Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back,but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven…And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Revelation 12:7-8, 11
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Ephesians 6:10-13
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. Psalm 20:7
I remember playing “soldier” when I was a little boy. My friends and I would make up battlefield scenarios and spend hours and hours playing them out. We pretended to be sentries and infantrymen, and pilots and marines. We pretended to fire guns and swing swords and throw grenades. We crawled on our bellies and climbed trees and ran and hid. We manned pretend prison camps and planned ambushes. But you know what we never did? We never pretended to be communications officers whose job it was to communicate but who rarely ever actually “fought”. We never pretended to be the guy running BEHIND the other soldiers, carrying all the communications equipment but rarely ever firing a cannon. …
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Hebrews 4:15
My friend Scott is a gifted teacher. I remember one of his illustrations using a bunch of unmarked tea bags. He had everyone pass them around and smell them to see if we could tell what kind of tea each one held. Then he said something really profound: “Tea bags are a lot like people…you don’t know for sure what’s inside them until you put them in hot water.” It was a beautiful illustration about integrity and transparency. Together, those are the currency of leadership in the church.
What was truly transformative about Jesus (and what has been transformative about Christianity for over 2,000 years now) is not the power nor the persuasion nor the perfection of Jesus. Rather, it was the almost spellbinding “connection” he had with everyone he met. He connected with the Samaritan woman at the well. He connected with the Pharisee, Nicodemus. He connected with fishermen and tax collectors and soldiers and prostitutes. What changed people was his ability to see right into their souls, and at the same time allow them to see right into Him.
That was the founder of this revolution for which you and I are contending. And we should reflect that same level of transparency and connectability. It is important to our mission. In fact, the revolution depends on it.
But in our efforts to work harder to do all the things good Christians should do, and in our efforts to manage our people’s perception of us, we often tend to lose the transparency. In our churches’ efforts to elevate our leaders …