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READING LIST

The Permanent Revolution, by Hirsch & Catchim

With by Skye Jethani. - Reimagining the way you relate to God.

Cracking Your Church's Culture Code, by Samuel Chand

The 21 Most Powerful Minutes in a Leader's Day, by John C. Maxwell

The Forgotten Ways Handbook, by Alan Hirsch

The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations, by Brafman & Becksrom

Untamed, by Alan Hirsch

Church 3.0, by Neil Cole

The Shaping of Things to Come, by Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost

Monthly Archives: June 2011

“Diversity” is one of those current politically correct words today, and it also describes one of the tensions of walking with other Jesus followers. I was reading this morning in Acts 16 where Paul took Timothy on as a disciple, and right away prompted him to be circumcised in order to avoid a stumbling block in ministering to Jews.(His father was a Greek and so he was suspect among the Jews)  I recalled at the same time Paul’s words to the Jesus followers in Galatia, “…if you circumcise yourselves, Christ will be of no benefit to you!” Why the huge difference? Was Paul a hypocrite – and what does this say about leadership in the Body of Christ?

The first difference I see is that the decision made with Timothy was from a position of strength – a choice made for the impact it would have on others – It was opening doors. The Galatians, on the other hand, were being pressured from the outside by so called Christ followers who made circumcision a matter of getting righteousness, not a way to build bridges to unbelievers. I think there are still a lot of customs that we have made a matter of righteousness today: rules about dress, worship, and use of anything that others have made an addiction out of…EXCEPT of course our favorites – fluffy foods, materialism, being “nice”, and the three “C’s” (cash, comfort and control).

This leads to the second difference I see: That nothing – whether circumcision, baptism, abstinence, or attending “church” on Sunday – can be allowed to define my righteousness. Paul says in 1Cor. 6:12 “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.” That includes religious things! The “circumcisers” were attempting to “master” the Galatians – to hijack their righteousness! Paul’s statement to them says, “You can’t be righteous because of Jesus AND following rules – only one can be Lord of our lives: Rules or Jesus. Take your pick!” (That’s a really loose interpretation, but I thinks it’s accurate)


Finally, I see so much of Paul’s writing creating this tension, which is why Peter wrote of Paul in 2 Pet. 3:16 “…as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.” That’s a pretty unique statement in Scripture, but it brings it down to earth for us. I think he is referring to people who look for statements in Scripture that seem to say what they want to say. Paul has plenty of ammo for them because he speaks into context so often – not in generalities.

How does this impact leadership? I think we need to check ourselves for ways we have reduced the message of the cross to rules in our own lives. We are called to apply the Gospel into the context of our life every day, but we have to hold fast to the grace of God, while holding loosely to the applications. May you find freedom to do this as you follow Jesus, and lead others with your life.

Two of the four Spiritual Warfare Workshop sessions being held at First Baptist in Cambridge are completed now. The purpose of these is to equip believers for freedom, and so to lead in the spiritual battle to recover ground for God’s Kingdom.
(more info is available at http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=116988511720361 )

Too long we have been vulnerable to the strategies of an enemy we cannot see, who wages a daily battle for our thoughts, emotions and decisions. Too many days we have walked out without spiritual armor on to ward off these strategies against us, and have wondered how we could veer off course so easily.

The fifty or so people coming to the Workshop will be better prepared to win – to stay free of the enemy’s snares and attacks and keep on course with Jesus Christ. The class will stay open for the last two sessions on June 22 and 29 – all are welcome.