Prepared To Be Surprised

The biggest blessings the Lord has for you often times will be in the places where there’s been difficulty before.

Scripture: Acts 14:23, 2 Timothy 2:2


Alright, thank you very much. Hello friends, how are you? You know there’s a beautiful combination of good sense and order on one hand and spirituality on the other, that I want you to see before we pass along into the next section of Acts chapter 14, it’s in verse 23, Acts 14:23. “When they had appointed elders in every church and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord on whom they believed.” Now, the church was born in miracle and it is sustained by the continuing miracle of the presence of God impinging upon human nature. There’s no doubt about that.

By the same token, Paul and Barnabas realized that human leadership is necessary in any kind of an enterprise, but it has to be a special kind of leadership. Now Paul speaks of the type of person who has a leadership quality. He says, “The things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Two things.” One, a faithful person, and second, a person who can teach others. Christian leadership is compounded of those two qualifications. Now, there are others of course, but these two especially, a faithful person, one who is willing to take, carry, and implement responsibility, and a communicative person, one who is able to teach others also.

The genius of the Christian life is not only that you win souls, the genius of the Christian life is that when you win a soul, you spend time with that person until he is able, in turn, to win somebody else and spend time with him teaching him how to win souls so that he, in turn, can go and win someone else and spend time with him and so on. Now, this is the 2nd Timothy 2:2 principle. The things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men who shall be able to teach others also. So it was from Paul to Timothy, to faithful men to others also. And this is a multiplication process. So although it’s necessary to have leadership, and leadership is compounded of two things: First, faithfulness, which means willingness to take and carry out responsibility at whatever cost. And second, the ability to communicate to others the truth and the motivation of the Christian life. Couple of thoughts here, number one; you ought to look for leaders in your church of this kind of person, and you ought to develop this type of mentality among the up and coming young people in your church.

One of the most dreary processes to be found anywhere is the search for people who are willing to stand for a nomination in a church business meeting. You meet all manner of gilt-edged alibi, when as a member of a nominating committee, you go round and you say, “Well Jim, would you be willing to run for deacon?” “Oh no, not this year. I have this and that and the other.” And he gives you all manner of a gilt-edged and mostly phony reasons why he doesn’t want to serve. And so, it seems the name of the game is try to get out of carrying responsibility. Now, just the opposite ought to be true. And it seems to me, pastors and deacons and Sunday school teachers to whom I’m speaking, you and I ought as a matter of course, day by day to look for the type of person who is faithful. Now there are some people who by nature are willing to carry responsibility, others are frivolous and shallow and unwilling or are un-capable of carrying responsibility. You ought to look for that person, a faithful person, you ought to look for them and find them, note them and then teach them how to communicate Jesus Christ to others, so that you will be growing, you will be growing a system of leadership in your church that way. Okay?

Leadership is something that can be developed if you will look for the leadership quality person and spend time with him so that you actually rub off from your own life some of the qualities and skills that are yours under God. Someone has said, “You ought to pour yourself into somebody else’s life.” Are you willing to do that? Yes, it takes time, yes most of us are so busy that we think we don’t have that kind of time, but yes, it is the most important process that you can think of if you want to develop leadership in your church or your organization. Find a faithful person, and then teach him how to pour himself into others and to communicate God to others.

Well, I say Paul and Barnabas were aware of the fact that leadership has to be established, and furthermore, they were aware of the fact that this is not simply something that is done by an election or by appointment as it was in this case, but rather, it says they prayed with fasting and committed them to the Lord. Now, there is a spiritual point here, you see leadership in the Lord’s work is not merely going to a certain course as you would if you were working let us say for General Motors, and you went to what some people call Foremen school. Where you learn how to take charge of a given department, and how to meet deadlines, and how to work with budgets, and production schedules, and how to motivate people and so on.

Now, this is more than that you see. When you’re in the work of the Lord Jesus Christ, you are dealing with some very important but intangible factors, and so it takes the power of God, doesn’t it? Yes, it does, yes, it does. So what are you gonna do? Well, Paul said, let’s pray and let’s fast and pray, let’s wait on God until the touch of God is manifested in these lives. Now, it seems to me that if you want again to develop leadership in your church or your organization, you might very well after you have located the persons whom you think are faithful that is willing to carry responsibility, and after you have trained them and motivated them, you might very well spend time praying and seeking God.

Because I noticed that true spiritual leadership arises out of prayer. I learned this first in the days when I was in Youth for Christ, from 1944 through 1957, I was very active as you know, in the work of Youth for Christ. And as it was my responsibility to find young men who could carry responsibility and who could carry leadership and all that. But you know, the willingness, the actual willingness to do the job oftentimes emerged from a time of prayer, from an all-night prayer meeting, or from sometimes when we just gather together to seek the Lord, and people will say, “I think God is asking me to do this, and this and this.” Out of one prayer meeting someone said, I recall, “I believe God is calling me to go over to Japan.” Well, as a matter of fact, he did go to Japan with his family and he actually stayed long enough to set up the machinery, the organization which made possible our world congress, there in 1953. This was Sam Wolgemuth who is now president of Youth for Christ, International. But I remember the time when he said, “I think God’s asking me to go over there.” It came out of deep searching of heart in prayer.

And so real leadership, you see, oftentimes is triggered, if you wanna use that phrase, is initiated by waiting on God, and waiting on God and praying and waiting on God until the Holy Spirit of God speaks to your heart. It is an idea, isn’t it? Try this in your church, pastor, look for people who are faithful. Look for a man who is faithful and carrying responsibility well, as a matter of course, in his own life, and then train him in matters of the Lord Jesus. So that you will have a faithful man who is able to teach others also, then you’ve got a good leader in your church. And then, sow that whole thing done with prayer, nail it down in a prayer meeting, until God the Holy Spirit speaks the word of motivation in the individual’s heart. And he’ll say, “I think God is asking me to do this.” Oh well, if the Lord is speaking to him, that’s great and more potent, isn’t it, than if you are trying to convince him of something?

Now, let’s go back to the text. It said, “When they had ordained elders in every church.” Stop on the word every, Don’t leave out the necessary work of training leadership because you think, “Oh well, this is just a little work and it doesn’t matter. I’ve seen this happen, people said, “Oh well, it’s just a little church, so we don’t need a very good pastor. “It’s just a little Sunday school class so we don’t need a very good teacher. It’s just a little prayer meeting, so we don’t need a very good leader.” Don’t pass by the process of training and enlisting leadership simply because you think it’s a little opportunity.

You know, there was only one young lad that went forward in a Sunday morning service on a snowy Sunday morning I’m told, and people said, “Oh well, it wasn’t a very good meeting. There was only one boy that was saved. Interestingly enough, that boy was Charles Haddon Spurgeon. I think it was a very important meeting when I got saved from my point of view, at least, and I think I was one of the very few that night, who went forward in the little store building church on Cedar Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio. And my father knelt on one side of me and Pastor H.E Nelson, now, just rounding out his years of ministry. He then was just coming up in his ministry, and he knelt on the other side of me at the little prayer bench in the front of that store building church. I don’t recall that there were very many if any people around me besides that, but I got saved that Sunday night, not quite six years old, but I know Jesus saved me.

And I was baptized not too much longer after that, in Lake Erie, I had to borrow bathing suit, I didn’t own a bathing suit and I borrowed a bathing suit. There was a couple of sizes too large, and it was held on as I often say, by the grace of God and two safety pins. And I went out into those waters and the pastor said, “Do you know that Jesus saves you now Robert?” and I said, Yes, sir, I know Jesus saves me.” And he baptized me in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. That was at old Buehler Park at 156th Street in the lake in Cleveland Ohio, they moved that camp grounds later on a little farther along the lakeshore, and they’ve got what they call Buehler Beach now up by Vermilion, Ohio, I think. But it was an important meeting when I got saved. Not that I’m so important now, but oh, I’m so glad that somebody didn’t pass me by that night because it was just one little boy crying and sniveling, and blowing his nose and praying in half sentences and mumbled words, not quite knowing what to say to Jesus, but wanting to be saved. I’m so glad somebody cared about me.

And so I say, don’t neglect training Leaders, don’t neglect, enlisting people, don’t neglect praying with people just because it may be a little church. It said they did it in every church. Good idea, huh? Yes indeed. And so it says after they passed throughout Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia, and when they preached the Word in Perga, they went down to Attalia and then sailed to Antioch. Now, before we go today, just let me dwell on this for a moment. They didn’t skip any place. They’d been run out of one town and stoned in another and assaulted in another, but they came right on back and blessed and helped and encouraged the believers and went on their way. Ladies and gentlemen, you may have had a rough go here or there, in your life, don’t detour around it, don’t detour around it. The biggest blessings, the Lord has for you oftentimes will be in the places where there’s been difficulty before. Let him show you how to bless in places where there’s been difficulty before.

Okay? Alright, time is going and I wanna pray with you. Let’s bow and pray if you can, just pause for a moment while we talk to the Lord.

Dear Heavenly Father, how thankful I am that Thou does teach us these precious lessons of grace as we go on, and I ask that we may be able to apply what we’ve gotten from Thy Word today, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, I pray, amen. Amen. God bless you, dear friend, all the way.

That’s all for now, till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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