Romans 5 & 6

I’m reading Romans 5 & 6 today (NIV version). Sometimes when I read the Bible I read it in my mind as though the words are being spoken by a fiery and robust southern preacher. Sweat on the brow and handkerchief in hand. I was reading today while walking around for some excercise at work. When I got to about the middle of chapter 6 I started to recognize that I had been so into the sermon that I was walking rather briskly with a little hop in my step. I don’t think I shouted for joy but I was close if I didn’t. So, be warned, the word has a tendency to add vigor to you steps.

Leadership and the manager

Becoming a manager is sometimes tough, but gaining the mantle of Leadership is the part that requires real work. I have had many managers in my 11 years here and a few of them never were able to become true leaders of the team. They used their authority to get things done, but the grumbling on the aisle denoted that there was not a desire to adapt to the change. Leaders they were not.

Did you ever watch the show “Survivor”?  It never fails that in the first few episodes of the season everyone wants to vote out the person who thinks they should be in-charge.  If you come in thinking that you should be in-charge or that you should be the leader, everyone wants to vote you off the island.

You have to let the team put the mantle of leadership on you. How? Well, in my experience, you have to first be part of the team’s struggle. Relationships form and teams solidify in the midst of shared struggle or goals. There is no shame in helping your team complete a task and sharing in the struggle to complete it. When they see you working and trying and not being too important to do the work they do, then you can start showing the qualities of leadership that you want them to see in you. You don’t  have to be good at it. Just the act of trying to help is enough. Don’t take over, surely, but be a part of the struggle. Then, you can begin to capture the hearts of those who you have positional authority over.

The leader will take time to understand the work and build the relationship before ever giving the first instruction for change. Understandably, this isn’t always a quick turnaround time.

Sometimes the mantle of leadership will fall on your shoulders even when you didn’t want it. It just seems to inherently follow you around because of the way your work or because a vacuum has been created due to someone leaving. Sometimes the best leaders are the ones who didn’t want to lead in the first place. Maybe they are not necessarily well polished in their speech or appearance, but they have earned respect and confidence from the team through the shared struggle. New managers should lean on these people to help push change, and even continue still after the manager has become a leader on the team.

The False Teachers

First and second Peter, two short books with a lot to say. I found myself there this week. Many times when I am reading the Bible I come across things that I just have to share. Almost like I have the only remaining Bible on the planet and I must share what I am seeing. It’s not the fact that I may have never read that verse before that makes it new and exciting. Rather, it is events, circumstances, and my own experiences in the world that have changed to the point that the verses now has a deeper meaning.

You probably have your own stories of people in a position of religious authority who may not be teaching or expounding upon the word quite the way you remember hearing it taught in the past. Maybe it is totally wrong and void of theological correctness, but it is more inclusive and less harsh. Yet it gets more people on-board, and the tithes roll on in.

Let’s look at what the Apostle Peter has to say.

2 Peters 2:1-3 – 1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping. (www.Bible.com)
2 Peters 2:9 – 12 But these people blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish. (www.Bible.com)
2 Peters 2:13b – 22 – 13b They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you.14 With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood! 15 They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Bezer,who loved the wages of wickedness. 16 But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey—an animal without speech—who spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.
17 These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error.19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” 20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.22 Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,”and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.” (www.Bible.com)

Some of these people say they believe in God, but they try to twist around the word of God and manipulate the meaning of verses in order to fit their desired lifestyle. In the Bible, Paul tells us in both his letters to Timothy what to look for in the later times concerning marriage, diets, and all sorts of daily activities that will be twisted around. (1 Timothy 4:1-4, 2 Timothy 3:1-5). He said that false teachers and prophets would suggest that what is right is bad and what is wrong is good. These people have consciences that are seared. They will quarrel about words and meanings and will give up their beliefs for money (1 Timothy 6:3-10). Paul gives Timothy this charge: 1 Timothy 6:20-21 –  “20Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, 21 which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith.” (www.Bible.com)

Our job as believers is not to pass judgement, but to point these people back to grace and truth in Jesus. (Romans 2:1-16) We are not sinless. We are not perfect. We will not be perfect or without sin as long as we live in this world in these fleshly bodies. We simply have to believe in Jesus, that He is God’s son, that He died on the cross and took our punishment, then do our best to live without sin and accept His mercy and grace when we fail.

1 Peter 4:2-6 “As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.”
(www.Bible.com)

You see, it won’t be enough for them to lead children down the wrong path and to confuse those who do not take time to test their false teaching. No, their desire will also be to try and discredit the true believers, the ones who know and keep the Lord’s commandments. They will call us haters, war mongers, and any other name you can think of to make people turn against the truth. Giving a person a label is the quickest way to turn people against them. Think on that a minute. Any time someone comes out with a differing view from the mainstream, almost immediately a label is spewed out on them.  Hypocrite, bigot, racist, climate change denier, conspiracy theorist, pro-lifer, redneck, backwoods, so forth and so on.

Jesus spoke of the false prophets this way:

Matthew 7:15-2015 Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. (www.Bible.com)

In their book “Are We Living in the End Times”, Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins write this about false prophets: “Most false prophets have a faulty view of Jesus. Some are blatantly false; the more dangerous ones will accept Him as a god but not God in human flesh. Never trust any teacher who does not believe in the virgin birth of Jesus, His sinless life, sacrificial death, bodily resurrection, and His promise to come again physically to this earth.” (Chapter 4) “Many false teachers are endowed with a natural charisma, which at first makes them seem tremendously spiritual and insightful.” (Chapter 4) They will use the same old tricks they always have. The same type of trick that Satan used on Eve in the beginning. Don’t be deceived.

Even more so now, as the time of Christ’s return draws nearer, false prophets and teachers are popping up almost everywhere you look. Social media web sites are a perfect tool for these false teachers. It is the closest thing that Satan has to being omnipresent. Think about that a minute. How would you distribute false teachings and plant seeds of poisoned fruit to the masses if you were not an omnipresent being? This may be another post topic later.

Grace be with you all.

So fitting for this week

http://bible.com/111/JHN12.41 Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him. Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human praise more than praise from God.
Bible.com/app

Get Up Press On Lean In Take Hold

Get Up Press On

Isaiah 6:5 –  “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”
Bible.com

Lean In Take Hold

Philippians 3:8-14 – What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Bible.com

No matter the shortcomings or the circumstances it’s time to take hold and press on. We must spread the gospel message quickly. Not as ones who have yet taken hold of the final prize, but as imperfect people who have faith in Christ.

Taming the Flesh and Extending the Mission God has for your life

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