Sunday, October 20, 2013

#10 Patriarchs Who Provoke

By Dr. Stephen Phinney

Provoking patriarchs are leaders who attempt to train their followers in the admonition (earnest rebuke) of their own ideas.  You ask, “What is wrong with that?”  If we train our followers to be like us, they will commit the same sins as us.  We need to be training followers in an image that is incorruptible and eternal--to replicate a life that is flawless and perfect. 

Leaders who try to mold others into their own image provoke anger in their students.  Most patriarchs who do this oftentimes wonder why there is no long-term change in their subordinates.  The image of man changes according to the wind of the day.  God, on the other hand, is unchanging and unwavering. 

God’s created beings intuitively know they are to be functioning in His image.  When we force mankind to operate in an image other than God’s, we (as leaders) provoke them to wrath.  If today’s patriarchs molded themselves after the image of the Father, it would carry a certain guarantee to train up followers to be effective in daily living. 

Jesus used a style (His Life) that encouraged followers to be like His Father.  Even Jesus was not able to do anything in and of Himself.  He replicated the actions of His Father.  When His followers saw Him doing something, they saw the Father (John 14:9). Now, we can replicate Jesus’ actions safely.  Since the proof of the love is in showing and revealing what the leader is doing (and why), we can only assume patriarchs need to give a clear understanding of all their actions.  Secretive leaders are manipulative leaders. 

Patriarchs, who have a dependent relationship on Christ, can then be a foundation for followers to build upon.  By using this model, patriarchs will not be provoking wives, children, and/or employees to anger.  They will be unveiling Christ--a safe foundation. 

Non-provoking leaders exhort without error, impurity, and/or deceit.  Since they know they have been approved by God and entrusted with the Gospel, they speak not as man-pleasers, but as God-pleasers.  For they lead in like manner-–not expecting others to follow them, but to follow the life of Christ within them.  They lead through “pre-approval” and not pushing followers to “prove themselves” before being granted approval.  Pre-approval means “grace.” 

Grace-based leadership means avoiding flattering speech that manipulates; rather, they assert their authority for the purpose of developing emerging followers and leaders of Christ.
Grace-based patriarchs prove themselves to be gentle, like nursing mothers, who tenderly care for their followers.  They have found affection for others while imparting truth.  Truth is harsh, which is why the patriarch needs to be as gentle as possible. 

NEXT: A Family Man 

Patriarchs Who Provoke. Copyright © 2013 IOM America. Permission to reproduce for educational purposes. Please keep author’s name intact.

All Scriptures, unless otherwise stated, are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

#9 Patriarchal Authority

By Dr. Stephen Phinney

How many men do you know today who have a great relationship with their authorities?  I know few!  A servant leader knows and understands this critical need of participation in an intimate relationship with another leader.  It is what makes him a great leader. 

As patriarchs, we have been called to submit ourselves to every human institution of authority.  When we do this, we actually prove what is right.  Men, who master the art of submission, learn the secret to dealing with harsh authorities--we silence their ignorance.  Most men are provoked to go “hand-to-hand combat” with aggressive and unreasonable authorities.  This only proves our own ignorance. 

God wants Christian patriarchs to act as free men, but not to use their freedom as an excuse to cover-up their rebellion against authority.  It is far more important to show other leaders we are bondslaves to Christ, than it is to win the battle of influence. 

God wants us to honor all men, love and serve others, fear Him (not man), and even honor an unreasonable authority figure. We have a mandate put on us to submit to our authority figures, not only to those who are kind and reasonably logical, but also to those who are unreasonable and who have not earned our respect.  

Patriarchs have been called by their Supreme Patriarch to suffer like He suffered.  One of our greatest temptations is to revile (disgrace) when we have been mistreated.  Reviling is a fancy way of saying, “You threaten me--I threaten you.”  The only way to stop ourselves from threatening others is to trust the threatening person with the true Judge, God.  Men who revile others are attempting to heal themselves through “leveling the playing field.”  Revenge is what causes us to stray from Christ. Submitting to authority figures who revile, purifies us and deepens us close to our Shepherd.

Because men have been wounded by their fathers, they tend to set up their own style of worshipping the Lord, outside of the authority of the church.  These men are guilty of anarchy and being “pew” sitters, i.e. coming to church like it is a movie theater, then leaving and deciding on their own how to apply it.  A true patriarch will devote himself to submitting to Christ, church leadership, the body of Christ, and the structure of the local church.  Anarchy or patriarchy?--that is the question!  

NEXT: Patriarchs Who Provoke 

Patriarchal Authority. Copyright © 2013 IOM America. Permission to reproduce for educational purposes. Please keep author’s name intact.

All Scriptures, unless otherwise stated, are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

#8 Death of Manhood

By Dr. Stephen Phinney

Great patriarchs do not strive to live, they purpose to die! Jesus obviously mastered this principle: “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it” (Luke 9:24-25). Self-dying--not promoting self-life--is the key to living as a principled patriarch. 

Is it not true that Jesus came to give His life in order to save ours? Why wouldn’t it be true for patriarchs to give their lives in order to save, or help, those to whom they are responsible? Nothing turns a follower off more than a leader doing things that profit himself. Self-denial is very attractive. It communicates safe leadership. A man, or patriarch, who has to “put his foot down” and prove his authority is confessing he has already lost it. When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane and said, “Not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42). He was revealing that He, too, was under a Supreme Commander. So it is with a patriarch. When followers see him pushing his will aside for that of Christ’s, he reveals headship even in his own life. People in general enjoy submitting to those who submit. It reveals the principle of a level playing field. 

Unless a man yields his patriarchy to the headship of Christ, he will rule his family, or followers, with a harsh and demanding mind-set. Servant leadership will be far from him. A man who seeks to lead in this manner is stating that he expects others to die daily for their agenda. That makes the patriarch out to be “a god.” 

Angry men act as if they have an ownership over their own lives and the lives of their followers. Any authority a man has was given him to steward—it was delegated. Anger reveals a secret sin of ownership. Ownership provokes the hand of God to be jealous. When a man is jealous, he is reacting to someone attempting to steal what he believes is his. Since jealousy is the emotion that provokes anger, understanding “ownership” is critical. 

Yes, it is true that a patriarch’s home, business, or position of authority is symbolic of his kingdom. But, he must always remember that it belongs to God and he is to serve those who reside within it by dying to his own will. 

NEXT: Patriarch Authority 

Death of Manhood Copyright © 2013 IOM America. Permission to reproduce for educational purposes. Please keep author’s name intact. 

All Scriptures, unless otherwise stated, are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

#7 Servant Leaders

By Dr. Stephen Phinney

Any man who desires to become a great leader must first become a servant. This is the model that Jesus demonstrated for men. “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28). 

Today, most men are driven to manipulate women to serve them (primarily sexually), but also with day-to-day activities. Women have labeled our men as being selfish, ego-centered, and self-serving. I wish I could say that our women are wrong on this, but they are not. Most men have no clue what servant manhood is all about. 

How are we to know what biblical "servant manhood" looks like? We can discover the answer to this question by observing how Jesus responds to His Father. The more a man studies the role Jesus had (and has) with His Father, the more he will understand servant manhood. Jesus said, “The Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing” (John 5:19-20). As you can tell, the key here is following the Father. It always comes back to the Father. 

Men need to concentrate on their heavenly Father, their earthly father, and their spiritual father. By watching and doing what they do, men can demonstrate servant manhood. If a man does not have a “healthy” earthly or spiritual father, he is required to learn directly from the heavenly Father. The heavenly Father promises to be a Father to the fatherless (Ps. 68:5). 

Men tend to be power hungry, which is what stops them from being able to be servant leaders. Jesus was not about revealing His power. True meekness knows that you have the power to do mighty things, but don’t have the need to prove it. Patriarchy has been given a bad name because of the pride and ego of men. True patriarchs don’t need to display their authoritative power; they demonstrate it through acts of service. When men abuse their roles as leaders, the followers will ultimately choose a new leader to follow. People, men and women alike, intuitively desire to follow servant-type leaders. Jesus knew this, which is why He came in the form of a bond-servant. 

The world’s idea of leadership is to exercise authority over another by revealing one’s immovable position of power. The Bible calls this “lording it over” another. True leadership is not about a battle over the “wills.” It is about serving another for the purpose of moving that follower in the direction you have laid out before him. Serving moves hearts; and behavior always follows the heart. 

A man does not need to give up his position of authority or power in order to be a servant leader. He does need to demonstrate obedience to his leaders by serving them. This is his training ground for being a leader. A man, who demonstrates his position and power by servant influence, will discover the power of servant leadership.

NEXT: Death of Manhood

Servant Leaders Copyright © 2013 IOM America. Permission to reproduce for educational purposes. Please keep author’s name intact. 

All Scriptures, unless otherwise stated, are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

#6 Emasculating the Father

By Dr. Stephen Phinney

The Father makes it clear that He is “the Beginning and the End.”  If we were able to find all the spoken and inspired words describing God, in the Word of God, we still would not come close to describing the Father of heaven.  It will take eternity for us to discover all the attributes of God.  This is the primary reason why we should be so excited about going to the Father and spending eternity with Him.  I have my order in for multiple interviews myself!

The Hebrew word picture for “father” is strength or leader of a house.  This Hebrew word includes that of a natural father.  It also is used for the founder or the first ancestor, as well as an author or maker of anything.  “Father” applies to the one who provides care, i.e. like a father to the needy, a master, or a teacher.  “Father” is also for the God whom we choose to follow.

This word comes from two primary ancient pictures: 1) Alef--ox, strong or first and 2) Bet--house.  The first letter of the Hebrew alphabet (beginning of the house) is Alef.  This word also means the leader of a family or tribe.  This is where the English speaking descendants get the letter A.  Aloof is a derivative of Alef, meaning “gentle” or “to tame an ox.” 

Bet is the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet.  The ancient word picture of Bet is tent, a house, or a family.  The word Bet is also used as the number 2 (two) in the Hebrew numeric system.  The reason this is a significant factor is that Alef (first strong leader) and Bet (house or family) clearly reveal the importance of a father embracing his strength (first priority) and applying his strength within his home (second priority).  The word “authority” comes from Alef ta Bet.

Many people, including His own children, attempt to emasculate God by making Him out to be passive, inactive, and an egalitarian--feministic.  Since people in general tend to rebel against authority and tend to view authoritive figures as immovable and harsh, they work diligently at forming an image of God to be that of a non-gender.  Well, I have news . . . God is masculine.  He is all male. This might be why 100% of the references of God in the Word are He, His, and Him.  There are no references of God being shim, she, her, or it--just He.

God is not only a Father, but a Leader.  He leads the world in the same fashion as a Father.  Being a Father and Leader to the people is all the same to Him.  In fact, His leadership is for the generations.

In order not to emasculate our heavenly Father, we must embrace the fact that He is in full control.  Ephesians 4:6 says, “One God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.”  Knowing this, we can see clearly that God the Father covers the basis of our manhood.  He is our Father, Leader, Provider, Protector, Educator, and pure example of maleness.

Manhood is a difficult concept for most men to understand.  Many men are clueless as to knowing what it means to be a man.  There is no way men can truly understand their manhood unless they take the time to know the Father.  By knowing the Father and understanding how He functions, men will be able to see what it looks like to be man.

Men of our society today typically gain their view of manhood through the counsel of women.  This is why men have lost their way.  They look to women to gain the details of their role as a man.  This is nothing short of emasculation through feminism.

We need to be called back to the original design—the plan that is only revealed by the Father.  Since most men do not have a male role model to replicate their manhood after, they attempt to “invent” their own form of manhood.

The Bible gives us clear directions and examples of manhood.  Men need to be men of the Word and devoted to the power of prayer.  Through these two, they will be groomed to accomplish their primary mission in life--demonstrating the design of the Father.  A father initiates actions that replicate the Father.  When men do this, they bring glory and honor to the Creator of men.

By modeling the behavior of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, we will exemplify the truest and most honorable man who ever lived, or ever will live.  How can we lose?  As men, we can shape our families, women, children, and communities by following the rules and guidelines of the Father.

NEXT: Servant Leaders 

Emasculating the Father.  Copyright © 2013 IOM America. Permission to reproduce for educational purposes. Please keep author’s name intact. 

All Scriptures, unless otherwise stated, are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

#5 Men of Authority

by Dr. Stephen Phinney 

What is the real definition of a “wimpy man?” It is a man who defies submitting to authority and defiles by not asserting authority. A man who submits to authority takes on the most difficult task known to man--that of doing what he is told. A man who asserts authority opens himself up to the most vulnerability known to man--rejection from defiant followers.

Men of war must clearly know the words of commands, understand them, embrace them, and then carry them out to a tee. One of the primary reasons for wars being lost on the battlefield is that the commander did not make the orders clear, distinct, and/or understood. The second most common mistake of war is the troops not being trained to carry out the orders. This we can be assured of: Christ, as our Commander in Chief, will clearly communicate His orders to us. But, He does leave it up to the leaders in the field (leaders of the church) to train and equip the troops for warfare. We call this discipleship, mentorship, and equipping.

Men of our generation are reluctant to submit to authority. Men as a whole have adopted the deception that they can be their own leader and can somehow live this life on their own. Men who function like this have fallen as prey to the first tactic of warfare--getting the troops to turn on their commanders. The exactness of obeying commands is the key to being an effective warrior in the battle against the world, the flesh, and the devil.

Authority establishes order. Without order, a kingdom will collapse and be taken over by an enemy. Authority is the fiber that holds everything together within a kingdom and gives functionality for the followers to appropriate. God is a God of order and His order provides a pathway for His work to be accomplished.

Since we understand there is an authority structure within the heavens, would it not be easy for us to understand that authority on earth would be equally as important? In fact, it is the authority of heaven that ties heaven to earth. A man who does not accept this will view authority as a humanistic attempt to manipulate or control the people.

All of mankind is under authority, even if they don’t acknowledge it. Even Satan is under authority and cannot accomplish anything without God’s permission.

The best way to understand authority is through understanding God’s order of creation. In the beginning there was God, His Son, and the Holy Spirit. Then we discover the “sons of God” (angels)--Lucifer included. Upon creation, He formed Adam and then Eve (from Adam’s side). This is how we understand the structure and flow of authority (Genesis 2:7-24).

The sin of Adam was that of passivity. Because Adam “took from the woman and ate,” he demonstrated a behavioral confession of his passivity. He had direct authoritive orders from God NOT to eat from the tree in the middle of the garden. But because he listened to the voice of his woman, instead of God’s voice, the ground became cursed by God. God’s order of business has not changed. God expects man to first listen to the Lord, wash his wife with the Word, then lead his family with the directives of the Lord. Needless to say, most men today are afraid of their wives and listen to their counsel and guidance before they listen to church leaders, or God Himself.

Today, men lack assertiveness, initiative, courage, vision, and drive. The first place to start is in the beginning. Consider applying the follow guidelines:

  1. Choose a mentor who is clear in the Bible teachings that are accurate and Christ-centered. 
  2. Confess your passivity to God and commit to Him that you will be a man of initiative, courage, vision, and drive.
  3. Do not keep company with those who promote worldly ideas. It only breeds confusion. 
  4. Study the Word and discover everything you can on the topics of authority and leadership.
  5. Commit yourself to a men’s small group for a period of one year.
  6. Be a part of a local church--be active in the Men’s Ministry.
  7. Commit to keep your priorities straight--God, wife, children, church, job, and then friends. 
NEXT: Emasculating the Father

Men of Authority Copyright © 2013 IOM America. Permission to reproduce for educational purposes. Please keep author’s name intact. 

All Scriptures, unless otherwise stated, are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.