Developing Kingdom Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Archive for the tag “Personal development”

A Heart for People

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10 ESV

What was the purpose in Jesus’ coming?  Jesus Himself summed it up by saying that He, “came to seek and to save the lost.”  People without a personal relationship with Jesus are lost—separated from God.  In another place He refers to them as sheep without a shepherd. Jesus came seeking those people that they might be reconciled once again to God.  He still seeks the lost today.

Jesus has committed to His followers the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:11-21).  As Christ’s ambassadors, we seek to persuade men and women to put their trust in Him that they may be reconciled back to God.  Our passion is Christ and His passion is people.  As we grow in our heart for God we will also grow in His passion for people.

  • God deeply cares for the lost.  What do the three parables in Luke 15 reveal about God’s heart for the lost? —  Luke 15:1-7; Luke 15:8-10; Luke 15:11-32
  • We can grow in our own heart for the lost.  What is said in the following passages about growing in our heart for people?  —  Ezekiel 36:26; 2 Peter 1:5-9

Questions to ponder:  What are your passions in life? Is one of them a passion to see people reconciled back to God? Why or why not?

Passages for further study: Psalm 51:10; Romans 8:5-11

Jesus – Our Good Shepherd

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. … I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me–just as the Father knows me and I know the Father–and I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10:11, 14-15 NIV

Jesus is the Good Shepherd of His sheep.  He loves us, His sheep, so much so that He is willing to die for us.  He knows His sheep intimately.  He calls us by name and we recognize His voice.  He gathers His sheep together and makes us all one flock.  He watches over His sheep and protects us from evil.  He is a very good shepherd.

Sheep need the help and care of a shepherd.  A shepherd guides and defends the sheep of His flock.  Sheep are easy prey to wolves, coyotes, and other predators.  A good shepherd protects the flock from harm and leads them to green pastures where they may feed and be nurtured for their health and growth. 

  • As sheep, we must stay close to our shepherd if we are to benefit from his care and protection.  What do the following passages say about following Jesus our Good Shepherd? — Luke 9:57-62; John 15:1-17
  • Jesus cares for sheep that are lost.  He searches for them that they may be brought back to the flock.  What is stated in the following passages about Jesus’ searching for His lost sheep? — Matthew 18:10-14; Luke 15:1-7

Question to ponder:  Are you following close after the Good Shepherd as He seeks to guide and protect you?

Passages for further study: Matthew 10:29-31; 1 Peter 5:7

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

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

Identity and Purpose

I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made. Isaiah 43:6-7 ESV

God is our Creator, and He is not ashamed of the work of His hands.  In His divine love and wisdom He determined our gender, race, physical characteristics, temperament, intellect, all that makes us uniquely different from every other person.  He designed us to be a special part of His creation.

God designed and created us for a divine purpose.  We are made in His image and made for His glory.  He has good works for us to do that will also glorify Him (see Ephesians 2:8-10).  We are created to understand our God-given, unique design and develop our potential for God’s glory (1 Corinthians 10:1).

  • All God’s creation brings glory to Him.  What do the following passages say about the purpose of God’s creation? — Psalm 19:1-4; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18
  • All of our physical characteristics were designed by God–both those we like and those we don’t like.  What is said in the following passages about our unique design? — Job 33:4; Psalm 139:13-16; John 9:1-3

Question to ponder:  What does the world say your identity and purpose should be and how does that contrast with what God says about you and the purposes He has for you?

Passages for further study: Acts 17:24-28; Romans 1:18-25

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

Purity of Life

“I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman. Job 31:1 NIV

The battle is for control of our minds and what enters our eyes greatly influences our thoughts.  Job made a conscience decision to limit what he saw and not look lustfully at a woman.  He committed himself to moral purity in his thought life.  Moral purity begins in our thoughts and continues to our actions.  We are called to live holy lives in thoughts as well as behavior.

God is holy and therefore His followers are to be holy.  Personal holiness is a struggle between our bodies (the flesh) and God’s Spirit within each believer.  Though we are already positionally holy before God because we have trusted Christ as our Savior, experientially we strive to overcome our flesh and yield to the controlling power of the Holy Spirit.

  • What do the following passages say about God’s holiness? — Leviticus 11:44-45; Leviticus 20:7,26
  • Because God is holy, we as his ambassadors are called to live holy lives.  What is said about our calling to holiness in the following passages? — 2 Corinthians 7:1; 1 Peter 1:14-15.

Question to ponder:  What means is the enemy currently using in your life to gain entry to your thoughts?

Passages for further reflection: 1 Corinthians 6:12-20; Ephesians 4:20-24

Pride – Corruption of the Heart

But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the LORD his God, and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense. 2 Chronicles 26:16 NIV

Uzziah started well in his walk with God, but his pride caused his downfall.  Pride does not blast its way into our life, it is insidious. It comes creeping in with small steps.  It gains a foothold little by little, feeding on itself, it grows until it consumes a life and brings ruin.

God opposes the proud person.  He will actively work to humble the proud.  Because God is committed to building humility into us, we have two choices.  We can take the easy road and humble ourselves, or we can let God take us down a hard road where He humbles us.

  • What is said in the following passages about God’s opposition to pride? — Proverbs 6:16-17; James 4:4-6
  • Pride wrecks a life.  Nothing good comes from it. What are the results of pride noted in the following passages? — Proverbs 11:2; Proverbs 13:10

Question to ponder:  How can you recognize pride in your own life?

Passages for further reflection: Isaiah 25:11; 1 Peter 5:5-6

Integrity – A Matter of the Heart

I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity… 1 Chronicles 29:17 NIV

When God measures a person, He puts the “tape measure” around their heart.  Who we are is more important to God than what we do.  He looks at our hearts, not our activities.  If our hearts are right, then our actions will follow.

Integrity, a basic building block in our character, is rooted in our hearts.  It begins with a commitment in our hearts to honor and obey God wholeheartedly.  Integrity is then manifested by being truthful in all that we say and do.  Believers are people of their word, who fulfill promises—even to our own detriment if necessary.

  • God has integrity.  He does not lie, and we can count on Him always doing what He says He will do.  What do the following passages say about the importance of integrity? -— Numbers 23:19; Mark 12:14
  • The Lord uses people of integrity.  What do these passages say regarding the type of person God uses? -— 2 Timothy 2:20-21; Titus 1:6-7

Question to ponder:  Kingdom leaders represent God’s leadership of His people. Are you and your leadership known for integrity?

Passages for further reflection : Joshua 21:45; Luke 16:10

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