Thursday, December 30, 2010

Plans for a New Year

Photo by cory schmitz

A new year is right around the corner. For many this is a time of anticipation and joy for a new beginning. For others it can be a time of introspection and reflection. Some are excited to reflect on the year gone by while others are filled with regret. Many look forward to change and a fresh start. Others require change and a fresh start out of necessity from a year gone badly. As A.W. Tozer puts it, “For some of us last year was one in which we did not acquit ourselves very nobly as Christians, considering the infinite power available to us through the indwelling Spirit.”

The start of a new year can be strange. This is almost an arbitrary time of ending and beginning as the close of our calendar year sets upon us and the beginning of another year transitions in seamlessly. The temptation of any day, or year, can be to go about life as we always have. Many go from one day to the next and from one year to the next year without much reflection, anticipation, planning, or change. Proverbs 26:11 speaks of this tendency, concerning those default tendencies that should not bear repeating, the verse says, “As a dog returns to his own vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.”

So how should we approach new beginnings; be it the beginning of a new year, or the beginning of a new day? The Psalmist David, in Psalm 138:8, writes: “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever— do not abandon the works of your hands.” The apostle Paul also makes it clear, as David does in Proverbs, that it is God who works out His will, purpose, plans, and good works in our lives. Paul states, in Philippians 1:6, “There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.”

The New Year is a great time to make a new beginning and to start again. It’s a great time for reflection and for planning for the future. We can learn as much from our mistakes and failures as we can from our successes and achievements from the previous year. All these can propel us, with God’s strength and power at work in us, to move us forward. As Tozer goes on to say, “But through the goodness of God we may go to school to our failures. The person of illuminated mind will learn from their mistakes, yes even from their sins. If their heart is trusting and penitent, they can be a better person next year for last year's fault—but let them not return again to folly.”

We know that next year, with God’s help, will be a good year filled with all the goodness of God’s perfect plan and will; knowing that God has begun this good work in us and He will see it out to completion. May we trust it to be so as we follow the Lord Jesus into a new year in 2011!

Happy New Year!



Peterson, Eugene H.: The Message : The Bible in Contemporary Language. Colorado Springs, Colo. : NavPress, 2002, S. Php 1:6

The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. Ps 138:8

Tozer, A.W. Topical Reader. WORDsearch Corp. © 1998, 2007

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Leadership: Imitation, climbing the coconut tree

Photo by Robbie Pruitt

"pye kokoye"—What climbing coconut trees can teach us about leadership and discipleship.

In Haiti coconut trees are abundant. These tall trees present a challenge if you want to enjoy the delicious coconuts that they produce. Coconut trees can grow up to 30 meters tall, or about 98 feet. This makes getting to the coconuts at the top of the tree a very difficult and arduous task. In order for the Haitian people, or anyone else, to enjoy coconuts, someone has to climb the coconut tree. This can be a dangerous and daunting task.

Haitians are skilled climbers and can shimmy up a coconut tree barefooted, with machete in tow, with ease, skill, and precision. This is not a skill that an ordinary or average American possesses. How does someone learn a skill like this? There is hardly room for error forty to ninety feet up in a tree slinging a two foot blade at a cluster of coconuts.

If you visit Haiti an answer to how one learns to climb coconut trees comes into focus, and clarity can be gained. The Haitian people take great pride in learning and teaching and you can often observe a young Haitian boy or girl watching their parents or neighbors as they work. There is as much education going on in the normal day to day activities as there is during regular school hours. Young Haitian boys study their fathers as they climb the coconut tree; they watch and observe, they stand closely and study every move, they imitate their fathers.

Photo by Robbie Pruitt

Leadership and discipleship have everything to do with imitation. As leaders we are to be what we want to see in others, so that in imitating us, people look like what we want them to become. As leaders, we reproduce in others who we are. If we want to see in others what we would have them become, then we must exhibit these same traits ourselves. We must "climb the coconut tree of leadership” to develop leaders who can “climb the coconut tree of leadership.”

Jesus models this imitation for us in
John 5:19-20 when he said,
“Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.” Jesus imitates the Father. He does what he sees the Father doing. If we are to make disciples, develop leaders, and help lead others to Jesus, we must be doing what we see Jesus doing, through His power, work, and grace in us.

The Apostle Paul modeled this imitation as well, and imitated Jesus’ imitation in the above verses, in his ministry with the church in Corinth. In 1 Corinthians 11:1-3, Paul asked the Corinthians to “Imitate him, just as he also imitates Christ.” He goes on to say, “Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you. But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ.”

Paul is exhorting the Corinthian church to do what he does as he imitates Jesus. This is effective only as long as Paul is imitating Jesus. His desire for the Corinthian Church and for us is that we remember the entirety of all he has taught us and that we recognize Jesus as the “head” or the leader that we should all be ultimately following and imitating.

May we "climb the coconut tree of leadership,” imitating Jesus, recognizing that others are watching us follow Jesus as we lead, and that they are eager to learn to follow Jesus and to lead as well.

Finally, may we rest in this blessing from Hebrews 6:9-12 as we imitate our Lord: “Beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you. . . For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”


The New King James Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1982, S. Jn 5:19-20

The New King James Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1982, S. 1 Co 11:1-3

The New King James Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1982, S. Heb 6:9-12

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hands to the Plow

Photo By twoblueday gerry

When I was a kid, my Grandfather used to take me out to the country where he owns three acres of land. Pop planted a garden there almost every year. He used a motorized tiller to break up the ground to make it easier to plant the seed. I would watch him wrestle the steel beast and plow perfectly straight rows. Pop would place a focal point at the end of each row and would set his gaze on that focal point to make the rows straight. As I watched him, I remember thinking that one day I would be a strong man who would know how to plow a straight row with a tiller. I also remember when that day came. Pop taught me how to plow. He handed me the tiller and pointed out ahead to the goal. The steel beast shook me and I wrestled with it toward the row’s end. At one point, I looked back and the tiller turned and bucked and I had to wrestle it back to its place, making a crooked row and a mess out of the garden. Eventually, through the years, practice made perfect and the rows became straight and perfect.

Granddad also taught me who Jesus is. I saw Jesus in Pop way before I ever understood a single sermon this Baptist preacher ever preached. Pop lives a life committed to following the Lord. I have learned what it means to follow Jesus through watching Pop keep his eyes on Him. As it turns out, living for Christ and plowing have a lot in common. As Jesus says, “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God (Luke 9:62).” When Pop put his hand to the plow, he never looked back. With Jesus as his focus, Pop’s rows have been straight through the field of life and he has shown many The Way.

Perfect Rows

(Luke 9:62)

Grandpa taught me

How to plow

In straight rows

Machine in hand

Eyes in front of me

Tilling the land

Perfectly plowed rows

Where my gaze is set,

My body goes

Eternity displays its fertile fields

And all that eternity knows

From heel dented mounds

And the sprinkling of seed

Spring forth growth and abundance

Of every plant, from every breed

No more lacking, no more need

Walking the straight rows

Hands running through the green

Into eternity as eternity is seen

My eyes set out before me

My hand to the plow

Never looking back

Gazing at Jesus now

Straight perfect rows

Into eternity

The way my Grandfather chose

My gaze toward my savior

Just like he taught me

To look to the cross and to eternity

© 2010, Robbie Pruitt

“And Jesus said unto him, ‘No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.’” –Luke 9:62

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Photo above by Ron Holt

As of October 2010, 2% of the rubble has been removed from Haiti after the January 2010 earthquake that crumbled that country. Observing the effects of this reality, the current state of Haiti, can make one feel helplessness and despair. Looking out over the vast devastation, the conditions of poverty, and the destruction is profound, sobering, and leveling. There is so much need and brokenness.

When my wife Irene and I were in Haiti recently, I wanted to fix the things that I saw. I am “a fixer” by nature. As I looked out over the landscape, the sinking feeling in my gut was a feeling of helplessness and despair. “There is just no fixing this.” I thought to myself. Just as I was thinking this, I felt as if God were speaking to me, “That’s right, you cannot fix this. You cannot even fix yourself. I can fix this. I will fix this. You cannot, but I can. You are not their saviour, you can’t be. You cannot even save yourself, because you are in the same condition, but I can. I can renew and restore Haiti and I can renew and restore you too!” This was a moving and powerful word from the Lord for me.

We live in a fallen and sin riddled world that is filled with destruction and disrepair. We live in a world that is in a constant state of decay. Our world is groaning (Romans 8:22).

The following poem, “Rubble,” compares the human heart condition, the result of sin’s rampant rule, with Haiti’s brokenness and destruction, due to fallen world we live in and the magnitude of sin’s consequences throughout history.

It is God that pardons, saves, restores, renews, and rescues. God is at work in His creation despite of sin and evil in the world, and it is God who will make all things new, including Haiti, and including the Haiti like destruction and devastation that is in me and you.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” –Jeremiah 17:9

Photo above by Ron Holt

(Jeremiah 17:9)

I got rubble . . .
I got rubble
Down inside of me
Fists full of rubble
Heart full of rubble
Broken heart and trouble
I got torn canvas
Tarp shredded
And days dreaded
I got stench filled polluted air
Charcoal fire burning
And no loving care . . .
Shame and a blank stare
I got worn out clothes
Nowhere to go
Where my next meal comes from
. . . I don’t know
I got dusty shoes
No good news
So far faded to black
Can’t see the blues
I got crowded streets
Shredded sheets
And no one to meet
I got polluted water in my veins
Spotted and soiled and stains
I got carcasses and death and remains
Viruses of all strains
I got a Haiti as my heart
Because I played my part
I am sin’s destruction and death
Gasping for life and breath
I am shattered destruction
Condemned collapsed building
Nothing to offer and nothing to bring
Soiled and dirty, never clean

I am ruins and decay
Broken and in disarray
Dashed hopes and dismay
I am hurricane torn
Weathered and worn
I am exploited lands
And caught with red hands
I am earth quake rattled
Crushed and tattered
Crying out . . . smattered
I am rubble
I am rubble in streets
Crashes nearly avoided
And skipped heart beats
Aftershocks and broken infrastructure
Spilled out in rupture
I am muddied murky waters
And close dilapidated quarters
I am refuse and abuse
Left out alone and cut loose
I am resource depleted
Promises never delivered . . . defeated
Broken glass on the shore
Never having enough
And always wanting more
I am helpless and despair
No health care
I am a world apart unnoticed
Out of sight, out of mind, unaware
On my own, I am unfed, full of dread,
And left for dead
I am Haiti
There is no life independently
No life on my own you see
I am wearing down and washing into eternity
Erosion . . . corrosion . . . implosion . . .
I got rubble
I got rubble breaking down to ashes and dust
Dust storms and winds gust
I got Haiti blowing through me
My destruction before me
Endlessly . . . effortlessly . . .
Carelessly . . . recklessly . . .

© 2010, Robbie Pruitt

Psalm 107:18-22

“They draw near unto the gates of death. Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses. He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.”

Revelation 21:5-7

“And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.”

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Sitting Saints

Photo: The Sitting Saints, © 2010, Irene Pruitt

The old Haitian man outside of St. Michael’s Church in Jacmel Haiti during the celebration of The Feast of St. Michael the Archangel

The old man sat weeping as the church service progressed. He sat outside the wall by the gate so that he could hear and see what was taking place inside. His shoes and clothes were soiled and torn. His soul, like the soles of his shoes and his clothes, was tattered and worn. He wept and cried out. He prayed, sobbed, and petitioned the Lord with many a shout; from fists in the air and humbled despair, through life’s weather and wear, as the crowds looked on and looked away, as if they did not care. At communion, the back rows and the periphery were overlooked, just as the old man was overlooked in life, and as he was overlooked at the peace; his tears his only release. And when the recessional took place, the priests and the saints walked on disappearing without a trace, missing Jesus in the old man’s face.

The Sitting Saints

(Deuteronomy 33:3)

The saints are sitting


Unscathed and clean




The true saint wails

Words fall . . .

They fall short

They fail

Nothing to say of comfort

Nothing of the sort

When the priests do not notice

After the church bell rings

Cries muffled

As the saintly choir sings

An offering of prayer

Is what one brings

The laying on of hands

A simple touch

And the giving of the peace

Tears! Tears!


© 2010, Robbie Pruitt

Deuteronomy 33: 1-4

“Now this is the blessing with which Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death. And he said: “The Lord came from Sinai, and dawned on them from Seir; He shone forth from Mount Paran, and He came with ten thousands of saints; From His right hand came a fiery law for them. Yes, He loves the people; All His saints are in Your hand; They sit down at Your feet; Everyone receives Your words. Moses commanded a law for us, a heritage of the congregation of Jacob.”

The New King James Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1982, S. Dt 33:1-4

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Humility: A Key to Christian Leadership

3D Team Leadership Arrow Concept
Photo by lumaxart

A Christian leader should be humble.

“He must increase, but I must decrease.” –John, speaking of Jesus, John 3:30

Humility is a hallmark of a Christian who is truly modeling Christ in their life and leadership. We are called to humility as Christian leaders. Jesus modeled this humility when He said this of Himself, “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28). As Jesus gave his life to serve others, to minister, and lay his life down, the Christian leader is called to serve in this way in humility as well.

Paul talked about Christ’s humility in Philippians 2:4-8 when he said that “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!”

As leaders we are tempted to lead in our own power and strength and to make our leadership’s central focus ourselves. We cannot lead in our own strength, nor do we have the power on our own to lead in humility. We must seek Christ out and live and lead in the power of His Holy Spirit. We cannot go at it alone. Even in our trying to lead in our own strength, our pride is illustrated.

Scripture is clear, our pride and strength will get us nowhere in our leadership. Proverbs 16 says this about pride and humility, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud. Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord” (Proverbs 16:18-20).

Our job as Christian leaders is like what John said about himself in relation to Jesus, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” This humility exalts God in Christian Leadership and not self, and humility like this is central to Christian leadership.


The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. Mt 20:28

The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. Php 2:4-8

The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001, S. Pr 16:18-20

Thursday, September 2, 2010

You Are Not All That

By Robbie Pruitt

“For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” –Romans 12:3

In 2007 Paula White published a book under the genre of “Christian Living” entitled You're All That: Understanding God's Design for Your Life. At first glance this book is appealing and draws the reader in with the hope of understanding God's design for their life. After getting into the book, however, the author rarely focuses on the biblical God, and instead focuses on the reader and on herself. This book’s subject is the individual and not the creator. White makes the case that we are “all that” and puts emphasis on self much more than God. Scripture is clear that the focus should be on God and not on us. As a matter of fact, scripture speaks clearly that we are not “all that,” contrary to what White’s book title has the reader believe. The title is misleading. Scripture is clear, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

Author and theologian G. K. Chesterton is credited for answering the question "What's wrong with the world?,” posed by The Times, with this wise response: “Dear Sirs, I am. Sincerely yours, G. K. Chesterton.” This is a very different outlook on self than the one that Paula White illustrates in “You’re All That.” Chesterton’s response is also a more biblically accurate view of self and the fallen nature of humanity. It is not that we are “all that,” it is that the God we serve is “all that.” God should be our focus and should be elevated and we should be submitted to God in humility. John the Baptist said it this way in John 3:30, “He [Jesus] must increase, but I must decrease.” This statement puts self in the right place and exalts God.

The believer should never boast in themselves or rely on themselves alone. The self taught theologian, preacher, evangelist, and author A.W. Tozer says, “Boasting is particularly offensive when it is heard among the children of God, the one place above all others where it should never be found” (Tozer, p. 74). Tozer goes on to say that “Boasting is an evidence that we are pleased with self; belittling, that we are disappointed in it. Either way we reveal that we have a high opinion of ourselves” (Tozer, p. 76). According to Tozer the Christian should look very different than a boaster or braggart. Tozer paints this picture for us of the victorious Christian: “The victorious Christian neither exalts nor downgrades himself. His interests have shifted from self to Christ. What he [or she] is or is not no longer concerns him. He believes that he has been crucified with Christ and he is not willing to either praise or depreciate such a man.” (Tozer, p. 76 ).

Paul addresses this issue of self in Romans 12:3 when he tells the church in Rome that they should not think more highly of themselves than they ought to. Paul writes, “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith” (Romans 12:3). Paul also addressed this with the church in Galatia when he wrote to them saying, “For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself” (Galatians 6:3). To claim that we are more than we actually are is a lie. This is the worst form of deception, because it is self-deception. Tozer states that “self-deception is the most deadly, and of all the deceived persons, the self-deceived are the least likely to discover the fraud” (Tozer, p. 96).

If we are to understand the truth about ourselves and God’s design for our lives we must begin with God and His life and not with ourselves. Jesus said it this way, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:25). Paul also said that we are to be crucified, or to die, with Christ so that we can live. And when we do die to ourselves, it is not we who live, but Christ who lives within us (Galatians 2:20). The emphasis is on Christ and not self. Tozer points to this truth about God’s work with this assertion: “The man who believes that he is worthy of heaven will certainly never enter that place” (Tozer, p. 10). It is not all about us at all.

God does the work, because we do not have what it takes. We are not “all that.” We are unworthy of God, yet God gives us His grace. In The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer says this about grace: “Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of His Son: ‘Ye were bought at a price,’ and what has cost God so much cannot be cheap for us” (Bonhoeffer, p. 45). It would also be wise to add: what costs God so much cannot be “about us,” or convey the message that it is we who are “all that.” It is indeed God who is “all that,” and because God has indeed “bought us with a price,” we should “glorify God in our bodies and in our spirits, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20).


Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. The Cost of Discipleship. Touchstone Publishers. New York, NY. © 1937, 1959, 1995

Tozer, A.W. Man The Dwelling Place of God. Wingspread Publishers. Camp Hill, PA. © 1966

The Holy Bible : King James Version. electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version. Bellingham WA : Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1995, S. Ro 3:23

The New King James Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1982, S. Ro 12:3

White, Paula. You’re All That. Paula White Enterprises, INC. Faith Works. Hachette Book Group USA. New York, NY. © 2007

Friday, August 20, 2010

Leadership Sessions: Righteousness, Wisdom, and Integrity

Prayer: "God cover us with Your Righteousness, give us Your Wisdom, and help us to walk in integrity. We ask this in the name of Jesus, who is our righteousness, who is the Wisdom of God, and who empowers us to walk in integrity by His Holy Spirit. Amen!"

Recently I sought God for help with my leadership. I was caught off guard when God spoke. I know that we should not be surprised that God speaks when we seek Him, but often we are indeed surprised, and I was. God’s word promises us that if we lack wisdom that we should ask God to give us His wisdom and God will give it to us (James 1:5). So with this scripture promise in mind, I prayed that God would give me His wisdom on leadership, and God led me to Proverbs 10. I read it and three things stood out to me: righteousness, wisdom, and integrity. A leader seeks out and walks in God’s Righteousness, a leader seeks out and walks in God’s Wisdom, and a leader walks in integrity by God's Holy Spirit.

A leader seeks out and walks in God’s Righteousness.

“Treasures of wickedness profit nothing, but righteousness delivers from death. The Lord will not allow the righteous soul to famish, but He casts away the desire of the wicked.” – Proverbs 10:2-3

“The mouth of the righteous is a well of life, but violence covers the mouth of the wicked.” – Proverbs 10:11

“The labor of the righteous leads to life, the wages of the wicked to sin.” – Proverbs 10:16

“The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him: but the desire of the righteous shall be granted.” – Proverbs 10:21

When reading Proverbs 10, it became clear that righteousness is important and it comes up over and over again. The more I thought and reflected on what it means to be righteous, the more evident it became of just how unrighteous and sinful I am. The verse from Romans 3:10 came to mind, “There is none righteous, no, not one.” If a leader is to be righteous, and there is no one with righteousness of their own, then how does a leader walk in righteousness? The next prayer I prayed was “Help me lord to be righteous.” Then this verse came to mind from Romans 5:19: “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” I continued, “Lord, give me your righteousness and help me to walk in it.” We do not have any righteousness of our own, but we are called to be righteous. If we are going to live and lead in righteousness we must yield to Christ as it says in Philippians 3:9, “And be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.”

A leader seeks out and walks in God’s Wisdom.

“A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is the grief of his mother.” – Proverbs 10:1

“The wise in heart will receive commands, but a prating fool will fall.” – Proverbs 10:8

“The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of wisdom.” – Proverbs 10:21

Proverbs 10 speaks volumes of the importance of wisdom. A good leader is a wise leader and wisdom is found in God and His word. When I was at my wit’s end and needed a fresh word from God on leadership, He met me there. I needed wisdom, and God gave it to me, when I sought Him out. I love what Dallas Willard says about finding God. He says, “I have found the address of God, it is at the end of my rope.” We do not have all we need on our own, but with God and His word, we have His knowledge and His wisdom. Again, scripture says that if we ask it will be given unto us, if we seek, we shall find, and if we knock, the door is opened to us (Matthew 7:7-11). God’s word encourages us to seek wisdom and promises it will be given to us (James 1:5). Scripture says, “A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel (Proverbs 1:5).” I cannot think of a better source for wise counsel than God, the author of wisdom Himself. If we are going to be good leaders, we must seek out and walk in God’s wisdom.

A leader is empowered to walk in Integrity by God’s Holy Spirit.

“He who walks with integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will become known.” – Proverbs 10:9

“The integrity of the upright will guide them, but the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.” Proverbs 11:3

Integrity is important in leadership. Good leaders have excellent integrity, and there is integrity in being who you know God has called you to be. When we walk in God’s righteousness and seek his wisdom we are able to see more clearly how we are to walk in Him for God’s glory, and to God’s glory. Integrity is honesty and truth. Integrity speaks to being complete and whole and it speaks to walking in firm adherence to your values, standards, and beliefs, which should align with God’s word. When we are following Jesus in our leadership, we can be confident that we are walking in God’s integrity. Again, this is nothing that we can do on our own. We must rely on God’s Holy Spirit to give us the fruits of His Spirit (see Galatians 5:15-26). Paul tells us in Galatians that if we walk in the Spirit, we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16). Paul also says in Philippians 4:13 that we “can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.” If we are to be leaders of integrity we must be empowered by God’s Holy Spirit to walk in integrity.

Would we be clothed with God’s Righteousness, walk in the wisdom of God, Jesus Christ, and walk in integrity in Him by His Holy Spirit, fulfilling the words of Paul, from 1 Corinthians 1:26-31, in our leadership: “For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—that, as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.’”

Seeking to be led by Jesus in leadership,



The New King James Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1982.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Your God is Not Big Enough

I was one of three guys in a sea of women at a packed theatre last night for the opening of “Eat, Pray, Love.” Not that there is anything wrong with being one of a few guys in a sea of women, I just felt a little out of place . . . The movie was as bad as I thought it would be, but unraveled a lot of what I have been thinking about lately concerning idolatry, worship, and God. There was a quote in the movie that was pivotal for me in illustrating one of our greatest obstacles to our understanding of God. Here it goes: “God dwells within you as you yourself, exactly the way you are” (p. 192). In other words, God is like you. This is basically saying, “You are God.” This is simply and profoundly false!

In the book “Eat, Pray, Love” this idea is expressed this way, “We don’t realize that, somewhere within us all, there does exist a supreme Self who is eternally at peace” (p 122). Is the author saying that this “supreme Self,” is God?! Is this god, little “g,” that dwells within us ourselves?! Nothing could be further from the truth; however, I believe that many people think this way. Many think they are looking at God, but in fact they are looking at and to themselves. If this is true that God is our “supreme Self,” then god is no bigger than our selves, illustrating the saying, “God has created humankind in His own image and we have returned the favor.” This sin is as old as Adam and Eve in the garden, and their wanting to be like God at the fall of humanity (see Genesis 1-3).

I have noticed among the youth and college students that I work with that there is boredom with God. It is my suspicion that this boredom is no boredom with the one true God at all. This boredom is with a lesser God, a self made and self resembling idol. If it is God that we are worshiping and following, we will not be bored at all. To paraphrase a quote from Saint Thomas Aquinas, who said, "If you comprehend God he is not God.” If you are bored with God, this is not God that you are dealing with at all. As it sits, it looks like most of the boredom that is being experienced with God comes from the same idol worship of a self made, self resembling, little god idol, as illustrated in the above quote from “Eat, Pray, Love,” “God dwells within you as you yourself. . .” So in effect, we are not bored with God, we are bored with ourselves and our idols because we have made “gods” of ourselves and other lesser things.

Our gods are too small. J.I. Packer, in his book “Knowing God,” says that most of us are “pygmy Christians,” because we serve a pygmy God. A pygmy is something that is weak, diminished in size, of lesser intelligence, or miniature. In other words, Packer is saying that our gods are too small. If we have a lesser god, are trying to add something to God, or subtract something from God, this is not the one true God at all, but a portion of God, a reduced version of God, a made up God, or manufactured God, or simply put, we have an idol.

John Stott commented on this by asserting that “Nothing is more important for mature Christian discipleship than a fresh, clear, true vision of the authentic Jesus." A.W. Tozer, in “The Knowledge of the Holy,” states that “The church has surrendered her once lofty concept of God and has substituted for it one so low, so ignoble, as to be unworthy of thinking, worshipping men.” He goes on to say that “With our loss of the sense of majesty has come the further loss of religious awe and consciousness of the Divine Presence.”

If we want to not be bored with God, we must get to know the true God and get beyond our own “spiritual narcissism,” as John Stott puts it. We are not God. It has been said, “There is a God. You are not Him.” Dallas Willard said it this way, “I have found the address of God; it is at the end of my rope.” To say it another way, if you want to get to know God, you must get beyond your limited self. Tozer puts it this way at the end of “Knowledge of the Holy,” “God is a Person and can be known in increasing degrees of intimate acquaintance as we prepare our hearts for the wonder. It may be necessary for us to alter our former beliefs about God as the Glory that guilds the Sacred Scriptures dawns over our interior lives.” We must drop our petty views of a “lesser god” to catch a glimpse of the one true God. We must rise above our self imposed presuppositions and projections of who God is for a clearer more biblical view of God. As Stott says, quoting Jerome, “Ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ.”

Tozer, in his book “And He Dwelt Among us,” asserts “No Religion ever rises higher than its concept of God.” This sheds light on one of the more popular quotes from Tozer, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” If we are to grow in our relationship with God we must get beyond ourselves and begin to think rightly about God. If we are to grow in our faith and not just grow weary in boredom, our view of God must be a larger vista form a higher mountain. As the Psalmist says, in Psalm 61:1-2, “Hear my cry, O God; Attend to my prayer. . . Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Our concept of God must be a concept of God and not just a loftier exaltation of ourselves. It is then that we will find ourselves in worship and in awe.

May we come to know Jesus, and become more like Him as we see Him as he truly is as John says, “When He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”



Gilbert, Elizabeth. Eat Pray Love. Penguin Group Publishing USA. New York, NY. © 2006, accessed August 14, 2010

The New King James Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1982, S. Ps 61:1-2

Packer, J.I. Knowing God, 20th Anniversary ed. Downers Grove, Ill. Intervarsity Press, © 1993, p. 12.

Stott, John R.W. The Radical Disciple. Intervarsity Press. Downers Grove IL. © 2010

Tozer, A.W. And He Dwelt Among Us. Gospel Light Publishing. Ventura, CA. © 2009

Tozer, A.W. Man: The Dwelling Place of God. Wing Spread Publishing. Camp Hill, PA. © 1966, 1997

Tozer, A.W. The Knowledge of the Holy. Harper Collins Publishers. HarperSanFrancisco. © 1961

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Discipleship Sessions: Megaphones and T-Shirts: Always Teaching, Always Representing

“If we claim to be Christian, we should be like Christ.” -John Stott

“Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”
- St. Francis of Assisi

“It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.” - St. Francis of Assisi

“For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.”
– Jesus, Matthew 12:34

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations . . . teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you . . .”
-Jesus, Matthew 28:19-20

A disciple of Jesus is always learning and is always teaching.

Our lives, indirectly and sometimes directly, teach people what we are about. Our lives are constantly speaking about what we believe. This can be a good thing or it can be a bad thing depending on what our values are and depending on the information we take in and the content that we are learning. In Matthew 12:34 Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” We speak what we have internalized. We proclaim what we know and hear.

As disciples of Jesus, our lives are to be megaphones for the good news of Christ. We are to know Christ so intimately that our lives proclaim Jesus. When others look at us, they should see Jesus in us. St. Francis of Assisi is quoted as saying it this way, “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” In other words, our lives teach the lesson. When our lives are consumed by Christ, others will see Christ in us. Our lives should be lived in such a way that they speak of our God. It has been said that “People will believe a sermon they see before they will believe a sermon that they hear any day.” As disciples of Jesus we must intimately draw near to Christ so that we are so connected with Him in a way that people who observe us will not know where He starts and we stop, or where we start and He stops. To be a disciple of Christ is to be Christ like.

As disciples of Jesus, we are called to be “little Christ’s.” However, being a disciple of Jesus and being like Jesus is impossible for us. We cannot do this in our own power or in our own strength. We can, however, do this by and through God’s Spirit, power, and strength within us. John Stott, in his book Radical Discipleship, says that Christians should look like Christ and that “God has given us His Holy Spirit to enable us to fulfill his purpose.” God will empower us to be like Jesus in our lives and to be megaphones proclaiming Christ to the world. God’s Spirit will enable our lives to proclaim the message of His good news, His son Jesus Christ.

You may have heard the expression, “Been there, done that, and got the T-shirt.” Usually when we have “been there and done that and gotten the t-shirt,” the shirt we have gotten usually says something about where we have been. This shirt sends a message about that place where we have been, what we did there, what we value, and where we have spent our time. Some people who follow Jesus think that it is enough to share Christ by wearing a shirt that reflects or states their love of Jesus. This is not enough. The world will not know we are Christians, or who Christ is, simply by our t-shirts. The world will know we are followers of Christ by our lives and conduct, as well as our words and teachings. The disciple John says, in 1 John 3:18, we should “not love with words or tongue (only) but with actions and in truth.” Our lives devoted to Christ, and how our lives are lived out in love, will speak of Jesus to the world.

A popular Christian song came from John’s Gospel (John 13:35), and from his first letter of John, and illustrates how people will know Jesus as we live in this love. The song is called “They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love. According to John, and as illustrated in this song, it is our lives, as they are lived out in God’s love, and as they are lived out in an expression of God’s love, which teach and illustrate Jesus, not our witty Christian t-shirts.

May we live a message of His Love and grace through His great mercy, grace, strength and power,



Stott, John R.W. The Radical Disciple. Intervarsity Press. Downers Grove Il. © 2010

The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. Mt 12:34

The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. 1 Jn 3:18

The New King James Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1982, S. Mt 28:19-20