Friday, January 2, 2009

The Wrong Approach

Lu 14:8 "When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him;
 9 "and he who invited you and him come and say to you, 'Give place to this man,' and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place.

Walking into a church and demanding a position of leadership is the wrong way to serve God. "Backstabbing your way to the top" often works in the secular world, but not in successful Christian service. All kinds of Christian ministries have been hurt or crippled when unsuitable people, who were not being blessed by God, became leaders. The Greek for "the best place" refers to the best reclining place; it is a place that does not require work or service. It is a place for a person who is too important to work.

God can demote these people in various ways. Sometimes, church attendance plummets after the wrong people seize leadership. Sometimes Christian ministries even shut down as the result of bad leadership. Generally, God's people leave, because they do not want to be under that person's authority. The ones who stay usually do so because they hope that things will get better.

Jesus warned that when God does demote someone, that person "with shame" begins to take the lowest place. The Greek word "shame" can also refer to dishonesty; the demoted Christian lies to himself and to others about what went wrong. When you see a Christian "on the way down," it is likely that you shouldn't believe his explanation of what happened.

In the next post, we'll see the right approach to serving God.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Welcome Back!

Folks, God has blessed us with a good year in Mexico.

We have a lot of retired Christians here in the Gringo Zone of Mexico, and there are a lot of hard feelings when older Christians feel that they should be leaders--far more leaders than are needed. In our three-and-a half years in Mexico, we have seen two Christian churches close, five missionary families leave after failing, and one church badly damaged by a small group of people who seized control. 

At the same time, we began the year averaging seven kids for Saturday morning cartoons in one station wagon, and we are now averaging thirty kids in three vehicles. Wednesday night children's church is running about a dozen, and the Christian cartoons at the orphanage are also running about a dozen. We're hoping and praying for more opportunities to serve the Lord in 2009.

Why do some Christians fail and others succeed? Is it sin, is it methods, or is it how you understand the Word of God? We'll be going through a series, posted about twice a week, of short, interesting explanations about how to succeed in God's work.