The best leader is

not the chief expert, chief accuser, chief knowitall, chief competent, but rather….the chief confessor.   Humble.  Not just on the outside, but also on the inside.  The best leader finds his security in worthiness outside himself, which frees him to live and love self-forgettingly with reckless abandon. Jesus provides this alien worthiness to those wise enough and humble enough to die to their own worthiness and embrace His imputed worthiness.  But ain’t nobody wise enough and humble enough UNLESS the Spirit is overhauling him/her, and typically over time, so the death to self-worthiness is slower rather than faster.  Faster has its benefits, but it’s also more painful.  Best to surrender any timetable to Jesus.

Here’s a two-minute video clip of Nick Foles, MVP of the recent Super Bowl, that’s impressive to ME.  A good-but-not-great example of humility.  We Christian leaders have all mastered outward humility.  Inner humility?  Not so much.  Still.  Nick talks freely elsewhere about the primacy of Jesus in his life, but in this clip, just mentions his faith, as enabling him to deal with failure.  Chief confessor.  Our hearts go out to humble leaders.  Easy to see why the Eagles players rallied around him, as a backup quarterback entering the playoffs with the hero starter’s season-ending injury only a couple of games earlier, and nobody except the Eagles themselves, expecting the Eagles to win ANY playoff games, much less the Super Bowl, led by a backup without respect in the NFL, and without respect by Philly fans.

The worst leader is the one everyone fears; the next best is the one everyone hates, the next best is the one everyone loves, but the best leader, is the one when it’s all said and done, the people being led say, “Look what we did.”  Can’t find the author of this great quote on leadership.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships

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Dave, how can you talk about

Jesus’ genius plan for all, when there is so much bad in the world?  Well, how would we know what good looks like, if we weren’t exposed to bad?  SovereignShepherdJesus has created great examples of bad examples, and great examples of good examples, so we can clearly grasp the difference.  How could we appreciate the goodness, humility, love, of Jesus, without a Hitler to teach us about the bad that lurks inside each of us humans?

Why didn’t Jesus create a world where all humans were good all the time?  Ask the Author.  This is His Grand Story, not ours.  Who are we to sit in judgment of the CreatorSustainer of the Universe?  Arrogant, self-righteous humans, that’s who, blind to the extent of bad in each of us, imagining ourselves way-superior to Hitler, and lots of other humans, badder than we.  The biggest need inside the Church, and outside, is self-awareness.  Only bad humans need a Savior.  The Pharisees of Jesus’ day were considered the most holy of all humans, but Jesus had the harshest things to say about those who imagined themselves good, wonderful.  Jesus said, “He who has a sense of having been forgiven only a little, loves only a little.”  The lack of unconditional love in the world today, outside the Church, and INSIDE, exposes the human condition of imagining we are good-er than we really are.  We can’t handle the truth, can’t bear to look inside and see the darkness that lurks within, down deep, in the recesses of our souls — especially the independence/pride/confidence-we-know-what’s-best, leaning on our own understanding, being wise in our own eyes.

We Christians would benefit enormously by learning from eastern religions and modern psychology about the importance of self-awareness.  Seems to me that the BIGgest hindrance to a widespread awakening in the Church in our day that spills over into secular society, is a lack of self-awareness in us Christians.  So we Christians imagine ourselves only slightly bad, and are therefore underwhelmed by Jesus.  He’s a part of our lives, but not everything to us.  We live in denial of how much WE are everything to us.  In denial of what God-haters we are: hating having to trust Him and His genius plan for our lives, and those we love, because we are so independent/confident-we-know-what’s-best.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, championing Gospel-awareness, self-awareness, and sovereignty-awareness among believers, so we might be compelling to the seculars around us

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Only the proud are clueless-avoidant,

weakness-avoidant, suffering-avoidant, because only the proud are confident-we-know-what’s-best.  Clueful.  Only the proud/clueful get fearful, frustrated, discouraged.  Since The Fall we wanna KNOW, UNDERSTAND, and we HATE suffering, HATE losing, HATE being clueless, weak, pitied.  Only the proud are control freaks, perfectionists, hyper-conscientious, because we’re confident-we-know-what’s-best.  Only the proud analyze, critique, judge.

— CluefulDave, except when he’s been freshly convicted of his cluefulness, so he’s momentarily CluelessDave/DumbSheepDave, dependent on His SovereignShepherdJesus to know what’s best, thanking Him about everything, enjoying everyone just as they are, and everything just as it is, all part of His Grand Story, including the need for a Savior

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This has been soooo helpful to me

since last April, when I first posted it, that I’m reposting it.    🙂


The so-what theology of the Christian life

has been amazingly helpful to me lately.  Huh?  Here’s how it works.  When I notice one of my idols distracting me from fixing my eyes and thoughts on Jesus, I say to myself, “So WHAT, Dave’sFlesh?”

So what if your car is cooler than their car?  Or theirs cooler than yours?  So what if you’re a better dresser than they are?  So what if that slow-moving truck just pulled onto the two-lane-with-no-passing-zone-for-the-next-six-miles road in front of you?  So what if the light just turned red, and it’s always a long wait at this intersection?  Or just turned green as you approached the intersection?  So what if there’s a construction backup and a long line of standing cars and trucks?  So what if you’re making great time because of light traffic?  So what if that guy just cut you off?  So what if you’re gonnabe late?  So what if you made a wrong turn and you have to backtrack?  So what if SE Pennsylvania has way-too-many vehicles on the road?  So what if there are too-many gray, cloudy days in Pennsylvania?  So what if you have a big health issue?  Or are healthier than most?  So what if your investments are doing poorly?  Or wonderfully?  So what if you paid too much for that?  Or got a bargain?  So what if your team lost?  Or won?

You get the idea.  No matter what might rob my flesh of joy and peace, or feed my flesh, it helps me so much to CHALLENGE my flesh — challenge its CONFIDENCE-that-it-knows-best, CONFIDENCE-that-it-knows-what-will-make-me-happy.  So WHAT, Dave’sFlesh?  Domatter, Dave’sFlesh.

The things that MATTER to my flesh, domatter in the Big Scheme of things.  My flesh dunno nuttin about happiness for Dave.  But it sure THINKS it does.  Because Jesus has been growing me yet-more self-aware and yet-more self-accepting, I’m getting to know my flesh way-better than ever.  Half the solution is seeing the problem.

So what if my very life is threatened?  So what if I face scary?  Jesus is Lord, reigning from on High!  His genius plan for me and those I love will not be thwarted.

Ecclesiastes is the so-what Book of the Bible.  Meaningless are the values (idols) of Dave’sFlesh.  “So-WHAT?” is a slap in the face of my idol (addiction).

–SoWhatDave, baby steppin in healthier directions, because of the convicting work of the Spirit

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No believer who feels pressure, stress,

believes in the total sovereignty of Jesus.  Doesn’t matter what we claim to believe about Him and His sovereign reign over all.  When we feel pressure, stress, we are unbelievers in His sovereignty.  We have Heaven, but are missing the benefit of Jesus.  And those around us suffer too, because of our self-absorption.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, always needing reminders, so there might be an overflow of love, joy, and peace in his life, compelling and contagious to the seculars around him

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When Jesus is ENOUGH,

a believer has no fear of failure, of losing everything, of being pitied by all for being a loser/nobody who strove for excellence, but failed.  When Jesus is ENOUGH, a believer lives and loves with reckless abandon.  Uninhibited.  FREE.  Bold.  Fearless.  Humble.  Optimal performance.

When Jesus is NOT enough, a believer is self-absorbed, internally selfish, failure-avoidant, suffering-avoidant, stressed, intense, hurried, feels under the gun, unlimited obligation, miserable but living in denial of the misery.  And performance suffers.  The stressed, pride-filled believer wants MORE than Jesus and His imputed worthiness.

Contentment is the pearl of great price, worth selling all to get.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, chief failure at practicing what he preaches

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Benefits of the three awarenesses.

The biggest benefits of Gospel-awareness

are the joy and peace that radiate from a believer who is deeply convinced of the unconditional love of DaddyJesusSpirit for one of His kids, as the kid goes through the day.  Warts and all.  Whatever it takes to get Gospel-awareness deep in one’s soul, and keep it there, is a bargain investment.  Priceless benefit — joy and peace that is not circumstance-dependent.

The biggest benefit of self-awareness

is being aware of the sin/idolatry/addiction to which we’re blind/self-deceived, that keeps us self-absorbed, keeps us from being other-worldly humble and other-worldly loving — seed sown on thorny soil that does not reproduce a hundredfold, even thirtyfold, because we are choked by the cares of this world, walking in darkness.  We believers imagine we are walking in the light, followers of Jesus, but we are followers of ourselves, wanting Him to bless OUR agenda, confident-we-know-what’s-best, leaning on our own understanding, wise in our own eyes, blind to the extent of our independence/pride/worldliness.

The biggest benefits of sovereignty-awareness

are 1) being curious and expectant as I go through my day, to see what Jesus does NEXT, in me, others, circumstances, 2) THANKing Him for everything, especially the harrrd, as I go through my day, evidencing my enjoyment of everyone just as we are, and everything just as it is, and 3) not feeling as though it’s UP TO ME to avoid mistakes, failure, humiliation, which causes me to suppress the horror of feeling alone as I face the challenges before me.  Sovereignty-awareness is very different from believing in the sovereignty of God.  Presbyterians claim to believe in the sovereignty of God, but I don’t know any Presbyterians that have sovereignty-awareness as they go through their day.

How to get more of the three awarenesses? has some great mentoring programs for a beginning in Gospel-awareness and self-awareness.  I have some free self-therapy material that has been used of Jesus to grow believers further in self-awareness, over time, for those who already have a deep foundation of Gospel-awareness.  Contact me if interested.  You’re on your own with sovereignty-awareness.  As for me, I need constant reminders throughout the day of the sovereignty of God, to grow my sovereignty-awareness in all I think and do.

–Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, championing the three awarenesses — Gospel-awareness, self-awareness, sovereignty-awareness, so the seculars around us might be wowed by the Jesus in us believers and want Him too

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Should I be thankful for feelings of discouragement?

Or fear?   Or frustration?  Most would say “OF COURSE NOT.”  We know what’s thankable and what’s not, because we are wise in our own eyes, leaning on our own understanding, confident-we-know-what’s-best.

We wanna FIX those feelings, instead of explore the root of them, asking Jesus to show us what’s really going on inside.  We are blind to our true flesh and its desires that control us so much of the time.  Truth be told, it’s IMPOSSIBLE to feel discouraged, frustrated, fearful, UNLESS I’m confident-I-know-what’s-best, which is another way of describing a believer who is functioning as an atheist, full of unbelief in Jesus and His sovereign reign over everyone and everything.  Or worse — arrogantly sitting in judgment of Him and His genius plan.

Here’s the biggest problem: if I’m living in denial of my true flesh, I will not be undone, contrite, other-worldly humble, full of other-worldly love, which means I will NOT be compelling to seculars.  I will be the chief argue-er, chief expert, not the chief confessor in the relationship.

Am I commanded by Scripture to give thanks in EVERYthing?  Surely not.  But wait, Scripture is clear: “Give thanks in every thing; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”  So… I thankful for the ugly political divide in our land?   Am I thankful I’m so unfruitful with seculars?  Am I thankful I’m such a great example of a bad example of a Jesus-follower?  And if not, why not?  Pride, not humility.  The proud know what’s thankable and what’s not.  Only those freshly surrendered to a SovereignShepherdJesus are able to thank Him for the harrrd.

–Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, who only sees the problem when he’s been freshly convicted of unbelief, and it doesn’t last long

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