Note: Apologies on the audio (especially the first minute); will aim to obtain higher quality when available.
Imagine being Rabbi Schacter moments after Patton’s army had liberated Buchenwald.
The first Jewish chaplain surveying the horror where hundreds of starving men piled in bunks from floor to ceiling. Though they had been freed, they remained in their barracks, numb to the sight of another uniform.
After all, new suits just meant new oppression and new abuse. Why leave camp to be battered and beaten again?
Then suddenly the silence breaks.
“Shalom Aleichem, Yidden, Ihr zint frei!” – “Peace be upon you, Jews, you are free!”
Slowly but surely, reality sets in…those sweet words of freedom spoken by one they now knew to be their own…
…the only one who could convince them they were truly free.
For some of you reading this, like the prisoners, you’re desperate for release, you’re hungry for life, but past defeats and present turmoil have stalemated you. Like a car in neutral, you’re going somewhere, yet feel inert as life races on.
If you can relate, I want to encourage you to consider what today stands for.
For once upon a time, Jesus felt the same way you did…
…when nailed to a tree…
…he took every fear, hate, and dirty little secret upon himself…
…and died for the redemption of man.
But that was ~2,000 years ago…yesterday.
As for today, its significance is often lost in the shadow of the cross. For while Jesus atoned our sins on Friday, it wasn’t until Saturday he ensured we could live free from them.
Granted, Jesus redeemed us from sin after judicially becoming it, but he knew sin had to go somewhere. Thus, with joy still set before him (Hebrews 12:2), he carried our sin to hell…so we could permanently be undefined by it.
Unfortunately, for many of us, like the Buchenwald captives, we base our identity in past and present circumstance. We know it’s for freedom Christ has set us free (Galatians 5:1), but are still skeptical thinking it’s going to disappoint in the hell of the moment.
However, when we remember Saturday…the day Jesus ripped the gates off Hades’ hinges¹, deposited our sins (past, present, and future), and withdrew keys to our victory…we ultimately find freedom in full where sin is not only confessed and repented, but renounced so we can be free from its power.
For while we’re cleansed through confession and repositioned through repentance, it’s not until we renounce sin we begin walking in freedom’s direction.
Therefore, if you’re thirsty for breakthrough, remember Christ not only shed his blood² for you, but unlocked freedom’s door so your struggle, your shortcoming…would never define you. Yes, there may be times you feel like a hesitant hostage or a fighter with the wind knocked out; however, once you receive the power Christ bought you on Saturday, you’ll find the freedom and strength you need to renounce the bondage of sin’s baggage.
Regardless of where you’re at this Easter, remember freedom is more than cleansing term; it’s an identity term! Hence, why we have every reason to rest in Rabbi Schacter’s charge 73 years in the making…
“Peace be upon you, all…you are free!”
Cover photo creds: Peg Pondering Again
- As the final scapegoat
It’s a snowy night as I drive in a galaxy far, far away…
…a dusky night lit with flakes blasting the beams of my Millennial Falcon.
Low on tread, but high in spirit, my mind goes warp speed as I reset the clock.
Why do we spring forward on a Sunday morning, anyway?
The seconds tick to the beat of the ‘shield.
And then it hits me…
…how we spring forward¹ on the day of rest…
…set apart so we can drink from whom springs up living waters within us (John 4:14).
Constantly flowing, always satisfying…even in the grayest doldrums.
For many of us, springing forward in spiritual terms is easier said than done. We crave the refreshment of God’s living water yet to a lesser extent what gets us there.
For instance, we may be thirsty for God’s grace, but not so much letting love spring from a pure heart (1 Timothy 1:5), faith from holy confidence (Romans 15:13, Hebrews 10:19) or cutting off springs of resentment (Hebrews 12:15).
However, when we consider God’s wells spring life for our wellsprings of life (i.e. heart; Proverbs 4:23), we ultimately find all his springs are in us (Psalm 87:7)². As a result, we can spring forward when we allow God to spring up.
Granted, this leveling up process takes time, discipline, and koinonia. Yet, even if you think you lack one of these elements or don’t have what it takes to ‘cross the river’, remember it’s not what you have, it’s what already dwelling inside you…
…the very reason Israel sang, “Spring up, O well” (Numbers 21:17).
Looking ahead, I want to unpack how we can better abide in these springs of life³ so we can spring from faith and lead in faith in a way that awakens more faith.” (Romans 1:17)
In the meantime, as we near Easter in this season of lent, let’s position ourselves for God to spring up new life so we can spring forward.
- And fall back
- Whether in mountain or valley (Psalm 104:10).
- God’s righteousness reveals
Photo cover creds: 4K Spring Field Flowers Image
If I were to ask what the point of ministry is, what would you say?
Drawing people to Christ? Developing them as disciple-makers? Deploying them into service?
Albeit, these are all fine answers…but what if I told you we can sum up ministry in one word…
Would you agree?
Regardless, the Word is clear our ministry emerges from our influence.
Consider 2 Corinthians 5:11…
“Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others.”
If you’re like me, you hear ‘persuade’ and immediately think ‘convince’; yet, when we dissect the Hebrew and extend it through v. 21, we find Paul is actually talking about influence.
Applying this filter, we can better understand how influence not only partners in God’s ministry of reconciliation, but matures our effectiveness as marketplace influencers.
Granted, there are many ways to broach the topic. For now, we’ll start with our usual ‘core three’ and work from there…
1. Know who you’re fearing
As mentioned, the bottom line of ministry is reconciliation achieved through influencing; however, to get there it’s important we grasp the fear of the Lord.
Note the latter reference:
“So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.”
This tells me two things:
- Godly fear multiplies wisdom and virtue in addition to faith.
- The evidence of influence is peace inspired by encouragement.
Therefore, when we talk about influence, we’re not talking as much about personal strength as we are the maturation of corporate morale and pointing people in the direction of Jesus (more on this in future posts).
Contrarily, it’s important we understand what influence isn’t.
‘Cause while the key to influence is the fear of the Lord, the enemy will use the opposite spirit, the fear of man, along with memories of past hurt to contrive a narrative where we’re seeking to overcome what’s already been overcome.
Thankfully, as Kingdom agents…ministers of reconciliation who can persuade through the fear of the Lord…we can rhythmically resist this mindset whiling combating the compromised systems of the world.
For as long as there is sin, enterprise will be governed by hierarchy1 where people are bound by control, manipulation, and intimidation. Yet, as for you, you can see people as God sees them (i.e. forgiven) and help them find purpose through daily influencing where they are.
After all, freedom begets freedom…and He craves it more than you do.
2. Know how you’re leading
As effective influencers2, it’s imperative we not only have the right mindset towards people, but our work as well.
For starters, we must view our work as an opportunity to show people who they are as opposed to a stage to prove our self-worth. In this way, we not only invest trust in God being the one to open eyes, but free ourselves to influence through our wiring and discover new strengths through how God uses their responses.
‘Cause truth is: When we allow God into our realm of influence, we trade the pressure of of accomplishing goals for a humility motivating others to reach them.
But Cam…what if I’m not a team leader or in a place of authority?
Again, to answer this question…we must ask ourselves why we’re asking it.
If we’re talking about what we’ve been conditioned to believe…then authority is nothing more than the appointed person governing ‘over’ us; however, if we’re talking about absolute authority3, then we can see how a) God alone carries it…and b) what we often associate as ‘authority’ is, in fact, influence manifest through the seven motivational gifts (as outlined in Romans 12).
Again, the system…a real life Matrix if you will…runs by pecking order, production, and the Jerry Maguire mindset of ‘show me the money’, but…
…as Kingdom influencers, we can approach metrics and outcomes without agenda by combining nurturing with our competence4.
Thus, whether you’re a supervisor in crunch time or a subordinate in training, you can help hold your team accountable to achieve certain goals in your respective roles. Just remember no matter what you do to galvanize effort, make sure it stems from a desire for everyone to succeed given a true influencer always values people over goals and never risks reaching them at the cost of another’s well-being.
For when we value people and decompartmentalize our desire to impact them, we not only influence a place where encouragement and goodness abound, but also where confidence and favor are ultimately shared.
Stay tuned next time when I’m unveil my third and final step to maturing as an effective influencer in the marketplace.
‘Til then if you have any questions, thoughts, concerns, feel free to leave them below in the ‘comments’ section and I’ll return serve as soon as I can.
Peace for your week,
- As well as the idea leadership is greater than serving (contrary to Romans 12 which tells us each gift is equal and carries status and dignity)
- All influencers lead, but not all leaders influence
- Difference between authority and authorities
- A simple formula for adding value to your team members in a way they’ll turn to you for guidance and feedback
Cover photo creds: MikeLavere.com