Developing Kingdom Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

By God’s Grace

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV

God’s grace is an unearned gift!  It is His unmerited favor granted us through faith in Christ as Savior. Motivated by His love for us, God acted to deliver us from our deepest problem–sin and its consequence.  His grace caused Him to die for us, freeing us from sin and its penalty–death (Romans 5:8).

But God’s grace is more than a past gift; it is a present power within each believer.  It is not a license to live as we want, but rather the power to live a life that is pleasing to God.  Whatever paths in life God calls us to travel, we can be certain that His grace, His power will be sufficient to see us through.

  • God’s grace moved him to offer salvation to all who believe in Christ.  What is said about God’s grace in the following passages? — Romans 3:21-26; Ephesians 2:1-10
  • Having been saved by God’s grace, believers have been called and empowered to live lives that honor him.  What do the following passages say about a believer’s life and lifestyle? — Galatians 5:13-18; Titus 2:11-14

Question to ponder:  How does God’s grace motivate you to want to live for Him?

Passages for further reflection: Acts 15:6-11; Romans 5:15-17

Playing Favorites

So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. Acts 10:34-35 ESV

Peter, a Jew, had been raised to believe that all Gentiles (non-Jewish peoples) were unclean.  That is, the Gentiles were not acceptable to God; only the Jewish people were His chosen ones whom He loved.  Cornelius was a non-Jew who wanted to believe in the one true God and His Son, Jesus.  Peter was shown in a vision that God wanted all the world to believe in Christ, not just the Jews.  Cornelius and his household thus became one of the first Gentile believers through Peter’s witness.

God does not play favorites.  He loves and accepts all people without distinction.  As His ambassadors we are to model this love and acceptance.  We cannot show prejudice and favoritism if we are to be sincere followers of Christ and leaders in His Kingdom. 

  • God loves all people and does not show prejudice.  What do the following passages say about God’s love for the whole world? — John 3:16; Titus 2:11; 1 John 2:2
  • As disciples of Christ, we are to model God’s love and acceptance to all people.  What is said in the following passages about our love and acceptance of others? — 1 Timothy 5:21; James 2:1,9

Question to ponder:  What’s the difference between prejudice and strategic priorities when allocating resources in your leadership?

Passages for further reflection: Leviticus 19:15; 1 John 4:13-21

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

The Other Side of the Door

So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 1 Corinthians 15:42-44 ESV

Illness, injury, aging, and death are all enemies of our physical bodies.  But this will not always be so.  For believers, there is the hope of the resurrection from the dead when we will be given new bodies that are free from these enemies.  We will all have heavenly, eternal bodies that do not age, weaken, or die.

The fact of the resurrection of the dead is the great hope for followers of Jesus.  Jesus’ resurrection was the demonstration to us that our hope is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:13-14).  Death is no longer a terminus, but rather a junction – a doorway to a new life with a new, perfect body.  What a wonderful reality awaits us on the other side of the door!

  • Jesus rose from the dead as proof that what He promised us will come to pass.  What do the following passages say about Christ’s resurrection? — John 20:24-31; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8; 1 Corinthians 15:20-22
  • Just as Jesus rose from the dead with a new, eternal body, so will His followers.   What is said in the following passages about the resurrection? — John 11:25-26; 1 Corinthians 15:35-44; 2 Corinthians 4:13-18

Question to ponder:  How does the reality of death and the hope of the resurrection impact your daily life and leadership?

Passages for further reflection: John 5:24-26; John 6:38-40

It is Finished!

When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:30 ESV

Jesus’ last words from the cross were, “It is finished.”  What was finished?  Certainly there was more to done, wasn’t there?  There were thousands who had not yet heard.  There were thousands more who needed healing.  How could He say His job was complete?

Jesus’ completed task was actually two-fold.  He was first to train a small group of leaders to carry on His ministry after He left to return to the Father.  They would go on to reach the unreached after He was gone.  In His prayer the night before the crucifixion He says that He has completed this task (see John 17:4).  The second aspect of His mission was to redeem mankind from sin, taking upon Himself the punishment for sin that we deserve.  He accomplished this with His sacrificial death on our behalf.

  • Jesus preached to thousands, healed many and trained twelve disciples to carry on His work after He was gone.  What do the following verses say about His ministry to the Twelve? — Mark 3:14-19; Mark 4:33-34
  • Jesus’ death on the cross paid the penalty for our sin and set us free.  What do the following passages say was accomplished by Jesus’ death? — Romans 5:12-19; Hebrews 10:5-14

Question to ponder:  What does Jesus’ death and resurrection mean to you personally and how does this impact your leadership?

Passages for further reflection:  John 12:23-28; Titus 2:11-14

Touched

And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came out from him and healed them all. Luke 6:19 ESV

And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. Luke 8:45-47 ESV

Can you imagine having your every waking moment with crowds of people pressing and pushing to try and touch you? It seems that one of the main functions of the Twelve was crowd control for Jesus. They seem to have gotten quite good at this, for Jesus had to correct their zeal to allow the little children to approach Him. “But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.'” Mark 10:14 ESV

Now you don’t have this exact same experience as Jesus, but Kingdom leaders do have many reaching out and trying to ‘touch’ them. Your leadership authority has the power to change the lives of those you touch. You can truly make a difference in the life of an individual or a family by the decisions you make. By hiring new staff, transitioning people into new roles and positions, and asking people/families to uproot and move all have short and long-term consequences. It should be sobering to think of the power to impact lives for good and bad as we execute our leadership responsibilities.

Perhaps you feel as though many are seeking your ‘touch,’ wanting your advice and counsel, pressing you to make some important decision, or create an exception to a policy for them. As the leader, you have the power to do good, to do what is right and bless others because of the positional authority vested in you. The careful exercise of this leadership power should cause us to remember the Golden Rule of Leadership (Luke 6:31) – Lead others the way you want to be led.

Jesus’ touch was used many times for healing. He touched those with leprosy, the blind, the sick, and even the dead. All who were touched were changed for the better. What a legacy of good!

What’s your legacy from those who you have touched through your leadership? Are you leaving a trail of blessing and good in the lives of those you touch?

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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