Sunday, October 30, 2011
This is a summary of a sermon preached by Peter Brooks at TOAM 2011,India.
Leading and helping people are a challenge. We see Jesus restoring people. We see the grace of God. We see the charge of leadership to feed the people.
TEXT: John 21:18-25
There are three challenges of leadership that I want to talk about ad they also apply to Christian life.
1. 1. Challenge of going where you don’t want to go. Jesus outlines Peter’s future. History tells us that 8 apostles died as martyrs; 2 were crucified i.e. Peter and Andrew. Leadership will take you to death on a cross. In a conference you can say yes to all kinds of things – but the challenge is when the rubber hits the road. Jesus knew what it was to die on a cross.
There are times you have to do things you do not want to do or places you do not want to go.
Peter would not let Jesus wash his feet and then comes a stage in his life where he needed to be dressed. Maturity is allowing God to dress us. Will we allow god to take us places where we do not want to go.
2. 2. Challenge of remaining undistracted by others: Don’t meddle in other people’s affairs. “What is that to you?” You do what God wants you to do. Keep your eyes on Jesus. “Be a voice not an echo”. Don’t do what everyone else is doing. Doesn’t mean you are independent but just follow Jesus and what he tells you to do.
3. To seek His glory only! How do we do this? “Not my will, but yours be done”. Peter went from swearing curses upon him self to being willing to die for the church. The Christian life is a journey of transformation.
2Cor 3:18 we are being changed to be more like Him. We are self centered creatures – we want praise, glory, affirmation and admiration all for ourselves. The Devil wanted this and he was cast out for it. Be Jesus centered. Let the passion of you life be about bringing glory to Jesus. You won’t lose anything by doing this. Jesus is so gracious- he says “bring your fish”. Jesus did not need the disciples fish to cook breakfast for them. He was already cooking some.
Living for his glory on this earth will allow you to enjoy the spoils of heaven.
1Peter 5:4 When Jesus appears you will receive a crown of glory that will never fade. God is going to reward us for catching “his “fish”. We have one short life to live and eternity to celebrate.
Keep being filled with the Holy Spirit and you will be able to face these 3 challenges. The call is still “Follow me”.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
A bride takes great care whilst preparing for her wedding day. Everything has to be just right.
There is a great wedding day coming up. Rev 19- the wedding of the Lamb and the bride is making herself ready for Jesus. The bride is a BIG bride. We need to gather that bride for Jesus.
Matt9: Jesus had a great compassion on the crowd and asks the Lord of the harvest to send out the laborers. Remember this is His bride and the wedding will happen. We are to be involved in preparing the bride. That’s what leaders on a mission are there for. Jesus cares deeply about his bride. He expresses his deep affection for his church." If you love me you will care for my bride." It’s an awesome responsibility.
TEXT: John21: 15-17
Jesus gives Peter a great responsibility.
Verse 15-17: Jesus instructs Peter to Feed his lambs, the care of the sheep, and feed the Sheep. Both men and women are involved in this.
1. Feed my lambs – the Greek verse in v15 is “ania” – little lambs. These are 2 groups of people i.e. children and new believers. Feeding and caring of children and new believers is a massive responsibility. From the lips of children god has ordained praise.
Luke18: Jesus called the children to him and said we need to acknowledge them and care for them and feed them well. Young believers need to be treated in the same way – we need to care for them. Mission is about making disciples and not just converts. We need to be acknowledging children’s ministry as important and not just to keep them out of our hair.
2) Tend my sheep – the Greek word for tend is ‘pomenade. ’It is a verb which implies guiding, guarding, protecting. Be a shepherd. We are under shepherds with the task of looking after HIS people. The pastor, apostle, shepherd, teacher, evangelist all need to be involved in this. Philip Keller wrote some good books on this. A good shepherd will spare no pains to get good grazing grounds. He will protect them from disease because they are susceptible. So from morning to night he looks after them. Even at night he is alert for wolves. That is some description of a shepherd. Sheep are stupid and silly creatures. Sheep require more attention than any other live stock. Unless the shepherd make them move on they will eat grass till its barren. They are near sighted and easily frightened. They are timid. They have no homing instincts. They can’t find their way home. Sheep are lost without a shepherd. Leadership and pastoral ministry involves in this. They are God’s silly sheep. We have to look after them. How?
· Look and listen- always be on the lookout for wolves and trouble. They are alert at night. They are alert for an intruder. Be aware of what’s going on. Simple questions are needed. Why is xyz? Who is xyz? Why is xyz down? Listen to what people are saying. If you are a pastor listen to your wife. Always believe the best but keep your ears to the ground.
· Pray and tune into the Holy Spirit – He will nudge you in the right directions. Pray for those under your care and the unsaved.
· Be caring, courageous and confronting – People are made in the image of God. Don’t beat the sheep verbally. – feed them. Take time to listen to what they are saying. Listening – is really hearing what they are saying. Jesus ‘speech was full of grace and truth. We need to be truthful but is it filled with grace? The tongue is the only instrument that gets sharper with use.
If you show sincere care and concern God will use you to save souls and build people up.
We also need the courage to confront – sin in people’s lives. Kick a wolf out of the church. Be honest about people’s behavior. Confrontation is never easy. Courage is not the absence of fear but mastering it. This is the Shepherds role.
- TEAM it – Jesus sent us out two by two. Appoint Elders – it’s impossible to shepherd a church on your own. If you have no one, phone a friend, use those over you in the Lord. The devil loves to isolate shepherds.
Always be diligent- if its children’s works do it with all your heart. Remember you are serving Jesus. Jesus hands are on our hands and he will help us do it. Professionals and God TV can’t do it for you.
3. Feed my sheep
What are you feeding your people? Is it junk food? Give them a healthy diet.
Barny coombs – if we want to see people grow strong and stand in tough times they should be like trees in Psalms 1. A good shepherd makes them lie down in green pastures and still waters. Teach the bible systematically and do topics i.e. grace, who am I in Christ, Holy spirit, Baptism in the Holy Spirit, finances, worship , prayer, Family , faith, the lost the cross , the gospel.
If you are going through a book, you need to teach but you also need to teach people how to read the word of God for themselves. You don’t have to have an 8 course meal every Sunday. Prepare well. It’s not just preaching – when you meet people one on one – don’t just talk nice platitudes. Help them find strength in God. We must help them find God.
Shepherding is the key to seeing disciples being made. This is the heart of Jesus.
Friday, October 28, 2011
This is a summary of a preaching by Peter Brooks at Together On A Mission at Begaluru,Oct 2011.
Text :John 21
Remember one thing – Jesus will never disappoint you. Others will and you will disappoint others. But, not Jesus.
If you came back from the dead, what would you do? How would you announce your return? Jesus did not come back in great fanfare. He came back quietly and cooked breakfast for the disciples.
I am going to be doing to be discussing the 1) Core of leadership. 2) The charge of leadership and 3) The Challenge of leadership in three sessions.
THE CORE OF LEADERSHIP
Have you ever blown it as a Christian? Have you been a bad witness? We’ve all gone through this. Peter is about to be one of the key apostolic leaders – what is Jesus’ interaction with him? What would you do with the person who is your key leader and he lets you down? In a very critical and crucial moment in Jesus’ life Peter lets Jesus down by denying him.
But when Jesus rose from the dead, in Mark 16:7 he says go and tell the disciples “.. and, Peter”. When God called your name it’s going to change things for you. Jesus did not have to reinstate Peter like the sub heading in our bibles say- Jesus was always for him.
We need to know the grace of God in leadership because it:
1) It keeps you humble and hopeful – the scourge of many leaders is pride – we think more of our selves than we should. Phil 2 reminds us that our attitude should be like Christ. We are saved because he loves us. It is easy to stay humble when you have a lot to be humble about. Don’t lord it over people. God has entrusted people to you and me. God entrusts me with HIS family. Grace underlines that no one is outside the love of God.
Grace maintains our hope for others and for us. He who began a good work will complete it.
2) Loving and laughing – do you get tired out with people? We get frustrated but we can still keep loving people. Don’t you think we as leaders frustrate god at times? Leadership is all about loving people – that may mean loving them, rebuking them, correcting them, crying with them. Prov 7:22 When was the last time you laughed? Don’t take yourself too seriously.
3) Filled and fighting – To lead like Jesus we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Its not easy being a leader. It’s a fight for people’s souls and their maturity. Col 1:28-29- to this I end I labour. Paul struggled for this.
1Thes3:7-8 “Since you are standing firm in the Lord”. Our goal is to help people stand firm in the Lord. Keeping them in love with God, keeping them married, keeping them from ship wreck. Grace keeps us.
Don’t give up the fight. Jesus prayed for them and for them to get through. He is interceding for us.
4) Relational and Real : God wants a relationship with us. His actions are radical. As leaders we need to demonstrate that heart. 1Thes 2: 6-8, 11-12. Paul was gentle as a mother. Don’t be professional, but be a shepherd. Be relational.
5) Forgiving and free- -I have been forgiven much. God has wiped the slate clean. We all get hurt but the grace of God helps us to forgive. Keep short accounts. Be free, Be free to be yourself.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Think about the most extravagant gift you have received. Mukesh Ambani gifted his wife an aeroplane on her birthday.
What do we know about extravagant people in the Bible? What do we know of extravagant people in Church history?
C. T Studd was a very, very rich cricketer – he was the Tendulkar of his time. One day his brother came close to death and that got him thinking. It made him think about his popularity, his money, his fame. He went to listen to D. L Moody and there he became a Christian. His life was transformed and he became passionate about telling people about Jesus. He continued to play cricket for a while so that he could take his friends to listen to D. L Moody.
At the age of 25 he came into a rich inheritance. He decided to give it away- he gave a part of it to D.L Moody, to George Muller, the Salvation Army (from that money, they sent 50 people to India), Hudson Taylor (who went to China)and he gave a bit to the lady he was to marry (she in turn gave it all away).
C.T Studd went to China. After that he went to Africa. He said “no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him” What an amazing life!
Of course, the most extravagant giving of all time has been from God. He gave His only son, Jesus, to come to earth and died a horrible death on a cross, so that our sins could be paid for and we can be forgiven and experience new life.
There is another life I want to talk about this morning. It’s in the bible. Our text for today is
John 12:1-7 Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him.3 Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages” 6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
7 “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
In the gospel of Matthew in chapter 26 we are told this dinner was given at Simon the leper’s home.
Simon the “leper”_ - possibly he was healed by Jesus or else he would not have been socializing with people. (He would have been ostracized and living in a “leper colony”). Martha was serving – probably helping the hostess. She was always serving in the background. People may not have noticed but God records it for us here. When you serve, don’t think that God doesn’t take notice of what you do.
Verse3- Mary takes a pint of pure nard and expensive perfume. (Commentators say it came from North India – must have been what we call “Attar”) She does the unconventional thing i.e. enter the men’s section in the house and pours approximately 300 grams/ ml of perfume. The Alabaster jar was no ordinary jar. The jar was expensive in itself. She could have delicately poured out the perfume – but she spares nothing – she breaks it. She poured it on his feet and head and then wipes his feet with her mixed that gets mixed with her tears as well. This was indeed a demonstration of very extravagant love and devotion.
Luke 7:36-48 Records it as Mary’s expression of love because she realized how much she had been forgiven. By contrast, Simon who was healed gets rebuked for not washing Jesus’ feet ( Luke 7:44) which was the customary thing to do when a visitor stepped off the dusty streets into your home.
The reality is that we are all BIG sinners. We need to reflect on how much we have been forgiven. When we do this our prayers and thanks giving will overflow.
How did the disciples react?
Verse 4 – Judas was vocal but the others also rebuked her harshly. Judas calculated that it was a year’s wages. They were calculating the cost. Mary was thinking with her heart.
Today is Gift Day. Let’s give with our hearts and not our heads. Let us express devotion to Him.
Did he say “Oh you shouldn’t have done that! He allowed it. Mary got a chance to participate in Jesus’ burial. The perfume was wasted on Jesus – it prepared him for his burial.
How can we be extravagant like this?
1) Extravagant devotion – in worship. Mary wasted all she had on Jesus. Who and what are you wasting your life on?
2) Serving – out time and energy for things of the kingdom. Steven Jobs is dead – he left it all behind. Where is he now?
3) Reputation – she did the unconventional. Only slaves touched another’s feet. That’s what she did and more. Nothing is below our dignity when it comes to serving Jesus. WE are unworthy to untie his sandals.
4) J. C Ryll – “the grateful act of one humble woman is recorded in 150 languages (maybe more today) and all over the globe” and will be remember for generations to come.
Are we willing to waste our time, money, serving, and reputation for Jesus? There are great rewards when we do this.