Friday, August 15, 2014

Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit -- Ivan Satyavrata

(Here at the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit in an effort to improve my leadership as a volunteer with Operation Christmas Child.  Learn more about OCC at )  Ready to hear Ivan Satyavrata speak on

The Power Paradox

I want to thank you for your humble willingness to listen to voices from the majority world.  There is no institute on our planet as vitally connected as the church.  70% of India's 1.3 billion population is under the age of 35.

Can anything good come out of Calcutta?  Very little good is said about Calcutta in history.  Calcutta is an exciting place to live in.  Its people are beautiful.  Some visitors find the sights and sounds of people living on the street oppressive.  Others to their surprise soon fall in love with the city.

Some visitors ask, "How do you live with the burden of the need around you?"  Calcutta has 80 million people and 1/3rd of the world's poor.  To date just 1 in 1,000 call Jesus lord.

How do you keep from feeling overwhelmed with the feeling of powerlessness?

Power is neutral--neither good nor bad--it is simply the potential to move reality and make something happen.  Leaders manage power.  It's what they use to make things happen.  There is no such thing as leadership without power.

How should leaders manage the power that comes with it?

Paradox--a concept or reality that combines seemingly contradictory features
John 13:1-5 -- (washing of the disciples' feet) -- the power paradox is vividly on display here.  Jesus knows He has come from God and is returning to God but He assumes the role of a powerless slave.

A leader must be able to wield power, real power, in order to lead effectively.  She must, however, be willing to be made powerless.

The knowledge of God in Christ is the ultimate power.  How do I share the knowledge of truth without imposing power?  The power paradox causes us to uphold truth passionately while allowing others to dissent.

Knowledge power can fill us with intoxicating pride that gives us a high, blinds us to reality, and makes us a slave.  Jesus knew He had all things under His feet but He holds a scepter in one hand and a towel and basin in the other.

How am I stewarding my knowledge power?  When you go home tonight and look into your heart, ask yourself, "Am I holding the towel and basin as tightly as I hold the scepter of power?"

A leader's power lies in her ability to influence people.  Great leaders ask, "How can I use my power to make change today?"  Jesus refused to use power to manipulate people--even Judas.

II Samuel 23-- David was longing for water and two of his soldiers brought it to him.  He refused to drink it and poured it out as an offering to the Lord.  That's what made David such a great leader.  Great leaders refuse to use intimidation for control.   Every leader has people power.  How are you using it?  The greatest gift you can give to your followers is to create a safe place from which followers can rise to greater heights of achievement.

Kingdom Power -- How does Jesus respond to evil?  He confronts the forces of injustice but he lets evil infiltrate his band through Judas and instructs His followers to endure evil.  How do we apply this to all the injustice on our planet?

God's people pray "Thy Kingdom come,"  So what do we do?  We act.  We use the Kingdom power at our disposal to invade the darkness.  We dare not do otherwise.  On the other hand, we are patient and resolute in the face of the mystery of evil--when the godly prosper and the faithful suffer and prayers seem to go unanswered.

Those who work in God's name among the needy must embrace the power paradox to have a calm, sustaining grace.  I do not have to be a Christian "terminator" who singlehandedly wipes out evil.  I may feel powerless but then comes a moment of truth--an exploding realization--"therefore I will boast more gladly of my weakness; for when I am weak then I am strong."

The true secret of any great leader's power is this:  when you feel the weakest; that is when you are the STRONGEST.

The other part of this paradox is that the power we possess resides in jars of clay.  Leaders who finish well and leave a living legacy are those who remember their power comes from God and is to build up not to destroy.

Are you using your power to serve the poor and fight against evil?  Leaders who embrace the power paradox are a unique breed--having nothing yet possessing everything.  Weak champions.  Dependent conquerors.  Meek inheritors of the earth.

I ask all those within the sound of my voice to ask God to make us all just such leaders.

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