Developing Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Archive for the month “August, 2016”

Living with Eternal Values #2

John Sung was a young Chinese believer who was sent by his family to America to study chemistry.  After obtaining his PhD from Ohio State he went on to seminary before returning to China.  During his time in the U.S., God called John to a life of service for the Kingdom.  On the ship home one evening, he took his diplomas and threw them into the Pacific Ocean, telling God he would follow Him wherever He led.

After arriving home, he told his family of  his calling and decision to serve Christ rather than teach science.  The family thought he had lost his mind and committed him a mental institution.  During his 193 days in the asylum, Sung read the Bible through 40 times!  Finally, the family had him released, and he became an itinerant evangelist traveling throughout China and many Asian countries.  His fifteen-year ministry was characterized by unusual power and influence until his death at the age of 43.

Not all of those who seek God’s best will be asked to give up their careers in order to serve Christ full-time.  Many will serve Him in God-honoring careers, being light and salt in the marketplace.  But whatever their vocation, the pilgrims of this new generation of believers will often live lives that will be misunderstood by others.  Pilgrim values will be contrary to the values of this world.  Life decisions based on eternal values will go against the tide of this world’s norms.  Pilgrims will be thought of as foolish or at least not living up to their full potential.  It will only be in the world to come that we will see completely who made the correct choices.  “But wisdom is proved right by all her children” (Luke 7:35).

“Seek to depend on God for everything.  Put yourself and your work into His hands.  When thinking of a new undertaking, ask, ‘Is this agreeable to the mind of God?  Is it for His glory?’  If it is not for His glory, it is not for your good, and you must have nothing to do with it.  Mind that!

“Having settled that a certain course is for the glory of God, begin in His name and continue it to the end.  Undertake it in prayer and faith and never give up.”                                                                                                George Mueller

Living with Eternal Values #1

What will it take to find a generation of God’s people who will live for the summit of God’s best?  It will begin with individual believers who base their lives on eternal rather than temporal values.  It will take believers who are so convinced about the reality of life in heaven that this world’s pleasures will not be able to grip their lives.  It will begin with an eternal value system in the believer’s life.

Both the seen and unseen world has values.  Individuals adopt these values and life’s choices are based upon them.  This world places value on such things as youth and physical beauty, intelligence and education, the accumulation of money and physical goods, personal power and position, and self-gratification.

The world to come says that this world and its values will soon pass away.  In the world to come we will all be given new bodies that don’t age or deteriorate (1 Cor. 15:35-58), we will know even as we are known (1 Cor. 13:9-12), there will be rewards for faithful service (1 Cor. 3:5-15), and we will reign with Christ forever (2 Tim. 2:12; Rev. 22:1-5).

Those believers with an eternal value system will have a pilgrim’s mentality.  They will view this life as temporary, a brief interlude on the way to eternity forever with Jesus.  They are only passing through this world on the way to a better life.  The time given for this temporal life will be used for God’s glory, always with the eternal end in view.  Decisions in this life will reflect the reality of the eternal life we await.

“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.  People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.  If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.  Instead, they were longing for a better country–a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.”      (Hebrews 11:13-16)

The Need of the Hour #2

Hippolomy was a mythical, Greek young man who was in love with the beautiful Atlanta.  Atlanta, in addition to her striking beauty, was also a gifted runner, but she had a cruel, sadistic character.  Many young men became infatuated with her beauty and desired to marry her.  These men were challenged to a foot race with two conditions.  If the man won the race, he could marry Atlanta.  But if he lost, he would pay with his life.  Many a man tried and paid the ultimate price for his second place finish.

Hippolomy also became mesmerized by Atlanta’s beauty and challenged her to a race.  Shortly after the race began he fell behind.  Reaching into his tunic, he withdrew a golden apple and threw it in front of the streaking Atlanta.  The flash of gold caught her eye and she stopped to pick up the golden fruit as Hippolomy raced by.  She soon recovered and again moved ahead of him.  Hippolomy pulled a second golden apple from his tunic and threw it in front of Atlanta who once again stopped to pick it up.  As Hippolomy passed the crouching Atlanta, she realized that the race was nearing the finish, and she recovered soon enough to regain a comfortable lead with a short distance to go.

Hippolomy retrieved the last of his golden apples from his tunic and threw it ahead of Atlanta as she approached the finish.  Atlanta was in a quandary; should she stop and pick up the apple or press for the finish line  She reasoned that she certainly could do both, so she stopped to placed the golden fruit in her robe just a Hippolomy raced passed her towards the finish.  She recovered, but now with such a short distance to the finish line, she was not able to beat him.  Hippolomy had won!

This is not an illustration on how to find a life partner!  Rather, as we race through life, we will find the enemy of our souls rolling “golden apples” of opportunity, compromise, and temptation in our path.  These golden fruits will be attractive, and we will be tempted to believe that they will not impact our life’s race.  We will think that we can have it all and still finish well.  It will only be near the end of our life’s race that we’ll find that we can’t reach the finish, the summit, God’s best, because we chose to stop our race along the way. We thought it was only for a moment, that no one would know or care, but a moment’s compromise will lead to a mediocre, half-way life.

What the world needs today is a new generation of believers who will say “no” to this world’s values and live for the unseen world promised by Christ.  The reality of heaven will so impact the lives of this generation that they will not compromise or settle for anything less that than God’s best for themselves and those around them.  They will give themselves unreservedly to Christ–a generation whose watchword will be, “Anything, anywhere, anytime–for Christ!”

The Need of the Hour #1

The world is in crisis today.  It is not a political crisis, though it has political implications.  It is not an economic crisis, though economics are affected.  It is not a social crisis, though all levels of society are impacted.  It is a spiritual crisis brought on by the people of God themselves.  There is a spiritual poverty, a lack of vitality in the believer’s walk and talk that has led to mediocrity in the Christian world today.  This mediocre life of the believer has left the Christian world with a muted  witness and an emasculated impact on society.  What is needed is a transformation in the Christian world.  What is needed is a generation of believers who will live a radical life (radical in the eyes of the world, but not to God); a life that seeks the world to come, not this world.

The word “mediocre” finds its origin in two Latin words meaning “half way” and “mountain.”  Mediocre means to only get half way up the mountain.  A mediocre Christian life is one that begins its journey aiming for the top of the mountain, but then settles for only half way to the summit.  What is needed today is a generation of young people who will decide to reach for the summit in the Christian life and settle for nothing less until they reach it.  There will be no compromise along the way.  There will be opportunities to bow out, to give in to the tide of the world, but this generation will set their face like a flint and go for broke.  They will be satisfied with nothing less than God’s best—serving Him with their whole heart!

What the world needs today is a new generation of believers who will say “no” to this world’s values and live for the unseen world promised by Christ.  The reality of heaven will so impact the lives of this generation that they will not compromise or settle for anything less that than God’s best for themselves and those around them.  They will give themselves unreservedly to Christ–a generation whose watchword will be, “Anything, anywhere, anytime–for Christ!”

The Look of a Mature Disciplemaking Ministry

A Mature Disciplemaking Ministry  –  Luke 6:13-19

Jesus is approximately one year into His 3+ years of public ministry when we read in Luke 6 that He spent the night in prayer.  While it is not unusual for Jesus to spend time alone in prayer with His Father, this prayer time preceded a significant shift in His work.  From here on He would have a leadership team that would consist of future leaders of the movement He would leave behind.  These 12 would now become His top priority in His ministry and we see that He completes this training of the 12 in John 17:1-6.  It is these leaders that ensure that spiritual generations of future leaders will emerge after He departs.

Jesus’ ministry as described in this one paragraph illustrates the three audiences found in a mature disciplemaking ministry and the three different functions that are addressed in these audiences.

The first audience is the Core leaders  –  Luke 6:13-16.  These are emerging leaders who will be the ‘golden thread’ for spiritual generations to come.  We Train these leaders in vision and skill for spiritual reproduction  –  helping them move to maturity and ability to reproduce their lives in others.

The second audience is the Large crowd of Disciples  –  Luke 6:17.  These are those we lead to Christ and those believers we find who want to pursue spiritual growth.   We Teach these disciples principles about being a Kingdom citizen –   helping them know and apply what it means to be a follower of Jesus.

The third audience was the Great number of people attracted to the movement, but lacking any commitment to it  –  Luke 6:17-19.  We  seek to Touch them in the name of Jesus.  Some we will simply contact – maybe a survey or simply testifying before them; while others we will deeply impact, even winning them to faith in Christ.

Three audiences in a mature disciplemaking ministry – Emerging Leaders, Disciples, and Great numbers of people on the journey.  We seek to Train, Teach, and Touch them for the sake of Christ and for His glory.

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