all who are called to lay leadership and vocational leadership in the church for which Jesus died, a double portion of the spirit of Paul.  Keep us from all unworthy or superficial motives for Christian leadership.  We offer up all we are and ever hope to be to You.  In the name of Jesus, amen.

Monday, April 6, 2015


I am captured today by the many passages in God's Word that exhort us as God-fearers [O.T.] and Christ-followers [N.T.] to 'stand firm.' And, I have landed this morning on a verse in the final chapter of Paul's first letter to the Christians in Corinth.  Remember, the Corinthian culture/society was overly political, deeply pagan, universally carnal and thoroughly materialistic.  It was not a city where you would want to rear your children. It was not a city in which the church of Jesus should thrive.  Reading between the lines of I Corinthians it is evident that there were issues they had to work through and resolve to mature in the faith and spiritually impact this city of 100,000.  And no doubt the new Christians in Corinth had to be seeker sensitive.  However, Paul cautioned them not to give ground easily when it comes to holiness and sound doctrine.  Here’s the verse:

I Corinthians 16:13-14, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.  Let all that you do be done in love.”

The societal and political pressure put on the early Christians in Corinth had to be intense.  Yet the apostle Paul does not counsel them to rewrite their doctrine or compromise their purity or qualify their values to accommodate the pagan culture.  He charges them to ‘be watchful’ [vigilant about what’s going on and what’s coming down the pike], ‘stand firm’ [don’t back down or shrink back spiritually], ‘act like men’ [stand straight and tall for what is right and true], and ‘be strong’ [don’t get weak in the knees because of pressure from the media or because of which way the political winds are blowing]. Things have not changed in over 20 centuries.  Professed Christian leaders, church leaders and Christ-followers need to get their hearts right [let all that you do be done in love], their heads on straight and grow a backbone when the heat is on.

Pray with me… Father God, Your Word reveals that Jesus was full of grace and truth.  Equip us by Your Spirit to lead with love and grace in all our associations with people in and out of the faith.  But empower us to stand firm for what is right and true in our hearts and in our ordered lives.  In the name of Jesus, amen.