Leadership Lessons with Papa Jethro: Part 2

Listen now to my voice; I will give you counsel, and God will be with you:
Stand before God for the people, so that you may bring the difficulties to God.

Exodus 18:19

It’s been a while so in case you need a refresher (because I did), in the previous Leadership Lessons with Papa Jethro blog, we noted that leaders listen. What’s next?

Lesson 2: Leaders Intercede for Those They Serve

As I said before, Moses has always been one of my heroes probably because he reluctantly became a leader. He doesn’t just lead though, he has an intimate relationship with God the Father and intercedes on behalf of the children of Israel many, many times. Here it seems that Papa Jethro wisely points out, “Hey Moses, Stop trying to fix everything for everybody and start bringing difficulties before God first.”

Long ago in a small Sunday school room in North Carolina…

I remember studying a passage at the end of Numbers 16. God was ready to put an end to the children of Israel and Aaron, at Moses’ command, runs into the middle of the gathering with the incense to make atonement for them since the plague had already started. It goes on to say, “[Aaron] stood between the living and the dead, and the plague stopped.” (Numbers 16: 48)

The reason I remember it so well is that my teacher, Lucinda, said to me, “You’re going to be one that does what Aaron did. You’re going to be an intercessor. You’re going to stand between the living and the dead and see people saved.”

Perhaps an interesting thing to remember since I often can’t recall what day it is. Nonetheless, it impacted me because as Christians we should be ones who are interceding, or pleading on behalf of others, to find life in Christ.

It sounds like no big deal though, right?Just stand before God for the people so you can give Him the difficult problems. 

Personally I find that intercession is anything but easy because you recognize the weight of what will happen if something does not change, if God does not intervene. In the Numbers 16 passage, as in several others, there was a literal matter of life or death.

The thing with intercession is that it requires putting aside yourself completely. It is often uncomfortable, messy and maybe even unappreciated. It may take days or even years of interceding and sometimes you still don’t have the privilege of witnessing the change you are desperately pleading for, but then it isn’t about the intercessor.

Lucinda, my Sunday school teacher, spent hours interceding on my behalf during some of my darker days as I struggled to find life and God. At the time, I hated it but now I am forever grateful for her persistence in prayer and her love.

Intercession requires great love, and great love often requires great sacrifice.

Moses had to love the people of Israel to intercede time and time again for them, even to the point of saying to God that if He wouldn’t forgive their sin then He could also remove Moses from His book. (Exodus 32:32)

Aaron had to have a great love for the people of Israel to grab the incense and run into the midst of a God-sent plague in hopes of saving them.

Jesus had to have a great love for us to take on the sin of the world, take on death,  and come back to life to forever be interceding (Hebrews 7:25).

We, as Christians, have the opportunity to put ourselves aside and join with Christ in interceding for the many around us who are in great need. There are many difficulties that we simply cannot fix, but we can bring them before God and leave them in His capable hands.

I often feel like I fail those in my life because in my busy schedule and desire to do good I forget to intercede and let God take care of the big issues that I cannot and am not meant to handle. And sometimes I simply avoid it because it is difficult and it seems easier to close my ears and sing “la la la la la” at the top of my lungs instead of recognizing reality. That doesn’t stop reality from being reality though.

Is there someone, a situation, etc. that requires intercession? Are you willing to be one who will intercede even if there is great cost?

Mission imPossible

sometimes I actually get to use my college degree 🙂

I am about to embark on a great adventure. . . summer camp.

Many of the staff have already arrived in Kyiv and Wednesday evening we will all gather together to kick off the preparations for CCX Summer English Camp: Mission imPossible. This week there will be team building and ropes course building. There will be training in inductive study and there will be a lot of coffee drinking.

Next Sunday the buses will arrive and there will be cheering. Then the week will be filled with Bible studies and team challenges. There will be sports and art and dancing. There will be a lot of laughter and really deep conversations. There will be a ton of coffee drinking. And at the end of next week there will be tears – there always are. Then the buses will roll away and the staff will collapse in exhaustion.

The camp theme this year is focused on the impossible. We will, of course, be helping students strengthen their English skills but we will also be imparting other knowledge and wisdom to help them as they navigate this mission of living life to the fullest. Our Bible studies show impossible situations that God showed up in and somehow fulfilled the mission. We will talk about the overwhelming things in life and point to the God who makes the impossible possible.

It’s an exciting time and we are looking forward to a great camp. Will you join us in praying for our time with the students.  Here are a few suggestions:

 1 – That students’ hearts will be opened to the message of Jesus by the Holy Spirit.
2 – That we will model good Christian values & lives for the students
3 – For safety for all during travel to & from camp & while at camp.
4 -For spiritual protection during camp for all.
5 – For good and lasting relationships to be built.
6 – For energy to do all the things God needs us to do!
7 – For quality rest
8 – To keep our focus on bringing glory to God & His Word to the students.

Also as staff we are required to pay our own way for camp. Local staff are asked to pay at least $250 each, but actual cost is closer to $350. This is an additional expense this month on top of normal living expenses. If you would like to contribute to camp fees, feel free to click here for Paypal (if you choose “gift” then I receive the entire amount you donate with no fees incurred) or for tax deductible support you may send a check to: Ekklesia International, 70 Lee Street,Royston, GA 30662. Memo: Ukraine

Thank you for praying for our students and staff as we minister at camp. I look forward to sharing with you the stories and photos in a couple of weeks!