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          Who is the greatest?”  It seemed a worthy discussion to the insecure disciples.  Rank and position is what they thought they needed if they wanted any influence in Jesus’ coming kingdom.  At least that's what they'd learned from the system around them (Luke 22:24). But Jesus knew He would never be able to turn their world upside down until they had learned to be different: “You are not to be like that.”  
This issue of CALLED looks behind the nagging question the disciples kept trying to resolve. They understood the social order of their culture intuitively; they were jockeying for status without even thinking. They didn't realize that competition, inequality, injustice, racism—and so much more—are completely foreign to heaven’s thinking.  Like many of those around you, they didn't know the alternative.  But once you've settled who is the greatest in your life and are softened by His love, you'll be better prepared to show them.

What kind of leadership style did Leticia meet in her new job?
How did she honor her boss?  Challenge him?
How did she support her colleagues without undermining him?  
How would you relate to Mr. Fire if you worked in his company?

          You probably wouldn’t like Mr. Fire if you met him.  That’s not his real name, but that’s what his name means in English.  Many times I've thought, how appropriate.  He gets angry easily, he yells a lot.  He is really firey.

I think everyone in our company is scared of him.  I used to be.  But I saw God open so many doors for me to have this job, that I decided the yelling and stress around me are actually my ministry opportunity!    To read more


From the Christian point of view
love is power.
Wealth is often an influence to corrupt and destroy;
force is strong to do hurt;
but truth and goodness are the properties of
pure love. 

Ellen White in Adventist Home, page 193

The Last and the Least
          Jesus knows that any discussion about who's the greatest can poison everyone asking; it's one of the world's most toxic questions. The struggle it creates usually ends in judgment, inequities, injustice, and tyrants--as well as dangerous resentment like His disciples held against their Roman lords (Mark 10:42). 
Is it strange that Jesus didn't point out their attitude towards the Samaritans, the women they’d demeaned, the children who’d been dismissed, the beggars they’d scolded, or their hypocrisy for trying to accommodate the politics of the Pharisees?  He didn’t even expose the competition between them that was blinding them to His mission. Not directly at least. He just described those who are great in God’s eyes.

Whoever will allow God to do the impossible in their lives.  (Mark 10:26, 27)  The greatest challenge God meets—a logical impossibility—is to save a self-centered, self-sufficient heart.  To Him, we're all hopeless and He's constantly  doing the impossible.

A child.  (Mark 10:13, 14)  Children don't mind being helpless; their pride and self-sufficiency haven't fully developed into adult independence. Jesus loves to honor their trust; they can depend on Him.  Can they depend on us to bring them to Him?

Those we place at the last (Mark 10:31)   How we see others is often the opposite of how God sees them; He carefully notes all the value we can't detect.  But we can pray to learn what He values and to measure with His eyes.

A servant.  (Mark 10:43, 44)  We admire, even defer, to those who take charge, but God seems to think highly of those who serve.  Is that because they’re busy doing what He does?  Do I have a heart to serve like He serves?

Those who sacrifice themselves for others.  (Mark 10:45) In spite of our limitations, when we invest in souls He loves, we are sharing in heaven’s “great” work.  It's hard to count our little sacrifices when we're close enough to Him to see what He has done.

Someone who pleads God’s mercy.  (Mark 10:47)  Needy people can put us off, but God is attracted to them.  He invests in them the full value of His love.  They are measured by the greatness of His grace.  How many "famous" people have you associated with lately?
“Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom, 
or the powerful boast in their power, 
or the rich boast in their riches.  
those who wish to boast should boast in this alone:
they truly know Me and understand
I am the LORD who demonstrates unfailing love and
who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, 
and that
I delight in these things."

Jeremiah 9:23, 24


          As I helped a young mother gather her baby’s things from the surgeon’s examining room, my heart ached for her tears, for the pain she carried as she returned home without help. What could I possibly do to make a difference? Sitting at the nurse’s station a few minutes later, the thought struck me. I could give blood myself!  
As soon as I had a chance, I ran down to the blood donation center and burst through their door with my offer. The nurse at the desk studied me carefully, then smiled apologetically. “I’m sorry. You’re underweight.”  I was devastated.   To read more



A Book Review

Ministering in Honor-Shame Cultures:
Biblical Foundations and Practical Essentials

by Jayson Georges and Mark D. Bake

For many tentmakers, stepping into a Middle Eastern setting means meeting an entirely different view of the world, of life, of people. It requires far more than casual information, though, to understand the meaning of those differences, or to present the gospel in a meaningful way.

Two chapters in particular, “The Heart of Honor-Shame Cultures” and “The Face of Honor-Shame Cultures,” briefly outline honor-shame views of authority, gender, community, and much more. The authors describe what you probably meet every day in almost every interaction. They even identify what makes your witness challenging too.

Fortunately both Bake and Georges are unabashedly honest about the blind side of their own assumptions when they first tried to relate to honor-shame cultures by their “innocent-guilt dictionary.”  You'll probably say, “Sure enough. I’ve goofed up like that.”  They also share what the honor-shame culture looks like to an outsider in real life.  And you'll hear yourself concur, “Oh yes, I’ve seen that. I just didn’t know what to make of it.”

But the greater portion of the book is based on the authors' broad understanding of Scripture and its natural use of honor-shame language.  They demonstrate the balance of God's Word in its ability to speak to every culture; scripture is rich in honor-shame imagery and appeal.  The gospel becomes deeply meaningful to the heart.  That's why you'll probably find yourself saying, “Ohhhh. I see God in new ways myself when I stretch to share Him with someone who thinks differently than I do.”

To read more, download the Kindle version of Ministering in Honor-Shame Cultures, or purchase it hard copy to share with other tentmakers.

"Though designed to experience God's true glory,
our honor was exchanged for shame in the Garden of Eden.
As a result, [we] crave honor and grasp for it
in warped and destructive ways. . . .
[But] glory and praise to the only one who saves from shame
and restores honor, Jesus Christ."

  --Jason Georges and Mark D. Bake in Ministering in Honor-Shame Cultures, p. 7, 16
CALLED  2019 4th Quarter
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MENA Total Employment · Middle East North Africa Union · Ferdous Street, Sabtieh · Beirut 1107 · Lebanon

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