Lions and Leadership

Lion
I wrote a post quite a while ago called “Lions Little Boys and Me” that talks about the difference between boys and men. There’s quite a bit which leads me to the conclusion that, “Boys live life trying to prepare for when Satan attacks them, and men live planning their attack on the lion. It’s the difference in living life defensively or offensively. Another BIG difference is that boys get attacked by a lion they never see, but men . . . CHOOSE THEIR LION.

I’ve been reading another book lately called “In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day” by Mark Batterson. Somehow these ideas converge and mean something very powerful in regards to leadership. It’s not intended to be a book on leadership, but “In a Pit” is exactly that. It’s based off an obscure little Scripture in 2 Samuel 23:20 that describes a man, Beniah, who actually chases a lion into a pit. What is it in a man that would make him react in this way? This is what Batterson wrestles with. When broken down, he suggests that these kinds of men, these lion chasers are men who:

1. Defy the Odds

2. Face their Fears

3. Overcome Adversity

4. Embrace Uncertainty

5. Take Risks

6. Seize Opportunity

7. Look Foolish

These are exactly the kinds of qualities I’ve been reading about in all these leadership books. These characteristics are those of the leader. Throughout the book Batterson tells many stories about his own journey into leadership and how God has used each of his experiences to shape him into the man he is today.

In comparing this to my post from a few years ago – I can’t help but think that God is using this to stir something in me. What is the lion that I’ve gotta chase? Could it be this dream of planting a church? I want to be a man who chooses his lion and then chases it down (trusting God) without hesitation. I believe that God will continue to reveal these things to me as He sees fit. When I’m ready, He’ll show me more. I guess I’m excited to know more now though (that patience thing rears it’s ugly head again).

Prayer: Lord, give me patience, but let me keep this passion/excitement that’s burning inside for You and Your plans/desires.

Lions, Little Boys, and Me

Here are just a few thoughts about stuff God has been showing me lately. I’m not sure how it all fits together, but I’m gonna try to explain it here as best I can.

The story that sparked my thoughts was from Efrem Smith at Ichthus during the communion service. He talked about a tribe (I think in Africa) where they practice a coming of age ritual for boys. When they are about twelve they are expected to kill a lion in order to become a man! Since I teach a guys small group I wondered what I could do to help my guys “become men.” Anyway, here’s how the boys do it: (According to Efrem this practice is still in existence)

06-06-22The bravest boy sneaks up on the lion while he sleeps and then runs to a certain place where 4 other boys are ready to attack the lion with spears and knives. When the lion is killed, the bravest boy (the one who woke the lion) cuts off the mane and wears it as a symbol of his bravery.

Efrem used this story to go on and talk about the “lion” (Satan) who prowls about seeking to steal, kill, and destroy us. He also spoke of the “lions” in our lives which attack us like addictions, bad habits, unhealthy relationships, etc.

My mind went somewhere else though – I was thinking that Efrem was talking about Satan attacking us, but his story was about these boys attacking him. Maybe that’s the difference in a boy and a man. Boys live life trying to prepare for when Satan attacks them, and men live planning their attack on the lion. It’s the difference in living life defensively or offensively. Another BIG difference is that boys get attacked by a lion they never see, but men (with this definition) CHOOSE THEIR LION. When they attack their lion they know where the resistance will come from.

As I look at different youth who I have watched grow up, I can see pretty clearly how this difference plays out in their lives. Here’s an example I heard this weekend: One of the speakers talked about a 20 year old girl who had gone on mission trip one summer when she was in High School. Now, at the age of 20 (no college) she is running an orphanage for over 50 children. She is living her life offensively. She knows that the lions (Satans) attacks will be on this ministry that she is putting her heart into, but she has also chosen that lion. She has “taken ground” for the kingdom of God. Now, take another girl who went on the same mission trip, who decides to go off to college. She too will fight a lion, but it will be on his ground. She too might very well “take ground” for the kingdom, but her attack will probably come in a way that she would never have expected – Satan will use a relationship to attack her, or maybe her professors will challenge her faith, who knows? – the point is – she doesn’t know where her attack will come or even what her “lion” looks like.

For men – God calls us to be warriors – to be “wild at heart” as one author puts it. I certainly have something in me that wants a “battle to fight” and an “adventure to live.” I wonder how I can live this way? How can I be offensive for God? Which “lion” will I choose? And who are the other 4 guys I should ask to help me in this fight? God show me. I need You.

The Gates of Hell

06-03-23In Matthew 16, Jesus told Peter, β€œYou are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it”

Now, I have read this quite a few times, but just learned something. The place where Jesus spoke these words is significant. You see, Jesus and the disciples were in Caesarea Philippi near some caves. The Caesareans typically worshiped the greek god, Pan there, and they believed that their god lived in the earth. It was through these caves that they believed he moved back and forth. Literally – the gates of hell! Therefore, all of their worship centered around this place. Their worship was hugely inappropriate for any Jew to be near. (it included prostitution and sexual deeds with goats) The simple fact that Jesus brought them to this place was shocking enough, but Jesus actually suggested that they would be attacking those gates of hell. (Gates were defensive structures in those days so by saying the gates of hell wouldn’t overcome it – he was suggesting an offensive move by the church – well, the disciples.) Most Jews thought it good enough to avoid the world, but Jesus encouraged those interactions.

Now, here’s something else – the rock which would have been near them was a cliff which had niches cut out of it for pagan idols to rest. When Jesus spoke of the rock, it was in direct contrast to what they were literally looking at.

Read the whole interaction again:

Matthew 16

13When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

14They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

15“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

17Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven;