Archive for November, 2015

A CALL TO MARKETPLACE LEADERS(Pt.2)

“If it pleases the king…I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it”(Nehemiah 2:5 NKJV).

Nehemiah was neither a priest nor prophet(nor was he a preacher!).  His gifts and God-given abilities lay elsewhere.  We read from his own biographical narrative that his background was as “cupbearer” to the foreign king, Artaxerxes.  Nehemiah’s role was to taste the food and wine prior to it being placed before the king (making sure nothing harmful or deadly had been slipped in).  He served as one who was valued and trusted in the king’s court.  But as we read his story, we learn that Nehemiah had a much larger portfolio.

Nehemiah was a man full of deep compassion and concern for his people and city, both languishing in humiliating hardships.  Hearing the report from his kinsmen, he agonized,prayed with fasting. Thus, making himself available before the LORD God.  He was the right man for the job (Which really was his Call).  God chooses whom He uses.  There is no recorded history that qualifified him for this role, given graciously by God and granted by a Gentile king.   Today, I meet Marketplace people who have the treasure of God deposited inside them; wanting to serve God in some meaningful way.  They are frustrated in their congregation or religious community because they feel marginalized,not being called to the “pulpit” or as a traditional “missionary”.  And yet, they are acutely aware that they are called to do much more than warm a seat and put a check in the offering basket(or box). They are Marketplace leaders and Kingdom influencers.   Like Nehemiah, you will discover the favor of the King, who is waiting to grant permission for your “God-Call”assignment.  But how can you become activated in your Marketplace setting?

OWN YOUR IDENTITY

Marketplace leaders must, first,own their God-given identity.  They must not base their future destiny on their past history or what others may think about them.  The psalmist gives us a great insight as to how you can unlock your gifts and calling by owning your true identity. “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.  And in Your book they were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there was none of them.  How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!  How great is the sum of them!”(Read Psalm 139:14-16 NKJV).  In other words, no matter the circumstances of your birth…God wanted you here on earth to play a part in His divine plan of redemption.  Why not spend some time with Him in prayer and ask, “God, What did you write about me in Your book?”  When He made you, with excitement He declared to the angels, “This one is one of a kind!”  Celebrate the uniqueness of your life in Him.  Thank him that He made you YOU.

 

TIME BOUNDED FREEDOM

When Nehemiah shared his vision with the king, we read, “So the king said to me…’How long will your journey be?  And when will you return?’  So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time”(Nehemiah 2:6 NKJV).  A man or woman’s gift makes room for them.   This assignment for Nehemiah was time-bounded.  In other words, although the task was of utmost importance, it did not require a “lifetime” call or commitment.  I find that many initial assignments are brief in order to allow for “a time of discernment” to confirm the direction of the call of God and the work He wants your involvement.  So, if a door of opportunity comes your way, step forward in order for the “motion sensor” to pick up your movement.  If it opens…go through it.  You never know what’s on the other side.

We live in daring times which, like Nehemiah, require prayer, courage and strategic vision.  But above all these times require faith and obedience.  Paul put it this way,”So be careful how you live.  Don’t live like ignorant people, but like wise people.  Make good use of every opportunity you have, because these are evil days.  Don’t be fools,then, but try to find out what the Lord wants you to do”(Ephesians 15-17 GNB).

(C) Copyright 2015, Walter Fletcher Jr.  All rights reserved.  This article may be shared free of charge, provided that it is not altered in anyway from its original content. Please address any correspondence to:Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

 

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A CALL TO MARKETPLACE LEADERS

When Jesus began his public ministry he seemed to move more intentionally away from the religious community and toward the “common people”.   Was he indicating that by finding his first disciples among the local fishermen that these were open to his message of the Kingdom of God?  Or was it a case of the non-religious being more easily persuaded of his mission than the avowed religious?  Matthew records that this was part of the Biblical prophetic narrative of Messiah’s coming, “Now when Jesus heard that John(the Baptist) had been put in prison He departed to Galilee…He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea,…that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet,saying: ‘The land of Zebulon and the land of Naphtili, By way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles:  The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and those who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned”(Matthew 4:12-16 NKJV).

Beyond Matthew’s recording Jesus’ move to Galilee having prophetic significance, he reveals a strategic significance.  Among other things, Jesus understood that his public ministry would be limited by his ultimate death (He had about 3-31/2 years public ministry).  Therefore, He must seek out his followers not from the recognized religious crowd but from the more common multitude.  He was not(Nor did he have time) out to burst “old wineskins”.  Rather he must seek for new wineskins which could hold the new,fermenting new wine of the Kingdom of heaven.  Hence, we read in Matthew Chapter 4, “And Jesus walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen….Going from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets.  He called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed Him”(See Matthew 4:18-22 NKJV).

SPIRITUAL REVOLUTION

Apparently, if you are bringing a spiritual revolution into the earth you had better find those who are tired of the status-quo.   Jesus saw in these first disciples the potential to be taught and molded into the type of leaders that He knew they would become.  Jesus was not looking merely for their ability but their capacity to “get the job done”.  In meekness and humility, He always accepted those whom the Father gave Him and patiently, transformed them into who and what they were to become.  

THE MARKETPLACE

Where did He find his disciples?  In marketplace settings.  Or to coin a phrase from Eugene Peterson, Jesus found his messengers and workers among the “Coins, nets and fishing hooks”.  These men were laborers and businessmen.  Revolutions are not started(typically) among the status-quo leaders.  They like things to remain as things always were (Promising the people “change” which never comes).    But history proves that “a body at rest remains at rest”.   Real change(Kingdom change) occurs when people say, “Enough is enough!”  Jesus called out, after John the Baptist’s imprisonment, “Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand”!   The change you have prepared your heart for is here. In other words, If you want change…Be the change you want.

(C) Copyright 2015, Walter Fletcher Jr.  All rights reserved.  This article may be copied and shared at no charge provided that it is not altered in any way from its original content.  Please address all correspondence to:  Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com