There’s an age old saying, “People like change, until something changes.” Is that true in your life? The Apostle Peter needed to explain his actions from Acts 10, where he went to a Gentile’s home and they received God’s Holy Spirit. He didn’t have to explain the Holy Spirit part, as much as the “going to a Gentile’s home” part. Why? The prejudice of the newly Christian Jews didn’t allow for them to be teachable in leadership. They were restrictive, rather than gracious. When Peter could explain his actions, they were became receptive. Barnabas is a wonderful example of teachability in leading. How teachable are you in leading others? Let’s find out. Click the image to hear the sermon.
Tag Archives: leadership
Our spiritual father, Abraham, was called to go to a land that God would show him. He didn’t know the future, but he trusted in faith and stepped out in faith. Do you have the kind of faith it takes to follow God into the unknown?
What kind of leadership do you follow? Are you and “outcome” based leader, or a “character” based leader? Walk with us through the values of leadership and as yourself, “Am I living the example of life that others want to follow?
How far “down the road” do you think, as a leader?
Sometimes people tell me they “take one day at a time”, or “all I need is grace for today”, which is really quite biblical.
Jesus said it like this, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? … 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:25-34)
Here’s what I mean, I took my son to a movie last night. We had a little father-son time together. We saw the new movie, “Now you see me”. I highly recommend it. It plays with your mind, has a few good twists in it, and makes for an interesting story line.
Without spoiling anything (honestly), there’s an element of “future thinking” at play in the film that could really relate to our leadership skill as pastors, teachers, parents, leaders, … in the corporate world and in the home. That theme concerns itself with future thinking. Five, ten, fifteen or even twenty year planning is good to think about in our lives, and in those we lead.
If you see the movie, you’ll understand what I’m talking about.
How far down the road are you planning for your vision to play itself out? Are you a person who needs instant gratification, instant results, immediate measures to tell if you’re successful or a failure? Or, are you able to plan ahead, lay some good groundwork for the future, and stick to the plan long enough to see the results you desire?
A former pastor, leader, friend of mine used to say, “Plan the work, and work the plan.”
I like that. Especially now in my years of ministry leadership. We just transitioned to a new venue for church gatherings. We meet in a local movie cinema in town, and we’ve seen a dip in church attendance, church offerings, and church ministry involvement. I am not discouraged, however, because I have been given a future thinking plan for the next ten, fifteen, even twenty years for this community church.
I saw this movie, “Now You See Me”, and came to the refreshing realization that, even though Jesus tells me “Don’t worry about tomorrow”, he doesn’t tell me, “Don’t plan for tomorrow.”
How are you seeing long-term fruit coming out of your ministry? When have you felt discouraged with “short-term” results in your life and have forgotten that God is working a “long-term” vision for you?
I’d like to hear about it.
“If I had a nickle for every time a students has used that excuse with me… ‘my brother died, and I had to leave your class today’, I’d be a wealthy man. Prove it!” barked the professor at a local university.
Maybe a little context might help.
Over a year ago, as a pastor, I had the honor of performing a funeral for a local family whose son passed away over Christmas break. The funeral was attended by nearly 600 of this 23 year old kids’ friends and family. It blew the capacity of our sanctuary out and people were standing in the narthex outside the doors of the church to listen and grieve with the family.
The little brother of the man who had passed away was composed and poised as he came forward during the service to pay honor to his big brother and say a few words. He sauntered up to the stage, taking his deliberate time to soak in each moment ascending the steps to the pulpit, slowly turn around and gaze into almost every set of eyes that were welling with tears throughout the entire sanctuary. Honestly, I thought he would never speak because he was so riveted in focus on every face in the house. It was a 3 minute pause, and with unforgettable grace, he cleared his throat, began nodding his head with lips persed… and said, “Well, I guess I win the (insert brother’s name) look-alike contest.”
The congregation breathed a sigh, even laughed a little because the tension in the room was so heavy, and enjoyed his 3 minutes of memories of his brother. With a blown kiss to his mother, followed by the slow, deliberate saunter back down the stage steps to his chair by his father, he sat down. It’s a moment I will not soon forget. As far as funeral settings go, it’s one of the top “Made to Stick” memories that slipped into a moment in time as effortlessly as anything I’ve witnessed.
A month later, this little brother decided to go back to school and begin his freshman year at a local university. He was sitting in his class, when a panic attack hit him concerning the recent loss of his brother. He picked up his things, stood up in the middle of the professor’s lecture, and walked out of the room. The professor witnessed this, what he thought was a defiant act of rejection to his lecture (small, insecure professor that he must be) and decided to give the class a pop-quiz on the spot, so that little brother would lose points for the year.
The next class session, insecure professor spoke to little brother by saying the quote above… “Do you know how many times I’ve heard that excuse, ‘my brother died’? Prove it!” So little brother, without saying another word, returned home to his grieving mother, asked for a copy of the recent death certificate, and returned to insecure professor with the proven draft … sauntered into class with confidence, handed the document to his professor and took his seat.
Kudos to you little brother. My hat’s off to your second act of “Made to Stick” public response.
Reader: I don’t know about your style of leadership, but as a leader, teacher, professor, parent or pastor, how do you react to what seems like public rejection of your teaching or leading? Do you lead like this insecure professor did?
Granted, I don’t know what sort of things were going on in the professor’s life that day, that week, or month. I don’t know if professor was dealing with the emotional tide of potential job loss, or impending performance reviews, or personal rejection. I am not trying to do the same thing to this unknown professor by rejecting him along with his actions, like he did to little brother. I’m just wondering if he couldn’t have shown a little more grace in the situation.
Jesus Christ’s little step-brother, James tells us in his letter (James 1:19-20) “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”
What is the kind of righteousness that God desires? Really… I read this as righteousness that is slow to become angry, that’s the kind of righteousness that God desires. Is it wrong to become angry? Certainly not, Jesus became angry at the denigration of the temple in his ministry. God expects Christian leaders to be righteously angry at the injustices in the world regarding sin. But to become humanly angry enough to throw a pop-quiz in class when a kid leaves your lecture, so that he might do poorly on a grade… that’s inappropriate anger.
“Quick to listen, slow to speak.”
You know what the redeeming factor is in this account of the little brother? He didn’t blow up at the professor. He didn’t get emotionally tied into his mother’s feelings when she questioned this professor’s actions. He didn’t respond, like I would have, in writing a letter to the dean of students trying to get Mr. Insecure Professor slapped on the wrist for treating a student like this, or even getting him fired. Nope. Mr. Little Brother just took it in stride, along with his grieving process, and did what the professor asked of him.
Little brother showed more grace, more honor, more deliberate “slow to become angry” (if at all) than I could have in this situation.
My perspective of leadership has grown by hearing about what not to do when feeling personal rejection… “prove it!”, and what TO DO when questioned (fairly or unfairly) about my actions.
What kind of leadership have you seen that reminds you to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry? How are you learning in this journey of “the kind of righteousness God desires”?
Remember those novels a while ago that let you choose your own adventure ending? Character development would set the stage, then you’d be given the choice to turn to specific pages if you’d like to make the story turn out different ways. I like that idea, for theological reasons. Specifically, as a church body, we are facing exciting adventures ahead and we have every opportunity to choose our own adventurous outcome. Now, you might say, “Wait a minute; we can’t just make the future happen the way we determine it, look at our debt.” You’d be right. God is certainly shaping our church into the congregation that reflects the life, teachings and sufferings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in our little corner of our state as much as possible. Sometimes this takes going through ‘sufferings’ or difficulties that we may not particularly choose, but all the same, God is using every adventure for His good purposes in us as a community (Romans 8:28). We may not be able to determine God’s future for us, but we can participate in God’s adventure in 3 specific ways as we prepare for an interim pastor to lead us:
1. Do not be anxious for anything – trust God’s leading for His church
Philippians 4:6, 7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Anxiety can be crushing and can distract us from worshipping God and serving in our community. In this text, we are told to present everything to God by prayer and petition, and to do so with thanksgiving so that we can stay focused under an interim pastor.
2. Take every thought captive – replace negativity with Scripture
2 Corinthians 10:5 “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Believers are told to “take every thought captive” that doesn’t conform to Christ’s standards. We must evaluate every one of our actions, desires, and impulses, and bring everything under the control of Jesus for the sake of unity. When you begin to think negative thoughts toward leadership, direction or unity, take those thoughts captive and begin praying the promises of God for His church throughout Scripture.
3. Do everything without grumbling or arguing – hold firmly to God’s Word
Philippians 2:14-15 “ Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among people like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.” Arguing and complaining aren’t Christ-like activities, and God doesn’t want believers to serve Him grudgingly, but with a willing and thankful heart. When you’re called by God to do something, do it gratefully and without grumbling. Christians should shine like stars among those who don’t follow Christ.
You are the light of the world in Jesus Christ. As we adventure forward, let’s trust God together for His direction and leadership for His glory. Our interim pastor is excited to lead us forward to another chapter. Let’s join the adventure too. You are invited to finish this chapter with us, so jump into the exciting adventure ahead for our church. Don’t just sit and soak waiting for things to change around here… make it your calling to take charge of our future, together.