Thursday, May 24, 2012

Book Review: "Leaders Who Last" by Dave Kraft

Leaders Who LastLeaders Who Last by Dave Kraft

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dave Kraft obviously has a passion for leadership and the desire to see passionate leaders developed within the church. I cringe at his obvious assumption that the pastor is (and ought to be) the main leader within the local church body. I believe that pastors can be leaders, but I think that pastors can also be teachers, preachers, counselors, etc... What I take away from this book is the truth that what the church needs most is to make disciples, followers of Christ, who will then turn around and make more disciples. In this way we see that our primary goal is the development of leaders, not only followers. This responsibility does not lie only on the pastor, but on the congregation as a whole. And so I see this not only being a book for full-time pastoral staff, I believe that this is a book that any church leader, any Christian, can read and learn from.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Growing in Wisdom, Living a Life of Love and Faithfulness

God is an adoptive God, often favoring those who are cast aside or considered of lesser value.  We see this with Jacob, David, and Moses, to name a few.  All throughout Scripture, highlighted in Jesus’ lineage, we see God choosing to work through and use those you would least expect.

I’ve been struck by 1 Samuel 2:12-26 where the sons of Eli, the priest, are compared with the young boy Samuel.  Samuel was not a priest, in fact he wasn’t even a Levite, the tribe of Israel who aided the priests at the temple.  Samuel was the son of a nobody Ephraimite, but as we read his story we see that God was preparing him to do great things.  Eli’s sons were slowly becoming worse and worse, following their own hearts rather than God’s, while Samuel was instead growing in stature and favor with the Lord and men (1 Samuel 2:25-26).

This is an interesting phrase, “he grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”  We see this repeated of Jesus in Luke 2:52.  We also find this phrase in Proverbs 3 along with some instructions.  “My son, do not forget my teaching… Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.”  This father goes on to say “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding….Do not be wise in your own eyes…Honor the Lord with your wealth…Do not despise the Lord’s discipline.”

And so we see that the ones who want to be like Jesus, the ones who want to be used by God to do great things for His kingdom, are the ones who are willing to surrender themselves to the will of God, to lay aside their own agenda and pick up God’s agenda, to trust that God knows what He is doing, to listen to instruction and learn from those around them, and who ultimately honor God whether he blesses them with wealth or grows them through discipline.  God does not use the most powerful and pleasing; He chooses to work through the humble and submitted, the loving and faithful.

What part of God’s will do you need to submit to today? Are you growing in wisdom, living a life of love and faithfulness?
How can we encourage each other, and specifically our youth, to be wise people of humble submission rather than brash people of power and compulsion?