Thursday, October 27, 2016

Humility--What Leaders Can't Live Without!

It is rather amazing how most of us feel that we are not proud but that we have done a pretty good job in learning humility.  Although none of us would be so bold to say that we have attained it--we often fall far short from the biblical idea.   Perhaps the greatest of all virtues that could be learned from Jesus Christ is that of humility as he walked this earth.

As a young boy, I read through the book of Proverbs regularly--it was probably my favorite book.  A prominent theme is that of humility and pride.  The following are a few verses that I've committed to memory.  Now, I have the life-long task of pursuing it.

Proverbs 11:2, "When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom."

Proverbs 16:18, "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall."

Proverbs 22:4, "By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honor, and life."

Proverbs 27:2, "Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips."

Proverbs 12:15, "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice."

There are many things that make for a truly great leader but there is one thing that no leader can do without--humility.   A healthy leader understands that life is not about them.  Leaders get much attention and credit which can create a mindset that everything, revolves around them.  There is not a leader who has fallen that did not begin to think that it was all about them.  A healthy leader understands that they are only stewarding a ministry that belongs to the Lord and that it takes a team to make it happen.  Through humility, a healthy leader understands that they exist to serve their team and to help that team to be all that it can for God's glory.  Humble leaders understand that they are not the only ones with ideas that matter.  They learn to listen more and validate others for their contributions.  Perhaps the greatest thing that I've witnessed is that a humble, healthy leader give the credit away to others.  He is not concerned about getting the recognition but that the ministry moves forward.  

Perhaps one of the boldest things we could pray for is for God to help us to be a humble, servant leader and to allow God to exalt us in due time should he desire to do so.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Seeking Wisdom

In difficult times in our lives it may be difficult to know where to turn as real wisdom is in short supply today. Too few people think deeply and equally few people have so saturated their thinking Biblically that godly wisdom emerges from them. When you find a wise person, that individual is a treasure. When we are able to provide wisdom to others we become a treasure and gift to them.

How should we recognize them?  Biblical wisdom is first of all grounded in "the fear of the Lord." It is an acknowledgement that God is above all and that the wise individual takes God into account in all of their thinking, actions, strategies and decisions. For the wise individual, God and the things that matter to God are central to everything!  Their longing is to glorify Him with the right decisions.

That means that wisdom is not simply pragmatism—the end justifies the means. A course of action can be pragmatic but not take into account God's view about the matter.  Wisdom is the ability to understand a situation and know how to respond to it in a way that would please God, demonstrate mercy, fairness and righteousness, and accomplish what God has mapped before us.

I have heard it said in a leadership book that, “It is wise people who are able to take complex issues and many moving parts and find a solution while keeping God's perspective or character in the center of the equation.”  To me, this would appear to be biblical wisdom.

Not all of us are given the gift of special wisdom.  However, all of us have access to people who God has gifted in that way. Where do we find them or get to know them in order to hear their perspective? We must pray and keep our ears open to them as we listen to those God has placed in our paths.  We must evaluate the current wisdom that we embrace and ask if it has been biblical and God-centered.  God tells us to begin and seek Him who gives wisdom freely (James 1:5).

(Note: Modified & taken from a former blog by Tim Addington)

Thursday, October 13, 2016

10 Ways to Jump Start Your Personal Evangelism

A year ago I stumbled across this blog written by our friend Dr. Chuck Lawless. Many times we want to say more about Christ and yet we are fearful or don't know what to say.  Take the time to read this for your benefit.

Dr Chuck Lawless writes:

If you’ve read the posts at this site in the past, you know I’m burdened about my own commitment to reaching the lost. Even as a professor of evangelism, I have to continually push myself to do evangelism. For what it’s worth (and frankly, as a matter of accountability), here are some steps I’m taking to move in the right direction:

  1. Ask God daily to let me see people as He sees them. I tend to see people as the driver in the car who cut me off, the cashier at the gas station, and the neighbor whose name I don’t know. God sees them as sheep without a shepherd and souls for whom Jesus died.
  2. Ask other believers to pray at least once a week that I will speak the gospel boldly and clearly. This approach is nothing more than what Paul asked the Ephesians and the Colossians to do for him (Eph. 6:18-20; Col. 4:2-4). If Paul needed that kind of prayer support, I surely do.
  3. Ask God to renew my fire for Him. The bottom line for me is this: I do evangelism when I’m most amazed by Jesus. That’s why I wrote Nobodies for Jesus, and now I’m being challenged like never before to apply personally my own teachings.
  4. Pray by name for non-believers at least once a week. I often pray every day for some non-believer, but I have also set up one weekly focused time for praying that God would open the blinded minds of non-believers (2 Cor. 4:3-4).
  5. Strive to speak a good word about God to somebody each day. God is so majestic and His blessings are so numerous that I have no reason not to speak of His goodness. Even if I daily speak those words to only a believer, I develop the practice of moving conversations toward God.
  6. Force myself to get to know people I don’t know. I’m an introvert who would prefer to read a book, but that tendency obviously hinders evangelism. With God’s grace and in His power, I’m learning to push myself out of my shell.
  7. Offer to pray for others. Simply letting people know I’m committed to praying for them can open doors for deeper conversations. Life hurts sometimes, and folks who bear burdens alone are often both surprised by and appreciative of the offer of prayer.
  8. Commit to telling a non-believer what Jesus means to me at least once a week. If one of the above strategies doesn’t open this door, here’s the approach I take: “I’m a follower of Jesus, and I’ve made a personal commitment to tell others what He means to me each week. May I have five minutes to tell you my story, and you help me to know if anything is unclear?” I’ve been surprised by how many people are open to listen.
  9. Use social media to tell the gospel. I need to do evangelism face-to-face, but the Internet also provides multiple avenues for telling others about Jesus. I do not want to miss any opportunities.
  10. Just be obedient because I want to please God. Anything less than a lifestyle of telling others about Jesus – and initiating those conversations because it models our God who came to us while we were yet sinners – would be disobedience.