Thursday, May 15, 2008

Leading in Humility - Keith & Natalie

Okay how many people spend a year in France and yet take a trip to Romania? Well that's what Keith and Natalie Back did. They lead the team in Nantes, France. Over spring break, their team took their French students to Romania. In fact the pic of them is in Romania with the Carpathian Mountains in the background. While there, they spent 5 days working with CCC sharing Christ and helping with Josh McDowell outreach and then 5 days serving in 6 different State-run orphanages with a group called "Children to Love".

Keith writes, "What was most encouraging was that we had 6 of our students come on our trip, and most of them are going to be future leaders here in the movement. The trip was great but I would say the ministry here in Nantes, France is taking off because there has been a great passing the baton of leadership from the older students to the younger students this year. Next year in the ministry, we are looking at a strong core of young leaders eagerly waiting to step up in leadership. Praise God!"

If you didn't catch that, the Back's are re-upping for a 2nd year. they actually return to US this weekend to start back on support-raising so they can return.

Speaking of returning... Lucy, Peter, John and Susan return to Narnia this weekend... at least on film. Prince Caspian premieres in the US. I am sure in most places where you are its already out on pirated DVDs for a buck; copies with someone's head blocking the view part of the time, persistent coughing in the background and someone bumping the hidden video recorder while getting a refill of their bottomless popcorn bucket.

I don't have a copy of the book with me at the office as I type this so I am sure some Narniaphile will correct me. But near the end of the story (spoiler alert), Aslan is about to make Caspian the king. Caspian mentions he is not worthy and Aslan says that actually qualifies him.

I know I totally butchered that but the jest is that humility is a prerequisite to leadership. Think about it, if God resists the proud that means He resists the proud leader. Leading is being humble, serving, considering others more important than yourself, et. al.

In fact, Philippians 2 is such a great passage on being a leader of humility. I feel like I don't really need to point this out because I am sure you know this passage so well. There are three commands, that are worth another look nonetheless.

The first is in verse 3: "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves." In 1:17, we see that some in Paul's day were preaching out of selfish ambition. Some things never change. James says that if we harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in our hearts, we should not boast about it or deny the truth. He goes on to say that where you have selfish ambition, you find disorder and every evil practice. We know from Gal 5 that is an act of the sinful nature.

Do I have selfish ambition? Am I vain? Or do I choose to consider everyone I see better than myself - my team, my co-leader, the lost, the crowds, elderly, orphans in Romania, etc.?

The second is "Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." It's a given in this passage that we will look out for own interests. It's even given that we should. But Paul says we should look not only or merely for own interests. Interests could be just what we are interested in. You know that section in your facebook profile that no one read unless they are 'interested' in you. But interest also means 'something that contributes to or increases one's well-being'.

Do I look out for others interests? Do I really care about what contributes to their well-being? Or do I only care about what I care about? Am I only looking out for myself?

The last command is 'to have the attitude of Christ Jesus...' In one of the greatest passages that describes Jesus, we see that He - though God in the flesh - didn't hang on to that place of honor and glory. For our sake he emptied Himself. The Creator became creation. And that wasn't enough, He became a lowly servant. And that wasn't enough, the One who lives forever died. And that wasn't enough, He didn't just die. He died in the most excruciating way possible - on a cross. In fact the word 'excruciate' means 'to crucify'. Jesus' attitude was complete humility. No one can even come close to matching it because if you think of the most humble person they probably didn't die in such a painful sacrificial way and even if they did, they weren't God.

And yet, Paul commands us that our attitude should be the same at Christ's. Impossible apart from a greater source that goes back to the first part of the chapter. The 'if's...

if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ
if any comfort from his love
if any fellowship with the Spirit
if any tenderness and compassion

May we be so overwhelmed by being united with Him... so comforted by His love... so in sweet fellowship with the Spirit.. so inundated by tenderness and compassion... that we consider others as more important than ourselves, look out for other's interests and we take on the attitude of our Lord: a humble servant willing to give up all.

1 comment:

Jessica Joy said...

wow, that's so neat what you guys did keith and natalie . . . and i love that there's a josh mcdowell ministry going on in romania!!

i didn't even realize prince caspian was coming out in the states - how exciting!! i love that book!

and andy, once again, thanks for calling us back to the Word and reminding us of the essentials to revival. humility is the key to any kind of revival.