Monday, November 20, 2017

Thanksgiving Basics

We should be thankful (grateful, appreciative) - not 'be thankful' for all things, but in the midst of all things.

Because - A)  we are blessed, and
                B) we know it!!  (inherently! - without being told, without scripture)
Stats:  Thanksgiving = America's most celebrated holiday.
92% have a special family gathering and meal
83% offer special grace (thanksgiving prayer) at that meal
               C)  We know these blessings come from beyond us.  (not that we haven't worked hard to achieve, acquire, BUT our blessings are much greater than our efforts!!  our abilities!!!

Blessings List - how are you doing?
1) material - stuff and things?  house size? storage space?
2) financial - the poverty level in the USA (established by the Federal government for 2017) - household income, family of four = $24,600.00
On a worldwide scale:       
$24,600 - puts you in top 11% of world's wealthiest people
$25,000 -   "     "     "  "    10%
$30,000 -   "   "      "   "     7%
$35,000 -   "   "      "   "     5%
$40,000 -   "   "     "   "      3%

Question:  what does it take to be one the the elite?  one of the top 1% earners in the world today? -- $47,500
WHAT????  How many millions of people make more than $47,500 per year?
BUT - 3 billion live on less than $2 per day (in US dollars)

Well, if I'm so wealthy, why can't I pay my bills???   Answer:  says something about our lifestyle!!!! 

Blessing list continued:
3)  creation (our part of the country) - fall leaves, mountain views, autumn air.  Why is cabin rental industry exploding here? 
4)  health - availability of health, medical assistance?  Example:  life expectancy :  Mozambique - 39, Somalia - 48, Djbouti - 55, US - 78 1/2 (from insurance survey)
5)  relational - (people) spouse, kids, family, friends
6)  community - example:  our community fund raising events?
national - being a US citizen, prosperity, resources, freedoms, stability, security  (this = part of BIRTH blessings!!!
8)  opportunity - for career, education, wealth, business, family, location
9)  ability - Deut. 8:17-18 - God gives the ability.  However, affluence often breeds arrogance.
10)  spiritual - Salvation, beyond salvation - encouragement, comfort, guidance, direction, strength, HOPE!  Eph. 1:3
11)  former - blessings of the past
12)  future - blessings to come

So, how ya' doing?  Better than you deserve?  John 1:16 - and it's not over.

Therefore, again,  1) We should be thankful - attitude
          AND        2)  We should give thanks - action

Difference - action vs attitude
"be thankful" - listed 3 times in the Bible (NIV)
but in Action form - Give thanks, gave thanks, thank (v), thanksgiving (n) - more than 140 times.

Point:  for every 1 reference to attitude of thanks, you find nearly 50 references to the ACT of thanks!!!

AND, the most often used word in connection to "thanks" - GIVE"  (offer) - Give THANKS to God!!!  Thank You God!!  This is not for God's benefit, but for ours!! 

Our Model = Jesus - gave thanks to God before feeding the 5000, at Lazarus' tomb, at the Last Supper

Biblical illustration - 10 lepers - Luke 17:11-19.  How many were grateful???  probably ALL of them.
How many paused, returned to GIVE thanks??
(Note:  this = offering thanks to Him!, which is more than acknowledging it to one another!!)

2 words to the 2nd. Generation - Deut. 4:9
 1)  Remember - tendency is to forget
 2)  Teach

2 Words to us:
Col. 2:6-7 - continue,  
1 Thess. 5:18 - give thanks in all circumstances

Monday, November 13, 2017

Shepherd Leadership

Series = Re-Thinking Leadership (Biblical perspective)

Styles:  upfront - the most recognized
            stealth - most overlooked
            servant - most promoted (in Scripture)
            Shepherd - easiest understood

"Sheep" - used 400 times in scripture.  (most often mentioned animal)
"Shepherd" - used 100 times in scripture - watches over/cares for sheep

BUT - how many times used figuratively?  non-literal usage??

In Old Testament - God = Shepherd  - Psalm 23:1, 95:6-7, 100:3 - written by David who WAS a shepherd, who TOOK CARE of sheep.
                            = we = sheep (in need of direction, care, oversight, etc.)

New Testament introduces Jesus as the Good Shepherd - John 10:11, 14, 27-28   1 Pet. 2:25

So - Disciples, Apostles, church leaders, Christ followers (adopted the notion of) and  became UNDER-SHEPHERDS.  Under God, under Christ.   Acts 20:28 - Paul to the church @ Ephesus
1 Pet. 5:2-4 - God's flock under your care.

What does Shepherd Leadership look like?  Similar to Servant leader. 
Shepherd leader 1) cares for the sheep, BUT 2) WORKS for God!!!
(they = HIS Sheep!!)  John 21:15-17 - Jesus to Peter - "feed my sheep"

How is that different from Servant leader?  Answer:  Shepherd does more than serve - he cares for the sheep, ie:  "nurture"  Psm. 23:1-3   Isa. 40:11

I.  The Ministry  
THE MINISTRY OF UNDER-SHEPHERD or PASTORAL MINISTRY.  Same word for shepherd and pastor in the Greek.
1 Pet. 5:2-3  "under your care",  "entrusted to you"

II.  The Need - Mark 6:34 - "....sheep w/o a shepherd ... so...?
needs = 1) physical
             2) Spiritual (Godly counsel, direction, life and Kingdom skills)
             3)  emotional = need to be loved, valued, significant - making them know they really matter.

III.  The goal = more than the sheep's comfort
= Nurture for Edification - Mat. 4:19 - ie:  development, growth so they are transformed)

IV.  The impact - examples:  video of pastor getting run over, not followed, by sheep
                                             Mother Teresa - huge impact from her ministry to the poorest of the poor

V.   The reward - Matt. 25:31-40

We are to Make A Difference.  For the Christian, should Make An Eternal Difference.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Servant Leadership

Series = Re-Thinking Leadership

Matt.  5:13-16 - called to be salt and light.  Salt is only good for saltiness.  Otherwise has no use.

As Christians - are called to Make An Eternal Difference.

5 Styles of Leadership (common to Scripture)

1)  Upfront
2)  Stealth (pastor's word)
3)  Servant
4)  Shepherd
5)  Team

"Upfront" = most commonly recognized leadership style.

SERVANT LEADERSHIP = the most commonly promoted style in Scripture.
(Influencing people and making a difference through acts of service)

Matt. 20:20-21, 24-28
Matt. 23:1-12

What does "servant leadership" look like?

"Servant Leader" - Serves the people, BUT  works for God.  Not at people's beck and call.

So - "My Servant" - Moses, Abraham, Job, David, Prophets, Apostles, etc.

Perfect example:  Jesus!!!  John 2:23-25 - served according to directions from God.
Example:  feeding the 5000.   one day & denying their request next day!

"Servant Leader" = one willing to assume Both.. the duties of a servant, AND the responsibilities of a leader.

"Servant Leader" = one with enough confidence (in self and position)
to ... step up (to responsibility of leadership)
or ... step down (to the duties of servant) ie:  foot washing

Perfect example:  Jesus - John 13:1-5, 12-16
So, after the resurrection --> Phil. 2:5-8 - He knew who He was and what His Father wanted Him to do.  Therefore, had not trouble taking a position of servant.

Question:  Why should I assume the role/position of "Servant Leadership"?
Answer:  for the same reason(s) that Jesus did!

#1.  To meet human needs ... of man, created in God's image!! - God died for mankind.  Humans are valuable!!

#2.  To model Biblical truths (example:  foot washing)  Because some lessons are too important to be conveyed with mere words!!!  They need to be lived, acted out, shown.

#3.  To elevate young believers - Rom. 15:1-2  Why pour yourself into disciples for 3 years??
Answer = Matt. 4:19

#4.  To Glorify God - Matt. 5:16  (to portray, reveal)  (to make Him known!!

"Servant leadership" = both a calling and a choice.
Obviously, we're called to serve.
However, we must choose to accept the role.

So - Phil. 2:5

Closing:  John 13:17