The capable Bible student is rooted and grounded in the spiritual disciplines of the faith, whose drive is their passionate love relationship to the Lordship of Christ. And what flows out of it is the desire to love God's people, to herd them with love into the pastures of maturity. To lead where the leader has been before, and the people have not been. The mature Christian or leader must exhibit the maturity of the Christian life as the result of their growth and experience in the faith. An effective leader cannot be new to the faith. Even the Apostle Paul spent three years being discipled by Barnabas, and he received his call and was empowered directly from Christ Himself. I have seen too many immature Christians who lead by who they are in society, and not who they are in Christ.
A few years ago while on staff at a church, we received a family who came to faith at a crusade, and the father was the founder of a major fast food franchise. So in less than a year he was my boss, and the president and ruling Elder of the congregation. Now he was a great guy and very successful in business, but he did not know how to run a church. So he instinctually ran it like a business and his policies failed. He did not know how to lead in a church, which is different than in a corporation, even though a lot of the principles are transferable. After several years he did become a good leader as he matured in the faith. But the church suffered during his learning curve needlessly.
There is no substitute to time spent in the face of our Lord, with a surrendered heart and a learning will. We must be willing to be humble no matter who we are and our experience. I had to learn this lesson a few years back when I went from being on staff at a large and influential church to a small church in a small town. My first thought before accepting the call was that I was too good for it. But God wanted me there to teach me to walk closer to him, and not walk in the position that I held. So I did, and I experienced humbleness. Nobody knew me as the conference speaker or author or big position in a big church, but just a youth pastor in a small church. But this is where Christ wanted me, and I learned a lot. It prepared me for the road He had for me. And I'm glad I went there because I learned things in a broader context, that I could not have in a large "mega" church.
"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.
Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful." (II Timothy 2:15-16; 22-24)
This passage is a testimony to the importance of holiness, and to keep ourselves growing in our spiritual lives so that our emotional selves are impacted and grow too.
Spiritual maturity will lead into emotional maturity most of the time, unless there is some physiological or psychological problem, or deep stress that has never been resolved. It is imperative for the leader to be in control of their emotional health. If not, they need to step down and seek help both spiritually and psychologically. If the leader is given to fits of rage or is just overly emotional, they cannot set the example that Christ has. We are not to be Vulcan's exhibiting pure logic and no emotions, absolutely not. God created us as emotional beings, but as with anything we must have control of the excess and the potential for rampage.
Remember to begin in prayer!
· Prayer 5 min
· Pick one of the options 5-10 min
· Read lesson and bible passages 10-15min
· Discussion groups 15-30 min
· Going deep 5-10 min
· Application 5 min
· End in prayer.
Total lesson time 45 min- 1 hr
Optional start up:
Play the song, "Aware of the Wonder" by Geoff Moore from the CD "Friend like You." After playing the song, read the words from the CD jacket.
§ Ask what is the nature of God, and why does it lead us closer to Him?
Optional start up:
Read the poem from the beginning of the workbook. Read it slowly with their eyes closed. Ask them to visualize the words. After, explain some of the words if you have a younger audience:
"This book contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe in it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler's map, the pilgrim's staff, the pilot's compass, the soldier's sword, and the Christian's charter. Here paradise is restored, heaven opened, and the gates of hell disclosed. Christ is its grand object, our good its design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. It is given you in life, will be opened in the judgment, and be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labor, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents."
(Try passing a photocopy with each clause highlighted, then have students take turns reading it as a story in the round)The lesson: INTRODUCTION to the study of God's Word: (Make "7-UP" Yours)
"Remember the Morning watch," it was the rallying cry on the Cambridge University campus in 1882. Several students' intent on growing deeper in their faith at a time when the popularity of Godly devotion was being replaced by scientific and liberal thinking. These students decided to take a stand in adversity and academic backlash. Their lives would echo as they do today on our public high school and college campuses. They found the harsh reality that Christianity was not an academic pursuit, instead filling their schedules with lectures, sporting events, studies, and student gatherings and so forth, just like we do today, but without TV!
The students found a fatal flaw in their busyness, even though they made a commitment to honor Christ: They had little time for the one they were honoring! As they described "A crack in our spiritual armor, if not closed will bring us disaster!"
So they sought an answer to their dilemma, a scheme to balance the hectic schedules and honor God. They came up with a plan called "The Morning Watch," that the first few minutes of the day will be dedicated to know the Lord.
One of the young men who was not fond of mornings devised a mechanical contraption with all kinds of levers and pulleys to persuade him out of bed! This idea spread like a wild fire and was used by God for a revival in England, which was depicted in the film "Chariots of Fire." The modern missionary movement was born as many Evangelical Ministries are still in existence today, such as YMCA and the Boy Scouts. Many famous pastors and missionaries who influenced many generations all stemming from giving God the first fruits of their day.
So will you meet this challenge?The Challenge is simple, the idea is pure and practical and only requires your obedience and persistence! God desires our intimacy, our relationship, our communion with His holiness. Wow what an honor and opportunity to go before the holy Creator of the universe. Psalm 5:3; 57:7
So I challenge you to set aside time each day, the best time you have when you are the most alert and able to go before your creator and redeemer.
Start it off simple, say 7 minutes, and you can call it A7-UP!@ Seven minutes a day, seven days a week. Psalm 5:3
First pray for guidance, and prepare your heart and mind, take 2 minute.
Second read a passage from the "New Testament", and spend at least 4 minutes.
Third spend the rest of the 2 1/2 minutes in specific prayer. Such as your parents/family, school/work, people in your life, confession of your sins, and what you are thankful for. You may add the problems of our society, or spend it in silence and reverent mediation over the passage you just read, and that's it!
Then as you progress, you will have the desire to spend even more time. Most committed Christians will spend more then an hour in prayer each day plus time in scripture. You say you do not have the time? Well many Christian leaders do it and they have schedules that would blow yours away! There is always time, the question is will you make it?
So when the morning watch comes...
Discussion Questions "INTO THY WORD"
Open Q: When you are at a bookstore and see a lot of books that say "The Complete Bible of Computer Knowledge" or "The Bible of Facts" etc. How does this make you feel; does it cheapen the real Word of God?
1. Will you be willing to make a commitment to the "Morning Watch?"
2. What is it like to share your faith at your campus or work?
3. Does popularity and fear to offend have a bearing on how you model the character of Christ, or be His witness?
4. What were the young men faced with on the Cambridge campus?
5. Have you ever faced a similar dilemma?
6. Could you see yourself facing it in the future, why or why not?
7. What flaws are in your life? And what can you do about them?
8. Have you ever been apart of something that just took off, a fad or following a commitment?
9. What specific things do you have to do in your life to make "7-UP" work? "Make 7-up yours?"
10. So what are you going to do when the alarm clock sounds?
Make a commitment if you are willing to stay with it on the "Morning Watch."
Now if you are not a morning person, pick another time and stick with it. Use the "90 Day Experience" By Jim Burnes, or a "One year Bible" as your scripture guide. This may make the 7 minutes more like 15, if this is too long to start off with, cut in half.
Spend 7 minutes practicing the morning watch. Assign the passage Philippians 3. Turn off the lights for 3 minutes of dead silence and ask students to ponder their passage. Then close in prayer.
© 2000, Rev. Richard .J. Krejcir Ph.D. Discipleship Tools www.discipleshiptools.org