Developing Kingdom Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

It’s Not the Great Suggestion!

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.  Matthew 28:18-20  ESV

This passage has been called the Great Commission, not the Great Suggestion!  It is a command given to all followers of Jesus Christ.  It is “great” because it is the culmination of all Jesus taught and because of the scope of the commission – the whole world.

Disciples (followers) of Jesus are to make other disciples as they go through life.  These new disciples are to be baptized (publicly identify with Jesus) and taught to obey the whole Word of God.  Then, they too are to go and do the same, eventually reaching all the nations (peoples) of the earth.  With each succeeding generation, the Great Commission stands as a fresh, new challenge.

  • God has always had the whole world on His heart.  What do the following passages say about God’s heart for the world? — Genesis 12:1-3; Isaiah 49:6
  • After the resurrection, Jesus repeated this commission several times in various forms.  What else did Jesus say in the following verses when He reminded the disciples of His world vision? — Luke 24:45-49; Acts 1:4-8

Question to ponder:  How are you personally involved in helping to fulfill the Great Commission?

Passages for further study:  John 3:16-17; Revelation 7:9-10

Becoming a High-Yield Field

As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty. Matthew 13:23 ESV

In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus mentions four different types of soil.  Each soil receives the seed, but only one, the good soil, produces a crop.  The problem is not in the seed, but rather with the soil.  How can we be sure we are becoming good soil that will yield a bumper crop?

The good soil is the person who hears and understands God’s message.  High-yield soil receives God’s Word and seeks to apply it to their lives.  The soil does not work to produce the crop.  Rather it simply provides the environment for the seed to reach its full potential and do the purpose for which it was planted.  The life and power are in the seed! If we give ourselves to God and applying His Word to our lives, we too will become a high-yield field!

  • What does God say about the power of His Word in the following verses? — Isaiah 55:8-11; Jeremiah 23:29
  • What do the following passages say about the crop that the Lord is looking for in our lives? — Matthew 7:15-20; Galatians 5:19-26

Question to ponder:  Is there anything that is hindering God from producing the crop in your life that He desires?

Passages for further study: Jeremiah 17:7-8; John 15:1-17

Prayer – Opening Your Heart

And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Mark 14:35-36 ESV

Does God always answer our prayers?  Yes, but sometimes His answer is “No.”  Even Jesus, the Son of God, was told “no” by His Father when He asked not to be crucified (Luke 22:41-44)!  God always listens, He always answers, but there are times when His better way is that we don’t receive what we request.

God listens to our hearts not our words when we pray.  Prayer is sharing our heart, our thoughts, and our feelings with our Father in heaven.  Prayer is being real, open, and transparent in our communication with God.  As we talk with God, we can tell Him how we really feel.  He can take it! We can ask Him for big things – impossible things. He’s not overwhelmed or stressed out by our great requests. He can handle whatever we bring up.

  • What promises does God make in the following passages to those who pray? — John 14:12-14; 1 John 5:14-15
  • In the following verses, what conditions are mentioned for answered prayer? —  Matthew 6:5-15; James 4:3

Questions to ponder:  Why do you think God takes a long time to answer some prayers?

Passages for further study: Mark 11:22-24; Luke 18:1-8

A Heart for People

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10 ESV

What was the purpose in Jesus’ coming?  Jesus Himself summed it up by saying that He, “came to seek and to save the lost.”  People without a personal relationship with Jesus are lost—separated from God.  In another place He refers to them as sheep without a shepherd. Jesus came seeking those people that they might be reconciled once again to God.  He still seeks the lost today.

Jesus has committed to His followers the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:11-21).  As Christ’s ambassadors, we seek to persuade men and women to put their trust in Him that they may be reconciled back to God.  Our passion is Christ and His passion is people.  As we grow in our heart for God we will also grow in His passion for people.

  • God deeply cares for the lost.  What do the three parables in Luke 15 reveal about God’s heart for the lost? —  Luke 15:1-7; Luke 15:8-10; Luke 15:11-32
  • We can grow in our own heart for the lost.  What is said in the following passages about growing in our heart for people?  —  Ezekiel 36:26; 2 Peter 1:5-9

Questions to ponder:  What are your passions in life? Is one of them a passion to see people reconciled back to God? Why or why not?

Passages for further study: Psalm 51:10; Romans 8:5-11

The Cost of Discipleship

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23 NIV

Salvation is a free gift, but following Christ will cost everything!  We begin by giving up our rights (deny self).  We give up the right to determine our own future and let Jesus determine it for us.  We give up the right to a comfortable, peaceful, self-determined life and give Jesus the right to use and place us as He sees best for furthering His purposes.

He not only calls us to deny ourselves, but to die to self (take up our cross) daily.  Each day and every moment of each day we must choose to live for Jesus instead of self.  Each day we strive to please Him and not people.  Following and obeying Him is our passion.  We live for Him and Him alone, playing our life to an audience of One — seeking to end our lives by hearing Him say, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

  • What does Jesus say in the following passages it will cost to follow Him? — Matthew 8:18-22; Luke 14:25-33
  • What do the following verses say is involved in dying to self? — John 12:24-26; Romans 12:1-2

Question to ponder:  What is keeping you from unreservedly and wholeheartedly following Jesus?

Passages for further study: Mark 10:28-31; Philippians 3:7-11

Jesus – Our Good Shepherd

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. … I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me–just as the Father knows me and I know the Father–and I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10:11, 14-15 NIV

Jesus is the Good Shepherd of His sheep.  He loves us, His sheep, so much so that He is willing to die for us.  He knows His sheep intimately.  He calls us by name and we recognize His voice.  He gathers His sheep together and makes us all one flock.  He watches over His sheep and protects us from evil.  He is a very good shepherd.

Sheep need the help and care of a shepherd.  A shepherd guides and defends the sheep of His flock.  Sheep are easy prey to wolves, coyotes, and other predators.  A good shepherd protects the flock from harm and leads them to green pastures where they may feed and be nurtured for their health and growth. 

  • As sheep, we must stay close to our shepherd if we are to benefit from his care and protection.  What do the following passages say about following Jesus our Good Shepherd? — Luke 9:57-62; John 15:1-17
  • Jesus cares for sheep that are lost.  He searches for them that they may be brought back to the flock.  What is stated in the following passages about Jesus’ searching for His lost sheep? — Matthew 18:10-14; Luke 15:1-7

Question to ponder:  Are you following close after the Good Shepherd as He seeks to guide and protect you?

Passages for further study: Matthew 10:29-31; 1 Peter 5:7

GOD’s Guidance

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV

God certainly knows the plans He has for our lives, but how can we know those plans?  The Lord is not wanting to hide His plans from us. Rather, He wants us to know and align our choices with His plans. If He sees a child of His who sincerely desires to obey and follow His will, He will not leave us wondering about His plans.  He loves us too much for that.  He will show us the way to go.

Much of our struggle is not knowing God’s will but doing it.  God reveals His will one step at a time; we are not shown the entire plan.  We are to trust Him for today knowing that He holds the future in His hands.  He will give us the guidance we need for tomorrow when tomorrow comes. It is a walk by faith, not by sight.

  • A primary means God uses to communicate His will is His Word, the Bible.  What is stated about God’s direction in the following verses? — Psalm 119:105; 2 Timothy 3:16-17
  • God also guides us through wise counselors.  What do the following passages say about getting counsel from others? — Proverbs 13:20; Proverbs 15:22; Proverbs 19:20

Question to ponder:  What is hindering you from being truly willing to obey and follow God’s plans for your life?

Passages for further study: Proverbs 3:5-6; Romans 12:1-2

Growing in Humility

All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the LORD. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word. Isaiah 66:2 ESV

Humility is an essential character quality for a disciple of Christ.  True humility begins by understanding our total dependence on God for our very existence.  God supports the humble, but He resists (actively works against) and will bring low the proud.

God is committed to building humility into our lives.  We can choose the easy way or the hard way to learn humility. We can humble ourselves or have God humble us.  Growing in humility sets us free to serve others.

  • The easier way to grow in humility is to humble ourselves.  What is stated in the following passages about humbling ourselves? —  John 13:12-17; Philippians 2:5-11
  • The more painful way to grow in humility is to be humbled by God.  What is stated about God’s humbling process in the following verses? — Job 24:22-24; Proverbs 15:25; Isaiah 26:4-5

Questions to ponder:  What opportunities is God currently giving you to grow in humility? Are you embracing them?

Passages for further study: James 4:6-10; 1 Peter 5:5-6

Identity and Purpose

I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made. Isaiah 43:6-7 ESV

God is our Creator, and He is not ashamed of the work of His hands.  In His divine love and wisdom He determined our gender, race, physical characteristics, temperament, intellect, all that makes us uniquely different from every other person.  He designed us to be a special part of His creation.

God designed and created us for a divine purpose.  We are made in His image and made for His glory.  He has good works for us to do that will also glorify Him (see Ephesians 2:8-10).  We are created to understand our God-given, unique design and develop our potential for God’s glory (1 Corinthians 10:1).

  • All God’s creation brings glory to Him.  What do the following passages say about the purpose of God’s creation? — Psalm 19:1-4; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18
  • All of our physical characteristics were designed by God–both those we like and those we don’t like.  What is said in the following passages about our unique design? — Job 33:4; Psalm 139:13-16; John 9:1-3

Question to ponder:  What does the world say your identity and purpose should be and how does that contrast with what God says about you and the purposes He has for you?

Passages for further study: Acts 17:24-28; Romans 1:18-25

Personal Peace

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3 NIV

From Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 7:24-27 we know that the storms of life befall the righteous and the unrighteous.  Those who hear and apply the words of Christ will be able to withstand these trials that assail our faith.  God promises peace in the midst of the raging storms if we trust in Him. 

Personal peace is an inner calm that comes from trusting that our heavenly Father is in control of our present situation.  It comes from knowing that nothing can happen to us unless God allows it.  Peace is rooted in knowing the love and goodness of God and continues to trust Him when life doesn’t feel good or make sense.

  • God promises us peace, a peace that will overcome our fears.  What is said about the peace of God the following passages? — John 14:27; Philippians 4:6-7
  • We can choose to trust God and have peace or believe what we see and give way to our fears.  What is said in the following passages about fear? — Luke 12:4-7; 1 Peter 3:1-6

Question to ponder:  What fearful situation are you facing where you can trust God and experience His peace?

Passages for further study: John 14:1; John 16:33

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