Tag Archives: leadership

June 14; Leadership

I Kings15:16-24,32-34 16:1-34, 22:41-46; 2 Chronicles16:1-14, 17:-18:, 20:31-34

What makes a good leader? The divided nation of God’s chosen people had some good, and some really awful kings. History has recorded kings, presidents, and dictators throughout the centuries, some of whom considered good, others bad for the countries and the world. Our own nation of only a couple hundred years has seen its share of good and bad presidents. So how do you know which is which?

I guess it depends on which side of the political aisle you sit.

Some may think a good leader is one who has a strong military. Others might say a strong economy is the evidence of a good leader. Still others might consider how the poor are treated, and whether health care is free, and minimum wage is a living wage. Are those the measure of a good leader?

I decided to look at what God has to say about that. In the Old Testament it is clear that God considers those who do evil in His sight are the bad leaders. Those who do what is right, are good leaders. Those who worship idols are bad, those who worship Him are good. That’s pretty self-explanatory.

Then I went to Google and typed in “leadership in the Bible.” Here are some verses that speak to leadership. It’s a list that has me looking at myself, the way I interact with people, and the kind of leader I am in the tasks God asks me to do.

Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves, do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

Matthew 5:37 But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ’No,no;’ anything beyond these is of evil.

Matthew 23:11 But the greatest among you shall be your servant.

Galatians 6:9 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.

I Timothy 6:6 But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.

2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

What I take from my time in the Word today is, I need to put God first and only. I need to be honest and caring and self-sacrificing. I need to stand firm on the Truth of Scripture, and not mess around with anything else.

I can sit back and judge President Trump or Nancy Pelosi. That’s the theme of the day for many Americans. But God would have me judge myself first. I believe we are all leaders in one capacity or another; in our families, on our jobs, in our churches. I would encourage us all to ask ourselves what kind of leaders we are in those positions.

Will we be known as a leader who did right in God’s eyes? Or will it be said of us we did evil in His sight? I think you know how I am praying.

 

March 25; Next

Joshua 3-6

I was thinking about Joshua today and wondered what he thought about his new position as leader of the nation of Israel. Forty years earlier as a spy, he had encouraged the people to take the land. We know they chickened out, and as a result wandered around in the wilderness for decades. But now it was time to go into the land God had promised to give them.

It’s very likely Joshua was close to Moses during the wandering years. We know from Deuteronomy 33 Joshua was with Moses when Moses shared his song in front of the people. In Deuteronomy 34 Moses commissioned Joshua with the laying on of hands. What I see is Moses mentoring Joshua, teaching him to be a leader, introducing him to leadership by degrees. I think it’s a picture of discipleship at its finest.

I trust you who have walked with the Lord for a while are involved in discipleship, coming along side a new Christian, teaching and encouraging them, and helping to prepare them for leadership opportunities.

It was 40 years before Joshua was given the responsibility of leading God’s people. I think sometimes new Christians are eager to jump in and be teachers, youth workers, and take on leadership roles in the church. Who wants to dampen their enthusiasm? Not me. And, hey, if they want to do that stuff, why not? I’m tired.

Yet, it would appear that God places value on the growing years before a child of His takes on the important role of leader. Paul is an example of that. Even Jesus went into the wilderness before beginning his ministry. Often God tells us to be still, to wait on the Lord before we jump into battle.

If you are a seasoned Christian, I urge you to reach out to a new Christian. Be the Moses to him or her as you teach them, encourage then, and prepare them for what comes next.

And if you are a new Christian, let me suggest you find that seasoned Christian who will invest themselves in your growth.

I said I wonder what Joshua felt as he stood before the people as their new leader. I can only imagine he felt humbled, scared, yet prepared and determined. After all, he had had a pretty great example to follow, a mentor worthy of imitating. Joshua was ready for what came next because God had given him time to prepare.

I pray that we will all be working together, young Christian and old, to prepare for what comes next.

February 23; Prepared

Leviticus 22-23

As a Sunday School teacher, and a Bible teacher for our Good News Club, I need to be careful. What a privilege I have to be entrusted with sharing the Word of God. But as I read God’s instructions to Aaron, I am reminded that God demands I take care of sin in my own life before I stand before anyone I plan to teach. I’m reminded that my obedience must come before my service.

If I take a position of leadership, I need to be sure my offering is not tainted by sin, like an Old Testament Jew offering a deformed animal to God. I’m not talking about a monetary tithe. I’m talking about the offering of my time as I study God’s Word and prepare a lesson. I’m talking about the time I spend in prayer concerning the lesson. I’m talking about those Sunday mornings and Tuesday afternoons when I share what God has laid on my heart.

If you are a pastor, a teacher, a nursery worker, a song leader I would suggest you approach your responsibilities with the same intentionality as Aaron did. And, really, the same goes for any of us who dare to share the Gospel with people we come in contact with. May we search our hearts and confess sin as God reveals it. And may our ministries be blessed because we did it God’s way. May Jesus be glorified in each of us.

2 Chronicles 8-10; Try A Little Tenderness

Rehoboam didn’t inherit the wisdom his father, King Solomon, had possessed. His first act as the newly crowned king of Israel split the nation in such a way that Jews became enemies of Jews. Rehoboam’s actions had consequences that were felt for generations. And it started with a word.

Play the tough guy, Rehoboam, so people respect you. Come down hard so they obey you.

I wonder how Israel’s history would read if Rehoboam had replied to Jeroboam with a little kindness.

I don’t know what position of authority you hold. You might be a preacher, a CEO of a large company, or a small one. You might be the shift manager at a fast food restaurant, a parent, a teacher, the captain of your HS football team. I would suggest we all take a lesson from Rehoboam.

Ruling with an iron fist, making sure people know they are under your thumb, does not encourage loyalty. Oh, they may obey you while looking for another job, or counting the days until they can get out of your house. But rest assured, more likely than not they will leave you the minute they can.

Authority doesn’t have to be mean. Taking a stand doesn’t mean beating people into submission. A person can be firm and kind at the same time.

“You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” Not sure why anyone would go fly-hunting, but I get it. Treat people the way you want them to treat you, goes for the workers and the bosses, the children and the parents, the parishioners and the pastor.

Rehoboam’s story tells me meanness divides. Try a little tenderness.

I Samuel 13-14; Follow The Leader

If your friend jumped off a cliff, would you jump, too?

Ever hear that one before? Maybe you’ve even said it to a young person you are concerned is following the wrong crowd. We all want our children to be leaders. But is there a time to teach them to follow?

My church had VBS this week. What a great time we had talking to kids about how much the Creator of the universe loves them, and how far that love goes to save them. We were Galactic Starveyors!

On our last night, when we were having our last practice before the closing program for parents, we had a visitor. An 11 year old boy came with his grandma, who was one of our teachers. I was in charge of music, and encouraged the youngster to practice the songs with us. I tried to assure him I’d help him learn the motions as quickly as possible.

“Just follow me,” I said.

Without skipping a beat the boy replied, “I’m not a follower. I’m a leader.”

I get that. He’s a good looking boy, a good student, a gifted athlete, and an all around nice guy. I hope he’s a leader in his school. I think his classmates would do well to follow his example.

But is there a time when even the best leaders should learn to be followers, too? I will tell you he got up there with the rest of the kids and did a crash course in song motions. Not an easy thing to do in front of peers who already knew what they were doing.

The Israelites and the Philistines were preparing to go to war. Not only was the Israeli army outnumbered by about a gazillion to one, on the day of the battle “not a soldier with Saul and Jonathan had a sword or a spear in his hand; only Saul and his son Jonathan had them.” (13:22)

Can you spell “defeat?”

So Jonathan told his armor bearer to follow him and together they’d sneak into the Philistine post. His armor bearer replied, “Do all that you have in mind… I am with you heart and soul.” (14:7)

If your friend jumped into the Philistine camp, would you jump, too?

How do you know when to lead, and when to follow someone else’s lead? In this case Jonathan asked for God’s direction, then followed the Lord into battle – just he and his armor bearer – and defeated all the men at the enemy outpost.

Who do you follow, and why? Maybe you’re a Type A person who feels you’re the only one who can do any job, so therefore people should follow you.

There are so many theologies preached by so many different preachers, so many programs touted by so many “experts,” so many opinions voiced by so many people. Who do you follow?

My prayer is that you will weigh everything and everyone according to Scripture plus nothing. Only that which is grounded in the Word of God is worth following.

Jonathon waited for God. We need to, too. Whether it’s a building campaign, a missions trip, a city project, a Sunday School curriculum, our leader should first and foremost be God.

If God is laying some position of leadership on your heart, go to Him. Test Him. Then obey Him.

And if God is raising up another to lead you, go to God. This might just be a case where God is calling you to follow with your “heart and soul.”

Jan 31 – Oh, Moses

Exodus 4-6

Moses. Moses. Moses. (I am shaking my head) You really didn’t want to be Israel’s leader, did you?

Six time in the chapters we read today, Moses tried to talk God out of sending him. He said things like, ‘They won’t believe me.’ ‘I am slow of speech.’ ‘Please send someone else.’ ‘Why did you ever send me?’ ‘If the Jews won’t listen to me, what makes You think Pharaoh will?’ ‘Pharaoh won’t pay attention to me because of the way I talk.’

Sometimes Moses protested right after God promised to do great things through him. And sometimes God was a little angry at this reluctant leader.

Moses seems to be inhibited by his speech. Did he stutter? Did he have a deformity? If it was holding Moses back, why didn’t God just heal him? God does all things well. And in this case, Moses didn’t need to be healed.

Reading about Moses reminds me God can use the least of us to accomplish great things. We don’t have to be the best looking, most talented, most charismatic people in the church. What we need is to trust God, to obey Him even if our knees are shaking.

The Charlton Heston version of Moses shows a strong, confident, fierce leader who led the Israelites out of Egypt. But I’m not so sure Moses was really that person. From what I read today, Moses might have been a bit more of a wimp than that.

God delights in revealing Himself through those of us who depend solely upon Him. Nobody was going to look at Moses and say, “He was born to be a great leader.” But they will look at Moses and say, “Wow. Moses has a great God.”

I want them to say that about me, too.

 

Godly Leaders

I am one who was saddened by the recent Supreme Court’s decision on marriage. I had hoped our leaders would have upheld our laws. But in this day and age, leadership seems to be following opinion, and not always the opinion of the majority.

Ok. That was purely opinion. But I was reminded this morning as I read God’s Word, how important it is for those in positions of leadership to be led by God. Leaders have enormous influence and, with it, great responsibility.

Solomon was a great leader, as we read in 2 Chronicles. But he raised a stupid son whose first act as king was to alienate the people and destroy the kingdom. (2 Chronicles 10)

The people of Lystra wanted to worship Paul and Barnabas after Paul healed a lame man. (Acts 14) But when the apostles told them they were mere men and not gods, the Lystonians turned their attention toward Jews from Antioch who spoke against Paul and Barnabas. The result? The people of Lystra went from wanting to worship them, to wanting to stone them. Just like that.

The Bible is not wrong when it calls us sheep. Too often we follow the leader blindly, without question, without thought. Those of us in positions of leadership, whether Sunday School teachers, CEO’s, policemen, pastors, History teachers, parents… need to go about our responsibilities prayerfully, soberly, intentionally because people are following our lead. People with eternal souls.

Who do we go to for advice? What do we read? What voices are we listening to? Are we leading according to God’s Word, or on the word of popular opinion?

Dear one, let’s determine to pray for our leaders. We’ve got leaders in government, in civil service, in churches, schools, and homes. And, in reality, all of us have leadership responsibilities in one form or another. Let’s ask God to be our Guide. Let’s spend time in his Word, seeking his will, hearing his voice and drowning out the voices that would lead us astray.

I said I was saddened by the actions of our Supreme Court. But maybe this is the wake-up call we Christians need to get involved in leadership positions in our nation. Maybe this ruling will be what the Church needs to stand firm as we follow our Lord. No doubt God can bring something good out of even this, if we hear his voice and obey.

Dear God, I thank you for our leaders. I pray for President Obama and ask that he would be drawn to you, that he would obey your voice for the decisions he makes concerning our nation. I pray for Senators and Congressmen, for court officials, for our military and our police force. I pray for pastors, teachers, leaders of industry, supervisors, coaches, parents. May hearts be humbled before you and may you find us all willing to follow your lead. I pray that you would lay on the hearts of godly men and women to get involved in the politics of our nation. And may your children support them with prayers and votes. And, Lord, no matter what leadership roles we find ourselves in, I pray that we would look to you for guidance. May you find us faithful.