About Me

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New Orleans, LA, United States
Family from South Africa, Born in New Orleans, Lived in South Carolina. Married to Annabeth since May 2004. We have three boys (Bolt, Mack, and Birk). Currently living in Uptown NOLA and serving as Lead Pastor of Vintage Church and Camp Pastor of Student MissionLab.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Who Are These Men?

This Sunday I am continuing our preaching series called "Be the Church". God has really challenged us as we have journeyed through Acts. This week I will be in Acts 6 & 14 and our focus will be upon leadership. There are three common aspects that I find in the book of Acts that connect with church leadership. Leaders meeting needs, leaders refusing the praise, and leaders continuing in the faith. Come and join us at Vintage if you are in New Orleans or you can listen through our Vintage podcast.

Since I became a Pastor/Planter of Vintage Church, God has been exposing a lot of pride in my life. This weakness and sin continually brings me to my knees in repentance. What is the balance between stepping up and taking a position of authority with confidence while remaining humble and focused upon the fact that only Jesus deserves the credit? I think we can learn a lot from the early church leaders in the book of Acts and most importantly how Christ himself lived on this earth. But there is no clear cut answer to this dilemma. Any leader in ministry that says that they don't battle with pride is living in denial. As a determined young pastor I am always being accused of pride, arrogance, stubbornness...you fill in the blank. If I choose to go against the flow or reject any form of advice or wisdom, people immediately resort to this accusation.

I have learned two major lessons through this repeating confrontation in my life. #1: I always need to be given a pride and arrogance gut check and I pray that it never stops. Thank you to all those (associations, networks, seminaries, churches, pastors, friends...WIFE) who have been used by God to hold me accountable. #2: Only I can discern the difference between my personal struggle with pride and obedience to Christ's call upon my life. God is calling men to stand against the crowd. God is calling men to push the limits. God is calling men to impact this world for Christ. Sometimes that requires some controversy and guts.

I believe that God has called me to love and serve New Orleans with complete obedience only to the Spirit's guidance and truth found in His Word. We are on the brink of a mighty movement of God's Spirit in this city. My greatest prayer is that I might be faithful to what He has called me to do. If that means sacrifice, so be it. If that means controversy, so be it. If that means submission and humility, so be it. I just want to be faithful to Him.

So again I ask, how do I follow God's call to be a leader for Him while protecting myself from the sin of pride? Not sure. But I am grateful to all of my friends who continue to keep me in line. Keep the advice coming. Even if you are way off, I need the daily reminders that this mission is not about me.

One example of this accountability came today from my friend Luke Johnson. Luke serves at our church with no strings attached as he also travels the country preaching the Gospel. Check out his ministry, www.lukejohnsononline.com. If you ever want a gut check for you or your church, give Luke Johnson a call. He sent me this poem. May God use it to help us stay the course.

“Who are these men?”

Who are these men? Famous in face
Who are these men? By people embraced
Who are these men? Do we really see true?
Who are these men, when no one sees but You?

Lord, in a day when men abuse Thy grace
Please raise up warriors who seek Thy face.
In ignoring Thy Word, they do as they please
Trusting in self, they live in their ease.

Strangers to anguish and foreign to tears
They vainly trust their degrees and years.
Some younger in age, their egos full-sized
Ever doing what's right in their own eyes.

They politic for position and jockey for fame
Only existing to promote their own name.
Spending all time to gain notoriety and mammon
But leaving so many hungry in spiritual famine.

Who are these men, who think themselves wise?
The answer in truth might leave you surprised.
Who are these men, and what do they give?
Preachers their name, and in pulpits they live.
- L.J., 2-12-09

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