Tag Archives: leadership

Teachers are Leaders

If you take the time to think about the impact that teachers have had in your life, you may be surprised.  But one thing that you can conclude in such an exercise is that you are the person you are, by and large, because of the influence of teachers throughout your life.

For me, I can point to eight different teachers throughout my life that had an impact on my educational experience.

Mrs. Jozsa was my seventh grade English teacher at St. Henry Junior High School in Cleveland.  She was an interesting person with a lot of character, and she was a character, too.  What I learned from her was that I didn’t know as much English as I thought I did.  After what I thought was a successful stint in Major Work courses in the third through sixth grade, I promptly earned a C+ in English for my first grading period under Mrs. Jozsa.  I learned from that experience that what I thought I knew was hardly enough to move to the next level. My parents were flabbergasted, and I was surprised, too, but it caused me to dig a little deeper in my studies at a very important time in my life.  She took her job very seriously, and was always encouraging.  By the time I finished her class, I received an “A” in English. (If you want some perspective as to how long ago this was for me, the brand new hit song during that year was Let’s Stay Together by Al Green).

My first English teacher in the ninth grade at Chanel High School was Fr. James. He was a pleasant, older gentleman with white hair, and his classes were legendary because he would crack open the windows of his classroom during the winter months, which according to his theory, would keep all of his students awake and keep their blood pumping.  My theory was that I was freezing to death and that I would need someone to pump my chest to revive me.  Anyway, you wouldn’t dare fall asleep in his class, or you might have been carried out on a stretcher due to hypothermia.  My class motto for Fr. James was “stay awake…stay alive.”

It got better from there.  I enjoyed my class experiences in 11th and 12th grade with Mr. Edward Gotch (Algebra and Calculus) and in 12th grade with Mr. Bruce Domski, who taught A.P. English.  Our big book for the year was to read and review The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  My senior year of high school was my breakout year as I had my best GPA and my best overall experience as a student.

I will never forget Dr. Vincent McHale, who was my Political Science teacher at Case Western Reserve University.  He was so engaging that his classes really challenged my approach to national and international affairs, and I will never forget his comment that there were so many lawyers in the field at that time that some of them will be marching off of cliffs for a lack of work.  I made up my mind, at that moment, that I was NOT going to law school.

Even in my adulthood, my encounters during my Master’s program at Crown College with Dr. James Cowman and Dr. Gary Keisling were very special and formative as I grew in my studies.  Finally, my most recent Clinical Pastoral Education class with Fred Madren in Indianapolis made me helped me to reflect more about who I was as an individual in learning more about becoming a chaplain.  In any vocational environment, it is important for you to know who you are as a person before you can reach out and effectively help someone else.

What I hope you can see from my experience is that teachers do a lot more than just teach subjects.  They provide all sorts of wisdom and knowledge—from their own education and from personal experiences—that shape the lives of everyone that they come into contact with.  Many teachers, whether they know it or not, are always providing this wisdom and knowledge—both inside and outside of the classroom.

Teaching is a God-given talent and ability.  It is referenced in Scripture as one of the gifts referenced within the body of Christ:

Romans 12:6-8 NIV

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. 

Interestingly, teachers use all of these attributes in carrying out their responsibilities:  service, encouragement, giving, leadership and mercy.  We will look at one of these attributes—leadership.  Leaders perform their duties with care and concern for those who they are responsible for.

Teachers are leaders.

The Bible stresses the importance of gaining wisdom and knowledge, and in listening to others who have their own experiences to share with you.  Jesus Christ spent the better part of two years giving instruction to His disciples.  He was a patient teacher in the same way as Scripture is defined:

2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

The disciples were being trained by Jesus Christ for a very good reason—they were to be the ones who would carry forth the Good News after Christ would leave them.  He was the ultimate Teacher (he was called “Rabbi” in Scripture, which means “Teacher.”)  Jesus provided the instruction and later “opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45).  Their ministry, as well as anyone’s ministry, has to begin and continue with teaching, and not only teaching, but being open to be taught, as well.

Teachers share this information freely and openly, and it is good and beneficial to be a teacher of not only God’s Word, but in all areas of life.

Teachers are leaders.

Teaching carries with it a tremendous responsibility.  Teaching is not for everyone.

James 3:1

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

Judged by who? Well, by God Himself.  Whether you are teaching the Bible from Sunday school or from the pulpit, or a college professor or high school instructor, you are charged with making sure that whoever you are teaching is guided in the right direction.  Though this verse to follow is intended for those who mislead young people causing them to move away from Jesus Christ, you get the idea of its overall message:

Luke 17:1-2 HCSB

He said to His disciples, “Offenses will certainly come, but woe to the one they come through! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to stumble.

Now you get the grasp of how this God-given attribute has a great responsibility.  It is not to be taken lightly.

Teachers are leaders.  They are meant to be leaders.  They are an important part of God’s creation.  They teach because they are born to teach others, and they do it for the love of it.

Teachers lead because they possess these six attributes, of which each begin with the letters from the word LEADER.

First, for the L in leader, teachers are “learners.”

A good teacher is willing to learn from others.  It’s logical, of course, but not all teachers, when they think they know it all, remain teachable.

A good teacher knows that he or she does not know it all.  A good bible teacher is always reading and studying.  It’s important to stay humble in order to be open to learning more, and as a result, doing more for your students.

Titus 2:7-8 ESV

Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

Next, the E in leader refers to being “energetic.”

An effective teacher is one who consistently approaches their job with energy.  A teacher with energy is infectious, in a positive way, to his or her students.  It has an amazing effect as it indicates to the student that learning is fun and exciting, and that the subject is very interesting.  There is nothing wrong with making the learning experience a happy and memorable one!

The A in leader refers to “application,” as in applying knowledge in your instruction.  Your knowledge may indeed be from your own training, but effective teaching and communication also involves sharing your own personal experiences or providing examples to round out the instruction process.  A great lesson in Scripture is a demonstration of love is the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37.  It was the perfect way to describe how a person loves God and also a neighbor.

The D in leader refers to “devotion.”  Devotion is loving your work as a teacher, and having a devotion for your students.  There is something to be said about having an emotional connection with the work you do.  If it is used properly, it can have a dynamic effect within the classroom!  Teachers love what they do, and do what they love!

The second E in leader is for “expecting greatness.”

Teachers are to strive for the best.  As Jesus wants each of us to be our best in Christ, teachers must also want their students to pursue excellence.  Excellence is the realization of one’s pursuit of greatness.  Teachers must have high expectations for themselves as well as their students.  Success breeds success, and teachers are the ultimate catalysts for a student’s drive to be as good as one can be.

1 Timothy 4:11

Teach these things and insist that everyone learn them.

Finally, the R in leader stands for “results-oriented.”  A teacher wants to see students progress over time and, at the same time, gain more confidence in their own abilities.  Their students reflect a love for learning that will become more and more evident as they show their progress.

Luke 6:40 HCSB

The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.

A teacher would like nothing better than to see his or her students become dynamic leaders and professionals.  They want the best for them, and that is why teachers set the bar very high in pushing their students to reach for success.

Teachers lead by example.

They are learners.

They are energetic.

They apply their knowledge as they teach.

They are devoted to their jobs.

They expect greatness from their students.

They are results-oriented.

Teachers make sacrifices for the sake of their students.  They do what they love and they love what they do.

Teachers build today’s leaders because teachers are leaders.

 

Copyright © Melvin Gaines

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The Fruits of The Spirit – Self-Control

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.

 

Self-control is the measure of keeping one to remain focused on following Jesus Christ. It is an area that is controlled by the Holy Spirit. A lack of self control comes from being controlled by the flesh. Fleshly control is an opening to demonic influence. The Holy Spirit is present to allow for self control but a person must yield to the Spirit in order to maintain self control.

In Galatians 5, it is noted that the law is present because of sin, but it is the fruits of The Spirit that are beyond the law because you are acting in self control under God’s presence.

Self-control helps to capture all of our emotions. It is the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, especially his sensual appetites.

Paul witnesses to Felix:

Acts 24:24-25

24 After some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and listened to him on the subject of faith in Christ Jesus. 25 Now as he spoke about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix became afraid and replied, “Leave for now, but when I find time I’ll call for you.”

 

Felix is being addressed because he is in desperate need of exhibiting self-control. He has been through three marriages. He needed to hear from Paul about:

1. Faith in Christ

2. Righteousness

3. Self-control

4. Judgment to come

 

Paul is in control.

Matthew 10:19-20

19 But when they hand you over, don’t worry about how or what you should speak. For you will be given what to say at that hour, 20 because you are not speaking, but the Spirit of your Father is speaking through you.

 

You may feel you have a right to take action against a person for their mistreatment of you.

1 Samuel 24:4-6

4 so they said to him, “Look, this is the day the Lord told you about: ‘I will hand your enemy over to you so you can do to him whatever you desire.’” Then David got up and secretly cut off the corner of Saul’s robe.

5 Afterward, David’s conscience bothered him because he had cut off the corner of Saul’s robe. 6 He said to his men, “I swear before the Lord: I would never do such a thing to my lord, the Lord’s anointed. I will never lift my hand against him, since he is the Lord’s anointed.”

 

1 Samuel 26:7-10

7 That night, David and Abishai came to the troops, and Saul was lying there asleep in the inner circle of the camp with his spear stuck in the ground by his head. Abner and the troops were lying around him. 8 Then Abishai said to David, “Today God has handed your enemy over to you. Let me thrust the spear through him into the ground just once. I won’t have to strike him twice!” 

9 But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him, for who can lift a hand against the Lord’s anointed and be blameless?” 10 David added, “As the Lord lives, the Lord will certainly strike him down: either his day will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish.

 

Self-control is a quality for anyone in leadership.

Titus 1:8

…but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, righteous, holy, self-controlled.

 

Titus 2:2

Older men are to be level headed, worthy of respect, sensible, and sound in faith, love, and endurance.

 

1 Timothy 3:2

An overseer, therefore, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, self-controlled, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an able teacher.

 

1 Corinthians 9:25

Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. However, they do it to receive a crown that will fade away, but we a crown that will never fade away.

 

Having knowledge of God’s Word helps to build us up in self-control. Training under God’s Word requires it, and it will teach you how to rely more and more on the presence of God in your life to rely upon Him in maintaining self-control.

The value of self-control is perseverance (patience).

 

2 Peter 1:6

…knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness.

 

Self-control can bring you respect (honor). It teaches how to avoid strife.

Proverbs 20:3

It is honorable for a man to resolve a dispute,

but any fool can get himself into a quarrel.

 

Self-control (calmness) brings rest. It provides the ability to work things out.

Ecclesiastes 10:4

If the ruler’s anger rises against you, don’t leave your place,

for calmness puts great offenses to rest.

 

Without self-control, you can only display the flesh at its worst and all of its foolishness.

Proverbs 14:29

A patient person shows great understanding,

but a quick-tempered one promotes foolishness.

 

2 Timothy 3:3

…unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good.

 

You are being evaluated by others in your words, actions and behaviors to see if you really are who you claim to be–a Christian. The Christian is expected to have self-control. Living a life of carnality will show only a lack of control.

God wants you to be able to have the joy of the presence of the Holy Spirit by operating in self-control. When the characteristics of the fruits of The Spirit are manifested before others, the very presence of God and His power can be experienced by others as you remain faithful to Him.


A Benefit of the Church: The Crown of Glory

Today’s message from Pastor Gus Brown:
A pastor of a church is a leader who is called to take on the duties of shepherding the flock, but today’s message is directed to everyone that is involved in ministry.
1 Peter 5:4
And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.The verse acknowledges shepherds or pastors. Look who is writing this letter–it’s Peter.John 21:15-16
15 When they had eaten breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said to Him, “You know that I love You.”

“Feed My lambs,” He told him.

16 A second time He asked him, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said to Him, “You know that I love You.”

“Shepherd My sheep,” He told him.

The reward that Peter refers to in 1 Peter 5:4 can only be received when Jesus returns. It is a reassurance that He will be here and that we will labor for Him until that time. We do not labor in vain–we labor for His glory and for His praise.

Matthew 16:27
For the Son of Man is going to come with His angels in the glory of His Father, and then He will reward each according to what he has done.

Jesus asks you to trust in Him until He returns. Your labor will be rewarded.

John 14:1-3
1 “Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. 3 If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also.

If the work is done without the joy of Christ as a goal, then the work is futile. Stand firm and stay the course with focus on The Lord. Sometimes, all you can do is trust in The Lord.

1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Ephesians 6:8
…knowing that whatever good each one does, slave or free, he will receive this back from the Lord.

Romans 2:10
…but glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does what is good, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek.

The word “glory” in Greek (1 Peter 5:4) also stands for honor and respect. The crown of glory is won by doing something important or of value. They are achievements in life that deserve recognition. These achievements receive honor because they honor the work of Jesus Christ.

We do not seek after our own honor or respect.

Proverbs 25:27
It is not good to eat too much honey
or to seek glory after glory.

A Christian’s life is to live in every way for His glory.

1 Corinthians 10:31
Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God’s glory.

God is the one who gives honor and respect.

Job 19:9, 40:9-10
9 He has stripped me of my honor
and removed the crown from my head.

9 Do you have an arm like God’s?
Can you thunder with a voice like His?
10 Adorn yourself with majesty and splendor,
and clothe yourself with honor and glory.

God does not share His glory with anyone (For example, He created heaven and earth on His own and not with anyone else). He will, however, give us honor and respect for our deeds in service for Him.

Exodus 33:17-23
17 The Lord answered Moses, “I will do this very thing you have asked, for you have found favor in My sight, and I know you by name.”

18 Then Moses said, “Please, let me see Your glory.”

19 He said, “I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim the name Yahweh before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” 20 But He answered, “You cannot see My face, for no one can see Me and live.” 21 The Lord said, “Here is a place near Me. You are to stand on the rock, 22 and when My glory passes by, I will put you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will take My hand away, and you will see My back, but My face will not be seen.”

Isaiah 48:11
I will act for My own sake, indeed, My own,
for how can I be defiled?
I will not give My glory to another.

Jesus Christ will honor us for the way we serve Him. It is exciting to see when God is working and recognize that He is often working through us.

Acts 16:22-29
22 Then the mob joined in the attack against them, and the chief magistrates stripped off their clothes and ordered them to be beaten with rods. 23 After they had inflicted many blows on them, they threw them in jail, ordering the jailer to keep them securely guarded. 24 Receiving such an order, he put them into the inner prison and secured their feet in the stocks.

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the jail were shaken, and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 When the jailer woke up and saw the doors of the prison open, he drew his sword and was going to kill himself, since he thought the prisoners had escaped.

28 But Paul called out in a loud voice, “Don’t harm yourself, because all of us are here!”

29 Then the jailer called for lights, rushed in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.

The word glory carries with it the meaning of dignity, elegance, gracefulness and one of good taste. it also provides for the ability to place restraints on oneself when it is needed.

Your life brings forth three elements:

1. Genuine faith
2. Faith that brings praise to The Lord
3. Faith in action that reveals glory and honor for the work of Jesus

In all of this, there must be evidence of a desire to follow a calling to serve Him, the Chief Shepherd.

1 Peter 1:7
…so that the genuineness of your faith—more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 5:1-7
1 Therefore, as a fellow elder and witness to the sufferings of the Messiah and also a participant in the glory about to be revealed, I exhort the elders among you: 2 Shepherd God’s flock among you, not overseeing out of compulsion but freely, according to God’s will; not for the money but eagerly; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

5 In the same way, you younger men, be subject to the elders. And all of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because

God resists the proud
but gives grace to the humble.

6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7 casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you.

This glory will not fade away. It will not diminish.

2 Corinthians 3:7-11
7 Now if the ministry of death, chiseled in letters on stones, came with glory, so that the Israelites were not able to look directly at Moses’ face because of the glory from his face—a fading glory— 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness overflows with even more glory. 10 In fact, what had been glorious is not glorious now by comparison because of the glory that surpasses it. 11 For if what was fading away was glorious, what endures will be even more glorious.

Ecclesiastes 1:11
There is no remembrance of those who came before;
and of those who will come after
there will also be no remembrance
by those who follow them.

James 1:11
For the sun rises with its scorching heat and dries up the grass; its flower falls off, and its beautiful appearance is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will wither away while pursuing his activities.

Father, we want to praise You and thank You for your loving kindness to us. Help us to grow in our desire to live for you in obedience and faithfulness to be a witness and a servant for You that brings honor and glory to Your Name. Thank you for all that you have done through us that we receive honor and respect because of your wonderful work through us, and that You are glorified because of it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Jesus Christ: Head of The Church

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:
The church is not brick and mortar, or just a building. It is made up of people. Men builds buildings, but God builds the church.

There are many church buildings that we see as we move about, but very few people who are attending. It goes back to what is really important for the person. Some will go to church to find a spouse or to be entertained, but the main reason to attend church is to fulfill the heart’s desire for a believer to learn how to live for Christ and grow in Christ.

The church exists today because it is God’s will for it to exist.

Who is the founder and builder of the church?

Matthew 16:18
And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the forces of Hades will not overpower it.

Jesus is referring to Himself as the rock that will build the church, which is His church. This is why we are to exalt Christ first as the head of the church. When it comes to recognizing persons for their accomplishments, it is not to be done to glorify the person; instead, it is to acknowledge how Jesus Christ was the primary focus of the contributor in the church.

Success is not in the numbers of the people within the church or in titles. God looks at the hearts of its people. The people of the church is always to recognize Christ as the head of the church.

Ephesians 1:22
And He put everything under His feet and appointed Him as head over everything for the church.

Ephesians 5:23
…for the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of the body.

Colossians 1:18
He is also the head of the body, the church;
He is the beginning,
the firstborn from the dead,
so that He might come to have
first place in everything.

1 Peter 5:4
And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

Jesus Christ provides for His church:

Ephesians 4:11-13
11 And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness.

Romans 12:3-8
3 For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one. 4 Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, 5 in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another. 6 According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts:

If prophecy,
use it according to the standard of one’s faith;
7 if service, in service;
if teaching, in teaching;
8 if exhorting, in exhortation;
giving, with generosity;
leading, with diligence;
showing mercy, with cheerfulness.

God has given the people of His church a measure of faith. As one grows in learning about Jesus Christ, their faith also grows. In order for a church to experience growth, their must be a concerted faith and trust in God and His Word. Everyone who trusts Jesus Christ as Savior has a gift to share within the body of Christ. The gifts are provided to serve to the body and to others.

The church has no distinctions. There is no class of people. Everyone is the same under Jesus Christ. He is the One who exalts the people who serve Him.
1. We are all brothers and sisters.
2. We are all servants.
3. We are all priests.

Matthew 23:8-11
8 “But as for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi,’ because you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 Do not call anyone on earth your father, because you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 And do not be called masters either, because you have one Master, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant.

Matthew 20:21-27
21 “What do you want?” He asked her.

“Promise,” she said to Him, “that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right and the other on Your left, in Your kingdom.”

22 But Jesus answered, “You don’t know what you’re asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?”

“We are able,” they said to Him.

23 He told them, “You will indeed drink My cup. But to sit at My right and left is not Mine to give; instead, it belongs to those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.” 24 When the 10 disciples heard this, they became indignant with the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them over and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles dominate them, and the men of high position exercise power over them. 26 It must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave.

1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, a people for His possession,
so that you may proclaim the praises
of the One who called you out of darkness
into His marvelous light.

A priest recognizes God and serves Him while ministering to God’s people.

1 Corinthians 12:7
A demonstration of the Spirit is given to each person to produce what is beneficial.

1 Peter 4:10
Based on the gift each one has received, use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God.

The work of the church is set forth by Jesus.

Jesus came to earth to serve and set the example.

Mark 10:45
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life —a ransom for many.

1 Corinthians 11:1
Imitate me, as I also imitate Christ.

1 Timothy 1:16
But I received mercy for this reason, so that in me, the worst of them, Christ Jesus might demonstrate His extraordinary patience as an example to those who would believe in Him for eternal life.

1 Peter 2:21
For you were called to this,
because Christ also suffered for you,
leaving you an example,
so that you should follow in His steps.

No one in the church is too great to perform the least of work.

John 13:12-15
12 When Jesus had washed their feet and put on His robe, He reclined[a] again and said to them, “Do you know what I have done for you? 13 You call Me Teacher and Lord. This is well said, for I am. 14 So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done for you.

The purpose of the church is to go and make disciples of all people.

Matthew 28:19-20
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.


Fathers Are Relevant Today

The responsibilities of a Father are very important. While cultural changes over the years have shown a lack of emphasis in this area, we must see that this is more of a God-ordained responsibility.Without the Bible and its direction, fatherhood today is virtually unimportant. And with little wonder…24 million children go to bed at night without a biological father in the home. The emotional and consequential repercussions are enormous. Many of these children are being raised through welfare or some sort of social assistance, and the likelihood of developing emotional problems or having the desire to commit suicide increases for children who are without fathers.Fathers really should be the teachers in the family. They face profound challenges in today’s world. In order to meet these challenges and effectively handle the responsibilities, we need to look at what it really means to be a father.

First, fathers must own up to their responsibilities. To fail to acknowledge this is a moral failure…and irresponsible. The father’s role is to support and teach his family, while acknowledging that any accomplishments are not his own, but come from God.

Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus Christ, fathered six or more children. You might ask what Joseph could have taught Jesus? Consider that Joseph, being a devout, righteous man who followed God, had given Jesus instruction to be a carpenter…Jesus had learned a trade, taking on Joseph’s likeness as the carpenter’s son, which honored and respected him as a father, well before Jesus began his earthly ministry (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3).

Fathers can teach powerful lessons in how they perform, act, and respond to adversity. Fathers can teach forgiveness over practicing vengeance. When fathers cannot be providers or assume the role that God gives them, they tend to disappear and become irrelevant within a family structure. It is important that a father that teaches his children allows for himself to be disciplined, or taught, by God.

Deuteronomy 8:5-6
Keep in mind that the Lord your God has been disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son. So keep the commands of the Lord your God by walking in His ways and fearing Him.

Proverbs 3:11-12
Do not despise the Lord’s instruction, my son, and do not loathe His discipline; for the Lord disciplines the one He loves, just as a father, the son he delights in.

If men are not following God in this way, they cannot properly minister to or give instruction to their family. Unless a man learns how to submit to the authority of Christ, that person will have difficulty submitting to earthly authority or being an effective authority figure in the home. There is no authority except for that which is given by God (John 19:11).

What did Joseph teach his children? Joseph was a conscientious Jew that adhered faithfully to the law (Luke 2:22, 39). Jesus was taught to honor and respect Jewish holidays (John 7:1-10). Joseph demonstrated throughout his household that He was being obedient to God and His word. He and his wide, Mary, did everything that was required of them. He taught Jesus and all of his children (1) to trust God (Luke 1:24; 2:13), and (2) to obey God (Luke 2:19-21).

Children will either behave properly by the way they have been taught, or they will act in rebellion against the improper instruction that they received.

If the proper instruction is given to children by their fathers, it does stick with the children (Proverbs 22:6).

Father, we pray that we, as fathers, are guided through the Holy Spirit to be godly men that provide Your wisdom and instruction to teach our children and bring them up to be godly men or godly women. Thank you, and we pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

On behalf of Pastor Gus Brown and the Akron Alliance family, best wishes to you for a Happy Father’s Day.


Your Character Reflects Upon Your Decision-Making

Decisions are often made as we look at our own circumstances, at how much money we have (or don’t have), or even from the advice that others.  Our decisions, however, must take into account more than that.  As Christians, we must always look to make decisions that honor God and give Him the glory. God will always honor those who remain obedient to Him and to His Word in their decision-making.

Philippians 1:21

For me, living is Christ and dying is gain.

To live in your decision-making is to honor Jesus Christ, not yourself.

Philippians 1:27

Just one thing: live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.  Then, whether I come and see you or am absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, working side by side for the faith of the gospel.

We are to make decisions and behave in such a way that it brings honor and glory to Christ.

How you identify who you are will help you make good, sound decisions. There was a time and place when your name was to hold a place of honor and that a reputation was earned or lost on how you conducted yourself with others. Much of that has been lost today, but it is important to have the attitude and philosophy that your conduct and decisions are to honor God and, in doing so, reflect a positive reputation for you and your family.

Consider the decision-making processes of two Jewish men and their character–Daniel and the Prodigal Son.  First, Daniel…

Daniel (Daniel 1)

  • Taken from his home and was in captivity (Daniel 1:3-5)
  • Quick to learn and understand despite his circumstances
  • Learned the language of the Babylonians–trained for three years
  • Was given a new name (Daniel 1:6-7) to forget where he came from
  • Resolved not to defile himself (Daniel 1:8)
  • God favored him (Daniel 1:9, 17, 21) with knowledge, understanding and success.

Daniel identified with who he was in God despite his circumstances of being held in captivity. He was in a difficult situation, but he allowed for the changing of his name and was open-minded about learning the ways of the Babylonian culture.  Where he stood firm was where he refused to compromise on his diet.  He would not eat the foods that would compromise his faith and his relationship with God. Because he stood firm and did not compromise, God honored him. God will intervene on behalf of you when you reject the practice of sin and honor Him with your decision-making. Even with all of the changes he had experienced, Daniel never lost his identity in God.

When you are in God’s Word and in prayer continually seeking Him, you will make good decisions.

The Prodigal Son (Luke 15)

  • Chose to leave home as an act of defiance (Luke 15:13)–note that Daniel did not leave home by choice
  • Learned about wild living
  • Severe famine took place after his defiant and wild behavior left him without any money (Luke 15:14, 17)
  • Had to work for and depend upon a Gentile (Luke 15:15)
  • He had forgotten who he was, and worked and ate with the pigs
  • He finally came to his senses (Luke 15:17)–in contrast, Daniel never lost his senses
  • He confessed his sin (Luke 15:18-19) and declared himself as unworthy.

Sin will cause you to forget who you are in Christ, and will take you places you do not want to go, and it will even cost you more than you are willing or able to pay. The Prodigal Son, who was in a favored place, made a conscious decision to leave home, defy God and his family, and squander his money, which eventually left him working for a Gentile just to survive. In doing this, he wound up working and eating amongst pigs, of which Jews would never associate with (note that the diet of Jewish people was to abstain from pork). His plight was caused by his decision to not follow the Lord–as a result, he had lost his identity as a child of God.

Sin causes Satan to bring guilt upon you and make you feel unworthy or undeserving of God’s love and mercy. It is a plight that must be overcome in order to experience God’s forgiveness and healing.

Sin is uncontrollable, which is exactly why it is to be avoided. We are to avoid even the appearance of sin. “Stay away from every form of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22).

Prayer and obedience is important in maintaining a healthy relationship with God, and it promotes making good decisions–godly decisions instead of worldly decisions. In this, God will be glorified in your actions, and you will see God working actively in your life.


Today’s Culture Must Adapt to Scripture

The service of ministry requires the person or persons in the body of Christ to be centered in a church that bases all of its instruction on God’s Word. This is very important in that today’s culture will, at times, dictate the direction of a church in a direction that may be contrary to or outside of God’s Word. These churches must remain true to scripture; otherwise, they are to be avoided in all circumstances.

We are all called by God to serve in ministry. Men and women are called to glorify God in our areas of service. in doing this, however, it is important to remain true to scripture. This is the challenge for both men and women today.

When we look at the social norms of the first century according to the Bible:

  • Husband leads, wife supports (Ephesians 5:22-23)
  • Parents lead, children under parents (Ephesians 6:1; Colossians 3:20)
  • Masters over slaves (Ephesians 6:5; Colossians 3:22; 1 Peter 2:18)

The husband is the protector and covering of the wife. The husband is the provider for the wife. In contrast, today’s society declares that men and women are equal. That equality is evident even in marriage, where a husband and wife will look at their relationship as a 50-50 proposition. Scripture indicates that the man still has the responsibility over his wife and the household, and, if necessary, can delegate responsibilities within the home, for the wife is to be the husband’s helpmate (Proverbs 31:10-31).

In the same way, parents are to be the covering of their children, and are to come under their authority. Today’s society has elevated children to have rights that are equal to, or even supersede, their parents. Some children question the authority of their parents in the spirit of wanting to exercise more of their own free will. The employer-employee relationship is much the same way today, which is the closest parallel to the master-slave relationship of the past. Employees that believe they have greater rights will challenge, or even ignore, the authority of their superiors. This is indicative of today’s society, where the belief that everything is relatively equal has even moved into the philosophical belief that this also applies in ministry. Scripture, however, has maintained that their is a structure and hierarchy relative to men and women and their roles in ministry.

Culture does not dictate scripture. Culture must always adapt to scripture.

That’s the problem that we encounter today. Serving in ministry has one goal–to accomplish God’s will in God’s way. For example, when it comes to women in ministry, many will point to Deborah in Judges 4 and 5 and infer that there is room to interpret that a woman could be a pastor. It should be pointed out that there was no church or temple referenced at that time, and Deborah was a prophetess (Deuteronomy 18:21-22), one who speaks for God, yet not a priest, leader of men, nor as a proclaimed leader of Israel.

If someone were to ask the question about the relative success of a woman or women who are pastors, note that this is not lost on God, and also be aware that it is still being accomplished even though it is outside of His intentions for the roles of service. God is in control and does accomplish what needs to be done according to His will.

“But Joseph said to them, ‘Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result–the survival of many people'” (Genesis 50:19-20).

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

God is at work in everyone’s lives, even when we don’t see it. In the life of the disobedient person, God is still working. His purpose is to bring good out of bad or questionable situations and circumstances. Even people who love the Lord still make mistakes. The goal is to get exactly where God wants you to be. It is in this effort that you can blossom in your ministry for God.

Deborah was a judge, She never describes herself as a priest or even as a leader of Israel. She was a “mother of Israel”–one who cares and nurtures
(Judges 5:7). All of Israel was not under her leadership; as a result, not all of Israel went into battle (Judges 5:13-18). Deborah was not a priest and did not lead her people into war, but God used her as a messenger of His Word to minister to Barak to lead men. Each person involved here had to fulfill their individual role in order to accomplish God’s will. God uses both men and women to fulfill his will.

Note that Deborah’s job was to communicate God’s message to Barak and be an encouragement. God gave the direction here that Barak was to lead (Judges 4:6). Note that Barak was given direction, yet he trusted the person (Deborah) more than God’s command. Note the response in Judges 4:9: “‘I will go with you,’ she said, ‘but you will receive no honor on the road you are about to take, because the Lord will sell Sisera into a woman’s hand.'” The servant, Deborah, in this case, was willing to put herself in harm’s way in order to accomplish God’s will. Here, Deborah still provided encouragement, and was not leading Barak. She gave him the encouragement that the Lord was still going before Barak (v. 14). Barak, in turn, needed to take the step of faith to lead and act according to God’s will (v. 15). Note that when God gives the command, you will never experience the power of God unless you obey and move according to His command (v. 15-16).

But since that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for you are all under a guardian, for you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:25-28). We are all equal when it comes to a need for salvation. There is equality for men and women when it comes to their need for Jesus Christ. The modern day argument with scripture in general is the use of the term “sons” from a gender perspective (v. 26).

From verse 28 comes three results that address this argument:

  • Condemn and dismiss the New Testament as exclusively chauvinistic and oppressive to women with its male dominant language. It is sometimes used improperly by men to justify what is often viewed as domineering behavior, which is not supported by scripture.
  • Mutual equality but functional subordination. This has been the traditional view throughout the history of the church. The NT teaches that both equality before God in status along with functional subordination in office. We see this in scripture where Christ is subordinate to God and in other areas of hierarchy. We are spiritually equal in Christ, but men and women are different because we were created differently and have different roles.
  • Evangelical and feminine liberation. It does not submit to scripture. It recognizes the cultural conditioning of the text and seeks to remove it in lieu of the world’s truth instead of God’s truth. The argument raised is that the text was written in a male-dominant society. This is predominantly used in an effort to justify the presence of gays and women in ministry leadership.

The moment we attempt to adapt scripture to our modern culture, we are effectively rewriting or changing scripture.

In today’s culture, we are all equal, yet there is still a value of submitting to others. There is a trust and a willingness to submit when one feels safe and secure coming under that person. While all are equal in God’s eyes, there is still a necessity for structure in order for society to function in an optimal manner.

There has been, over many years, the evolution and development has taken place over the centuries in social structures. Note that the attitudes of man have had to evolve with slavery and the Civil Rights Movement. When people view others with the proper godly perspective in treating others with respect, there is a great opportunity to show the love of Christ to those who are being respected as well as those who witness these behaviors.

We must compare the social world to our social world and, in particular, compare the role women had in ancient times to the role they have in their world. The modern world differs considerably.

Galatians 3:26-29 states that our social status is irrelevant in salvation. All have the same in Christ; therefore, we need to acknowledge what is truth in 1 Corinthians 11:3:

But I want you to know that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of the woman, and God is the head of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:3).

If Christ is subordinate to the Father and humbles Himself to carry out the will of the Father, is it not best for man to submit to Christ, and for his wife to submit to him as husband?

God, we pray that we will not be tossed to and fro with societal dictates but submit to Your Word, for you honor Your Word and act according to Your Word. We need to be a people that act on Your Word and trust in You. Our goal, we pray, Father, is to accomplish Your will and Your way, for we want to be obedient to You, and in this, You will be glorified. In Jesus’ name, Amen.