Who’s Coming after You? — part 1 (By Manik Corea)

“If you think you’re leading and no one is following you, then you’re only taking a walk.” So goes an old folk saying.

If leadership as defined by Jesus as the art of modelling obedience to Him and serving, sharing with and influencing others so that they are led to do the same[1], then biblical leadership implicitly affirms the need to raise up other leaders for the work and ministries of the Kingdom of God.

NAMS is in a season of transition as leadership moves from our founder and Servant General Jon Shuler to a succession team of leaders with various roles and levels of responsibility.

I remember one morning a few years ago when we first began the process of praying and talking about this. Jon, another NAMS leader and I were contemplating a few passages in the Pentateuch that described or inferred how Moses, the leader of the people of Israel in their wilderness journeys, was already preparing Joshua, his young aide, to succeed him way in advance. We looked in particular at three passages that illustrated succession preparation in action. I would like to share them in this and next week’s blog.

  1. Exodus 17:8-15 – Trust God to defeat your enemies

This passage records the first recorded battle that Israel ever fought as a nation. Moses was on the mountain with Aaron and Hur, and it was Joshua who was fighting on the ground – and God gave them a wonderful victory. Clearly, this experience was a foretaste of military leadership that Joshua would later use to good effect when leading Israel into the Promised Land.

In verse 14 following the victory, the Lord instructs Moses to write a memorial in the book about His verdict that He will completely remove the Amalek people, their enemy, from under heaven. Interestingly, he also tells Moses to ‘recite it in the ears of Joshua.’ It was important that Joshua remembered and learns that God guarantees victory for them over their enemies. God himself was in on the preparation of Joshua as the next leader.

The same lesson on God’s promise to defeat their enemies is echoed and confirmed after the later defeats of King Sihon and King Og in Deuteronomy 2 and 3, when the Lord instructs Moses to remind Joshua that, as the Lord did to those two kings, so will he do to all the kingdoms in the land they are going in to possess. Joshua is commanded, ‘You shall not fear them, for it is the Lord you God who fights for you.’ (Deuteronomy 3:22).

  1. Exodus 33:11 – Prioritize Intimacy with God

‘The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.”

Joshua learned early on to keep the main thing the main thing. By being often with Moses as his assistant, he no doubt learned to make time with God a priority. He was with Moses when they went up the mountain to for 40 days to receive the commandments of God (Exodus 24:1-18). We see in this passage (Exodus 33:11) how Joshua had developed a familiarity and kept a close proximity to the one place in the camp of Israel where the visible presence of God was to be found – the Tabernacle. It would stand him in good stead for the future when he could confidently declare, ‘As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.’ (Joshua 24:15).

It is so important for those we are raising up to see and learn from us how to make time with God a priority – an everyday norm. I have been privileged to see in Jon and other influential leaders in my life this same passionate desire for intimacy and practice of the holy habits of prayer, the reading and obedient response to Scripture and a lifestyle of worship.

They taught me well by the example and their exhortation.

Are you doing the same with someone who is walking beside or behind you?

 


[1] Todd Egstrom, well known pastor helpfully describes biblical leadership as ‘meeting someone where they are, and taking them where Jesus wants them to go’. http://toddengstrom.com/2013/11/11/what-is-biblical-leadership/

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Who’s Coming after You? — part 1 (By Manik Corea)

Making Disciples the Jesus way (Part 1) — by Manik Corea

No one made disciples like Jesus!

Incredibly, Jesus, who never traveled more than 200 miles from where He was born, launched a global movement from scratch that has no equal in history. And He did it without writing a book, founding a school or university or conquering with an army.

How? He chose twelve men and concentrated most of His time and focus on them.[1] Rather than leveraging the crowds that flocked to Him or taking political advantage of His popularity and the ferment of national aspirations, He refused to bring God’s rule in by force or pander to anything but a heavenly perspective (see Matthew 16:23).

Jesus was instead looking to make disciples and subjects of His one-of-a-kind Kingdom, not raise up a rebel army to fight those of the earth. He was the Suffering Servant come to save us from our sins, not an all-conquering ruler coming to re-assert God’s rightful reign on the earth – that is reserved for His return.

Consider the men He picked – they were not from the high echelons of their society – the ‘Who’s Who?’ of their day. He chose in effect, nobodies – the ‘who?’ of common stock.

Among the twelve were wet, clueless fishermen, a few political zealots and the odd tax collector. They ‘smelled of fish and revolution’ as one writer put it.

Yes, Jesus chose them and gave them front-row seats and back-stage passes for the 3 or so years of His ministry.

In doing so, he gave us principles and a pattern for continuing the same task he now calls us to – of making of disciples after Him.

As I considered the Gospel accounts of Jesus and his method of preparing and raising disciples, 5 things that Jesus did consistently stand out. If we are to make disciples with the same goals, means and mettle as Jesus, then let us consider and imitate how he did it, so that we can do the same.

1) Invitation – at the heart of God’s Gospel to us is an invitation and a call to ‘come to Him’ for salvation: forgiveness, hope and healing. But discipleship is also a call to follow. When Jesus begun His earthy ministry, after a night of prayer, He chose the twelve from among an already a larger group of disciples. In fact, He appointed them to be with Him (see Mark 3:13-19, Matthew 10:1 and Luke 6:12-16).

Likewise, we need to be actively and prayerfully seeking people that we can reach out to and disciple (as well as those who may disciple us). To be a disciple who makes other disciples, you have to be actively looking for someone else to walk with. Invite them to meet and journey with you – once a week at the least, but regularly and as consistently as possible- to pray, read the Word and help each other be and make disciples of others.

I have found in my own life that if I’m not active in finding and meeting with others to disciple, I begin, by default and sinful bent, to stall in my walk with the Lord and to begin to pander to my own needs and desires.

Model – Jesus spent countless days and nights with this group of 12 throughout their apprenticeship. They got to see, hear and experience close up what many of us can only dream of or imagine. Jesus taught by repetition, remark and revelation, through the situations they encountered and amidst challenges that arose. He told unforgettable stories; he demanded their obedience and trust, and he left an indelible pattern on their minds and hearts.

But most of all, he showed them how He wanted them to live, by his life and example. And most people need to be shown, not just to be told. That’s why true discipleship is always a ‘show and tell’ endeavor in the Scriptures.

We are all likewise called to live like Jesus, to model a way of life to those we lead and are discipling. ‘Follow me, as I follow Christ’ was how Paul put it in 1 Corinthians 11:1.

As I have learnt, you can teach all you know, but you will reproduce who you are, whether in your child/ren or in those you disciple. More is caught than taught. So, like Jesus, we make disciples best by modelling and living out what we teach and proclaim.

As John Maxwell said, a true leader knows the way, shows the way and goes the way.

Next week, we will explore the next 3 disciple-making principles Jesus consistently followed.

 


[1] While the Gospels are mostly selective accounts excepted out of the life and ministry of Jesus during his adult life, more than 60% of the Gospel of Mark is the record of Jesus being alone with his disciples.

Making Disciples the Jesus way (Part 1) — by Manik Corea

Family or Business? (By Isaac Lasky)

All of humanity is on a search for identity and meaning in their lives. Christians find their identity fundamentally in their relationship to God as Father. However our sinful nature does not allow to live that out unchallenged. Additionally, even among faithful Christians, there is a real temptation to find our identity, value and meaning in what we do for God rather than who we are in Him.

We may look like we are passionate, on-fire disciples, but we lack integrity and have misplaced our loyalty when, in effect, we have traded a ‘family’ relationship with God for a ‘business’ relationship with Him.

Tim Keller in his sermon ‘Basis of prayer: Our Father’ (1995)[i] shares very powerful truth about the difference between a family relationship and a business relationship and how we can know which one we have with God.

He says that there are, broadly speaking, two categories of relationship in our world today – business and family.

Business relationships are relationships that are built on an exchange of services. For example, a landlord rents out a house to a tenant, in exchange for a financial return. Your barber cuts your hair in exchange for money. The relationship exists because it is mutually beneficial for both parties. If one party does not keep up their side of the deal, the relationship is terminated and another similar relationship sought. There is also limited access in such a relationship. You can only request or expect communication about things that pertain to the business transaction.

In contrast, family relationships are built on an exchange of love. The relationship is not dependent on what the people do but rather who the people are. In a family relationship you have access to each other’s lives and seek to help and support each other in whatever way possible.

If you barber gives you a bad haircut it’s the end of the relationship and you get a new barber. But if your son breaks the window you get a new window, not seek a new son!

You can ask your mechanic to fix your car but you can’t ask him to help pay for your wedding. But you can ask your Dad to help fix your car and can ask him to help pay for your wedding.

When Jesus taught his disciples to pray to God as ‘Our Father’, it shows us that we are to relate to God as within a family relationship, and not a business relationship. In this, we have unprecedented access to the Father. Thus, we can ask for daily bread, deliverance from temptation, forgiveness of sins and whatever else we need. How incredible it is that we can call the awesome, sovereign and Holy Lord of Heaven ‘our Father’!

So, how do we know with which type of relationship – business or family – do we primarily relate to God with? Think about the last time you didn’t get a prayer answered in the way you wanted. How did you react and feel?

If you felt God was treating you unfairly (‘I did my part but you didn’t do yours’) or felt guilty (‘I’ve failed to please you so how can I expect you to hear my prayers’) then you are equating an unanswered (or differently-answered) prayer to a breakdown in an exchange of services.

We are then treating God like He owes, rather than owns us. We have reduced our prayer life to a formulae to get what we want from Him.

Evidence of a family relationship on the other hand would be when we approach God with love, humility and submission. We say like our Lord Jesus, ‘Lord, not my will but your will be done.’ ‘I know you are a good Father whose ways are higher than my ways.’ ‘Give me what I would pray for if I had your infinite power and infinite wisdom.’

What kind of relationship do you have with your Lord? Business or Family?

 


[i] You can listen to it at: https://player.fm/series/timothy-keller-sermons-podcast-by-gospel-in-life-83408/basis-of-prayer-our-father

Family or Business? (By Isaac Lasky)