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Beggars and Bread

January 2, 2017

Greetings,

“Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you.  Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”  Hebrews 13: 7-8

Leadership is something that the Body of Christ needs; there is no denying that fact.  However, leadership in the Body should be totally different than leadership in the world.  Worldly leadership is about ruling OVER people from above them and giving them rules, commands and edicts.  The Jesus style of leadership is about serving others from AMONG or even underneath them.  Problem is that most all traditional/institutional “churches” don’t really follow Jesus in these matters.

Jesus humbled Himself and became a servant to all, even unto death.  Worldly leadership is about ruling and Jesus style leadership is about serving.  Believe me, leading and serving are two very different things.  Jesus never served from an elevated platform, pulpit, or throne.  Jesus even bowed down before the twelve disciples when He washed their feet.  If Jesus viewed Himself as our brother how can any of us ever say we are more than that to our peers and those we serve?

It is clear that when we lead we should do it from AMONG the Body and not from above it.  Jesus made it very clear that there is one Father (Leader) and that we are all brothers.  And brothers don’t use exalted titles when they serve either.  Servants lead by example and not mere words.  And they never use their service and gifts to leverage others into following their way.  Jesus is our greatest example of being a servant who leads.  Then came others like Paul, Peter, James and John.  It would do us all well to imitate their faith.  They did not Lord OVER people, they walked AMONG them and established relationship and dialogue with them.  They did not sermonize or give orders, no they spoke plainly and persuaded others by their actions and words.

The outcome of their way of life was most times persecution and martyrdom, but that did not stop them from living out their faith as an example to the church.  If Jesus Christ is truly the same yesterday and today and forever then His example of service and ministry is one we should still follow today.  If that is true then none of us should ever act as if we are more than a older sibling and peer to those we serve.  And we should never use a title, platform or a pulpit in our efforts to serve the Body or those yet to receive Him.  Jesus did not have many meetings, but He had a lot of meals and he always had excellent conversations with those who were seeking Him.  If you really want to reach people with His message then simply come alongside them and share your life with them from the level ground at the foot of the cross.  Only Jesus should be exalted.  So I say follow me as I follow Christ, but remember we are all on a common path to Him.  There is no special path just for Leaders.  Always remember Jesus is the one and only True Shepherd and all of the rest of us are His simple sheep.  No other human is ABOVE you!  Martin Luther said it something like this, “All we are is one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.”

Love and …

Kirk Out !

p.s.  When I write “brothers” I mean it in a fully inclusive way including females as Jesus did.

 

 

 

 

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23 Comments
  1. Good topic, Chris. It reminds me of this week when we coined a new term that abbreviates to PLC for Perceived Leadership Complex! We are seeing over and over again where Christians are getting their faithfulness hijacked into trying to be leaders. And in this, they try to build their value by attempting to feel like a leader. If we see symptoms of this terrible PLC disease then we know the person will not be able to handle “mutual” and the fellowship will be greatly hindered. We have also been seeing this with one-way discipleship models where the one needs to feel in control and wants to disciple the other, but they themselves cannot receive any feedback into their life. As such, if they are disagreed with, they tend to just shun and reject relationship. But we love when relationships are truly mutual and people can function in their giftings from the Lord out of agape, rather than non-agape building of their own value and even wanting titles for their giftings. And in this, having discipleship be mutual as well. I’m glad the culture of Heaven will be wonderfully mutually-edifying relational! It is amazing to me that besides the exception of when Jesus was on earth and also Adam and Eve before their fall, that no one on earth is even close to being as agape loving as even one person or angel in Heaven. How wonderful is it that the culture of Heaven is permeated with Jesus’ love! I’m glad it is our state of being forever rather than us being in Heaven for the length of our lifetimes and then living eternity with how things currently are on earth. As it says about entry into Heaven that joy and gladness will overtake us! 🙂 — Scott

    • Thank you Scott, I Love satire when well done.

    • "BK" permalink

      Scott, I admit to getting lost here….”It is amazing to me that besides the exception of when Jesus was on earth and also Adam and Eve before their fall, that no one on earth is even close to being as agape loving as even one person or angel in Heaven.” Is this the satire Christopher is speaking of? If not could you expound a bit further? Thanks, “BK”

      • BK, The PLC was satire I think, but the statement above was Scott’s true valid comment.

      • Hi BK, I’d be glad to qualify. When Chris said, “satire”, I assumed he may have been referring to my slightly sarcastic statement of labeling PLC as a disease, as in “this terrible PLC disease”. But besides that, I was very serious about the rest of the post. So, I’ll expound upon this as you asked – hopefully it won’t be too long… Jesus seems to be putting “Perceived Leadership” onto our radar where we are more clearly seeing that Christians often feel like they need to establish their authority as “leaders” in order to try to accomplish what Jesus has for them to do. But this can be a great hindrance for them, since it can move them away from true mutual heart-to-heart fellowship to a more hierarchical, less relational model. In other words, the “mutual” goes out the window. So for example, if we look at the obvious example of the Institutional Church (IC), we see a form that looks very different from the shared-meal-meeting-in-homes fellowship described in the Bible. I call it the “Temptation of the Microphone” where the perceived leader (pastor or priest) uses the microphone to lord it over others (even if only by putting demands upon them). It may even be for altruistic purposes, but it violates Mark 10:42-45 NIV: “Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’” So, those who perceive themselves to be leaders often “lord it over others” and “exercise authority” over others in trying to establish themselves as leaders – and yet miss realizing how this hinders mutual encouragement that Hebrews 3 and 10 show is so helpful for Christian growth. I’ve seen this in all types of places besides the IC, such as, house church (HC), relational church (RC), personal interactions, marriages, etc. And it even shows up when a person wants to be a “leader” but stays quiet so people cannot argue with their thinking. So to me, this is a deeper issue of the fallen human nature where people want to competitively win and lord it over others in various ways – which violates the 1 Corinthians 13 definition of agape love that says it is “not self-seeking”. But this in turn kills the true mutual that is so helpful for growing relationships. I realize that for each of us to do the Ephesians 2:10 good works that Jesus has planned in advance for us to do with Him, that we need a certain amount of ownership so as to be responsible to do whatever Jesus guides us to do. But the interesting questions to me in this are, “Do I need to perceive myself to be a leader and have to try to establish my leadership in order to accomplish those 2:10 good works with Jesus?” and “Can I do all that Jesus has for me to do from a mutual place?” Jesus has had us interact with numerous people who have been very turned off by “lording-it-over” settings and people where they felt like they were the “smaller person” as they were being lorded over by others. What is exciting to us is seeing Jesus use our Twos-and-Threes book to liberate them from this so that they then take off in their Christian lives as Jesus uses the twos and threes fellowship with them as full participants. The book leverages Jesus’ statement about Him saying that He is present where 2 or 3 are gathered in His name. Here is a quote from that book talking about 2s-and-3s fellowship (but without the nice paragraph formatting): “So, if you find that you are feeling responsible to be the 1 to teach the other one or two people, you may have good intentions in sharing with them, but if they do not get a chance to also share their hearts, it will work against having good 2s-and-3s fellowship. If we look again at the 4-step process, we can see that if you are the only one sharing, then the other one or two people will not be able to participate in all four steps. Step 1: Jesus works continually in you through His Holy Spirit to both filter and enhance the data coming into you via your senses by giving you a sense of what is best for you to reject, and to give you insights into those things that are best for you to receive. ‘But when he, the (Holy) Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. (John 16:13a)’ For example, when you hear someone speaking you may sense that something is not quite right in what they are saying and therefore it is best to not receive it – hence filtering the data coming into you. Or when someone shares something with you, something might stand out to you as the Holy Spirit gives you insights into it – hence the enhancing of the data coming into you. Step 2: As you meet with two others, you are now in a 2s-and-3s. The Holy Spirit will work in your mind and heart, and will help you to share your heart with the other two people. Step 3: As the other two people listen to you share, the Holy Spirit will work in both of them to filter and enhance what you have shared with them so as to uniquely tailor it to each of their lives. Step 4: The ball of fellowship rolls along as the Holy Spirit helps each person to share their heart with the other two, and the Holy Spirit also filters and enhances the data going into each person. The other one or two people may benefit from what you share, but they will be missing out on step 4 where they would become full participants instead of being reduced to spectators only.” We have been amazed at how Jesus has used 2s-and-3s parties outlined in the book’s appendix to free especially youth up and to instead see them take off in their Christian lives! And we’ve seen older people respond well too. So, I feel like Jesus has increased our “perceived leader” radar and is freeing us all the more to do things mutually-relationally so that a new Christian with the Holy Spirit in them is just as important as everyone else instead of being relegated to a second class citizen. I explore this more in our ebook “Twos and Threes” which is now part of our “Four in One” paperback and ebook. There is more info on this at: http://www.BrooksFamilyStore.com I hope this better clarifies my prior post. — Scott

      • Thanks for the clarification Scott. In my experience with Christ and others I have found that if it is not mutually beneficial to all involved then it is NOT really the Spirit of Christ that is speaking.

  2. Judy Baker permalink

    Great lesson !!!! Loved it !!! Hope many read this and take it to heart .

  3. Sue heumann permalink

    ‘No sermonizing or giving orders.’…’they walked among them and established relationship and dialogue’………I thought all this was ideal and beautiful. So,etching we can do today as the Lord leads us…. Then the PLC….o my goodness!! Like we are going to ‘arrive’ one day if we are leaders, and effective ones building building building….. It’s sad! Servants to one another loving one another in various ways is so much more healthy and building up one another! Thanks for reminders again, today, guys, of how we are to live.

    • Thanks right Sue, loving and serving is the way to go every time. You encourage me!

  4. Wongani Mvula permalink

    indeed we are one from one big branch of tree.Jesus is really our pillar!

    • Yes Wongani! Christ is the Vine and we are the branches. May those who seek Him find shade and shelter under our collective tree.

  5. Mercy fulgencio permalink

    For every group we institutionalized, it is governed by a system. What system?
    The system of this world and this world is in darkness., and we know who rules in darkness …

  6. Sue heumann permalink

    Whew! YES, BRANCHES IF THE VINE, PERFECT. And great institutional truth, too, what great comments today.

  7. "BK" permalink

    Thanks, Scott. I am agreement with you on the leadership issues. What I didn’t understand was the comment “”It is amazing to me that besides the exception of when Jesus was on earth and also Adam and Eve before their fall, that no one on earth is even close to being as agape loving as even one person or angel in Heaven.” I didn’t understand this statement. Can you zero in on that? Thanks a million, “BK”

    • Hi BK, Sorry I missed elaborating on this. What I was looking at is inherent value verses earned value and how this applies to people with Perceived Leadership Complex (PLC). So, people often try to get positions with titles such as “prophet” or “pastor”, in order to build their value – in other words, “earned value”. So, people do this competitively trying to get the top spot – such as the seat of honor at a table (that Jesus said for us to not take). But in doing so, they often make others feel devalued in the process. But the contest goes out the window if we compare anyone who perceives themselves to be at the top or near the top, with the least person in Heaven, since they would not even be close to the Christ-like level of that resurrected Heaven dweller. In similar ways, people often compete to see who has the biggest gifting – such as who is the top prophet. But in looking at 1 Corinthians 13, we find that earthly giftings will not even be needed in Heaven, because the Heavenly giftings are so much superior! (In other words, in Heaven people won’t prophesy in part, because they will know in full.) So, if it was a contest, all Heaven dwellers would easily beat out anyone on earth! So, Jesus says in John 5, that He does not accept praise from men. So, Jesus being our perfect example shows that taking praise for self from others or even from ourselves, is not good. Instead, giving all praise to the Creator is good and right for us as created beings. So, if Jesus can help to bullet proof our value by His perfect love for us, it is the best basis for inherent value. From this place, giftings can then be used in the context of agape love, which is the first fruit of the Holy Spirit listed in Galatians 5. And then instead of sounding like resounding gongs (1 Corinthians 13:1-3), things can be done with Jesus’ love instead. The PLC is truly devoid of agape, and in turn many are turned off and away from Christ because of it. But if things can be mutual, then the value of everyone can more easily be established according to Jesus’ unconditional love. – Scott — PS In case you are curious about why Jesus does not except praise from men, I explain that at the following website in the description of our “Lost in Worship” album: http://www.scottrbrooks.com/Music.htm

      • So Scott, in other words heavenly Love is greater and more perfect than any form of earthly love…right?

  8. "BK" permalink

    Thank you, Scott. I see things a bit differently in the love department but for the most part we are on the same page! You reminded me of a few years of internal battle I had with our Lord regarding being praised. I would tell Him my honest feelings that if He is our example and we aren’t supposed to want to be praised then how come He wants it all the time? Seemed hypocritical to me (I’m sure He has often just shook His head with the patience He’s shown along the way with me). Finally one year as I walked in the woods I took it back off the shelf and asked Him again and He answered! Not what I expected. He said simply, “It’s not that I want praise all the time. I LOVE to love My people and I just want them to love Me back.” Simple and so deep. Religion has so complicated His simplicity. I like Him alot! Again, thank you, “BK”

  9. You said, Chris, “So Scott, in other words heavenly Love is greater and more perfect than any form of earthly love…right?” And you said, BK, “Thank you, Scott. I see things a bit differently in the love department but for the most part we are on the same page!” So, in reply to both of you, I’ll first say that I think your question Chris is both good and important. And to you BK, I too see myself much on the same page with you and have been blessed by what you have shared on this blog. And as for love, I’ll share my thoughts on your question, Chris, and in turn also elaborate on what I see love as being. Hopefully it will help you, BK, to see if you and I are even more on the same page than before or less on the same page which I find is often the case due to the uniqueness of the calling Jesus has for each person where He often has them with slightly different perspectives and focuses so as to help them to do well in the Ephesians 2:10 good works He has planned for them in advance. So, with this said, here are thoughts about love and the culture of Heaven… I personally have not had a visit to Heaven yet as many others have. But I know people who have had such visits and have read the accounts of others. And I also have read the Bible many times and see some of what it says about love and the culture of Heaven. One short book that I have especially found helpful and like it so much that I have read it many times, is the book that John Bunyan wrote before he wrote Pilgrim’s Progress. The book is called “Visions of Heaven and Hell” (https://www.amazon.com/John-Bunyan-Visions-Heaven-Hell/dp/B0078OUUT2/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1483643753&sr=1-2&keywords=john+bunyan+%22visions+of+heaven+and+hell%22) and is John’s account of his despair that almost led him to suicide and how Jesus stepped in and showed him both Heaven and also Hell and in this rescued John from suicide. I feel like the Lord confirmed to me that the book is actually a trustworthy account, and I find no contradiction in it that would negate it from being Biblically accurate. So, partly from John’s account (but also from the other stuff I listed earlier), it seems like in the culture of Heaven that Jesus is the lamp – as in Revelation 21:23 NIV “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.” And that His love radiates like an ocean of water that flows so strongly to everyone there that they feel as if they are the only one being loved. And some people are brighter than others, but no one is jealous of them (since they too are loving), but instead it is clear that overtime Jesus has been increasing their capacity to receive even more of His love. And as they receive His love, that it flows through them so that they radiate even more of His love than they did before. And minimally every one up in Heaven radiates Jesus’ love this way since they are in their resurrected state and no longer bogged down by sin in any way. On earth they loved less, since Jesus’ love was filtered down by their sinful nature. But in Jesus freeing them from their sinful nature, in Heaven they shine of His love. As I have pondered this, I have thought, “What an amazing place is Heaven in that everyone feels 100% loved by God, they then reflect that love to others, and that relationships there must be incredible since they start with such a wonderful base of agape love.” So, as I see it God’s love is perfect in both Heaven and on earth, but in Heaven it is not being filtered and toned down by the sinful nature of humans. Hence it is displayed much better out of humans in Heaven than in humans on earth. (And BK, I wrote a fuller definition of love in chapter 3 of “Deeper Friendships” which you can read by going to webpage https://sites.google.com/site/deeperfriendships/chapter-3 and doing a Find on “What is love” ) By the way, nice fellowshipping with you both via this blog! 🙂 — Scott

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