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December 9, 2009
Column #1,476
Perfect Christmas Gift: "Student Leadership Bible"
By Mike McManus

When I attend the Messiah, I bring a Bible to look up Scriptural sources of the words being sung. This year I brought a new version: "IMPACT: The Student Leadership Bible."

When the alto sang these words, I turned to Isaiah 53: "He is despised and rejected by men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief…"

The choir echoed , "Surely he has borne our griefs/ And carried our sorrows…
"But he was wounded for our transgressions…
"And by His stripes we are healed/ All we like sheep have gone astray."

Then I looked at the bottom of the page at a commentary with the headline,

    "LEADership REALities: SEE FURTHER DOWN THE ROAD" Isaiah 53

"Old Testament prophets can be described as people who stood on a peak in the mountain range of history and saw and proclaimed another peak, sometimes hundreds of years away. While often misunderstood, the prophets demonstrated the leadership principle to (ital) see further down the road, (cl ital) to see tomorrow while others concentrate on the present or even the past. No one lived this principle more than the prophet Isaiah when in Chapter 53 he describes Jesus as the Servant who would come to suffer and die.

      "His description of Christ is so vivid that it is difficult to believe that he was not present at the crucifixion of Christ. He actually lived and wrote some 500 years earlier, but his God-given vision was as accurate as that of an eyewitness. This quality is a gift and requires the mental discipline that will take the leader on a lonely, but amazing venture that few will experience. The future belongs to those who are prepared to those who dig a well now, before they are thirsty."

      Think of a young person you love, particularly one in their teens or twenties.  What would be the perfect Christmas gift?  A Bible that "demands leadership, first from God into your life and then into the lives of all in your sphere of influence," as the Introduction to the IMPACT Bible puts it.

      "Leadership cannot impact others unless it pours forth from Biblical principle that is woven into your DNA and defines your reality.

      "The IMPACT Bible exists as a leadership tool for students so that you can study for yourselves and be convinced in your own mind that no matter what crossroad or juncture in life, whether it is the best day or the darkest day, you can say as Luther did, "Here I stand. I can do no other."

      When I heard the baritone sing, "Why do the nations so furiously rage together? And why do the people imagine a vain thing?" I turned to Psalm 2.

      On the opposite page I read the IMPACT Bible's opening words on the 150 Psalms: "Each psalm contains great wisdom for daily living. The emphasis is clear: God matters, you matter, and today matters. Throughout this book of devotion, the importance of godly friends and God's Word in a leader's life are stressed. A leader must learn not to walk, `in the counsel of the ungodly.' (Ps. 1:1).

      "The 150 psalms proclaim the role God's Word should play in our lives: it is to be our delight, a light for our paths, our meditation, our food, and our map for navigating life."  Indeed, Psalm 2 above was quoted by the Apostles in Acts, Chapter 4.

      The most interesting IMPACT Bible commentaries are profiles of Biblical leaders.

      Here's a headline: SAUL WHO BECAME PAUL: Drastic Call, Dramatic Ministry.

      We learn that Saul was raised in Tarsus, educated by the great Pharisee Gamaliel, and was a persecutor of the "Jesus-followers" before he came "face to face with the God of the universe…A flash of light, a fall to the ground, and the voice of God all led him to the most painful, yet amazing discovery of his life: Jesus Christ was God. This hurt because it meant Saul had attacked the very God he desired to serve."

      Barnabas "first acted as a mentor to Paul."  Really?  That was news to me.  However, in Acts 9:26, after Paul had preached about Jesus in Damascus, "confounding the Jews" who heard him, knowing his history, Paul came to Jerusalem where he "tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him." But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles."

      The IMPACT Bible helps students "learn from those who have gone before us" from leaders who changed the course of history, so that they too can change their world. 

      As IMPACT states (ital) The future belongs to those who are prepared."  (cl ital)

      A gift that captures the meaning of Christmas.
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