Confessions of an Amnesiac

The Perils of Forgetting Who You Are

There’s a lot of amnesia going around lately, and I wonder if you might be a victim. To my surprise, I’ve discovered that I’m a recovering amnesiac myself. More on that in a moment, but first let me give you some background on the kind of amnesia I’m referring to.

Several years ago, my wife and I watched a rather lame made-for-TV movie on the Lifetime network. A woman was comatose after a serious car accident, and when she awoke she had no idea who she was. Eventually she regained her identity and reestablished her relationship with family members, but it wasn’t easy.

There’s a similar scene in my favorite musical, “Man of La Mancha.” Don Quixote has fallen into a coma after suffering what amounts to a nervous breakdown, and he’s seemingly on this deathbed.

When visited by the love of his life, the “virtuous lady Dulcinea” (also known as the barmaid Aldonza), he doesn’t even recognize her. Even worse, he doesn’t seem to recognize himself as the valiant knight who had once pursued “the impossible dream.”

It’s a terrible thing to forget who you are. But fortunately, Don Quixote rediscovered his dream and remembered who he was. Reawakened to his destiny, he was ready again “to march into hell for a heavenly cause.”

I had a similar experience recently. No, I wasn’t in an accident, nor did I fall into a coma or experience a nervous breakdown. I certainly wasn’t on my deathbed, at least not physically. But just like the woman in the TV movie or Don Quixote, I had forgotten who I was.

My recovery was triggered by a phone call I made to an old friend named Jim Byers. We live in different states, and I had lost touch with for more than a decade until the day I happened to stumble across him on Facebook.

At first this phone call was a little awkward. What would we talk about after so long? I considered ending the call after just a few minutes, saying something like, “Well, it was great hearing your voice again, Jim. I just wanted to say hello.” But like a mighty locomotive, the conversation slowly gained momentum. We talked of old times, when we joyously ministered together and reached out to pastors and churches across the state of Ohio in the 1980s. God really used us, and we had a blast in the process.

Although I lost track of how long we talked, it must have been more than an hour and a half. I rarely talk to anyone that long, but it was worth it. So what does any of this have to do with amnesia?

After my marathon conversation with Jim Byers, I concluded that I had forgotten a piece of who I am. Oh, it’s not that I have a bad life now. I have some friends here in the Carolinas, and I believe my preaching and writing have never been more powerful.

Yet there was something special about the way God used Jim Byers and me to encourage pastors and help them find the resources they needed for greater vitality in their churches. I miss those days, just like I’ve missed the depth of friendship I experienced with Jim.

Of course, there’s another side of this. Paul says we should forget some of the things in our past so we can press onward toward our calling in Christ (Philippians 3:12-14). Yet he also told Timothy to REMEMBER and “fan into flame” what God had spoken to him and done in his life in the past (1 Timothy 1:18, 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:5-7 NIV).

If Timothy was to “fight the battle well,” he needed to remember who he was. What about you? Have you, by chance, forgotten some important aspect of who God has gifted you to be? Do you need to read some of your old journals or have a conversation with a friend you haven’t talked to in decades?

If you’ve been an amnesiac like me, this can be your day to reawaken your dreams. It’s time to remember the glorious quest that once brought great joy to your heart.

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Dr. Phil’s Question for America

America is at a crossroads. We’re in the valley of decision, and there’s no guarantee we will get it right.

We need a visit from Dr. Phil.

Although I’m not sure his counseling tips are particularly original or profound, I love one question Dr. Phil commonly asks his guests. After they give him a rambling explanation to justify their boneheaded or ineffective actives, he simply asks:

“And how’s that working for you?”

It’s a brilliant question. Instead of directly confronting the guest and saying what he really thinks (“You must be crazy!”), Dr. Phil causes them to face the FRUIT and CONSEQUENCES of their actions. His question forces misguided guests to reflect on why their situation is going from bad to worse if their actions and motives are truly so noble.

If Dr. Phil interviewed America today…

  • When we explained why we voted for “hope and change” in 2008, I’m sure he would be sympathetic. But in the end, he would surely have to ask, “And how’s that working for you?”
  • When we described the stimulus plans and bailouts to rescue the economy and create jobs, he would again inquire, “And how’s that working for you?”
  • When we told him of the sincere hopes we had that America would finally bridge its economic, racial, and gender divisions, he would probe, “And how’s that working for you?”
  • When we described the administration’s efforts to project a more humble American image overseas, apologizing for past mistakes and reaching out to Muslims in particular, he would inquire, “And how’s that working for you?”
  • And in case you think I want to let the previous administration off the hook, I’m certain Dr. Phil would also want to know if we’re satisfied with the outcome of the decision to go to war in Afghanistan and Iraq: “And how’s THAT working for you?”

We can have legitimate arguments as to the true intentions or motives of our leaders. But even if we deem them to be sincere in their vision for a better America, Dr. Phil’s sobering question remains. He’s never swayed by people’s feelings, nor impressed with their lofty intentions if there isn’t positive fruit in the real world.

However, just as many of Dr. Phil’s guests want to remain in a world of denial, the same is true of many Americans and many of our politicians. We desperately need a REALITY CHECK, and the sooner the better.

Common sense would remedy most of our national problems, if not for our partisan blinders. For example, how about this follow up question from Dr. Phil: “How long can an individual, a family, an organization, or a nation last, if they borrow 40% of every dollar they spend (as the federal government is now doing)?” This obviously isn’t a sustainable policy, is it?

And many other questions are likewise no-brainers. Can we truly claim “progress” on unemployment when more and more people are simply leaving the job market and relying on the government for their support? And when debating what people’s “fair share” of taxes should be, how can it be considered fair for half of American’s citizens to pay no income taxes at all?

Dr. Phil’s question isn’t PARTISAN, but PRAGMATIC. There’s enough blame to go around for both major parties. But one thing is clear: “The same old, same old” clearly isn’t working.

Meanwhile, our country seems dangerously poised to fulfill the old definition of insanity: Doing the same things over and over, but expecting different results.

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The Oprahfication of the Church

It’s easy to love Oprah Winfrey. This incredible American success story has shaped our culture the past 20 years perhaps more than any other person.

Born in Mississippi to unmarried teen parents, Oprah spent her first six years living in rural poverty with her grandmother. She was ridiculed by the local children for wearing dresses made of potato sacks, but that’s all her grandmother could afford.

Beginning when she was nine years old, Oprah was molested by her cousin, her uncle, and a family friend. After suffering years of abuse, she ran away from home at age 13, became pregnant at age 14, and her son died shortly after birth.

Despite this extremely dysfunctional foundation in her early life, Oprah has gone on to positively impact the world through her example of compassion and philanthropy. Various publications have called her the most influential woman in the world, and she’s also one of the wealthiest.

But Oprah hasn’t just affected the entertainment media or secular culture—she also has deeply impacted the world’s view of spirituality. A 2002 article in Christianity Today noted that Oprah has emerged as an important spiritual leader: head of “The Church of O,” “a modern priestess,” and “an icon of church-free spirituality.”

On the premier of Oprah’s 13th season, Roseanne Barr told her, “You’re the African Mother Goddess of us all!”—an accolade that brought an enthusiastic response from the studio audience. And the animated series “Futurama” predicted that “Oprahism” would be a mainstream religion in 3000 AD.

It’s not an exaggeration to say Oprah led the largest church in the world, with a congregation of more than 22 million viewers. No other TV preacher even comes close, either in numbers or in impact.

So how should Christians respond to the Oprah phenomenon? Has she been a positive or negative influence…or both?

Positive Impact on the Church

Oprah’s message isn’t all bad. Certainly not. The church can rightfully learn some very positive lessons from her:

  • Our message must be manifested in our deeds. Oprah not only preaches altruism, but she also demonstrates it. This example should challenge us to regain the Biblical teaching that our faith must be demonstrated by our works (James 1:22-27, 2:14-26). Because of Oprah, 21st-century churches are held to a higher standard in our culture in this regard. Particularly in the younger age groups, people expect churches and individuals that are truly spiritual to engage the culture and work to alleviate human suffering.
  • Spirituality must be a 24/7 quest, not just an activity we do on Sunday mornings. Oprah has consistently promoted a view of spirituality that transcends involvement in once-a-week religious exercises. According to the Church of Oprah, it’s not good enough just to have great sermons and worship on Sunday mornings. People must embrace principles that transform their lives all week long—in their families, health, jobs, recreation, finances, and relationships.
  • The media can be a powerful force for communicating our message—no matter what “gospel” we may be preaching. Make no mistake about it, Oprah is preaching a “gospel” message—promising her followers hope, change, and transformation. However, she freely preaches a “Gospel According to Oprah” rather than being constrained by the gospel found in the Bible—which is “the power of God for salvation” (Romans 1:16).
  • Spirituality works best when it’s interactive, not centered only on lectures or pulpits. Oprah’s “preaching” isn’t an hour-long sermon from a stage or lectern, but rather an interactive discussion with involvement by her guests and audience. This kind of format may seem foreign to most churches today—but it’s very much akin to the interactive ways Jesus taught His disciples and the crowds that followed Him.

As you can see, these positive influences are actually just pointing us back to what the church was always meant to be. It’s not that Oprah has discovered ground-breaking principles that have never been tried before. Where she’s succeeded most, she simply has recaptured Biblical principles that have been in God’s Word from the beginning.

A Dangerous Mixture

Although the Church of Oprah can help us rediscover some Scriptural principles we’ve neglected, we must also recognize the toxic mixture her “gospel” represents. Oprah no doubt considers herself a Christian, but she has liberally adopted and promoted many dangerous non-Christian influences. Sadly, though, many Christians are so Biblically illiterate that they cannot discern the ways Oprah has strayed from true Christianity.

I believe Oprah is a sincere seeker of the truth, yet that doesn’t mean she’s always correct in the messages she promotes. Here are just a few of the red flags believers should note in Oprah’s message, whether explicitly stated or implied:

  1. “Good works are the equivalent of true spirituality.” While the Bible teaches that good works should naturally flow from genuine spirituality, that doesn’t mean the converse is true. Sometimes people clearly do good deeds from motives other than true love for God or for humankind (1 Corinthians 13:3). Such people may be seeking honor and praise from other people, or they may even hold the misguided belief that God will accept them into heaven some day if they do enough humanitarian deeds during their time on earth. Either way, these incorrect and self-serving motivations actually lead us away from authentic spirituality.
  2. “All religions and philosophies are equivalent.” Oprah recently stated that although she was brought up to believe Jesus is the only way to salvation, she no longer believes that. And thanks to the influence of Oprah and other philosophers of our day, this “spiritual universalism” has become an increasingly common view among professing Christians. “I believe in following Jesus,” they say, “but I’m sure there are many other ways to heaven as well.” This is blatantly contrary to what the Bible teaches (John 14:6, Acts 4:12, etc.), but it’s an accepted precept of the Church of Oprah.
  3. “Although the Bible teaches many good lessons, we must also embrace other religious and metaphysical traditions in order to understand ‘all truth.’” In recent years, Oprah has aggressively promoted New Age philosophies such as The Secret and A New Earth. These mark a serious departure from a biblical worldview, but Oprah is on a search for some kind of “spiritual reality” that she has apparently not experienced yet through studying the Bible.
  4. “It’s all about life on this earth.” Even though Oprah doesn’t explicitly say that life on this earth is all that matters, she seems to consistently discount an afterlife or muddle it with New Age concepts. The thrust of Oprah’s TV program and magazine is clearly to help people have better lives on earth—a noble objective, but one that must always be balanced with an eternal perspective  (Colossians 3:1-2).
  5. “It’s all about ‘finding your own way.’” While her shows sometime contain dogmatic theological assertions from Oprah or her guests, she tends to encourage her audience to seek their own way and pursue “the truth that is right for them.” This relativism, tolerance and “open-mindedness” is running rampant in our culture, but it reflects the apostle Paul’s warning about “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7). Yes, Oprah, there IS such as thing as TRUTH.
  6. “It’s all about ‘getting along.’” The Church of Oprah is a non-judgmental place, preaching tolerance toward people with different lifestyles, sexual orientations, and religious beliefs. This has become the prevailing view of our society, and Oprah has certainly done nothing to stem the tide. Again, biblical teachings have been jettisoned in favor of a twisted form of humanistic tolerance.
  7. “It’s all about positive feelings.” The Church of “O” is a feel-good congregation, where “all things are possible” for those who believe the message and “drink the Kool-Aid.” There’s no need to address sin, repentance, the cross, or Jesus’ lordship, because such things would just get in the way of people feeling good about the Oprah Experience. However, before we’re too hard on the Church of Oprah, let’s be honest: Many, many churches today have opted for similar priorities, placing feelings above truth. We encourage people to “love their life,” while Jesus told us to hate our lives in this world. We tell people they can “live their best life NOW,” while the Bible says to also prepare ourselves for “the life to come” (2 Timothy 4:8).
  8. “It’s all about the results.” I confess, I have a certain degree of respect for this precept of Oprah’s church. Pragmatism isn’t all bad. If something isn’t “working,” why should we stick with it? From time to time, I find myself asking people the famous question popularized by Oprah’s protégé, Dr. Phil: “And how’s that workin’ for you?” Yet pragmatism is fraught with dangers. If we took snapshots of Bible heroes at many places in their lives, it certainly could seem like their faith in God wasn’t working out very well (e.g., see Hebrews 11:32-40). Even Jesus Himself would have seemed a failure at times (e.g., see John 6:60-71, Mark 6:1-5). The moral of the story is that we must trust and obey God, whether it seems to be “working” or not.
  9.  “It’s all about the celebrities.” As popular as Oprah is, her show would have no longevity without a constant stream of celebrity guests. Sadly, this should be a warning to us as Christian in the age of media. Even the early church had its popularity cults (“I am of Paul,” “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Peter” – 1 Corinthians 1:12), and the dangers of this have become even greater in our slick, media-driven culture. The question shouldn’t be, “Where are the men and women with the most flamboyant style or communication skills?” but rather, “Where are the men and women who seek the face of God and exemplify His character?”
  10. “We don’t really need the church.” Why would we need traditional churches—with all of their narrowness, hypocrisy and outdated mores—when we can have the Church of Oprah on our DVR 24/7/365? No need to tithe, get involved, leave our house, or even change out of our bathrobes! Just sit back and receive Oprah’s feel-good inspirational messages, with no accountability to God or to a group of believers. Once again, Oprah seems to be riding a popular wave in our culture. As George Barna and other pollsters have documented, a vast number of professing Christians are exiting traditional churches and looking for new ways to express their spirituality. No doubt, the church has its problems—and how can it compete with the carefully produced sights and sounds of the Church of Oprah? However, God’s plan is—and always has been—to save people from darkness and add them to the church (Acts 2:41-47). And even if Oprah’s gospel was based firmly on the Bible, God is looking for more from us than participation in a “TV church.”

Conclusions

We live in exciting times, with incredible opportunities to preach and practice God’s kingdom upon the earth. But these also are “perilous times” (2 Timothy 3:1), when we will need great discernment to hear God’s voice and expose the voices of impostors—well-meaning as the impostors may be.

Oprah has significantly impacted our culture, and the church has been “Oprahfized” much more than we’ve realized. The Church of Oprah is an appealing counterfeit of the body of Christ—but it’s a counterfeit nevertheless.

While many people no doubt crave a feel-good spiritual experience, God makes it clear that He’s still seeking a “holy and blameless” church, “having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing” (Ephesians 5:27).

Instead of being a bastion of relativism, humanism, and so-called tolerance, such a church will once again be “the pillar and support of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). Only then will we be empowered to again turn the world upside down, proclaiming the uncompromised lordship of Jesus Christ (Acts 17:6-7).

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This election… Will We Choose Barabbas?

Caution: The blog post you are about to read is a BIBLE STUDY about a critical issue of our day. It is not meant as an endorsement or rebuke of any specific political candidate or party. Apply these truths as God leads you!

We live in dangerous, deceptive times, when it has never been more important to be like the sons of Issachar, “who understood the times” and knew what God’s people should do (1 Chronicles 12:32). The recent political conventions have served to illustrate the critical nature of this: Will Christians in our country discern the truth or be hoodwinked by smooth-talking, emotion-stirring politicians? Will we allow the candidates’ rhetoric to twist reality and permit them to substitute promises for performance?

I’m old enough to remember the old “To Tell the Truth” TV program, where three mystery guests claimed to be a certain person, and the four celebrity panelists had to guess which one of them was telling the truth about their identity. Each segment of the program culminated with the host saying, “Only one of these is the real ______, and the others are imposters. Will the real _____ please stand up!”

Matthew 27 tells a story remarkably similar to an episode of “To Tell the Truth.” Two men stood before the Roman governor (Pontius Pilate) and a large crowd of people. Both of these men were revolutionaries, but they advocated two very different kinds of revolution. Both were radical in their approach, but in completely different ways.

Pilate made it clear that only one of these men could be chosen: “Which one do you want me to release to you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” (v. 17) The people had to carefully evaluate the claims of these two revolutionaries before making their all-important decision.

According to many early manuscripts, the full name of the first man was Jesus Barabbas. Jesus meant “savior,” and Barabbas meant “son of the father” (Bar = Son, Abbas = Father). This man was widely known as an insurrectionist who had participated in a recent uprising against the Roman authorities (Mark 15:7).

The message of Barabbas was clear: “You all could have a great life if it weren’t for the Romans. They’ve victimized and oppressed you, making it impossible to be happy and productive. Let me come to your aid and get rid of the ‘bad guys’ who’ve ripped you off and done you wrong.”

No doubt, there was a grain of truth in Barabbas’ case, just as there’s always an element of truth in the manipulative arguments of political demagogues today. However, the cure he promised didn’t address the more fundamental cause of people’s misery.

Standing next to Barabbas that day was a very different kind of revolutionary, though there were some intriguing parallels between the men. This radical young leader from Nazareth was also named Jesus, and his followers considered him the Savior. And just as the name Barabbas meant “son of the father,” this other Jesus was known by many as the son of Father God. Ultimately he was referred to as Jesus the Christ, or Messiah.

Jesus had some fair-weather followers who probably weren’t much different from the followers of Barabbas. They saw his miracles and hoped he would liberate them from Roman oppression and restore the independent Jewish nation. Mostly likely, this was their misguided motivation in shouting “Hosanna” (save now!) when he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey a few days earlier.

However, the message of this Jesus was much different than Jesus Barabbas. Instead of promising political solutions—salvation from the outside—he told his followers they must repent and receive God’s kingdom on the inside.

Rather than allowing his disciples to pity themselves and feel like victims, he challenged them to take the “logs” out of their own eyes and deal with any sin or selfishness that was preventing them from receiving true freedom and abundance.

The unfolding scene in Matthew 27 was almost unbelievable. Which “Jesus”—which savior—would the people choose: Jesus Barabbas or Jesus Christ? Would they opt for a political solution that let them off the hook in dealing with their own sinfulness and disobedience? Or would they embrace Jesus’ promise of a new heart and a transformed life?

You see, two different gospels were presented by these two men. Both claimed to offer “good news” to those who would follow their pathway. Barabbas promised a better life once the Romans were defeated, while Jesus promised new life in a spiritual kingdom that transcended politics and earthly kingdoms.

To Pilate’s shock, the people overwhelmingly voted for Barabbas and were content to send Jesus to crucifixion. How could this be? Were they simply deceived, lured by Barabbas’ promise of sweet revenge against their oppressors? Were they paid off by the jealous religious leaders, who saw Jesus as a threat to their grip on people’s lives? Or was the problem that most of Jesus’ fans and followers simply failed to show up—or speak up—on that fateful day?

Today America faces an eerily similar moment of decision. As in the days of Barabbas and Jesus, we face enormous economic and social challenges, causing many people to feel desperate for relief.

If we are seduced by the promises of Barabbas, we will seek political saviors and opt for government solutions to our woes. We will listen to the alluring siren call of those who stoke the flames of victimhood and demonize opponents with a “divide and conquer” strategy.

In contrast, the pathway prescribed by Jesus seems much more costly and difficult. It beckons us to lay down our lives and trust God to meet our needs. Instead of permitting us to play the blame game, it points us to the ancient remedy prescribed in 2 Chronicles 7:14: We must humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face, and turn from our own wicked ways. Then, and only then, does the Lord promise to forgive our national sins and heal our land.

No matter what your political persuasion might be, it’s time to repent of any tendency to cast our nation’s leaders in the role of our savior or source.

Regardless of which Presidential candidate you support, I hope you can see they are certainly not Jesus! There’s only ONE true Savior and Source, and those who put their hope in Him will not be disappointed (Romans 10:11). Every human substitute is just an imposter and counterfeit, shifting sand that will ultimately replace our soaring hopes with deep disappointment.

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Preaching Links

Links to Some of Jim’s Preaching

How to Get Over It (When You Feel Like You’re Under It)  http://bit.ly/18fLBER

Silent Night Interrupted  http://bit.ly/1jqJ3vS

How to Make a New Year’s REVOLUTION!  http://bit.ly/KL8ubh

When You Need a Lift  http://bit.ly/1uAE3UB

The Life-Changing Power of the Blood Covenant  http://bit.ly/Hr2ymb

The Days of Elijah (video)  http://bit.ly/1nsMKiv

A Person Like Us (Lessons from Elijah)  bit.ly/1gyL0BY

3 Success Secrets of a Scoundrel (Lessons from Jacob)  http://bit.ly/QMSzoF

Your Future Starts Today!  http://bit.ly/Ta8P6S

SEE Change  http://bit.ly/PBtq08

Extravagant  http://bit.ly/NFUXSz

The Christian Life in a Nutshell  http://bit.ly/TMW0Rf

 

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The Cure for Crushed Testicles

Why Leaders Today Need Holy Testosterone
    Years ago, I was the editor of a major Christian leadership magazine and had a brainstorm for my upcoming column. I wanted to call my article “Crushed Testicles,” based on Leviticus 21:20. I wasn’t really surprised when my boss said he liked the article but thought the title was a bit too graphic. We ended up calling the article “Holy Testosterone” instead.
    Although I was fine with toning down the title, in retrospect I wonder if we did the right thing. The Bible never shies away from graphic language in fear we might be offended. It doesn’t include any disclaimers or apologies when Leviticus 21:20 (NASB) lists “crushed testicles” as one of the characteristic that would disqualify someone from the priesthood.
    Now, as then, courage and “holy testosterone” are indispensable qualities of successful leaders. This is not an argument against women in leadership, for the New Testament makes it clear that all believers are now called upon to enter the church’s“royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9). And, like Joshua, we’re all called to be “strong and courageous,” whether male or female (Joshua 1:7).
    In contrast, though, we as Christian leaders in America have too often become polite, respectable, noncontroversial and steeped in religiosity—very different from the Lord Jesus we profess to emulate. As if Caspar Milquetoast were our role model instead of Jesus Christ, we’ve often chosen “getting along” over being true leaders…pleasing people over pleasing God.
    The implication of the phrase “crushed testicles” is not that someone was born (or “born again”) with this condition. Rather, such a condition is nearly always the result of some injury on the way to becoming a leader or in the midst of serving. Whether this is applied to those who leave seminary with less “testosterone” than when they went in, or to those emasculated and crushed by church conflicts or satanic onslaughts while in the ministry, it’s a debilitating condition that God wants to remedy.
    If you have been in ministry any length of time, you’ve no doubt been injured or bruised. It goes with the territory. To put it bluntly, our testicles get crushed by the pressures, rejections, and betrayals we encounter along the way. Our tendency when injured is to lose our boldness and shrink back from further battle.
    But this is the very reaction we are warned against: “Do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward…My righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him” (Hebrews 10:35-39).
Many of those who went into the ministry with a vision to change the world are now staying in ministry only with a vision of retirement. Testicles crushed along the way, testosterone depleted, they set their sights only on surviving, not thriving.
   Let’s face it: The ministry is not for the faint of heart. In order to be successful, we need holy boldness…courage. It does no good to have vision if we’ve lost our nerve and our will to fight. The stress on Christian leaders in America is seldom the result of overt persecution. Sadly, most of us have not been enough of a threat to anyone to be persecuted.

Instead, the stress comes primarily from the daily wear and tear of babysitting self-absorbed believers who are more concerned about their own needs than about the gospel. Having chosen to babysit rather than confront, emasculated leaders find themselves increasingly frustrated with a ministry typified by spinning of wheels instead of changing of lives.

Those with crushed testicles not only are crippled from leading, they also are disabled from reproducing. Like eunuchs, their castration prevents them from having normal “intercourse” and raising up a new generation of leaders. Amazingly, this lack of spiritual reproduction has become accepted as normal  by many who are in leadership today.

Losing sight of the clear biblical mandate to equip new leaders, many leaders have become content to have no spiritual offspring. Be clear on this: It is not a sin to have been crushed. But it is a sin to wallow in an impotent condition, not letting God heal us and restore our courage to lead and reproduce.

After listing the traits that would disqualify a person from the priesthood, God concludes Leviticus 21 with this word of encouragement: “I am the Lord who sanctifies them” (v. 23). This means that no matter what condition you find yourself in today, God is committed to help and heal you if you let Him. Take heart! Today there can be a whole new beginning for your leadership journey.

 

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