Catalyst: The Half-Hearted Kamikaze

28 04 2008

IMAGE: Kamikaze pilots are only useful if they are committed to their mission. Leaders are the same way. You cannot have involvement without commitment and be effective. It goes with the territory. Once you are committed, you’ll find resources, energy and people follow. Leaders who make their mark, commit themselves to a cause with reckless abandon to a cause. Commitment precedes results.

VERSE: Matthew 16:24

LEARNING: There was a story of a a Kamikaze Pilot who was amazingly interviewed about how he returned from 50th mission. He said, “Well it’s like this…I was very involved, but not very committed.” As leaders, God has called us to be more than just involved; Christ has called us to be completely committed to Him and His mission. Let’s face it – it’s easy to be involved, but not committed.

  • You can be around your family, but never do anything to meet their needs.
  • You can show up at work every day, but only do what’s asked.
  • You can be in a relationship with someone, but always remain distant and self-centered.
  • You can show up at church every week, but never volunteer.
  • You can say you believe in Jesus, but still live for yourself.

In Mark, Jesus called the crowd to him and challenged them to a life of commitment, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?”

We live in a world that waits until the last minute to make a decision, so we can keep our options open. The other day, I asked a friend if he would be at the next Fusion Group, he said, “I’m pretty sure. Maybe. I think so.” I said, “What’s that? Don’t try to be there…Be there. Make a commitment and be there.” Don’t be a half-hearted Kamikaze. God is searching for disciples who are “all in” knowing it will involve future sacrifice, determination and dependence on God. Why? Because both our soul AND the world depends on it. That day the disciples moved from being involved to being committed. And with eleven committed leaders, Jesus Christ changed the world.

Everyone lives for a cause, even if it’s fun, happiness or just getting by. What cause do you live for?

What are you learning about commitment from the life of Nehemiah?

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12 responses

29 04 2008
Denise Hillbom

My cause is the growth (spiritually and bodily) of Epic Church. When we went throught the series “Just Walk Across the Room” I was asking God to bring people my way each day so I could invite them to Epic and He did. Not many showed up, but the opportunities were there. We never know how God might use a conversation. Then we moved on to a new series and I have forgotten about my commitment to my cause. I need to be reminded, and that is why it is so important that we meet together focused on a study that builds our character. When we add God’s word to the mix, we are filled with His wisdom.

Nehemiah had commitment to his cause and it was infectious. Others joined in to help him accomplish the work God had before him. His source of strength came from his time alone with God. He also knew never to run ahead but 100% follow God’s lead. When we allow God to prepare the way, great things are accomplished. He will always provide everything we need to accomplish the work he has before us.

I am recommitting to all of you to pray and keep my eyes open for those opportunities to invite.

29 04 2008
Tim Kade

Denise,
I had a similar experience last fall getting “off mission” about reaching out to others. It’s so easy.

I love your word “infectious” to describe Nehemiah. Norman Vincent Peale said “Your enthusiasm will be infectious, stimulating and attractive to others. They will love you for it. They will go for you and with you.”

30 04 2008
eric

The kamikaze bit did not grab me, but I read the first two chapters of Nehemiah and it was nice. Nehemiah cared about things and it was visible in his face (2.2), and his care persisted and it helped him to lead (2.17-18). Now, when I reflect on the things I care about, the things that show up in my face…yeah sure, some of them are not so good but there are good things as well. If I had to name a cause that I live for, well, I can’t take that too literally because I don’t think it is meant to be that philosophical, but right now I am trying to learn as much as I can. That may not sound like a bad thing but it is not exactly good either. Nehemiah had the right cares from the beginning of the book and it shows up in his emotions (1.4). That’s what I am thinking about now. What shows up in my emotions? What are my cares? I have not really gotten much further than this.

30 04 2008
Tim Kade

Eric, You got me thinking about a couple of questions. As we read through Scripture…
1. What does Christ care about?
2. What shows up in His emotions?
3. How can I move my thoughts more to His thoughts?

30 04 2008
Larry

My passion is to support the people of EPIC. During the past number of months, I have seen many people come to Sunday Worship, but have not seen them return after a few Sundays. I have observed the Greeting Team do the best that they can do job of welcoming these seekers, but it takes more, a commitment by these seekers. To help instill this commitment, they need to be comfortable with the church and the people of the church.

Every Sunday for the past couple years. I have focused on making the Worship Service a rewarding event for these seekers, with the lighting, sound, video and general appearance of the “Worship Center”. What I have observed is that it takes more, interaction with these seekers every Sunday.

I have migrated out of my comfort zone to meet new people, remember their names (which is hard for me) and ask them for their feedback on the service and their commitment to coming back. During the past two weeks, I have seen them return and almost searching me out to tell me that they are here. I have introduced them to other members and seen relationships begin. I plan on continuing this personal activity.

Nehemiah is an interesting individual. He observed the unhappiness of his city and, working through the king, encouraged others toward a common goal, repairing of the city walls. Some, including their enemies, saw this as a threat, but he continued to spirit the people toward this goal, even after they grew tired.

There is definitely a corollary with Nehemiah and what I am embarking (above), a passion for doing and providing direction for others to follow.

30 04 2008
Tim Kade

Larry,
Thanks for being authentic about your struggles and moving out of your comfort zone to reach out to new people. You’re right on “People are looking for a place to belong just as much as they are looking for a place to believe.”

1 05 2008
Amy

In reading Nehemiah, it was really neat to see how all the people needed was a leader. They needed someone to step out in faith and lead and they all followed and accomplished something huge. What I noticed about Nehemiah is that he would stop to pray and think strategically before he jumped into action. He had the right mix of action and listening to God. I’ve found Christians tend to be either action oriented and forget to consult God before they act, or they just wait for a feeling of God’s leading.

Embaressingly, I’m not really sure what my cause is. I guess I have to leave it at that for now. Definatly some food for thought.

1 05 2008
Tim Kade

Amy, You are right on…the power of one.

I know am more “action” oriented, and I have to force myself to stop and listen to God’s leading. Where do you see yourself on “action — prayer” continuum?

3 05 2008
Tim

Nehemiah was fully committed to his cause and I think that was a direct result of him allowing God to work in him and prepare him for action. I find myself often going into things a bit unprepared. As a leader, I know the right things to do, I feel like I can be encouraging to others, and I’ve been able to get others fired up and excited about a cause, but then I have a tendency to shy away from it and go half heartedly into it myself. I like the Matthew 16:24 verse. I feel like I am willing to take up my cross and follow, but I often have a difficult time denying myself. This limits how far I can really follow. I think this is a result of my being much more on the action side than the prayer side of the continuum that you asked Amy about. I tend to jump into action without taking time to really prepare myself for how far something could go or what being committed to my cause really means. I need to spend more time allowing God to work in me and prepare me for what is to come. The result may be fewer missions, but it will allow me to be much more effective when presented with those missions.

4 05 2008
Tim Kade

Hey, Hey, Hey! Look who’s blogging today!

Welcome Tim. I think that’s a lesson that all of us on the action side have to learn, how to follow through and bear fruit…fruit that will last.

13 05 2008
Brandon

I feel like many others have said, I do struggle with going to God before I take action. I don’t know if the Kamikazee example really applied entirely to me, but I definitely feel that I need to focus more on God’s efforts and impacts, as opposed to my own. I need to remind myself that I am merely a facilitator of God’s plan, so why wouldn’t I consult with him first?

The Craig Groeschel speach kind of hit me this week and tied into this teaching. It’s not enough to just keep focusing on only the activities. For me, I know I need to keep growing deeper in my relationship with God, and good things will happen no matter what.

14 05 2008
Tim Kade

I know that Craig really scrambled my eggs last fall with that session. What we do is really an overflow out of who we are. Here’s a link to download that session and others by Craig Groeschel and Mark Batterson at the Buzz Conference last summer in DC.

http://buzzconference.com/media/

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