Journeyman Project Dispatches from the Life of Patrick Fowler: Christianity Explored


A Person of Influence Isn’t Always What You Picture

So often we think of a person of influence in terms of politicians, celebrities, CEO's and bosses...but so often a servant is given one of the most influential roles in the world. I read this entry from the Daily bread last month and LOVED IT. The Daily Bread is a phenomenal daily devotional that is available free in print or on just about every smart phone there is. It's worth checking out and adding to your daily time with God if you need something new and fresh. Check out this entry on influence below:

July 30, 2013

A Person Of Influence

She said to her mistress, “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.” —2 Kings 5:3

If you Google “person of influence,” the search will take you to various lists of “the most influential people in the world.” These lists usually include political leaders; business entrepreneurs and athletes; along with people in science, the arts, and entertainment. You will not find the names of cooks and cleaners who work for them. Yet those in so-called lowly positions often influence the people they serve.

The story of Naaman, a high-ranking military commander, includes two kings and a prophet of God (2 Kings 5:1-15). Yet it was the servants in the background whose words led to Naaman being cured of leprosy, a career-ending, life-changing disease. A young servant girl taken captive from Israel told Naaman’s wife that a prophet in Samaria could heal him (vv.2-3). When Elisha’s instructions to bathe in the Jordan River angered Naaman, his servants urged him to follow the prophet’s orders. The result was Naaman’s restoration to health and his declaration, “Now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel” (v.15).

What a beautiful picture of our role as followers of Jesus Christ! We are called to be people of influence—the Lord’s servants who point others to the One whose touch can change their lives.  David C. McCasland

Lord, I would like to live a life of influence like
Naaman’s servant girl—to be brave and bold
to touch the lives of others by pointing them
to You. Fill me, Holy Spirit, with Your power.

Christ sends us out to bring others in.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright  1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2013 RBC Ministries--Grand Rapids, MI 49555


The Law of the Lid: Leadership Ability Limits Your Life

 "I believe that success is within the reach of just about everyone. But I also believe that personal success without leadership ability brings only limited effectiveness. Without leadership ability, a person’s impact is only a fraction of what it could be with good leadership. Whatever you will accomplish is restricted by your ability to lead others."

I first read the Law of the Lid over 10 years ago, and at that time I took it with only a slight bit of seriousness. However, after a decade of looking at the world through the lens of leadership, John Maxwell style, I am totally bought into this concept.

If you want dramatically different results, one key area you cannot afford to ignore is your leadership abilities. Read John's article here, and see for yourself why leadership matters so much.

And if you are intrigued enough to make a big move to grow yourself in this area, then you need to come to the Leadership Summit with me on August 8-9th. We are only weeks away!


Small Group Leadership – Class Materials

"We should not think of our fellowship with other Christians as a spiritual luxury, and optional addition to the exercises of private devotions. Fellowship is one of the great words of the New Testament: it denotes something that is vital to a Christian’s spiritual health, and central to the Church’s true life…The church will flourish and Christians will be strong only when there is fellowship." ~ J.I. Packer

"It is both foolish and wicked to suppose that we will make much progress in sanctification if we isolate ourselves from the visible church. Indeed, it is commonplace to hear people declare that they don’t need to unite with a church to be a Christian. They claim that their devotion is personal and private, not institutional or corporate. This is not the testimony of the great saints of history, it is the confession of fools." ~ R.C. Sproul

I have a passion to equip and encourage small group leadership in the church.

It seems that every church I hear about has adopted a small group strategy--so there are a lot of people doing small groups--but I fear that most of them are not doing small groups WELL. Small groups can be a bad strategy if they are not done well. Think about it for a moment, and I'm sure you will agree. Most people don't leave the church because of the sermons, the worship, or the children's program...they leave the church because someone hurt them, violated their trust, or even "stabbed them in the back." And where does that hurt come from? Not from Sunday morning, but from small group environments.

In response to the need of churches everywhere, I took last summer to refine a lot of my thoughts on group leadership, to read some more books on the subject, and to package a class into notes and a PowerPoint presentation. This past Saturday, I taught the class through DTS's Lay Institute for the second time. Now that these notes have been tested and received a good response, I want to pass them along to you as well. PLEASE--use these! I don't want credit or fame, I just want to build up the body of Christ...and I hope you find these notes to be a key resource in your own life and ministry, to that end.

Let me leave you with one other quote that I believe sums up my thoughts on Small Groups.

There is no passage in the Bible that says, ‘You must have a small group for people to grow in their faith.’ Instead, what is in the Bible is an understanding, from beginning to end, that people need an authentic, intimate community in which to grow.

Click here for the Word Document of the notes

Click here for the PDF version of the notes

Click here for the Power Point Presentation


Newt for President?

I anticipate a very tumultuous political season ahead. Probably the first one where women will have a legitimate opportunity to run for president, where the presidency may be represented by a passionate religious leader who is not a Christian. We may even witness a television celebrity running for president!

In the midst of the turmoil, I find another unique leader worth consideration, and not because he could be the first _____ president…but because he’s a good leader. And I would ask you to put away your presuppositions and allow me to make a short, four-point argument for Newt Gingrich. Then, if you’re not convinced to consider him, please comment and tell me why!

Firm Fact: Newt is capable of making change happen. He is a proven leader in government.

Newt Gingrich has influence--in the government and in the public eye. Wherever this man goes, the people gather to hear his ideas. In his congressional career, he won the attention of Congress and got them to work together…but that is not his MAIN argument for influence. Since then until the present day, he continues to do it in the areas of medicine, energy, and current issues. People read his books, attend his rallies, respond to his surveys, peruse his websites, and listen to his commentary.

Firm Fact: Newt’s political agenda is crystal clear.

Rather than having a presidential candidate who’s political agenda is full of vague promises, we could have a president who’s political ideas are crystal clear. For DECADES, Newt has been writing with the agenda to shape the way people think about and approach politics. Perhaps he will be a presidential first: the first president to be a successful author BEFORE taking office.

Moreso however, we will have a candidate who will require the American people to do a lot of thinking and truly consider his ideas for government reform. They will need to evaluate his plans, and we will find out: do the American people want a candidate who can motivate, or one who truly proposes concrete change?

One other thing is for sure, any competitor for the presidency will have to be equally explicit about their goals, or face some harsh criticism from interviewers.

Key Question: How has Newt’s character changed?

The major thought the most people have when it comes to Newt concerns his character. He has had 2 affairs, leading to two divorces and his remarriage to the woman he was having his affair with. Those are major events that should be considered well. But be sure to consider all the facts: consider the silence of his former wives and the testimony of his two daughters from the first marriage—daughters who work alongside their father in his current career. Those things speak to his character and his willingness to reconcile with those closest to him. Consider his resignation as speaker during the affair—did he do this as a form of repentance, or to hide his actions. One thing is for certain, he was not the leader blatantly lying to the American people from Washington—that was our former president. 

God has raised up other characters with character issues to rule in similar places. David was a lustful man—he had far more than 3 wives and murdered a man to get one wife in particular. Moses was a murderer too. The question is not, “what has he done?” The questions are, “Has he changed?” “Faults included, can he lead?” “Can we trust him?”

Key Question: Is Newt genuinely a Christian?

The major reservation I have with Newt is his belief system. Newt has always been a church-goer, but I can’t find any clear sources explaining what he believes. Does he have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? I don’t know, and I believe that is incredibly important! I want a leader who is open to the influence of the Holy Spirit and guarded against the influence of other spiritual influences. I want a president that will prompt the citizens of the United States to think about their own faith because he speaks of faith when he makes decisions.

Let me be clear: Religion makes a bigger difference to me than past character defects. I will vote first for religion, and second for proven character. And a a pastor and a friend, I hope I can convince you to do the same. If you read the books of Kings and Chronicles you’ll see God’s evaluation of national leaders. He doesn’t judge their character as much as he judges them on a single criteria: did they follow the Lord? (and did they lead their nation to seek the Lord?).

While I’ll address this further in my next post, let me make one other important comment: Mormons are NOT, NOT, NOT Christians. I cannot trust a Mormon as a person who has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and is led by the Holy Spirit—Mormonism may produce good character and strong families—but their beliefs do not follow the Bible, they follow the book of Mormon. They are worshipping a different Jesus, his name just happens to be the same as ours.


Quoteable Quotes

Leadership is the wise use of power.
Power is the capacity to translate intention into reality and sustain it.
~ Warren G. Bennis

There are no office hours for leaders.
~ Cardinal James Gibbons

By three methods we may learn wisdom:
first by reflection, which is noblest;
second by imitation, which is easiest;
and third by experience, which is the bitterest.
~ Confucius

Success on any major scale requires you to accept responsibility…
in the final analysis, the one quality that all successful people have…
is the ability to take responsibility.
~ Michael Korda