Courage

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Courage.  You can’t lead and win without it.  Finnish drivers lead the world in rally car victories, and they do it with with a culture of driving courage. In Finland, they teach their drivers “sisu.”  Sisu is the Finnish word for “courage,” but its nuances are deeper than our English word can convey.  Sisu means something deeper than basic courage.  Sisu means courage-wisdom-skill, and the ability to face fear to accomplish task at a higher level.  The question is: What task do you face that requires “sisu” to overcome and succeed?

People of faith and desire for victory know that leadership is full of the need for sisu.  We have to face our fears and proceed in faith that God will accomplish more than we ever dreamed possible, and not hold back in a tough turn life throws at us.  We need courage.

Eph. 3:20 tell us that when we operate in our Spirit empowered calling in Christ, God will be able to do more than we can even imagine if we have the courage, or “sisu” to trust Him through every challenging twist of the race.

We need to drive on the road of life with courage.  As a rally car driver faces a turn, he doesn’t just “slow down” but faces the corner with sisu.  That means braking just right, getting the right gear, and accelerating through the turn to maximize the hitting of the apex to perfectly follow through with speed, even in the face of the fear of crashing.  Drivers need courage to face the challenge of the corners and keep the most momentum through them.  Life is full of twists and turns on rough roads that appear dangerous.  Christians need the courage of the Spirit to move forward with maximum momentum and not lose heart.   Today I’m sure you faced some rough turns, and we know many are yet ahead of us in the race of life.  Let’s cultivate a culture of courage and get a little more “sisu” in the Spirit!   God will provide and give us the ability to face the turns for the advance of His Kingdom.

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Breaking the Gospel to Keep It?

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In 1532 Niccolò Machiavelli first published his ground breaking book, The Prince.  In his book he laid down efficient principles for gaining power by focusing on the goal and that goal alone would justify the process, even if it was on the face of it inappropriate or unethical: the end justifies the means.  His little book pinpointed one of the major problems with how we relate to one another. Is it ethical to act in any way we wish as long as the result is good? Ironically most Christians throughout history would say emphatically “No!” and label this form of behavioral ethics as “evil.”  What we do, however, is often entirely different.  Why is it that so often we employ Machiavellian tactics in our own lives and justify it?

Why is it that if we think another Christian is in error, in how they have treated us, in their doctrine, or even in full time ministry, this gives us justification to do “whatever it takes” correct them?   We may speak harshly to them.  Why?   Because they must be stopped!   We may establish blogs to write against them and publicly destroy their reputation.  Why? Because we must stand up to doctrinal or personal error!  We may even remove them from ministry. Why? Because the cancer of their error must be expunged.   Is this the way of life God has called us to in Jesus Christ, or is this how Machiavelli would encourage us to regain power?

As Christians we are called to more than simply a “good end” but also to a method or way of life.  We are called to imitate God, Eph. 5:1-2, and the primary way we imitate Him is to live lives of sacrificial love.  This way of life can be exemplified in simple terms:

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Mat 7:12 ESV)

“For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Gal 5:14 ESV)

“speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Eph 4:15-16 ESV)

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”(Eph 4:32 ESV)

If we are commanded specifically to love, and told that the way of our lives determines the outcome, why do we excuse ourselves in how we act?  In truth, there is no excuse.  God has given us the gospel, and this is not just a doctrine but a way of life.  If we break the gospel to establish the gospel, or a good end – some doctrine, behavior etc., we have not kept it but rather broken it.  Our calling is to receive the gospel and live it out, specifically and especially when we are wronged or when a person we interact with or even have responsibility over is in error.  This would apply to interpersonal relationships of friends and family, husbands and wives, parents and children, church and ministry boards, and every conceivable interaction we could have with another human being!

If you break the gospel to keep the gospel all you have done is broken the gospel, but if you live out the gospel you keep it!