Sibling Seniority – a lesson in leadership

Recently, I played cards with a group of young men. I hadn’t played cards in sometime but one of them had heard I like to play a certain game that he wanted to learn. The card game is called “Bambu” and I unabashedly (first time I have ever used that word while writing) proclaim it the BEST game e-v-e-r. I know all the card enthusiasts out there are screaming, “You can’t say it is the best game ever!” But, it is, and the reason it is, is because it is 6 card games rolled into one.

 

I was to meet the three young men at 5:00 pm sharp. When I arrived, the ten year old was waiting. We talked for a few minutes while I shuffledeldest-siblings-are-more-intelligent1-1459856533 the cards. Then mom summoned the other two and the twelve year old appeared. After a few more minutes I asked, “Where is your older brother?” The twelve year old replied, “He must not have heard mom call.” He then turns
to the ten year old and says, “Go get our brother!” Without argument the youngest brother left to fulfill this command, at which the twelve year old turns to me and says with a smile, “Sibling seniority!”

 

He was implying that because he was older than the ten year old, he could expect the younger to comply with any reasonable request. As I thought about this, I realized it is an important and powerful spiritual truth. While older siblings do have seniority, the first word in that phrase is sibling. Being a brother comes first and while they might boss each other, you wouldn’t want to get between them because they would fight to the death for each other.

 

In other words, never use your seniority (authority) in a way that could cause you to lose your brother!

 

The Bible says about Jesus that He is the firstborn among many brethren. He attained ALL authority when He sat down at the right hand of the Father. He shares His authority with all His brethren. But, Jesus never uses His seniority (authority) in a way that abuses or jeopardizes the BROTHERHOOD.

 

Remember, relationship with your brothers and sisters comes first and must be guarded and valued above all else. Only when that is held in the paramount position does seniority and authority find its rightful place. For more on this subject, go to http://www.newcovenantchurch.com/resources/media/sermons/a-case-for-christ.html

 

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Relief makes relationship possible, but conflict makes relationships stronger!

One day I was giving a guy from Atlanta a tour of our beautiful community, showing him some of the incredible ministry successes we have seen that have happened through collaboration between our churches, non-profits, businesses, and government officials. He was amazed at what God had done in our “neck of the woods”.

 

I love it when big city folks are amazed that God also moves in the sticks.

 

As we concluded our tour, he stated that our community looked like we were operating in a Jesus’ ministry model. Curious, I asked him, “What is that exactly?” He said, “Jesus always provided relief, which then created a margin to have a spiritual conversation.” He encouraged me to go back and review the gospels. Jesus would meet someone along the way, identify their torment, deliver them from their ailment, and provide relief. Once relief was established, the person then had space or margin to make a choice to enter into a relationship with Jesus, or not.

 

I have noticed this as a pastor. I, or someone on our staff, meet someone at a point of need, and once that person has experienced relief, some go on their way, but others take the opportunity to further develop a relationship with myself or with our church family.

 

Later, I was talking to a Christian counselor abimagesout this and he said, “Ah, yes, but nothing builds relationships like conflict. If the relationship can’t handle conflict; you don’t really have a relationship. During times of deep conflict, you have the opportunity to truly navigate what is important to you and the other party. Never aim to resolve conflict too early, rather aim to grow the relationship to its maximum potential during a conflict.”

 

I thought both ideas were good advice. Use relief as an invitation for relationship. Let people make a choice for relationship based on want, not need. Once a relationship is established, don’t be afraid of conflict. It is the ingredient that seasons your relationship. For more on this subject go to http://www.newcovenantchurch.com/resources/media/sermons/partner,-position,-and-purpose.html

 

 

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Garbage Speaks

I was standing outside of the recycling center having a conversation with someone when suddenly I heard a crash. I turned and looked in the direction of the noise and saw an elderly woman in great distress, standing in utter shock staring at a large pile of garbage at her feet. As I sprinted her way to help, I deduced that she had been attempting to throw her garbage in the recycling bin when the bag broke and spilled everywhere!

 

As the woman started picking up the garbage, she was startled by my presence. I quickly said, “Here, let me help you with that”. She didn’t seem to know whether she wanted my help or not. Which made no sense to me, until I started helping.

 

You can learn a lot about someone by their garbage.Garbage

 

I never asked the woman her name, where she was from, or even how she was doing. But;, I can tell you the type of beer she drinks, the formula she takes every morning to help her with a health problem she has, and a couple other things I would prefer not to talk about here. After helping the woman, I understood why she probably would have rather not had my help. Garbage is intimate stuff.

 

It got me to thinking about my own personal baggage and garbage. I do not like people to see all my stuff; my quirks, oddities, and shortcomings. So, like everyone else, I keep most of this information to myself, and allow just a few people that I trust into those areas. The problem is, from time to time, our bag will break in public, and everyone can see our yuck. It happened to me this week. I was not kind, I was not patient, and I was not loving to someone. My garbage came out and several people saw it. I was embarrassed that I could act like that. In the end, I went back to the person and publicly apologized. I wished I could do more, but sometimes you can’t undo the mess, you just have to own it.

 

I learned two lessons from these two experiences. First, be kind to people when their garbage is exposed, and consider how much they would want you involved. Just because you see it doesn’t mean they want you to go through it with them. Secondly, I am switching to black garbage bags from now on. Just saying. For more information go to www.alovethatdoesntendure.co

 

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