Friday, August 10, 2012

Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit--John Ortberg--A Leader of Unimaginable Influence

Getting ready for more leadership advice to help in my Operation Christmas Child team at the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit--

I want to start by giving you a leadership challenge.  Suppose you wanted to change the world so much that in 2000 years your birthday would be celebrated by the whole world.  What would you do?

Jesus' movement grows even though his leaders are leadership challenged.  Jesus' influence endures in spite of those who oppose Him and often in spite of those who claim to follow Him.

Wherever you are on your faith journey you have to ask yourself who was this man?

Most people simply have no idea of the impact Jesus has had on our world in every sphere of life.  We need to marvel at Jesus.  There are many people who don't know Him now but might become admirers of His and then maybe followers.

So let's marvel at Jesus--

It would be hard to choose a less likely candidate to rule the world.  His followers were ordinary men, yet 2000 years later it's impossible to imagine the world without Him.

--Jesus gave the world its most influential movement --imagine the world with no church or church leaders.  Col. 3:11 "Christ is all and in all."  Where before the church was there a movement that sought to include every human being to be a single transformational community?  Look at all the disparate people God can bring together.  As a matter of historical reality the Church began with an impoverished crucified carpenter.

By the 6th century a Scythian monk proposed a calendar based on the life of Jesus.  Jesus was called by his disciple John "The Lord of Lords and King of Kings".   When he had such a small group of followers this claim seemed laughable.  If you had to bet which would last longer--Jesus or the Roman Empire you would not bet on the carpenter.  Every ruler who ever reigned must be dated in reference to the life of Jesus.

Jesus changed how the world expressed compassion.  Usually good works were ways to express the rich man's greatness.  In the ancient world a child was killed for being born weak or of the 'wrong' gender--girls were often left to die. But there was this little group of followers of Jesus who began to take in abandoned children and then created orphanages.   These changes were so amazing that one book about them is entitled "When Children Became People."
Widows were taken in and cared for by the Church.  Jesus began a revolution in the rights of women that changed the world.  People began to care for the sick because Jesus cared for them and said, "Whatever you do for the least of these you do for Me."  Hospitals were created by Christ followers.  When you see organizations that care for others you see the touch of Jesus.  Who is this man?

Jesus' movement shaped education.  In the ancient world formal education was reserved for male children in elite families.  But the Church followed a man who taught everybody so they began to teach men and women--slave and free.  For many centuries monastic communities were the only ones preserving classical texts.  Many universities were started by Christians.  University of Oxford motto, "The Lord is my light."   It was people who loved Jesus who found languages that had not been committed to writing and they developed alphabets and primers.  No other book in history is translated in 1/5th of the languages as the Bible.  Who is this man?

The basis of the arts were attributed to Christ followers.  No transcendent story or vision has gripped the arts like that of Jesus.

The Jesus movement changed political fury.  "Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar's."  Politics and government had been the province of the rich and powerful.  What if the main association people had between Christians and politics were of people who believed what their leader said, "My Kingdom is not of this world?"

Jesus brought from Israel to the rest of the world a new way of thinking about God and love.  Sooner or later human arms grow weak but Jesus said God is like a Father whose arms are filled with love for the whole world.  Gal. 3:28 "You are all one in Christ Jesus."  This is the expression of egalitarianism from human literature.

Jesus uniquely taught love of enemies.  When He died it was written that He said, "Father forgive them," and His followers remembered that and they began to die the same way.  Who was this man?

Martin Luther King was inspired by Jesus.  Who is this man?

The real question is: Who IS this man?  The reason we must marvel at this man is His work is not done yet?  This world is waiting for a fresh manifestation of this Man.  What might happen if somehow the Jesus impact on your world would be greater than ever before?

Still the call comes, "Follow me."  Will you be that man.  Will you be that woman.  Will you devote yourself to His cause?  He is the Son of God.  He is the Glory of Humankind.  He is the Hope of Nations and the Savior of theWorld and THAT;S who this man is.

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