Skip to main content

fire from heaven



I have been thinking about how to teach people to be leaders, to think for themselves, to be independent and dependable and forerunners in their own way. There is no foolproof formula for growing people from those who are needy and insecure and primarily followers into those who mentor and mature others and contribute significantly to their community. In the past few months I have begun to realise that my main method of doing this (being an example and role model) is not that effective. Simply seeing something does not transfer ability. You can watch talented dancers all you want, but that will not make you a dancer, no matter how inspired you are. On the other hand, talking about something is not the best way of imparting ability either. After listening to hundreds and thousands of messages and sermons, how much have people really changed and matured?

I was thinking about the ultimate teacher, Jesus, and noted that though he was the best role model and spoke with great authority, using words and deeds as well as they have ever been used (and don't forget those incredible miracles), not many people wanted to become true followers and stick with him after the bread and fishes ran out, and of those who did, their maturity level was sadly lacking at many times. So what turned these sad, few, often clueless disciples into fathers of the New Testament church who fearlessly plunged into a new era?

Today as we were driving across the Champlain Bridge on our way to Brossard to help a friend lead worship in a church, it struck me: the Holy Spirit came. Jesus, the leader whom the disciples were lost without, left them stranded and alone (at least that's how they probably felt). And then they waited. And waited. And then God sent the Holy Spirit and they were forever changed.

It is becoming more and more apparent that my efforts at changing the world are less significant than I had thought, and God's willingness to dwell with us, unfathomable as his desire for us often seems, is at the very core of any real maturity. Let me be the first to respond, "Come over here, Jesus!" and in doing so, be the best leader I can be.

Another sunset photo from Ste-Anne, beautiful and fiery at the same time.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

the songs we sing

NOTE: I am going to make some pretty strong statements below, but understand that it is my way of taking an honest, hard look at my own worship experience and practice. My desire is not to be overly critical, but to open up dialogue by questioning things I have assumed were totally fine and appropriate. In other words, I am preaching to myself. Feel free to listen in.

---------------------

When I am in a church meeting during the singing time, I sometimes find myself silent, unable to get the words past my lips. At times I just need a moment of stillness, time to listen, but other times, the words make me pause because I don't know that I can sing them honestly or with integrity. This is a good thing. We should never mindlessly or heartlessly sing songs just because everyone else is. We should care deeply about what we say in our sung, communal worship.

At their best, songs sung by the gathered body of Christ call to life what is already in us: the hope, the truth, the longing, t…

comedic timing

One of my favourite jokes goes like this:
Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Interrupting cow
Interrupting cow w---
Moooooooo!!

Timing is important in both drama and comedy. A well-paced story draws the audience in and helps it invest in the characters, while a tale too hastily told or too long drawn out will fail to engage anyone. Surprise - something which interrupts the expected - is a creative use of timing and integral to any good story. If someone is reading a novel and everything unfolds in a predictable manner, they will probably wonder why they bothered reading the book. And so it is in life. Having life be predictable all of the time is not as calming as it sounds. We love surprises, especially good surprises like birthday parties, gifts, marriage proposals, and finding something that we thought was lost. Surprises are an important part of humour. A good joke is funny because it goes to a place you didn't expect it to go. Similarly, comedic timing allows something unexpected …

singing lessons

When I was a young child, a visiting preacher came to our country church. He brought his two daughters with him, and before he gave his sermon, they sang beautiful duets about Jesus. They had lovely voices which blended well. The preacher, meaning to impress on us their God-given musical talent, mentioned that the girls had never had any singing lessons. The congregation nodded and ooohhed in appreciation. I was puzzled. I didn't understand how not learning was a point of grace or even pride. After all, people who have natural abilities in sports, math, writing, art, or science find it extremely helpful to study under teachers who can aid them in their development and introduce them to things outside their own experience. Being self-taught (though sometimes the only option available to those with limited resources) is not a cause for pride or celebration. Why? Because that's just not how the communal, relational Creator set things up.

I have been singing since I was a child. …