Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Doing as David did - Lauren and Dan

No, this is not Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck on the scooter, it’s Lauren Roeper and Dan Weller living out the adage: “when in Rome…” This year however has been anything but a Roman Holiday for Dan, Lauren and their team.

Forced to leave Italy after only 90 days due to visa issues, they each went to their hometowns as they awaited word from the Italian consulate. Then after their month long ‘living-back-with-parents’ visas ran out, Dan, Lauren and their team were dispersed over 3 different states to serve at their respective alma maters. Their weekly STINT Team Meetings were tough though! On March 4th, they finally were able to return to Rome though still without the proper visas. This means they have only 50 more days or so that they’re allowed to stay in Italy.

Back in Rome,their team have been reminded of the Sovereign hand of God. “It’s been amazing to see the things that God is doing on campus as there’s a completely different atmosphere both in conversations with students and in the awareness of our organization on campus. In our first 15 days back in-country, we saw 7 students profess faith in Christ!” Dan writes.

“Though we had been gone for 3 months, God had been actively preparing the hearts of these and other students to respond to the gospel with faith. We’ve also even recently seen one of our students lead their friend to Christ - the first time ever in our ministry! God is definitely moving here in Rome and we’re excited to see what else the Lord has in store for our last 50 days here.”

Though not as overjoyed as we are to be reminded that God is still calling the shots even as the Roman government again tries to thwart His efforts and not as excited as we are to hear of students crossing from death to life, you no doubt will be overjoyed and excited to learn that our guest devotion writer this week is Krista Mikalatos. For her seminary class, Krista recently wrote a paper on leadership based out of the books of Chronicles. The following are her insights into leading spiritually from the life of David and other kings:

I was so struck by the assessment of each king’s life, particularly in 2 Chronicles. David totally gets what life and leadership are about when he gives his charge to Solomon in 1 Chronicles 28. He said, “And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever. Be careful now. For the LORD has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be strong and do it.”

Here is King David’s emphasis: a whole heart and a willing mind. Why? Because God searches our hearts and understands everything that we do. If you go on to read all of 2 Chronicles you will see king after king evaluated in these terms.

King David is the almost perfect king and all kings after him are in some manner compared to him. David led the people spiritually (1 Chron. 16:4), he was humble (17:16), administered justice and equality (18:14), and maybe most importantly, he faced punishment for the wrong that he committed. Yes, you are immediately thinking of Bathsheba, but what the author of Chronicles notes is that David broke one of the commandments to the king. He was not to take a census of the people and he did. David threw himself upon God’s wrath and mercy. The location of this event is where David chose to build the temple. Many kings acted wrongly, but few humbled themselves, accepted punishment and grace, and continued to follow God.

This book caused me to think about my heart. The people the kings led always followed them to life or destruction. Where is my heart and where am I leading people? I hope life, but if there’s one lesson that I learn from these kings it’s that they suffered from sin. How quickly they turned to God after their sin determined how great of a king they were. My whole heart must be examined and the sin that resides there must be confessed. Here are good questions that I often want to put off: do I consider myself better than others? Am I selfish with my time and resources? Do I trust God when bleak situations surround me (i.e. lack of support)? The kings were supposed to read the Torah, the first books of the Bible, on a daily basis and to obey them. Am I filled with God’s word so that he can direct my heart?

If you undertake reading the Chronicles, I will warn you that entire consecutive chapters are filled with names and more names. But read through and find how these people are meant to be remembered. What are the spiritual highlights of their lives? What caused even the kings with notable whole hearts to screw up?

Being a leader with a wholly devoted heart is a process. Take some time to examine your heart and ask God to direct you. Let the Holy Spirit show you your sin, and emerge full of grace and truth. Your teams need spiritual leadership, not just a leader going through the motions.

Thanks Krista! Powerful stuff. Hope you each have a great week where ever your scooter takes you!

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