Summary: A series called MyLife: Improving Your Profile. Basically, it’s a series looking at the phenomenon known as MySpace and using it as an extended metaphor to moving us closer to the heart and mind of God.
As a Leader
By Pastor Mark McNees
This message was originally given at Element3 Church in Tallahassee FL. To download this message’s corresponding PowerPoint, audio, and artistic elements for free please visit www.element3.org
“Okay, I’m going to do something right this time. I’ll just start my own group. I can do this right? I mean there are no special rules or anything to lead a group, at least that I can see. Okay, how about E3 Rocks and if you don’t believe me, you can stuff it? No, it’s probably not the proper impression to make. How about, E3 is awesome and if you disagree, that’s cool, but I think you’re wrong. Yeah, that works, right? No. Okay, maybe just Element 3, where faith, authenticity and emerging culture meet. Yeah, that’s a good group. Now I have to invite my friends.”
Reading from God’s Word:
1 Kings 17:1 1 Now Elijah, who was from Tish-be in Gil-e-ad, told King Ahab, “As surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives—the God I serve—there will be no dew or rain during the next few years until I give the word!”
1 Kings 17:2-7 2 Then the Lord said to Elijah, 3 “Go to the east and hide by Kerith Brook, near where it enters the Jordan River. 4 Drink from the brook and eat what the ravens bring you, for I have commanded them to bring you food.”
5 So Elijah did as the Lord told him and camped beside Kerith Brook, east of the Jordan. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat each morning and evening, and he drank from the brook. 7 But after a while the brook dried up, for there was no rainfall anywhere in the land.
1 Kings 17:8-11 8 Then the Lord said to Elijah, 9 “Go and live in the village of Za-re-phath, near the city of Sidon. I have instructed a widow there to feed you.”10 So he went to Za-re-phath. As he arrived at the gates of the village, he saw a widow gathering sticks, and he asked her, “Would you please bring me a little water in a cup?” 11 As she was going to get it, he called to her, “Bring me a bite of bread, too.”
1 Kings 17:12-16 12 But she said, “I swear by the Lord your God that I don’t have a single piece of bread in the house. And I have only a handful of flour left in the jar and a little cooking oil in the bottom of the jug. I was just gathering a few sticks to cook this last meal, and then my son and I will die.”
13 But Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid! Go ahead and do just what you’ve said, but make a little bread for me first. Then use what’s left to prepare a meal for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again!”
15 So she did as Elijah said, and she and Elijah and her son continued to eat for many days.
16 There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah.
Thank you Steve O. So, a lot going on there and again we’re looking at Elijah. Over the past 2 weeks, we looked at chapter 18 and 19. What we’re doing is going back to chapter 17 and seeing how it all began; where did he start his journey as a leader.
You often need to state things that will not be well received.
So, what we’ve been looking at and the journey that Lindsay’s been going on, if you’ve been catching it is, she started a profile. She’s been going through it and last week, she joined a group as a follower. That didn’t work out so well for her. This week she decided she’s going to take some leadership initiative and start her own group. It’s interesting as you look at Elijah and how he started. He really came onto the scene out of nowhere. It’s kind of interesting that before 1 Kings 17, there’s no mention of Elijah. It’s pretty important here. t says that Elijah came from Tish-be in Gil-e-ad and what that’s saying, a lot of scholars think that Elijah was actually a gentile, a foreigner. That he wasn’t Jewish because of this region that he came from. It’s interesting that God would call on someone who was an unusual pick. God was calling somebody outside of his chosen people to bring His people back to him. Another thing that’s really interesting is that what was going through the nation of Israel, being propagated by Jezebel is Baal. Baal was the God of rain and harvest. So, it’s kind of interesting as Elijah comes up, as we see in verse 1, he comes up to King Ahab and he’s going to have to tell him something that he’s definitely not going to want to hear. Picture you coming out of a place and going into a kingdom that you’re not really part of, going up to the most powerful man in the region and telling him, look you know what, it’s not going to rain until I say it’s going to rain. Oh yeah? I’m going to help you say it’s going to rain. But, there’s so much imagery going on here, because really it has very little to do with the rain and has everything to do with worship. What God is trying to do through Elijah is to bring His people back to worshipping him, the one true God. You see, they were worshiping Baal. “Baal bring us rain. Bring us a great harvest.” It’s interesting that God tells Elijah to go to King Ahab and say “You know what? I’m the true God of rain and harvest and everything else. And you know what? Baal’s not going to be able to help you. In fact, we’re going to cut off the rain until you turn from worshiping this false idol and you begin to worship me.” Now this has a lot of impact for us in our daily lives because most of us here are not the boss, the CEO, a president or anything like that. All of us are in a position where we have to lead up. I think that we all feel really uncomfortable doing that. Don’t you? I mean it’s hard to go to somebody who has authority over you, maybe a title or position or something like that and go to them and tell them when they are missing the mark. You get filled with all sorts of insecurity. A lot of times you go in your mind and you know something isn’t right, but you really feel that you have the answer. Maybe that God has given you a word on it or you’ve experienced a past experience or something like that and you can speak into this situation. But, a lot of times you sit back and say “Who am I to say?” “Who am I to go up to this person and give them my experience or tell them what I think when all they’re going to do is say who are you? And you’re going to look really stupid.” The truth is that all of us have been given experiences and knowledge and we’re meant to be working together. God often gives us direction and insight that other people have not been given. When he entrusts us with that, we need to help each other guide and to be moving toward the place where God wants us in our lives. Elijah, just think about all the insecurities and the conversations that he must have had with God before going to King Ahab. God tells him “Hey Go tell the King.” “What are you talking about? I’m not even a Jew, I’m not part of this. It’s not my problem. Who am I? I’m just a guy. Who am I to go to the King? He’s probably going to kill me and you want me to tell him it’s not going to rain until I say it’s going to rain? Are you kidding me? That’s ridiculous, God.” But, you know what? Elijah, wanting to be a man of God, follow God and recognize Him as the one true God, realized that to be one of God’s prophets, to be one of God’s leaders, that he was going to have to tell truth to people that they don’t want to hear. I think that is so important, that every one of us in our lives as leaders, and every single one of us is a leader here. Leadership basically is influence and using your influence for good. When you want to use your influence and talk to people and encourage them, many times you have to tell them something that they don’t want to hear. The distinction between a great leader and a leader who’s not fulfilling what God has called him to do, is one who is willing to take that relational risk or whatever risk that is, to go and say, I think you’re missing the mark here and speaking into people’s lives. A lot of times, we think that love is silent, but love isn’t silent. Love is taking the risk to tell somebody you love the truth. To take the relational right that they may break off this relationship. We’re all scared of that. Nobody wants to have these hard conversations. Nobody wants to go and say “You know what, I think you’ve been drinking too much and it’s not good for you” or “I think your eating habits are causing your body damage and I want to help you because I want you around for a long time and I want you to be able to feel and fulfill everything that God has envisioned for you. I think you need to exercise and I’m willing to exercise with you” or “You know what, I’ve seen that you’re kind of stale in your spiritual life. Have you been in the bible? Have you been reading the bible?” Having these hard conversations. What are you doing? What you’re doing is being used by God to help people go farther and become closer to the profile or the life that God has envisioned to each and every one of us to achieve. But, it takes risk and it takes hard conversations and us as a community need to be open to those conversations, not only to giving and instigating them, but also being told things so we can grow as a community.