John T. Willis

Saturday, June 13, 2009


[Again, this week, I am doing an "extra" blog because I must be away from Abilene and my office for 3 days next week. Blessings to all].

Bible readers of all type, know the famous story about God's appearance to Moses at the burning bush in Exodus 3:1-4:17. I plan to discuss various aspects of this story in later blogs. In this blog, I want to focus on Exodus 3:13-14 [see also Exodus 6:2-9], which relates five "excuses" that Moses gives to God to try to avoid having to return from Midian to Egypt and guide the Israelites out of bondage. Moses' second excuse is this--with God's response:

"But Moses said to God, 'If I come to the Israelites and say to them, "The God of your ancestors has sent me to you," and they ask me, "What is his name?" what shall I say to them?' God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." He said further, 'Thus you shall say to the Israelites, "I AM has sent me to you."'"

Moses wanted to know "God's Name." God's response was: "I AM WHO I AM." Because of the Hebrew word used here, most scholars agree that this "name" is YAHWEH. One earlier English translation incorrectly combined YHWH with ADONAI, and strangely came up with JEHOVAH, which still appears often in English religious lore.

Irrespective of all this, one who studies this passage seriously very long soon comes to reach two important conclusions:

1. Biblically, NOWHERE does God have a proper name OF ANY KIND, like our English names like Fred or Susie or Bill or Jane. Most [not all] biblical names indicate an important nature of a person's character or name. This is VERY CLEAR when one studies the Bible. To cite ONLY a few examples: Hagar "named" God "El-roi," meaning "God who sees" (Genesis 16:13); Jacob called God "the Mighty One of Jacob" in Genesis 49:24; Psalm 21:7 calls God "the Most High;" and the passages go on and on. "I AM WHO I AM"=Yahweh is NOT a proper name, BUT a great truth about God's nature or character.

2. BUT, unfortunately, no one knows for sure what God had in mind when he responded to Moses on this occasion. In my classes at ACU, I remind them that good, well-trained, often committed Christian believers, do not know what this term means. Here are a FEW of proposed understanding.
a. An emotional cry or cultic outcry=yah huwah: "O He, O That One."
b. "Yahweh" is the qal imperfect 3rd masculine singular of hayah, "to be." So "Yahweh" means "The One who is," i. e., the absolute and unchangeable God.
c. "Yahweh" comes from an Arabic stem meaning "to show passionate love." So "Yahweh" means "He Who acts passionately, the Passionate One."
d. "Yahweh" comes from a Ugaritic root hwt, "to speak." So "Yahweh" means "He Who Speaks," indicating that Israel's God reveals himself.
e. "Yahweh" is a hiphil imperfect meaning "to cause to fall, to fell," referring to rain, lightning, or enemies.
f. "Yahweh" is from the Arabic hwy, "to blow," indicating Yahweh was originally a storn-god.
g. Analogous to a verb form in the Phoenician Karatepe inscription, "Yahweh" is a causative participle meaning "Sustainer, Maintainer, Establisher."
h. "Yahweh" is a hiphil imperfect of hawah, "to come to pass, to come into being, to be." So "Yahweh" is "The One who causes to be" what comes to pass. Hence, he is creator and sustainer of all that is.
i. Exodus 3:14 suggests "Yahweh" is qal imperfect of hayah, "to be." "I am" means "I am here, I am present, I am ready to help." "That I am" suggests Yahweh makes hkmself present when and as he wills; He acts according to his sovereign freedom--see Exodus 33:19.
j. "Yahweh" is the hiphil imperfect of hayah, "to be." So the meaning is: "I cause to be what comes into existence," referring to natural occurrences and to historical events.
k. God deliberately withholds his name from Moses. Moses wanted to know God's name to give him control over God. God responsed by rebuking him with a hidden reply, "I am who I am, and it is none of your business who I am," and called on Moses to serve Him who is free to act as he wishes. See Genesis 32:22-32; Judges 13:17-18.

There are other views as well. But this is too much already. It is certainly true that any of these ideas appears elsewhere in the Bible in describing God. But the point is: the meaning of Exodus 3:14 and 6:2-3 is far from clear concretely. There are numerous passages which are not clear to us. We can live with this.

My encouragement is that we not let ourselves get dogmatic and insistent that we MUST take this or that interpretation, especially when it is impossible to know what such a passage means.

Whatever God meant in Exodus 3:14 and 6:2-3, the important thing is that God was WITH Moses and the Israelites "through thick and thin." AND, our same God is WITH us "through thick and thin." We can always DEPEND on Him, when everything looks the exact opposite. To borrow a line from Joshua 1:9: "The Lord your God is with you wherever you go." I am so thankful we have such a steadfast and faithful God.

John Willis

I Love Children

God continues to bless the world with CHILDREN. God blessed Evelyn and me with four precious children: three sons and a daughter. Then, God blessed us with 14 grandchildren and one great grandchild--so far!!! We love all of our children and grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Children are at the VERY HEART of God's church. Any time a church stops having a continual flow of children, soon that church will die.

It is certainly true that there is a good reason why God gave parents for children. All children needs good parents. Passages like Ephesians 6:4 and Colossians 3:21 instruct parents about their responsibilities for raising their children in God's ways.

But NEVER overlook the value and importance of CHILDREN. I want to be with and around children daily. Here are some of my reasons.

1. Children TEACH me every day that I forgot or I have not yet realized. In very simple words and actions, a child can teach me volumes in a moment.

2. Children ARE HONEST. As we get older, we tend to "hide" our own feelings and the realities of life. Children just come right out and say the truth. This is so refreshing. Hypocrisy and pretension are not really helpful or good in the long run.

3. Children FORGIVE sinners. If you are a parent, are you a sinner? I have to confess that often I did not do the right thing as my children were growing up. At that time, I was trying to do the right thing, but now, as I look back, I know how wrong I often was. BUT, children whom I wronged quickly FORGAVE my wrongs. I am so grateful.

4. Children are OPTIMISTIC. Our "adult society and family and world" go from day to day moaning about how terrible the economy or our friends or the church or next door neighbors or politics or the legal system are. Children are "oblivious" to all of these "serious" things which we carry on our frowns and scowls. Children are happy and optimistic. They EVEN are convinced that THEY HAVE A FUTURE. I think our children are right. They have a much better outlook of life than most of us do. After all, it may very well be that GOD IS STILL IN CONTROL.

5. Children are HILARIOUS. Children say or do the funniest things AT JUST THE RIGHT TIME. They crack me up. How refreshing to experience a new idea or twist on life I never had realized. I will never forget when one of my granddaughters first saw the Grand Canyon. She looked around to all of us in the family, and said: "I didn't know the world was so big."

Yes, Yes, Yes. I love people of all ages. But CHILDREN turn my crank every day. I love to get up every morning, hoping and praying that I can spend just one moment with a little child.

And, OH, by the way, didn't Jesus say one time:

"Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will NEVER enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3-4).

I would love to have your stories about children.

John Willis

Friday, June 12, 2009

God Uses Sinners to Accomplish His Purposes

The only dependable personality in the Bible--OR in human life ever--is God.

Sometimes, people forget that ALL human beings are sinners. And this is certainly true of Moses. There are several clear instances in which Moses sins. As we journey through the Book of Exodus, VERY EARLY in the story of Moses, the Bible relates an instance of Moses' sin.

Study Exodus 2:11-15.

When Moses, as an adult, saw the forced labor of the Israelites under the burdens imposed on the Egyptians. One day, as Moses saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, Moses "looked this way and that, and seeing no one HE KILLED THE EGYPTIAN AND HID HIM IN THE SAND" (verse 12). The very next day, two of Moses' Hebrew friends accused Moses of killing the Egyptian (verses 13-14). Soon, Pharaoh found out what Moses had done, and sought to kill Moses (verse 15). Moses fled away from Egypt, and found his way to Midian.

Now, we can empathize with Moses. If we had been in this situation, we would have at least felt the same way Moses felt. The Egyptian whom Moses killed was sinning against the Hebrew also. But MURDER IS MURDER. Moses KILLED another human being. Is it right before God to kill another human being?

AND YET, in time, through a series of events and over time, God used Moses to guide the Israelites out of Egypt under God's guidance. Surely, we cannot justify a person murdering another person.

BUT--Remember the story of Paul. As a young religious Jewish PhD preacher raised in Tarsus and taught by the great Professor of his day, Gamaliel, Saul [later Paul] set forth to demolish the new sect in Judea called "The Way" [Christianity]. Saul [Paul] took care of the coats of the Jews that dragged Stephen out of Jerusalem and stoned them to death. "Saul [Paul] APPROVED of their killing him [Stephen]" (Acts 7:58; 8:1). Then Saul [Paul] ravaged house after house, dragging off men and women and committing them to prison (Acts 8:3). Paul was "still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord," went to the high priest in Jerusalem, and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus to bring Christians, men and women, bound to Jerusalem (Acts 9:1-2). SAUL WAS A SINNER. He persecuted Christians. He puts Christians in prison. He stood by as his fellow Jews murdered Christians.

YES--BY GOD'S GRACE, God changed Paul heart and life. BUT Paul NEVER forgot the sins he had committed. Read carefully his own remorses in 1 Corinthians 15:9; Ephesians 3:8; 1 Timothy 1:15.

It would be "wrong-headed" to conclude that a person should strive to commit huge sins--then God will use that person--like Moses or Paul. Contrariwise: All of us are sinners. This is the ONLY material he has to work. Let us not allow our sins bury us in our guilt. Instead, realize who we are--and let God, the only dependable personality, use us to accomplish his purposes.

John Willis

Thursday, June 11, 2009


[I am doing an "extra" blog today, because I will have to be away from Abilene and my office a couple of days next week. Have a great day].

Did you see the clever article in the January 2009 of the Reader's Digest entitled "Jokes for 50 States," pages 110-117. Each state contains one joke aimed at that state. I love to laugh at states other than my own--Texas. How about you? I hope you will read ALL of these. Here are a few that caught my eye.

Alaska: An Alaskan was on trial in Anchorage. The prosecutor leaned menacingly toward him and asked, "Where were you on the night of October to April?"

Connecticut: What's the difference between Massachusetts and Connecticut? The Kennedys don't own Connecticut.

Kansas: What do a jack-knifed semi in Ohio, a guy getting a divorce in Alabama, and a tornado in Kansas have in common? They're all fixin' to lose a trailer.

Kentucky: How do you know the toothbrush was invented in Kentucky? If it'd been invented anywhere else, it would have been called a teethbrush.

Michigan: What do you call 40 guys watching the Super Bowl on television" The Detroit Lions.

West Virginia: What is the West Virginia state flower? The satellite dish.

OKAY--Here is the joke about Texas: Kinky Friedman, entertainer and former Texas gubernatorial candidate, explains how to speak Texanese: "Y'all is singular. All y'all is plural. All y'all's is plural possessive."

So There!!!

By the way--If you will study the Bible openly and seriously, you will find it is "chock full" of deep spiritual, motivating, life-changing "humor." Jesus used humor all the time. Here is just one example:

Matthew 19:24: "Again I [Jesus] tell you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." [See Mark 10:25; Luke 18:25]. When Jesus' hearers first heard this statement, they could not keep from "snickering," "guffawing," and even roll up in a ball on the ground. The very thought of a camel going through the eye of a needle!!! How preposterous!!! The occasional statement that there was a small gate in Jerusalem that a camel owner could "barely" pushed his camel on his knees has no foundation whatsoever!!! Jesus is using blatant humor to communicate an important point. Face it--A rich person cannot enter the kingdom of God--period!!! BUT--WHO at all can be saved? It is ONLY by God's grace that we have any hope at all. Praise God for his mercy and forgiveness. "For God ALL THINGS are possible" (Matthew 19:26). Thank God!!!

John Willis

God's Supreme Concern

The major and most important personality of the Bible is Yahweh or God. The "best" human beings are fragile, flawed, and transitory--including Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David, the prophets, John the Baptist, Peter, Paul--in fact, every one of us. BUT God is eternal, dependable, and consistent--even when it appears to US that this is not the case.

As one enters the story of the Book of Exodus, God appears immediately: Exodus 1:15, 21 declare that the Hebrew midwives in the land of Goshen in Egypt "feared God," and Exodus 1:20 says: "God dealt well with the midwives," indicating from the context that God approved and protected the work of Shiphrah and Puah to save the infant boys born when Pharaoh and the Egyptians demanded that they be murdered.

Exodus 1:20 and Exodus 2:23-25 portray GOD'S SUPREME CONCERN for humanity on earth: to defend, protect, deliver all people who are oppressed and destitute and deprived: specifically, aliens, widows, orphans, the poor, the marginalized--and this biblical teaching of God is consistent throughout scripture.

Read Exodus 2:23-25: "After a long time the king of Egypt died. The Israelites GROANED UNDER THEIR SLAVERY AND CRIED OUT. Out of the slavery their CRY FOR HELP ROSE UP TO GOD. GOD HEARD THEIR GROANING and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. GOD LOOKED UPON THE ISRAELITES, AND GOD TOOK NOTICE OF THEM."

THIS was God's motivation to deliver the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage. GOD HAS A TENDER HEART INCLINED FOR HURTING PEOPLE. A very important law in the Book of Exodus occurs in Exodus 22:21-24:
"You shall not wrong or oppress A RESIDENT ALIEN, FOR you were ALIENS in the land of Egypt. You shall not abuse any WIDOW or ORPHAN. If you do abuse them, when they CRY OUT TO ME, I WILL SURELY HEED THEIR CRY; my wrath will burn, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children orphans."

As I was growing up in my religious denomination, most of our preachers and teachers taught us that God's ONLY concern was the "convert the lost." Helping the needy, widows, orphans, aliens, the marginalized is a "social" activity, NOT a "spiritual" or "religious" undertaking. One MAY help the needy AS A MEANS OF manipulating into accepting what the helpers taught. Did Jesus approach people this way? Of course, God wants to "save" all people. But God's supreme concern is to help hurting people. What do you think hurting people naturally feel and do when God and unselfish, helping people defend and sustain and support and deliver them?

What does the Bible teach? From Genesis through Revelation, it is quite clear that God's Supreme Concern for humanity on earth is to try to help and encourage and deliver hurting people. The biblical texts are numerous and clear. To cite just on New Testament text, James 1:27 is concise and pointed:
"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world." [As we continue our study of the Book of Exodus, more on this subject].

John Willis

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Great Inspirations

The December 2008 issue of the Reader's Digest contains 19 well-known people who share their inspirations for all of us to benefit. This is on pages 168-194. The first story tells how Matthew and Alexandra motivated them to serve others as a result of the tragedy of Christopher Reeve in his horseback-riding accident in 1995.

One story that captivated me was by the Playwright Eve Ensler on Actors Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. Here is her story:

Here's what Paul Newman and [his wife] Joanne Woodward gave man and, I suspect, many others in the world: a gift of confidence. They were the perfect parents. I was 23. I was depressed and fragile and hardly here in the world. I was writing as a way of survival. They took me under their wing. They pushed me and fed me and criticized my scripts with red pencils. They nurtured me and encouraged me to be funny, to always be funny. Mainly, they believed in me. Because of this, I came to believe in myself. They never asked for credit. They did not hold on after I had found myself. They did not curtail my independence. They reappeared at crucial moments in the many years that followed. They were always in my corner. Here's what they taught me: generosity. They taught me that if you have or make money, you are not special, just lucky. They taught me to never make people beg or jump through loops, because that implies you have a hoop. You do not have a hoop; you have money. They taught me that the only real happiness comes from giving. And becauset he two of them lived everything they spoke, they taught me about integrity. I can't imagine this world without Paul Newman [he died this past September]. But I know his generosity, his gift of confidence, lives in many of us, and if there is a way to appreciate him, it is giving deeper and deeper.

How does this touch your life?

John Willis

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Women's Crucial Calling

Many modern thinkers assert or affirm that the biblical speakers and writers were "patriarchal." They assume that the biblical speakers and writers were "male dominant" throughout society at virtually all levels. It is certainly true that throughout history, ANCIENT AND MODERN, males in certain parts of the world and in certain times of history have advocated that males are superior and women are inferior. Some church denominations champion and support this view. BUT HAVE YOU READ THE BIBLE?

As we continue our journey through the Book of Exodus, in the very first chapter--and through the Book of Exodus, WOMEN HAVE A VERY CRUCIAL CALLING among God's people AND in the whole world. How could anyone engage in a study of the Book of Exodus without spending significant thought and preaching and discussion about WOMEN in this important inspired biblical book? Several scholars are beginning to realize the importance of women throughout the Bible, including the Book of Exodus. Just recently, in 2008, Shera Aranoff Tuchman and Sandra E. Rapoport published a book entitled Moses' Women, published by KTAV Publishing House, Inc., Jersey City, New Jersey. This is a very responsible, scholarly work. I hope you will read it carefully!!!

For this brief daily blog, let me mention only a few texts dealing with important WOMEN in the Book of Exodus.

1. Shiphrah and Puah, Hebrew midwives, saved numerous baby BOYS when Pharaoh and his henchmen commanded them to KILL these babies, because they "feared God." (Exodus 1:15-22). Where were all the "courageous, valiant, bold" Hebrew males who risked their lives to save their baby boys who were responsible for bringing them into the world? How could any true male Christian vilify the works and activities and efforts and functions of godly women among God's community when we all realize and know what tremendous ways women deliver the human race in so many ways?

2. Jochebed, the wife of Amram, the mother of Miriam, Aaron, and Moses (Exodus 6:20), risked her life to save her baby BOY Moses by hiding him, and protecting him until Pharaoh's daughter took Moses into her home to raise her in high places in Egypt (Exodus 2:1-10). Why didn't Amram step forth to protect his newborn baby boy? Moses survived and became a great influence in Israel BECAUSE a WOMAN saved his life and enabled him to grow to manhood. How could any true Christian fail to joyfully and openly celebrate the courage and risk and determination and perseverance of MOTHERS like Jochebed?

3. Pharaoh's daughter, a FOREIGNER, paid royal money to support Jochebed and to raise Moses, an Israelite [one of the chosen people of God], out of human compassion for a baby BOY. Much like the Good Samaritan [a FOREIGNER], Pharaoh's daughter defended and protected a male HEBREW [a Christian?], Moses, knowing the danger of adopting her child (Exodus 2:5-10). How could any true Christian look the other way and not appreciate good WOMEN who defend and protect Christians themselves? This does not make sense.

4. Miriam, the older sister of Aaron and Moses, the oldest child of Jochebed, watched carefully to make sure her little baby BROTHER Moses was safe until she was spared by Pharaoh's daughter (Exodus 2:5, 7-8). Side by side with Aaron and Moses, Miriam encouraged and guided the Israelites out of Egypt and through the wilderness. For example, after the crossing of the Red Sea, Miriam, now a prophet of God, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the WOMEN went out after HER with tambourines and with dancing. And MIRIAM sang to them:
"Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;
horse and rider he has thrown into the sea" (Exodus 15:20-21), the same song all the Israelites proclaimed (Exodus 15:1-18). Micah 6:4 says that God "sent before the Israelites Moses, Aaron, and Moses." Do these and similar biblical passages sound like Old Testament speaker and writers were "patriarchal"?

5. Zipporah, the daughter of Jethro, priest of Midian, a FOREIGNER, became the wife of Moses, which soon gave birth to two sons, Gershom and Eliezer (Exodus 18:3-4). When Moses and Zipporah and their sons were returning from Midian to Egypt with God's commission to bring the Israelites out of Egypt, ZIPPORAH SAVED MOSES' LIFE when God sought to kill Moses, because Moses was still unconvinced and uncommitted to motivate the Israelites to depart from Egypt (Exodus 4:24-26). Do the inspired biblical speakers and writers teach and proclaim that WOMEN were of little or no use, according to the Book of Exodus? Moses would have died on the way from Midian to Egypt if a WOMAN had not intervened and saved her life!!!

This is just the tip of the iceberg. The ten commandments are all vital teachings about WOMEN and MEN. Some are very specific: second command: punishing CHILDREN [male and female] for the iniquity of PARENTS [male and female]; fourth command: on the Sabbath day, do not do any work, "your SON or your DAUGHTER"; fifth: Honor your FATHER AND your MOTHER; seventh: Do not commit adultery [male or female]; tenth command: you shall not COVET your neighbor's WIFE. Laws about WOMEN are "everywhere" throughout the Book of Exodus and, in fact, Exodus through Deuteronomy. For example, Exodus 21:1-11 {see verses 20-21, 26-27] gives instruction about MALE AND FEMALE slaves. Exodus 21:22-25 gives an important law concerning a PREGNANT WOMAN. Exodus 22:21-24 issues powerful statutes from God about the care of widows. The list goes on and on.

Human thought has led multitudes to think that WOMEN belong to an inferior place in society and in religion. We are the recipients of the views of our ancestors. Maybe it is time for us to RE-STUDY the whole view of WOMEN as presented in the Bible. The Book of Exodus is a good place to begin. [More thoughts in future days].

John Willis

Monday, June 08, 2009

I Enthusiastically Support Young People

People constantly criticize and degrade and fault young people. I have the opposite position for several reasons. Here are some of the reasons that I enthusiastically support and commend and encourage young people.

1. All of us were young. We forget his very quickly and very conveniently. I am now 75 years old. But I love young people. They are the future!!! They are the hope of humanity on earth!!! As a young person, I made many huge mistakes. I could write several books about all the stupid things I did as I was growing up. BUT, do ANY of us stop being stupid and making mistakes, even when we are 75 or 80 or 90 or 100? WE ARE HUMAN--thank you very much. Failures and mistakes and "boo boos" are part of the human package. So, if a young person makes a mistake, I remember that I made so many mistakes that I am embarrassed, so I do not fault a young person when she/he makes a mistake.

2. Young people are multi-talented. God created every person with wonderful talents and gifts and desires and visions. I am so thankful that each young person has unique gifts. I celebrate a young woman when she can speak more clearly and more influentially that I do. I celebrate a young man when he can invent computers and cars and planes and roads and clothes and books much better than I could ever do. I salute all of you young people for using and communicating all of your gifts to bless the rest of us.

3. Young people are sympathetic and caring and sensitive and compassionate. I see them touching and helping children, the elderly, the disabled, the disadvantaged, the neglected. God bless all of you young people who elevate the hearts and lives of thousands of people in your own community and around the world.

4. Young people are courageous and visionary and imaginative. The inventive minds and hearts and lives of people who began young and slowly matured who have produced the kind of world from which we benefit and which we enjoy. I am excited about the forthcoming means of transportation, types of clothing, quality of food, various types of publications--orally and written--all of this because of our wonderful young people. Praise God for young people.

Do some young people commit bad crimes? Of course--so do older people. Do some young people do stupid things that embarrass themselves and their families and their friends? You can count on it--So do older people. Do some people profess to be or do a certain dream or goal and then fail to measure up their their claims and aspirations? Absolutely--so do older people.

So for me--I enthusiastically support and encourage and defend young people. I pray that you will join with me in this important effort of life.

John Willis

Sunday, June 07, 2009

God's Commendation of Human Followship

As the account or story of the book of Exodus unfolds in Exodus 1:1-15:21, almost immediately the reader encounters the LEADER of Egypt and his TASKMASTERS (see Exodus 1:8-11 for the first time), and they will be very prominent in the story until the Israelites flee from Egypt.

The Pharaoh of Egypt in the days of Moses [probably Rameses II] was typical of human LEADERS throughout the centuries. There are certain characteristics that MOST [not all] LEADERS predictably follow the same pattern. A few of these characteristics are prominent.

1. LEADERS are afraid of their people. Pharaoh assigned Egyptian taskmasters to "bully" the Israelites BECAUSE he was afraid the Israelites might gain more people and power in the land. Leaders of nations, communities, organizations, institutions, churches soon become afraid of their people. Then, they begin to threaten their own people, ramrod their own ways over their people, and demand to their own ways when they are right or not.

2. LEADERS manipulate their people. Since LEADERS are mere human beings, they have their own ideas and beliefs and biases, and thus, when they have a LEADERSHIP position, they quickly set about trying to manipulate and control the people with whom they work. Pharaoh demanded that the Israelites produce a certain product every day, no matter how much he hurt these people to carry out his desire.

3. LEADERS stay aloof from their people. Many leaders in a nation or a community or an educational institution NEVER contact the people working with them. LEADERS excuse themselves by "reasoning" that they do not have time for their workers. It is interesting that JESUS had plenty of time to be with people. MOST LEADERS do not have the time.

It is very revealing that the New Testament NEVER uses the word LEADER in a positive sense. The Greek word LEADER {odegos} in the New Testament occurs only 5 times, and they are ALWAYS opponents of God and his people. Matthew 15:14; 23:16, 24; Acts
1:16; Romans 2:19.

Biblically, there is a TRUE LEADER of human beings: his name is God the Father through Jesus Christ. All TRUE Christians are FOLLOWERS, SERVANTS. When Jesus summoned Peter, Andrew, James, and John, his message was: "FOLLOW me" (Matthew

The CRAZE of LEADERSHIP is a human invention, destined for corruption and failure. History has demonstrated this throughout the centuries, and it is still true today. God through Christ is the ONLY HEAD, the ONLY LEADER. Let us strive to be FOLLOWERS.

John Willis