WORDS THAT HVE SHAPED MY LIFE 33 – 40

Rod Denton Induction at Elizabeth Church of Christ_2012 - Copy (2)

(33) “TO MINISTER OR TO MANIPULATE”
There came a time when I was awakened to the fact that my life of service as a pastor was being subtly motivated by my need for appreciation from those that I served. For example, following the preaching of a sermon I would feel valued and appreciated when the feedback was warm and encouraging. Then I read Larry Crabb’s book The Marriage Builder and I learned that in marriage, as in all of life, I had two options in the way I was motivated to serve. First, I can serve by way of manipulating people to respond in a way that will meet my deepest need for significance (to be valued) and security (to be loved). Second, I can serve by way of ministering to people independent of the way they may choose to respond to me. This is because my deep needs to be unconditionally valued and loved are met in my love relationship with Jesus. I realised that no human being, not even my wife Sue could fully meet these needs, and gradually I began to transition from a life of manipulation to a life of ministry. Even today, I am a work in progress. So tell me, what motivates you and how do you find your deepest needs being met? Do you minister or do you manipulate?

(34) “ARE YOU A THERMOSTAT OR A THERMOMETER?”
Studies have revealed that it takes just 10% of the population who hold an unshakable belief to have that belief embraced by the majority of the population. Jesus more than any other person understood this principle when 2000 years ago He challenged 11 men to go into the world on a mission to make disciples of all people. He illustrated this by teaching of the impact that a small amount of :
* light had to overcome the surrounding darkness
* salt had to preserve and add flavour to food
* yeast had to influence a large amount of dough http://roddentoneng.com.au/the-power-of-yeast-did-jesus-really-mean-what-he-said/
So we need not despise the days of small beginnings if we live as thermostats that regulate and influence the surrounding environment rather than thermometers that adjust to the surrounding environment. Even one person with God can be a majority, if that person decides to get out of the saltshaker.

(35) “PEOPLE REACH PEOPLE”
Jesus said, “YOU shall be MY witnesses” (Acts 1:8) and Paul stressed that “WE are therefore Christ’s ambassadors as though God were making His appeal through US.”
(2 Corinthians 5:20). Of themselves, our best technology and our best music and our best programs and our best coffee do not reach people. Only people reach people. All of these resources are servants for us to use. But they are only as effective as the people using them. It is not what we do, it is what we do with what we do. That is why two churches can be operating the same program with vastly different results. The late David Watson once said, If Christians lack the DESIRE to 2 witness, then our conferences and courses, strategies and schemes, missions and programs will all be utterly in vain. This is a simple truth that the church has been slow to learn.” Our big problem is a motivational problem. When Jesus becomes good news to a Christian, a lifestyle of witnessing automatically follows and people reach people. This is the first and most important principle of evangelism. “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news.” (Romans 10:15)

(36) “THE POWER OF BLESSING – AN UNUSUAL AND UNDER USED WEAPON” Jesus said, “…….to you who are willing to listen, ……Bless those who curse you.” Luke 6:27-28 Apparently, not many have been willing to listen to this command of Jesus, even though the Bible has about 300 references to the word BLESSING. It is about time that we rediscover this unusual, under used weapon which Jesus has given us authority to use. The word blessing comes from the Greek word EULOGIA from which we get the word EULOGY and means “to speak the intention or favour of God on a person.” The amazing thing is that it really works. I shared this principle with a nurse who had been harshly treated by a colleague. So she started to speak prayers of blessing over this difficult person and over a period of time the person’s attitude softened. Another person had to endure a work mate with a blaspheming tongue. So when the critical person was absent from the office, this person spoke prayers of blessing over the absent person’s chair. Again, over time this person’s language was transformed. As followers of Jesus He has given us power and authority to bless people. So go ahead to those of you who are willing to listen to and obey Jesus. Bless those who curse you, for we have been “blessed to be a blessing.” “The tongue has the power of life and death.” Proverbs 18:21.

(37) “HAVE YOU EVER ASKED YOURSELF…….?”
“….always be ready….” 1 Peter 3:15 I will always be thankful to Rick Warren for his excellent little book, What On Earth Am I Here For? I have never before had so many opportunities to share Jesus with people as I have had by asking people (often complete strangers), “Have you ever asked yourself, ‘What on earth am I here for?’” I met Gary, a homeless man, sitting on a park bench in Adelaide and joined him to talk to him and in our conversation asked him the question. He took the booklet and I met up with him a week later and found he had read the book and prayed the prayer to receive Jesus as his saviour. He was transformed and is now married, living in a nice home and back at work. I met John and Sue who were attending our church for the first time. I sat with them and asked if they would like a copy of this book. They were searching and two weeks later in my home, they committed their lives to Jesus Christ. I could tell of many other divine encounters where the Father was at work. I usually stock up with a supply of 20 books from time to time. Why don’t you try it? All you need to say is, “Have you ever asked yourself…….?”

(38) “WHAT, WHY AND HOW….the Three Levels of Communication”
To effectively communicate with people, we need to connect with them on three levels.
1. The WHAT level: What is it we want people to know? This is communication to people’s minds and it involves the transfer of knowledge. This is important, but it will do little to motivate people to action. In fact if we limit our communication to this level, we may gradually cause people who listen to us to harden their hearts and become sermon tasters, academics and ultimately armchair critics.
2. The WHY level: Why do people need to know what we are talking about? This is communication to people’s hearts and goes beyond mere knowledge, to motivation. However, to stop at this level can cause frustration if we do not go to the third level. 3. The HOW level: How can people put what they have learned into action? This is communication to people’s way of living and equips(trains) people to put what they have heard into action. It also involves 3 the modelling of a life so that communicators live lives of integrity and practice what they preach. The level at which a leader communicates and the life they are modelling will do much to shape the culture of their church. So before you go any further, check out at what level you are communicating! It will reveal a lot about the state of health of your church.

(39) “DON’T THROW YOUR PEARLS TO PIGS”
An important quality of a leader is that of discernment; the gift of knowing what to say and when to say it and to whom it should be said. To do otherwise, Jesus said, is like throwing pearls to pigs. First, we are to assess the condition of a person’s heart before we share pearls of truth. Times where we need discernment include:-
* SHARING TRUTH WITH OTHERS: There were times when Jesus was not only careful with what He taught but also to whom He taught. He realised how unwise it was to teach those who were not teachable or receptive. Appropriate timing was also important.
* SHARING CONFIDENCES: In our eagerness to share intimate details with another, we need to make sure that this person is trustworthy and wise.
* SOCIAL MEDIA: Jesus didn’t live in an era of social media. However, today more and more people are becoming shipwrecked by indiscriminately sharing their personal information publicly on social media. How important that we think before we speak. During the second World War posters appeared with the words, “Loose lips sink ships.” In other words, our unguarded talk might just give the enemy a foothold. Perhaps these words are another way of saying, “Don’t throw you pearls before swine.” Matthew 7:6

(40) “A COMMITTEE OF ONE”
It came as quite a revelation to me the day I realised that some people in my church were not shaped to work on committees and that placing them on committees was not helpful to the committee or to the person in question. The issue at heart was an issue of chemistry, a very important quality that was needed for a group of people to come together and work productively toward a united goal. Consequently, I created an option for particular people that allowed them to work on a committee of one. And the impact was amazing. I think of the person who served as our church gardener , the person who took charge of maintaining my document files, the person who took the minutes of our members’ meetings, the person who prepared the baptistry for baptismal services, the person who enjoyed driving me to the airport and many others. They each felt quite honoured to be on a committee of one and they each worked diligently and could be faithfully relied upon. I have been greatly blessed from the day I discovered committees of one. So make room for the unique people who have been wired to work on committees of one and notice the added value they will bring to your church.