Theology in Ancient Graffiti

The Alexamenos graffito

2016-12-13_21-35-10The Alexamenos graffito is a piece of Roman graffiti scratched in plaster on the wall of a room near the Palatine Hill in Rome from around 200AD. The Greek inscription reads something like “Alexamenos worships [his] God.” While it was meant to demean Alexamenos, it perfectly communicates his theology and how it was received. He worshipped Jesus, as God, who died on the cross. This Gospel was not well received by his friends.

Have you ever considered the fact that some of the things people say about you may be around for 1,000 years. Will it reveal the sincerity of your faith? 

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Black and White Etching

Ironically, in the next chamber adjoining where the Alexamenos graffito found – another etching was discovered which reads –  Alexamenos fidelis, Latin for “Alexamenos is faithful”.

2 Corinthians 2:15–16 (ESV)

15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?

The Leader’s Insight

Leaders see what others cannot see and say what others will not sayIt is imperative that leaders have the ability to face the cold hard facts about the state of their organization.

It has been said that, “optimism without realism is simply a pleasant delusion”.

Facts, even difficult facts, are the leader’s friend. Because, you see, leaders must be gripped with how things could be to such a degree that they can no longer accept things as they are. Unless you can embrace the reality of where you are, you will be unable to accurately chart a course for where you desire to be.

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One Word Can Change Everything

I wish I had a photo of the moment. That moment when I knelt down on one knee, opened a little box with a ring in it and asked Julie Bearden if she would marry me. What did my face look like? I can only imagine…. hope, fear, love, all in one expression. Then she said it, “YES!” that one word changed everything for me.

When I look around at the life God has given me with three wonderful kids, a career I love, an awesome marriage… and just to think it all happened because of one word, “yes”.

I don’t know where you are at in your journey of faith, but I hope you live this day with the realization that everything can change because of one word.

You are one word away from your destiny.

Hang in there – stay positive and optimistic, because maybe, just maybe, this will be the day that you will hear the, “yes” that will change everything.

The Leader’s Passion

Passion is the indispensable quality in a leader.

Passion can enable a leader with inferior gifts, talents, or education to surpass a more qualified leader in fruitfulness.

Passion really is the great difference maker. It is the fuel that causes a leader to try harder, work smarter and do whatever it takes to achieve the goal. It is not surprising that the pinnacle moment in the ministry of Christ, where he pushed through the threat of death to achieve his ultimate mission has historically been called, “the Passion of the Christ”.

Here are four things that can enlarge your capacity for passion.

  1. Passion is born out of burden. If you have ever experienced a soul crushing burden that you could not shake, you need to be aware that the pain of the burden was the birth pangs of passion.The burden becomes the fuel for our passion. Over the long run you will discover that The same thing that burdens your soul, often reveals your destiny.
  2. Success stirs passion. Being clear on what you consider to be a win is vitally important. As you see wins, both large and small you will feel that your passion is not in vain.
  3. Proper rest protects your passion. Passion is distinctly emotional, as such it is a limited resource and it can be drained. Proper rest and recuperation is essential to maintaining the passion that you desire to exhibit.
  4. Strategic relationships charge your passion. We really do become like the people we surround ourselves with. Leaders know that if they are to maintain passion over the long run they must intentionally surround themselves with positive people who exhibit energy and wisdom.

Leaders go First

Leadership has been described in many different ways. John Maxwell  defined it as, “influence – nothing more, nothing less”. Others have defined leadership as, “one who has followers”. This concept was captured well in the Chinese proverb which said, “He who thinks he leads when no one is following is simply taking a stroll”. These are good definitions of the role the leader. However, how would you define the task of leadership? I think it can best be defined by the phrase – leaders go first. Leadership is not primarily position or title. At it’s essence the leader is someone who will chart the course that others are willing to follow toward a preferable future. The leader sees things that others cannot see and is will to say things that others will not say.

Jesus was the quintessential leader – He was the incarnation of his message. That is why he could make bold statements like, “I am the way, the truth, and the life”. To rightly embrace Christianity is simply to follow Jesus. In other words follow Jesus by faith based on his work (substitutionary death and bodily resurrection) and his person (God in the flesh).

Questions for Consideration:

  • To what degree to you embody the message you are trying to convey?
  • If your followers became like you, would you be able to achieve the goals of your organization?
  • If someone wanted to fully understand your organization, could you tell them that they could get all of the information they need by simply following you?