Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Jesus Style

The Jesus StyleThe Jesus Style by Gayle D. Erwin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The is an older book written in 1983. I highly recommend it to every Christian especially those Christians in leadership. The author shares how leadership would be different if the leader modeled the style that Jesus demonstrated. As you read the quotes below I'm sure you will be challenged as I was:

Those who lead in the kingdom of God are to recognize that every Christian has a unique and direct relationship to Christ, the head of the church. Unlike world systems whose goal is control, the kingdom leader is chosen to equip people for ministry, to bring unity in faith and knowledge, and to mature people so as to provide stability.

Someone who is at the top of a pyramid of authority finds himself isolated from reality. Those beneath him no longer give complete honesty. The “top” person is told by those under him only what is necessary to protect their jobs. The only means by which the person at the top can be assured of honesty and truthfulness from those beneath him is to make himself of “no reputation” – to lay aside his power and authority and approach them as a servant. And that initiative must first be taken by the person at the top. It cannot come from those beneath him – only revolution comes from that direction in the nature of Jesus, it is only possible to submit downward in the human realm.

The law demanded righteousness – grace delivered righteousness. The law required – grace provided. The law was pressure – grace was relief. The law was bondage – grace was freedom. Grace and truth can only be modeled in the light, in being seen. Because of the very nature of grace, we have no reason to hide: “whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God” (John 3:21).

People are the realm of God. His inscription is on us. He has created us in His image and we are to be given to Him. His making Himself poor was not to create a dramatic show and this impress the world or simply prove to Himself that he could do it. No, He made himself poor for our benefit – so that by his poverty we might be made rich.

If we must have buildings, then let us break away from the theater designs of the last centuries in which the performance on the stage is the most important thing and all seats are fixed in that direction. Let us begin to design buildings that will enhance the interaction of the body and give us a chance to fulfill the call to love one another. Let it be known that the congregation is where the action is and God, nor our structure, is the center of worship. Let us drop the Saturday marquee page in the newspaper that tells what performance is going on where in our efforts to lure fish away from another fishbowl.

At a Christian festival, I had a conversation with two couples, one of which was Buddhist, in response to a session I had taught in the afternoon. About halfway through the conversation, the Christian man lit a cigarette, then apologized, saying he wanted to give them up because they hurt his witness.

The Buddhist woman responded with a statement that continues to shake me. She said, “We non-Christians, when one of our rank becomes a Christian, do not watch them to see how well they live up to some self-imposed standard of piety. We watch them to see how they start treating people.” I felt as if I had heard the word of the Lord from her. The Pharisees could accuse Jesus of being a glutton and a winebibber, but they could not accuse Him of not loving people. He had succeeded. He had been obedient to his Father.

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