Developing Kingdom Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Archive for the tag “character development”

Proper Speech

Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. Proverbs 16:24 ESV

As followers of Christ we are His representatives.  Those around us are observing our lives to see what difference Christ makes.  One of the main things that people observe about us is our speech.  They watch what we talk about and how we say it.

Disciples of Jesus are to exercise self-control in speech.  We are to speak truthfully and sensitively.  We are to use our words to encourage, comfort, and edify others, carefully avoiding judgmental statements and slanderous remarks.  Once someone is hurt by our words it is difficult to restore the damage (see Proverbs 18:19).

  • Controlling our tongue is a constant struggle.  What is said about proper speech in the following passages? — Ephesians 5:3-4; 1 Timothy 4:12; James 3:1-12
  • The overall tone of a believer’s speech should be positive–encouraging, comforting, and edifying.  What can you observe about positive speech in the following passages? —  Hebrews 10:24-25; 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Question to ponder:  How do you know what is improper speech for a believer?

Passages for further study: 2 Corinthians 1:3-5; Colossians 4:5-6

Giving Back to GOD

Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. Proverbs 3:9-10 ESV

Giving is a privilege, not a burden; it is an act of joy and not duty.  We give because God first gave to us.  Because God owns everything in this world, He entrusts part of it to each of us to manage.  He still retains ownership, but we are expected to be good stewards of all He owns (Matthew 25:14-30).

Though some believers have the gift of giving (Romans 12:6-8), all are expected to give.  We are to give back to God a percentage of what He has given us.  Believers in the New Testament are given freedom to determine the exact amount we give depending on our faith.

  • In the Old Testament believers were instructed to give specific amounts to God.  But in the New Testament we are free to determine the amount we give.  What is said about giving in the following passages? — 2 Corinthians 8:1-15; 2 Corinthians 9:6-15
  • There are more needs than we can meet, so deciding who to give to can be a challenge.  What do the following passages say about the object of our giving? — Galatians 6:6; James 2:15-16; 1 John 3:16-18

Question to ponder:  Why does God expect you to give?

Passages for further study: Psalm 50:9-12; 1 Corinthians 16:2

GOD Is Good!

The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him. Nahum 1:7 ESV

There are two profound questions in life that beg to be answered:  “Is God there?” and, if He is, “Is God good?”  The Bible answers an emphatic, “Yes” to both.  God is good!  He delights in doing good things for His children.  He can be trusted, for He does not disappoint those who rely on Him.

Many have grown cynical about the goodness of God.  Authority figures in life (parents, teachers, political leaders, etc.) have all done things that shock and hurt us.  They have not been faithful to the trust we placed in them. We recoil and vow inwardly never to trust another.  It’s just too painful!  But, God is not like these others.  He is good.  He can be trusted!  He will not disappoint us.

  • How does the Bible answer the question, “Is God good?” — Psalm 34:8; Psalm 119:68
  • How do the following passages answer the question, “Does God always do good?” — Matthew 7:7-11; Romans 8:28

Questions to ponder:  If God is good and sovereign, why do bad things happen to us?

Passages for further study: Matthew 19:17; Romans 12:2

A Heart for People

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10 ESV

What was the purpose in Jesus’ coming?  Jesus Himself summed it up by saying that He, “came to seek and to save the lost.”  People without a personal relationship with Jesus are lost—separated from God.  In another place He refers to them as sheep without a shepherd. Jesus came seeking those people that they might be reconciled once again to God.  He still seeks the lost today.

Jesus has committed to His followers the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:11-21).  As Christ’s ambassadors, we seek to persuade men and women to put their trust in Him that they may be reconciled back to God.  Our passion is Christ and His passion is people.  As we grow in our heart for God we will also grow in His passion for people.

  • God deeply cares for the lost.  What do the three parables in Luke 15 reveal about God’s heart for the lost? —  Luke 15:1-7; Luke 15:8-10; Luke 15:11-32
  • We can grow in our own heart for the lost.  What is said in the following passages about growing in our heart for people?  —  Ezekiel 36:26; 2 Peter 1:5-9

Questions to ponder:  What are your passions in life? Is one of them a passion to see people reconciled back to God? Why or why not?

Passages for further study: Psalm 51:10; Romans 8:5-11

The Cost of Discipleship

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23 NIV

Salvation is a free gift, but following Christ will cost everything!  We begin by giving up our rights (deny self).  We give up the right to determine our own future and let Jesus determine it for us.  We give up the right to a comfortable, peaceful, self-determined life and give Jesus the right to use and place us as He sees best for furthering His purposes.

He not only calls us to deny ourselves, but to die to self (take up our cross) daily.  Each day and every moment of each day we must choose to live for Jesus instead of self.  Each day we strive to please Him and not people.  Following and obeying Him is our passion.  We live for Him and Him alone, playing our life to an audience of One — seeking to end our lives by hearing Him say, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

  • What does Jesus say in the following passages it will cost to follow Him? — Matthew 8:18-22; Luke 14:25-33
  • What do the following verses say is involved in dying to self? — John 12:24-26; Romans 12:1-2

Question to ponder:  What is keeping you from unreservedly and wholeheartedly following Jesus?

Passages for further study: Mark 10:28-31; Philippians 3:7-11

Jesus – Our Good Shepherd

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. … I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me–just as the Father knows me and I know the Father–and I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10:11, 14-15 NIV

Jesus is the Good Shepherd of His sheep.  He loves us, His sheep, so much so that He is willing to die for us.  He knows His sheep intimately.  He calls us by name and we recognize His voice.  He gathers His sheep together and makes us all one flock.  He watches over His sheep and protects us from evil.  He is a very good shepherd.

Sheep need the help and care of a shepherd.  A shepherd guides and defends the sheep of His flock.  Sheep are easy prey to wolves, coyotes, and other predators.  A good shepherd protects the flock from harm and leads them to green pastures where they may feed and be nurtured for their health and growth. 

  • As sheep, we must stay close to our shepherd if we are to benefit from his care and protection.  What do the following passages say about following Jesus our Good Shepherd? — Luke 9:57-62; John 15:1-17
  • Jesus cares for sheep that are lost.  He searches for them that they may be brought back to the flock.  What is stated in the following passages about Jesus’ searching for His lost sheep? — Matthew 18:10-14; Luke 15:1-7

Question to ponder:  Are you following close after the Good Shepherd as He seeks to guide and protect you?

Passages for further study: Matthew 10:29-31; 1 Peter 5:7

Growing in Humility

All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the LORD. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word. Isaiah 66:2 ESV

Humility is an essential character quality for a disciple of Christ.  True humility begins by understanding our total dependence on God for our very existence.  God supports the humble, but He resists (actively works against) and will bring low the proud.

God is committed to building humility into our lives.  We can choose the easy way or the hard way to learn humility. We can humble ourselves or have God humble us.  Growing in humility sets us free to serve others.

  • The easier way to grow in humility is to humble ourselves.  What is stated in the following passages about humbling ourselves? —  John 13:12-17; Philippians 2:5-11
  • The more painful way to grow in humility is to be humbled by God.  What is stated about God’s humbling process in the following verses? — Job 24:22-24; Proverbs 15:25; Isaiah 26:4-5

Questions to ponder:  What opportunities is God currently giving you to grow in humility? Are you embracing them?

Passages for further study: James 4:6-10; 1 Peter 5:5-6

Personal Peace

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3 NIV

From Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 7:24-27 we know that the storms of life befall the righteous and the unrighteous.  Those who hear and apply the words of Christ will be able to withstand these trials that assail our faith.  God promises peace in the midst of the raging storms if we trust in Him. 

Personal peace is an inner calm that comes from trusting that our heavenly Father is in control of our present situation.  It comes from knowing that nothing can happen to us unless God allows it.  Peace is rooted in knowing the love and goodness of God and continues to trust Him when life doesn’t feel good or make sense.

  • God promises us peace, a peace that will overcome our fears.  What is said about the peace of God the following passages? — John 14:27; Philippians 4:6-7
  • We can choose to trust God and have peace or believe what we see and give way to our fears.  What is said in the following passages about fear? — Luke 12:4-7; 1 Peter 3:1-6

Question to ponder:  What fearful situation are you facing where you can trust God and experience His peace?

Passages for further study: John 14:1; John 16:33

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

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