Developing Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Archive for the tag “commitment”

Tribute to Michael Yeakley

Michael Yeakley, our oldest child, ended his life’s race at the age of forty this April.  He died unexpectedly of a heart attack while mountain biking here in Colorado.  Dana and I are so grateful for the gift that Michael was to us personally and to many others who knew him.  He leaves behind his wife Joy and two boys: Corban (15) and Byron (13).

While going through some of Michael’s personal papers we discovered the  introductory paragraph to his last will and testament.  As a parent and follower of Jesus Christ, I draw comfort, inspiration, and hope from his words.  Here is a portion of what Michael wrote.

“I, Michael Yeakley…invite you to rejoice with me as my life’s journey is finally over.  I am convinced by faith, that after this life of joy and sorrow, triumph and failure, I will live eternally in heaven with my friend, savior, priest, and king – Jesus Christ,,.  For Jesus is the one and only mediator between both God and man, who saved me from eternal death by sacrificing his life on the cross…

“So, rejoice with me that my spirit is finally free from its earthly shackles.  Rejoice with me as I am no longer an alien and a stranger in the world.  Rejoice with me as I am finally home.”

Michael will be so deeply missed, but we do rejoice with him and look forward to the day when we see him again face-to-face in heaven.

We love you, Michael.

Dad and Mom

If you would like to help Joy and the two boys with a financial gift, follow this link to:  celebratemikeyeakley.com

 

Living a Committed Life #2

In Luke 14:25-35 Jesus reminds us of the conditions for discipleship.  Before we decide whether we will seek to meet these conditions for discipleship, Jesus encourages us to think things through carefully.  There will be a cost to following Him.  It may not be easy or comfortable.  If the cost seems too much, stop now.  Don’t even begin the journey.  This is serious business.  Billy Graham said, “Salvation is free, but discipleship will cost you everything you have.”

Jesus concludes with a parable about salt.  The salt he mentions is not table salt, but a salty mixture of various minerals.  It was used for fertilizer in the fields or in the compost piles to hasten decomposition.  If this mineral mixture became wet, the valuable minerals were leached out with the water, leaving behind a gravel mixture of little use.  Jesus’ intent is to remind us that we are saved to be disciples while we have time on this earth.  If we don’t fulfill our intended purpose, we are not useful.

William Borden graduated from high school in 1904 and for a graduation gift, his father sent him on a trip around the world with a chaperone.  The elder Borden, founder of the Borden milk and dairy business, gave the young man a Bible to read as he traveled, hoping that it would inspire him as he prepared for college.  During his world trip, William heard the call of God to give up his promising business career and preach the gospel.  He wrote two words in the front of his Bible, “ No reserves!

William entered Yale University where he was greatly influenced by Samuel Zwemer to think about the Muslim world.  William sensed that God was calling him to work with the Muslims of China.  He told his family that he would not be returning to the family business after Yale, but instead would give his life to reaching Muslims for Christ.  He added two more words to the front of his Bible, “ No retreats!

After Yale and seminary, William arrived in Egypt to study Arabic in preparation for his ministry to Muslims.  Within a year after his arrival, he contracted cerebral meningitis and died shortly thereafter at the age of 26.  His mother went to Egypt to collect William’s personal affects, one of which was his Bible.  It was then that she noticed two additional words penned in the front, “ No regrets!

No reserves; No retreats; No regrets!  That is the commitment of a disciple of Jesus.

Living a Committed Life #1

In Luke 14:25-35 we read, “Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said:  “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be my disciple.  And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.  “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?  For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him,  saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’  “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand?  If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace.  In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.  “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?  It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Three times in this passage Jesus repeats the phrase “cannot be my disciple” (vs. 26,27,and 33).  These are three conditions that must be met if we are to become true followers of Him.  In verse 26 He says that we must put Him first above all other human relationships.  In fact, our love for Jesus must so far overshadow our love for others, that our love for others compares as hate.

In verse 27 Jesus reminds us once again that we must carry our cross.  This is similar imagery to what we looked at earlier in Luke 9:23.  To carry one’s cross means death–death to self.  It means death to one’s desires, hopes, plans, and dreams in order to fulfill the plans Christ has for us.  Finally, in verse 33, He tells us that we must give up everything if we are to be His disciples.  Nothing can claim a hold on our hearts and lives if we truly follow Him.  Everything is in an open hand to Christ, allowing Him to remove or add as He sees fit.

 

The Need of the Hour

The world is in crisis today.  It is not a political crisis, though it has political implications.  It is not an economic crisis, though economics are affected.  It is not a social crisis, though all levels of society are impacted.  It is a spiritual crisis brought on by the people of God themselves.  There is a spiritual poverty, a lack of vitality in the believer’s walk and talk that has led to mediocrity in the Christian world today.  This mediocre life of the believer has left the Christian world with a muted  witness and an emasculated impact on society.  What is needed is a transformation in the Christian world.  What is needed is a generation of believers who will live a radical life (radical in the eyes of the world, but not to God); a life that seeks the world to come, not this world.

The word “mediocre” finds its origin in two Latin words meaning “half way” and “mountain.”  Mediocre means to only get half way up the mountain.  A mediocre Christian life is one that begins its journey aiming for the top of the mountain, but then settles for only half way to the summit.  What is needed today is a generation of young people who will decide to reach for the summit in the Christian life and settle for nothing less until they reach it.  There will be no compromise along the way.  There will be opportunities to bow out, to give in to the tide of the world, but this generation will set their face like a flint and go for broke.  They will be satisfied with nothing less than God’s best—serving Him with their whole heart!

Hippolomy was a mythical, Greek young man who was in love with the beautiful Atlanta.  Atlanta, in addition to her striking beauty, was also a gifted runner, but she had a cruel, sadistic character.  Many young men became infatuated with her beauty and desired to marry her.  These men were challenged to a foot race with two conditions.  If the man won the race, he could marry Atlanta.  But if he lost, he would pay with his life.  Many a man tried and paid the ultimate price for his second place finish.

Hippolomy also became mesmerized by Atlanta’s beauty and challenged her to a race.  Shortly after the race began he fell behind.  Reaching into his tunic, he withdrew a golden apple and threw it in front of the streaking Atlanta.  The flash of gold caught her eye and she stopped to pick up the golden fruit as Hippolomy raced by.  She soon recovered and again moved ahead of him.  Hippolomy pulled a second golden apple from his tunic and threw it in front of Atlanta who once again stopped to pick it up.  As Hippolomy passed the crouching Atlanta, she realized that the race was nearing the finish, and she recovered soon enough to regain a comfortable lead with a short distance to go.

Hippolomy retrieved the last of his golden apples from his tunic and threw it ahead of Atlanta as she approached the finish.  Atlanta was in a quandary; should she stop and pick up the apple or press for the finish line  She reasoned that she certainly could do both, so she stopped to place the golden fruit in her robe just as Hippolomy raced passed her towards the finish.  She recovered, but now with such a short distance to the finish line, she was not able to beat him.  Hippolomy had won!

This is not an illustration on how to find a life partner!  Rather, as we race through life, we will find the enemy of our souls rolling “golden apples” of opportunity, compromise, and temptation in our path.  These golden fruits will be attractive, and we will be tempted to believe that they will not impact our life’s race.  We will think that we can have it all and still finish well.  It will only be near the end of our life’s race that we’ll find that we can’t reach the finish, the summit, God’s best, because we chose to stop our race along the way. We thought it was only for a moment, that no one would know or care, but a moment’s compromise will lead to a mediocre, half way life.

What the world needs today is a new generation of believers who will say “no” to this world’s values and live for the unseen world promised by Christ.  The reality of heaven will so impact the lives of this generation that they will not compromise or settle for anything less that than God’s best for themselves and those around them.  They will give themselves unreservedly to Christ–a generation whose watchword will be, “Anything, anywhere, anytime–for Christ!”

Living for the World to Come   Copyright 1996 by Thomas R. Yeakley  pg 1

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