Tag Archives: leadership

Some Musings on Hebrews 13 (Part 5)

As I have often mentioned in this blog, my friend Frank and I have an agreement. We read the same chapter in God’s Word each day for a week and then drop each other a short email about what we have learned. We then move to the next chapter the next week. I describe our modest online Bible study here. You might want to try this with a friend or relative.

We are finishing up our reading of the book of Hebrews. And there is much in this final chapter that I just have to go over with you. Let’s look at the next verse:

These two verses are both amazing and practical. They are practical in that the author gives three very specific commands: (1) Remember your leaders! and (2) Consider the outcome of their way of life! and (3) Imitate their faith!

These verses are also amazing. We have the incredible statement: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” How does that powerful, theological, absolutist declaration about our Savior fit here? Any thoughts?

We often look at sameness as unsatisfactory, status quo, in need of major or minor change. But what if we are talking about absolute perfection? Then no change is needed. Ever.

Today’s Challenge: How we treat our leaders reflects how much we value the never-changing Lord Jesus and His provision of those leaders. Remember, consider, and imitate those God-given leaders today.

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Posted by on October 1, 2021 in Hebrews 13


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An Examination of I Timothy 3:1-11 (Part 5): Deaconesses?

My, are we getting to travel this year! Three weeks in Myanmar. A week in Colorado. Two weeks in Germany. Another week in Colorado. About ten days (coming up) in New Jersey. A month or so in Africa! Wow!

Linda and I are looking forward to our NJ trip from September 28 to October 7. I will be preaching at Cedarcroft Bible Chapel and I get to teach Sunday School both September 29th and October 6th on the assigned text of I Timothy 3.  For September 29 we will look at verses 1-11; for October 6th at I Timothy 3:12-16. Let’s take one more look at this first part of I Timothy 3 (vv. 1-11):

The “task” of being an “overseer” is a noble one, one which is described by one of Paul’s six “trustworthy sayings.” The characteristics of those who would be overseers are quite high. There are positive qualities (above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach) and negative characteristics (not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money). He must be a real family man and have a good reputation with outsiders.

The qualifications for deacons are also quite high (vv. 8-10). What is interesting about the qualifications for deacons is the theological one (must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith) and the fact that a potential deacon should first be tested!

In this last post on I Timothy 3:1-11, let’s notice the category of “the women” (v. 11). These may well be the wives of the deacons. Or this could be a third category of servant leadership in the church — deaconesses. Four qualities must mark these women: worthy of respect, not malicious talkers, but temperate and trustworthy in everything.

Before we move on to I Timothy 3:12-16, may I ask you to speak some encouraging words to those who serve your church as elders, deacons, and, perhaps, deaconesses? (to be continued)



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Posted by on September 19, 2019 in I Timothy 3


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An Examination of I Timothy 3:1-11 (Part 4): Qualifications of DEACONS!

Another trip to New Jersey! Linda and I will be there from September 28 to October 7. I will be preaching at Cedarcroft Bible Chapel and I get to teach Sunday School both September 29th and October 6th! My assigned passage is I Timothy 3. We’ll look at verses 1-11 for September 29 and then later at I Timothy 3:12-16 for the October 6th Sunday School. Let’s take a further look at this first part of I Timothy 3 (vv. 1-11):

We’ve seen that the “task” of being an “overseer” is a noble one, one which is described by one of Paul’s six “trustworthy sayings.”

This passage divides nicely into (1) qualifications for overseers (vv. 1-7); (2) qualifications for deacons (vv. 8-10); and (3) a comment about either the wives of the deacons or a 3rd category of leadership: deaconesses (v. 11).

The qualifications for overseers, if one examines them closely, could be divided into (1) personal qualities; (2) relational qualities; (3) family qualities; and (4) external qualities.

Satan is deeply invested in messing up the leadership in the local church — we read that one aspiring to be an overseer must not be a “recent convert” because of the temptation of becoming conceited & falling “under the same judgment as the devil” (v. 6). The one aspiring to leadership must have a good reputation with “outsiders” so that “he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap” (v. 7).

We then read of the qualifications of those who wish to serve as deacons (vv. 8-10). Their qualifications are personal (“worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain”) and theological (“must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience”). A TEST is required before such a person serves as a deacon (v. 10)! [Interesting that such a “test” is not mentioned about the overseers. But is assumed?].

Would you pray for those who serve as deacons in your church? I just did.

(to be continued)



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Posted by on September 18, 2019 in I Timothy 3


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An Examination of I Timothy 3:1-11 (Part 1): God’s Concern for LEADERS!

Friends: Some of you know that Linda and I will be traveling to the pagan land of New Jersey September 28 to October 7. Cedarcroft Bible Chapel is having me speak on the two Sundays September 29 and October 6. I also get to teach Sunday School both Sundays and I’ve been assigned I Timothy 3 as my text. This morning let’s begin a multi-part study of that passage.

We’ll look at I Timothy 3:1-11 for September 29 and then later at I Timothy 3:12-16 for the October 6th Sunday School.

Let’s begin with a few observations of this text:

1. First, this passage is clearly a discussion of leadership in the church. Verses 1-7 are about overseers and verses 8-10 concern deacons. Verse 11 may be speaking about deaconesses.
2.The qualifications for both these offices (overseers and deacons) are quite extensive.

May I ask you this morning to take a few minutes to pray specifically for the leaders in your church — the elders and deacons who seek to serve Christ as they serve you?

I just did this. Join me? (to be continued)

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Posted by on September 15, 2019 in I Timothy 3


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Getting to Know . . . I Samuel! (chapter 30) Loss and Leadership!

Our passage is a bit long this morning, but let’s read it before we comment on it:

David and his men have been asked to leave by Achish and they reach Ziklag, the land given to David in I Samuel 27. Arriving home, they find that it has been burned by the Philistines and all its citizens have been captured and carried off (vv. 1-2).

David and his men weep aloud “until they had no strength left to weep” (v. 4). The soldiers talk of stoning David in their bitterness of spirit, “but David found strength in the Lord his God” (v. 6).

David has the ephod brought to him by Abiathar the priest and he asks if he should pursue the Amalekite raiding party? He is told by the Lord to pursue them and “you will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue” (v. 8).

400 of David’s men engage in the pursuit with another 200 too exhausted to cross the valley. They find an Egyptian in a field, feed him (he hadn’t eaten for three days & three nights), and have him lead them to the raiding party.

The Amalekite raiding party is found . . . partying! David’s men attack and only 400 of them escaped being casualties. All families and possessions are recovered and his men drive them home saying, “This is David’s plunder” (v. 20).

There were evil men and troublemakers among David’s soldiers who did not want to share the plunder with the 200 who were too exhausted to travel to the battle. David responds, “The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle” (v. 24), a position David made a law. And David sends some of the plunder to the elders of Judah and others in all the other places where he and his men had roamed.

Some takeaways for me:
1. There are times when the only appropriate response is to WEEP. We don’t do enough weeping in our culture, do we? Weeping reminds us of our losses and our desperate need for the Lord’s presence and help. And we need to learn to weep for others!
2. In several ways this was a needless battle. King Saul should have annihilated the Amalekites long before. But here they are, plaguing David and his soldiers. Saul’s disobedience affected others.
3. There will always be “evil men and troublemakers” who don’t want to share. Spiritual leadership stands against such people and is generous toward the people of God.
4. “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” David’s 200 men who were too exhausted to join the battle also enjoy the plunder of the victory. We need those who will “stay with the supplies.”

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Posted by on December 27, 2018 in I Samuel 30


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All Our Leaders Are Flawed!

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Posted by on October 24, 2018 in leadership


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Major Themes in the Book of Galatians (Ch. 2 Part 1)

Jeju Island, Korea, is a long ways from here (South Carolina)!  But I’m looking forward to teaching the book of Galatians to a group of undergraduate students at the Word of Life Bible Institute there.

We are working our way through this six-chapter letter, noticing the particular themes important to the Apostle Paul.

Here in chapter two, we learn more about Paul’s travels after his conversion.

One theme here is Paul’s sense of accountability to leadership.  After a mysterious 14 years, Paul visits Jerusalem, taking Barnabas and Titus along with him.  After receiving a “revelation,” he meets privately with “those esteemed as leaders” (v. 2).

He presents his understanding of the gospel that he was preaching to the Gentiles and seems somewhat surprised that the Greek Titus was not asked to be circumcised (v. 3).

I can imagine Titus’ relief when he heard that.  But this issue of circumcision becomes a focal point of much of this book of Galatians.

Paul is given “the right hand of fellowship” by the Jerusalem leaders and asked that he would remember the poor in his ministry.  Anyone given you the right hand of fellowship recently?

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Posted by on May 16, 2018 in Galatians


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Time for a Great Video: All God’s Leaders Are Flawed!

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Posted by on October 4, 2017 in flaws, leadership


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The Joy of Unit-Reading #57 (the Old Testament Book of Ezra)

There is so much in the OT that I need to learn! What an encouraging book Ezra is. A couple of challenges jump out at me (see my fuller notes below):
1. The Lord wants to move our hearts to do His will (1:1, 5).
2. He believes in young leaders (3:8).
3. God cares about our joy — especially, in Him! (6:16).
4. We are to study, observe, and teach God’s decrees and laws (7:9ff).
5. I want the gracious hand of the Lord to be upon me. How about you? (ch. 8).

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Posted by on June 28, 2016 in unit-reading


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The Joy of Unit-Reading #24 (the book of I Timothy)

We continue our journey of unit-reading 65 of the 66 books ofScreenshot 2016-01-16 07.11.15 the Bible. By unit-reading, we mean to sit down and read straight through a book without stopping. Today’s book is the first of the so-called Pastoral Epistles, I Timothy.

A couple of issues jump out at me:
1.  Leading God’s people is not easy!  There are pitfalls everywhere!

2.  God has high standards for leaders in His church!

3.  There are real intellectual dangers facing God’s people today!

4.  We are not free to live any way we wish (God gives specific instructions to various groups).

5.  We should be thankful for the good gifts God gives in creation!

6.  It appears that Jesus died not just “for the elect,” but for all people!

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Posted by on February 20, 2016 in unit-reading


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