Developing Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Archive for the tag “obedience”

The Basics are Basic #3

OBEDIENCE TO GOD

Memory verse:

“Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”
John 14:21

Why Is Obedience to God Important?

1 Samuel 15:22  But Samuel replied:  “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD?  To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

Luke 6:46  “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?

John 14:21-24  Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”  Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”  Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.  He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

Romans 12:1  Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.

James 1:22-25  Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.  But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.

James 4:17  Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.

1 Peter 1:14  As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.

1 John 2:3-6  We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him:  Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

God commands His children to obey Him. If we live in obedience to Him we demonstrate our love for Him. Because God gave His one and only Son to die on behalf of our sins, we should live a life of obedient submission to His will as a sign of thankfulness and gratefulness for all He has done. If we chose to live in disobedience to His Word, we sin.

Benefits of Obedience to God

Deuteronomy 4:39-40  Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below.  There is no other.  Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the LORD your God gives you for all time.

Proverbs 1:33  But whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.

Proverbs 16:7  When a man’s ways are pleasing to the LORD, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him.

Isaiah 1:19  If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land;

Jeremiah 7:23  but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you, that it may go well with you.

Matthew 7:24-27  “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.  But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

John 15:1-14  “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.  You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.   Remain in me, and I will remain in you.  No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.  Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.  If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.  This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.  Now remain in my love.  If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.  I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.  My command is this:  Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command.

Obedience will bring forth the fruit of joy in our hearts.  Remember, in order to know the commands of God that we might obey them, we must read and study His Word. Obedience to God is always in alignment with His Word, the Bible.

Finish What You Started!

In Hebrews 1:14 we read, “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?”  Angels are God’s servants who are sent on various missions of service to accomplish His purposes.

In John 17:18 we find Jesus praying for those who would believe on Him in the future, “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.”  We too are people on a mission – to accomplish God’s purposes in and through us.  And of course, this compelling vision is to disciple the nations for Him (Matthew 28:18-20).  Once we have completed our God-given purpose or mission we will end our life and enter His presence.  “Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed.”

God is missional in His purposes.  The Bible opens with God at work in Creation and Jesus testifies that, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.”  Adam was created in God’s image and, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”

As Kingdom leaders we are called to accomplish God’s purposes – to a mission or task. We are called to lead and to work.  It is God’s job to identify the mission and it is our job to join with Him in completing the work He gives us to do.

It is not enough just to begin this work or mission.  We are called to bring it to completion.  It is Jesus example that compels us, “I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.” (John 17:4).

Paul exhorts his co-laborer Archippus in Colossians 4:17:  “Tell Archippus: “See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord.”

What have you begun that is either taking longer or much more effort than what you thought it would take?  Are you weary and considering quitting?  Did not God call you to accomplish a mission or task?  His calling was not to begin and quit half-way through.  Bring it to completion!  Finish what you started!  Do it for Him!

Leaders and Faithfulness

Dr. Francis Dixon – a well known evangelist in Australia and NZ, revivals / crusades – but led a church in England told the following story:

One Sunday night Dixon asked a man, Peter, in his church to share his testimony.  Peter said, “This is how I was saved… I was in the Royal Navy stationed in Sydney, Australia and one night I was walking down George St. and out of nowhere stepped this little grey-haired old man.  He said, ‘Excuse me sir, but may I ask you a question?  I hope you won’t be offended but if you were to die today, do you know where you would spend eternity?  The Bible says it will either be in hell or it will be in heaven.  Will you think about that?  Thank you.  God bless you.’  And he left.  I had never been asked that question before and I could not get it out of my mind.  When I got back to England, I sought out a pastor and was converted to Christ.”

Several weeks later a revival team came to Dr. Dixon’s church and on a Wednesday night he asked one of the team members (Noel) to share how he had been saved.  The guy stood stood up and said,  “I was stationed with the Royal Navy stationed in Sydney, Australia and one night I was walking down George Street and out of no where stepped this little grey-haired old man.  He said, ‘Excuse me sir, but may I ask you a question?  I hope you won’t be offended but if you were to die today, do you know where you would spend eternity?  The Bible says it will either be in hell or it will be in heaven.  Will you think about that.  Thank you.  God bless you.’  Noel said I couldn’t  get that out of my mind.  When I got back to England I sought out a Christian businessman and I came to know Christ as my Savior and Lord.”

Several months after that Dr. Dixon was in Adelaide.  He was doing an evangelistic crusade and said that he just had to share this so he shared about Peter and Noel.  As he was sharing a man stood up in the congregation waving his hands.  Dr. Dixon stopped and asked what was the problem – to which the man replied, “I’m another.  I was in  Sydney, Australia and one night I was walking down George Street and out of no where stepped this little grey-haired old man.  He said, ‘Excuse me sir, but may I ask you a question?  I hope you won’t be offended but if you were to die today, do you know where you would spend eternity?  The Bible says it will either be in hell or it will be in heaven.  Will you think about that.  Thank you.  God bless you.’  Later I was converted to Christ.

When he came back to his church he shared about the crusade experience – specifically about Peter, Noel, and the man in Adelaide.  Afterwards a woman came up to Dr. Dixon and said, “Well, I’m another.  I was visiting Sydney Australia and walking down George Street….  Later I was converted to Christ.”

Shortly after that he was teaching at a convention in Northern England and he was asked to address a group of pastors.  When he started talking he said, “I’ve got to share this,  This is exciting.”  So he told them about Peter, Noel, the man in Adelaide and the woman in his church.  Afterwards a pastor came up to him and said, “I am another. I was in Sydney walking down George St and out of no where came this grey-haired old man…  Later I was converted to Christ.”

A year later Dr. Dixon went on a world tour and he was in India and was asked to speak to a group of missionaries on evangelism.  So he told them the story and afterwards a missionary came up to him and said, “Dr. Dixon, I am another.  I was walking down George St…. Later I was converted to Christ.”

From there he went to Jamaica.  He was in Kingston addressing a group of businessmen at a luncheon.  He shared this story and afterwards a man came up to him and said, “I am another.  I was on a business trip in Sydney, Australia and I was walking down George Street and out of no where stepped this little old man…Later I was converted to Christ.

Where do you think Dr. Dixon Went next?…Sydney, Australia

He went to a Christian businessman there and told him this story and asked, “Do you know who this man is?”

“Sure, that’s Mr. Jenner.  He’s been doing that for 23 years.  But he is very feeble now.  He just got out of the hospital, is confined to his bed and is almost blind.”

Dr. Dixon said, “Would you take me to him?”

The man said, “Of course.”

So they went to this little grey-haired old man’s house.  As they walked into his bedroom, Dr. Dixon introduced himself and began to unravel one of the most incredible witnessing stories ever verified.  As he started to share about how one after another had come to know Christ, the little old grey-haired man started to weep to the point that Dr. Dixon had to stop.  “Excuse me sir, but what is wrong?.”

Mr. Jenner said, “After 23 years, that is the first time I have ever heard of anyone coming to Christ through my testimony.”

23 years of faithfulness…23 years of sowing and never knowing that the seeds had sprouted and born fruit…23 years of serving out of obedience to Christ.  May we be found faithful!

Leaders and Commitment

William Borden came from a family whose success in the dairy business was well known.  As a high school graduation gift, William’s parents sent him and a chaperone on an around the world trip to help prepare him for college at Yale.  They gave him a Bible to read on the journey and somewhere in Asia he was struck by the enormity of the task of reaching the world for Christ and how he must give his all to helping to reach those without Christ.  He penned two words in the first page of his Bible, “No Reserves.”

After entering Yale to study business, he became friends with a mission’s zealot named Samuel Zwemmer whose passion for reaching Muslims soon infected William.  He sensed God’s calling him personally to help bring the gospel to the Muslim peoples of western China.  After explaining to his parents that he would not take over the family dairy business after graduation, he wrote two more words in the front of his Bible, “No Retreats.”

Having finished some Biblical studies, he sailed for Egypt to study Arabic before moving on to China.  After only six months of language study, William contracted cerebral meningitis and died.  His mother sailed from New York to Cairo to collect his personal belongings, among which was his Bible.  After opening it, she read two more words that William had added to the front page, “No Regrets.”

“No Reserves!”  “No Retreats!”  “No Regrets!”  That total commitment to Christ drove Borden of Yale to give his life for world evangelism.

The highest good in the Christian life is not becoming a missionary or a vocational Christian worker.  Rather, it is discovering God’s will for your life and doing it with this type of total commitment.  The days demand it.  The King deserves it.  Why not make that commitment today!

A Time for Everything!

By the first day of the first month of Noah’s six hundred and first year, the water had dried up from the earth. Noah then removed the covering from the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was dry. By the twenty-seventh day of the second month the earth was completely dry.

Then God said to Noah,  “Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives. Bring out every kind of living creature that is with you…      Genesis 8:13-17

Noah and family had been on a cramped, damp, and no doubt, smell-filled ark for a year.  He removed the roof of the ark and peering over the edge of the boat he sees dry ground!    “Hallelujah!  It’s time to get off of this boat and put our sandals on that dry turf,” he must have thought or even exclaimed along with his family members.  But the time was yet to be for the departure from their lifeboat.  How frustrating!

A careful reading of the text shows that Noah saw the dry ground on the first day of the first month, but it was not until the 27th day of the second month that God instructed them to disembark.  57 more days of waiting and watching–looking over the deck railing to see dry ground as far as they could see–waiting upon God for His release from their delivery ship.  I wonder what went through Noah’s mind as he waited for God’s time to exit the ark?

Leaders are doers.  We are all about getting things done-and getting them done NOW.  We often can have difficulty when God says to wait.  Wait for what?  It’s dry ground out there!  Let’s get on with this!  If not careful, we can miss a great opportunity to stop, reflect, and wait for the voice of God to speak.  We can miss God’s perfect timing.

Time is easily spent, never to be recovered.  Time is easily wasted, never to be redeemed.  Time is always in short supply for leaders!  “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven,” the writer of Ecclesiastes reminds us.  “Yeah, right!  He didn’t have my schedule,” we think.  We leaders are often like the proverbial dog straining at the end of God’s leash, wanting to get on with the job at hand, looking ahead to our new challenges.  Somehow I don’t see Noah anxiously marching up and down the deck of his ark, sighing deeply at his seeming lack of forward movement.

We are all busy people, especially leaders.  But busyness is not our enemy.  Busyness is a morally neutral state.  Being busy is not good, or bad, or purple.  It just means that we have a lot to accomplish each and every day.  In fact, if you don’t want a busy life, don’t lead!  But our busy lives can become a snare for us.  We can allow our full days to lull us into complacency with those things that are incredibly important, but do not have demanding deadlines.

How many Kingdom leaders are coasting upon past bible studies, memory verses, or messages preached long ago because they have let their busy lives crowd out personal time with God?  How many families are neglected because we are unwilling to say ‘no’ to enticing invitations?  God continues to speak, but our iPod volume drowns out His still, small voice.  We don’t recognize the voice of God because we don’t stop long enough to listen.

Elijah, a leader extraordinaire, learned to pay attention to God’s voice, The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.”  Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind.  After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire.  And after the fire came a gentle whisper …” (1 Kings 19:11-12).

As Kingdom leaders we must ruthlessly eliminate hurry (not busyness) from our lives in order to sit at the feet of Jesus and wait for Him to speak.  He is not in the fierce wind, the great earthquake, or the raging fire (all of our pressing crises or demanding problems).  He waits for us to stop, look, and listen.  He then gently whispers into our heart His plans for us and our leadership, expecting us to take note and be quick to obey.

So is your leadership walk like one of Noah, patiently waiting for God’s timing to speak–waiting expectantly on Him to guide and direct your path?  Or are you more like the dog straining at the end of the leash, pulling hard against a loving Master?  May you turn down the volume of your hurried life to be able to hear His voice!  And may you have a heart that is quick to obey!

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