(such a creative title, i know)
So I was writing another e-mail to some beloved people I lead alongside, and I thought you all might enjoy it as well, since you seemed to really enjoy last week’s encouragement for leaders.
Hello fellow leaders!
I am so excited that I GET TO lead, and that I GET TO do it alongside you all. Y’all. This is the life! I feel like I say that a lot, but I’m probably just thinking it and not actually saying it. But, this is the life. You know? Like, lay back on a chair at the beach sipping a smoothie and magically not getting sunburned while you read your book and no one talks to you? And how we say, “that’s the life”?
But no, y’all, this is the life. This getting down into the mess with these people, becoming vulnerable, showing what it means to have hearts inclined towards His, modeling how to use the gifts Holy Spirit has given us, leading by serving selflessly, speaking life, honoring up, down, and all the way around, being fearless in our faith, growing in God together, loving people no matter what, looking past the outside to see the inside with God’s eyes…all of these things….these are the life. The abundant life. This is what we have been promised. This is what we have been privileged with. This is what we have responsibility to steward and take care of. This is it!
Healing the sick, discipling each other, baptizing one another, casting out demons, bringing the realm of the kingdom of heaven to earth…this is what this abundant life is all about. And, and, AND….God is with us. It’s not about us striving to do all the things. We just get to be in His presence, pursue Him, and these things are given to us abundantly. And this is the life. This is the promise. Oh, may our eyes be open to what we are living in! What we have been given! The precious gift and the hard responsibilities of it!
I cannot even begin to put into words how excited I am that “the life” isn’t religion. It isn’t striving. It isn’t works. It’s heart! It’s Kingdom! It’s here! It’s now! It’s His presence! And, it’s abundance! There’s enough to go around! I’m not the only one with access to the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit! I’m not the only one with access to the presence of the King. I’m not the only one with access to His words, His heart, His plans, His eyes, or His gifts. They are there for anyone who seeks them! Even if you’re a child! If you’re uneducated! Never graduated college! Never got “trained”! Never dotted every “i” or crossed every “t”! Never learned how to sing properly!
As far as I can tell, in the parable of the talents, the most talents went to the one who was faithful in what he had. That’s what the Father is looking for: Faithfulness to do what He would do in a situation, like the servant did while the master was gone. These servants were trained as servants, not as masters. Yet, they were able to steward the master’s blessings like he would want them to while he was gone because they knew him. They watched how he worked and learned how he operated. No, it wasn’t in their training. They didn’t have a checklist of what to do to act like him. They just knew him because they served him and spent time around him, and then were able to represent him while he was gone.
As stewards, as leaders, we’re not meant to lead in religion or conversation or song or relationship; we’re meant to lead in worship and intimacy with the King of Heaven, which is ultimately the fullness of all these other things.
It’s about Him, y’all. All of it. It’s about bringing the culture of Heaven to earth so that when God makes a visit, it feels like Home to Him. It feels like Heaven.
I started writing this to share with you two things I have in my notes on my phone and computer that I hope will speak to y’all like they’ve spoken to me:
“The smallest family will become a thousand people, and the tiniest group will become a mighty nation. At the right time, I, the Lord, will make it happen.” Isaiah 60:22 NLT
“You don’t have to have what you need for when you get there right now; you have what you need to go and when you get to the place you have been called, you will have what you need. But for now, you do have what you need—you have what you need to go, and that is simple: the call to go, the heart to obey, and the courage to step.”
I don’t believe it’s about numbers right now. I believe it’s about hearts. Specifically, those of the leaders. The numbers will come—that verse in Isaiah says the smallest family will become a thousand people. We are family! It says the tiniest group will become a mighty nation! 1 Peter 2:9 says that we are a holy nation. The numbers are part of “all these things” that Matthew 6:33 says will be added to us when we pursue the Kingdom of Heaven. I believe God is trying to speak to and move our hearts, and until we become passionate about the Kingdom, we’re not going to see it. The Kingdom of Heaven has never passively come. It has always required active pursuit. We as leaders MUST pursue Him and hear what He says if we have any hope of leading others towards Him. The thing about being a leader is you are leading, whether actively or passively. If you are not actively seeking out and hosting His presence, that leads others to do the same, just as if you actively were. You cannot be passive in a role of leadership and think that no one is following you. We are accountable for what He is saying. We are accountable for where we are leading.
May we have the courage to stand up for what God is saying and doing. May we have the eyes to see and the ears to hear what He is saying and doing!! There is a quote from Bill Johnson in “God is Good” that says, “Until we can see what God is doing and confidently say ‘Amen’, we do not see it correctly.” (I cannot find the exact quote right now, so that’s not word-for-word I don’t think, but if someone has it, comment below and share it. Otherwise, I’m pretty confident that’s the general idea.)
Y’all, I LOVE YOU, ok? I spend hours writing these posts from that love. I see this as part of “growing in God together” and even “leading by serving selflessly” in taking time to write this. So please don’t believe a lie.
Also, I LOVE HIM. Jesus is the best thing that ever happened to me.
Oh, may I just say, do you all remember that “Crazy Faith” sermon from Pastor Michael Todd at Transformation Church? (I’ve put sermons from that series into many monthly “Favorites” posts.) Remember how he said “it’s crazy until it happens, and then people count it as faith”? Having our actions line up with what we say we believe (i.e. the word of God) means that we often look “crazy”…but let me encourage you, you only look crazy to people who have low standards for crazy. If all of us are pursuing “Crazy Faith”…then we will not look crazy to each other. So, dear friends, do not fear looking crazy in your pursuit of God.
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