Posts tagged ‘David’

February 14, 2012

Shepherd Leadeship

by pastortimfowler

This weekend is our church’s big annual leadership meeting. We meet informally several times a year in smaller groups, but once a year I like to get everyone together for a pep talk and brainstorming session. Leadership is a not something that comes natural for most people. In our society we have cultivated a mentality of followers where leadership is an idea or an object is the driving force. You see it in the push to accept culturally relative issues like views on marriage and religion. In our political realm we are being lead by class warfare and guilt trips rather than desires that help all.
Churches have fallen into a mode of leadership voids that do not reflect what God intended for us. We have committees and groups that tell the pastors how they should act and popularity contests that elect our deacons and elders. We have lost the God given authority of leaders to a more comfortable group format. An old pastor friend of mine once said this. “In nature, where there is more than one head on a creature, it is a freak. Where there is no head, it is either a worm or dead.” Is it any wonder our churches are looked upon with such low regard by society?
The biblical leadership example given in the Bible for those who would lead God’s people is most always the shepherd. Sure there were kings and dictators, but that was not by God’s design. Even those kings that were most revered by God were those who were first shepherds, like David. Jesus is called the Good Shepherd. We are His sheep. Sheep do not form committees and have power struggles with their shepherd. They do trust the shepherd and submit to his leadership.
A shepherd is the one who is responsible for the well being of the flock. If he fails at his job, the whole flock can be lost. You can sum up the shepherd’s job like this. He is to provide a safe healthy place for the sheep to live and reproduce. The shepherd does not reproduce sheep. Sheep do that. But in many churches the people have somehow gotten the idea that their job is to find someone who will grow the church for them. Meanwhile they can eat and relax inside the comforts of the building and not have to worry.
A shepherd leader knows his sheep. He does not ask them if they want to eat from this pasture or the other. He leads them to the best food. He does not ask them if they want to drink from the stagnate pool or the trickling stream, he takes them to the good water. He does not let sick sheep infect the entire flock. He may have to carry one or even remove one from time to time to save the whole flock. And the shepherd does not have to ask his sheep if they want to reproduce, because healthy sheep like to do that and do it naturally.
The leader that God wants will lead the sheep to where they need to go. Protect them from any dangers. He stays in the field and is always alert for threats that want to sneak in and kill or steal. A shepherd often smells like a sheep and rarely smells like a king. And no king is ever loved by the sheep like the shepherd is loved by the sheep. Sheep trust the shepherd because he is who leads them with their best interest at heart.
I love teaching our leaders this philosophy. They seem to get it. Maybe that is why our church is seeing people bring their friends to church and to Jesus. Shepherding is not easy, but is very rewarding. One day the shepherd will meet the King and my prayer is that the humble shepherds will hear the King say, “Well done!”

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June 3, 2011

Follow the King

by pastortimfowler

Yesterday I finished reading 1 Samuel and it deals mostly with the reign of king Saul and the beginning years of the man who will be king, David. There is a lot to gain from these two men and from this book of the Bible. I am always amazed at how God allows us to learn from His word and how often the lessons can challenge us to rethink our view of life’s challenges.
Saul was anointed king because Israel wanted a king like everyone else had. They already had a king, God but they saw how other nations had a king that would cave into the pressures of the people and God doesn’t do that. But God gave them what they wanted to show them how foolish it is to follow man and not God.
Now Saul was not an evil man from the start. In fact God sent His spirit to come upon Saul and guide him. For a while, Saul followed that leadership and things went well, but somewhere along the way the power went to his head and he made a mistake that cost him God’s favor. After that, God allowed an evil spirit to rule Saul’s life and chose another to be the King of Israel, a young boy named David.
The priest Samuel, went to David and anointed him to be the next king. The anointing did not mean the immediate removal of the old king, but rather that David would be the next king after Saul. Several years past before David actually took the kingdom. He became a great warrior, a great friend, and, get this, a great servant of the one who he would follow, Saul.
David did not follow the evil desires of Saul, but he did not subvert the authority of the king that God had appointed. David was a faithful soldier under the king and followed the laws of the king to the fullest. I think we can all learn from this. Even though we may not like and or even agree morally with our leaders, we have an obligation to be good citizens. We do not have to follow anything immoral but we do need to follow the law.
David had several instances where Saul tried to kill him. Using wisdom and understanding from God, David was able to see that evil was responsible for the wrongful acts and that honor was still required for God’s appointed king. David in return had several chances to kill Saul. But at every chance he chose to use it as an opportunity to show the king loyalty rather than defy his authority. You see, God will never allow another man to subvert the authority of the one that He has put in place. Even if that man is wrong, and even if we have a chance to remove him. God puts leaders in their places and it is often because God is giving us just what we deserve.
At the end of 1 Samuel, many are celebrating the death of king Saul. Both Israel and her enemies were singing and shouting in celebration of his death. But David did not. In fact, he cried. In the first chapter of 2 Samuel, David receives the news that Saul and the army of Israel had been defeated. Immediately he tears his clothes and cried aloud and does not eat. The men who followed David did the same because David had taught them well.
David was sad for several reasons. First, when the king is defeated, the nation is defeated and David loved his country. Second, David respect the positional authority and Saul was his king, good bad or ugly. Third, Saul’s son Jonathon was killed too. Jonathon and David had a special friendship. We are told that they loved each other as they loved themselves.
But I wonder if David was not sad because he knew the he was about to have to fill the seat of the king. He had seen how leaders are often ridiculed and how many will come looking for your head on a platter at the first mistake. He knew that even though he was faithful, many were not. Leadership can be a lonely place and David was about to enter into a place that few will ever understand.
I pray that I will be faithful to my leaders, whether I agree with them or not. I pray that God will allow a servant’s heart to fill my heart. I pray that in my own role as a leader that God will allow me to only lead where He leads and that my desires are only His desires. I pray that those whom God has blessed me to lead will understand the solitude of leadership and understand that every leader must often make decisions that are difficult and not always pleasing to the majority.
I am not a king, nor do I want to be. God has appointed me the position that David started out in, a shepherd. But David also knew that shepherds must love their flock and lead them into a safe and healthy life so that they may reproduce more sheep. I am not sure if it is easier to be the king or to be the shepherd, but either way, God shows us how it is to be done.
May we all follow THE KING.

May 18, 2011

children’s stories

by pastortimfowler

Today I was reading the Bible story of David and Goliath. I remember my MeMa reading it to me as a little kid. She was a great story-teller because she would use different voices for each character. I use to sit and picture myself as David, walking toward the giant and picture my brother as the giant, and hurling the rock into his head. Of course after I did that I would run away, because mom and dad threatened to whip me if I ever through rocks at my brother again. But that is not the point of this.
Everyone was scared of the giant. Goliath was about 9 feet tall and according to the story, a great warrior. I use to go to wrestling as a kid and I remember Andre the Giant who was 7’4″ and about 350 lbs. and that was huge, but this guy was even bigger. And although wrestling was real back then, not like today, Goliath was not a wrestler, he was a killer. The whole Israeli army was afraid of this one guy. Israel had a pretty good army of trained men who had fought many battles, but they were all scared of this one guy.
So David, who was taking his brothers some food, heard what was happening, and got upset that the Israeli army was scared. David asked, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine?” I love that line. It would make a great line in a movie. David told every that he would go kill the giant and they all said that he was crazy. One said that he needed to go home because he was just a boy. David was probably a teen age boy, but as a shepherd, he had seen his share of danger.
David told the guys, “look, I protect my sheep from lions and bears and wolves and have killed them, I will kill this giant. David spoke as if he were cocky, but he was not. He was confident, not in his self, but in God. He told the army, “God will deliver this giant to me and the then everyone will see how awesome our God is.
So David takes a few rocks, his sling, and God with him to meet the giant. The giant laughed at him because he was young, had no armor, and no real weapon that he could see. Goliath, of course could not see David’s protector, God and David proceeded to kill the giant and in effect, defeat the whole Philistine army.
Fast forward to today. Other than Andre, we have very few physical giants to fight. But we have a bunch of spiritual ones. And the people of God are acting much like His army did back then. Looking at the enemy and not looking at God.
One thing that I have learned through years of ministry is that when I forget who God is, everything else looks worse. Problems look insurmountable, those who want to defeat me look bigger than life, and even life itself seems to fight like a giant who would have my head. So with God nowhere around, we turn to friends who aren’t looking to God and they see the giants in our life and tell us about the giants in their lives and together we are worthless for anything but fear.
But the Bible say that God’s people have not been given the spirit of fear, and so we need to turn our focus to God. Fear is the enemy’s way of getting us out of the battle. Fear causes us to surrender and never even try to fight. Fear usually comes with a reputation that is bigger than the even the problem.
But I serve a God that not only has a bigger reputation for defeating all enemies, but HE IS BIGGER than all enemies. We have been told that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. We have been told the even the enemy of death has been defeated. we still have a few battles to wage, but the giant is dead.
It is time for God’s people to live victoriously. It is time to look our problems over and ask, “who is this uncircumcised Philistine?” I serve the God of life and hope and power and strength. Let’s defeat our enemies so that the whole world knows who our God is.
Maybe its time to remember some old children’s stories.