Developing Kingdom Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Amazing Love!

Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk; I took them up by their arms, but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love, and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws, and I bent down to them and fed them. Hosea 11:3-4 ESV

God’s love cannot be earned; it is a gift.  God loves the unlovable and He accepts us just as we are.  He loves us so much that He died for us.  If you were the only person who ever lived, He would have died for you.

God’s love is so overwhelming – so amazing!  He loves us even when we don’t love Him back.  He shows His love for us by caring for us, guiding us, healing us, and changing us day-by-day to be more like Himself.  Don’t run from God’s love, just embrace it and rest in it!

  • What do the following passages say is God’s ultimate demonstration of His love for us? — John 3:16; Romans 5:6-8
  • How is God’s love demonstrated in the lives of believers according to the following passages? — John 13:34-35; 1 John 4:7-12

Question to ponder:  What is hindering you from accepting God’s amazing love or demonstrating it as you lead others?

Passages for further study: John 15:12-13; 1 John 4:13-21

A Divine Heart Transplant

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. Ezekiel 36:25-27 ESV

Hearts of stone–that describes many of us.  Our hearts are often hard and cold toward God and people.  To change these hearts from stone to flesh we need more than just a little tweak here and there, a little “medicine.”  We need a heart transplant – a brand-new heart that beats passionately for God and is compassionate towards people.

God promises to perform this divine heart transplant.  He promises to remove our old hearts and give us new hearts that desire Him and love people.  We can ask God to perform this “divine surgery” today!

  • What do the following passages say about why the condition of our heart so important? — Proverbs 4:23; Matthew 6:19-21
  • How did Jesus model a heart of compassion towards people in the following verses? — Matthew 9:35-38; John 11:1-44

Question to ponder:  How does your life and leadership demonstrate a heart for God?

Passages for further study: Matthew 22:34-40; Luke 7:11-15

Speaking the Truth

All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal. Psalm 119:160 NIV

God is truth and His actions are always truthful.  God cannot lie.  God’s truth is absolute and found in His Word – the Bible.  It is unchanging because God is unchanging.  Because God’s Word is truth it is completely trustworthy.

As followers of Christ, we are always to deal truthfully with others.  Our words must be truthful so that others can trust what we say.  Because Jesus is ‘the Truth,’ believers are to share Christ, who is the truth, with others.

  • The Scriptures testify that God is truth.   What do the following passages say about God being truth? — John 14:6; John 18:33-37
  • God’s Word is the measuring rod for believers to gauge whether something is truthful or not.  What is said about the Word of God in the following passages? —  Psalm 119:142,151,160; John 17:17

Question to ponder:  Is there ever a time when you should not tell the truth, the whole truth?

Passages for further reflection: John 1:17; Hebrews 6:13-20

God’s Protection

You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked. Psalm 91:5-8 ESV

Security is not the absence of danger, but the presence of the Lord.  God’s continual presence with all believers is a great comfort and source of peace.  Nothing can happen to us unless He allows it.  And what He allows He uses for good.

But unexpected and difficult times do come into the lives of all – including believers.  Why?  We can’t answer this difficult question completely because we don’t have God’s perspective.  But we do know that God is in control of all aspects of our lives.  He loves us and is committed to caring for us.  And He has promised us a future life free from pain and difficulty.

  • The Lord does not promise a pain-free life of ease.  What is said about the life of believers in the following verses? — John 16:33; 2 Timothy 3:12-13
  • No doubt much of God’s protection goes unseen and unnoticed.  What is said about God’s protection in the following passages? — Psalm 34:7,19-20; 2 Thessalonians 3:3

Question to ponder:  What should be your reaction when unexpected difficulties come into your life?

Passages for further reflection: Psalm 50:15; 2 Corinthians 1:8-11

God’s Forgiveness

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.  Psalm 51:7  ESV

God’s love and forgiveness are great.  David experienced God’s forgiveness after the prophet Nathan confronted him about his adultery with Bathsheba.   This Psalm was written by David after the confrontation with Nathan, asking for God’s forgiveness for his sexual sin and for his murder of Bathsheba’s husband.

When we trust Christ as our Savior our sins are forgiven, all of them.  Jesus’ dying on the cross paid the death penalty for all our sins – past, present, and future.  When we sin as Christians, we must acknowledge them to God as the Holy Spirit brings them to mind (see 1 John 1:9).  We can thank God that our sins are forgiven because of the sacrifice of Christ.

  • God forgives.  What is said in the following passages about God’s forgiveness? — Psalm 130:1-6; Ephesians 1:7-10
  • As Christ’s ambassadors, we are to extend His forgiveness to others.  What is said about forgiving others in the following passages? — Luke 17:3-4; Colossians 3:12-14

Question to ponder:  How should the forgiveness extended to you impact your forgiveness of others as you lead?

Passages for further reflection:  Acts 13:38-39; Ephesians 4:32

God’s Care

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. Psalm 23:1 ESV

Of all the animals God could have compared His people to He chose sheep. Sheep are easily frightened and scattered and can become lost. Sheep need a shepherd.  Without one, they are easy prey to many predators.  The shepherd provides for, protects, and guides the sheep under his care. He is entrusted with their welfare.

We are like sheep and the Lord is our shepherd.  He is our shepherd. Without His care, we are easy prey to our enemy, the devil.  By trusting and relying on Him we can overcome our fears.  He has promised to provide, protect, and guide us.  He is our Good Shepherd (see John 10:11). He has our best interests at heart. We can trust Him to always do what is right for us – whether if feels right to us or not!

  • The Lord will provide for us.  What do the following passages say about His promised provision? — 2 Corinthians 9:6-11; Philippians 4:19
  • The Lord will protect us from all that threatens us.  What is said about God’s protection in the following passages? — Psalm 91:1-8; Isaiah 41:10

Question to ponder:  Do you need God to provide for, protect, or guide you today? Ask Him for help.

Passages for further reflection: Psalm 5:10-12; Psalm 34:4-10

Purity of Life

“I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman. Job 31:1 NIV

The battle is for control of our minds and what enters our eyes greatly influences our thoughts.  Job made a conscience decision to limit what he saw and not look lustfully at a woman.  He committed himself to moral purity in his thought life.  Moral purity begins in our thoughts and continues to our actions.  We are called to live holy lives in thoughts as well as behavior.

God is holy and therefore His followers are to be holy.  Personal holiness is a struggle between our bodies (the flesh) and God’s Spirit within each believer.  Though we are already positionally holy before God because we have trusted Christ as our Savior, experientially we strive to overcome our flesh and yield to the controlling power of the Holy Spirit.

  • What do the following passages say about God’s holiness? — Leviticus 11:44-45; Leviticus 20:7,26
  • Because God is holy, we as his ambassadors are called to live holy lives.  What is said about our calling to holiness in the following passages? — 2 Corinthians 7:1; 1 Peter 1:14-15.

Question to ponder:  What means is the enemy currently using in your life to gain entry to your thoughts?

Passages for further reflection: 1 Corinthians 6:12-20; Ephesians 4:20-24

Celebrating Life’s Milestones

Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” The Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be still, for this is a holy day. Do not grieve.” Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them. Nehemiah 8:10-12 NIV

God wants his people to enjoy him and celebrate His dealings with them.  This can be done corporately or individually.  Many celebrations (feasts) were instituted by the Lord in the Old Testament.  These were done to commemorate significant events in Israel’s history. In the New Testament God instituted the Lord’s Supper as a way of remembering Christ’s death and sacrifice for us.

The celebration of the Old Testament feasts was originally intended to bring joy and encouragement as the celebrants remembered God’s dealings with them.  Unfortunately, the keeping of the feasts became more and more legalistic and their original meaning was lost.

  • The people of God and those of this world celebrate in different ways.  What is stated about the contrast in celebration styles in the following passages? — Nehemiah 8:1-12; Daniel 5:1-6
  • Celebrating the Lord’s Supper (communion) is a reminder of Christ’s death for our sin.  What is said in the following passages concerning celebrating the Lord’s Supper? — Luke 22:7-20; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34

Question to ponder:  What should your attitude be when celebrating the Lord’s Supper?

Passages for further reflection: Leviticus 23:1-44; Mark 14:22-26

Pride – Corruption of the Heart

But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the LORD his God, and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense. 2 Chronicles 26:16 NIV

Uzziah started well in his walk with God, but his pride caused his downfall.  Pride does not blast its way into our life, it is insidious. It comes creeping in with small steps.  It gains a foothold little by little, feeding on itself, it grows until it consumes a life and brings ruin.

God opposes the proud person.  He will actively work to humble the proud.  Because God is committed to building humility into us, we have two choices.  We can take the easy road and humble ourselves, or we can let God take us down a hard road where He humbles us.

  • What is said in the following passages about God’s opposition to pride? — Proverbs 6:16-17; James 4:4-6
  • Pride wrecks a life.  Nothing good comes from it. What are the results of pride noted in the following passages? — Proverbs 11:2; Proverbs 13:10

Question to ponder:  How can you recognize pride in your own life?

Passages for further reflection: Isaiah 25:11; 1 Peter 5:5-6

Integrity – A Matter of the Heart

I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity… 1 Chronicles 29:17 NIV

When God measures a person, He puts the “tape measure” around their heart.  Who we are is more important to God than what we do.  He looks at our hearts, not our activities.  If our hearts are right, then our actions will follow.

Integrity, a basic building block in our character, is rooted in our hearts.  It begins with a commitment in our hearts to honor and obey God wholeheartedly.  Integrity is then manifested by being truthful in all that we say and do.  Believers are people of their word, who fulfill promises—even to our own detriment if necessary.

  • God has integrity.  He does not lie, and we can count on Him always doing what He says He will do.  What do the following passages say about the importance of integrity? -— Numbers 23:19; Mark 12:14
  • The Lord uses people of integrity.  What do these passages say regarding the type of person God uses? -— 2 Timothy 2:20-21; Titus 1:6-7

Question to ponder:  Kingdom leaders represent God’s leadership of His people. Are you and your leadership known for integrity?

Passages for further reflection : Joshua 21:45; Luke 16:10

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