Monday, June 11, 2007

Leadership & Ezra

I'm sitting in my chair on the fifth floor of the King's College and Seminary building in Van Nuys, California. We're about fifteen minutes from starting a week-long conference on leadership, and I'm excited about that. The views of the San Fernando valley are broad and inspiring, and I'm excited about that too--I grew up just a few blocks down the road.

But I must be honest, I can't get Ezra off of my mind. "For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel" (Ezra 7:10). Study, then do, then teach. That's just the right pattern, and one that I want to spend my life emulating.

Study--There's simply no way to follow the Lord if we do not know what he requires of us, and the only way to know what he requires of us is to study his Word. We simply must learn to deny ourselves 1,000 other pleasures, take up our crosses daily, and follow him by paying attention to what he's said to us.

Do--But if we stop there, we'll be no better than the Pharisees. We must be doers of the Word and not hearers only. I've heard it said that most Christians are educated beyond their level of obedience, and there's probably some truth to that. The solution is not complicated or frankly even very difficult. It's a matter of obeying the Word of God as we understand it, one day at a time. And then as we follow in the will and ways of the Lord, we come to know the Lord in spirit and in truth. The Words of Scripture live for us because we know through experience that what it says about God is true--not just in a general way, but in a specific personal way.

Teach--Only when we have done the Word of God are we ready to teach it. So many follow the pattern of study, teach, do. This is not good, and in fact can be destructive. We must learn to suffer through the pain of obedience ourselves before we have anything to say to others, and once we have suffered through this pain we must learn the discipline and the joy of leading others in the will and ways of the Lord no matter what the cost to us.

I hope this is making sense. I now have four minutes to go before the "consultation" starts so this is a bit of a brain dump. But to sum up, let me say again: I love Ezra and the pattern of his life and as a leader in God's house I want to emulate it for the rest of my life. I hope you do, too.

Please pray for us.

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