Friday, February 27, 2015

The Early Church Under Persecution Still Grew

As we read about the terrible things being done to Middle Eastern Christians our hearts are broken. Let us pray for them to be protected and continue to evangelize.

We need to remember that Christians from the time of Pentecost to about 350 AD faced the sword, lions and extreme pressure but they continued to grow in numbers. They met in secret, in caves, homes and nature, yet despite the lack of creature comforts they grew in faith and power.

What happened over the next three centuries after Christ is an amazing story, although one that is easily overlooked or taken for granted today in a culture in which Christianity is so prominent and pervasive. Consider:

  • Between A.D. 60 and 100, the number of Christians increased from that meager 3,000 to 7,500, and to more than 40,000 by the year 150. By 200, the total would exceed 200,000, climb to 1 million by 250 and soar to an astonishing 6 million by the turn of the century — 10 percent of the Roman Empire's entire population.

  • In 311, the Emperor Galerius, responding to their increasing numbers and clout, ended the policy of punishing Christians for refusing to worship Rome's deities, asking only that they put in a good word for the empire with that one-and-only supreme being of theirs.

  • In 313, the next emperor, Constantine the Great, after adopting the Christian cross as a victorious battle symbol the previous year, issued an edict of toleration toward Christianity and embraced the faith himself.

  • By 350, the rolls of the empire's Christians had reached 33 million, half the populace, and their consortium's of burgeoning churches would one day surpass Rome's legions in dominion and sweep. (This is taken from an article in Christianity Today's History Magazine.)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Why Did Jesus Say_Stop Adding?

Jesus is famous for many sayings and most ever preacher teacher I know focus on the words of Jesus a lot. They love the words in RED. 

It is a mystery, then, why few follow His Organizational Plan. Just as Jethro came along and told Moses to stop wearing his people out Jesus upped the ante and made an even more radical system. Whys would Jesus say no to the organizational plan of Moses and no to that of Jethro?

Even more mystifying is the fact that most leaders prefer Moses and will only reluctantly go to the Jethro Model when forced to do so?

What did Jesus know that we have not yet admitted? (We must know it.)

Our materials tell how to make disciples. 

Finally, A Model for Changing the World!

Moses decided to lead by doing everything himself. That ended in disaster.

The father in law of Moses said, Add Staff and learn to Delegate so you don't harm yourself and your people.

Jesus said, I have a new way. Multiply Ministers by my model of Discipleship Paul agreed and said, "Equip everyone to be a  Minister.

The result was a power house of life changing Ministers who radically impacted the known world for hundreds of years.

What model does your church/denomination follow?

Go to our web to see how discipleship works.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Promise of Radical Changes

The Day of the Lord

28 “And afterward,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your old men will dream dreams,
    your young men will see visions.
29 Even on my servants, both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
30 I will show wonders in the heavens
    and on the earth,
    blood and fire and billows of smoke.
31 The sun will be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood
    before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
32 And everyone who calls
    on the name of the Lord will be saved;
for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem
    there will be deliverance,
    as the Lord has said,
even among the survivors
    whom the Lord calls.

What does this passage say to you about the coming New Testament Leadership Model? 

Who will be leading that has not been allowed to lead before? Who will have supernatural experiences?

How will the supernatural experiences of the New Testament be different from the Old Testament?

Are your living like this now?

Does your church leadership promote this kind of leadership?  



Monday, February 23, 2015

Radical Leadership (Watch Out!)

Moses gave a powerful retort to the plea of his brother. What was Brother Aaron attempting to to that deserved such a strong rebuke?

He begged his big brother to stop Eldad and Medad from physically and verbally responding to God. When the Shekinah Glory came upon them despite the fact that they did not attend the elders' meeting, God had blessed them.
Why did that bother Aaron and the others so much?

Think about it. What did the presence of the Spirit mean to the Children of Israel? Who had the Charisma in that day?

The Old Testament is almost devoid of the presence of God. It could be called "A particularized charismatic presence". This means that only a very few people had the presence of the Spirit and even then on a rare, individual  basis.

When God said, "Gather 70 wise leaders at the tent and I will place some of your spirit on them". When 68 men showed up, God kept His promise, placed the Spirit on them and they had dramatic verbal/physical experiences. This showed everybody that God had chosen them for positions of leadership.

That was bad enough, but the two rebellious Elders stayed back home to fix the holes in their tents or take care of other mundane projects and they too indicated that the power of God was upon them for leadership.

Was Aaron trying to protect his brother Moses's position and reputation? It seems so, but it backfired. It stimulated Moses to state the opposite of Monarchical leadership.

I wish every believer had this experience. 

Can you think of any similar experiences in the Bible where a person attempted to protect a leader? Where?

Read Humpty Dumpty for the best model.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

New Leadership is Coming

Numbers 11:26-28New International Version (NIV)

26 However, two men, whose names were Eldad and Medad, had remained in the camp. They were listed among the elders, but did not go out to the tent. Yet the Spirit also rested on them, and they prophesied in the camp. 27 A young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.”
28 Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ aide since youth, spoke up and said, “Moses, my lord, stop them!”
29 But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!”
Moses unknowingly prophesies that a new kind and a new model of leadership is coming. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Jealousy: Cain kills Able

The jealous bring down the curse they fear upon their own heads. Dorothy Dix

The jealous are troublesome to others, but a torment to themselves. William Penn

If malice or envy were tangible and had a shape, it would be the shape of a boomerang. Charley Reese

More on Biblical Models of Leadership 5

In the last post I laid out the huge change in leadership styles from Moses to Jethro. From a one man show to delegation with some 70 men in leadership?

So, is that all there is about models of ministry leadership in the world today? Was it the Jethro Model that was used in the New Testament and brought about such amazing growth of Christians despite being a hated, persecuted minority?

Why not write and tell me what you think? I would like to hear from you.

See my book Hope and Change for Humpty Dumpty for other ideas and models.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Training for Case Workers that Support Families with a Member that has an Illness

Patient Home Advantage, Is holding a training session for those interested in supporting loved one who have a chronic illness. Session #1. Is next Friday at 9:;00-11:30 at Hope Church in Mason, Ohio It is free.

The second is March 12.

Take a look at our web site. 

If you are interested, let us know.

Biblical Styles of Leadership 4. Jethro is An Organizational Consultant

Jethro, the Father in Law of Moses, was impressed with God but not with Moses, the chosen leader. "Trying to do everything will kill you and your people! Wow, that is a great line. When we do too much we hurt our followers. 

Jethro has a better idea. He is a pagan priest but God uses him to consult and teach Moses. Did you think we can only learn from Christians? God evidently does not think so. 

Exodus 18:19 Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him. 

20 Teach them his decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave. 

21 But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 2

Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you.

23 If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.”

24 Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said. 25 He chose capable men from all Israel and made them leaders of the people, officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.

26 They served as judges for the people at all times. The difficult cases they brought to Moses, but the simple ones they decided themselves.

Delegation! So many Pastors are still trying to go it alone without delegation. Are they really using a biblical approach to leadership?

See my books on encouraging others to minister.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

A New Web Page

Several Years ago Sweeten Life Systems received a generous grant from The Hatton Foundation to study the needs of children with a delay or disability. Because we believe that families are the key to parenting, we suggested that our year-long research focus on the needs of parents and the entire family system not just the diagnosed child.

During our research we found that almost all the support such families receive comes from government agencies. The staff of those agencies are wonderful, hard working women and men who have real compassion for the children. However, they are under trained and overwhelmed.

We are all Christians and dedicated to offering these families spiritual as well as financial and physical assistance. We found that families want prayer, concern and fellowship but it is hard to find in government agencies. Our new organization equips professionals at agencies how to minister more effectively to hurting parents and kids at home and church.

The new organization is called Patient Home Advantage. Go to the new web page to learn more about it. If you want to support these families or are one of our target families contact us.

Reflection on Leadership-Why Do So Many Leaders Burn Out?

After reading the comments of Jethro, and those of Moses, what do you see as the main reason Moses failed as a leader?

It was wrong for Moses to __________________ ?

Read that passage again and circle the words that indicate Moses had "Stinking Thinking".

What resulted from his failure?_____________

What would you have counseled Moses to do? ____________

Have you ever followed Moses style of leadership? What was the result? ___________________

Every book I write discusses the bad habits of leaders that bring disaster to them and their people. Unhealthy leaders breed dysfunction in their people. Healthy leaders promote health! However, healthy leaders that refuse to pamper people will get a lot of push back.

See my book, Hope and Change for Humpty Dumpty and read the chapter on the Golden Rule for "Healthy Leaders and the Will of God". All of my latest books are on PDF and can be downloaded to any kind of reader including IPad, Android, Kindle, ETC

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Styles of Biblical Leadership 3. I Want Some Burnout!

We see that Moses tried to lead with total authority and he received a lot of grief from the people. Then God stepped in and the people and Moses were still unhappy. It is hard for a leader to get a break! 

In Exodus 18: Moses had a visit from Jethro, a pagan priest. (He also happened to be the Father in Law of Moses. I admire this event because it is the very first time when we get to see an Organizational Development Consultant at work. I have a degree in OD Consulting so I am biased.) Jethro was delighted to hear about all the good things  God did for Israel by rescuing them from the Egyptians. 10 He said, “Praise be to the Lord, who rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians and of Pharaoh.11 Now I know that the Lord is greater than all other gods, for he did this to those who had treated Israel arrogantly.” 

12 Then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and other sacrifices to God, and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat a meal with Moses’ father-in-law in the presence of God.

13 The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening. 

14 When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, 

“What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?”

15 Moses answered him, “Because the people come to me to seek God’s will. 16 Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God’s decrees and instructions.”

17 Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. 

18 You and these people who come to you will only burn yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.

What do you think of the Organizational Development Consultant now? What are the normal consequences of a one man show? 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Styles of Biblical Leadership 2.

When we start out reading the Bible, leaders generally operate with total Authority. It is top down. All a leader needs is one vote to pass whatever he wanted. It was a theocracy!
 God spoke to Moses who did what God said. Then he passed it on to the Hebrew Children.

 17 The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, traveling from place to place as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink.So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.”

Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the Lord to the test?”

But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?”

Then Moses cried out to the Lord, “What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.”

The Lord answered Moses, “Go out in front of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” 

So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”
Top down leadership is hard, even when the Lord tells us what to do. Many current Pastors are tempted to claim that mantle from Moses. But, if you are the top dog the people blame every problem on you. 

Moses was tired of being blamed by the people. It is a rule of leadership that leaders who do too much will be blamed for problems but not honored for successes. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Styles of Biblical Leadership 1.

I read a lot of books and articles on topics like this. As a consultant/coach to Pastors and Churches I want to better understand what is happening.

Let me begin by focusing on ways to influence others to change because all successful leaders are actually change agents. To lead implies he/she wants to motivate others to GO somewhere else and DO something else. That is change.

As the old adage says,  "If no one is following you are not leading".

There are essentially three ways to motivate others to change. API-W

Authority: I can say "Yes" and "No" and others will obey

Power: I move people with Rewards and/or Punishments

Influence: I am with people who pick up my ideas and goals and move with them

Wisdom: I know when to apply each at the right time and right way because each can be important at different times.

Which do you tend to use most?

Are you consistently WISE in choosing the best way to motivate others? Or, are you stuck on one way of doing things?

As that great hymn of leadership says:

You gotta know when to hold em,
Know when to fold em!
Know when to walk away and know when to run!

Can you play the game?

Gary Sweeten