Developing Kingdom Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Archive for the tag “Kingdom of God”

The Greatness of Knowing Christ

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. Philippians 3:8 ESV

God could have created humans on any third rock out from any star amidst the billions in His vast universe and then hidden Himself away, never to be heard or seen.  He could have retired to a corner of His creation and we would never have known Him.  But God desires a relationship with the people He creates.  He does not want to hide from us, rather, He wants to build a deep, intimate friendship with us.

God came to earth in the form of a man, Jesus, that we might know Him better.  One day, those who believe in Him, will see Him face-to-face and fellowship with Him forever.  We will reign with Him over all of His creation!  Yes, it is the greatest privilege a person can have–personally knowing the living God!

  • Jesus is God incarnate, God in the flesh.  What do the following passages say about knowing God through Christ? — John 14:5-11; Hebrews 1:1-3
  • Through belief in Christ as our Savior, we enter a personal relationship with God.  What do the following passages say about our relationship with God? — John 15:14-17;  Romans 8:12-17

Question to ponder:  How does your deepening friendship with God impact your leadership?

Passages for further reflection: John 12:44-46; John 16:12-15

Leading from an Overflow

Kingdom leaders must have a personal depth in their relationship with the Lord Jesus from which they are able to lead and serve others. It is this abiding relationship, being attached to Jesus the vine, that allows us to lead in ways that honor Him.  Jesus said in John 15:5 (ESV), “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” 

I primary way that we can build our relationship with Jesus is through meeting Him in His Word.  Regular, daily input from the Bible will allow us to sink our roots deeply into Him.  It is not an academic exercise that we pursue as we read and study His Word.  Rather, we desire to pursue the author of the Word, seeing our time in the Scriptures as a means to an end, not an end in itself.

One of my favorite means of Bible intake is simply reading the Bible.  I’ve found that it profoundly impacts my life and leadership as I take in larger portions of His Word through reading, asking the Holy Spirit to give me understanding and application from what I read. 

Some years ago I developed a Bible reading plan for reading the entire New Testament through in a month.  Not speed reading, nor stopping to cross-reference thoughts or do individual word studies.  Simply reading the text, letting it enter my mind, heart and soul as I read and seek understanding and application from it.  Below is a New Testament reading plan that in 30 minutes a day will allow you to read the entire New Testament in a month.  Should I miss a day in my reading, I’m not bound by some legalism to try and read twice as much the next day.  For my goal is not the amount I read, but meeting with the Author of the book. 

  NT Reading Program

 One-Month Reading Plan

   30 Minutes a Day

DAY

READ

1

Matthew 1-8

2

Matthew 9-15

3

Matthew 16-22

4

Matthew 23-28

5

Mark 1-6

6

Mark 7-12

7

Mark 13 – Luke 2

8

Luke 3-7

9

Luke 8-12

10

Luke 13-19

11

Luke 20-24

12

John 1-7

13

John 8-13

14

John 14-21

15

Acts 1-7

16

Acts 8-13

17

Acts 14-20

18

Acts 21-28

19

Romans 1-8

20

Romans 9-16

21

1 Corinthians 1-11

22

1 Corinthians 12 – 2 Cor. 7

23

2 Corinthians 8 – Galatians

24

Ephesians – Philippians

25

Colossians – 2 Thessalonians

26

1 Timothy – Philemon

27

Hebrews 1-11

28

Hebrews 12 – 1 Peter

29

2 Peter – Jude

30

Revelation 1-11

31

Revelation 12-22

“Leaders are readers.”   J.O. Sanders 

 

Your Assumptions are Showing!

He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith… Mark 6:5-6 NIV

Jesus had come home to Nazareth after an extended time away. Having launched His public ministry in Jerusalem and Judea, He had moved to Capernaum and large crowds followed Him, listening to His teaching and observing His many miracles. By this time His popularity had increased such that even King Herod had heard of Him (see Mark 6:14).

Now He came back to His boyhood home and gave to them the same opportunity the other villages of Judea and Galilee had received. He entered the synagogue at Nazareth and taught them about the Kingdom of God. Mark had already noted that when Jesus taught, He did not quote other rabbis as sources of authority as was the custom. Rather, He contrasted their thoughts with His own, claiming a greater authority. This caused questions and confusion among those who knew Him. “… and many who heard him were amazed. ‘Where did this man get these things?’ they asked. ‘What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing?'” (Mark 6:2 NIV)

These people had certain assumptions about Jesus (see Mark 6:3). He was a man who had grown up in their village like many other young men. He had brothers and sisters like many families. He had learned from His father the trade of carpentry and had worked among them as a carpenter. He had never received religious training to be a rabbi and yet here He was teaching others about the Kingdom of God and recruiting disciples. They had heard that He was performing all sorts of miracles and certainly the crowds that followed Him seemed to indicate something unusual about Him. But, their assumptions about Him blocked their faith and they took offense at Him. As a result He could not do any miracles among them, other than a few minor healings.  Why?

It was their assumptions that led to their unbelief and lack of faith in Him. They did not even bother to ask Him for help! Certainly, Jesus’ power was the same in Nazareth as elsewhere. But, their previous assumptions about Him did not allow them to even consider asking Him for help. No wonder Jesus was ‘amazed at their lack of faith!”

What assumptions about Jesus do you have that are negatively influencing your leadership? The opportunity for Jesus to show Himself strong on your behalf is extended, but will your assumptions about Him lead to unbelief and a lack of even bothering to ask for His help? He has stated that all authority in heaven and earth has been given to Him (Matthew 28:18). He has promised to never leave you or forsake you. Will you even ask for His help?

“…You do not have because you do not ask God.”   James 4:2  NIV

Confronting or Conforming?

In Mark 2:21-22 Jesus responded to His critics as to why His disciples violated the culturally accepted way of doing things.  He said, “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment.  If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse.  And no one pours new wine into old wineskins.  If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined.  No, he pours new wine into new wineskins.”

With these two parables, Jesus explained that His Kingdom would not fit the cultural norms of the Jews.  His Kingdom would demand new forms and practices which were not contained in the Jewish cultural norms of the day.  As Kingdom leaders fulfill their mission they will introduce the Kingdom of God into a culture along with it will come new values and practices.  This is normal, good, and inevitable.  Change will come.  But, our desire is that the change will be rooted in biblical, Kingdom values and practices, and not Western, post-modern, or even the latest leadership guru’s best practices or values.

The guiding principle would seem to be this:  we should strive to make Jesus and the Bible the basis of our leadership and the only stumbling block if the message is to be challenged.

In instances where Kingdom values or practices violate the cultural values or norms, we must hold fast to the biblical truth and accept the resulting opposition.  This does not mean we should flaunt our convictions, especially if we know they are likely to cause adverse reactions.  We must be sensitive as we take our stand, so that the opposition we face is an opposition to Christ and the Kingdom, not to us.  This presents us with an opportunity to see God demonstrate His power and grace in spite of cultural barriers and push-back.

In areas where there is no clear biblical precedent, we should yield to the cultural norm so as not to cause an offense over a “side issue” (such as paying temple taxes or whether or not to celebrate certain holidays – see the previous two blogs).

All of these decisions will require wisdom from God.  Ask for it and you will receive it!

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.     James 1:5

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