Developing Kingdom Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Archive for the tag “Intentional leader development”

Waiting for God’s Power and Timing

Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. … And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” Luke 13:10-12, 16 ESV

Jesus was teaching in a synagogue and in the crowd was this crippled woman. We note that her infirmity was spiritually caused as Jesus says about her, “whom Satan bound for eighteen years.” This spiritual bondage manifested in some form a back disability that prevented her from standing up straight. Let’s make some observations from this event and apply these to Kingdom leading.

  1. We note that the woman was called out from the crowd by Jesus. Amazingly, it does not seem that she was seeking healing that day. Yes, He knows what we have need of before we ask! So walk with God today, listen carefully for His voice, and should He ask you to come to Him, move quickly.
  2. We observe that she was called out in front of the others at the synagogue and her healing became a public discussion on whether it was right to heal on the Sabbath. Jesus used her infirmity to teach a very important lesson to the hypocritical synagogue ruler and others present. As you obey Jesus, He may put you on ‘public display’ as an object lesson to others of His power and greatness. Don’t shrink back from the attention He brings.
  3. We also see that the healing was instantaneous when He laid His hands on her. Yes, it was an immediate healing, but she had been suffering for 18 years! God’s timing is not ours. And if you are waiting for the power of God to be displayed in your life and leadership, don’t lose hope if it is a long time coming. God’s delays do not mean God’s denials!
  4. Finally we observe that after her miraculous healing “she glorified God.” This was her public testimony to the wonderful work of God in her. As God shows His favor and demonstrates His wonder-working power in your life and leadership, you will have opportunity to glorify Him for His goodness to you. Be careful that the glory stays upon Him and be bold in sharing with others His amazing grace as manifested in your life and leadership.

Is there some challenge or difficulty that you are waiting for the Lord to show His great power? Has it been so long in coming that perhaps you have even stopped asking? Don’t lose hope! Though God is never in a hurry, He is always on time! Trust Him!

Fearful?

“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:4-7 ESV

Kingdom leaders will often have access to a lot of information that those they lead do not. Because of our strategic role, we have to be looking forward to the horizon and seeking to discern what’s coming that will impact our mission sooner or later? This forward look for potential threats can lead to a reactive, fear-based leadership rather than a proactive, faith-based leadership.

In the passage above Jesus reminds us (His friends) that it is a matter of perspective that can help us deal with our fears. His reminder is that physical death is not something to fear, for after one dies there is nothing more that can be done to us. For believers in Christ, death is a promotion! Rather, we should fear God for He is the one who holds our eternal destiny, not our current temporal existence that ends with our last breath.

And then Jesus brings perspective. He contrasts the fate of a small bird sold for a very cheap price to our own fate. Those seemingly insignificant small birds are not forgotten by God. Neither will we be forgotten by Him, for we are much more valuable than birds! We are so valuable and He is so intimately acquainted with us that He regularly counts the number of hairs on our head!

What fears are you seeing on your leadership horizon that keep you awake at night? What fears are distracting you from your focus on Christ and His promises? What threats are you aware of that cause your neck muscles to tense, your stomach to churn, and your blood pressure to rise?

The reality of the Lordship of Jesus Christ is the answer to all our fears. He is the Alpha and Omega. He reigns over all of His creation. Nothing is too hard for Him. Submit your fears to Him and lead out in faith, not fear!

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:34 ESV

Coming Alongside Another Leader – 2

For many leaders, the presence of a wiser, more experienced leader who can come alongside and help them not only survive but thrive in their current labors for Christ is immensely helpful. 

So who would function well in this alongsider type role?  From my experience, those who are fruitful in this type of role have several characteristics.  First and foremost, they are mature in their walk with the Lord.  Being old in the Lord does not necessarily mean that we are mature in the Lord.  There are many who are older who are not mature.  And there are many younger in age who are wise and mature beyond their experience. 

A second essential for those who would serve as an ‘alongsider’ is that they must know their Bibles well.  They must have saturated their lives with the Scriptures to such an extent that they can illustrate the ways of God seen throughout the Word, not just quote one or two of their favorite texts. 

A third quality of a fruitful alongsider is that they are excellent listeners.  They would rather here one word from those they serve than ‘pontificate’ 1000 words of their own.  They show a genuine interest in the lives and well-being of those they help, having a holistic interest in all areas of their lives, not just the spiritual components. 

The final quality needed for serving well as an ‘alongsider’ is that of demonstrated self-control.  Note how Jesus introduces the above passage concerning the functions of the Holy Spirit.  In John 16:12 NLT He says, “There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now.”  Jesus had to hold back some of the things He desired to tell the disciples because they were not ready to receive it.  Jesus demonstrated great self-control in what, how, and when He shared with those He discipled and trained.  We would do well to follow His example. 

For those given the opportunity to come alongside others, helping them not just survive, but truly thrive in their season of life and in their labors for Christ, it is a great privilege.  May we not take this privilege as a ‘right’ to be demanded or expected, but a privilege to be received with humility and grace as we point others to Jesus and His Word.  He is the answer! 

Coming Alongside Another Leader – 1

For many leaders, the presence of a wiser, more experienced leader who can come alongside and help them not only survive but thrive in their current labors for Christ is immensely helpful.  What does an ‘alongsider’ do and who best qualifies to serve in this capacity?

In John 16 Jesus describes the role and function of the Holy Spirit – the Paraclete – who would come alongside of believers after Jesus was gone.  He says in John 16:13-15 (NIV):  “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.  He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.  All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” [italics added]  These three alongsider functions of the Spirit can help those of us who seek to come alongside others to mentor, coach, equip, and help them.

The first function Jesus mentions is that of ‘guiding.’  The Spirit guides believers to truth.  In our post-modern world, those we help desperately need to be able to discern truth from error, fact from fiction.  They must be reminded of our second Core Value – The truth and sufficiency of the Scriptures for the whole of life.  The Bible is sufficient for equipping us to labor for a life-time!  We will want to not only help them understand the Word, but also help them apply it to their lives. 

The second function Jesus mentions is one of ‘speaking.’  But note that this is not just any speaking.  It is speaking only what the Spirit hears from Jesus.  As we mentor and equip others we want to be very careful to speak what the Word says, pointing them to the authority of the Scriptures for our laboring in life and practice.  It can be tempting to add our own thoughts to the simplicity and clarity of the Word, especially with an eager listener.  James reminds us that those who teach others will be held to a higher standard – both by men and God when He evaluates our service (James 3:1; Hebrews 13:7).  This sobering reminder should give us pause before we add our own thoughts. 

Having said this, one strength of having experience and maturity in the Lord is that we can illustrate from our own lives and ministries how the Lord helped us or others when we are in similar circumstances.  Just be careful how much you ‘share’ for the Spirit is very capable of communicating all that Jesus says with or without our help!  Be slow to speak and quick to listen! 

The third function of the Spirit Jesus mentions is that of ‘glorifying.’  We see that He specifically glorifies Jesus and not Himself.  This is so very important that we also point others to the reality that Jesus will never leave them, always be faithful to them, and give them all they need to accomplish all He desires in and through them.  Jesus IS the answer!

God’s Word – Your Life!

And when Moses had finished speaking all these words to all Israel, he said to them, “Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law. For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.” Deuteronomy 32:45-47 ESV

When lost in the woods, a compass can save our life.  The compass needle always points due north and from it we can get our bearings.  The Bible always points us to God and truth and from it we can know His direction.  Every day we face many trials, temptations, and important decisions that will impact the rest of our lives.  God has given His Word, the Bible, as a refuge, counsel, and a compass for these times. 

As Moses records for the Israelites, the key is not knowledge of the Word of God, but obedience to it (v. 46).  These words are not like the words recorded in other books; these words are inspired by God Himself.  They are life! And they give life!

  • Especially for Kingdom leaders, the Word of God is not only good; it is absolutely necessary.  What is stated in the following passages about the importance of the Word of God? — Matthew 4:4; Acts 20:32
  • It is the application of the Word of God to our lives that gives life and brings joy.  Why is obedience to God’s Word so important? — Matthew 7:24-27; John 15:9-11

Question to ponder: How will you know if the Word of God is considered something good for you or whether it is essential?

Passages for further reflection: Isaiah 55:10-11; 2 Timothy 3:16-17

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

The Eleventh Commandment

And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.   2 John 1:6  NIV

Moses received the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai, but Jesus added a new one–love one another (John 13:34).  He summed up all the Old Testament with two commandments–love God and love people (see Matthew 22:37-40).  In particular, the love believers have for one another would so mark them, that all people would know they are followers of Christ (John 13:35).

Love is more than emotion; it is emotion that moves us to action.  God’s love moved Him to send His Son to die for our sin (Romans 5:18).  Our love for God is demonstrated in our obedience to His commands (John 14:21).

  • Love is the supreme character trait of a disciple of Christ.  What is said in the following passages about love? — 1 Corinthians 13:13; Galatians 5:6; Colossians 3:14
  • True love is demonstrated by our actions, not just our words.  What do the following passages say about demonstrating our love? — John 15:13; Ephesians 5:1-2; 1 John 3:16-18

Question to ponder:  To whom does God want you to demonstrate His love today and how will you do it?

Passages for further reflection:  John 15:12; 1 Peter 1:22

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

Living from the Inside Out

While Jesus was speaking, a Pharisee asked him to dine with him, so he went in and reclined at table. The Pharisee was astonished to see that he did not first wash before dinner. And the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also? Luke 11:37-40 ESV

The Pharisee who was hosting Jesus to dinner was very surprised that Jesus did not wash before dinner. This was not an indictment of Jesus lack of personal hygiene. Rather, Jesus did not do the traditional ceremonial washings that the Pharisees followed – seeking ceremonial cleanliness.

Note how Jesus addresses the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. They paid great attention to outward cleanliness, but their hearts were full of greed and wickedness. To human appearances they were very righteous looking and acting. But to God, who knows their hearts, they were evil. The Lord God wants true righteousness – inward and outward holiness.

Kingdom leaders do model for others what it means to be and do as a follower of Jesus. Our profiles platform us and many are watching our example. We will be copied by others. But what others copy is what they can see on the outside. They don’t know our hearts, but God does. Should we slip into a lifestyle of hypocrisy we will find the Lord’s hand removed and our influence diminished. We will be exposed, for the Lord’s reputation is at stake and He is a jealous God who does not share His glory with another!

This slide into hypocrisy is more of a slow creep than a rapid decent. It begins with a small compromise. We know what’s right, but we choose to ignore the leading of the Holy Spirit. We justify our choice by saying, “It’s just a little thing. Don’t be too crazy about this. It really doesn’t matter in light of the much bigger issues of life.” But we can’t silence the voice of the Spirit and more importantly God will know your hypocrisy!

Two passages challenge me to live from the inside out, wanting integrity in my thoughts as well as my actions.

… Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more. Luke 12:48 ESV

“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. Luke 16:10 ESV

How’s your ‘hypocrisy meter’ reading today?

Modeling the Life of Jesus

Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. 1 Corinthians 11:1 NIV

Note the order in the above verse – first, Paul followed the example of Jesus as he sought to live and lead like Jesus. Next, he encouraged others to follow his personal example as he followed Jesus. Many, many things can be learned and internalized by imitating others.

Yes, we are all imperfect people who are all in process. None of us can claim to ‘have arrived.’ We are all patients in the same hospital, everyone checks in and no one checks out until we finish our race. Those of us who have been in the hospital longer than others can point the newcomers to the treatment rooms. But we humbly acknowledge that we still go to the same treatment rooms ourselves.

Let’s not let the fact that we are growing and moving towards maturity, with our evident shortcomings and weaknesses, mute us from intentionally modeling Jesus-like life and leadership for others. The Lord is not looking for perfect people to lead in His Kingdom. He is looking for those who acknowledge their dependency upon Him, humbly submit to His leadership in their lives and seek to apply what they learn from Him in their own lives and leadership of others.

This principle of modeling for others automatically rules out the phrase, “Do what I say, not what I do.” As has been said, “If it doesn’t work at ‘home,’ don’t export it!” As a Kingdom leader, others are continually watching your example for guidance in how to navigate their own life. They will do what you do, not what you say. If you make excuses for why the ‘rules’ don’t apply to you, they too will feel the freedom to live as they desire. Your example carries a lot of influence – hopefully for good!

Where are Kingdom leaders challenged to be examples for others? Below are several passages that relate specifically to Kingdom leaders as models and examples for others to imitate.

Hebrews 13:7 ESV – Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.

1 Timothy 4:12 ESV – Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.

1 Peter 5:1-3 ESV – So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.

Titus 2:7-8 ESV – Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

Are you aware that many others are watching your life and will copy what you do and say? This reality should be sobering and keep us close to Him as we steward the responsibilities that He has entrusted to us.

May we all say, “Follow me, as I follow Christ!”

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