Leaders of a Different Stripe

Categories: Church › History › Founding Education › Homeschooling Education › Philosophy of Education Education › Training Life Christian › Persecution Man › Psychology › Leadership

On Thursday I reluctantly ditched what I had prepared on this passage because I thought that God was leading me to speak on Leadership of a Difference Stripe. I am going to be contrasting the leadership of the Sanhedrin with the godly leadership of Peter and John. And there are a lot of lessons that I'm going to just skip over in this passage. For example, this is the classic passage on teaching the principles of godly civil disobedience. And I've decided not to delve into that subject – at least in this chapter. And there are some other lessons that we won't touch on, including the title that is in your worship notes.

But in this passage we have a wonderful glimpse into what makes for godly leadership. This was leadership under testing. Many times you can see what a leader is made of when he is put under fire and under enormous pressure and stress. And what is unique about this passage is that you see such a stark contrast between the leadership of the Sanhedrin (which was also under pressure) and the leadership of Peter and John. And I want to focus on five contrasts.

The first contrast is the contrast found in leadership training. The leaders of the Sanhedrin were all trained in a totally different method than the one Jesus used with His apostles. And verse 13 hints at what those differences were.

Verse 13. "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled." That word marveled means astonished or even thunderstruck. Verse 14 indicates that they were at a loss for words. They weren't expecting Peter's bold words or the way he spoke with authority. And his effectiveness in ministry and in words was so contrary to what their philosophy of education would have expected that it dumbfounded them. So it ought to make us sit up and ask, " What's going on here. What is so unusual? Why are they marveling?" We need to investigate

Obviously the Sanhedrin expected these two fishermen to be utterly intimidated by their presence. After all, they were not Ivy League graduates, they weren't part of the in-crowd. And this could easily have become a very intimidating scene. Just to give you perspective: The Sanhedrin was the Supreme Court of the land, and the aristocracy of Israel had gathered to judge them. These are the people who had the most learning, the most wealth, the most power, the most connections. They spoke with authority. They probably spoke much better Hebrew than these two fishermen. But the words that came out of Peter's mouth in verses 8-12 threw them for a loop and they didn't quite know what to say. Rather than being fearful, Peter and John were bold. Rather than being shaken, they had presence of mind. Rather than being intimidated, they spoke with confidence and authority. Rather than being on the defensive, they went on the offensive, even accusing the leaders of murder. Rather than saying, "I think," they spoke with certainty. Rather than compromising, they spoke of Christ as the only way.

When I went to the underground training seminar Elkhart, Indiana earlier this Fall, I had the opportunity to talk with several high school graduates and college graduates who had been through nine months of intensive training that had turned these young people into leaders with the same kind of characteristics I have just outlined from verses 8-13. It's the leadership training model that Jesus used of five C's and we will look at that in a moment.

But I want you to notice here that the words of the disciples reminded the Sanhedrin of the way Jesus used to speak. Verse 1 goes on to say, "And they realized that they had been with Jesus." There weren't any other leaders that they knew of who had these kinds of characteristics. There was something about the leadership of Peter and John that transcended credentials. In John 7:15 they said the same thing about Jesus. It uses the same word. "And the Jews marveled, saying, "How does this Man know letters, having never studied?" There was something about His presence and character that transcended the credentials of the world. And the two Greek words used in Acts 4 for "uneducated" and "untrained" are words referring to the credentialing process of the rabbinical schools. The first word is literally "unlettered," and dictionaries point out that this does not mean inability to read because every Jew was literate in that sense. They could all read. This was unlettered in the formal rabbinical training required in their seminaries. They had to memorize massive amounts of information about what this, that and the other rabbi and scholar believed. And so John 7:15 was saying that Jesus didn't have a degree to His name. Isn't that interesting? One dictionary says of the first word in Acts 4:13, "unschooled, probably in the sense of not having a formal rabbinic education" (NIV). Another dictionary says, it "refers to a lack of formal rabbinic training." (Louw & Nida). In other words, Jesus, Peter and John didn't have a Master of Divinity degree from the approved, accredited schools. The second word refers to a non-professional. The rabbis had professionalized the pastorate and you couldn't be a professional until you jumped through the right number of hoops.

Now with that background, I think that you can see this verse says a lot about the Bible's philosophy of education. The Bible does not consider you to be educated simply when you've stuffed your head full of facts. Luke 6:40 says, "A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher." That is dealing with far more than facts. The Bible speaks of a transference of life, of character, of competencies. And doing that requires spending lots of time with the teacher. Mark 3:14-15 says, "Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons." He taught them, He showed them and then He gave them challenging assignments to practice with.

Jay Adams wrote a book quite a few years ago that applies this concept to education of children. I don't think he quite goes far enough. But I found it helpful several years ago. But I want to apply it to pastors, since that is closest to what this text is talking about. I think this passage says at least this: we shouldn't think that degrees make a pastor. In fact, seminary education is probably one of the worst ways to train a pastor. And there are seminary professors who agree that it is not the Biblical way. They just feel stuck in the system. And I think that the church needs to rethink this whole area of the preparation of ministers. By bringing on interns we are trying to get closer to the Biblical model. But typical seminaries that people travel to go to do not even remotely resemble the training found in the Old or New Testaments. Instead, they ironically resemble the methods used by the Pharisees and rabbis of that day. The rabbis considered preparation to consist of filling heads with massive amounts of information and getting people to spit that information back out. Though the rabbis and Pharisees were Hebrews, they ironically abandoned the Old Testament Hebrew model of apprenticeship, and instead adopted the popular Greek model of the classrom. Apprenticeship is what Christ did with the apostles. But the rabbis adopted the popular Greek model. Jesus completely bypassed that education. We need to keep in mind that the Scripture says He was unlettered in the rabbinic tradition. He also made his disciples bypass that education. Of all of the apostles, Paul was the only one who had been trained in the rabbinical method. He was lettered, credentialed and professional. But Philippians 3 says of all that, "what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ" and then he goes on to speak of the things that were transformational for his ministry.

And they can be summarized in the five C's of leadership training that was part of what I learned in the underground church leadership training seminar: First, knowing Christ in the reality of His power. In that chapter Paul said that union with Christ and knowing the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings and being conformed to His death was absolutely foundational for his ministry. Yet it is missing in the traditional model of education. In fact, many people look at those verses and I think are mystified by them. You cannot learn that from books. You can only learn it by being with Jesus. And I think one of the most important preparations for the ministry, for motherhood, for fatherhood or for any leadership position is to learn what it means to abide in Christ; to develop a deep devotional life; to practice the presence of Christ throughout the day, to be sensitive to His leading; to experience His empowering. The power of their ministry in Acts 4 came, according to Luke from being with Jesus. And if you bypass that, no amount of book learning will make you an effective leader.

The second C for Paul was community. Development of community. And Christ established a community within which the disciples could learn. It was a community of twelve. But he also put them into contact with family communities, and the larger community of the church. And it's in those relationships that the first and third C's are most full developed. If you wonder why God makes us grow up in families, its because you learn far more of God's grace by having to grow up with sinful brothers and sisters than you do by being a single child. There are challenges there as well as a support system there that makes the first C important and the third C likely.

The third C in Philippians 3 is character. And likewise, in this chapter, it was the apostles' character as much as their knowledge that surprised the rulers. Leadership training that fails to deal with character issues is a disaster waiting to happen. And what a contrast in character that this chapter presents between the Sanhedren leadership and the leadership of Peter and John.

The fourth C for Paul was his calling, and throughout this passage a sense of calling is what sustained the disciples when they were being opposed. By the way, it was a sense of calling that made them say "We cannot but speak." And calling goes way beyond pastoral ministry. It is in knowing that you have been called by God Himself to serve Him as a mother, or a president of a company, or an elder that you develop this sense that everything you do is true service for Lord. Your sense of calling will change what drives your sense of significance. Let me repeat that, Your sense of calling will change what drives your sense of significance. Too many leaders are driven by a need for significance that is foreign to the Bible. It's the same sense of significance that drove these Sanhedren leaders. They gained their sense of significance from their credentials, by climbing the corporate ladder, by security, by power and by popularity (or at least by being popular within the tiny in-crowd that you belong to). But that meant their sense of calling was from man and not from God. Everything that motivated them was man-centered. Scripture says that they were fearful of losing their jobs from the Romans. It was a man-centered sense of significance. And calling is a powerful antidote that godly leaders need to gain.

The fifth C is competencies. Seminaries teach some competencies, but not nearly everything that needs to be learned. Most competenices are only learned on the job as you watch what others do and then do them yourself. Jesus constantly showed the apostles, then let them try it, then sent them out on challenging assignments that stretched them. And that is not just a methodology that should be used for ministry. When training our children, we need to instruct them, show them, then give them a challenging assignment that stretches their faith and their present abilities. It is only by such stretching that their skills grow.

So there is a lot assumed in verse 13, and is illustrated in the other verse. The negative – that they were unlettered and uncredentialed men, shows what not to do, and the positive – "that they had been with Jesus," hints at what we must do if we are to have the same kind of confident effectiveness that the apostles did. Later in the book of Acts, Paul ditched the method that he was trained in when he trained Timothy, Titus, John Mark and a whole group of others. So keep that passage in mind when you think about education. It's a great reason for our denomination to rethink it's Greek-model of classroom education for pastors, and it's a great reason why homeschooling is by far the best context in which to train children. Why? Because only leaders make leaders. And if you farm that out, people will become like the leaders who train them. You are giving away one of the most important things in which you can train them.

The second contrast that we see in this passage is a contrast of results. Verse 14. "And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against him." Now that implies that they wanted to say something against this man – that he was a fake. But they could not. This man testified to the power and presence of God in the apostolic ministries. Now obviously that evidence did not convert the leaders, but it did stop their mouths and it did leave them without excuse. Dr. Harry Ironside was walking down a San Francisco street in his early ministry and the Salvation army was holding a street service. The captain recognized him and asked him if he would be willing to preach. Ironside gladly obliged. After the sermon, a well-dressed gentleman stepped up to Dr. Ironside and handed him a card on which he had been writing. On one side was his name, Arthur Morrow Lewis, the well known agnostic lecturer. On the other side he had written, "Sir, I challenge you to debate with me the question, ‘Agnoticism versus Christianity' in the Academy of Sciences Hall next Sunday afternoon at 4 pm. I will pay all expenses."

Dr. Ironisde read the card out loud to all the people and replied. "Mr. Lewis, I already have an engagement for next Sunday at 3 o'colck, but, if necessary, I think I could cancel it. I am disposed to accept your challenge and will if it is really worthwhile. But in order to prove that you have something worth debating, I accept on these conditions: First, that you promise to bring with you to the platform next Sunday one man who was once an outcast, a slave to sinful habits, but who on some occasion heard you or some other infidel lecture on agnosticism, and was so helped by it that he cast away his sins, became a new man, and is today a respected member of society, all because of his unbelief. Second, that you will also agree to bring with you one woman who was once lost to all purity and goodness, an abandoned female sunk in the depths of depravity, but who can now testify that agnosticism came to her while deep down in sin and implanted a new hatred of impurity in her poor heart, putting a new power into her life and delivering her from her base desires, and making her now a clean, chaste woman, all through disbelieving in God and the Bible. Now, sir, if you will agree to these conditions, I will promise to be there with one hundred men and women who were once just such lost souls as I have described but who heard the precious gospel of the grace of God, who believed it and ever since have hated sin and loved righteousness and have found new life and joy in Christ Jesus, the Savior Whom you deny. Will you accept my terms?:"

Well he did not. That was looking at the contrast in results. It was hard for the rulers to discount either the effectiveness of the training in verse 13, or the results of their ministry in verse 14. Results often speak for themselves, don't they? These disciples were able to do the things that Jesus did. I've seen the results of the leadership training methods for the underground church, and even though these people are also unlettered and uncredentialed by an accrediting agency, there is a power and vitality in their ministry that is often lacking in the traditional methods. And I saw the same results for Americans going through the training. I interviewed the young people who had been through the nine month intensive training and was blown away by their maturity. I saw an authority, character and competencies that I just do not see coming out of seminaries. It's no wonder that businesses around there have started snapping these young people up and hiring them as quickly as they come out. They've seen the results. They are great leaders.

I've seen the results of the homeschooling academically – and they are far superior to the classroom. I think that homeschoolers need to go much further in their training than they have. I think that homeschoolers could learn from the five C's of Christ's model, because there is a lot more to homeschooling than academics. But the potential for leadership development in homeschooling is there.

So we have seen first that there is a contrast in training methods; second, that there was a contrast in the results between the sterility of the Sanhedrin and the life that is being produced by the apostles.

But this brings up the third contrast shown in this passage. The contrast between pragmatism and principled truth. The Sanhedrin all throughout the Gospels and Acts show that they have a leadership governed by pragmatism. In contrast, the apostles have a passion for truth and openly proclaim the truth without any embarrassment. The Sanhedren leaders are embarrassed by the truth and even oppose the truth because they think it is not in their best interests. Their problem with Christ is not a lack of evidence. The evidence was overwhelming. Their problem was a hard heart. They've got their minds made up and they don't want you to confuse them with the facts.

People don't tend to be objective in any area of life apart from grace. For example, it doesn't matter how impressive your homeschooling might be, and it doesn't matter what incredible results you might be able to show in your children standing right there before them, there are people who have their minds made up and they will oppose your right to teach your children every step of the way. This is why you can't worry about what people think. In verses 15-17 we have one of the most amazing descriptions of this willful rebellion against knowledge.

Acts 4:15 says, "But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves," This is the first hint that we see of their attitude toward truth. They don't want anyone hearing their closed session discussion. Why? It might be embarrassing. It might come back to bite them. Now you might think that this was standard procedure to have a closed session discussion. But ordinarily closed sessions are for the purpose of protecting the accused of having his private life aired to the whole world. That was not the concern of these leaders. These leaders are concerned about the world listening in on their desperate attempts to cover their own tracks. Godly leadership should be interested in having an open sunshine policy rather than secrecy.

Now a question comes up: how did Luke find out about what they said?" It could be that one of these rulers got converted. For example, we know from his epistles that Paul was on the Sanhedrin for at least a while, and he may have been there at this time. And at least a couple commentaries believe he was. Now if that is true, that ought to give you encouragement. It means that God can change even hard hearts like those expressed in this chapter. Anyway, continuing to read in verse 16.

Acts 4:16 saying, "What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.
Acts 4:17 But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name."

What an incredible description of willful unbelief. In verse 13 they acknowledge the power of Jesus in the apostles' lives. In verse 14 they can't deny the miracle, and they know the man was healed in Jesus name, because Peter told them in verse 10. In verses 15-16 they even admit among themselves that this was obviously a miracle that can't be denied. But rather than submit to the evidence that Jesus is indeed the Messiah, and that God is using these apostles, verses 17 and 18 show them rejecting Christ and opposing the apostles. "But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name. So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus." We need to realize that even though evidence is important, don't think that evidence alone will convince pagans to the Christian viewpoint. Many times they know it is true, but they oppose it anyway. They don't like the truth. Romans 1 makes it clear that unbelievers know the truth of God's existence and of God's law, but they reject it anyway. Verse 18 says they "suppress the truth in unrighteousness." Verse 25 says that they "exchange the truth of God for a lie." Verse 32 says that knowing God's hatred for their sin, they do it anyway. In contrast, Paul said in the same chapter that he trusted the truth, thanked God for the truth and was not ashamed of the Gospel.

This continues to be a test of our leadership. How much do we as leaders love the truth? Does it govern our lives no matter what the cost? If so, then you are a statesman in your family or a statesman on the job. Or do we only appeal to truth when it is comfortable and can be used for self-advancement? Then we are politicians. God wants us to be like statesman, standing for the truth, even when it hurts.

The fourth contrast can be seen in power versus authority. The Sanhedren has no authority to be giving the command that they do, and the apostles know it. It is not a legitimate command. It has no binding authority. And when leaders lack authority, what do they tend to resort to? They resort to power plays, to control, to force, to intimidation. In homes it manifests itself in abuse of wives who reject their authority. Or with wives it can manifest itself in manipulation. Look at how it is manifested in verse 17. "But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them." They try to scare the apostles into submission. Verse 21 shows them threatening them again and implies that they would have punished them if they could have gotten away with it. In chapter 5 they do beat the apostles. This is using force. This is using power. But in verses 19-20 the apostles don't respond in kind. They appeal to authority. "But Peter and John answered and said to them, 'Whether it is right" [there is the issue of authority] "in the sight of God" [there is the source of authority] "to listen to you more than to God, you judge." [there he is appealing to their conscience] "For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.'" The apostles weren't using force. They were using truth. And so this whole section is an example of the huge contrast that we see between power and authority.

Power means being in control. Authority means being taken seriously. If a leader is preoccupied with power he will tend to breed an organization that is either passive or rebellious. It is character and service that commands respect. Throwing our weight around may exert power and may make you feel like you are in control, but it is not exercising authority. There are three spirits in the church of America that several pastoral leaders have said are pervasive: the spirit of Jezebel, the spirit of Absolom and the spirit of Ahab.

Jezebel sought to control the one in authority in various ways, and if she couldn't control, she would seek to destroy. She sought to control her husband and through her husband to control the kingdom. She had no authority to do so. So the only option left to her was power. And manipulation is a form of power.

Absolom sought to undermine authority. It was a more passive, manipulative approach to gaining power. He would tell Israelites that he felt bad about the problems in the kingdom, and if he were in authority he would solve those problems. He was quick on seeing the negative and with gossip, slander, inuendo would undermine David's leadership authority. Every church eventually has Jezebels and Absoloms at some point in their history.

But what happens frequently is that the pastor is so fed up with the politicking, that he joins the game just like Ahab did. And it's really the same spirit manifested in a different position. Ahab was emasculated in one sense, but he knew how to play one party off against another party, to manipulate and make things work. Sometimes there were power plays, other times there were under handed dealings. But he got his way by playing the same game that Jezebel did.

David refused to do that. He exercised the authority God had given to him, and if he did not succeed, he left the results up to God. But let me tell you something: it is so easy to act like Ahab when you have children or wives who will not submit or who undermine you. It is important that you not resort to anger, manipulation or other power plays to affirm your leadership. That is stooping to the same level that they do. You have an authority that is given by God, and you need to use it whether people resist it or not. You need to do it as a servant, patiently, persistently moving the family in the direction that God wants them to be. Authority is interested in truth, and leaves the results in God's hands. Power is interested in control. Choose authority as leaders. And of course we need to be under authority to have authority don't we?

The last contrast that I want to highlight is fear and frustration on the one side versus boldness and confidence on the other. It's the demeanor of the leaders. You may not think of these Sanhedrin leaders as being fearful. Frustrated, yes, but are they really fearful? And I would say, "Absolutely yes." It's fear and insecurity that drives them to exercise power rather than authority. Let me read you some Scriptures. Acts 5:26. "Then the captain went with the officers and brought them without violence, for they feared the people, lest they should be stoned." These are not leaders who have a love relationship with their people. They fear them. They have to use force and power to keep them in line. And they are afraid that the people will respond with similar force. Why? Because violence breeds violence; power plays breed counter power-plays. I think this is why the communists in China are so paranoid of the church. They are interpreting a powerful leadership. They don't understand that the church has no interest in that kind of power.

Mark 11:18 And the scribes and chief priests heard it and sought how they might destroy His;

[that is, Jesus] "for they feared Him, because all the people were astonished at His teaching." Now isn't that interesting? They feared Jesus. And they feared Him because the crowds loved Him. What's their desire for the crowds? We've already seen it. It's to be able to control the crowds. They see leadership as control and power. And here comes Jesus who opts for authority and He is gaining the respect of the crowds. Well, all of a sudden, Jesus is a threat and they fear Him.

Mark 11:32 says that the leaders "feared the people. for all counted John to have been a prophet indeed." It's an issue of insecurity. They view John as competition.

Luke 20:19 And the chief priests and the scribes that very hour sought to lay hands on Him, but they feared the people—for they knew He had spoken this parable against them.

Here's a case where they feared that the people might know the truth. So the fear plays into one of the earlier points that we looked at.

Luke 22:2 And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might kill Him, for they feared the people.

It was fear all the way around that led to violence. Scripture says that they feared that the Romans might take their position away. And if you re-examine each of the previous four contrasts that I have given on leadership, you will see that fear, intimidation and insecurity play a part in why they have chosen a poor model of leadership.

In verse 21 this fear saved the apostles from a beating. "So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done." But this fear would eventually lead these rulers of Israel to beat, imprison and kill Christians. And I believe it is fear that drives much of the persecution of Christians that goes on in third world countries. They are fearful of the success of Christianity. They are fearful when they see things they don't understand and can't control. For them, control is the heart of leadership. They are scared to death if they can't control the church.

For the Christian servanthood is the heart of leadership. And servants opt for authority, not power. They spoke with authority; the authority of God. But they didn't consider it their role to force people to accept their viewpoints. These disciples did not start a political revolution to overthrow the government. But their approach to leadership eventually won Rome and transformed Western civilization.

When you lead in your family, it's not your responsibility to force submission. Nowhere does the Bible say, "Husbands, force your wives to submit." What's the command? To love and to nurture, to lead by bringing God's Word, to wash them with the water of the word, to lay down your lives. When we speak God's Word into our families we have true authority – the authority of the King of the Universe. And it doesn't matter if our family doesn't listen. These rulers didn't listen to the apostles even though they spoke with authority. God can back you up. God can give the needed results. But our focus should be on being faithful. In verse 22 these apostles are able to be satisfied with the results and let them speak for themselves: "For the man was over forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed." No one could deny that what these apostles had done was in the power of God. They could hate it or submit to it, but the apostles were still faithful either way, because they had exercised authority as servants of the Most High. The apostles had authority to proclaim, to minister, to heal, to warn, but they had no authority to force. And if you can understand the difference between 1) power and 2) authority, you will have made huge strides in your personal leadership. When you try to opt for power and control, you will end up being frustrated because you can't change human hearts no matter how much you may try. In fact, those who opt for power plays will oscillate between arrogant bossiness and timid silence because their focus is on the reactions of men. But if you opt for authority and service, you will find satisfaction in having fulfilled your role even when others reject it. Why? Because your focus is on God.

Let me illustrate this difference in the lives of two pastors in Germany under the Nazi government. Dietrich Bonhoffer was a pastor who opted to exercise authority and to speak with authority even if it meant he would lose his position. He continued to preach what God wanted him to preach, and he was arrested and executed. And some people might have thought of him as a failure. But he had an influence for generations that no amount of power would have given to him. The other pastor was Martin Niemoller. He was a Lutheran pastor in Germany in the 1930's. Like many Christians, he had qualms about the Nazis, but they left him alone so he led a quiet life. He was convinced that because he had no power, he could have no influence. It was a mistaken view of leadership. Power is immaterial to exercising the authority that God has given to us as leaders. But at the time, he didn't see that. After the war he was moved to make this confession: "In Germany they came first for the communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up." Those who opt for power rather than authority may have thought that Niemoller was making the right decision. What can one powerless man do in the face of so much evil in that culture? But it was Bonhoeffer who had a lasting influence, not Niemoller. If you are a leader (and let me remind you that even you mothers are leaders who are under authority and who have authority – but if you are a leader), I urge you to exercise the full authority that God has given, to do so as a servant, and to leave the results up to God. Your goal should be to please God and be faithful to Him, not to change people's hearts on earth.

The world defines significance as success, popularity and power. Well, if it appears that you don't have success, what does that do to your sense of significance. If you don't have popularity, what does that do to your sense of significance? It ruins it and makes you tempted to compromise so that you can retain your popularity. If the people you try to control through power successfully resist it, what does that do to your sense of significance? It destroys it, and makes you tempted to make compromises so that you can have the illusion of power.

In contrast, God defines significance as knowing Jesus, pleasing Jesus and experiencing His power, presence and authority working in you. May our lives be so transformed by our union with Him, that verse 13 would be true of us. That men and women would marvel at what God is doing through us despite the fact that we don't have the right credentials. And that they might realize that we have been with Jesus. It's union with Him from which all of the rest flows. I urge you to take the course that Paul took and count the world's leadership as rubbish and to find the five C's of leadership as the foundation for what you pursue. Amen.

Children of God, I charge you to put off the leadership of the world and to spend time with Jesus that you might enjoy true leadership that comes from union with Him. Amen.

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