Summary: Rock stars use people to love themselves; Jesus gave himself out of love for people.
THE MISUNDERSTOOD GOD: THE ROCK STAR GOD**
Big Idea: Rock stars use people to love themselves; Jesus gave himself out of love for people.
• Reading from the Old Testament: Isaiah 50:4-9a
• Reading from the Psalms: Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29
• Reading from the Epistles: Philippians 2:5-11
• Reading from the Gospels: Luke 19:28-40
1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love … does not boast, it is not proud.
Have you ever been around someone that boasted and brought praise to themselves all the time?
Have you ever been around someone that made you feel small and insignificant, maybe even foolish and inferior, because you were always being compared to them and always felt “lesser than?”
Have you ever been around someone who had to be the center of attention – even at other’s expense?
Such is the nature of the “Rock Star” persona. These people need to stand out in the crowd, have their own “brand,” they set their own trends, and do their own promotion.
I like Palm Sunday because it reminds me that Jesus is no “Rock Star God.” You see, rock stars use people to love themselves; Jesus gave himself out of love for people.
Rock stars boast and exalt themselves; Jesus served.
• Boasters brags
• Boasters let you know you are “out” and don’t add up
• Boasters exalt self while pushing others down
• Boasters build self up while making others small
• Boasters compare and always win
• Boasters make you feel that their heights are unreachable to you
Boasting has crept into the church too. There is the celebrity cult in the church that looks way too much like a rock star faith. It elevates some while ignoring others. It marvels at personality while neglecting service. Always remember, there is no special work of grace available to an elite few and God is no respecter of persons.
The African pastor that Models Christ-Like Leadership
Ramez Attalah, general director at The Bible Society of Egypt, attended an international conference or Christian leaders in 1974. He was thrilled to be with top-notch leaders from around the globe—sharing and reading interesting papers on important subjects—but the most meaningful insight actually came to him on the flight home:
It was a long flight back to Canada, and I had many papers to go through. I had taken a lot of business cards from all sorts of “important” global Christian leaders that I had met. We all know we collect these cards, put them in our pockets, and often forget about them. As I looked through my cards from the conference, I noticed one that was not very well printed, and I looked at it carefully. I still get emotional when I remember this story. It broke me.
At the confrence we had small groups every night. About ten of us met in our dormitory rooms to pray and share together. The first night we introduced ourselves: president of a seminary, pastor of a church with 2,000 people, and so on. Everybody was showing how great they were. I said I led the InterVarsity movement in the province of Quebec. It was actually a very small ministry, but it sounded good. One African man who was with us said, "I’m a pastor in Kenya." During the week we all listened to each other. I didn’t pay much attention to the pastor from Kenya; I wanted to get close to the “important people.” But I was moved by the Kenyan pastor’s stories of how God had touched him as a school teacher during the African revival and changed his life. I thought he was a deep man. I pictured him working in a humble little village in Africa.
But when I picked up that business card on the plane back to Canada I discovered that it said "Festo Olang, Archbishop of Kenya." Olang was a man who could pull rank on anybody in our group. He was a bigwig. But we didn’t know it, and he didn’t tell us. He did not use his position to secure his identity. He was a simple pastor who loved Jesus. I am still moved to the core when I remember this incident. I said to myself on the plane, that’s the kind of leader I want to be. That’s leadership, Jesus-style.