Sunday Extra: A Second Touch
In today’s sermon, I’m speaking at Third Church in Richmond, Virginia. For the last three weeks, we’ve been listening to the lead pastor, Corey Widmer speak about the abundant life in Jesus. So join me as we look at Mark 8; it is the story where the blind man needs a second touch from Jesus.
Each of us has blind spots. We all need a second, third, or fourth touch from Jesus before our eyes are completely open to see clearly. As you listen, I pray God’s Spirit will refresh and touch you.
My Journal Jotting: Looking for Emerging Leaders
This past week I was at a session for potential mentoring group leaders. I was asked how I had selected those who are part of my mentoring groups.
I said that I looked for men and women with a clear calling, strong gifts of ministry, and evident leadership qualities.
Then words from a George Herbert poem about Mary came to mind:
“We all have one task to do, let all God’s glory through.”
That, I said, is most important: to prayerfully select men and women who are kingdom-seekers, not glory-hunters
I reflected on the recent collapse of a very large mega-church, where the founding pastor, who had strong gifts of communication and leadership, became so impressed with his own importance that he finally left, and the church collapsed in a matter of days.
There is a real peril for gifted, energized, visionary young leaders who get early prominence, especially through social media, before there is time for their characters to develop.
In contrast, my brother-in-law Billy, who became a national celebrity before he was even thirty, did not let his fame go to his head – or heart. It could quickly have gone the other way.
But he would say, over and over, “The glory must go to God. He will not share his glory with another.”
My friend Neal Jones, a retired pastor (and Kevin’s father-in-law), recalls when he was a seminary student in his early twenties, leading the Youth for Christ rally in Dallas, Texas. They invited Billy and his team to come. But the crowds were sparse, and when it was over, they did not have enough money to pay all the bills.
In fear and trembling, Neal went to Billy’s hotel to tell him they could not even pay his expenses. In response, Billy said, “Don’t worry. We’ll take care of that. And if God wants us in Dallas, he will bring us at the right time.” Then, Neal recalls, Billy lay down prone on the floor and poured out his prayer for God to bless this young man! And Neal decided he should lie down next to him!
Several years later, Billy did come back, and the Cotton Bowl was filled with people! However, what Neal remembers is not the big crowd but the hotel room where Billy was gracious to him and humble before God.
Neil was a future leader; these are the ones we all need to discern and encourage: with all their gifts, they are not empire-builders but kingdom-seekers and glory-revealers!
Leighton Ford, September 2021
May God bless you as you listen to the sermon and read this edition of the Sunday Extra,
Dr. Jim Singleton
Executive Director of Missional Leadership
Leighton Ford Ministries