Looking for all the right Questions

If you have ever been around a todler for more than an hour you have heard the pensive plea "Why?"

From our first days of speaking, we ask questions. As we grow up we are taught to have answers rather than questions. But, an answer is never as powerful or as moving as a quesiton. What was the last question you asked?

Jesus was the Master of questions. "Who do you say that I am?" he plied Peter. This timely probe gave Peter the chance to confess his faith in his Saviour and Lord. It also set the stage for Jesus' momentous declaration that upon "this rock" of faithful confession in Christ the Church would be built.

The truest seekers of wisdom - both secular and Divine - are question askers. Standing in front of a quiet peasant about to die the Roman Governor of Judea sneered, "Truth!" You can almost hear the "HA!" But then Pilate pauses, considers and turns to the Christ, "What is Truth?"

Jesus asked his listeners, "What profit is it to become filthy rich in this life and loose your soul eternally?" Paul furthered the question, "How will we escape, if we neglect such a great salvation?"

They make you think, don't they? Questions.

Make 2006 a year of questions, and watch your mind broaden and your faith deepen.

Cheating in good faith!

Last Week I took the kids to Zoo Doo in Richmond. One of the features is a miniature racetrack for Shetland ponies. Each person at the race received a ticket for a horse.

Mikey’s horse won. He didn’t seem surprised. I said, “Mikey, you have number 2! Your horse won. You get a prize!”

His relaxed response amazed me, “I talked to God and told him to let number 2 win.”

That night as I tucked Mikey into bed I told him how proud I was that he prays about things. I said, “Mikey I thought that was wonderful that you prayed that your horse would win.”

Again his reply was unexpected, “But that’s cheating!”

I had a good laugh about that. Is prayer cheating? I suppose it is, if you have the faith of a child!

What are you getting for Christmas? I bet Mikey already knows what he’s getting!

What better gift could there be than prayer?

Jesus replied, "If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." (Matt 21:22)

God gave the greatest gift by offering his Son in our place. But, he hasn’t stopped giving. He promises that he will continue to give as long as we continue to ask!

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matt 7:11)

In this Christmas season don’t set your sights too low. Lift your eyes and pray. God is listening!

10 Little Words

Each week I visit each class in Hilliard's primary school and share some practical thoughts with the kids from the Bible. Last week I talked about the 10 most important words we ever learn.

IF IT IS TO BE IT IS UP TO ME

I played hang man with all four classes (I shared this on with the 6-7 class as well, later in the week). They were amazed that there could be 10 words all 2 letters long that actually meant something important! It was a great lesson. Lots of fun.

Here is an outline of what I said to the kids. Of course the presentation was very different for the Kindergarten than it was for the 7th grade class...

1. We played hangman with "The ten most important words you will ever learn - if you learn them!"

2. I told the story of Noah.
God talks to Noah, tells him to build a boat. Did God say how big? Yes. Did God say how wide? Yes. Did God say what kind of wood? Yes.
So Noah gets the plans from God, sits on his couch with the remote control in his hand, watches TV and every-so-often looks out the window to see how the Ark is developing. Right?
The kids all shout NO!!! Then I had them explain to me that Noah built it. With what help? His family. No one else? No.
Then I talked about him preaching about the coming flood. and building. and preaching. and building. and preaching. for 120 years. How many people helped? 7 (plus Noah). Then we did some maths (kids love maths in groups) - How many years total spent in man hours? 120X8... 960 years. That's a lot of work.

3. I talked about Jesus dying for us. It was a great plan. But, Jesus had to DO it.

4. I talked about how many things I can remember without writing a list - 3... God gave us 3 things to do. We call it the Great Commission. 1. Make Disciples. 2. Baptise them. 3. Teach them.
I challenged the kids, Can you remember those three things without writing them down? We repeated it. I erased it off the board. We repeated it again.

5. I talked about how building the boat relates to Salvation. God told Noah to build a boat. Who did it? Noah. God told Jesus his plan. Jesus had to do it. Is it OK to ask God for other plans? Sure, Jesus did - but then he said Not my will but yours be done.
There is also another, very strong, lesson in the story of Noah's Ark that really makes people think. The people who built the boat got on the boat. They had been building their faith in their hearts as they built the life-saving vessel with their hands. No one got on the boat that wasn't involved in building it. I believe the same will be true the second time God cleanses the world. Those who have spoken about the second coming but did nothing about it will not have the faith to stick with God when everything looks like "it is never going to rain!" But, thouse who have been building the Kingdom with their hands - discipling, baptising and teaching - will have the faith to trust God in the last days. The workers will be the only ones to get in the boat.

6. The challege
- What were the three things God said had to be done before he would return? The kids shout it out. Make disciples! Baptise them! Teach them! Then I challenge them. Who has to do it? WE DO. What happens if we don't? It doesn't get done in our lives. If it does get done without us it is likely the boat will float without us. When it comes to the Great Commission - IF IT IS TO BE IT IS UP TO ME.

The kids and teachers loved it. I'll be using this one again!

Rights & Wrongs VS Rights & Lefts

As Christians we must follow God and God alone. So often in our Christian experience we are asked to take sides. In human situations the choice we are often offered is between one person and another - or one ideology or another. God does not ask us to judge between people. In fact he commands, "Judge not, lest you be judged!"

God does ask, however, that we focus narrowly on the His Character as revealed through his Son Jesus and through the Law - which serves as a written transcript of His Character. Following God's will is not always easy. So many things get in the way! Our view of God's leading is often obscured by some earthy commitment or human allegiance that we have formed. Often we think we are doing God's will when we are really just fighting for the Right or Left in some human cause.

As you explore the challenge of seeing life through God's eyes and living as God's representative, you truly may be the only Jesus many people will ever see. The World is watching. The Church is watching. Our God is watching. Let us make sure that we are watching Him and following His Will alone!

Go Therefore (to school) making disciples, baptising and teaching…

From The Tassie Conference Office

On December 17 the evangelistic focus at Hilliard Christian School in Hobart Tasmania will result in 15 student baptisms! Working together with his teachers, chaplains and students, Hilliard principle Bev Norman has created a soul winning environment that inspires involvement and empowers evangelism.

After a year of testing a different approach, the staff at Hilliard decided to try a bold plan. Students in the high school were divided into four groups of spiritual interest – ranging from those who were not interested to those who were passionate about spiritual maturity. Each group was assigned a teacher who felt spiritually drawn to this type of student. These four groups have met daily all year for the first 30 minutes of each day. This equates to 2.5 hours of small group Bible study each week!

After the first term another study group was offered to them. They were offered a spiritual development track leading to Baptism taught by high school chaplain, Pr David Edgren. This met every Thursday, in term 2 and 3, during the small group time. Those interested (about 30 kids) left their regular groups to meet with Pr Dave. The result of this strategic plan of daily small group time and focused study with their School Chaplain led to over a quarter of the high school students asking to be baptised!

The integrated nature of the Adventist schools and churches in Hobart had a large role to play in this amazing success. Glenorchy Church Pastor, Pr Alfredo Campos, also serves as the primary school chaplain at Hilliard. Pr Dave and Pr Alfredo see the school as their primary evangelistic field. They caught the vision cast by Bev Norman at the beginning of the year and have been integrating school kids into church life as much as possible. According to Pr Dave, “The role of the School Chaplain is to lead students to Christ and into a healthy relationship with Christ’s body – His church!”

Glenorchy Church leadership has taken ministry for the school aged kids very seriously. As part of their strategy to integrate the students into church life they took ownership of the Hobart area Pathfinder’s club. The December baptisms are a result of all entities working together – school, church, pathfinders, conference youth department, and personal relationships. The December 17 Sabbath of celebration and baptisms will be held at Glenorchy church and baptisms will be performed by the chaplains (Pr Alfredo & Pr Dave) and Tassie’s Youth Director Pr Tharren Hutchinson.

Write now!

Next year I will be making a major shift. I'll also be doing my fair share of spacing and returns as well... (ok, enough writing puns!)

I have been preaching the Word since I was a boy. But, along side the preaching I have always had a love for and an involvement in writing. I have written numerous articles on spiritual issues over the years and have had a column in The Edge for the last three years.

In year 12 I was the editor of my school paper. Now... Some 15 years later... I have been asked to return that role. This time as the Senior Assistant Editor at the Signs Publishing Company for the South Pacific Division. I am quite excited!

For the last seven years of ministry I have been a speaker primarily and a writer secondarily. I am looking forward to switching the focus and developing my writing skills. I am looking forward to serving on the team at the Signs.

I will be finishing my service in Tassie by attending Camp and running The Journey tent for its second year. Then, in February, I will start my role at the Signs.

God is Good!

The NEW Church - Manifesto

I'm currently in the process of writing a book called "The NEW Church" that is based on a church health model that I have developed.
The NEW Church has been designed to aid the lay leader in having a memorable and holistic way to plan and alalyse their ministry.

NEW stands for:
Nurture
Evangelism
Worship

I have developed The NEW Church out of the need I have felt in my ministry to have a memory device that everyone can remember.

Have a look at my "NEW Church Manifesto"...

Pr Dave Edgren
"Growing people toward their purpose in Christ."

Cyrus' First Story - The Trip

Cyrus - my oldest son - is in 1st grade and has started his first book.

Here it is thus far...

THE TRIP
by Cyrus

Chapter 1
I was on a trip to Australia. I was at the cockpit. I noticed a flashing light and it said 'emeregency.' I ran and got a life jacket and I jumped.

Chapter 2
I found myself in the sea and my only supply was a rubber band and a sandwich. I saw the plane crash up ahead.

Troubled Waters

This morning for my P & Q time (Prayer and Quiet) I sat on a rock at Sandy Bay and watched a sea urchin in the shallows. It was a perfectly windless morning and the water sat still.

Slowly some ripples began to trouble the little urchin. I looked out on the bay and saw a large fishing trawler chugging along. The ripples then made sense.

A few minutes later the waters had calmed. The urchin sat peacefully again basking in the sunlit water. Then everything went absolutely berzerk for the little red urchin. These were waves, not ripples. I looked back into the bay to see what could be generating such a massive disturbance. There, alone in the middle of the bay, rowed a single kayak.

How could it be? How could the ripples at the time of a fishing trawler and the waves at the time of a kayak be explained? It took me a few moments to realise the answer. Something had passed before the trawler. Some small motored watercraft that I hadn't noticed out on the bay. Then the trawler had come. Then the kayak. The ripples were the result of the first unnoticed boat. They just took awhile to reach my little urchin friend.

The trawler had caused waves. Big ones. But he was long gone by the time the urchin knew anything about it. And the kayaker? Well, had I been a quick acting conservationist... The kayaker would be on trial for upsetting the waters.

The Dragonslayer

This week I had a monumental discussion with my five year old son, Mikey.

While he was getting ready for bed he said to me, “When I grow up and I’m big enough I’m gonna find the Devil.”

“Really Mike! And what will you do when you find him?” I asked.

In a matter of fact voice he replied, “Kill him.”

After a moment of stunned silence I inquired, “How are you going to do that?”

He paused and then said, “I guess I’ll have to find some stuff and make a sword. Then I’ll poke him.”

Intrigued by my five year olds audacity, I asked, “Mikey, do you really think you can kill Satan?”

He turned toward me and in a serious voice stated, “Yes. My name is Michael.”

So… What are your goals? How seriously are you taking the name of Jesus and the call he has placed on your life?

I hope Mikey never looses his zeal!

Life and Pancakes
By: David Edgren

Conclusion.

Each of us has a philosophical structure that we live by. Whether we are conscious of this structure or not, it is there. I have delved deep into the recesses of my mind (it always seems to be at recess) and found a bit of pithy wit. These one-liners (and the occasional extended one-liner) seem to represent my general attitude and focus in life. This philosophy of life contains many various facets and strongholds. It also has conveniently placed releases that allow me to do something completely out of character and still consider myself in line with myself. Have you ever found yourself standing in line with yourself? It is much like finding yourself beside yourself.

Brief conversation with Self.

You: Hello Self.
Self: Hi there.
You: Funny meeting you here!
Self: Indeed. How am I?
You: You are, I mean… I am… Um… We are.
Self: Well said.

Find yourself.

Now I would like to share some of my new found realizations of life with you. While reading them you will find yourself laughing. After reading them you will most likely find yourself with a new more profound understanding of pancake batter.

Relationships come and relationships go.
But only dirt can make flowers grow.

While this may seem a very insightful poem on the intricacies of life it is actually a poem I wrote to help a close friend start a garden. He now has a beautiful plethora of flowers growing in his yard. In direct correlation he also has a vast number of relationships that have come and gone.

Every dog has his day, but so does every fire hydrant.

This is a simple way of understanding why things happen to you. On some days you are going to be a lucky dog and on others you will be a mere pee-on.

I am their leader, which way did they go?

Every day you will find something or someone that you are following and someone else that is following you. It is your duty to follow the right leader and at the same time be the best role model you can.

Run for it.

This is good advice for many situations you will encounter. Often you will find yourself stuck deep in the mud of life and will have to pull your feet out (which will make a rather hideous slurping sound) and run for the nearest exit.

Stop, look and listen.

We all spend far too little time doing any of these. We get so busy going nowhere that we forget to stop somewhere every once in a while and enjoy the sights and sounds.

Stop, drop and roll.

Another evasive tactic for self preservation. When the flames of life are licking at your heals keep running. But, when you are on fire by all means take the time to put out the flames.

Nothing is as good or as bad as it seems.

Running into another car at a traffic light does not make the magazine you were reading any better or worse. It just gives you a new understanding of the tremendous benefits of bumpers.

We all need bumpers.

The inventor of the bumper obviously had a very good understanding of life. By having a bumper placed about three seconds in front of our most repulsive anger we can save the ones we love from much harm.

Introduction.

Well, this is just a introduction to the constantly adapting philosophy that I call happiness. You are an extremely awesome person. I know it sounds conceited but you must believe it of yourself. My believing it of you will get you nowhere. Say it out loud right now. I don't care where you are just say, "I am a great person and I deserve every good thing that comes to me." A truly happy person is one who honestly loves himself.

While most of the thoughts in this article were funny, I hope you gained some tiny benefit from something here within.

Challenge.

I have given you the new recipe for better batter, now I challenge you to make yourself a better pancake.

Follow Me Friend

Who you are…

What do you believe?
Who else believes it?
How did you learn it?
Why do you believe it?

Chances are…

You believe what you believe
because of who you know
and what they taught you
because they believed it.

Each of us knows people who need to know Jesus. Hearing the facts will not change them. Having the Truth shared with them will not save them. They need a friend to hang their heart on. You are called to be that friend. Build intentionally evangelistic friendships. Be strategic. Be brave. Be filled with the Spirit. And chances are… they will follow you to Jesus!

Ways to express love at church

From the "Developing Love" video in the Bill Hybels Leadership series!

Five ways to express Love

Come right out and say it!
“I LOVE YOU!” are the three most powerful words in the world.

Write it down
Cards, Notes, Letters

Touch

Appropriate touch

Hold kids, shake hands, Touch shoulders/backs

Lay hands on people during prayer

Small acts of kindness
Do things for others and tell them why

Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn
Celebrate others good fortune

Care for those who Suffer

You never forget the people who suffer with you

A Couple extra’s of my own

Gifts
Momentos or memories and

Emotive reminders

Share a meal
Jesus ate with people constantly

Those who eat together grow close

The Power of Love

From another video in the Bill Hybels Leadership series!

Nothing can grow your church like love.

Love one another.

Jesus said Love does everything!
It moves us, motivates us, changes us, controls us, matures us, fills us,

Create a place that causes people to say to others, “Come with me. You can’t miss this.”

When your church is a loving place and people from the love-starved world watch the way you treat each other, they want to be with you and one of you.

How do we get the love of Christ out of our hearts and into the hearts of others?
Don’t be afraid to show love! You can’t say it wrong. It always feels good for them.
Be bold. Take a risk and be a bold expresser of love!

Heart building Habits - Experiences

From the video "Heart building Habits " in the Bill Hybels Leadership series!

Extended Solitude
Go away for a day.
Give the gift of solitude to your spouse.

Retreats
Take your team away for celebration, planning, ministry.

Cross Cultural
Broaden your worldview. Go to another world – 3rd world, poor, lost.

The best gift you can give to your family, your church, your Lord is a surrendered heart.

Heart building Habits - Relationships

From the video "Heart building Habits " in the Bill Hybels Leadership series!

Building and maintaining a healthy spiritual life requires relationships.

Spiritual Friends
God uses our human relationships to love us and help us love others

Mentoring
Directing people to pay attention to God

Peer
Looking eye to eye and facing Christ together

Benefits of Spiritual friends
Confession, Celebration, Challenge, Encouragement

Heart building Habits - Practices

From the video "Heart building Habits " in the Bill Hybels Leadership series!

The worries of life SCREAM for attention. God only seems to whisper. Carving out time for God often gets lost in the fray of business. When everything in your minister is getting bigger and your heart for God and people is getting smaller you know you are experiencing the shrivelling heart syndrome.

Practices
1 Tim 4:7,8 - Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
Ask: What practices do I need to be involved in to be successful in my ministry at this stage of life?

Secrets of the Successful Spiritual life

Solitude
The more visible your life, the more invisible time you need

Journaling
Helps you to see patterns & not repeat unhealthy habits

Prayer
ACTS – Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication
Write it down if you are easily distracted
Note: In a leadership tape I was listening to recently John Maxwell said “Never meet with someone you respect without planning your questions!” That applies to prayer! Plan your prayer. Write it. Read it!

Secret Acts of Service

Balance the visibility and invisibility in your life
Feel equally loved by God in hiddenness

Bible Reading

Spend the time you commit to spend
Read Christian books!

Ways to improve your Spiritual Gift of Teaching

Notes from Bill Hybels Video "The Importance of Teaching in the Local Church"

Understand the dynamic of urgency

The greatest teachers are urgent about their message

The text is alive in you and speaks through your words, actions and passion


Commit yourself to clarity

What do you want the people to know?

What do you want the people to do?


Commit yourself to creativity

Make them think about it by teaching outside of your usual ways of teaching


Commit yourself to evaluation

Ask people to review your teaching style and content


Live in vital union with God so that your teaching receives His anointing

The integrity of your relationship with God shines through your preaching

People who are in love with Jesus are remembered for their love, not their word

Spiritual Gift Test - Teaching

Notes from Bill Hybels Video "The Importance of Teaching in the Local Church"

Someone who has the Spiritual Gift of Teaching will have:

An usual interest and passion for the study of God’s Word
They want to know 5W & H, history, characters

They don’t want to stop reading & studying


An application in mind and plan how to communicate it

They have a twin track of discovery and communicating happening at once

They will be applying things as quickly as they discover them


A conviction that God’s word can transform a human life

Willing to bet everything on the ability of the Word of God

Hold strong opinions based on Biblical evidence and proof

Widespread consistent affirmation when they teach
People approach you privately and affirm your teaching has touched their heart


The quiet assurance of the Holy Spirit
that they are in the right role, with the right gift for the right reason

The Holy Spirit speaks to your heart with assurance and affirmation

The Gift of Teaching - Biblical Foundation

Notes from Bill Hybels Video "The Importance of Teaching in the Local Church"

2 Pillars of strength in a successful church – Leadership & Teaching

1 Timothy 4:12-15 – Don’t let your youthfulness hold you back
“Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

Give special attention to scripture study and teaching
Take Pains with these things, be absorbed in the development of your teaching
Yo
u should be getting visibly better at your teaching.
Don’t quit. Don’t get discouraged. Persevere!

Acts 2:42 – The church distinguished itself by devoting itself to the apostles teaching
"
They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer."

Everything we do in church is in preparation for the teaching of the Word
Nothing takes the place of the teaching. Nothing should. Nothing can.
Teaching catalyses spiritual growth.

Teaching leads to change. In any area – teaching is required for growth & maturity.

Q. How do you ensure that great teaching is happening at your church?
A. Make sure that those teaching have the spiritual gift of teaching.

Empowering Volunteers

Another Bill Hybels Leadership Video Review

Ephesians 4:11-13
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built upuntil we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

God gives people gifts – for the equipping of the people in the church into the fullness of their work of service to build up the body of Christ

Jesus could have chosen to build the church a different way, but he didn’t.

Jesus established the church on the work of volunteers.

1. It takes "in your face" teaching to recruit, train and empower volunteers.
They have to be taught into confidence, skills, ministry.

What was the most difficult teaching job Jesus had?
That Christians are fundamentally servants – not consumers.
He taught it, he narrated it, he modelled it. He challenged them to be servants.

2. People need to be aligned with the spiritual gifts and freed to serve.
The great temptation in volunteer organisations is to USE people.
We must discover and develop that persons gifts before we put them into action.

Questions to ask people who serve:

  1. Did you enjoy doing that? (Joy comes from using spiritual gifts)
  2. Did it breathe lift into you? (If it builds them up it is a blessing to others!)
  3. How could we tweak your position a bit to make it suit you better?

3. We must convince volunteers that they are desperately needed but we cant afford to break their backs with ministry demands.

4. Be devoted to developing the volunteers full potential over time.

5. We must provide a sense of community that makes up for what we as of the volunteers.

6. Remind our volunteer regularly that what they are doing really matters – for eternity!

Volunteers need to know that the time, energy and gifts that they give to the church are valued, valuable and necessary! They are not crazy! (and they need to know that)

1 Cor 15:58 (Bill Hybels life verse)
Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Discovering your leadership style

The next video in the series on leadership by Bill Hybels. I just watched it this afternoon. He suggests that he has seen 10 different types of leaders, all with the spiritual gift of Leadership, that do things idfferently and lead from different styles. He said that their Intuitive leadership abilities came out of thier individual style.

10 Styles of Leadership

1. Visionary Leader

Has a crystal clear picture of what he is building
Future oriented.
Not easily discouraged.
Has a FLAMING vision

2. Directional Leader

Humbly point the way to go based on facts, resources, people and history

3. Strategic Leader

can break big decisions down into steps
Insist on forming and sticking to a plan

4. Managing Leader

Organises people, processes, systems and resources for achievement
Establish mile markers on the road to the destination

5. Motivational Leader

Gets things done by inspiring the team
Gives lots of recognition and encouragement

6. Shepherding Leader

Slowly builds the team, Loves them, builds community & then leads
Builds people up and then leads them out
Team members love the shepherding leader more than any other type

7. Team Building Leader

Has a god given understanding of human nature
Not always a good shepherd – may not be emotional or highly affirming
Selects & places members perfectly where they are needed
Puts together a Kingdom Dream Team

8. Entrepreneurial leader

Always starting something new then moving on
Often loose interest and passion once its established
Once things get going so do they – on to something else
Must start something new every three or four years, or they start dieing
Love handing things over to someone else

9. Reengineering Leader

Is at his or her best in a turnaround situation
Wants to fix things that are broken
Finds old vision & values and reinvents the ministry
Revitalises a hurting organisation
Once things are running well they look for another wreck to fix

10. Bridge Building Leader

Works best with a complex organisations
Ties ministries together
Connects a big church into one entity

Once you understand your leadership style – LEAN into it! Develop it. Have fun!

Most people are not leaders

In the speach I refered to below Bill Hybels asked the auduence to raise their hands if they saw themselves in most of the 8 characteristics of Church Leadership that he listed. About 20 percent of the audience raised their hands. He said that was about the same response he received everywhere he goes.
About 20 percent of the people attending his seminars have the spiritual gift of leadership. I suspect that the people at those seminars would be more largely leadership focused than the general population. My guess is that about 5-7 percent of Christians have the gift of leadership. I enjoyed the following illustration.

-----

S. I. McMillen, in his book None of These Diseases, tells a story of a young woman who wanted to go to college, but her heart sank when she read the question on the application blank that asked, "Are you a leader?"
Being both honest and conscientious, she wrote, "No," and returned the application, expecting the worst. To her surprise, she received this letter from the college: "Dear Applicant: A study of the application forms reveals that this year our college will have 1,452 new leaders. We are accepting you because we feel it is imperative that they have at least one follower."

Visit PreachingToday.com for more illustrations and preaching resources.

Bill Hybels on the Spiritual Gift of Leadership

I just watched a video from the church library in which Bill Hybels establishes 8 statements that clarify if you have the spiritual gift of leadership. They are...

IF YOU HAVE THE SPIRITUAL GIFT OF LEADERSHIP YOU WILL:

1. Develop and cast a God honouring vision
2. Build teams
3. Have the God given ability to inspire the team
4. Sense the need for possitive change and bring it about constructively
5. Establish core values
6. Allocate resources effectively
7. Identify degeneration and address it early
8. Create a leadership culture around yourself

Of valleys and mountain tops

When I was in my internship in ministry I learned a very valuable lesson - one that my wife already knew about me and affirmed when I mentioned it. I call it the Sunday Blues - a kind of spiritual hangover experience. Being a sanguine I have not been one to analyse my emotions as they usually range between happy and exuberant. But, after going through a few very involved Sabbaths I noticed that the following Sunday was not a fun day. I was less than happy (off my previous scale of emotional reckoning) and I didn't know why or what to do about it. Then, amazingly on Monday (or sometimes by Sunday afternoon) I would be back to my old cheerful self.
Everytime you climb over a mountain you go through a valley. That was the lesson I learned. So I started calling Sunday my "rest day" (that's why 666 is tattoed on my forehead!) while Jenny called Sunday "The day that Dave is useless!" Now, being accustomed to preaching, I find less and less Sundays that require solitude. I now block out a couple hours during each week for a time of Prayer and Quiet (minding my P&Q's!) That helps me stay balanced and focused. How do you do it? What strategies have you developed to maintain your sanity in a busy life of ministry and madness?
I found the following article about Elijah's "post mountain top expereice" to be an enlightening reminder of the neccessity of staying focused on God.

-----

Mount Horeb

So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. - 1 Kings 19:8

Elijah and Moses were men of great zeal. They were passionate about their causes. Moses sought to free the Hebrews from the tyranny of slavery by killing an Egyptian with his own hand. Elijah, after calling down fire on the evil prophets of Baal, found himself spent physically and emotionally to the point he asked God to take his life.

Immediately after these two events, 500 years apart from one another, both men were led to the same Mount Horeb, the mountain of God. In Hebrew, Horeb means "desolation." This barren environment mirrored the condition of Moses and Elijah. For Moses, it was 40 years of barrenness. For Elijah, it was 40 days without food. Elijah became tired of standing alone for God.

As workplace believers we often become so focused on the goal we forget to meet God at our own Mount Horeb. This was the place God met both Moses and Elijah. It was a place of renewal, a place of new beginnings, a place of personal encounter with the living God.

Perhaps Elijah's greatest virtue was his zeal. Indeed, we shall see that twice in his communication with God, Elijah speaks of having been "very zealous" for the Lord. But zeal, unattended eventually becomes its own God; it compels us toward expectations, which are unrealistic, and outside the timing and anointing of God.

To remain balanced, zeal must be reined in and harnessed by strategic encounters with the living God. We otherwise become frustrated with people and discouraged with delays. We step outside our place of strength and spiritual protection. Many of us become so consumed with our battles that we are no longer aware of the presence of Jesus. We have been traveling in our own strength. [Francis Frangipane, Place of Immunity (Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Arrow Publications, 1994), 5.]

Pray that Jesus will teach us that intimacy with Him is the greatest measure of success. Lord, guide us to the mountain of Your presence.

The Nature of Evil

I had a number of discussions with people on Thursday about the nature of evil.
At
9am at Hilliard we talked about the occult and the many ways that Satan tries to gain entrance in our lives.
Later that morning I was talking to my video store man, James, and he told me a number of stories about the "reality" of the Devil and evil powers.
For lunch on Thursday I met with the Minister's Fraternal (ministers from all the
Eastern Shore churches) and I shared some of the morning's discussions with them. They were less interested than the kids and the video man. In fact they were disinterested. It was as if they didn't believe the Devil was alive and active in our world.
Where do you fall on the spectrum?
Is Satan an old theory and outdated enemy?
Or is he an active force attempting to infiltrate your life?
Satan knows who he is even if we dont. He acts even if we don't believe.
Know your enemy. Don't underestimate him. Flee temptation. Resist in the name of Jesus!

Rachael's Question about Hearing Jesus

Rachael was sitting on the couch in the lounge room with me this afternoon and she asked me a wonderfully exciting question. "How do we hear Jesus talking to us?"
That made me smile. Coming from a four year old it was an interesting one to answer.
First I needed to establish what she meant. She explained, "Well, if i can't see him then I can't hear him. Can he really talk to me?"
We talked about the difference between your heart and your ears. That Jesus talks to our hearts. We talked about Jesus giving us the Bible so that we can hear his Word. And we talked about Heaven. Rachael is excited about going to Heaven where she can see Jesus and hear his voice with her ears.
So am I.
But, somehow, I think it is more real to Rachael. I think she wants to have special talks with Jesus. And I think she just wants to listen. To hear his voice and to see his face. Jesus is real to Rachael. More real that I think I'm even able to imagine.
No wonder we are told that we need to be like children to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Oct 1 - The Prophecy Story - Day 1

Yesterday at church we launched The Prophecy Story at Rosny Church. We have been building momentum for the last couple months getting prepared. We had TV commercials, promotional giveaways, letterboxed postcards and encouraged members to invite friends along.
To our joy, over 25 guests came to the service! There were 100 in attendance.
So many wonderful people worked together to make the program happen. Melinda organised the kids who did the welcoming, Jason organised the worship, Jo lead out in Drama, Mel with the Kids story, I presented Daniel 2 and Shasta created a wonderful atmosphere afterwards with her delicious food! Then afterward Melinda collected and coolated all the registration forms and we found out how many new people were with us!
It was a beautiful thing to look out during the sermon and see the reactions of interest from a number of people who had obviously never heard the prophecies of Daniel explained before! It was a real joy!
God is good.

An Email Thread with a Teen about Piercing & Tatoo's

Hi Pr. Dave, i came across your web-blog and was wondering if maybe you'd be able to answer a question for me...more like give me your opinion on a topic. I was wondering what your opinion...as a pastor, is on tattoos and piercings?!?! I've been getting mixed responses on this lately so would really appreciate your point of view on it and some help...

Thank-you

_X_X_X_X

----

Dear _X_X_X_X,

Thanks for you email. It's great to hear your thoughts!

Piercing is really a cultural issue. There is plenty of it happening in the Bible. Have a look at Ezekiel 16 for a story told by God through his prophet. In that story God is talking about his love for his people. Because piercing of the nose was a way of honouring a wife, God says he gave a nose ring to his lady! Cool, eh?

Today the people of God are not a particular nation, but those who love Jesus. We are called his Body. We are called his
Temple. I think as "God's Lady" (the church) today we need to ask the questions, "How can I best represent Jesus? How can I bring people to him through my lifestyle and words?" Then, the answer really depends on the world you live in.

Hudson Taylor, a missionary to
China (read his story sometime, it's WOW!) decided to dress, eat and live like the Chinese people so that there were less barriers between him and them. But, he did it because he wanted people to know Jesus, not because he wanted to fit in so he could "be cool." Everything in the Christian life should be about funnelling people to Jesus.

So, Go for it! Bring those people to Jesus! How will you do it? How will you represent Christ? How will you be his
Temple? How will you be his Body? Those are questions each of us needs to answer!

God bless,

Dave

----

wow! thanx for ur quick reply :)

...sorry to hassle you...but im a bit dense tonight (haha). so am i right in thinking that what your telling me is that as long as im doing it for the right reasons (as opposed to me just wanting to do it 'cause its the 'cool' thing) its okay for me to do it?

I'd like to say that i was doing it so that in some way i could maybe reach out to some non-christians but honestly it's more just the fact that i want it...i've heard people say that once you're a christian you 'should' stop being selfish...i guess...and stop doing things just because you want but you have to now think of God and what he would want from us (i dunno if i explained that properly).

I guess what i want to know is if it's wrong for me, as a christian to get these things done...?!

P.S thanx heaps for ur time...

_X_X_X_X

----

_X_X_X_X,

I am currently studying with a girl that has both ears pierces twice, nose, tongue and belly button... all pierced. And she asks some of the best spiritual questions I've heard in a long time. She is very passionate about all she does and especially about her new found relationship with Jesus.

I, on the other hand, only have the holes in my body that God put there. And I am quite well adjusted and have an occasional good thought without the extra ventilation. :)

We live in a world full of choices. What will I wear? Where will i spend my waking hours? Who will I hang out with? When will I clean my room? What will I pierce. It's all about pro's and con's. consider it. Pray about it. do it. live with it. wash. rinse. repeat until clean.

God bless,

Dave

----

Dear Pr. Dave

Thank-You very much for your opinion and guidance...you've helped me heaps so...very much APPRECIATED!

God Bless

_X_X_X_X

Heaven's Heroes

This morning, over breakfast, Josh Walker told me a really amazing story. His aunty is a teacher and recently received a new student - a boy from the Africa. The boy speaks very little English and was having a hard time fitting in with the other kids.
One morning the teacher and students received the scare of their lives. A sparrow flew in through an open window and was followed by a hawk that was trying to catch it. The teacher and the kids hit the floor screaming as the two birds clamoured franticly through the classroom. Then the little African boy slowly approached the hawk from behind. The students said to the teacher, "Make him stop!" But she was wise enough to say, "Let him do what he needs to do."
The boy wrapped his hands around the closed wings of the hawk, lifted him and released him back out the window. Then he quietly did the same to the sparrow. Now the boy who was struggling to fit in, is a hero!
Imagine how difficult it is for visitors in our church. They don't understand us and we don't understand them. We try, but we come from different worlds. We need to endeavour to provide experiences in which they can excel. And then we need to celebrate their uniqueness and their victories!

Jesus in the Real World

The non-Christian glibly threw the remark, “So, where is Heaven? Is it always up? What about if you are in California and I am in Tasmania… Who’s up is Heaven?”
We spent the first week of our family holiday at my wife’s parents home in
Melbourne. As the airplane banked to line up with the Hobart runway, Rachael, our four year old, looked out the window and made a profound statement, “We’re not in Grandma’s world anymore.”
Truer words have never been spoken! While to an adult
Melbourne is only an hour from Hobart, to a four year old it is a world away. It is often much the same in our faith journey.
Jesus said, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like… a mustard seed… a merchant… a treasure…a net… a king… the owner of a house… ten virgins… a landowner… yeast…” While you and I may struggle to answer the sceptic’s question, Jesus made one thing very clear – Heaven is anything but a world away.
John the Baptist said it. Jesus said it. And he commissioned his disciples to say it – “The Kingdom of Heaven is near.” Jesus saw God’s Kingdom in every landscape and smelled it on every breeze. And he made it as real as possible for every person he encountered. Heaven in the real world – that was Jesus’ canvas and his paint.
How down to earth is your picture of Jesus? Is he someone you can laugh with, smile at and listen to? How yo
u see him is how you will paint him. Paint him in the everyday garb of the life about you. That’s what he did. That’s who he is. That is a Jesus your friends and family can relate to. Give them Jesus – in their world.

John 2:1-25 – Honourable Parents

Jesus had a divine plan the timing of which was lined up well before his birth. Thousands of years of prophets and predictions had gone into getting ready for the paradigm shift from BC to AD. Yet Jesus was willing to alter these perfect plans to honour his mother. Obviously the Ten Commandments, which revealed his character, were embodied in his humanity. He placed the 5th Commandment higher that the expected starting point of his signs and wonders campaign. In so doing, Jesus showed that the Law of God is eternal and that relationships are more important than plans and procedures – especially when a parent can be honoured!
Jesus had a plan of attack that started with rebellion against the Jewish religion. It was his intention to stand boldly as the new “way, truth and life.” The comparison he made between the temple of the day and the temple of his body was a stark one indeed - the temple of his body would be broken and rebuilt. By beginning his ministry in the
Temple he would have established that his kingdom was a spiritual one – not one of flesh and blood. Jesus’ plan and purpose was introduced through the clearing of the temple. He had come to make things right in his Father’s house. He had come to lead people into worshipping the King of Kings and entering the Kingdom of Heaven – not an Earthly kingdom.
His plan was to start and finish his ministry during the Passover – three years apart. Turning the tables of money changers to begin and the sacrificial table to finish - one sacrifice to end all sacrifices. The Lamb of God had come to finish the work of reconciliation between God and men! Jesus did away with the temple by becoming it’s full replacement. In the temple, Jesus began his intentional plight of fulfilling prophecy. He had given the messages to the prophets over the millennia and now it was his task to see that he dotted every I and crossed every T. Every prophecy given was fulfilled for one express purpose – to draw people to the cross – to redemption.
All this was done so that we could come into the presence of the Father. Thousands of years ago our Heavenly Parent was willing to change his plans – perfect plans – to organise a rescue mission. Aren’t you glad he was willing to change over 6000 years of His story to save you?
It’s not so hard to see why Jesus was willing to follow his mother’s wishes that night at the party. Like Father, like Son. God is in the habit of changing his plans to rescue humanity from small or great loss, from either embarrassment or death. He loves us – more than we can imagine.

: ! ? . . . --- The Perfect Bible Study Tool for Groups?

Over the last couple months I have been exploring ways to get group members involved in the discussion during Bible Study. I have developed a model that works really well, is easy to remember and is fun. It looks like this...

:!?...

And here is the explaination. If this is done in a classroom I write the symbols on a board in different quadrants and then take 3 or 4 students (the first to pipe up and say something) and work the rest of the exercise with their ideas. The rest of the class will join in during the last three steps (they can't help themselves!)... If it is done in a small group I will use a board or large piece of paper. If done in a large group I have the students each draw the above six symbols down a page as if they were numbering 1-6 but using the symbols instead - leaving one line after 1, 2 & 3 (: ! ?) and then 5 or six lines for 4-6 (. . .).

: --- The passage you are studying (eg John 5:1-5)

! --- The main point. The big idea. The "aha" you (the student) see in the text.
Hint: Do NOT give your (the teacher) big idea. Many people will not have a go if you have given the "right answer"... The teacher is always right, eh?

? --- Reword the ! as a question.
Hint: You will be amazed at how different their question often is from what you thought it would be. This is especially true for children. They are extremely lateral thinkers!

. . . ---
Answer your question with three possible answers. What answers are presented in the passage? Are there any typical answers that are often given that are "wrong"? What answers can you think of? Do you know any stories in scripture that answer the question?

This model is loved by teachers and students alike.

Give it a shot!
:!?...

Pr Dave - Still Alive and Kicking!

I have been away for the last two weeks. I attended the Union Session in Melbourne and then was the guest speaker for the Tween Camp up at Orford. I am tired and ready for a break!

So, it's a great thing that we are going to have a brief holiday this week. Jenny and I and the kids will be on holiday in N/W Tassie until this Friday night. Then we will be back in full swing.

Get ready for October First! That's when The Prophecy Story begins! It will be a great time of stories, friendships, worship and commitment. Bring a friend on October one.

ONE FOR ONE ON OCTOBER ONE!

Share the Light

After Adventurers last Saturday night Jenny and I took the kids to Salamanca to see the fairy lights. It is a beautiful sight to see the thousands of tiny lights illuminating the trees in the nature strip. I am often in that area during the day and had never noticed the lights. Then one night, after working late at the office, I drove down the hill and was delighted to see the trees all aglow.
We are much like those trees. When we spend time with fellow Christians – being light in a well lit place – we hardly notice the Light of God that lives within us. But, when we venture into the night – into the sin darkened World – we become points of light that at first intrigue passers-by, but ultimately draw them to return with friends. They want to see our lesser lights that twinkle so bright against the sunless sky. Imagine the joy they could have if shown the Son of Righteousness?
Witnessing often seems daunting. But, in its most natural form, it is merely twinkling in the dark. You know something the World doesn’t know. You know Jesus. That makes yo
u shine – wether you realise it or not! Let your light so shine before men. And when they come to see the twinkling… Testify to the Light that has come into the World to save the World from the Prince of Darkness.
Imagine
Salamanca if the fairy lights failed to come on one night. Imagine all the people who would be disappointed. They would turn around and head home to their dark houses and their dark lives. Now, imagine yourself sitting at home with the lights on. It’s a dark World. Don’t leave it that way. Share the Light. It’s worth the effort!

Even the Demon's believe... and tremble

I have been feeling a special leading of the Holy Spirit in the things happening in my life in the last couple months. I know that the Spirit is always involved and guiding us, but there has been a unique powerful presence that has been overshadowing the "goings-on" at Rosny Church during the 40 Days of Knowing Jesus Better that we held in July and August.
The things that I have seen happen around me have been amazing. People are seeking the Lord. People who haven't before or not in years. There are people coming out of the woodwork (the World actually) that want to know Jesus and his truth. It is starting to get beyond wonderful, beyond exciting, even beyond weird. It's down-right spiritual in nature. I have had people ask for Bible Studies before. But, I have never experienced the rush of interest that I have in the last two months.
Yesterday afternoon I began studies with two teenage boys - one a church goer, one not - and they are fascinated by God and His Word. We met at a table in the back corner of a bakery and the new boy asked more questions than I knew there were question marks. After that study I went to the church to study with Sarah-Jayne and Linda - a study that has been going for a few weeks now. These two ladies are searching - both new to the Christian journey and both committed to following Jesus fully.
Tonight I went to the home of a 91 year old man who is rekindling an old flame he once had with the Lord. His grandson, a 10 year old, has been studying with us. After the study tonight the family came home. I met the boy's dad, his sister, and his step-brother. We sat around the kitchen table and we talked, and talked, and talked. It was fast a furious and they are all wanting to know Jesus. The boys father has committed to attending our Oct 1 "How did he know?" launch for Rosny's prophecy campaign - The Prophecy Story. And he's not coming alone. He plans on bringing his best mate, his brother and his whole family.
Tomorrow morning I will be meeting for the second time with the baptismal study class at
Hillard Christian School where I am one of the chaplains. We just finished a course on the basics of Christianity which was attended by 29 students. Now, moving into baptismal studies, I have asked for only those fully committed to following Jesus to come to the studies. 14 signed up to attend. 19 came to the first meeting last week. All, except the two already baptised, say they are wanting to follow Jesus in baptism.
Are you with me in quietly and resolutely shouting to the stars, "WHAT IS GOING ON?" I believe we are on the threshold of something mammoth. Some spiritual cyclone is about to hit. We are seeing the acceleration of the Wind. I believe there is something just around the corner... And I am a bit scared to jut my head out to see what's coming! But, one thing I do know... Toto, we're not in
Kansas anymore!
There is one more thing that has been convincing me of the spiritual nature of what’s going on. And that is the spiritual warfare that has been occurring in my personal life and in my church life. It is as if someone has grabbed the spiritual carpet and shaken it for all it’s worth. Dust, dirt, muck and mire are flying around. The Devil is trying to create clouds where the Lord’s light is shining most brightly. Of all the beings on this planet that would recognise the activities of the Holy Spirit when they happen – it would be the Devil. And I believe the Demon’s are trembling about what is happening at Rosny. We have around 20 new people regularly joining us for Sabbath services. Nearly all of them are involved in small groups or Bible Studies. Thank God that he is more powerful than Satan! But, it is certainly evident that all parties involved know that something big is going down.

Strange Dream!

I woke up at 5:15am this morning - Sunday! - due to a very odd dream.
It was a race against time. I'm not sure the reason why, but Jared Lillehagen, Angelina Jolie and myself were in a race to get to a space shuttle launch pad. I was running as fast as I could. Angelina was running too. We rounded one last corner and I was familiar with the surroundings - something that wasn't evident before - and so I took a short cut.
I came into a clearing and found the launch site. To get the space shuttle we had to dig a hole down to the sprinkler control system a metre or so under the ground. Jared was way ahead of Angelina and I. He was there, shovel in hand madly digging the hole. I ran up to the hole and saw a shovel laying on the pile of dirt (something that seems odd upon reflection… If Jared was digging furiously, as he appeared to be, how is it that a spare shovel was resting on TOP of the pile Jared was creating???)
Anyhow, I grabbed the shovel and thrust it into the ground to help Jared complete the hole so that we could turn the sprinklers on and the space shuttle would be able to launch. It was then that I had the “waking thought” – you know… that thought that just ruins the dream and brings you staggering back to reality? – and the thought was this…
There are only two seats on the space shuttle. It has to be a man and a woman to ensure the continuation of the race. I can’t go. There are still to many people who don’t know about Jesus left on this planet that is doomed to destruction.
With that inspiring, purpose driven, mission statement in mind I burst into reality. So, here I am, awake on planet Earth, with just moments to spare. I feel compelled to share the Gospel. I must also wish a fond farewell and GOOD LUCK to Jared. You lucky devil.

What a great day!

Today was fantastic! (last night Jason asked me where to get the "happy juice" that I am always drinking! I'm just blessed with one of those energizer bunny attitudes... Some bunny's gotta be happy!)

So, anyway, about my day! Two new Bible studies started up today.

The first was a group Baptismal class at Hillard Christian School. There were supposed to be 14 kids enrolled. But, when I got there 19 kids were waiting and eager to study the Word! WOW! God is good. So, we studied the first of the 10 Questions for God studies and I went to the office and picked up 5 more for next week. (pretty impressive how I did that quick calculation of how many more I needed, eh? Didn't even use a calculator...)

The second study was with a lovely couple - Brendan and Kathy Sproule - and one of their fine friends. We began studying a book by Charles Stanley. I preread the chapter and decided to focus on a couple of the Bible verses that he used and to leave a copy of the chapter with them to read during the next week. They came up with some fantastic stuff while looking at John 10:10.

"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." (NKJV)

Here are some thoughts from the notes that I took during our study. These all came from asking, "What's the main point (BIG IDEA) in this passage?" And then writing the BIG IDEA as a question and answering the question from the text... very quick, easy and effective way to dig into a text with a group.

BI: Satan takes away, God gives all we need
Q. If Satan takes away your life, what does God give in return?
A1. life
A2. Abundantly - Everything

BI: The Devil Destroys, we need Jesus who gives abundantly
Q. If the Devil destroys, what can God give back?
A1. God gives back all the Devil destroyed, all the Devil took and more
A2. Abundantly!

BI: Satan destroys life, Jesus gives life
Q. How can God give us what Satan has taken away?
A1. Jesus gives life
A2. More is returned than was taken
A3. How does God do it? "I have come!"

I was really encouraged as we finished studying this passage and the line "I have come" emerged as the key answer to the problem of all the Devil's evil. Look at the text again...

"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." - John 10:10 (NKJV)

You can see the problem - Satan the theif steals the joys of life, destroys the purpose life, and kills life altogether... But Jesus, who gives abundantly, has come that we may have life... Jesus gives back what the Devil has taken. And his gift is available because HE HAS COME!

The Big Idea in Bible Study and Sermon Prep

The Big Idea is the main point in the passage you are studying.
The Subject is the Big Idea rephrased as a question that can be explored.
The Complement is possible and probable answers from the text.
The Conclusion ties it all together with a final statement based on the Big Idea.

I explored the "BIG IDEA" in John 5:1-15 with the 6/7 class at Hilliard Christian School today.

They came up with some great stuff!
My favourite was Laura Perry's Subject (question)...
"Why doesn't Jesus heal everyone?"
That really got me excited!!!

We explored some complements (answers) to the subject she created...
The man knew he was sick. He wanted help. He went to the "place of healing" demonstrating he wanted healing.
When Jesus asked, he said yes. So, Jesus healed him.
The Pharisees, on the other hand... Wouldn't admit they were spiritually sick.
They demanded others change. They said, "We are the spiritually healthy ones."
And when Jesus tried to offer healing, especially on the Sabbath question... They hated him! Jesus wanted to heal them. But they wouldn’t have it.

So, "Why doesn't Jesus heal everyone?"

Jesus even made a great tongue-in-cheek statement once about this...
He said to the Pharisees - "Healthy people don't need a doctor. Only the sick need help. I've come to heal the sick." That should have given them a good answer as to why he hung out with the poor and undesirable.
He also, in John 9, said, "I have come to help the blind to see. If only people would recognise their blindness."
The Pharisees said, "Are we blind?"
Jesus' response...?
"If you knew you were blind... I could heal you. But you believe you can see... And I can't do a thing for you!"

What a GREAT question!

John 1:19-34 - John the Baptist - Born to Lead

John the Baptist was a natural intuitive leader. He lived the OOPA leadership model to perfection. (John 1:19-34)
The Word of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit Oriented his every thought and action.
His message and method were farefully Organised to give a clear presentation. His timing was perfect as he Predicted the advent of the Messiah.
And his Actions were clear, precise and perfectly executed to have the desired effect of preparing the way for the Christ by making straight pathways for the Lord into people's hearts.
And, just to put the icing on the prophetic cake, he did it all in the desert!

John 1:1-18 -- The Eternal Word Made Flesh

The opening passage of John (John 1:1-18) is written to illustrate the past, present and future of God's existence and plan.
Jesus, who is in very nature God, came from his eternal existence in heaven to save those who would accept Him. He revealed the glory of God in his Character - through his unfailing love and faithfulness (John
1:14, 17) - by giving one gracious gift after another.
Jesus was the light that sin-darkened religion needed to truly see God's nature. John the Baptist - like us - was a forerunner for the Christ. He paved the way with his words and opened the doors of people's hearts with his actions. We also are precursors to the presence of God - let your light so shine before men!

----
Interesting Tidbits from this passage...

John starts his Gospel where Genesis begins. He lines Jesus up as the eternal Creator!

The first person "sent" in the Gospel of John isn't Jesus, it's John the Baptist! The proclaimer, announcer, forerunner. Interesting question... Who sent him? Was he sent by the very one he was proclaiming? The prophecies that fortold John the Baptists role were given to Isaiah by whom? Jesus! Talk about circular logic!

We must remember that we are not the light. There is no light in us. We testify to the light.

Jesus' goal was to save those who choose to accept Him. Many who were connected to him were unwilling to accept him. many who were far from him understood and accepted him. Those who accepted - all who accepted - were called children of God.

When divinity became humanity he revealed to us the God of God in a way that did not kill us. The presence of the Almighty was distilled into two character traits that could be revealed in order to show the true nature and glory of God to sinful humanity. They were:
1. Grace (NIV) - Unfailing Love (NLT)
2. Truth (NIV) - Faithfulness (NLT)
Jesus perfectly modelled both of these illustrating to humanity the true character of God.

Manager vs Leader - OODA vs OOPA

I've been doing a lot of thinking, reading, praying, writing and teaching over the last year about leadership. I have also been encountering a lot of blurring in the lines between management and leadership. Many times things that are touted as leadership are actually management skills.

I have watched, admired, followed and learned from leaders who are actually gifted managers in a leadership position. They manage well, but they don't have a compelling vision that they cast everywhere they turn. They aren't blazing new trails (leadership) they are smoothing the current trails and moving along known paths (management).

Over the last couple months I have found two different models of leadership that are so similar that they were crying out to be compared. So, after much pondering and pontificating I have produced a proposition… Here are the two models of action that two different leadership sources suggested.

Observe – look, listen, explore
Orient – pick a direction and face that way
Decide – decide what must be done
Act – do it.

I call this the OODA Cycle – say it outloud, it sounds like Motor Cycle – it defines the thinking loop of decision makers. I have been exploring this model and applying it for the last few months in an attempt to see if it works. It does. But, only recently I have decided that the OODA Cycle is a management model. It is something you do daily, even hourly, to make quick decisions that are good decisions because they are well managed.

This brings us to the other model of leadership which I just discovered in the last week and it has given me a brand new view of leadership. And I like it. OOPA is based, fundamentally, on the skill of a “lucky” gambler. All great leaders have been truly great gamblers. Nearly all of them intuitively follow the OOPA strategy.

Orient – You’re looking ahead, pick a point to shoot for
Organise – Take stock (people, resources, skills)
Predict – State your goal, cast your vision
Act – Fire, roll, hit the gas, do what it takes

This is visionary leadership. OOPA is not a cycle that happens over and over. It is the natural gambling nature of truly great leaders. They see the distant future as if it were right in front of them. They believe the goal is achievable and their sheer audacity and blatant veracity convince those around them that it is possible – even probable – and certainly worth joining the crew just for the sake of the ride!

OODA is the stuff of great managers. It makes good sense and results in positive direction and consistent results. OOPA is the stuff of great leaders. It doesn’t always make sense, it can fail, but when the prediction is right, the success is unprecedented and overwhelmingly compelling.

Great leaders who live the OOPA strategy are few and far between. Great managers who faithfully apply the OODA cycle are rare as well. But, there is a distinct difference between a leader and a manager. And when it comes down to it, it’s the ability – even the desire – to guess rather than to know, to predict from your gut instinct rather than to decide from the hard facts.

The great leader is a gambler. The great manager is a statistician. Both are valuable and necessary. In fact we need more managers in society and churches than we need leaders. But, it is very important to know the difference and to know when we need a manager and when we need a leader. There is nothing more debilitating to an organisation than putting a manager in a leaders position. And nothing more dangerous than putting a leader in a managers position.

So, a few questions that every organisation should ask before filling a position at the top.


Are we looking for unprecedented growth? (Leader)
or
Are we looking for stability in difficult times? (Manager)

Are we looking for increased influence? (Leader)
or
Are we looking for increased reliability? (Manager)

Are we looking for someone with ideas? (Leader)
or
Are we looking for someone with strategies? (Manager)


Are we looking for someone who writes books? (Leader)
or
Are we looking for someone who writes manuals? (Manager)


Do we need to build new momentum? (Leader)
or
Do we need to maintain our momentum? (Manager)

Do we need tomorrow’s thoughts ahead of time? (Leader)
or
Do we need yesterday’s wisdom reworked? (Manager)


Do we need a new heart? (Leader)
Or
Do we need a renewed mind? (Manager)

Oops and YEAH!

Here's the bad news... I took a corner to tightly, looked away from the road and CRUNCH - I ran over the curb at about 70k's and hour. Three minutes later I had a flat tyre and a bent rim.
I had been planning on puting low profile wheels on my car the next time I had to change the tyres. This accellerated the process. the tyres probably had a few thousand K's on them still but were getting close to replacement time. So, I had to find the funds... and replace the wheels. I got a good deal from Bob-Jayne T'mart.
Here's a pic of my NEW car!!! Doesn't it look cool? (I love it!)

I've been writing stories!

In the last week or so I've written an article for The Edge entitled In His Image. I also wrote a new parable for a sermon conclusion and entitled it Saving Hamsters. I have added some pics to both and put them on my In The Telling blog. I also uploaded a paper I wrote for my final year of Theology at Avondale. It is called Christory and is about the power of your story and the need for story telling in our times!

Dave Edgren ~ Story: Teller, Author, Trainer ~

BOOK DAVE NOW! Dave Edgren is passionate about creating a values-based storytelling culture. In his engaging and often hilarious way,...