Thursday, December 3, 2015

Touching Base, Part 289

6 Dec 15
Series: Living in the Margins, Part 10
When the Lion Licks His Lips.
1 Peter 5

During our series, Living in the Margins, based on the book of 1 Peter, we are going to be turning our Touching Base into a prayer guide. This aligns with how we want people to be growing at Bethel. Being prayerfully engaged is one of the marks of a disciple, it characterized Jesus’ life and ministry and is essential as we learn to walk with Jesus. We encourage you to use this prayer tool in your Life Groups, and in your personal prayer time.

Last week Amanda talked about the four P’s in suffering. This week as we move into the last chapter of 1 Peter we want to unpack the all-important truth that, when we suffer, it is so important that we Draw Near to Draw Strength. The tendency may be to do the exact opposite but Peter reminds us that to do the opposite is to end up being the lion’s lunch!

Who do we need to draw near to?
Text: 1 Peter 4:19- chapter 5

Draw near to God (v.4:19)

The verse answers the question, “How do I suffer according to God’s will?” Answer - Draw near to God.
Entrust means to,
• To give someone something in trust.
• To leave a deposit with someone
Soul refers to a person’s total self. In suffering I entrust/deposit my total self into the care of God.
Easier said than done?

Do you draw near to God when suffering or tend to pull away? Suffering can either attract us to or distract us from Christ.
Pray into the issues that can keep us from drawing near to God.

Draw near to those you lead (v.1-4)

Yes, a whole message could address church leadership but for our purposes I want to broaden the application. Peter is addressing church leaders that are leading in a context of suffering. Remember Amanda’s message from last week? These folks are not lying in a hammock reading the latest best-seller. The hammock has flipped and they are face down on the ground.
Peter is admonishing the leadership to draw near to people who are face down on the ground. He is saying draw near, engage, enter in, speak in, love and embrace the suffering. This is a principle for all leadership but not the specific leadership descriptions he gives for the leaders he is addressing in his context.
Elders - means to protect
Shepherds - The shepherd image illustrates feeding, it includes caring, leading, guiding, and protecting
Overseers- the Greek term suggests “keeping watch over.”
(As a side note I am deeply grateful for a great Elders’ team at Bethel. This past week many of them were out on “assignment” shepherding the flock. Your elders are Chris Rusk (chair) Amos Cohoe, Ken Vissers, Ron Dickey, Doug Brown, Brian Marchant, and Dave Dempster.)

You cannot elder, shepherd or oversee from a distance - it demands engagement, drawing near. Like I said above - this is a leadership principle that applies across the board to all that lead. We all lead in some capacity, in some context where suffering exists.

Are you willing to set aside the agenda at times for the pain that surfaces in the context of your leadership?
As a leader, does other people’s pain make you draw near or draw away?
Have you ever been in a group and watched a leader ignore the surfacing pain by a group member? Staying on agenda meant someone’s plea for help went un-noticed. What damage was done?
How does this inform you to pray for your leadership context?

Draw near to your leaders and your peers (v.5a)

Note the encouragement for the younger to draw near - subject yourself to the leadership. The “younger “was probably a reference to most everyone else in the church because often elders were literally the older demographic of the church. Note that “all of you” are to draw near. The word used here is humility. The posture of humility draws people near to one another. Pride creates isolation.

So what is the picture Peter is painting? A community that draws near for strength in the face of suffering. That strength comes in a tight community where we minister to one another. But here is the really good news. Note 4:19 and the rest of what Peter says (5b-v10). It is precisely this kind of community that,
• God gives grace to (v.5b)
• God gives relief to (v.6,7)(when we are together in community, we can cast our cares on God. Sometimes we need others to help us cast)
• God gives protection to (v.8,9,10)

On this last point - Who does the lion have for lunch? In the context, I would suggest it is those who suffer alone, those who isolate versus engage, those who try to carry their own burden without the help of the body. In context, one of the ways we resist is we stand together in community.

From Sunday, do you remember how Peter could relate to this issue of being alone in his suffering and being the lion’s lunch?

Draw near to draw strength! Remember the real lion is the Lion of Judah who will one day have the prowler for lunch… once and for all! Until then, draw near to draw strength!

Mark Kotchapaw

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