“You’re the man!” In our culture, when we hear these words we may initially think someone is intending to show admiration to another. When we hear someone say, “You’re the man” we may think that a friend scored the game winning RBI or perhaps scored tickets to the big game. In those cases it is not uncommon for these words to be followed by a chest bump, a victory dance or high five’s all around for this expression is often articulated to celebrate or congratulate achievement. However, when David heard these words they were purposely hurled at him as an indictment as if he was just fingered in a police lineup. Scripture paints a vivid picture of the prophet Nathan boldly pulling back the ragged and repugnant veil David used to cover up an adulterous affair and a calculated murder. Those words, “you are the man” were meant to confront David’s reprehensible sin and expose his life of hypocrisy. (II Samuel 12)
Twice the New York Times has endorsed President Obama during his campaign for the presidency and has championed multiple planks of his agenda. However, this past week there was a seismic shift and parting of ways of sorts with the editorial board saying that the Obama administration had “lost all credibility.”
According to the New York Times, their frustrations have been mounting due to the increase of public scandals such as the IRS investigations regarding their tactics of intimidation, the multiple investigations about wiretapping the press and the misinformation concerning the events surrounding the terrorists attack in Benghazi. However, the latest smoking gun uncovered this week regarding the massive overreach in gathering data on ordinary Americans was seen as a flagrant assault on American civil liberties.
First, a report serviced exposing that the NSA (National Security Agency) had been collecting phone records from millions of Verizon subscribers. Then a Washington Post story wrote of a government program called PRISM was letting the NSA and the FBI tap into servers of 9 top internet firms, “extracting audio, video, photographs, email, documents and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts over time.”
What does this mean? Well, this process which has come to be known as data mining, has enormous implications. The government now has the capability and is using it to infringe upon American freedom, to invade our privacy, overstep their authority and intrude into the lives of average citizens.
“Those preachers whose voices were clear and mighty for truth during life continue to preach in their graves. Being dead, they yet speak; and whether men put their ears to their tombs or not, they cannot but hear them.” Although Charles Haddon Spurgeon may not have completely understood the significance of those words when he offered them (especially as it related to his own life and ministry), his voice of truth continues to sound in this modern day. Dr. J.H. Jowett once remarked of Charles Spurgeon regarding his preaching ability and achievement. He said, “He is not eclipsed even when set in radiant succession to Paul, Luther and Calvin.” Of course, comparing a man to the likes of legendary Reformers and arguably the greatest man to walk this earth (besides Christ Himself) would be absurd; except it be true. Charles Spurgeon was the most popular preacher of his day in which his ministry demonstrated a global reach as he became an international figure. However, his influence did not end upon his death. Although the “Prince of Preachers” died January 31, 1892, Spurgeon’s voice resonates in the hearts and minds of thousands of men and woman all over the world. In fact, Charles Spurgeon is history’s most widely read preacher (except for preachers in the bible) in part because there is more material written by Spurgeon than by any other Christian author, living or dead. What made this man so successful? Why is Charles Spurgeon considered one of the most prolific preachers of all time? Indeed, Spurgeon had been gifted with natural abilities as an orator and had the natural ability to mesmerize the crowds by mastering his words, yet Spurgeon’s success as a preacher was a direct result of the experiences he enjoyed as a believer in Christ and the commitments he made to necessary disciplines he valued in ministry.
The Brown family entered my life for the first time while I was a student at Baptist Bible College in Springfield Missouri. On one particular day of classes, Harold and his son Dan attended one of my ministry classes and offered practical perspective to aspiring pastors. Harold and Dan were incredible ministers serving the people of Somerset Kentucky at Oak Hill Baptist Church. Although, this was my first encounter with them, one of my classmates leaned over and shared with me their reputation; I was immediately impressed, intimidated and naturally curious.
My first real introduction came a few months later. I was now serving as the youth pastor of Fairfield West Baptist Church and Dan had invited our ministry to attend LIFT; an up in coming camping ministry that was like none other. Through the circumstances surrounding the planning and attending of LIFT (which still continues today some 16 years later), I fell in love with the entire Brown family and have forged one of my most intimate friendships in life.
However, on the day in which Harold called me, I never anticipated what I was about to hear. “Hey Rob, I need you to find me a place that will let me jump out of an airplane.”
What would dads do without duct tape? When I was a kid, my dad had a 1979 Chevrolet Cheviot with broken hinges to the back seat side window. (The window was the kind that pops out to vent the car.) My father was afraid that the window would fall off while driving, so he had to fix it. His solution? Duct tape! For nearly a decade my dad would drive that car and as long as I can remember, the back windows were held together by duck tape. Duct tape was the perfect solution. Every man here this morning, can appreciate the value of a good roll of duct tape. “When you can’t fix it, duct tape it!”
As a kid, I used to think that duct tape was the miracle tool that held everything together, but I have come to understand that it was not duct tape that held our home together; it was the man that used it that kept things together. My father was the miracle that kept us together. In our house, my dad represented stability and strength. He was steady as a rock and in my eyes, the perfect example of fatherhood.
Often found in American culture are the aspirations individuals have of becoming the boss. Perhaps everyone has fantasized one time or another about what it would be like if they were the ones “calling the shots”. It is at this moment when most conjure up images of telling their employees what to do and how to do it. But when one is promoted to such a position they soon realize that with great authority comes great responsibility.
The same principle is at work in the life of the church. There is more to leading a church than simply securing a position. To be an effective leader there is a responsibility which must be shouldered. The Scriptures indicate the significance of living a well balanced life in every aspect of life. It is imperative for church leaders to maintain an appropriate lifestyle in all physical, mental and spiritual matters of life.
People are the most appreciable asset to leadership. Developing people to help implement the goals of a leader is absolutely essential in rising to the level of desired success. Maxwell indicates, “The more people you develop, the greater the extent of your dreams.” This is true because the leader which influences others to lead is an effective leader without limitations. A leader cannot perform all that is required to achieve the big picture. All leaders are dependent on others to help perform the necessary things to accomplish stated goals and agendas. A leader that understands that success is not determined by how much he alone can do, but by how much he can lead others into doing.