“We judge ourselves by our motives. Other judge us by our actions.”
I jotted this on a napkin yesterday, but can’t remember who wrote it (I’ve been reading and researching multiple books this week). I think it was from Dan Allender’s Leading with a Limp. It is a great insight. It helps me see why, even when I don’t do well, I think I’ve done the right thing. I know my motives (at least to a degree). The only thing those outside can see are my actions. To the degree my motives are unclear, or that my actions are not perceived to be in harmony with my motives, I will be misunderstood. For example, as a leader I hope to make wise choices that are the best even when someone is hurt by that choice. I know my motives, but the action taken feels like an attack to the one hurt, no matter my motive. That’s probably why I feel like I need to apologize a lot!
As I turn this around and look at other’s behavior towards me, I sense the need to work harder at understanding the motives of those who seem to act against me. Of course, maybe they are out to get me …, but probably not! It is amazing that anyone really gets along. This will be an interesting insight to learn more deeply.
Tami Dale is a friend, and co-worker. Right now she is on a leave of absence serving Jesus in Kenya. You might find it interesting to see what God is teaching her about thankfulness, prayer, and even mosquitos.
"Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God."
These words, which I believe are from Corrie Ten Boom, are true. So much time is wasted trying make our future safe and secure — OK, *I* want to make my future a bit more risk-free — but I've run into a bunch of others that have the same issues. God rarely shows us what our future life and ministry might contain. I am encouraged by the attitude of my wife and many of the hurting women she works with. They have adopted the principle behind God's promise to Israel in Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope" (ESV). God re-affirms to His people that despite the terrible situation in which they find themselves – even if due to their failure – He has plans for them that are not evil. A promise that can only be believed if we believe in the goodness and faithfulness of God.
There are days when the future looks unclear, and all the choices seem to be poor. There are times that others choices seem to destroy and disrupt our lives. There are days that seem to be "foggy" rather than clear and the destination is unclear. But if we know our God we can boldly walk into the unknown despite the risk.
Pastors often get discouraged thinking they could be 'more useful with more people'. Many Christians (pastor or otherwise) feel that they would be of much more effect if they could serve God somewhere that their gifts might make a greater impact. No one wants to waste their life. In that light I find this quote a powerful reminder that I am but a servant:
Notice God's unutterable waste of saints, according to the judgment of the world. God plants His saints in the most useless places. We say–God intends me to be here because I am so useful. Jesus never estimated His life along the line of the greatest use. God puts his saints where they will glorify Him, and we are no judges at all of where that is (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest).
In light of all the purpose-driven madness in the church, it might be good to edit Chambers and note that the "judgement of the world" may now include "judgement of church growth experts."
Twenty years ago Paul Borthwick made the following distinction in A Mind for Missions:
A Worldly Christian is motivated from a basically selfish preoccupation. He looks to Scripture for personal blessing. Looks to God and the Bible primarily for personal fulfillment. Sees the Christian faith as a way to ‘get God on his or her side.’ World Christians are day-to-day disciples for whom Christ’s global cause has become the integrating, overriding priority for all that he is to them.
I liked – still do – the term “world Christian” (or “global Christian”) and I used it regularly in the youth ministries I developed. Students, along with adults, seemed to capture the vision and passionately engaged in the cause. This is more than just supporting missionaries. Or being missions-minded. It is a priority commitment to bringing the power of the gospel to those places and peoples who have not heard. It is a commitment to affirm and strengthen local churches and leaders all around the world – helping them bring the truth of Christ to their own people. It is the recognition that the world begins right outside our own homes and churches and that we have a mission field right there.
The term may not be meaningful any longer (or so I'm told), but the concept is still true. And each of us should discover the part God would have us play in his world-sized drama.
“Leadership has been described as wearing a bulls-eye on your chest during hunting season.” I’ve heard this quote before, most recently by Dan Allender in Leading with a Limp. Some days it seems quite true me. Not always because someone in my circle is out to take me out, or someone in our church, but because we have a very real enemy who would love for me to be less than effective. Of course, the enemy, aka Satan, often uses people and circumstances to bring discouragement or confusion or something worse. He can also just make sure that I begin to second guess the grace of God and His strength made perfect in my weakness. The easiest thing to do would be to get out of the forest, away from the danger of being hunted. Some days that might even be best. I think that I’m called to the forest though, hunters or not, and I need to keep my eyes open and trust God to cover me, and pray that my friends will help watch my back.
Most Christians today seem to desire sentimentality rather than sacrifice – from the Wittenburg Door, October 1986. Sadly, twenty years later, I think this is still true.
You can’t convince people that you are wonderful and that Jesus is wonderful in the same sermon – Tony Campolo. However, the temptation to do so is great every time we teach.
Some people invest in the flesh all week long, then they go to church on Sunday praying for a crop failure – J. Vernon McGee in a sermon at Church of the Open Door in Los Angeles.
Tradition is the living faith of saints now dead.Traditionalism is the dead faith of those now living. Chuck Swindoll