Developing Kingdom Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Archive for the tag “Leadership development”

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

Roses from Ashes

But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them. Genesis 50:19-21 (NIV)

Can God take something terrible and turn it into something good?  Joseph had every reason to be bitter and angry at God and towards his brothers for all that had happened to him; but he wasn’t.  Instead, he saw God’s purposes in all the events of his life.  God had saved Israel from starvation because of Joseph being taken into Egypt as a slave many years before.

God was in control of all that happened to Joseph and He is in control of all that happens to us (even when we don’t think so). Though we may not understand it all at the moment, we can trust in His power, love and goodness.  By growing in our understanding of God and His character we will learn to rest in His plan for our lives.

  • Often tragedies strike believers and we question why would God allow it to happen?  How can the truth of Romans 8:28 help if something unexpected and difficult comes into your life?
  • God is all-powerful.  But we must also remember that He is good.  To only believe in God’s sovereign power and not His love and goodness leads to fatalism.  What is said about God’s character in the following passages?  — Psalm 115:3; Psalm 119:68; 1 John 4:8

Question to ponder:  How does having a deep trust in the power and goodness of God help when we face hard times in life?

Passages for further study: 1 Samuel 2:6-8; 1 Chronicles 29:10-13

Trusting God

Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together. … Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. Genesis 22:7-8, 13 (NIV)

Trusting God often scares us to death!  We are trusting Him for the unseen, something in the future that is unknown (at least unknown to us).  Living by faith is a lifestyle.  It is a process, not an event.  We never arrive at a point in this world where we can stop trusting God.  Four times throughout the Bible God says, “the righteous will live by faith” (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38).

Abraham had passed the test of trusting God for the son he was promised.  God tested Abraham to see if he would still believe, even if Isaac was taken away.  Abraham eagerly accepted this new trial of faith, leaving “early the next morning” (:3). 

  • God’s command to Abraham required an act of obedience on his part (Genesis 22:1-2).  Abraham responded by doing as God asked (:3-11).  Faith and obedience are linked together. — Mark 1:14-20; Hebrews 11:8-10
  • In life’s trials of faith, God’s answer often comes at the last minute.  Notice when God stopped Abraham (:10).  The following passages speak about God’s timing. — Joshua 3:14-16; Daniel 12:1-14

Question to ponder: Why do you believe God waits, often much longer than we desire, to answer prayer?

Passages for further study: Romans 4:20-21; 2 Corinthians 1:8-11

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

Good News!

This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.   1 Timothy 2:3-6  ESV

Because of sin, all people are separated from a holy God.  Because God is just, He must punish sin.  Because God is love, He sent His Son, Jesus, to die for our sin so that we will not have to die.  Those who believe in Him by faith are forgiven for all their sins and reconciled back to God.  This is the Good News!  This is the gospel!  

The Good News of forgiveness and reconciliation is for all people.  We who have discovered the Good News are to share it with others.  Simply, one beggar showing another beggar where to find bread. Sharing the Good News with others not only brings joy to those who receive it, but also to those who share it. 

  • The Gospel is good news to those that are lost and separated from God.  What do the following passages say about the Gospel? — Matthew 24:14; Mark 1:14-15; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10
  • The Gospel is meant to be shared with others.  What is said in the following passages about sharing Christ with others? — Romans 10:9-15; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Philippians 1:27-30

Question to ponder:  When was the last time you shared the Good News?  What steps can you take to share the Good News with someone today?

Passages for further reflection:  Acts 20:24; Ephesians 6:19-20

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

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?

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!”

Leadership Comparison

Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them… When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” John 21:20-22 NIV

It’s post-resurrection on a beach of the Sea of Galilee. Seven of the Twelve have spent the night fishing with no results. Jesus appears on the beach and encourages them to once more let down their nets. The resulting catch was so astounding that they even counted the results – 153 large fish! Now, having finished their haul and eaten breakfast with Jesus, He gets some personal time with Peter and John. They take a walk down the beach and Jesus discusses with Peter about his mission for the future.

Three times Jesus questions Peter about his love and commitment. No doubt you have heard of the change of language in the word use of ‘love’ from the first two ‘agape’ questions to the final ‘phileo’ one. Peter acknowledges his love for Jesus and Jesus responds with an action that demonstrates his confession – feed the people of God – His sheep. Having denied the Lord three times on the night before the crucifixion, he now is charged three times with this responsibility for continued engagement. Peter receives this commissioning and then asks a question, “What about him?”

The “him” refers to John who had followed them down the beach. Peter had received his mission and even been told by the Lord how it would end. Now Peter’s attention drifts to his friend following close behind them. “What’s going to happen to him?” he asks.

Jesus quickly draws Peter back to the main point – his own journey, not John’s. With a mild rebuke, He tells Peter to essentially focus on your own life and let me deal with John’s journey. John’s life and ministry would be very different from that of Peter’s, so no need for comparison between the two.

Kingdom leaders can begin to compare notes with each other regarding our respective callings, ministries, outcomes and/or life journeys the Lord has taken us on. What may have come from simple curiosity can quickly move to competition or envy. “Why didn’t I get that opportunity?” Why did the Lord do this with me and that with them?” “Why did the Lord treat them that way and me differently?” Note that all of these questions begin with “why,” assuming that we are owed an explanation from the Lord to justify His actions. Since we seem to be treated differently, the Lord should explain Himself so that it makes sense to us and seems ‘fair.’

Comparison does not end well. Focus on faithfulness to your mission and let the Lord deal with others according to His unique plan for them. Run hard to the tape, keeping your eyes fixed on Him!

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