Leading Unlikelies

"Jesus loves terrorists. He loves Muslims. He loves rebels, critics, Democrats, liberals, gays, socialists, Communist comrades, Republicans, sassy teenagers, Goths, pot smokers, and ex-cons. Even worse, He wants them in His church. He even wants them on the front row of your church. In John 4, Jesus reached out to a crass, sleeping-around woman, and then went with her to the village to reach her friends as well. Jesus led a lot of “unlikelies.”

Jesus’ Lot of Unlikelies: • Zacchaeus – Jesus invited Himself to the home of a treacherous 
tax collector, not worrying about public opinion. • Woman Caught in Adultery – Jesus forgave an adulteress without first insisting that she confess her sins and make things right. • Peter, James and John – Jesus hung out with rough fishermen, synagogue rejects, violent terrorists, and soldiers of the occupational forces. • Simon the Zealot – Jesus called an urban terrorist to be on His team. The Zealots were an illegal political faction, committed to the violent overthrow of the Romans.

Jesus was born in Bethlehem but raised in Nazareth, a Galilean fishing village. He recruited a crew of fishermen - unlikely leaders among the young men of Galilee - as His first disciples, the future leaders of His movement. He didn’t start with graduates of the best Torah schools or followers of the most respected rabbis as His first disciples. He modeled the principle that it is better to raise up insiders than to import outsiders.

A pastor friend recently told me a story of welcoming a known prostitute to his church congregation. At a church function for young people, she stripped down to a bikini and jumped in the swimming pool with the rest of the youth swimming at the party. Watching some older parishioners in his church looking at her with wide eyes and hard stares, he decided to prevent the certain judgment they were going to visit on the woman. He took off his shoes and jumped in the pool with her...clothes and all!

There are unlikelies all around us who have dismissed the church but are fascinated with Jesus. The most secure and courageous leaders are willing to risk rejection from the religious to reach the unlikelies.

Consider your circle of relationships. Is there anyone you might have overlooked for leadership training and development? Make a list of the least-likely candidates for leadership mentoring. Ask the Lord if you have overlooked anyone on that list.

If you would like to read the other 39 Chapters in my new book 'Leading Like Jesus' please click here to find it on Amazon Kindle. Or you can order a paperback copy at YWAM Publishing here.

Who Can You Trust?

God's trust in us is a gift based on His grace.  We should trust people for the same reason... His grace.  After all, everything outside of hell is grace.
Most people don't rise above the expectations of others unless there is someone who believes in them, who really thinks they are worth believing in.
Be a leader who believes in people and you will attract them to your cause and inspire them to grow.   Be a leader who sees the potential in others and draws them into their own personal greatness...

Quite Time Religion

Here is a thought going through my head this morning, "What religiondoes not allow, grace does". 
I was speaking to someone recently about their struggles with their "quiettime". It struck me while we were talking that the goal of quiet times is not quiet times, but conversation with a person, with God. It's speaking to someone, and allowing them to speak as well. It's about relationship.
I don't know about you, but i don't approach talking with friends with a need for emotional connection or a huge sense of intimacy. I don't approach friendships in terms of duty to be together, but in delight in hanging out, catching up, sharing story, connecting with someone I enjoy. I don't place a burden on others to meet a need or give me some huge emotional lift. I spend time with people for the value of being with them, and allow the relationship to be what it is.
The goal of spending time with God is not found in how much emotional intimacy we feel, but in simply being with him. I approach being with my wife the same way... we just enjoy each other's company, sometimes laughter, sometimes sadness, sometimes just sitting together without talking, sometimes sharing our hearts very deeply... we talk while driving together, we talk over meals, we make dates to hang out without interruption, we turn off the phones, and give attention to each other. And if we get busy, then we go out of our way to make sure we havetime to talk and be together.
It's about relationship, not religious duty. The same applies to our relationship with God.
I can tell you what happens if Sally and I don't have time together... we grow apart. We get disconnected. Hurts turn into offenses. Little things become big things.
Communication fosters deeper relationship with my wife, not an emotional relationship, but just pure relationship, sometimes with emotion sometimes not. It causes our hearts to stay connected, for trust to grow, for affection and commitment to be strengthened.
Spending time with Jesus is the same for me... it is not a thing to do, but someone to talk to. 
If this is true, then spending time with Jesus counts whenever it happens, any time of the day, any posture, any moment... walking, shopping, driving, it all counts! 
Growing, healthy relationships are intentional. If you want your relationship with someone to grow, then you get intentional about meeting up, about sharing dreams and disappointments. The same is true of our relationship with God. 
So let's chuck quiet time religion, as in the duty to do something to please God, and focus on talking to God, on speaking to him as a friend. Focus on the pure value of talking to him about burdens, about joys, and the about the things that burden or distress us. Tell him everything...
Does that mean there is no need to set aside time on a regular basis to read the Bible and pray? Not at all... it will enhance your relationship actually. Be intentional about being spontaneous.
The big bonus is grace. There is an impartation of God's grace that happens when we are intentional about being with God, about accepting his offer to give himself to us. So ask freely, and receive freely. If we love it when friends ask us for advice, for help, how much more does God delight in us when we ask him?
It's about grace flowing down...covering our sins, covering our fears and failures. Let it flow... ask for it, any time and all the time. When you shower or bathe and dress for the day. When you eat food. When you are driving or walking. Be intentional but don't be religious.
Remember, grace allows what religion does not. 
John's gospel says, "Of his fullness have we all received, grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth through Jesus Christ". John 1:16
Make it a receiving day today! Be intentional but not religious.
God bless,