Monday, January 26, 2015


I heard a message last night by Roger Yancy, the DOM of Tryon-Evergreen Baptist Association. It’s possible none of that meant anything to you, but what he said probably would have. He spoke on servant-leadership.

It seems God intends us to live our lives leading others into fruitfulness by serving them. The task is daunting. The servant is not just the waiter, he is the example of how a waiter waits. A servant-leader must be what he wants others to become. That’s the part that changed a good presentation into a message from the Lord. That’s where God stopped time and aimed my thoughts toward the video He was playing in my mind of my own life in comparison to what Dr. Yancy was saying. Quite painful.

I grew up during the era where dads’ said, “Do what I say, not what I do.” It was as if we were wired to responded to command over against example. At the heart was an admission, “I don’t want you to be like I am. I want more for you.” But what does that “more” look like? How is it implemented in a life? How close is it to where I am living now? Is it reachable or merely an empty promise?

It’s like the theorists who believe the world would be better if their ideals were practiced but are content to live in the meantime contrary to those ideals. Like people who adamantly accuse combustive engines for polluting the world, yet drive or fly to the venue where they reverberate the air with the damage they themselves have helped create.

Where’s integrity? The servant-leader may still have further to go and lives anticipating more to follow, but he lives in the meantime demonstrating the expectations he places on others. Pressing them toward godliness, he lives a godly life. Urging them toward purity, he lives a pure life. Suggesting change that helps them better reflect the image of Jesus in their lives, he holds himself up as an example of what that change can look like.

Whether in the home, organization or church, the servant-leader remains the best visual to help others find their way. And since we never reach perfection, even our stumbling becomes a lesson on humility. We cannot lead others where we have not been. We can point them beyond where we are but we can only lead them down familiar paths.

An old Indian guide was leading a tourist through the forest. The tourist asked the guide, where is the path? The guide said, “I am your path. Follow me.”

Jesus said the same to His men. Whenever they asked where they were going, He would remind them, “Just follow Me, I am your way.” And in that He set the example of how we were to lead others.

Friday, January 23, 2015

When Life Becomes a Tunnel

I haven’t had much to say in the past several months. Still don’t for that matter.  But, like most folks, that doesn’t stop me from saying something anyway.

It is interesting how circumstances tend to squeeze life from us. We’re bopping along with little care then the door slams behind us and we are in a room we are totally unfamiliar with. The physics remains the same but the movement is strange.

We think we are making progress, only to find our feet have been moving but we’re not going anyplace. Time is passing but we look at the clock and the hands seem frozen. Stuff is going past us but if we stop and look at it, it hardly seems to be moving at all.

Don’t know what you might be going through but whatever it is, it can change you—either for a moment or a while.

I’ve been sick a lot this past year. Nine documented cases of flu, bronchitis, pneumonia. That has consumed a lot of energy and passion. When the greatest desire you have is just getting well, life becomes a very small journey. The scope becomes limited to a day—a day when this will be all over. That doesn’t leave much room for imaginative living.

But it doesn’t have to be limited to illness. All you have to do is fill in the blank. I’m dealing with _____________________. And whatever you placed in the blank becomes the matter that has holds your life hostage. Death, job, marriage, kids, parents, aging—all energy, desire, passion is consumed by getting past that one thing.

So you ask me how I’ve gotten over it? I haven’t, yet. I am in the process of renewing my mind to greater things than my own frustration. There is nowhere in Scripture where anyone says, “It’s okay to live by your feelings and let your circumstances determine your outlook.” Instead the constant message is “Live by faith in the One who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

We cannot put God on hold while we deal with our circumstances. We invite Him into them. We trust Him through them. We anticipate a timely outcome only He can provide. We expect to grow as a result.

Circumstances are incidents of life, neutral in effect, but embedded with the potential of upsetting the spiritual balance of our lives. Like a temptation, they’re merely a suggestion from which we determine our response. They are an attractive lure we don’t have to bite. Their power lies in their ability to tug at what urges us to focus on ourselves, doubt God and gum up the progress He intends.

My plan? Tell myself no. If you hear me saying no, I am probably in the middle of the fight to deny myself the response to refuse to trust God. Right now, I'm still a work in progress. The tunnel may remain for a while, but my confidence in getting through rests on Him who loved me and gave Himself up for me."