Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Greater Works


One of the most important things that Jesus did was delegate the responsibility and authority of His ministry to his disciples

Jesus knew that the disciples would do their greatest work only after He left them.  He said, "He who believes in Me the works that I do will he do and greater works than these will He do because I go to intercede at the right hand of my Father." (John 14:12)

We need to empower those who work with us in ministry, those who we lead and encourage and instruct to have the desire and the authority to trust God for greater works without having to constantly supervise or control them.

Jesus knew that it would be for the disciples’ benefit for Him to ascend to heaven Jesus said, "It is for your benefit that I leave you, for after I leave I will send you the Holy Spirit, who will guide and teach you and empower you." (John 16:6) 

It’s not that human leaders can fail you but that they will.  When we allow the Lord to work through our gifts and callings and we allow the Holy Spirit to have control of our lives we can do these ‘Greater works'.

When we hold on to control, when we refuse to release people and give them authority to do the work that God has for them, we actually limit what God can and will do through them.    Authority is to be delegated.  When authority is delegated it is released and multiplied. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Submission as Discipline


So often today we find that people are quick to try to redefine words in order to make them more palatable or acceptable. One of the words is submission.   In a world that is constantly trying to encourage people to be assertive and express their point of view and even demand their rights, submission is often overlooked as a more appropriate option.

The Bible has a number of direct references to the word, submit and submission.  According to Strong’s Lexicon, the original Greek word was a military term referring to the arrangement of troops but also in a voluntary, non-military manner of  yielding, providing support and cooperation.

In the world submission is thought of as a weakness.  As a result, we are encouraged to not submit but rather to compete.  We compete for attention, for an audience and for our ideas, whether right or wrong, to be recognized.

However practically every way, despite the culture’s instances on being assertive and the distaste for submission, we actually submit to each other everyday.   At a four-way stop, you submit to the person on the right.   Getting on an elevator, we submit to those getting off.   When we go shopping we submit to their lines and queues, even counting the number of items we have in our baskets in order to submit to a small sign that says, “Express Check-out, 12 items or less”.

Jesus provided the best example of submission by His submission to the plan of salvation.  Jesus was not only the incarnation of God but He was born in order to die.   He submitted to His Father in Gethsemane when He said, “Not my will Father, but yours”.  He also modeled for us the appropriate  path of submission in serving his disciples  in washing their feet and in His submission to Pilot and the religious authorities. 

Practicing submission is actually a spiritual discipline.   When we serve each other, we submit to each other.   Wives are not the only ones that are to submit but we are to submit to one another  (Eph 5:21).

When we live in submission to God and each other, we are practicing the principles that Jesus showed us as He loved his disciples and showed them how to serve each other.   Biblical submission is not living according to what the world expects or defines as ‘success’ but by the principles and calling of Jesus. As a spiritual discipline it provides freedom, an alignment with the Gospel and true peace.   Richard Foster writes in Celebration of Discipline that submission is “the ability to lay down the terrible burden of always needing to get our own way".  

When we understand submission as discipline we can practice the discipline by serving God, by serving each other and contributing greatly through the plan that God has established for us. 

"What is repentance and is it required for salvation?”

The concept of repentance is often misunderstood.  While repentance definitely means to feel sorry for a previous action, to decide ...