Monday, July 09, 2012



Over the years I have not been very successful in picking leaders. It seems most of the leaders I have chosen on my own have had a built-in fizzle to them. The third universal agreement I believe that any follower of Jesus from any cultural background can embrace in order to walk together in unity, no matter the lesser disagreements, is to BELIEVE THAT GOD RAISES UP LEADERS. God has a habit of preparing and raising up the best kinds of leaders for special tasks.
When God needed a leader to show the way for the people of Israel to break free from the bondage of Egypt, he chose a goat and sheep herder out on the back side of the desert. Moses had a unique resume that included a forty-year stint in the palace of the Pharaoh, killing an Egyptian in a fight, and then another forty years working in the fields for his father-in-law. And, he didn't want to be the leader of anything and was filled with excuses.

Joseph, the next to youngest son of Jacob, was nearly murdered by his jealous brothers who then sold him into slavery. He ended up in Egypt. After having his reputation destroyed by another's lie and being wrongly imprisoned for years, Joseph proved himself invaluable to Pharaoh. He became the number two man in Egypt's government. God used Joseph to save thousands of people during a great famine. That number included his own family, the budding Israelite nation. He was the reason his father's family moved to Egypt, setting the stage for the great Exodus centuries later.

When the people of Israel were being oppressed by the Midianites, God chose a young, insignificant man by the name of Gideon. Listen in on how he was chosen: The angel of the LORD came and sat down under the oak tree, where Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, "The LORD is with you, mighty warrior." The LORD turned to him and said, "Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian's hand. Am I not sending you?" "Pardon me, my lord," Gideon replied, "but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family." (Judges 6:11-15) God delights in taking the weakest and making him mighty!

God chose a prostitute by the name of Rahab to play a significant role in hiding the spies. After the destruction of Jericho, she ended up in the godly lineage of Jesus, the Messiah.

God is very capable of choosing just the right person for the right task, no matter their background or giftedness or knowledge. This is why Jesus teaches the disciples this primary principle: Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." (Matthew 9:35-38)

God chose the most aggressive enemy of the Jesus movement, Saul, to be used as a powerful leader of the movement: Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" "Who are you, Lord?" Saul asked. "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," he replied. "Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do."
The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9 For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything. In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, "Ananias!" "Yes, Lord," he answered. The Lord told him, "Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight." "Lord," Ananias answered, "I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your people in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name." But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name." Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord-Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here-has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit." Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength. (Acts 9:1-19)

God also chose the uneducated and ordinary to be the most powerful leaders of the Jesus movement. Check it out: When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. (Acts 4:13-14)

God continually prepares and chooses the most unlikely people to raise up to become leaders in His movement. He takes unlikely people and gives them unusual power to perform unbelievable things in the name of Jesus. Only God can do this, therefore we must ask God to raise up the leaders He believes necessary for His movement. And, do you know what this means? God may even be preparing and choosing you to do something significant for Him. So, pray for God to raise up the leaders we need in the Jesus movement and don't be surprised if you find that you have been praying for yourself.