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                 Embracing an End Days Vision
             The Crisis of Leadership among Evangelicals


​The crisis the church faces is, quite frankly, a crisis of leadership. We need leaders who will cast a vision of the End Days - who won't pull back into a cowed silence. There's a whole generation of young millennials whose DNA is impregnated with a sense of foreboding - a sense that the whole world is spinning out of control. They know intuitively that judgment is imminent - and many of them aren't hesitant to declare as much. Still the church remains silent - having answers, but refusing to share them. 

Band of Brothers

The Wounds of Love and the Scars They Leave Behind

     The scars of the Crucifixion left behind on the Lamb prove God’s love of mankind. That’s what Revelation 5:6 is all about.  And just as Christ bears scars from the terrible wounds he suffered in our behalf at the Crucifixion, so we are given the inestimable privilege of bearing scars from the wounds we suffer in his behalf. 

For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake ...
Philippians 1:29

Henry V - the Battle of Agincourt
     Those scars will, for all eternity, mark out Christ’s special few - a “band of brothers” whose love of Christ is beyond question - drawn into an inexpressible intimacy with him and seated at the head of his table. 
     It’s a paradigm that’s often drawn upon in the canon of Western literature: The love we profess is measured by the scars we bear in its behalf. Shakespeare’s Henry V is an unforgettable example. It’s based upon the Battle of Agincourt fought in 1415. Henry V, along with his entire army, had been trapped by the French near the small town of Agincourt in Flanders, not far from the English Channel. The English army was worn down from a long siege it had mounted against the port of Harfleur. It had suffered terrible attrition and was, consequently, badly outnumbered by the French army arrayed against it. Hundreds of Henry’s troops had deserted him - escaping through the French lines and crossing the channel to the comfort and safety of their own homes and beds in England.
     In Act 4, Scene 3 of Shakespeare’s play, Henry’s war council, in his absence, is recommending surrender with honor. At this crucial juncture, Henry arrives; and the lines Shakespeare gives him to speak are among the most memorable ever penned ...

What’s he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;
     If we are mark’d to die, we are even now
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honor.
God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
     Nor care I who feeds upon my cost (joins his company);
It yearns me not if men my garments wear (picked up from his dead body in battle);
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honor,
I am the most offending soul alive.
     No, faith, my coz (cousin), wish not a man from England.
God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honor
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmore-land, through my host (my army),
     That he who has no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport (passage back to England) shall be made,
We would not die in that man’s company
That fears his fellowship (in keeping company with us) to die with us.
     This day is call’d the feast of Crispian (an annual feast day in Middle Age England).
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian (The Feast Day).
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbors, and say ‘Tomorrow is Saint Crispian (Day).’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.’
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
     But he’ll remember, with advantages (a vibrant memory of heroic deeds),
What (heroic) feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as house-hold words
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester (names of Henry's war council, the Lords of England) -
     Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian (the annual feast of St. Crispan) shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered
     We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he today that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ‘er so vile (a commoner, born with no claim to nobility),
This day shall gentle his condition (make him a lord of the realm);
And gentlemen (lords of the realm) in England now-a-bed
     Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

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     “Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars ...”  Imagine, no scars to show at the Wedding Supper of the Lamb! No admittance to that special “band of brothers” - those “happy few” who shed their blood in the cause of Christ - that small company of warriors seated closest to King Jesus. How much do we love Christ? The scars we bear on that day will tell the truth! 
     Just as in Shakespeare’s play, the many who keep themselves safe and risk little or nothing - their possessions, their lives, their loved ones, their careers - will “hold their manhood cheap” in the august company of those whose bodies are marked and pitted from the wounds of battle - whose lives were cut short in the cause of Christ - whose possessions were drained away - whose families were put in jeopardy - whose careers were compromised.
     If given a chance, how much on that day would they gladly trade away the many years they added to their lives - the wealth they preserved - the families they kept safe - the careers that brought them honor and recognition. But too late! Tears in their eyes and shame in their hearts, they will keep their sleeves rolled down - no scars to show at the Wedding Supper of the Lamb.     
     Band of Brothers was a 2001 American war drama miniseries based on historian Stephen Ambrose's 1993 non-fictionbook of the same name. The series dramatizes the history of "Easy" Company, 101st Airborne Division, from jump training in the United States through its participation in major battles in Europe.
​     The theme of both the book and the miniseries revolves around the brotherhood formed in combat. And that's a theme the church so desperately needs to take to heart. No church that harbors a siege mentality - that encourages believers to hunker down in fox holes - that makes home and hearth its focus - will ever achieve the sense of brotherhood that will enable it to become truly victorious.
     It's time for the church to call believers out of their fox holes and go over "to the attack" - plundering the devil's house for the souls of the men and women he holds captive there.
     The name of the miniseries is taken from Shakespeare's play King Henry V - Henry's soliloquy before the Battle of Agincourt.

Shakespeare's Henry V

A Lesson in Leadership

    Here in this film, Kenneth Branagh plays the role of Henry V. His interpretation of Henry's rousing soliloquy has won him acclaim throughout the world. 
     What's especially underscored here is the role of leadership in rousing men for battle - calling them to look beyond themselves to the nobility of a cause worth dying for - to the bond of unbreakable brotherhood forged in battle. Tragically, it's this virtue that's lacking in today's church. A genuine leader is able to turn his followers into heros.​ 
     The lines spoken in the play are in "Middle English" - and some of the words and terms used may be unfamiliar to anyone not familiar with "Middle English." Over in the right-hand column all the lines spoken in the video are written out - with translations given of any word or term that might be unfamiliar to you. I strongly encourage you to read it over before watching the video.
     Notice the lines at the end of Henry's soliloquy - "We few, we happy few, we band of brothers." It's that line that Stephen Ambrose borrowed for the title of his book and the miniseries.

Al Pacino
​"On Any Given Sunday"

A Lesson in Leadership

     Al Pacino's speech here, given just before an NFL title game, is much like the soliloquy spoken by Henry V before the Battle of Agincourt. But the context for Pacino's speech is much more familiar to most Americans. 
     Some of the language is a bit over-board, but not so much that it's out-of-bounds altogether. It's well worth watching.
     Again, what we have here is a "call to battle" - with the very same emphasis found in Shakespeare's Henry V. It's a lesson in leadership - the need to push followers beyond themselves - to tap into a potential that lies dormant in the minds and hearts of most men and women. And, again just like Henry V, it underscores the bond of brotherhood that's forged in the pursuit of an heroic deed.