Tag Archives: leaders

Numbers 16, Psalms 52-54, Hebrews 13

 

I have to admit, I have never read this story in Numbers. I am pretty sure I would have remembered a story about the Earth opening up and swallowing a crowd of people. It’s a shocking ending to the events that took place as I take a step back and look at what lead to that consequence I find myself right there with him. Like Korah, how have I:

  • Questioned authority and who assigned it to them?
  • Challenged how they are leading?
  • Started a “rebellion” of my own by gossiping about the leader and convinced others that something needs to be done about their leadership?
  • Been jealous or not understood why someone was in authority over me?
  • Felt like I was a better fit for the job?

Thinking about how I am like Korah reminds me of several times in my life both in ministry and in the workplace that I have been discontent it those the Lord has placed in leadership over me. I am a very independent person and like to control things. I feel very strongly about my opinions which can make working “under” someone very difficult.

Korah was discontent. Things were not going like he and his friends thought they should go. But Korah wasn’t really challenging Moses and Aaron, was he? No, when we challenge our leaders, we are really challenging the Lord for He is the one who set ups leaders and rulers over us both in and out of ministry. Certainly, there are times, seasons and leaders who are not following the Lord’s calling and will. Dictators and ruthless authorities have always been around. But in our everyday life, I can see myself often challenging leadership out of selfish ambition and gain. So here are a few questions I must ask myself when evaluating those in authority:

  • Am I seeking to glorify God or receive my own fame?
  • Have I prayed about the situation and for the leader over me?
  • Do I simply not agree with their opinion or is what they are asking of me against the word of God?
  • Am I making their job more difficult by my attitude? Am I stirring up strife by trying to convince others of my personal opinion of their leadership?
  • Am I simply jealous for control because I think my way is better?

These can be some really tough questions to ask. When I sit down with the Lord and really dig deep, I am often ashamed and disappointed it the answers I find. I am so grateful that His grace is sufficient for me!

Hebrews 13:17 reminds us:

“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

In this case, I believe the writer was referring to our pastors and teachers but in every case of authority this rings true. At the end of the day, I am not responsible for how they lead but how I follow. My goal is to follow them with joy and without groaning and complaining.

Father, forgive me for the times I have wanted to gain control for my own pride and fame. Help me each day to pray for those you have placed in authority. Help me to trust that ultimately you are in control. God, “you are my helper and the upholder of my life” and you will one day put an end to the evil rulers and reward those who are obedient. Amen.

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Filed under 66 Books, Hebrews, Numbers, Uncategorized

2 Chronicles 26-28; John 17

Following a leader can be an exhilarating experience in new adventures or a fearful journey into failure. I’m usually happy to go along with leaders, first because I tend to choose carefully who to serve, and second because I like to blend in with others in achieving goals that depend on team work.  However, I’ve had my share of submitting to leaders that are egotistical, narcissistic, and even sociopathic. So I’ve wrestled with the New Testament Scripture that says we are to “be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ…(Ephesians 6:5).”

Certainly it was easy for Israel to serve those kings who worshiped God; valiant warriors and people of faith followed these leaders with joy.

Few rose up, though, against King Ahaz who worshiped other gods and through which the nation fell into moral decline.  The people were led astray by their own sins, as well.

Leadership has tremendous impact on followers.  Think of how leaders in any organization demonstrate dependability and integrity, or corruption and negligence.  Morale and the moral fabric of any organization, government, or family are affected by the character and goals of the leader.

So what makes a good leader? Successful reigns in the Bible were always an illustration on how to walk with God, seek His will, and worship only Him. Just as pictorial, however, were the poorly run kingdoms where the maverick king chose to do what he wanted, breaking tradition and going after the gods around him. The people fell in line with this kind of authority and were soon labeled just as wicked as their leader.

I wonder if that is why in John, we see how important Jesus Christ felt it was to pray for His disciples so that they could become “one with Him and the Father.” Since each of the disciples were entrusted with the commission to go into the world and teach and preach the kingdom of God, Christ expected that these leaders would have undivided hearts, unity of purpose, and faith in the Great Leader of all, God Almighty.

Though we may not be able to choose the leaders in our lives, I think it is fair to say that we can learn even by their mistakes to draw closer to God by prayer, supplication, and humble confessions.  By being real with God in our prayers for our leaders, we show honor and respect for not only ‘the office’ but also the God who placed us career-wise, below others.   God can use that kind of humility to get us out from under poor leaders or use us as a catalyst to make better leaders of them.  When I realize that I am not in control, but the God of the universe is, then my perspective changes about following others.  I know that I must do what is right toward them as a holy service to God.

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Filed under 2 Chronicles, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Ephesians, John, New Testament, Old Testament

Gen. 47; Lk. 1:1-38; Job 13; I Cor. 1

Belief and unbelief.

Joseph trusted in God. His brothers trusted in their own plans (their plot to be rid of a little brother–good thing for them that God had other plans!).

Job was grappling with faith in the midst of an unimaginable hardship. His friends were at work to find his human flaws to justify punishment.

Zechariah asked a question of the messenger–Mary did too!–but what was at work on a heart level differentiated them. One, who was perhaps doubtful. The other, seeking.

Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” Luke 1:1:38 NLT.

Paul talks about God using the least expected to confound the wise–and it’s splayed across chapters: a brother sold into slavery who becomes a leader … a wealthy man who loses everything in moments … a virgin girl and a barren, old woman to both conceive children who would change everything … and even Paul, hater turned lover of Christ.

26 Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. 27 Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. 1 Corinthians 1:26-27 NLT.

Overall, a message of being chosen, and a reminder that nothing is impossible with God.

Courtney (66books365)

 

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Filed under 1 Corinthians, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Genesis, Job, Luke, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament

Gen. 7; Matthew 7; Ezra 7; Acts 7

Matthew 7v15-20  “Watch out for false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are voracious wolves.  You will recognize them by their fruit. Grapes are not gathered from thorns or figs from thistles, are they? In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree is not able to bear bad fruit, nor a bad tree to bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will recognize them by their fruit.”

When I read the analogy of the tree bearing good or bad fruit in Matthew 7, it stood out to me as the strand that runs right through all the other passages.  What characterizes Ezra, Noah, and Stephen? Simply put, according to Matthew 7 it is their fruit.  In Genesis 7 Noah is following the Lord’s command to every last detail as he loads the ark.

Genesis 7v5 And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him.

In fact all over the Old Testament that refrain is echoed about various leaders, did they do al that the Lord commanded them or not? Which makes me ask the question of myself, do I do all the Lord commands me? If Jesus were to follow me around for a day, would he say that I bear good fruit, or bad?

Ezra 7:10 Now Ezra had dedicated himself to the study of the law of the Lord, to its observance, and to teaching its statutes and judgments in Israel.

When I look at Ezra I ask myself, am I really dedicated to studying the word? Or sometimes is it just something I do out of some false sense of obligation.  Do I delight in the law of the Lord? Meditate on it day and night as the Psalmist says in Psalm 1?

Acts 6:8 Now Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and miraculous signs among the people.

In Acts 7 Stephen stands up against the Jewish leaders (whom Jesus was referring to as wolves in sheep’s clothing) and calls them out for never listening to the prophets of the Lord.  Stephen is described a chapter before as ‘full of grace and power.’

Would someone ever describe me that way? I doubt it.

Men and women of God in the scriptures and today that I look up to humble me. I aspire to live a life full of God’s grace and power, but am I taking the small daily steps towards God that they did? The tree that bears good fruit grows slowly, am I patient?

Sam (gueston66books)

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Filed under 66 Books, Acts, Bible in a year reading plan, Ezra, Genesis, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Matthew, New Testament, Old Testament

2 Kings 15; Titus 1; Hosea 8; Psalms 123-125

I am a leader. 

I don’t mean this in a prideful way to communicate particular leadership competence.  I simply mean that the roles which have been thrust upon me as husband, father,  business owner, sunday school teacher, and coach confer the responsibility of leadership.  With this in mind, I have often taken particular interest in what qualifications the Bible provides for good leadership. 

It is natural to look for these qualifications in the direction provided for establishing leaders of the early Church.  In I Timothy and Titus, Paul offers criteria for selecting good leaders.  Here’s the passage from Titus:

An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.   Since an overseer is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless–not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain.  Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.  He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

Titus 1:6-8

What can I learn from this passage about the qualities of good leadership? 

1)  Temperance    – A good leader needs to maintain self-control in all circumstances.

  • husband of but one wife
  • not overbearing
  • not quick-tempered
  • not given to drunkeness
  • not violent
  • self-controlled
  • disciplined

2) Respect  – A good leader is esteemed by his/her followers.

  • “a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.”
  • “blameless”
  • “upright”

3) Love – A good leader must place the interests of others above his/her own.

  • “not pursuing dishonest gain”
  • “must be hospitable”
  • “one who loves what is good”
  • Main goal – “so that he can encourage others”

How do I measure up? 

Am I a person that demonstrates temperance in thought and deed even when stress and difficulties enter my life? 

I know I am not “blameless” in the purest sense of the word.  But am I someone who is respected by others for the way I choose to live my life?

Above all else, do I demonstrate love for those who I have the privilege of leading in one aspect of life or another?

Lord,

Leadership is an awesome, and sometimes intimidating calling –  one for which I often feel unqualified.  I desire that you work in my life to help me become the kind of leader that you intend for me to be. 

Amen
Greg (gmd40187)

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Filed under 66 Books, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Titus