Developing Kingdom Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Archive for the tag “Leadership development”

Prayer – Opening Your Heart

And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Mark 14:35-36 ESV

Does God always answer our prayers?  Yes, but sometimes His answer is “No.”  Even Jesus, the Son of God, was told “no” by His Father when He asked not to be crucified (Luke 22:41-44)!  God always listens, He always answers, but there are times when His better way is that we don’t receive what we request.

God listens to our hearts not our words when we pray.  Prayer is sharing our heart, our thoughts, and our feelings with our Father in heaven.  Prayer is being real, open, and transparent in our communication with God.  As we talk with God, we can tell Him how we really feel.  He can take it! We can ask Him for big things – impossible things. He’s not overwhelmed or stressed out by our great requests. He can handle whatever we bring up.

  • What promises does God make in the following passages to those who pray? — John 14:12-14; 1 John 5:14-15
  • In the following verses, what conditions are mentioned for answered prayer? —  Matthew 6:5-15; James 4:3

Questions to ponder:  Why do you think God takes a long time to answer some prayers?

Passages for further study: Mark 11:22-24; Luke 18:1-8

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

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

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

God’s Resources and Power

When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked. “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 2 Kings 6:15-16 NIV

There are one-hundred billion stars like our sun in the Milky Way galaxy.  Traveling at the speed of light it would take one-hundred thousand years to cross the galaxy.  Our God made it all.  He spoke and it came into existence from nothing. He has unlimited resources and infinite power.  All of creation is His and He can do with it as He wants. 

When we are thrust into situations where we need to rely on God’s resources, we often respond like Elisha’s servant.  We can be fearful as we look at our own limited resources compared to the need of the hour.  We tend to look at the visible rather than trusting our invisible, heavenly Father.  Our Father’s resources are always sufficient to meet any need. 

  • The Lord possesses all that He created.  What do the following passages say about God’s ownership of His creation? — Psalm 50:10-12; Psalm 24:1-2
  • When facing challenging circumstances, we must be controlled by faith, not fear.  What do the following passages about trusting God and His resources? –- Psalm 23:1-4; Matthew 6:25-34

Question to ponder:  What makes it difficult for you to trust in God’s resources and power?

Passages for further reflection: Psalm 46:1-3; Romans 8:31

Praising God!

“The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be my God, the Rock, my Savior!

2 Samuel 22:47 NIV

David’s heart overflowed with praise for the kindness God had shown him.  But so often our prayer time is self-centered rather than God-centered.  The Lord God Almighty is worthy of our praise.  We can praise God for who He is and thank him for what He has done or has promised to do.  Praise is worshiping, honoring, and exalting Him.  When we pray, we are acknowledging our dependency upon Him.

Praise can be done in song, like this song of David and the many Psalms of David; or it can be done in prayer.  Praising God can be done individually or corporately.  It is a deep expression from our inner being where the created one focuses on the Creator.

  • God rules over His creation as Lord.  He is the sovereign king over His universe.  What do the following passages say about God’s reign? -– Psalm 47:1-9; Psalm 103:19-22
  • God not only rules His creation, but He does so with goodness.  What do the following passages say about God’s goodness and His good works? -– Psalm 119:68; Nahum 1:7

Question to ponder:  What can you be praising God for today?

Passages for further reflection: Nehemiah 9:5-6, Revelation 4:9-11

The Promises of God

Not one word of all the good promises that the LORD had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass. Joshua 21:45 ESV

Someone has said, “Promises are like pie crust–lightly made and easily broken.”  Promises are only as good as the character and the resources available to the one who makes the promises.  When God makes promises His perfect character and unlimited resources stand behind them. 

The Christian life begins by trusting the promises of God.  By believing Jesus’ promise of forgiveness and new life, we have our sins forgiven and are born again into God’s family.  We not only begin our relationship with God by believing His promises, but we also continue to live our daily lives proving the trustworthiness of His promises.  We can trust God’s promises for He never changes!

  • Eternal life and the forgiveness of sin are obtained by believing the promises of God.  What does God promise in the following passages? — John 5:24; John 6:40
  • When we examine God’s promises, we may be tempted to ask, “How can God do this?”  We need not focus on the “how,” rather, we concentrate on “what” and “Who” we are believing.  What promises about God’s answers to prayer are in the following passages? — Psalm 50:15; Luke 11:9-10

Question to ponder:  What is keeping you from trusting the promises of God for your life and leadership?

Passages for further reflection: John 16:24; 1 John 2:25

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

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