Developing Kingdom Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Archive for the category “#2 BE – Who a Leader Is”

Attitudes and Authority

The LORD is the one you and your followers are really revolting against! For who is Aaron that you are complaining about him? Numbers 16:11 NLT

God has ordained certain authority-submission relationships in His creation.  Examples of these are: God and people, government and citizens, employer and employee, spiritual leader and follower, husband and wife, and parents and children.  These relationships do not imply that those in authority have more value or worth in God’s eyes than those that are called to follow.  For even within the Trinity there is authority and submission (see 1 Corinthians 11:3). 

God in His wisdom and love, places His authorities over each of us.  These authorities are there for His purposes and rebellion against them is taken very seriously.  Moses saw Korah’s rebellion as not against his leadership, but ultimately a rebellion against God (v. 11).  We can willingly submit to the authorities over us knowing that God will care for us, even if our authorities are ungodly. 

  • What insights can you gain from how Daniel and his friends responded to the ungodly authority over them in Daniel 1:1-16?
  • What was the response of Daniel’s three friends when they faced another difficult submission decision in Daniel 3:1-30?  Pay special attention to their attitudes in verses 16-18.

Question to ponder:  When and under what circumstances would you ever not submit to an authority?

Passages for further reflection: Matthew 26:36-64; Matthew 27:11-14

Becoming God’s Friend

Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend… Exodus 33:11 ESV

Can someone really become a friend with God?  Moses met regularly with God, speaking with Him face to face, building a deep, personal relationship. By spending time alone with God, Moses developed a growing friendship with Him.  As Moses grew in his friendship and intimacy with God, his requests from God grew bolder. As he grew in his understanding of God’s character, he was emboldened to ask God for such things as wanting His presence to go with them and asking to see God’s glory (see the rest of Exodus 33).

The Lord desires to build an intimate, personal relationship with each of us also.  But, like Moses, we too must set aside regular time to meet with Him that we may get to know Him better.  Daily devotions built around the Word and prayer are anchors in this growing friendship. We can talk with Him through prayer, and He talks to us through His Word.

  • Eternal life is not something that we have to wait to experience after we die.  Rather, it is a personal relationship with God that begins the moment we believe in Christ and then continues for eternity.  Reflect on the following passages, noting what they say about our relationship with God?  — John 1:12-13; John 17:3,20-26
  • How did Jesus model and teach us to pursue a relationship with our heavenly Father — Mark 1:35; Luke 5:15-16

Question to ponder:  What can you do cultivate a deeper personal relationship with God?

Passages for further reflection: Psalm 5:3; Matthew 6:6

Roses from Ashes

But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them. Genesis 50:19-21 (NIV)

Can God take something terrible and turn it into something good?  Joseph had every reason to be bitter and angry at God and towards his brothers for all that had happened to him; but he wasn’t.  Instead, he saw God’s purposes in all the events of his life.  God had saved Israel from starvation because of Joseph being taken into Egypt as a slave many years before.

God was in control of all that happened to Joseph and He is in control of all that happens to us (even when we don’t think so). Though we may not understand it all at the moment, we can trust in His power, love and goodness.  By growing in our understanding of God and His character we will learn to rest in His plan for our lives.

  • Often tragedies strike believers and we question why would God allow it to happen?  How can the truth of Romans 8:28 help if something unexpected and difficult comes into your life?
  • God is all-powerful.  But we must also remember that He is good.  To only believe in God’s sovereign power and not His love and goodness leads to fatalism.  What is said about God’s character in the following passages?  — Psalm 115:3; Psalm 119:68; 1 John 4:8

Question to ponder:  How does having a deep trust in the power and goodness of God help when we face hard times in life?

Passages for further study: 1 Samuel 2:6-8; 1 Chronicles 29:10-13

Trusting God

Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together. … Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. Genesis 22:7-8, 13 (NIV)

Trusting God often scares us to death!  We are trusting Him for the unseen, something in the future that is unknown (at least unknown to us).  Living by faith is a lifestyle.  It is a process, not an event.  We never arrive at a point in this world where we can stop trusting God.  Four times throughout the Bible God says, “the righteous will live by faith” (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38).

Abraham had passed the test of trusting God for the son he was promised.  God tested Abraham to see if he would still believe, even if Isaac was taken away.  Abraham eagerly accepted this new trial of faith, leaving “early the next morning” (:3). 

  • God’s command to Abraham required an act of obedience on his part (Genesis 22:1-2).  Abraham responded by doing as God asked (:3-11).  Faith and obedience are linked together. — Mark 1:14-20; Hebrews 11:8-10
  • In life’s trials of faith, God’s answer often comes at the last minute.  Notice when God stopped Abraham (:10).  The following passages speak about God’s timing. — Joshua 3:14-16; Daniel 12:1-14

Question to ponder: Why do you believe God waits, often much longer than we desire, to answer prayer?

Passages for further study: Romans 4:20-21; 2 Corinthians 1:8-11

The Greatness of Knowing Christ

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. Philippians 3:8 ESV

God could have created humans on any third rock out from any star amidst the billions in His vast universe and then hidden Himself away, never to be heard or seen.  He could have retired to a corner of His creation and we would never have known Him.  But God desires a relationship with the people He creates.  He does not want to hide from us, rather, He wants to build a deep, intimate friendship with us.

God came to earth in the form of a man, Jesus, that we might know Him better.  One day, those who believe in Him, will see Him face-to-face and fellowship with Him forever.  We will reign with Him over all of His creation!  Yes, it is the greatest privilege a person can have–personally knowing the living God!

  • Jesus is God incarnate, God in the flesh.  What do the following passages say about knowing God through Christ? — John 14:5-11; Hebrews 1:1-3
  • Through belief in Christ as our Savior, we enter a personal relationship with God.  What do the following passages say about our relationship with God? — John 15:14-17;  Romans 8:12-17

Question to ponder:  How does your deepening friendship with God impact your leadership?

Passages for further reflection: John 12:44-46; John 16:12-15

Sexual Purity

Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 ESV

Sex is a wonderful gift from God, but like many of God’s gifts, Satan tries to pervert it.   God has set a limit on the expression of this gift–no sexual intercourse outside of the marriage relationship.  Satan tempts us to seek sexual fulfillment before marriage or with someone other than our spouse.  But God says, for your greatest joy and fulfillment, wait until you are married and don’t violate your marriage vows.  Sex intimacy is to be with one partner for one life!

Sexual sin can be in our minds in the form of lust as well as the physical act.  We are commanded to flee from sexual immorality.  When the imagination does battle with the will our imagination is always the winner.  We must run from sexual temptation–avoid it!

  • Lust is sexual immorality of the mind.  What do the following passages say about lust? — Matthew 5:27-30; 1 John 2:15-17
  • Sexual purity is God’s design for His followers.  What is stated in the following passages about living a sexually pure life? — Ephesians 5:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8

Question to ponder:  What can you do to flee from sexual immorality in your life and leadership?

Passages for further reflection: Galatians 5:16-21; Colossians 3:5

Safe and Secure

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39 ESV

Security is not found in the absence of danger, but in the presence of the Lord.  Once we have trusted Christ and become a member of God’s family, He promises never to leave us or forsake us.  Nothing will separate us from Him; we are safe and secure in His care.

Jesus promises to be with us forever.  Though we still encounter trials and difficulties, He will be with us in the midst of them and see us through.  We need not fear that He will forsake or abandon us.  He will be faithful to us, even if we are unfaithful.  What amazing love!

  • God will never leave us!  What do the following passages say about God’s commitment to us? — Matthew 28:20; John 10:27-30
  • One person plus God is a majority!  What do the following passages say about the security we have in the presence of God? — Romans 8:31; Hebrews 13:5-6

Question to ponder:  How does the fact of Christ’s presence with you always effect your daily attitude and activities?

Passages for further reflection: Proverbs 3:23-26; 2 Timothy 2:11-13

A Clear Conscience

So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man. Acts 24:16 ESV

Within each of us God has placed an inner voice, a conscience, to help us differentiate right and wrong.  Our consciences have been dulled by our sin, but under the influence and control of the Holy Spirit they still can be useful tools.  If our conscience condemns us we are to confess our wrong, make restitution if necessary, and seek to live in obedience to Christ.

A clear conscience is a great blessing.  When we trust Christ our consciences are cleansed and as we live in obedience to Him our conscience remains clear.  Having a clear conscience relieves stress and frees us from fear of exposure or accusation by others.  It is the leadership quality of being above reproach (see Titus 1:5-7). Keep short accounts with God–clear your conscience quickly and you will experience continued joy and peace.

  • A good conscience is one free from guilt.  What is said in the following passages about a good conscience? — 2 Corinthians 1:12; 1 Timothy 1:5,18-19
  • A guilty conscience is one where there is a sense of unconfessed or unforgiven wrong doing.  What do the following passages say about a guilty conscience? — Romans 2:12-16; Romans 13:3-5

Question to ponder:  Does having a clear conscience always mean we are free from wrong?

Passages for further reflection: 1 Corinthians 10:23-33; Hebrews 9:14

With a Little Help from My Friends

As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. … They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it.    Luke 19:29-30,35 NIV

It’s Sunday morning of the Passion Week and Jesus is about to enter Jerusalem. He comes riding on a young colt which has been obtained for Him by two of His disciples. Note what happens when they bring the colt to Jesus for His triumphal entry into the city. They put their cloaks on its back and then, they “…put Jesus on it.”

Jesus had to have some help from his friends in getting onto the back of the colt. Probably a hand up or maybe someone knelt, and He stepped on their back in order to get onto the back of the colt. Jesus had help in mounting the back of the colt. He accepted this help in getting the colt and in getting on.

For some Kingdom leaders, accepting the help of others is difficult. We tend to be the ones who are always helping others. To admit that there are times when we need others to help us or when offered, accept the help from others, can be challenging for some. Remember how Peter responded when Jesus came to him and wanted to wash his feet? We read in John 13:6-8 (NIV), “He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”  Peter then quickly changed his mind and willingly accepted Jesus’ act of service.

Why is it so difficult to accept other’s help? Perhaps it’s a sense of self-sufficiency rooted in our pride. It feels good to help others, but to be helped means I can’t do it alone. I need the resources of others and in accepting their help I admit that I’m not capable myself. Kingdom leaders like to use their leadership resources to bless and help others, but to be helped means I’m needy.  It can be a rude awakening to acknowledge that leaders too need the help of those they serve.

What needs do you have that you are not willing to admit?  What needs do you have that you are not willing to ask others for help with?  What needs do you have that others have offered help, but you are unwilling to accept their help?

Even Jesus needed a little help from His friends!

Leading with an Eternal Value System

The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight. (Luke 16:14-15 NIV)

In Luke 16, Jesus has a lot to say about money, how to manage it well, and warnings about how it can entangle your heart. How we steward the money God entrusts to us will determine whether the Lord can entrust us with more Kingdom responsibility. For the management of money is a little thing in light of the world, but a big thing when we talk about Kingdom values.

Kingdom leaders live and lead from an eternal value system; one that sees money as a wonderful tool to advance the Gospel, but a terrible master that can grab our hearts. Jesus reminds us that, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matthew 6:24 NIV)

Luke, a Gentile who did not grow up with the Jewish Pharisees, adds this commentary concerning their values – they loved money! What a reputation for ones who are supposed to be God’s representatives, pointing people to Him. Note that Jesus says they justified their love of money to others. No doubt saying that they needed their great wealth and pursuit of it for righteous causes. But God knows our hearts. He knows our true motives – our temporal values that seek comfort and luxury in this world. The world says, “He who dies with the largest pile wins!” Jesus says, ” What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.”

Now let’s be clear. Money in and of itself has no moral value – it’s not good, bad, or purple. It’s our hearts attitude towards money that makes it useful or evil. If we fall in love with money, prioritizing it in our lives and leadership decisions, then it becomes a snare.

Kingdom leaders need money to accomplish our God-given mission. Jesus’ mission was supported by the generous gifts of several faithful women (see Luke 8). Paul gratefully received the financial and physical support of several of the local churches he helped establish. But it is how we handle these resources that reveals our hearts. Judas was the treasurer for the Twelve, “He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.” (John 12:6 NIV)

Contrast Judas’ behavior with that of Paul regarding the handling of an offering for the poor believers in Jerusalem. “We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift. For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man.” (2 Corinthians 8:20-21 NIV) Paul went the extra mile to avoid any accusation of mismanagement of God’s resources.

How are your checks and balances regarding money and its use in your leadership? Who is making sure that you are acting in a way that is above reproach?

Is your heart filled with an eternal value system or one that has become entangled in the world’s temporal values?

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