Take Care Of The Home Front First (Christian Leadership In Today’s Culture Part 3)

In this series we’ve been talking about what it looks like to lead in today’s culture.  We first said we need to check our own hearts.  Then we looked at the need to live out of and lead people within the correct narrative.

Today before we go further out so to speak, I want to talk about going further in.

What I mean is that along with the first battle, the one in our heart, we need to make sure that we fight for those right around us.  We need to make sure we take care of the home front so to speak.

The reality is that you are your own first responder.  This is true in general of course. For example if there is a medical emergency you are going to respond before the ambulance gets there.  If someone breaks into your home you will need to respond long before the police arrive.  Do you have a plan?  This is true for every area of life.

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Which Story Are You Living Out Of? (Christian Leadership In Today’s Culture Part 2)

In a previous post I began to offer a conversation about what actual Christian leadership might look like right now in our current American Culture.  This is an ongoing conversation I’m having with some people and I’m sort of sharing out if you will.  I want to be clear that I’m not pretending to have all of the right answers.  But I think that we need to think about this because what I see is a large lack of leadership out there.

In part one I said the first thing we need to understand is that the most important battle is within.  It all starts there.  It’s not out there somewhere in some fight against the ever easy to blame “they”.  It’s the battle in our own hearts to follow Jesus and actually be about His Kingdom first.

Today I want to think about a second important thing.  That is this:  What narrative are you living in and out of?

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Some Thoughts On The Lord’s Prayer (Bible Study Mark 6 Part 3)

We’ve been looking at Mark 6.  This is all part of the sermon on the mount and as I mentioned before, it’s a good idea to read the whole thing for context of each part.  However the parts have value even pulled out of the sermon.  We’ve looked at two things that I think have a great deal for us to consider today.  We looked at acting to be seen by others and then looked at the idea that where we put our treasure (money, time, energy, thoughts and effort) will dictate where our heart ends up.

Today I want to look at what is commonly called the Lord’s Prayer or the Our Father.  Now let me just say off the bat there that many people have way more and better things to say than I do and I’ll be leaning heavily on some of them.  However, I thought I would offer some thoughts.

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What Is In Your Own Heart – What Are You Really About? (Christian Leadership in Today’s Culture Part 1)

A few months ago I wrote a series of posts about leadership.  I’m not going to link them here but if you type leadership in the search function they’ll come up.  I mentioned that it is one of the most misunderstood and overcomplicated ideas that people talk about.

Lately I’ve had some people reach out to me asking how we as Christians can lead right now in our culture and who they might look to in Christian leadership.  You might be thinking, “why are they asking you?”  Haha!  Fair question.  But in actuality I’ve been thinking a lot about this question.

The reason I’ve been thinking about it is twofold.  First, I think in terms of Western Christianity we are at a major turning point.  It’s not THE turning point for all of Christianity in history or anything.  But it’s for sure an important moment.  Secondly is that as I watch across the landscape I see very little actual leadership.  What I see is a lot posturing, reacting, and fear based “leadership”.  I see a lot of people wanting to be liked, and either trying to hold onto something that is already gone or just changing “christianity” to fit secular leadership.  Both are really bad.  I mean just awful.

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Where Is Your Treasure? That Is Where Your Heart Will End Up (Mark 6 Bible Study Part 2)

We’ve been looking at Mark 6 which is part of the sermon on the mount.  Last time we looked at the idea of not doing or talking about righteousness to be seen by others.    Today I want to talk about verses 19-21.

Now Jesus has been talking about not doing acts of righteousness be it charitable giving, praying or fasting to be seen.  These are the examples He gives.  He says that if you do it to be seen, then you have received your reward – you’ve been seen.  But if you do it for the Kingdom – not to be seen – God sees it and will reward you.  He then begins to talk about rewards and treasures.  He says

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;  for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Now there is a lot of confusion over what the scriptures teach about money.  In a previous post we talked about two ways Christians get money wrong.  We also talked about the idea of living generously and talked about the question of ownership – do we own it or does God.

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Stop Praying (Posting) To Be Seen By Others (Matthew 6 Bible Study Part 1)

Today I want to start to take a look at Matthew 6.  I want to look at what it meant in context, and to carry that truth in a direction that I think is really important today.

Matthew 6 is in the middle of what is known as the sermon on the mount.  I want to be clear to state that it is always a little risky to pull parts of a sermon out.  There is an actual rhythm and order to this sermon from Jesus.  And this is in the middle.  However, there are also truths that we can pull out from the parts.

Chapter 6 starts out with a main statement in verse 1 and then gives three examples to explain it in the following verses.  Here is the overall point:

Don’t perform righteous deeds for other people to see them, if you do you will have no reward from God.

That’s the opening line in my language.  Feel fee to check your version.

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What Do You Really Want? And What Does That Say About You? (Bible Study Mark 10-Part 3)

This is the third part of a study looking at the story of Jesus and the healing of Bartimaeus the blind man in Mark 10.

Jesus has entered the town of Jericho and the crowd has gathered.  Bartimaeus a blind man and beggar is on the side of the road and hears that Jesus is going by.  He cries out to Jesus.  The crowd tells him to be quiet and stay out of the way.  But Jesus stops and tells the crowd to bring him forward.  They go and get him and Bartimaeus leaps at the chance and goes to Jesus.  Jesus asks him what he wants and when he says he wants to see, knowing that Jesus can give him his sight, Jesus heals him.  Bartimaeus is healed and follows Jesus along the road praising God.

In part one we looked at what this story tells us about Jesus.  In part two we looked at what the fact that Jesus loves everyone has to do with us.  Today I want to go a different direction.

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We Are Called To Love Everyone (Bible Study Mark 10 – Part 2)

In part one of this study we began to look at the story of Jesus and the healing of Bartimaeus the blind man in Mark 10.

Jesus has entered the town of Jericho and the crowd has gathered.  Bartimaeus a blind man and beggar is on the side of the road and hears that Jesus is going by.  He cries out to Jesus.  The crowd tells him to be quiet and stay out of the way.  But Jesus stops and tells the crowd to bring him forward.  They go and get him and Bartimaeus leaps at the chance and goes to Jesus.  Jesus asks him what he wants and when he says he wants to see, knowing that Jesus can give him his sight, Jesus heals him.  Bartimaeus is healed and follows Jesus along the road praising God.

Last time we looked at what this story tells us about Jesus.  One of the things we mentioned was that it shows that Jesus loves and interacts with everyone.  He is interested in every person from every background.

Today I want to look at what this truth about Jesus has to do with us.

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Jesus Wants To Meet With Everyone (Bible Study Mark 10 – Part 1)

Mark 10:46-52 tells the story of Jesus’ encounter with Bartimaeus the blind man.

Jesus and his followers are entering the city of Jericho.  As they are walking along what is probably the main road it seems there is a crowd of people gathering.  Bartimaeus was a blind man sitting and begging on the side of the road.  When he hears that it is Jesus who is coming by he begins to call out to Him, asking for Him to have mercy on Him.

Bartimaeus had obviously heard of Him.  He cries out to Him.  The crowd tries to quiet him.  They basically say, get back to your side of the street.  This is Jesus, He has important things to do or teach.  Stop crying out.  But this doesn’t stop Baritmaeus.  Instead he cries out all the louder.

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Obedience Is Our Part (Bible Study John 5 Part 3)

We’ve been looking at the story of the healing of the paralyzed man in John 5.

Jesus is in Jerusalem and ends up by a pool near the sheep gate.  It was believed that when the waters were stirred (perhaps a spring occasionally bubbled up there) that the first person in the water would be healed.  Because of this there were many lame, blind, and otherwise ill people laying there.  One such man was paralyzed and had been in that condition for 38 years.

Jesus approaches the man and asks him, “Do you want to get well?”  The man answers that he does want to but that he can’t get to the water in time.  In a sense, as we said last time, he is saying that if Jesus would help him with his plan to get well then he could be ok.  He is failing to recognize that Jesus is offering something different, something more.  Jesus is better than the pool.

Jesus of course does not help the man into the pool.  He also doesn’t say, “Man that’s tough.  I hope that works out for you at some point” and move on.  Instead he does something very Jesus like.  He gives him a command.

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