Saturday, August 8

Influencing others through our own example (No. 11-20)

The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. -Phil. 4:9

Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others,it is the only means. -Albert Einstein

Continuing with the series starting with #1-3 here, #4-6 here, and #7-10 here, below are ten more areas we are trying to model before those we disciple/mentor.

11. Keep the Sabbath. This is one of the Ten Commandments that is most abused by many Jesus followers. To set aside a day of the week for rest seems unproductive, unfruitful, akin to laziness. If we do set aside a day for rest, it is usually spent attempting to get caught up on all the stuff piling up and needing attention. Of the 20 points shared so far, this one seems hardest for me to live consistently. Yet when I do observe the Sabbath as intended by our Creator, by setting aside a day for rest and recreation, I find my mind, body, spirit and soul are refreshed. I find much needed renewal and recharging for another week of service.

12. Less is more. Speak less in order to say more. Teach less so that more is retained. Learn to use less to accomplish more. Spend less in order to save more and give more. We are bombarded daily with information and stimulus. If we want our message to get across, we must package it in such a way that less is more. As stated in my previous blog entry, sometimes in order to do more, we must do less. Wisdom is about learning this difference.

13. The event is not the event. More often than not, the event we plan and carry out is not where the real Kingdom action takes place. While we may plan our programs, the real work of God often takes place on a completely different level. We have our purposes for doing things; God has his own. When all the dust settles, what remains is what God intends, not necessarily what we set out to accomplish. The event itself ends up as a "side show" to what God intended all along. Learn to seek God's hand at work on the fringes of our planned events and programs. Often spiritual fruit comes not from the event itself, but from small things that surround the event.

14. Servants recognize and appreciate the work and efforts of fellow servants. There is a shortage of appreciation and honest recognition amongst brethren. While we truly work for the Master, a bit of recognition and appreciation (what Jesus calls 'loving one another') goes a long way.

15. People are more important than programs. When we make people the program, they know it. People are not programs. They know when they are being used for someone else's ends. Make sure the people in our lives know they are more important than any of the programs or efforts that unite or engage us mutually.

16. En boca cerrada no entran moscas. Flies don't enter closed mouths. Until you have something constructive or edifying to say, it's best to keep one's mouth closed. A good percentage of our troubles come from the things coming out of our mouths. Weigh carefully your words before speaking them and avoid a lot of later regrets and damage control.

17. Transform relationships by transforming vocabulary. What we say to others and how we address them makes a huge difference in the way other disciples respond to us. Some "magic phrases" that go a long way: Thank you. You are right... I'm sorry... What do you think? How might we do this better? Well done! Tell me about it... What are your thoughts about the matter? Let's think on this together... How did you manage to do it so well? Good job. How can I help you? May I suggest... Where can we improve?

18. Busyness does not equal fruitfulness. Staying busy all the time is not a virtue. Much activity does not equal much fruit. Going back to #12 above, doing more of the right things gets us a lot farther than just a lot of activity in our life. We need to know the difference between being busy and tending to what is truly important.

19. Examinadlo todo; retened lo bueno. Paul's exhortation to "examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good..." is excellent advise for all Jesus followers. God is the author of all truth, regardless of where it is found. We have the tendency to "throw out the baby with the bath water" simply because some truth or good idea is found outside of our little world. If someone out there has discovered something good, some truth, something that is working well for them, we don't need to fear THEM as much as we need to hold fast to the good they have found. All truth is God's truth. The enemy is not about truth, justice, goodness, or well-being. Where these things are found, we ought to jump on others band wagons and apply God's truth to our situation.

20. God is in control. As crazy as things seem to get at times, we rest in the truth that our Lord is Sovereign and that nothing, absolutely nothing, is out of His control. All things work together for good for those who love the Lord. There are no "accidents" with God. He makes everything in our lives, both good and bad, to make us more Christlike. Even when we "blow it" and mistakes are made, HE IS IN CONTROL. Rest in the Lord, wait patiently for Him. Joy comes in the morning. Scripture overflows with the truth that OUR GOD REIGNS. He is Lord. He is Lord of the big things in our life, as well as the small things in our lives.

Any comments, observations, questions, etc. about any of the above? What do you think?

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