Leadership Live

THE PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION

We approach God’s Word and pray that the Holy Spirit, will open our hearts and minds as we  prayerfully sing...

Gracious and eternal God, you have raised up your name and your word above everything; your steadfast love endures forever. Silence our agendas; banish our assumptions; cast out our casual detachment. Confound our expectations; clear the cobwebs from our ears; penetrate the corners of our hearts with this word. As we turn to your word, Spirit of God, transform our hearts and minds and move us to greater faith and obedience. Amen.

 

THE FIRST SCRIPTURE       Romans 12:1-8              The New Life in Christ

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.

TIME WITH GOD’S CHILDREN#143     “Father, I Adore You”

 

THE SERMON            “Leadership Live”

I rarely stay up late enough to hear these words anymore. 40 years ago, when it began, I was not old enough to stay up even for the opening sketch. Then, I went through a time that I watch some of it. I don’t think I’ve ever stayed up long enough to watch the full show.  Throughout its fabled history, the show begins with the host, musical guest, or a cast member state, not because they are ready but it’s 11:30pm Eastern Time that “Live from NY, It’s Saturday Night!” The rehearsal is done and now they will perform live before a studio audience. 

The show will go on. Someone will make a mistake, but that may make the comic relief just a little bit funnier. Or what seemed funny to the practice audience will fall flat and not even get a chuckle from the prime audience and the cameras for home viewers. The assemble cast will move to the next scenario and hope that the next skit will play better. Along the way, stars like Chevy Chase, Tina Fey, Ben Stiller, Gilda Radner, Billy Crystal, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Chris Rock became household names performing live on SNL.

Throughout history, the Christian church inspired the careers of faithful men and women who lived the faith. Augustine, St. Francis, Teresa of Avila, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Witherspoon, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr. and many more. They made living sacrifices for Jesus. They lived, changed by the love of God to serve others. They presented every aspect of their life to honor God. They strove to be holy and acceptable each and every day. They developed habits of spiritual worship. They lived serving Jesus, by ministering to their neighbors. These Christians became household names because they provided Christian leadership.

They did not conform to this world, but Christ transformed them by grace. They renewed their minds through worship and their study of Scripture. They allowed Christ to enter their hearts and minds and guide their thoughts and actions. Through prayer and discussions with other followers of Christ, they discerned God’s call on their life and followed the will of God. They led others to live lives holy and acceptable to God. They called others to follow the life of faith striving for perfection, by God’s standards, not the world’s culture.

The Christian Church today requires leaders who live their faith redeemed by God’s grace. Leaders humbly serve, not thinking highly of oneself, but relying on God for spiritual strength to lead others to mature in the faith. Jesus calls leaders to make difficult decisions with sober and sound judgment. This is not a natural gift, but Christian leaders seek the mind of Christ together.

The Voice, a contemporary translation of the Bible renders this interpretation of verse 3:

“Because of the grace allotted to me, I can respectfully tell you not to think of yourselves as being more important than you are; devote your minds to sound judgement since God has assigned to each of us a measure of faith.”

We elect Ruling Elders to measure the work of God’s people. In the Book of Order, 2.0301 defines the role of an elder, thus;

Ruling elders are so named …because they are chosen by the congregation to discern and measure its fidelity to the Word of God, and to strengthen and nurture its faith and life.

God calls people to serve as elders not because they are ready for the task, but the time is right to live into the role of leadership. Many servants were not ready for the show to go on, but Christ called a person of faith to live trusting that Jesus would use them. The Holy Spirit enters into willing hearts to produce wisdom and sound judgement. The Lord uses ordinary people to complete the tasks of ministry and mission in our world.

Live from Janesville, It’s Leadership Live. Along the way, we may make mistakes, some will make us laugh and others will make us cry. Always, we will trust Jesus to make all things new. God instilled every believer with gifts to be used for the common good. God gave you gifts to share with this faith community. Jesus calls you to live and be alive as a leader.

For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. (Romans 12:5-6)

So as we begin a new program year in September, how will you live as a leader for Jesus in your community, in your church, in your family, and with friends? I urge you to examine God’s gifts given to you as an individual and discern how you will work with the rest of the body of Christ to build and renew the kingdom of God on earth. Its time to be live in Jesus. TGBTG Amen.

 

 

 

G-2.0301 Ruling Elder Defined

As there were in Old Testament times elders for the government of the people, so the New Testament church provided persons with particular gifts to share in discernment of God’s Spirit and governance of God’s people. Accordingly, congregations should elect persons of wisdom and maturity of faith, having demonstrated skills in leadership and being compassionate in spirit. Ruling elders are so named not because they “lord it over” the congregation (Matt. 20:25), but because they are chosen by the congregation to discern and measure its fidelity to the Word of God, and to strengthen and nurture its faith and life. Ruling elders, together with teaching elders, exercise leadership, government, spiritual discernment, and discipline and have responsibilities for the life of a congregation as well as the whole church, including ecumenical relationships. When elected by the congregation, they shall serve faithfully as members of the session. When elected as commissioners to higher councils, ruling elders participate and vote with the same authority as teaching elders, and they are eligible for any office.

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