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Posts by Andrew
If you want to be an effective and influential leader, what should you do? Write a book? Start a church? Come up with a vision plan for [insert world-changing vision here]?
If you’re looking for influence and impact, don’t overlook the greatest leader who ever lived. He started a movement that has been growing ever since his birth and has now spread around the globe. Here are two statements that Jesus made that should be the foundation of our leadership and influence:
The greatest among you shall be your servant.
But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.
In both passages Jesus takes the human picture of leadership and turns it on its head. In Luke 22:27, Jesus makes the most important leadership statement the world has ever heard: “But I am among you as the one who serves.”
Are you in a position of leadership right now? Here are three ways you can be an influential leader who serves:
1. Learn to follow.
Being a leader is lonely because one of the definitions of leadership means you’re out in front, like a shepherd leading the way. But as followers of Jesus we’re not the chief shepherd. He is. Our ability to lead and influence is only as great as our dependence on Jesus. We never arrive in our process of becoming more like Him (in this life) and so we need to be expert followers to be good leaders. How does this affect our ability to serve those under our leadership? We need to be reminded that before God we are all sinners saved by grace and that our position before Him is the same. This type of leading says, “Follow me as I follow Christ.”
2. Value everyone
In today’s culture, your position, title, and influence can often give you permission to separate yourself from others. Why should the CEO of a large company care about the individual factory worker who can easily be replaced? The farther you’re separated from those you lead, the easier it is to see others as a commodity as opposed to a uniquely created individual. As a Christian leader, if the vision or goal of your leadership becomes more important than the people you serve (lead) then you have a value problem.
The servant leader places high value on people by:
- Seeing people as God sees them
- Putting people over programs
- Creating a culture of listening – not just directing
- Being willing to extend grace and teach others, instead of creating rules that eliminate those with perceived weaknesses
3. Serving means doing
Do you remember the time when you had to stack chairs, clean toilets, or some other activity that you’re glad you don’t have to do anymore? While it’s true that roles change, leaders have to guard against the mentality of “I don’t do that anymore”. As a leader, people are counting on you and you do have to prioritize where you invest your time and energy. In light of this, how can you balance the unique role that only you can fill while still being a servant leader?
Do what you say.
Don’t preach anything you aren’t preaching to yourself and don’t recruit for a vision that you aren’t fully behind. Church leaders rely heavily on volunteers but rarely volunteer time themselves. Yes, practice what you preach.
The power behind our faith and our leadership is action, and leaders who shepherd like Jesus aren’t afraid to get dirty, smell like sheep, and serve with all their heart.
This week we highlight the free resource Of Justification by Faith and Works for use within The Bible Study App.
The idea of justification—the means by which a believer comes into right relationship with God— has been hotly debated throughout many periods of Christian history. Is it by grace? Is it through obeying God’s law? Is it by faith? Is it by works?
William Law, British theologian and prolific writer, adds his own perspective to the debate in his treatise Of Justification by Faith and Works. Get it HERE!
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The Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible is an incredible five-volume study resource with contributions from dozens of top scholars. With such a variety of scholarship the reader can be assured of of a well-rounded perspective on significant issues relating to doctrines, themes, and biblical interpretation.
The goal of this robust resource is to provide pastors, teachers, students, and devoted Bible readers a comprehensive and reliable library of information.
- More than 7,500 articles alphabetically arranged for easy reference, containing vital information on Bible lands and people.
- Hundreds of illustrations, charts, graphs and maps for ready reference.
- Scholarly articles ranging across the entire spectrum of theological and biblical topics, backed by the most current body of archaeological research.
- 238 contributors from around the world.
Here’s how this great resource looks within The Bible Study App:
Easily navigate to key sections
Search articles alphabetically by topic
Great images and illustrations
At Olive Tree there are a lot of people who combine their gifts, passion, and expertise to make The Bible Study App what it is and also vision what it will become. One of the really important teams is currently made up of a group of eight individuals that we call Content Craftsman, who are responsible for making sure all of our resources are formatted and work with The Bible Study App. I recently sat down with Kathy Watts who is the Content Craftsman team leader to learn a bit more about what they do.
Andrew: How long have you been with Olive Tree and what’s your background?
Kathy: I’ve been with Olive Tree for 3 years and my background is in Library and Information Science.
Andrew: What exactly is a Content Craftsman?
Kathy: Being a Content Craftsman is more than just converting text to work with our software. It’s making the information accessible, visually pleasing, and crafting the presentation of it in a way that makes it easy to understand. Because of how digital information is presented we now have the ability to visually communicate it in creative ways.
Andrew: What are some of the steps involved in the process?
Kathy: One of the great things about the Content Craftsman team is that we have people with varying backgrounds and strengths such as computer science, original languages like Greek and Hebrew, and web design. As a result they each have their own way of tackling a project and creating the navigation within the resource and making it to work within The Bible Study App.
The challenge is to think how people interact with the text, understand the resource itself, and then how to get it to work with our App.
Andrew: What does the future look like?
Kathy: With the accessibility of digital information most people experience information overload. How Bible software organizes that information is important and we want to help people find what they want quickly and easily so there’s no impediment to study. Historically a lot of deeper study material was really only accessible to scholars and pastors. There are fewer gate keepers to Biblical resources than there’s ever been and so the opportunity to equip everyone is really exciting!
My son has what I would call an irrational fear of ‘bad guys’ in our basement. Sometimes this fear is so overwhelming he won’t even go downstairs by himself. This fear isn’t based on any prior experience but somehow it’s a very real fear for him.
Whether our fears are rational or irrational they often have the same effect on our lives. Fear both paralyzes us and has the power to veil the truth. Ultimately fear doesn’t save us from danger and actually leads us to death. Fear was present during the temptation that was offered in the garden to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3. We certainly don’t know all that was going through Eve’s mind as Satan tempted her but she may have thought:
What if what the serpent is saying is more true than what God has said? What if I don’t eat this fruit? Will I be blinded forever, as the serpent is saying?
Fear can be a powerful motivator and in this case it was used to lead Adam and Eve away from the truth of God, not toward it. Fear didn’t lead them to life; it led them to death.
I’ll never forget the first time I went cliff jumping into the Pacific Ocean. I was living in Hawaii and my small group Bible study guys thought it would be a good bonding experience to hurl ourselves off a cliff into the ocean. As I stood looking down the 40 feet or so into the clear blue waters of the Pacific, with the waves crashing below me, fear took over. As the more daring guys in our group jumped off the cliff into the waters below, my fear should have subsided but it didn’t. Even though I saw one guy after another land safely in the water, my belief that I’d be okay still wasn’t greater than my fear. I could logically see that everything would be fine, but knowledge alone wasn’t enough to make me jump.
Eventually, when I finally did jump, my faith grew and my fear diminished. Sure, I still hesitated a bit on the second jump but now that my faith was greater than my fear, it was easier.
Belief changes everything. When we believe that Jesus is who he says he is than our faith is about more than belonging to a religious club. And so we pray because we believe that God answers our prayers! And we read the Bible because we believe it really is the word of God!
Trusting in the truth of God allows us to respond to the lies of fear and tell them to go to hell where they belong. Faith believes that the one who created us is he is who he says he is. That he is right and true!
What lies have you believed that have paralyzed your life? Where have you allowed fear to keep you from stepping out in faith?
Spend some time with God asking him to speak truth into areas of fear in your life and to fill your mind with the truth of his Word!
Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.