The Voice of One Crying in the Wilderness


Leadership is broken because leaders are unbroken

The voice of one crying in the wilderness,
Clear the way of the LORD!
Make straight a highway in the desert for our God!
Every valley will be exalted and every mountain and hill will be made low;
the rough ground will be made level,
the rugged places a plain.
Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed,
and all the people will see the salvation of the Lord.
The LORD has spoken.

From Isaiah 40:3-5, the greatest Christmas poem ever written

Many American Christians today are running scared. America has lost its cultural salvation, and they have lost their hope.  Political leaders no longer believe in American absolutes; judicial leaders turn diversity into a new Gospel; educational leaders are irrationally afraid of religious freedom.

The family is not simply being redefined; it’s being dismembered. We need power, power to bring about a transformation in our nation.  And numbers of American Christians—running scared—are searching for a savior, a power player to deliver our nation.

There are numerous claimants to such a role, who say they can restore America to greatness, but what have they done beside talk? Anything? What power do they have?

The reason why many of us are running scared is because we’re relying on the wrong power to accomplish our purpose…

We’re attempting to produce a moral transformation through political power, but political power cannot create moral change because it’s man’s weakness substituted for God’s power.


There was a man in the ancient world who had power, real power; not political power or judicial power or financial power or educational power, but the greatest power of all: spiritual power. At this Christmas season, we need the spiritual power of that ancient man, the voice of one crying in the wilderness.

Some might think he was a weird kind of a guy. The camel haired jackets probably would be OK, and his honey health food diet might go over big today, but the locusts are a game stopper, no matter what. His long hair would be big in many circles, but he didn’t wear it to be stylish or to express a rebel identity. He never cut his hair because he was part of an Old Testament order called Nararites, and his long hair showed his dedication to God.

He had power, great power, because the Holy Spirit indwelt him from birth.  His name was John, also called the Baptizer, and he came with a message that brought hope to a nation living in darkness. They had no political power, no judicial power, no power to overthrow their Romans rulers, but there was a spiritual power among them, a power that took root in them and brought transformation to the Roman Empire.

This is our role today. At this Christmas we must return to our true salvation, the powerful salvation of the Lord born of the indwelling Holy Spirit that comes as a result of our voices crying in the wilderness of our times.

There is hope; there is glory; there is grace; there is salvation.  Remember this: the voice of the one crying in the wilderness was heard in the cities, and people came from all around because of the Spirit’s power.

From "The Voices of Christmas:  The Voice of One Crying in the Wilderness" on Broken Leadership Blog is about changing the leadership conversation from what we are doing with our hands to what God is doing through our hearts.


Bill Lawrence is the President of Leader Formation International, Senior Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Ministries and Adjunct Professor of DMin Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary where he served full-time for twenty-four years (1981-2005). During this time he also was the Executive Director of the Center for Christian Leadership for twelve years.