Developing Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Archive for the month “September, 2016”

Living a Life of Sacrifice #1

Sacrifice means, “to give something up for the sake of something of higher value.”  Sacrificial living is to give up our own lives for the purpose of following Christ.  Jesus modeled the perfect sacrificial life by giving His very life for the sins of mankind.  It is this type of lifestyle, one that chooses to live for others instead of self, that models real love for people (John 15:12-14).

Sacrificial living is a daily decision, not a one time event.  Paul urges us to, “….offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship (Romans 12:1).”  We are to continually offer ourselves to God as living sacrifices as an act of worship to God for all He has done for us.  He died for us!  Living for Him is the least we can do!

Jesus reminds us that being His disciple means, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).  To follow Christ means that we must first deny ourselves.  That is, give up all rights to our own plans, desires, dreams, and hopes for our lives and let God determine our future.  It is an abandonment of self into the loving hands of God.  Secondly, we must take up our cross daily.  To the first century audience, the picture of a person carrying a cross meant that they were condemned to death by the Roman government.  They had no future–only death.  Jesus uses this picture to illustrate that this death to self is to be daily, not just a one time decision.  Each and every day we must choose to live for Christ and not self.

Sacrificial living goes against the wisdom of this world.  The world says to seek self-gratification.  “If it feels good do it!”  The implication being, if it doesn’t feel good, then it should not be acted upon.  To choose to deny self in order to gain the opportunity to serve God is something that will be hard for others to understand.

Sacrifice is painful!  It cost God’s Son His life!  There are no guarantees we will live a pain-free life.  God does not apologize for asking much of His followers.  It is His right.  He owns us.  He bought us with His own blood.  “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Cor. 6:19-20).

But God also promises us that whatever cost we are asked to pay in denying self and following Him He will repay multiple times over.  “I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields–and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life” (Mark 10:29-30).

Therefore, whatever has been sacrificed for Christ, when compared with what has been gained in return, will not seem to be too great a cost to pay.

Living a Life of Love #2

Once believers have become disciples of Christ, we must help them begin to help others.  They must be equipped to impart the life of Christ to the next generation.  Disciples must be enabled to labor for Christ–to evangelize the lost and establish the new believers.  They must realize that they have been given a commission by Christ to disciple the nations.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”       Matthew 28:19-20

Where do we get a heart for evangelizing the lost, establishing the saved, and equipping laborers for Christ?  We only need to ask!

Several years ago four men, all in graduate and professional studies, decided to pray for 30 days straight from 5:30 am to 7:00 am on a hill overlooking Purdue University.  They prayed for one thing only during those mornings–that God would give them a heart for people.  They asked God to give them a heart as in Ezekiel 36:26, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”

Those days ended but a permanent transaction had taken place in their hearts.  Within a few short years they had finished their studies, but all felt called of God to give themselves to ministering to people full-time.  They all came on staff with The Navigators.  One became a leader in the U.S., one went to Zimbabwe, one to Zambia, and I went to Indonesia.  Was it by coincidence?  No!  God had answered our prayers and given us a heart for people!

Not every believer is called or gifted for full-time ministry.  Seeking God’s best does not mean becoming a full-time Christian missionary.  But, those who choose to live for the world to come will give themselves to serving people in this world whatever their vocation.  They will have a heart for people because people are valuable to God.  They will grow in their love for people as God forms His heart within them.

Living a Life of Love #1

God’s plan for this world is to burn it up (1 Pet. 3:3-10)!  What will abide out of this world after the fire of God are two things:  the Word of God (Mat. 24:35) and people (Rev. 7:9; 22:5).  God loves people.  When deciding on an inheritance for Himself, He chose to give Himself people (Deut. 32:8-9).  God desires to be with people forever and plans to share all of His creation with them.  People who live with the unseen world’s values will invest in people because people are eternal and valuable to God.

God so loved people that He sent His Son to die for them!  The people of this world who do not yet know Christ must be given the opportunity to believe.  Believers will have to go and tell them of Christ’s death and resurrection.  For many this will mean leaving family, friends, and their home culture in order to take the gospel to those who have never heard.  It will take the attitude of  the Jesuit missionary, Francis Xavier, who served in India, Japan, and Southeast Asia.  He said he longed to be back in Paris, “to go shouting up and down the streets to tell the students to give up their small ambitions and come eastward to preach the gospel of Christ.” [i]

Not only do these people need to repent and believe the gospel, but afterwards they must be established in their new-found life in Christ.  The Apostle Paul was moved by love to impart the gospel and his life as he followed-up the converts of his ministry.  He wrote, “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us” (1 Thes. 2:8).

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.         Colossians 2:6-7

These young believers will need someone who can come along side them and help them understand the Bible and apply it to life situations.  It will not take spiritual giants, but a person who is just a little farther along in their pilgrimage who is willing to share with others what they have learned.  Someone put it this way, “It’s like a new patient who has checked into a hospital getting help from some other patients.  They can help because they know the hospital, having been there a little longer than the new patient.”

[i]   Give Up Your Small Ambitions  by Michael C. Griffiths,  Moody Press  Chicago, Illinois   1978   p.6

Living with Margin

I’m taking a break this week!

Seeking to honor God by living within my margins and boundaries.

How about you?  When was the last time you took some time away for refreshment and rest?

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”      Mark 6:31

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