Our Public Savior

On Sunday morning, during the introduction to a sermon series on the Sermon on the Mount, I told the congregation that I would be pushing their buttons throughout the series, mostly because the text of the Sermon that Jesus preaches in Matthew 5-7 is a provocative rule of life–a rule that requires us to embody our faith in Jesus rather than merely stating or theologizing it.

To that end, today’s reflection goes at what I believe is one of the most unhelpful concepts that has crept into Christianity and deflected attention away from the way of discipleship–the idea of Jesus as “my personal savior.”

If you were to ask most Christians, particularly those from more evangelical traditions, what the “gospel” is, you would mostly likely here something along the lines that it involves “asking Jesus into your heart” as your “personal savior” whose salvation makes it possible for you to go to heaven when you die. The good news in this sense is good news for the individual.

This theological construct reminds me of something N.T. Wright talks about in his wonderful book After You Believe, where he compares this theology with a pre-Copernican view of the universe. Before Copernicus, you might recall, most people believed that earth was the center of the solar system, and that the sun revolved around the earth for the earth’s purposes. That would seem to make sense if you didn’t know the truth about astronomy and the laws of the universe.

Humans have always been prone to see themselves at the center of things, thus it makes sense that we would expect God, as well as the universe he created, to revolve around our purposes, our needs, and our desires. Wash that through the Western worldview of consumerism and Platonic dualism and you get a gospel that is custom made for the individual. I invite Jesus into my life, and when I do I get points in the ultimate rewards program. All I have to do is ask. Nothing else is required.

As we look at the Sermon on the Mount, however, and as we look at Jesus’ teaching on the kingdom of God, it becomes clear that the opposite is true. Jesus doesn’t revolve around us and our purposes and our personal salvation alone, instead he calls us to revolve around his purpose–establishing the kingdom–the reign and rule of God “on earth as it is in heaven.” Jesus invites his disciples to follow him on his mission, rather than simply waiting for an invitation into their lives. Jesus teaches them in private, but then takes them public. Jesus isn’t leading them off to heaven, but leading them to a cross–the place at which God’s love for the whole world is played out on a very public stage. Jesus does not rise from the dead as a disembodied spirit, showing the disciples the way to a spiritual heaven, but rises from the dead in the body, showing them the reality of death defeated, and the promise of resurrection life for his people–renewed people in a renewed world where heaven and earth are truly one. The kingdom of heaven isn’t far away, says Jesus, but is “within you,” and compels you to give your allegiance the king who is bringing in his kingdom.

The biblical reality of the gospel is that Jesus is inviting us to join him in a very public project called the kingdom of God. That’s a project that is less oriented toward reward than sacrifice, less about “me” and more about “we,” less about praying the right prayer than it is working for what we pray for.

“Many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord,'” says Jesus, but unless we have reflected his public mission, unless we have obeyed his call for compassion, justice, and peacemaking in the world, then he won’t recognize us as his own (Matthew 7:21-23; 25:31-46).

What is needed in Christianity today is nothing less than a Copernican shift in the center of our theological universe. Rather than asking Jesus into our hearts, inviting him to revolve around us and our needs and purposes, we need to accept Jesus’ invitation to follow him as disciples and agents of the kingdom. To be a disciple means that our purposes, hopes and dreams revolve around Jesus and his mission, not the other way around.

The Sermon on the Mount gives us a comprehensive view of what that kind of worldview looks like in practice. John Wesley said that the Sermon on the Mount is what shows us the true “way to heaven…the royal way which leads to the kingdom; and the only true way.” Here’s a new way of defining heaven–heaven as a way of life on earth. That is the way of the kingdom. E. Stanley Jones puts it this way: [Jesus] came, therefore, not to get men into heaven, but to get heaven into men; not to get men out of hell, but to get hell out of men.”

This is the way of the kingdom, and Jesus calls us to follow.

The Sermon on the Mount as the Charter of Human Freedom

As we dive into this sermon series on The Sermon on the Mount, one of the temptations we might face is seeing the teaching of Jesus as simply another set of rules to follow–a set that is based on the "old" rules in the law of Moses, but simply adds on more conditions. 

Truth is, we're good at rules–good at making them, good at finding the loopholes in them. But when any group of people devolves into dependence upon rules to manage their relationships with each other–pointing always to the rule book instead of the relationship–then it's a sign that the group is spiraling downward. If you have to whip out a Book of Discipline at every church meeting, for example, you're probably in trouble. 

What Jesus is offering here, however, isn't simply a rule book. Instead, it is the way to freedom. E. Stanley Jones, the great Methodist missionary to India in the early decades of the 20th century, called the Sermon on the Mount "the original charter of human freedom." Says Jones: 

"We mistake [the Sermon] entirely if we look on it as the chart of the Christian's duty, rather it is the chart of the Christian's liberty–his liberty to go beyond, to do the thing that love impels and not merely the thing that duty impels. The fact is that this is not a law at all, but a lyre which we strike with the fingers of love in glad devotion. This glad…piety is the expression of a love from within and not the compression of a dull law from without."

"Put the man who spoke these words into the background and look only at the sayings and they become as lofty as Himalayan peaks–and as impossible. But put the warm touch of his reinvigorating fellowship into it, and anything–everything is possible, for these things were not to be worked out on the unit principle, but on the cooperative plan." 

"…Jesus was the great simplification of God. He is also the simplification of duty. 'Love and do what you like,' he says in essence. And the things you will like will be just these 'impossible' things which he lays down here in the Sermon" (The Christ of the Mount,  p. 34). 

Indeed, Jesus boils all this down in Matthew 22:34-39 when he claims the greatest commandment as loving God, and loving neighbor as we love ourselves. That love is not a mushy sentimentality or a means of ignoring brokenness, but rather a sacrificial love that will always go the extra mile. If we truly love God, we are able to love others and ourselves. We are free to be the people God created us to be. 

The Rule of Life: The Sermon on the Mount (Series Introduction)

Sermon_on_the_Mount_Fra_Angelico_c1440 Matthew 5:17-20

What is the best sermon you ever heard? What was good about it? How did it change you? 

I’ve listened to a lot of sermons over the course of my life, even preached quite a few myself, but one of the stark truths I have come to realize is that sermons, in an of themselves, are not that memorable. Every preacher believes he or she is God’s gift to preaching, but the reality is that while a particular sermon may have impact on certain people for a time, the effect tends to fade pretty quickly.

 We don’t remember a lot of sermons, but we do tend to remember preachers. Stu Perrin was the first preacher I ever heard. I can’t remember a single sermon he ever preached, and I listened to him from the time of my earliest memory all the way through high school. I remember him, however, because he was the one who seemed to me to be the embodiment of holiness—kind, caring, always encouraging, smart. When he took the time to sit down and chat with me, a skinny kid with thick glasses, it was like talking with God himself. He embodied the Word of God for me, regardless of what he said.

 Randy Jessen is one of my mentors. When I worked on staff with Randy, I remember him saying that preaching wasn’t his best gift. But I am fond of saying that Randy is the pastor I want to be when I grow up. He embodies the gospel. His sermons are preached through his passion for others.

 I remember other preachers, too…preachers who didn’t have a theological degree and who would have been terrified to speak in front of a crowd. They preached less with words than they did with actions: the Miller family, who made sure that I got a good meal every week in those high school years when things fell apart at home; the Cubbisons, who gave me a home when I no longer had one; the families we’ve known in every parish we’ve served who have offered me and my family encouragement and love.

Yeah, the best preaching is the kind that uses more than just words – the best sermons are the ones that are embodied in the preacher.

Today we begin a new series of sermons focused on the greatest sermon ever preached: the Sermon on the Mount. It’s one of the few that we all can remember, which is ironic because it seems to violate all the tenets of proper sermon preparation. It’s a sermon that wouldn’t get good marks in a preaching class—the introduction is too stark, the structure is somewhat random and repetitive, there are no interesting illustrations or stories, no three-point outline, no restatement of the theme, no rapt conclusion. And yet, it is the greatest sermon ever because more than any sermon ever given, it is one that is completely and fully embodied in the preacher.

Matthew is the one who records the Sermon on the Mount in chapters 5-7 of his Gospel. You might recall that Matthew writes his gospel to a Jewish audience, and the first four chapters are important for setting up what Jesus will preach in this sermon. In the genealogy in chapter one, Matthew reveals that Jesus is the long hoped for Messiah, a descendant of David and a Abraham, and then in chapter 2 connects Jesus’ birth to the story of Moses—a child who escapes death as an infant, is raised in Egypt for a time, and who then is prepared to lead his people out of slavery—in Moses’ case, slavery in Egypt. In Jesus’ case, slavery to sin and death. Matthew is thus telling us in a not so subtle way that Jesus is thus the culmination of the whole story of Israel.

 In chapter 5, Matthew tells us that Jesus went up on a mountain and began to speak. Notice that Matthew doesn’t name the mountain (though if you go to Israel, they will take you where they think it was). It’s not the location that’s important, it’s the symbolism. In the Old Testament, significant revelations of God took place on mountains, and there was no more significant revelation than the one that God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai.

  It was there that Moses received the Ten Commandments—the law of God for Israel, God’s people. It was the law that defined Israel and set her apart. It was a covenant between God and God’s people—a rule of life that gave them their identity and their mission as people who were to be a light to the rest of the world.

Israel rebelled against that rule of life, however. The story of Scripture is the story of repeated breaking of the covenant on the part of Israel, and repeated faithfulness to the covenant by God, who continually called them back into relationship through forgiveness and restoration. Eventually, Israel became so unfaithful that God gave them over to exile in foreign lands.

And yet, even in the midst of the despair of exile, God offered them hope—the hope of a Messiah who would come and do for Israel what she could not do for herself. The Messiah would be the one who would restore God’s people and restore the law, the rule of life. He would be God’s anointed one, the one who would bring God’s justice and peace, the one who would protect Israel from her enemies and be faithful to God in ways they never could.

All of that story is bound up in the beginning of chapter 5 of Matthew. When Jesus ascends the mountain, he does so not just as another preacher, but as the one who embodies the faithfulness of Abraham, the royalty of David, the law of Moses, the promise of the Messiah and, most amazingly, the very person of God. The sermon that Jesus preaches is the ultimate sermon because he is the ultimate preacher—the messenger is the message. The Sermon on the Mount is the greatest sermon ever because it is fully embodied in the one who speaks it.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets,” says Jesus. Don’t think that I have come to negate the story and the covenant that defines God’s people. No, says Jesus, “I have come not to abolish, but to fulfill.” What does it mean to fulfill the law and the prophets? The word “fulfill” here means “to bring to actuality by doing.” The way that Jesus fulfills the law, in other words, is by embodying it in his life and teaching. And he calls his disciples to do the same.

 What Jesus is preaching here is not just a philosophy, a doctrinal statement, or another set of rules to follow. Philosophies and doctrines can be debated. Rules can be put on the wall and ignored, or they can be codified and then broken down by lawyers and others seeking loopholes. The scribes were the lawyers and the Pharisees were the morality police of Jesus’ day. They knew the law and spent most of their days commenting on it, debating it, adding to it, discussing the loopholes, enforcing the letter, and telling the people where they were falling short. But Jesus says to his disciples that their righteousness, their faithfulness, must exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, the lawyers and moralists. The righteousness of the hyper-religious is most often a self-righteousness that sees the faults of others more than the brokenness in their own lives.

What Jesus is offering here is not a list of rules, but a rule of life—not an external law code, but an internal orientation to the world, an orientation toward the kingdom of heaven.

 Now, a word about the kingdom of heaven, or the kingdom of God (they mean essentially the same thing). We may be tempted to think that Jesus is referring here to a faraway kingdom, somewhere out there way beyond the blue. But “kingdom of heaven” or kingdom of God is a term that carries a lot of freight in the first century. Rather than referring to a distant heavenly place, it instead refers to the reign and rule of God on earth—God’s transforming mission of making all things good and new. The purpose of God’s mission is to bring heaven and earth together in such a way that it transforms both. The old “passes away” in the face of the new, and Jesus says that this is happening now. His first sermon is in 4:17 – “Repent for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” It’s here, and it’s also coming. Indeed, Jesus is announcing it and demonstrating it in his own person. The king embodies the life of the kingdom. At the end of the sermon, Matthew tells us that the crowds were “astounded” at his teaching because he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes—Jesus’ authority comes from living what he preaches.

The rule of life that Jesus gives his disciples is nothing less than a way of living and being citizens of the kingdom of heaven on earth, a way of living like the king himself. Jesus doesn’t get rid of the old law, as though it had no meaning. Instead, he fleshes it out. He doesn’t call his disciples to follow a list of doctrinal propositions, instead he says, “Follow me—follow me, live this way, love this way, and you will know the reality of the kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Jesus called his disciples not only to pray for that reality, but to live it.

The great Methodist missionary E. Stanley Jones once wrote, “The greatest need of modern Christianity is the rediscovery of the Sermon on the Mount as the only practical way to live.” (14). I could not agree more. As I have studied this sermon for several weeks in preparation for this series, I have become more and more convicted of the fact that the major reason Christian faith is becoming more and more of an outlier in the Western world is because we have been more concerned with admiring Jesus than following him. We’ve become more concerned with doctrine than discipleship, more excited about the size of our congregations than about showing compassion in our communities, more focused on creeds than on following the Christ they point to. We’ve made the core of our faith more about what we believe in our heads than what we do with our hands.

Don’t get me wrong, our creeds are important. They tell us about the nature of Jesus in relationship to the triune God. What they don’t tell us, however, is what we are to do with that knowledge. The creeds emerged out of a need to define the nature of Jesus in the early centuries of Christianity, but they were never meant to be the sum total of Christian faith. We are not called to merely believe things about Jesus, but to follow him. As the Apostle’s Creed now stands, for example, it is quite possible to accept every word of it and still leave the essential self untouched. Like Christian scribes and Pharisees, we can believe all of the creeds’ assertions about God creating the world, about Jesus’ death and resurrection, about the presence of the Holy Spirit, and the holy catholic church, and yet have it make no difference in the way we live. This was already in evidence when the creeds themselves were formed.

Take the Nicene creed, for example, which was hammered out in the fourth century after the emperor Constantine brought together all the bishops of the church to settle the question of Jesus’ divinity. After much debate, and even violence, the creed was complete and Constantine, the previously pagan Roman emperor, was hailed as a “bishop of bishops” by the church. And yet, after his alleged “conversion,” Constantine murdered his brother-in-law, sentenced his 11 year-old nephew to death, killed his eldest son and his second wife, and took the nails that were supposed to come from the cross of Christ and put one in his war helmet and the other in the bridle of his war horse. Despite all that, he was canonized as a saint.

Could this have happened, says E. Stanley Jones, “if the men who had gathered there [at Nicea] made the Sermon on the Mount as essential part of the creed? Suppose we had written it in our creeds and repeated it each time with conviction: ‘I believe in the Sermon on the Mount and the way of life [Jesus calls me to] and, God helping me, I will embody it.’” How might the history of Christianity been different? Would there have been the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Holocaust? Would there have been such fragmentation between churches and individuals over doctrines? Would the Christian church be less known for its scandals, its fights and its hypocrisy and more known for its love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control?

I agree with Stanley Jones, and with John Wesley, and Martin Luther, and John Calvin, and so many other pillars of the Christian church that the Sermon on the Mount is the key to unlocking what it means to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ. This is how we should live. This is how our faith in Jesus becomes realized. This is the way.

But as we will see, it is not an easy way, not a comfortable way. Jesus will challenge our assumptions and our comfort zones. This sermon, and other teaching like it, got Jesus crucified, after all. Doing a sermon series based on it carries some inherent risk. I can guarantee that there will be something here that will push your buttons. I know that because it has been pushing my buttons as I prepare the series. There may be some things that you wish Jesus hadn’t said…but he does say them, and he embodies them, and he calls us to do the hard task of following him in them.

 Think about today, for example—the anniversary of 9/11. On a day when we remember the horror of terrorism, the evil of people flying planes into buildings, the deaths of thousands of innocent people, two resultant wars that are almost ten years old…on a day like this, the Sermon on the Mount confronts us with Jesus’ words, “Blessed are the peacemakers,” and “Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you, turn the other cheek, go the extra mile.” We may be tempted to explain those words away so that they will fit into our categories, but Jesus won’t allow us to do that.

We might throw up our hands and say that loving our enemies is impossible, and that Jesus is just being hypothetical. But it is possible, and it’s not hypothetical.

Remember that the one who preaches this sermon is the one who will himself be an innocent victim of human violence and evil, enduring the terror of the cross. And yet, hanging there, he says, “Father, forgive them because they don’t know what they’re doing.” The Sermon on the Mount forces us to process that reality today.

The reason that the Sermon on the Mount makes us uncomfortable is the fact that it transports us to this foreign world—one with which we aren’t familiar because we’ve rarely seen it.

There’s a story about a child in India who lived with wolves from the age of 2 to age 11. The child ran on all fours, his legs had adapted to run that way. He only ate raw meat, and when he was captured and put on a regular diet, he contracted dysentery and died. E. Stanley Jones, who knew of the child, commented, “A human being had lived on a wolf diet for nine years. Human nature had so accommodated itself to it that it seemed the natural way to live and our more human ways seemed unnatural. We have lived so long on the wolf-principles of selfishness and competition and strife that the Christian way of unselfishness, cooperation, and love seems to us a foreign way.”

In a world where sin makes people less than human, a world where people often act like wolves seeking to devour one another, Jesus calls his disciples to a foreign way—a way that he wants to make native within us.

When the early church was first formed, as we read in the book of Acts, before they were called Christians, before they were called a church, they were called “The people of the Way.”

 Oh, how we need to get back on that way—the way of the kingdom, the way of Christ. It is not an easy way, but it is the only way that leads to life.

 I want to invite you to spend some time this week reading through Matthew 5-7. Joe and I will be posting some devotional thoughts and reflections throughout this series. I want to encourage you to immerse yourself in these Scriptures for the next 12 weeks. Wrestle with them, argue with them, deal with them… but most of all, I want to challenge you to try and live them—every day. And see how that changes you and everyone around you.

 We are all preachers, every day, more through what we do than what we say—may sermons reflect the Way.

 

 

 

A Disciple’s Hands: A Reflection for Labor Day Sunday

Fisherman hands 3

Matthew 4:18-25

I grew up in a very blue collar family in western Pennsylvania. My father was a diesel mechanic and bus driver, my grandfather worked in the freight yard on the Pennsylvania railroad, my uncles and cousins worked deep in the coal mines. One of the things that always impressed me about all these men was their hands. When my grandpa would take my hand, for example, I could feel all those rough calluses from so many years spent handling couplings on train cars, and my dad always had grease under his fingernails. Their hands had plenty of scars and usually a band-aid or two, and usually smelled of that pumice hand cleaner they used every day before leaving work.

And it wasn’t just the men in the family who had rough hands. My mom’s hands were softer, but very strong from all the homemade bread she kneaded every week, and grandma’s hands always seemed to have a paring knife in them where she’d cut the fresh fruits and vegetables from the garden by slicing the blade toward her thumb, which never seemed to get cut.

Hands tell us a lot about a person and their work, and when I read this story about the calling of the first disciples, I can’t help but think about their hands.

Simon Peter and Andrew were fishermen. Even today, commercial fishing is the most dangerous job in the world (Just watch “Deadliest Catch”), and that was even more true in the first century. Simon and Andrew, just like James a John a little further down the beach, spent a great deal of their lives in small, patchwork wooden boats, braving the ferocious storms that could blow up on the Sea of Galilee, and hauling on rope nets with their bare hands. If you’ve ever worked a wet rope with your bare hands, you know that it can be painful. Imagine doing that every day from sunup to sundown and sometimes longer and then, when you get back to shore, having to mend those nets so they’ll be ready for the next day, too. It’s hard to image rougher working class hands than these men would have had.

Ernest Hemingway once wrote a description of the hands of a fisherman he encountered in Cuba: “His hands had the deep-creased scars from handling heavy fish on the cords. But none of the scars were fresh. They were as old as erosions in a fishless desert.”

Simon and Andrew were once again casting their nets into the sea, just off shore—their hands at work—when Jesus walked by. Jesus himself, though, was no stranger to hard work. At age 30, he had spent most of his life laboring alongside his father, who was a contractor.

We often understand him to have been a carpenter, though the Greek word used to describe the work of father and son is “tekton” or builder. Given the fact that stone is used almost exclusively for building in the region, even today, it’s quite likely that Jesus was a stonemason. His own hands would have reflected years of the effects of rough bruises, cuts, scars, and maybe some broken bones. He had now put aside his hammer and chisel, and came to the lakeshore to find some fellow workers for a new job.

“Follow me,” he says to the hard-working fishermen, “and I will make you fish for people.” As a working man himself, Jesus understands that these men have themselves been hammered and shaped by their profession. They were experts on the water, skilled at knowing where the fish were and strong on the lines when the catch was made. They would always be fishermen, Jesus seemed to understand, just like Jesus would always be a builder. Now, however, Jesus was about building a shaping a new project called the kingdom of God, and he was calling these men to leave their nets and cast different ones for an even more valuable catch.

“I will make you fish for people,” says Jesus. I will take what you know, I will take all that skill and knowledge and muscle memory, and I will teach you to use it to catch people for the kingdom. It was an invitation to a new vocation, but one grounded in their old one.

Matthew tells us that the Simon Peter and Andrew, James and John, left their nets and followed him. Matthew would do it himself a little later, leaving behind his tax collector’s table and offering his own softer, financial industry hands to Jesus. He doesn’t say it, but I wonder if Jesus said something to him like, “I will teach you how to collect people as highly valued treasures of the kingdom.”

The hands of the disciples were thus put to a new work, but one that somehow reflected the old. Jesus redeems the work of their hands.

Indeed, Jesus would begin to teach them how to use their vocations and their experience in the service of people. Matthew tells us that Jesus went through Galilee, laying his working man hands on the sick, the broken, and the demon-possessed. Those rough hands conveyed a gentle touch that healed—a touch that was a sign that the kingdom he was talking about was a reality. His touch repaired people.

Jesus would teach these working class disciples to use their hands in the same way, sending them out with the same vocation he had. They would fish for, shape, value, heal, and lift up people for the rest of their lives. While they were no longer in the boat, they would never stop fishing. Jesus had taught them that their work had meaning, so long as it was done for people.

On this Labor Day Sunday, when we celebrate the meaning and value of work, Jesus calls each one of us, too. We are called to see our work not as a necessary evil, but as an opportunity. Unlike these first disciples, most of us are not being called to leave behind the office or the workshop. We are, however, being called to see our work in light of God’s kingdom. We work with, and worship with, the same hands, and it is with these hands that Jesus calls us to do whatever it is we do with a new sense of purpose—to use our hands in the service of people…to fold our hands in prayer for people…to hold out our hands as an invitation to people to know the Jesus whose touch heals and saves, and whose kingdom is forever.

A statistic I read once said that some 77% of Americans hate their jobs. There are a lot of reasons for this. Patrick Lencioni, in his book Three Signs of a Miserable Job, says that there are three main dysfunctions that cause job dissatisfaction: 1) a feeling of anonymity, as if no one cares if you’re there, 2) irrelevance, not knowing whether your job is actually important to someone, and 3) immeasurement, or an inability to gauge progress in the work. To put it another way, a miserable job is one where the hands seem to have no purpose.

But what if we saw our work, no matter what it is, as a way to use our hands for people? What if we saw each of our vocations not only as a job, but as a ministry—an opportunity to extend the hands of Jesus to customers and coworkers?

If you’re an accountant, for example, what would it mean to allow Jesus to make you account for people, showing them how their use of money can either hurt or help them?

If you’re a teacher, what would it mean for your to teach not only to people but for them as well, becoming a mentor for those who need it most?

If you’re a student, what would it mean to learn for people, learning about your peers and teachers and offering kind words and a helping hand when they are discouraged or being pushed aside by others?

If you’re a mechanic, your work is fixing things for people honestly and with high quality.

If you’re a computer programmer, you could be working systems for people, helping them to link to one another while you represent a link to the kingdom through your care and love.

If you’re a pilot, you could pilot people. If you’re a salesperson, you could be selling for people, offering them Christ through your integrity. If you’re a leader, you could be leading people to a life that matters.

Hey, even if you’re retired, you can use your experienced hands for people, offering them the touch and healing and service of the kingdom.

Whatever your profession—whether your hands are rough or soft, whether they hammer or type—Jesus can make you do it for people and for his kingdom. All we have to do is accept his invitation to follow, and when we do we discover that our lives and our work have meaning for an eternity.

I invite you now to take a long look at your hands. What have these hands done? How have they worked, how have they healed? How can they be used for the kingdom? 

 

 

 

Is Shape of CEO’s Face a Measure of Power? – MSN Health – Health Topics

MONDAY, Aug. 29 (HealthDay News) — The width of a CEO's face may predict how well a company performs, according to a new study.

via health.msn.com

OK, so here's proof that most leadership theory is just that-theory. It's not how wide your face is, it's what your face is set toward. "Then I set my face toward the Lord God…" (Daniel 9:3). Another recent study suggested that successful CEOs are also more likely to be named "Peter" (note obvious biblical irony). Truth is that there is no better "power" in leadership than character and a focus on a power beyond oneself. Nobody understood this better than Jesus, who "set his face" toward Jerusalem and carried his mission all the way to the cross.