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Leading from burden

One of my fears in life and ministry is that I don’t want to be bothered by God; I want things to come easy for me, for the dots to always connect and for the story to always have a happy ending.  Am I alone in this?

The problem I have is as I read the Scriptures the more I see that the visions that resulted in the biggest impact were the ones that were the most disturbing to the people who received them.  They pushed them WAY outside of their comfort zones, placed them in situations that were not favorable, asked much more than they could have imagined…

  • Moses was shown that a nation was enslaved and for 40 years he dedicated himself to God’s vision.
  • Nehemiah was broken that the walls had been torn down in Jerusalem and he established a plan and relentlessly followed through on all that God had put in his heart.
  • Esther was burdened that her people were going to be destroyed and she placed personal preference and comfort aside and risked her life in order to do what was right.
  • The prophets in the OT were crushed that people were living in rebellion against the voice of the Lord and were willing to be unpopular so that His truth could be proclaimed.
  • Paul was troubled that religion was trumping a relationship with God…and ultimately gave his life for the spreading of the message that Jesus, not religion, saves.

Great servant-leaders are the ones who are willing to allow God to break them, to bother them to make His vision so personal that they don’t just think about it, they live it and feel it.  We are not called to seek comfort, affirmation from others, convenience, popularity, personal preferences or safety.  I am beginning to praying that God will help me to continue to shepherd out of a burden the He places rather than boredom or obligation.  I’m called to be broken over the things that break HIS heart and I wonder how much I actually am.  What about you?

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Christians and culture

In 2011 the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life polled church leaders from around the world. Evangelical ministers from the United States reported a greater loss of influence than church leaders from any other country — with some 82 percent indicating that their movement was losing ground.  This is a trend that has been happening for a while but most Christians were either to scared to admit it or had their heads in the sand.  With the abuses in the church, the lack of constancy in our application of the Bible  (i.e. Homosexuality greater sin than other sexual sins), and much more our culture has summarily dismissed the truths out of God’s word by looking at the people who claim to follow it.

How can we right ourselves? Honestly, I don’t believe we can but we can, however, use the economic, social and spiritual crises facing America to refashion ourselves into a more sensitive, spiritual and humble movement and a main part of this is something I call “Relational Capitol”

Years ago as I sat across from my mentor I first heard the term that would describe shape my ministry and relationships moving forward.  That phrase was “relational capitol”.  This is one of the strongest bond we have with those around us. Honestly the concept is rather simple, the greater the capitol you have put into the relationship (pouring into those in your sphere of influence) the greater the trust and influence, the lower the capitol the less the trust and influence you will have.  This something that is carefully cultivated and preserved by those who desire to influence others. It is an intentional investment in relationships over time that causes others to trust, count on, value, and appreciate our relationship – whether it is a close one or from a distance. This investment, much like a regular monetary one, is not built quickly.

What are the factors in building this?

  • First it is built over time because time validates our intentions and builds trust.  It took years to get to this point and it will take some time to get back.
  • Second, it is clear to others that we have their best interests in mind – all the time by our actions and service to them.
  • Third, we have not stepped over appropriate boundaries in the relationship or taken advantage of others.
  • Fourth, our interactions are respectful, honoring and have the effect of building others up.
  • Fifth, we can be counted on, are faithful friends and show up when needed. All of these qualities over time build significant equity in the relationship. When any of them are violated we lose equity.

There are no investments more worthwhile or important than relational ones. Those investments are the currency of influence and growth as we interact with people with whom we have mutual trust. They are to be guarded carefully because once violated, they can be hard to rebuild and if you do not believe me you should look at the current state of Christianity in America today.

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