Piercing the Plod

Thinking of those shepherds who washed their socks that night…

Boring life that – watching sheep.  A fairly predictable plod.  Not that interesting of a dinner party response.  Harder work than you’d ideally like.  Stuck with the same colleagues for years on end. That little bit less rewarding than you feel you deserve.  It’s what your dad did, and then what your son will do after you’ve gone.

Then one ordinary night angels appear in the sky, and tell you about Jesus.

It’s back to the shepherding the next day, and again the days after. The mainstream media haven’t noticed. The powerful and the popular are unperturbed.  But you know – the plod has been pierced.  There’s more to all this than you thought.  There’s a greater reality than the daily grind – and it’s close enough to grab. There’s hope on this hillside now.  And it’s because of this baby born in bethlehem.

All over the earth, amongst the obscure and the unimportant, the daily plod is still being pierced by the message of the Prince of Peace.  You might not always be picking up on it, but everything is being changed by the proclamation of his arrival in that manger.  Good news of great joy has come to you.

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#teamofcaptains

At the small group level this year we’ve gone from talking in terms of, “Small group is for you, not you for small group” i.e. a low challenge, highly invitational ‘hey, come and check this out’.  Take what you like, leave what you don’t.  You don’t need to sign up for anything, just come and be served, enjoy yourself and benefit from it.

And, over time, into: “#teamofcaptains“. A captain has ownership. They take the success or failure of the group personally.  They lead, mainly by example, but also vocally when required. They put their body on the line, and occasionally play hurt.  They serve as a representative of the group, even when not on the pitch.  The most successful teams are always those who have captains in every position, the armband becoming an irrelevance.

Both are valid and glorious truths in the Kingdom, there’s a time for both, and it’s rarely a clear cut, ‘hey, we’ve moved from one to the other’. It’s just I want you to have that hunger to see people move on.  On into increasing Christlikeness.  The one who came to serve and not to be served.  The one who said, ‘it’s more blessed to give than to receive’, the one who’s making us into fishers of men.

Sweet moments for me have been when it’s bang in the middle of the #teamofcaptains season. I’m learning to milk them, because it’s always sooner than you think that the real Captain says, “Come on, let’s go to another place, so I can spread the message there also”, and it’s back into, “come and see”.

The Kingdom is near, and He’s on the move. If you want to get involved then jump in with some leadership development.

Leadership Development or Death

The churches and ministries I’ve been part of over the last two decades have either had an earnest intentionality about developing and releasing new leaders (almost to the point of being obnoxious about it) along with a tested plan for actually doing so… or, they’ve ceased to exist.

Go great commission, go 2 Timothy 2:2, but wherever you look this disciple making thing has turning consumers into producers, eavesdroppers to evangelists, audiences into apostles baked right into it.

Jesus poured himself relentlessly into near-future leaders.

So, disciple, how are you developing leaders?  And how’s it going?

 

 

The pursuit of purity

Of course you’ll start off with mixed motives for doing this. Go for it anyway.  What’s the alternative? Authentically pursuing sin?

And of course it’s going to pinch sometimes.  If it never pinches, is it really purity you’re pursuing?

The Leader proclaimed:

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

That’s worth shooting for isn’t it?

Grind

The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.

There are large aspects to this walk of discipleship that would accurately be described as “work”.

You wake up a bit earlier than you would naturally. You get in gear when you don’t particularly feel like it. You embrace the hassle of travel. You sweat a little bit at tasks that aren’t immediately titillating. You plan, strategise and hopefully get better over time. You accept authority (which means doing stuff that you might not have chosen to do because somebody you think is actually less clever than you has asked you to do it). You have the odd day, or several, where you think,’is this making the blindest bit of difference?’  You wrestle occasionally with the thought that the grass might actually be greener on the other side.  You collaborate with people you mightn’t naturally want to be drinking buddies with. It’s more obscure than your pride is comfortable with.  It’s draining.  Now and then, it’s cold discipline that keeps you going.

I asked the most anointed person I had access to what a typical day looked like for them…

“Rebooking mis booked flight tickets and working out how to get money from one country to another without getting ripped off or being illegal.” Came the reply. No trip to the third heaven then?

The pie chart in this life will have a fairly big portion marked simply “Grind.”

Today disciple, no turning back.  The harvest really is plentiful, and if it feels like work, then just maybe you’re doing it right.

Fun Healing Friendships

Disciples, this is what we deal in.

Fun. Enjoyable, energising.  Lots of laughter.  Meals. Memories made. Malarkey.

Healing.  Because we’re not there yet.  We accept where we’re each at, and we love each other enough to try and move the other person forward. We stand with each other, we fight each other’s battles.  We pray for each other.

Friendship.  Because friendship trumps servitude in Jesus’ plan.  We’re called into the friendship of the trinity.  We really do have a friend in Jesus, and he loves to make his followers into bands of brothers.

I mean, you don’t really think the Lord of life is going to settle for you just having boring, embittering acquaintances do you?