WISE INTENTIONAL LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
Greetings. 2017 Summit is history but what an impactful time together. Twenty-six representatives from Liberia, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Nepal joined the American team of five people for an enjoyable and challenging five days in Kampala, Uganda during the last days of July. WILD National Directors and Youth Coordinators each were given direction and involved in the great interaction between the delegates. Friendships were strengthened and the vision of WILD deepened into the Summit members’ hearts.
In addition, I spent a week each in Liberia and Ivory Coast. Quality times of WILD training and understanding of the WILD vision resulted and hearts were inflamed to utilize WILD training materials and vision in all regions of their countries. This month I am enclosing the thoughts of the four Americans who joined me while next month feedback from Summit participants will highlight the additional newsletter sent with the Titus Emails. Enjoy. Mike
PRIORITY OF FAMILY IN JESUS’ LIFE
Jesus was born into a family. Sometimes it is very easy to check that as a simple fact about Jesus and move on. Being God, He could have simply shown up as a grown man and not have any earthly connections with family. But that was not the plan. I think there would have been an issue with calling God, Father and Jesus, the Son of the divine plan would not have included an earthly family in the process of Jesus’ ministry here on earth.
Though there is not much information about the first 30 years of Jesus’ earthly life, we know He stayed with His earthly family and followed cultural and religious norms growing up (Luke 2). Jesus had a mother who gave birth to Him as a baby. Even though Mary knew that Jesus was uniquely conceived, in her heart and soul, this was her child, her son. Joseph raised Jesus as his own and involved Jesus in family work.
Jesus listened to His mother and certainly, Mary had a very special voice in His life as evidenced with the marriage feast where Jesus turned water into wine (John 2:1-11). We know too that when Jesus was on the cross, He specifically connected the Apostle John to care for Mary, who was then a widow and probably had minimal sources of income (John 19:25-27). Again many times we brush over that quick interaction because of the greater drama and event of the crucifixion.
Yet the involvement of His family and specifically His mother is mentioned enough times that we shall not devalue the significance of family from His teachings. In addition, we add in the teachings from books like 1 Timothy and Titus, and we see family is not just there so that the earth continues to be propagated.
To be a spiritual leader who desires to pursue a deepening relationship with Jesus, neglecting nor treating our families as secondary issues or ministry importance is wrong. I realize there is a lot of cultural norms bearing down on how to treat spouses and children but those norms need to match up with biblical standards and principles. I also believe that if our “Christian” homes lived and expressed the love we are challenged to live out, that lifestyle would be so impactful to the world and societies we live in, that non-Christians would be lining up to find out what is so different about believers who follow Jesus, and truly want what we have!
Jesus did not take His responsibility to care for His mother lightly as it is clearly expressed in John 19. Perhaps the closest expression of love that the Father and Son have for each other is revealed in the relationship between mother and child. The relationship with father and child comes in a close second. I cannot fathom how difficult it was for God the Father to turn His face away from His Son on the cross, allowing the Son to die for sins that were not even His own. If there is a choice between one of my children (and now grandchildren) and me dying, I would say to take me.
Seeing three family wrestle through grief and pain due to death and sickness during WILD’s recent Summit, was heart-wrenching. To not be able to touch and talk with your loved one, is very painful, even if you know that loved one is with Jesus now. Keep asking the Lord and your spouse and children how to develop your relationships with your family.
After our relationship with Jesus, our families (not our church family) are the next most important relationships we have on earth. Ministry people, we need to let the world see just how much we prioritize our families. It is a love that transforms our earthly families and reaches out to church families and the world.
YOUTH MINISTRY – TIMOTHY WAS READY
Young people (youth) make a difference in the world. If you are going to change a culture, you begin with young people to make the change. King Nebuchadnezzar gathered young guys in their teens and twenties when he conquered Judah. In Nazi Germany, in Communist countries and in Islam, young people have been and are a focus group to train and develop into the group’s ideology and thinking. As a young person, you are moldable and still developing your thinking processes. You have a life time to live out the ideas that are being thrust into your minds.
The Apostle Paul spent a fair amount of time mentoring and developing young minds like Timothy during his years of ministry. Paul always had people around him and the youth were not excluded. Paul understood the cultural pressures placed upon young people as he shared in 1 Timothy 4. “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity…Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you. (vs 12,14).
You become the example for the rest of the body of Christ to follow. That is what Paul was exhorting Timothy to become. Don’t wait until you are an old person. Instead, pursue a humble spirit and live Jesus to the world around you. You have the Bible and you can read plus being a Christian, the Holy Spirit lives inside of you, no matter how old you are. Do not wait until you are married to be submissive to one another (building others up and making their needs as equally and truly more important than yours).
When you talk with others, speak the truth in love and let your words be wholesome and building up to and so that those words are beneficial to the hearer. Whatever you say about someone will not diminish that person in the eyes of the listener. Any behavior you exhibit, may it allow people to see Jesus in you. Show love which is patient, gentle, kind, not demeaning or rude, trustworthy, slow to anger and keeps no record of wrongs. Offer love that makes everyone you come in contact with know they are important in your eyes.
Develop in your relationship with Jesus by reading, meditating and listening to the Word of God. Work to have the Bible be your standard for how you live. Trust God when you do not have all the answers and serve other people wholeheartedly. Live a life that seeks purity, saving sex for your marriage to your spouse. Keep away from books, magazine and the internet that exploit sex and makes sex all about “me”. Sex is a beautiful part of creation God made. It the right and proper context, this is one of the most wonderful gifts a husband and wife can give to each other.
Learn how you were created, getting to understand the gifts and abilities that God has placed in you. When you follow and develop the way God has created you, there is such a passion and overwhelming joy that results. You were created for such a time as right now. Go discover why. Let older people speak into your lives and be humble towards them as they help you unearth your potential.
That is what Paul was encouraging Timothy to pursue. You do the same. Let God and others help you become what and who you were created to be. Know that God will use you as a young person as you humbly follow His leading.
Image Credits to Rhonda Beatty