Leaders Lack of Faith

As Katie and I are reading through the bible in 90 days, I’m sharing things that have jumped out to me. It’s interesting what jumps out to you when you read 12 pages of the Bible in one sitting. Today I’m working through Numbers. I often think Leviticus and Numbers are the reasons people don’t read through the Bible when they set to to do so. But, if you skip them, you skip some gems.

Today I came across Numbers 11:11 – 15. The nation of Israel is in the wilderness and they are whining to Moses. So Moses goes to God:

11 Moses said to the LORD, “Why have you dealt ill with your servant? And why have I not found favor in your sight, that you lay the burden of all this people on me? 12 Did I conceive all this people? Did I give them birth, that you should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom, as a nurse carries a nursing child,’ to the land that you swore to give their fathers? 13 Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they weep before me and say, ‘Give us meat, that we may eat.’ 14 I am not able to carry all this people alone; the burden is too heavy for me. 15 If you will treat me like this, kill me at once, if I find favor in your sight, that I may not see my wretchedness.”

As a leader, I can resonate with Moses. Being a pastor can be hard. People have expectations of you, your wife and your family that are impossible to live up to. People will expect you to be like their last pastor, even when they didn’t like their last pastor. They will complain about the music, even if they like the music. I remember a mentor telling me once that when it comes to being a pastor, everyone in your church thinks they know how easy it is and how to do it better than you. He said, “Honestly, you are probably the least qualified in their minds to do your job.” While I’m blessed to not have the church he had and have a great team of people who support us, believe in us, pray for us, hold up my arms when I’m tired. It can be difficult.

So I can relate to Moses and his whining to God about the nation of Israel.

But, Moses and leaders often miss something. God called him to lead the nation of Israel. In the same way pastor, right now, God has called you to lead and love those under your care in your church. No matter how difficult it is, God has designed you to lead them. He has called you, your wife and other leads to come alongside of them, love them, bring the gospel to bear on their sin and idols.

I can relate to Moses because I can understand wanting to blame God when life and leadership get hard. When the people I’m called to love are hard to love. When the church I’m called to lead is difficult or not going according to “my plan.” I get his lack of faith and trust in God.

God’s response is great in Numbers 11:16 – 18:

16 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Gather for me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them, and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you. 17 And I will come down and talk with you there. And I will take some of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you may not bear it yourself alone.

He tells Moses, “Get some other leaders, get some other men to walk with you, to carry the burden.”

I’m convinced, one of the reasons many pastors and ministry leaders suffer in their leadership, one of the reasons it is so difficult is because we make it difficult by doing it alone, by carrying the burdens alone, dealing with angry people alone. We suffer in temptation and sin alone. We don’t let people in, we don’t let people help, we don’t let people care for us, pray for us, love us. We don’t admit we aren’t superman, that we need help.

At Revolution, I’m blessed to have an amazing team. Mike, Paul and I often joke that together we make a great leader. It’s true. I need them, in the same way that they need me.

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Links of the Week

  1. Mark Beeson on Encouragement and leadership. Great stuff.
  2. 6 tips for preaching on easter from Mark Driscoll.
  3. Brian Dodd on 12 warning signs of unhealthy leadership.
  4. Steven Furtick is unapologetic about being all about the numbers. I’m with him.
  5. Geoff Ashley on Grow up and get married. This is the most helpful piece I’ve seen on shepherding, loving and challenging single adults.
  6. Matt Carter on What missional communities do.
  7. Randy Alcorn on The doctrine of hell. If you read Love Wins or have questions about it, this is a helpful post to check out.
  8. Forbes Magazine on the coming men’s movement. Wonder when the church will catch up and reach men and speak to who they are and give them a biblical picture of what they are to become.
  9. Jeff Vanderstelt has a new blog, check it out.

Links of the Week

  1. Steven Furtick on Count what counts. Numbers matter but are we going after the right numbers and tracking and excited about the right things.
  2. Scott Williams on Supervisor Lid Principle. Leaders decide to what extent their followers have success.
  3. Mark Driscoll answering the question, “What makes the best case for God?”
  4. 5 signs you have twitter envy #TE.
  5. Mark Batterson on Innocence lost. This is a must read for parents about taking on the role of protector for your children and how you help them engage the world while protecting them. A difficult balance.

Vintage Jesus: How did People Know Jesus was Coming?

We started our series Vintage Jesus today. We talked about how people knew Jesus was coming. There are over 60 Old Testament prophecies concerning someone called the Messiah. We looked at 20 of those today and how Jesus fulfilled each one of those. Jesus actually fufilled all of them, but that would have taken longer to go through each one.

It was amazing to see the prophecies line up as I was writing this message. The messiah is someone who came through the line of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob & Judah (Genesis 12:3, 17:9, 49:10; Numbers 24:17). His mom would be a virgin (Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 7:14). He would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). He would spend time in Egypt as a refugee (Hosea 11:1). He would commit no sins (Isaiah 53:9). He will go to the temple (Malachi 3:1), which is amazing because the temple was destroyed in A.D. 70, so we have a deadline on when the Messiah will come. He would perform miracles (Isaiah 35:5 – 6). He would be celebrated like a king, while riding on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9). He would be betrayed by a close friend (Psalm 41:9). He would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12 – 13). He would be beaten, despised, rejected & he would not defend himself (Isaiah 50:3, 6, 53:7). He would be crucified through his hands and feet, even though crucifixion was not invented for another 300 years after this prophecy (Psalm 22:16). None of his bones would be broken (Exodus 12:46; Psalm 34:20). He would be forsaken by God (Psalm 22:1). He would be crucified with sinners (Isaiah 53:12), buried in a rich man’s tomb (Isaiah 53:9). He would rise from the dead (Psalm 16:10; Isaiah 53:10 – 11). That after death, he would ascend to heaven to sit at the right hand of God, which is where he is today (Psalm 68:18, 110:1).

When you boil it all down, it is an incredibly detailed list. It is a short list of people who even come close to filling the list, let alone fulfilling everything on the list. And Jesus fulfilled them all.

As I was writing this week, I was struck by how involved God is in history. How much a part of the unfolding of the story of creation He is and how a part of our story He is. The power that he has for these to be true is incredible.

I think this was a great way to start off a new series, especially as we head into the holiday season.

Books to check out:
Vintage Jesus (Mark Driscoll)
The Case for Christmas (Lee Strobel)