Developing Kingdom Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Archive for the tag “leadership thinking”

Giving Back to GOD

Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. Proverbs 3:9-10 ESV

Giving is a privilege, not a burden; it is an act of joy and not duty.  We give because God first gave to us.  Because God owns everything in this world, He entrusts part of it to each of us to manage.  He still retains ownership, but we are expected to be good stewards of all He owns (Matthew 25:14-30).

Though some believers have the gift of giving (Romans 12:6-8), all are expected to give.  We are to give back to God a percentage of what He has given us.  Believers in the New Testament are given freedom to determine the exact amount we give depending on our faith.

  • In the Old Testament believers were instructed to give specific amounts to God.  But in the New Testament we are free to determine the amount we give.  What is said about giving in the following passages? — 2 Corinthians 8:1-15; 2 Corinthians 9:6-15
  • There are more needs than we can meet, so deciding who to give to can be a challenge.  What do the following passages say about the object of our giving? — Galatians 6:6; James 2:15-16; 1 John 3:16-18

Question to ponder:  Why does God expect you to give?

Passages for further study: Psalm 50:9-12; 1 Corinthians 16:2

GOD Is Good!

The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him. Nahum 1:7 ESV

There are two profound questions in life that beg to be answered:  “Is God there?” and, if He is, “Is God good?”  The Bible answers an emphatic, “Yes” to both.  God is good!  He delights in doing good things for His children.  He can be trusted, for He does not disappoint those who rely on Him.

Many have grown cynical about the goodness of God.  Authority figures in life (parents, teachers, political leaders, etc.) have all done things that shock and hurt us.  They have not been faithful to the trust we placed in them. We recoil and vow inwardly never to trust another.  It’s just too painful!  But, God is not like these others.  He is good.  He can be trusted!  He will not disappoint us.

  • How does the Bible answer the question, “Is God good?” — Psalm 34:8; Psalm 119:68
  • How do the following passages answer the question, “Does God always do good?” — Matthew 7:7-11; Romans 8:28

Questions to ponder:  If God is good and sovereign, why do bad things happen to us?

Passages for further study: Matthew 19:17; Romans 12:2

GOD’s Guidance

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV

God certainly knows the plans He has for our lives, but how can we know those plans?  The Lord is not wanting to hide His plans from us. Rather, He wants us to know and align our choices with His plans. If He sees a child of His who sincerely desires to obey and follow His will, He will not leave us wondering about His plans.  He loves us too much for that.  He will show us the way to go.

Much of our struggle is not knowing God’s will but doing it.  God reveals His will one step at a time; we are not shown the entire plan.  We are to trust Him for today knowing that He holds the future in His hands.  He will give us the guidance we need for tomorrow when tomorrow comes. It is a walk by faith, not by sight.

  • A primary means God uses to communicate His will is His Word, the Bible.  What is stated about God’s direction in the following verses? — Psalm 119:105; 2 Timothy 3:16-17
  • God also guides us through wise counselors.  What do the following passages say about getting counsel from others? — Proverbs 13:20; Proverbs 15:22; Proverbs 19:20

Question to ponder:  What is hindering you from being truly willing to obey and follow God’s plans for your life?

Passages for further study: Proverbs 3:5-6; Romans 12:1-2

Speaking the Truth

All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal. Psalm 119:160 NIV

God is truth and His actions are always truthful.  God cannot lie.  God’s truth is absolute and found in His Word – the Bible.  It is unchanging because God is unchanging.  Because God’s Word is truth it is completely trustworthy.

As followers of Christ, we are always to deal truthfully with others.  Our words must be truthful so that others can trust what we say.  Because Jesus is ‘the Truth,’ believers are to share Christ, who is the truth, with others.

  • The Scriptures testify that God is truth.   What do the following passages say about God being truth? — John 14:6; John 18:33-37
  • God’s Word is the measuring rod for believers to gauge whether something is truthful or not.  What is said about the Word of God in the following passages? —  Psalm 119:142,151,160; John 17:17

Question to ponder:  Is there ever a time when you should not tell the truth, the whole truth?

Passages for further reflection: John 1:17; Hebrews 6:13-20

God’s Protection

You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked. Psalm 91:5-8 ESV

Security is not the absence of danger, but the presence of the Lord.  God’s continual presence with all believers is a great comfort and source of peace.  Nothing can happen to us unless He allows it.  And what He allows He uses for good.

But unexpected and difficult times do come into the lives of all – including believers.  Why?  We can’t answer this difficult question completely because we don’t have God’s perspective.  But we do know that God is in control of all aspects of our lives.  He loves us and is committed to caring for us.  And He has promised us a future life free from pain and difficulty.

  • The Lord does not promise a pain-free life of ease.  What is said about the life of believers in the following verses? — John 16:33; 2 Timothy 3:12-13
  • No doubt much of God’s protection goes unseen and unnoticed.  What is said about God’s protection in the following passages? — Psalm 34:7,19-20; 2 Thessalonians 3:3

Question to ponder:  What should be your reaction when unexpected difficulties come into your life?

Passages for further reflection: Psalm 50:15; 2 Corinthians 1:8-11

Celebrating Life’s Milestones

Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” The Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be still, for this is a holy day. Do not grieve.” Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them. Nehemiah 8:10-12 NIV

God wants his people to enjoy him and celebrate His dealings with them.  This can be done corporately or individually.  Many celebrations (feasts) were instituted by the Lord in the Old Testament.  These were done to commemorate significant events in Israel’s history. In the New Testament God instituted the Lord’s Supper as a way of remembering Christ’s death and sacrifice for us.

The celebration of the Old Testament feasts was originally intended to bring joy and encouragement as the celebrants remembered God’s dealings with them.  Unfortunately, the keeping of the feasts became more and more legalistic and their original meaning was lost.

  • The people of God and those of this world celebrate in different ways.  What is stated about the contrast in celebration styles in the following passages? — Nehemiah 8:1-12; Daniel 5:1-6
  • Celebrating the Lord’s Supper (communion) is a reminder of Christ’s death for our sin.  What is said in the following passages concerning celebrating the Lord’s Supper? — Luke 22:7-20; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34

Question to ponder:  What should your attitude be when celebrating the Lord’s Supper?

Passages for further reflection: Leviticus 23:1-44; Mark 14:22-26

Relativism vs. Truth

In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. Judges 21:25 ESV

Life isn’t fair, but God is.  Because God is just, He must have a standard ‘measuring rod’ with which to judge people fairly.  To be fair and just to all, this ‘measuring rod’ must be unchanging.  God’s ‘measuring rod’ is His revealed truth.  His truth is absolute and unchanging. It is the Bible!

The Word of God, the Bible originated from God and is truth because God is truth and in Him there is no falsehood.  If we saturate our minds with God’s truth, the Scriptures, we will be able to think God’s thoughts.  The Holy Spirit, God himself, who lives within all believers, will use His Word to guide us and keep us from the traps of our enemy, the devil.

  • Truth is absolute, not relative.  What is truth today will also be truth tomorrow, for truth does not change with time or context.  What does God say about truth in the following passages? — John 14:1,6,16-17; John 16:13-15
  • God will judge people based upon their response to His revealed truth.  What do the following passages say about God’s judgment of mankind? — Romans 1:18-20; Romans 2:1-2,8; Romans 3:21-26

Question to ponder:  Why can you trust God to do what is right when He judges people?

Passages for further reflection: Luke 12:47-48; Revelation 21:11-15

The Adversary

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  1 Peter 5:8  ESV

Satan, the devil, is a powerful angel who led a rebellion in heaven against God.  God put down the rebellion and sentenced Satan and his rebellious angels to eternal punishment in the lake of fire – hell.  For this present age the devil is permitted limited freedom in the universe to accomplish God’s ultimate purposes.

The devil is a created being and as such his power is no match for his Creator’s.  All children of God have access to God’s power and thus have power over Satan and evil spirits.  We are not to fear our enemy, rather respect him, for we have victory over him through our union with Christ.

  • Satan is out to destroy mankind.  What do the following passages say about the devil? — Genesis 3:1-20; Job 1:6-12; Revelation 20:7-10
  • The devil is a defeated foe who we need not fear.  What is said in the following passages about our struggle with him? — Hebrews 2:14-18; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8-9

Question to ponder:  How do you see Satan working in your life to keep you from leading well for Christ?

Passages for further reflection:  Ephesians 4:26-27; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 

Follow-up: Helping New Christians Grow

For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed–God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us. 1 Thessalonians 2:5-8 ESV

When someone trusts Christ as their Savior their sins are forgiven, and they are born again.  That is, they are born a second time, born spiritually, into God’s family.  These new believers are spiritual babies and as such, need special care.  They must be loved, cared for, fed, and protected to insure healthy spiritual growth to maturity.

Dawson Trotman, founder of The Navigators, called follow-up “spiritual pediatrics.”  It is helping another believer grow in the basic foundations of their walk with God.  It means imparting God’s truth, as found in the Bible, to others.  But in addition, it is the giving of oneself, motivated by love, to another so that they may know God intimately.

  • Trusting Christ, salvation, is the beginning of a spiritual growth process that continues our entire life.  What do the following passages say about growing in Christ? — Philippians 3:12-14; Colossians 2:6-7; 2 Peter 1:5-9
  • Helping another believer grow in Christ is a great privilege and responsibility.  What is said in the following passages about helping others grow in their relationship with God? — 1 Corinthians 3:5-15; 1 Thessalonians 2:7-13; 2 Peter 1:12-15

Question to ponder:  Has God placed someone in your life and leadership for you to help them grow spiritually in Christ?

Passages for further reflection: 1 Corinthians 3:1-2; Colossians 1:28-29

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

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