JESUS DIDN’T DIE SO YOU COULD BECOME A BILLIONAIRE!
I hope that, during the course of this Easter, preachers and teachers across the UK will affirm who Jesus is, who He is not, and share the key reasons why He died on the cross and rose from the dead, along with information about what a Christian is and, more importantly, what a Christian isn’t.
Why do I write this? Mainly because I’ve become so fed up of seeing, hearing and reading that Jesus died so that we can either become billionaires; have great inter-personal skills; become the most popular people at work/school/church; the ‘head and not the tail’; attain our dreams; achieve our goals, and whatever other human ambitions we may have.
Before I go on, let me state here that I don’t believe that God the Father has any issue with people having aspirations, goals or dreams, just as long as they are ethically sound and not contrary to His purpose for an individual’s life. However, I do think He has a major problem with some of the stuff that comes out of the mouths of Christians these days, because much of it resembles a mixture of the American Dream, coupled with the writings of self-help gurus, aspirations of bloggers and life hacks, and motivations from motivational speakers.
I know self-help books are popular – I enjoy reading them whenever I get the chance – but I do recognise that self-help advice is not the Gospel. Too many people don’t, however.
It’s easy to get the impression that 21st century believers are more inspired by the Media, TV evangelists, books, blogs and cultural trends, rather than the Christ of Scripture and the God of the Bible. Jesus didn’t die so that we could feel good or achieve our dreams; He died so that we could enjoy a relationship with the Creator of the world, our Heavenly Father.
Living the Christian life can sometimes result in us achieving our goals and dreams but, in most instances, we are called to live a life where we put God’s desires and plans for our lives first. Whatever aspirations we have, there will be times when they have to take second place to God’s purpose for our lives.
The Easter story should remind believers of the reasons why Christ came, died and rose again, and how we respond to His amazing demonstration of love by choosing to serve Him and what service to God can mean.
MEN AND PRAYER
I recently attended Heal Our Land, a prayer service convened by Pastor Junior Spence of Faith City Church in Hackney, east London, to pray about gangs, knife crime, youth violence and the sexual exploitation of young girls by gang members.
It was great to be present at a united prayer meeting, focused on asking for God’s direction in tackling a key issue impacting Black communities across the UK. What was even more encouraging was seeing the large numbers of men present (I think there were more men than women), which debunked the myth that men won’t gather to pray. And, to add icing to the cake, two teenage boys made the decision to become Christians, as the prayer service drew to a close.
I left the prayer meeting feeling excited. Not just about the fact that the church had united to pray about an issue so many people are concerned about, but also that our churches are filled with caring men, desirous to see change, and willing to pray to God for that change. I hope more such men start coming out the woodwork to pray and work in God’s Kingdom. Such individuals would be a force to be reckoned with.
FOLLOWING THE JESUS LEADERSHIP MODEL
It’s a fact that Jesus Christ is the most influential Man that ever walked this earth. The faith He founded over 2000 years ago has transformed the world and individuals in ways that we can’t begin to fathom or imagine.
There’s no way Christianity would enjoy the popularity or influence it has, were it not for the commitment, dedication and sacrifices made by the disciples Jesus left behind. Inspired by Christ’s teachings and the leadership principles He poured into them whilst on earth, the disciples established the Church, one of the world’s oldest and most durable institutions.
Organisations stand and fall on leadership, and any church seeking to attain ‘success’ shouldn’t really have to read the latest business manual by a leading CEO. Instead, they should be following the example of the CEO of CEOs, Jesus Himself.
It is evident, in founding the Church, that Jesus knew who He was; understood His mission; picked a team of people to help Him achieve His mission, and trained them on how to fulfil that mission.
Too many church leaders want to experience success without properly investing in the people they place in positions of leadership; this investment can constitute time, knowledge, experience and prayer. Oftentimes, leaders are left to get on with the business of leading, without the mutual support from fellow leaders in their denomination or network that they need.
If leaders want to get Jesus’ results, they have to model what He did, and it is evident that Jesus adopted a style which entailed caring for His leaders. It’s a style leaders of leaders would do well to adopt, if they want to see healthy, thriving churches under their watch.