Developing Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Archive for the month “July, 2016”

The 4 Alls of the Gospel

It was an early morning flight and being a frequent flyer, I had boarded first and was trying to read my Bible while the rest of the plane filled with passengers.  Sitting in the aisle I was secretly hoping that the center and window seat to my right would not be taken, allowing me to spread out some on the short flight from Colorado Springs to Denver. But, the last person to board threw his backpack into the window seat and proceeded to climb over me into the window seat.

Before the plane pushed back from the gate he leaned over and asked, “Hey, what are you reading?”  “I’m reading the book of Isaiah in the Bible,” I replied.  “Oh, that’s one of my favorite books,” he said.  A short conversation ensued where we exchanged some background information and then I asked, “So, how long have you been a believer?”  A quizzical look came over his face when he answered, “I think since I was born.”

I found out that he was headed for a funeral of his 14-month old son who had recently died of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and he had been reading a Bible to see if he could discover what happens to a person after they die.  I asked for permission to share with him a short summary of the central theme of the Bible, a summary I called the “4 All’s.”

As we leveled out after takeoff, he retrieved a Bible from his backpack and we turned to Romans.  I explained that there are four things that are common to all people – the 4 All’s.  We then proceeded to look at the verses in his Bible:  Romans 3:23 – All have sinned; Romans 5:12 – All will die; Romans 5:18 – Jesus died for all; and Romans 10:9,13 – All must receive Christ.  I checked for his understanding after each verse.  He nodded approvingly as we read each verse.

After reviewing these verses I asked him, “If you were to die tonight are you certain of seeing your son again in heaven?  He replied that he was not certain at all.  I then asked, “Is there any reason why you wouldn’t want to accept Christ right now as your personal Savior?”  “Why no,” he replied, “but how do I do that?”  I then shared a short prayer with him and somewhere over Colorado at 12,000 feet, Rick trusted Christ as his Savior.

When landing we went over a few short passages on assurance of salvation from 1 John and after de-planing he hugged me and said, “Thanks so much for telling me about Christ!  Please pray for me.  I hope I can tell someone else about Him at this funeral.”

 

 

 

Don’t Change the Channel

The tragedies of this past week have left all of us deeply saddened and concerned about the present state and future of our country.  Every news channel on our TV has non-stop interviews and commentary on the frightening details of these horrific acts.  Over time we can become saturated and numb to it all.  And we are tempted to simply change the channel.

But for our ethnic minority staff, especially our African-American staff, they can’t change the channel.  They agonize with the continual reminder that their sense of personal vulnerability has to be addressed every moment of every day.

1 Cor. 12:25 reminds us that all parts of the body should have equal concern for each other.  Therefore we stand with and support our ethnic minority staff as they live daily with the racial tensions of life today.  Indeed we all live with these racial tensions.

Our Calling reminds us that we are to advance the Gospel to all peoples.  We are all seeking to advance the gospel of Jesus and His Kingdom to people of all ethnicities.  It does not matter the color of their skin or the color of their uniform.  The command of Jesus is to disciple all the nations (Matthew 28:18-20).  And we all desperately need His help and empowerment to do accomplish this challenging task.

So what are we to do?

First, we can pray for our fellow ethnic minority staff for wisdom and courage as they live with the racial tensions day in and day out.

Second, we can look for opportunities to advance the gospel in the midst of this storm.  We must fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen; for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18).  Jesus is the only lasting solution to these long-standing issues.

Third, we can actively listen to the voices of our ethnic minority friends and pray for ourselves for growth in understanding.

But whatever we do…  Don’t change the channel !  

Spending a Half-Day with God #2

Here’s some practical ideas on how best to utilize your extended time alone with God.

The first step in spending a half-day with God is to schedule the time and a place.  The place must be free from distractions and interruptions.  After you have chosen the date, you must protect it from other urgent, pressing needs that will tempt you into canceling or postponing.  Remember that our enemy, the devil, is actively opposing this plan and will seek to get you to cancel or postpone this time with God.  Be mentally ready for a battle!

Take with you a Bible, a notebook and pen, a songbook and perhaps a devotional book that can help you focus on the Lord.

Divide your time into three parts.  During the first part you want to fellowship and worship the Lord.  Read the Bible (especially the Psalms), worship Him with singing, confess known sin in prayer and thank and praise Him for all His goodness and faithfulness.  During this time you also may want to read your devotional book in order to help focus our thoughts on Him.

During the second part of your time alone with God you will want to pray for others.  Remember to pray as specifically as possible.  A poor example would be, “Lord, please bless Joe.”  A better example would be, “Lord, please help Joe live a life that is pleasing to you.  Give Him a heart of obedience and a hunger for your Word.”  Pray for others what you would pray for yourself.

In the third part of your time, you want to especially pray for yourself.  Pray for wisdom and insight from the Lord.  Pray for His perspective on your life and its problems.  Pray that your heart will desire to do His will.  Pray that you may be used to glorify Him through what you do and say.  Pray over your future activities and plans.  If you are facing a problem, ask the Lord to show you the solution or how to overcome it.  Think through your current spiritual condition and make note of any impressions or ideas you may get from the Lord.

Before you finish your time alone with God, it is most helpful if you summarize in writing what things God has spoken to you.  Perhaps it is a decision that you made, a new objective for the future, a task or project that must be started or other important matters.  Don’t look for some mystical experience during this time.  Rather, if you have taken time alone with God, realize that there will be an impact in your daily life, even though you may not have some special feelings.

It is best if you can take this half-day alone with God on a regular basis, about every several months.  This is especially true if you are facing major decisions or stressful times.

Have you scheduled your next half-day alone with God?

Spending a Half-Day with God #1

There are many important things that fill up our personal schedules each day.  These important tasks occupy our time and often other items that are much more important are neglected because of the pressure of the urgent.  Taking time to pray often is considered something good to do, if we have the time, but not something that is a necessity.  It is even more of a struggle, if we desire to take a half-day with the Lord for fellowship and prayer!

What is the purpose and what benefits can we expect if we take an extended time for prayer and fellowship with the Lord?  Listed below are some thoughts related to this question.

  1.  Spending extended time alone with God will deepen our relationship with Him. We will deepen the joy of our relationship with Him as we fellowship and worship Him.  As in all relationships, it takes time to get to know someone.  The Lord promises to especially attend to those who fear and honor Him (Malachi 3:16 and 2 Chronicles 16:9a).
  1. Leaving behind our daily routines and responsibilities will renew our perspective on life.  Especially when facing difficulties, we must get away and focus on the Lord, rather than on our problems.  Our attention is to be on the unseen, not the visible (2 Corinthians 4:18).
  1.  We are often frustrated in not praying enough for others.  Taking an extended time for prayer will enable us to spend quality time praying for the needs and concerns of our friends, relatives, those in authority over us, etc.  The power of prayer is evident as we take the time to intercede for others.  Many things can only be accomplished through prayer.
  1.  The busyness of our daily routines can sometimes cloud our future goals and direction in life.  Taking time alone with God can help us re-evaluate the direction of our lives.  During these times God can give a renewal for our current life path or re-direct.  When facing major decisions, such as career or location changes, we must take the time to seek God’s mind.  What does He want us to do?
  1.  Our busyness can also prevent us from thoroughly thinking through certain projects, goals or problems.  The Lord gave us the ability to think and reason.  Though we are not to depend on our reasoning only (Proverbs 3:5-6), we are still to use it!  Taking the time to think, without distractions, is a necessity as we face the complexities of modern life.

When was the last time you took some extended time with the Lord?  Is it time to put it on your calendar?

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