Developing Kingdom Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Archive for the tag “Personal development”

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

Attitudes and Authority

The LORD is the one you and your followers are really revolting against! For who is Aaron that you are complaining about him? Numbers 16:11 NLT

God has ordained certain authority-submission relationships in His creation.  Examples of these are: God and people, government and citizens, employer and employee, spiritual leader and follower, husband and wife, and parents and children.  These relationships do not imply that those in authority have more value or worth in God’s eyes than those that are called to follow.  For even within the Trinity there is authority and submission (see 1 Corinthians 11:3). 

God in His wisdom and love, places His authorities over each of us.  These authorities are there for His purposes and rebellion against them is taken very seriously.  Moses saw Korah’s rebellion as not against his leadership, but ultimately a rebellion against God (v. 11).  We can willingly submit to the authorities over us knowing that God will care for us, even if our authorities are ungodly. 

  • What insights can you gain from how Daniel and his friends responded to the ungodly authority over them in Daniel 1:1-16?
  • What was the response of Daniel’s three friends when they faced another difficult submission decision in Daniel 3:1-30?  Pay special attention to their attitudes in verses 16-18.

Question to ponder:  When and under what circumstances would you ever not submit to an authority?

Passages for further reflection: Matthew 26:36-64; Matthew 27:11-14

Becoming God’s Friend

Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend… Exodus 33:11 ESV

Can someone really become a friend with God?  Moses met regularly with God, speaking with Him face to face, building a deep, personal relationship. By spending time alone with God, Moses developed a growing friendship with Him.  As Moses grew in his friendship and intimacy with God, his requests from God grew bolder. As he grew in his understanding of God’s character, he was emboldened to ask God for such things as wanting His presence to go with them and asking to see God’s glory (see the rest of Exodus 33).

The Lord desires to build an intimate, personal relationship with each of us also.  But, like Moses, we too must set aside regular time to meet with Him that we may get to know Him better.  Daily devotions built around the Word and prayer are anchors in this growing friendship. We can talk with Him through prayer, and He talks to us through His Word.

  • Eternal life is not something that we have to wait to experience after we die.  Rather, it is a personal relationship with God that begins the moment we believe in Christ and then continues for eternity.  Reflect on the following passages, noting what they say about our relationship with God?  — John 1:12-13; John 17:3,20-26
  • How did Jesus model and teach us to pursue a relationship with our heavenly Father — Mark 1:35; Luke 5:15-16

Question to ponder:  What can you do cultivate a deeper personal relationship with God?

Passages for further reflection: Psalm 5:3; Matthew 6:6

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

The Reality of Heaven

No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.  They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.  There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.   Revelation 22:3-5  NIV

You, a believer in Christ, were made to reign with Him forever and ever!  You will live with Him in an eternal city, the New Jerusalem, with eternal bodies, and reign with Him over His creation.  Heaven is real and our eternal destiny is assured.    

The reality of heaven should impact our life today.  We are passing through this life on our way to a better one, a life with the living God for eternity!  Heaven is our hope and our final home.

  • As believers, our citizenship is in heaven, not this world.  What is said in the following passages about heaven? — Philippians 3:20-21; Revelation 7:9-17
  • Our existence in heaven will be much different than our earthly existence.  What do the following passages say about our life in heaven? — Romans 8:17; Revelation 21:4; Revelation 22:5

Question to ponder:  How is the reality of heaven impacting your life and leadership today?

Passages for further reflection:  2 Corinthians 5:1; Hebrews 11:10

Leadership Envy

The disciples of John the Baptist saw a problem.  Many of those involved in John’s ministry were now leaving him and going to be with Jesus.  Note their concern as expressed to John, “They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan–the one you testified about–look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.” (John 3:26 NIV)

With the decreasing crowd size, John could have been intimidated or discouraged with Jesus’ growing ministry, if he found his identity in his ministry and its ‘success’ measured in numbers.  But his response showed clearly that his identity was anchored in being the Lord’s servant and in doing His will regardless of ministry results – many or few.  John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. … He must increase, but I must decrease.”  (John 3:27, 30 ESV)

Kingdom leadership envy, jealousy, comparison – feeling better than or less than others, competitive spirit, or bitterness because of another’s ministry success can all emerge if we are not settled in our own calling, contribution, identity, and gifting.   When others (especially peers) seem to ‘succeed’ while we languish or struggle, these feelings can emerge, take root in our hearts, and ruin us.  It is for the Lord’s glory that we labor, not our own!

Below are some reminders on the topic that can be of help in keeping the right perspective.

Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.”  (Jeremiah 9:23-24 ESV)

I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.  For who sees anything different in you?  What do you have that you did not receive?  If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?  (1 Corinthians 4:6-7 ESV)

“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property.  To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.  (Matthew 25:14-15 ESV)

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.  (Romans 12:3 NIV)

Is there someone you are ‘secretly’ in competition with?  Is there someone you are comparing yourself to?  Are you envious of another’s success?

Repent!!!

Being and Doing

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”     1 Peter 1:14-16  NIV 1984

As followers of Christ, we are called both to ‘be’ and to ‘do.’  But note the order!

We are first to be holy for the One who calls us and whom we confess as Lord and Savior is holy.  Doing flows out of being.  If we are not holy on the ‘inside,’ in our hearts and minds, then our actions, our ‘doing’ is at best hypocritical, at worst, deceitful.

Kingdom leaders focus on being with Jesus before they seek to serve others for Jesus!  It is this abiding with Him that He reminds us of in John 15.  “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”  John 15:5  ESV  Notice the order – abide in Him….bears much fruit…. otherwise, apart from Him we can do nothing.

Leaders are doers.  We are never satisfied with the status quo, always seeking to change, improve, advance, accomplish, and further the mission we have been entrusted to steward.  It is this default to ‘doing’ that at times overrides the ‘being’ aspect of our lives.  The branch separates from the vine and assumes it will continue to bear fruit.  How foolish!

The demands upon us are straining our remaining closely attached to the Vine of Life.  Don’t let the chaos of the day consume your soul.  Remember the exhortation of Joshua to the leaders he was about to leave, “Be very careful, therefore, to love the LORD your God.”   Joshua 23:11  ESV

Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.   Hebrews 3:1  NIV 1984

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…   Hebrews 12:2  NIV 1984

How’s your soul?

Are you fixed and focused on being with Him and knowing Him more deeply?

Prayer Life of a Kingdom Leader

It would seem that one of the most challenging spiritual disciplines for Kingdom leaders to build consistency in is prayer.  Often our prayers are more perfunctory in nature, similar to saying grace before a meal, but without much unction or personal depth and lacking strategic intent.

We are reminded in Ecclesiastes 5:2 (ESV), “Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few.”  Though we may pray with words, God is listening to our hearts.

In Luke 18:1 (NIV), Luke interprets the meaning of the parable of the persistent widow going before the judge, “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.”  Jesus knows it is hard for us to persevere in prayer when answers are a long time coming.  Therefore, we are encouraged to keep asking, keep seeking and keep knocking until we receive, find and the door finally opens (see Luke 11:9-10).

Here are three foci for the prayer life of a Kingdom leader:

Pray for Yourself

  • Personal Growth and Change – Christlike character, Wisdom – Galatians 5:22-23; James 1:5
  • Personal Promises – 2 Corinthians 1:20; Acts 13:46-47
  • Personal Needs and Desires of Your Heart   –  Philippians 4:19; Psalm 37:4

Pray for Others

  • Family members –  Matthew 10:34-39; Mark 10:29-30; Luke 18:29-30
  • Those we lead
    • Their Spiritual Growth and Change – Christlike character, Wisdom
    • Lordship of Christ in all areas of life as they follow Him
    • Vision for Disciplemaking and Spiritual Generations – that they may see the harvest
    • Their Personal Needs and Desires
  • Lost friends and acquaintances

Pray for the World-wide Harvest and Laborers

  • Current Laborers (disciplemakers) in the harvest –  Matthew 9:35-38
  • New Laborers (disciplemakers) for the harvest – Isaiah 6:8
  • Surrender of yourself and your willingness to volunteer for engagement in the harvest
  • Strategic prayer for unreached peoples – that they will have the Gospel –  Isaiah 49:6; Psalm 2:8
    • Joshua Project
    • Population of the world‎: ‎7.75 Billion
    • People Groups of the world‎: ‎17,441
    • Unreached Groups‎: ‎7,414
    • % Unreached Groups‎: 42.‎5%
    • People in Unreached:  3.23 Billion
    • People in Unreached:  41.6%

This is not a prayer time, but rather, the prayer life of a Kingdom leader!  Prayer is a moment-by-moment connection and communication with the living God.  It is learning to cultivate that connection as we go throughout our busy days.  Yes, we will have focused concentrated prayer times, but we want to establish a prayer lifestyle, learning to pray continuously as we go about our days.

This is not saying prayers, but rather, praying – pouring out our hearts to God!  “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”  Romans 8:26  ESV

So, how’s your prayer life?

Not Chosen

Therefore, it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us, beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.” So, they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.” Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.     Acts 1:21-26  NIV

It’s post-resurrection and seemingly during the period between the Lord’s ascension and the Day of Pentecost when the Church is birthed with the coming of the Holy Spirit.  An operational detail needed to be addressed, for the leadership team had an empty position to be filled.  Judas had betrayed the Lord and died, and now the Eleven needed to become the Twelve again by selecting a replacement.

They discussed the criteria for candidates, noting that anyone considered had to have been with Jesus from His baptism by John the Baptist through the ascension from the Mt. of Olives.  This narrowed the list down to two men – Barsabbas and Matthias.  They prayed, asking the Lord to direct and show them who He had chosen for this role.  They ‘voted’ and the lot fell to Matthias.

Think about Barsabbas who was not chosen.  This was now his second time of not making the ‘final cut.’  He had been with Jesus since His baptism and was among the crowd of Jesus’ disciples when Jesus chose the Twelve (see Luke 6:12-19).  But when Jesus called the names of those who would be on His apostolic training team, his name was not called.  No doubt he would have been disappointed, but maybe relieved as well?

But now the list was down to just two people – he and Matthias.  The 120 or so in the selection council were the committed ones and he was well thought of by them, having made it to the ‘finalist’ list.  However, once again Barsabbas was not selected by God and his peers to lead.  Ouch!

God selects the leaders (see Daniel 2:21) and Barsabbas had to wrestle with the reality that God had not chosen him – twice.  Did it mean that God disapproved of him?  Did it mean that God did not have a contribution for him to make?  These kinds of experiences can be unsettling or depressing for Kingdom leaders, for all of us have ambitions and when these are not fulfilled we are disappointed.

Think also of James and John asking to be placed in the top two positions at Jesus’ right and left hand.  Jesus did not rebuke them for their brash ambition or seeking to jump the line ahead of their brothers.  Rather, He said, “But I have no right to say who will sit on my right or my left. God has prepared those places for the ones he has chosen.”  (NLT)  James and John were not chosen for these places in the Kingdom.

All Kingdom leaders will have multiple opportunities in our leadership careers where we are not chosen for a role and the mantle of leadership falls on someone else’s shoulder.  How we respond to this is key.  Do we sulk, get bitter, or angry against God?  Do we allow a divisive attitude to emerge and not wholeheartedly support the leadership of the chosen one?  We may even appear supportive on the outside, but in our hearts we are jealous or envious of the chosen one.

Have you had the experience of not being chosen, yet?  If not, then be prepared – it’s coming.  If so, how’s your heart?

 

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