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If you were to skim Deborah’s song in Judges 5—thinking that you already knew all the details of the story from the previous chapter—you’d miss four piercing truths about the way God does his work in the world:

1. When the leaders lead, the people praise the Lord. (5:1, 9, 14–18)

Deborah begins her song, “When the princes in Israel take the lead, when the people willingly offer themselves—praise the Lord!” In other words, blessed are the ones who step forward in faith and fight. She even singles out specific tribes for their participation (or lack thereof). Ephraim (v. 14) gets a shout-out, as do Issachar (v. 15) and Zebulun (v. 18). They were faithful and risked their lives. Gilead, on the other hand, stayed back. And Dan “lingered with the ships” (v. 17).

I’m a firm believer that leadership shouldn’t be limited just to men (See here for more). But I do sense a special burden to call the men in our churches to step up and lead. We have far too many men “lingering by the ships” when they ought to be out in the fight.

One major element of humanity’s original sin in Genesis 3 is passivity on the part of the mana failure to get involved. God had given Adam the responsibility to lead his wife spiritually, to serve her, and to protect her. Yet when the serpent came to offer Eve a taste of death, Adam stood right there and watched. Instead of protecting her, he waited to see what would happen.

Passivity doomed Adam, and it dooms many men still today. The greatest temptation for most men is not to do evil, but to do nothing. It’s not that our churches are filled with particularly bad guys. It’s that the ones we’ve got are just hanging back by the ships. The International Mission Board, for instance, reports that for the most difficult posts in the world, female applicants outnumber male applicants 4 to 1. Praise God for those women! But where are the men?

Men, God has given you a crucial role to play in the kingdom of God. He’s given you an indispensible role in your family. If your family, if the church, if this world is going to praise the Lord, it will only be a result of the princes taking the lead. There are plenty of guys in the world; we need more men.

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Since becoming a pastor at The Summit Church, God has done some incredible things in our city. I am surrounded by faithful men and women who, in the words of William Carey, “expected great things from God, and attempted great things for God.” Many of these men and women believed God for much greater things than I did. And God has rewarded that faith in more ways than I can count.

At the heart of the Summit’s transformation from a plateaued church to a growing church has been an ironic principle—the idea of sending. We’ve grown to be the sort of culture where sending is in the very air we breathe. And as odd as it may seem, writing sending into our DNA has done more for our church here than we ever imagined. It seems that the more we focus on sending people out there, the more people get serious about reaching people right here.

We firmly believe that our experience isn’t all that abnormal—at least, not from a biblical standpoint. What we see around us is, of course, specific to our context, but should be an example of what God intends for every church. God didn’t create the church to hash out the exact timing of Jesus’ second coming, or to get together and bemoan the worsening condition of society. He created the church to send the church.

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Your weekly installment of things we’ve been reading (and watching) around the web.

Articles of the Week

Why White People Don’t Want to Talk About Race, Barnabas Piper. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz made an intriguing little splash this week with his Race Together campaign—an attempt to cultivate dialogue by having baristas write #racetogether on their cups. The brief initiative was widely panned from many sides (much of the criticism, in our estimation, correctly aimed). But discussion does matter. So why are white people seemingly allergic to discussing race?

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