Sunday, August 10, 2014

Bold Leadership

At New Hope, Pastor Chris titled today's message "The Call to Bold Leadership."
The principle point of the message was that God is calling us to bold leadership (see what I did there?). The next natural question is "what defines bold leadership?"

1. Bold leaders are "idiots" that have been with Jesus.
Acts 4:13
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.

The original Greek word for ordinary men is "idiotes" from which we get our English word for idiot. What a sad commentary on the evolution of language, but I digress from the point. The key point to note is that these ordinary men had been with Jesus.

We've heard it dozens of times in hundreds of sermons: God doesn't call the prepared; He prepares the called. We've all been called.

2. Bold leaders stand up.
Acts 1:15
And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples (altogether the number of names was about a hundred and twenty), ...

Capture the setting to understand this passage, though. Jesus used to stand before his gathered followers and teach them, but the Lord Jesus is now ascended after his crucifixion and resurrection. They sit looking at each other, wondering who will help them now, who will be able to step up and lead this rag-tag band of bereft followers. Peter stepped up. Peter stood.

3. Bold leaders believe God will move.
Acts 3:1-8
Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple; who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms. And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, “Look at us.” So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them—walking, leaping, and praising God.

Peter reached out and took the hand of the beggar, lifting him to his feet in the name of Jesus and the beggar danced into the temple courts. Peter didn't doubt, which, in my mind, is also a gift from God.

Pastor Chris also referenced James 1:6 - But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.

I struggle with this a bit, mostly because Pastors and well-meaning Christians beat me over the head with it when my prayers aren't answered. Apparently I don't believe hard enough. I consider the topic of believing enough one of the Great Mysteries of the Church and is the topic of a very long post all by itself. It's been in work for months, so I'll leave it at that, except...

I never thought of it this way: we must believe, and I do - I believe that God Almighty is just and holy and does all things according to His own will. So I do pray believing, I do ask believing - but not necessarily believing that God will give me what I'm praying and asking for. I just believe in God. That's the best I can do.

4. Bold leaders are unstoppable.
Acts 5:38-39
And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God.”

I only have a wish that people world-wide would take the advice that Gamaliel offers - if it is of God it cannot be stopped, but if of men, it will fail.

We all believe in freedom of religion - it's an inherent right in the United States. It goes both ways though. We cannot impinge upon another's right to believe. That "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" thing.

Incite others to jealousy with the way you live. Have them ask what makes you different.

Perhaps the best way to do that is to be a bold leader: walk with Jesus, stand up, believe God will move and be unstoppable. It isn't easy.

It is bold leadership.

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