Repentant Leadership

 

work hard stay humbleI have come to the conclusion that those who never repent must never attempt to do anything. I know what failure feels like. I’ve learned that failure isn’t fatal unless I let it be. I learned a long time ago that there are at least three actions to take when I fail:

  1. Take ownership of my actions.
  2. Make amends (do my very best to make things right).
  3. Move on.

Failure can teach me volumes about others and myself. I have learned more from my failures and mistakes than my successes.

Ezra served the exiles that were given permission from King Darius of Persia to return to their homeland after 70 years in exile away from their homeland. They were in the process of rebuilding the temple when Ezra learned of the blatant sin of some of his fellow exiles. He was absolutely broken and stunned. He leads the exiles in profound repentance. Check this out…

‘I am too ashamed and disgraced, my God, to lift up my face to you, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens. 7 From the days of our ancestors until now, our guilt has been great. Because of our sins, we and our kings and our priests have been subjected to the sword and captivity, to pillage and humiliation at the hand of foreign kings, as it is today.

15 Lord, the God of Israel, you are righteous! We are left this day as a remnant. Here we are before you in our guilt, though because of it not one of us can stand in your presence.’ (Ezra 9:6b-7; 15 NIV)

I believe that leaders should lead us through success. I also believe that leaders should lead us through repentance. It takes a lot longer to get through a hurtful situation when no one is willing to own his or her actions. I think it takes a bigger person to own their mistakes than to act like they are perfect and without fault. I believe that everyone makes mistakes – some have way bigger consequences than others. I believe that marriages can be saved from the brink of divorce if both spouses own their own failures and mistakes.

I remember hearing from a wise and trusted friend years ago in response to public sin and failure. The conversation was about helping restore the person from the public failure. He said to this man: “When your repentance cries out louder than your sin, you are on your way to restoration”.

I have to check my pride at the door if I’m ever going to own my mistakes and failures. I can’t act as if I’m perfect and without fault. The Lord knows me like no one else – how can I pretend that my sin didn’t happen?

I’m thinking that I should begin every day with a repentant heart and continue that theme throughout my day.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Leadership Charge

leadership text cloudI believe that there is leadership in all of us. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen two-year olds leading their parents, even though it shouldn’t be that way. I’ve also seen many unlikely leaders who lead – some who have no clue what it means to lead. I believe leadership is a great responsibility and should be taken very seriously. I also believe that some “self-appointed” leaders aren’t really leading anyone. I think I first heard this old proverb from John Maxwell…”He who thinks he leads with no followers is simply taking a walk”.

David was a fantastic leader. He started his leadership training as a shepherd protecting, providing for and leading sheep. He strength was his military leadership and prowess. He knew how to take care of business when it came to fighting. He was also strong in his walk with God. He stumbled for sure, but he repented and rose to lead with great strength. His repentance cried out greater than his sin and he was restored.

David makes a charge to his son Solomon who will succeed him as king. David really wanted to build the Temple for God, but the Lord wouldn’t let him because he had shed so much blood. David starts being proactive by getting the materials list and the supplies together so that everything will be ready. He then really gives Solomon an excellent leadership charge. Check this out….

11 “Now, my son, the Lord be with you, and may you have success and build the house of the Lord your God, as he said you would. 12 May the Lord give you discretion and understanding when he puts you in command over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the Lord your God. 13 Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the Lord gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged. (1 Chronicles 22:11-13 NIV)

David had given his son quite an example of leadership. Solomon experienced peace on every side because King David had paid the price for peace by going to war.

There are times I look back over my life and yes I have some regrets. There were times I wasn’t following the Lord whole-heartedly. There were many times as a student pastor that I was leading out of my giftedness instead of leading with the Holy Spirit of God working through me. It’s pretty easy to look back on my life and see things I could have done differently. Who was it that said we all have 20/20 vision looking back. I do want to maximize the time that I have ahead of me – no matter how much it is. I want to lead my family from a deep commitment to following the Lord – seeking His heart through prayer and the study of His Word. I want my family to lead from the Presence of God inside their heart for sure. I want any who would follow me to notice the Presence of God in me and then want that inside their own heart.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Deep Humility

 

work hard stay humbleI remember my grandmother (aka “Mammie”) speak about people being humble. She pronounced the word without the “h” on the front – “umble”. One big characteristic of her life was that she was very humble. I can’t ever recall her being prideful and arrogant. She noticed others who were humble and kind. She always put others ahead of herself. She was incredibly generous and patient. She made a profound impression upon my life and the lives of many others.

I read more this morning about King David. He was also a humble man serving as King. He never seemed to forget his humble beginnings as a shepherd boy. He also never seemed to forget the God Who was with him way back then when he faced a lion and a bear that was threatening his flock.

David decides that he wants to build a house for God. He doesn’t like it that the Ark of the Covenant is in a tent. He wants to build a permanent temple for God to dwell. The Lord sends Nathan, the prophet to bless David but to also let him know that his son who succeeds him as king will be the one to build the temple. I was impressed with David’s humility after being told “no”. David ended up feeling blessed about what God was going to do through his family. He humbly accepts the directive of God through the prophet. Check this out…

25 “You, my God, have revealed to your servant that you will build a house for him. So your servant has found courage to pray to you. 26 You, Lord, are God! You have promised these good things to your servant. 27 Now you have been pleased to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever in your sight; for you, Lord, have blessed it, and it will be blessed forever.” (1 Chronicles 17:25-27 NIV)

David’s humility is what made him such a great leader. He let God lead him. He trusted God to help him lead as King. I believe that humility is one of the greatest characteristics a leader can have. I believe humility can coexist with confidence but not arrogance. Confidence says, “We can do this”. Arrogance says, “I can do this”. David knew that with the Lord’s help that there was nothing that couldn’t be done.

I believe that battling pride is a daily struggle. My pride can chase humility out of my life. Pride is confidence in me alone. Pride is destructive while trying to lead. Pride has been the downfall of many great leaders. In fact, I believe that pride is the culprit in David’s sin scandal with Bathsheba.

As I journey through the word of God, I don’t want my confidence in Him to produce arrogance in me. He is the leader and I’m the follower. I may lead others, but I’m a follower of Jesus first.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Leadership Resource

 

Leadership Tools Skill Management Experience TrainingThere are leaders everywhere in just about every area of life. Some leaders are really good and honorable. Other leaders are a bit shifty and deceitful. I respect leaders who are honest, forthright and trust worthy. I understand that leaders are human beings too. There are leaders at every level of our culture. There are homeless leaders who are leaders of a small homeless group. There are leaders in school from the kids to the principals to the superintendent. There are leaders at work and at play. There are strong leaders running for our highest elected leadership office in our country. Every leader has a leadership source. I would say that one library that leader has access to is their own personal experience. The most powerful leadership force is to seek the Lord’s wisdom. Check this out…

13 Once more the Philistines raided the valley; 14 so David inquired of God again, and God answered him, “Do not go directly after them, but circle around them and attack them in front of the poplar trees. 15 As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the poplar trees, move out to battle, because that will mean God has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army.” 16 So David did as God commanded him, and they struck down the Philistine army, all the way from Gibeon to Gezer.

17 So David’s fame spread throughout every land, and the Lord made all the nations fear him.(1Chronicles 14:13-17 NIV)

When David and his people are threatened, he inquires of God. The Lord gave him many victories and as a result of that, he became famous. I love the statement that the Lord makes in v. 15… “God has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army.” I believe that this can happen whenever I trust the Lord to go before me.

The Lord not only provides wisdom and discernment for leaders who seek Him as a resource, He also works on behalf of those same leaders. King David operated under the Lord’s leadership and he was favored and feared by people everywhere.

I believe that the Lord is the Greatest Leadership Resource. I’ve noticed that there is a drastic difference in leaders who are led by the Lord versus leaders who are self serving. When I seek the Lord’s leadership resources, I’m admitting that I can’t lead without Him. That’s exactly where I need to be.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Inspirational Leadership

short noteI have grown over the years to appreciate good leadership and great teaching from the Word. I have been a inspired and encouraged by Louie Giglio, Andy Stanley, Zig Ziglar, Max Lucado, Charles Swindoll and Andy Andrews to name a few. These men are great teachers/speakers but more importantly, they walk with the Lord. They have challenged me to be a better husband, dad and friend. I believe great leadership has great structure and balance. These men all have godly leadership around them to support, encourage and balance them.

I read a bit of the back-story of King David’s mighty men. They strengthened him as the king and they were respected and probably feared by David’s enemies. I picture them being like the Navy Seals of David’s administration. Check this out…

15 Three of the thirty chiefs came down to David to the rock at the cave of Adullam, while a band of Philistines was encamped in the Valley of Rephaim. 16 At that time David was in the stronghold, and the Philistine garrison was at Bethlehem. 17 David longed for water and said, “Oh, that someone would get me a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem!” 18 So the Three broke through the Philistine lines, drew water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem and carried it back to David. But he refused to drink it; instead, he poured it out to the Lord. 19 “God forbid that I should do this!” he said. “Should I drink the blood of these men who went at the risk of their lives?” Because they risked their lives to bring it back, David would not drink it.

Such were the exploits of the three mighty warriors. (1 Chronicles 11:15-19 NIV)

I picture David speaking of his thirst for the water of Bethlehem as a sigh and not a formal request. He was probably a bit discouraged, hungry and thirsty and made the comment in passing, but his top three mighty men picked it up. I would have loved to seen his face when they returned with the water. David knew what the retrieval of that water had costs them. They literally risked their lives to get the king a drink of water from his hometown well. David was humbled by this incredible act of service. He did not expect this and he couldn’t drink it. I think he used the water as a tool of worship before the Lord. David, even in his early days as king, showed great humility and honor before the Lord. His leadership profoundly inspired the people around him. His leadership came from simply following the Lord each day.

I want to simply follow the Lord today and if someone else notices and follows Him too, that will bring honor to the Lord. This journey has never been about me – it’s always been about Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

The First Test of Leadership

Follow Lead Buttons Show Leading The Way Or FollowingI remember asking the teacher if this information that she was giving was going to be on the test. If it wasn’t on the test, then what’s the point of learning it? I was a bit of an obnoxious student and I wasn’t interested in learning as much as passing the class. There are tests that come around in life that have much to do about the lessons I’ve learned previously. These tests can also challenge my character and my values. Every now and then a situation comes along that really has frustrated a member of my team and it requires a decision on my part. This is not always easy and often neither side ends up satisfied with the decision. I’ve learned that sometimes you don’t have all the information you need to make a decision, it just has to be made based on the information you currently have.

I’m not sure about the time between Saul’s anointing and this first incident. It seems that Saul when back to his regular life of helping his Dad on the farm. When the Ammonites siege Jabesh Gilead, things changed pretty quickly for Saul. Check this out…

6 When Saul heard their words, the Spirit of God came powerfully upon him, and he burned with anger. 7 He took a pair of oxen, cut them into pieces, and sent the pieces by messengers throughout Israel, proclaiming, ‘This is what will be done to the oxen of anyone who does not follow Saul and Samuel.’ Then the terror of the Lord fell on the people, and they came out together as one. 8 When Saul mustered them at Bezek, the men of Israel numbered three hundred thousand and those of Judah thirty thousand.

(Saul and the men of Israel complete obliterate the Ammonites and freed Jabesh Gilead)

15 So all the people went to Gilgal and made Saul king in the presence of the Lord. There they sacrificed fellowship offerings before the Lord, and Saul and all the Israelites held a great celebration. (1 Samuel 11:6-8,15 NIV)

My favorite part is: “The Spirit of God came powerfully upon Him”. Saul was open to the Spirit of God using Him to lead. Saul passed his first test in a big way. He was successful because of the Presence of the Spirit of God, not because of his amazing military genius.

I think that leaders sometimes start thinking that they are as good as everyone says they are and humility flies out the window. I believe that Godly leaders should give the Lord the credit for their decision and their leadership gifts. All good things come from Him anyway.

I want the Spirit of God to be all over me as I lead in my family, in church and in my work. I don’t want to make flippant decisions that affect anyone else with out the powerful Spirit of God on me. I don’t want to be self-centered. I do want wisdom and incredible discernment. I believe that I can pass any test of leadership no matter how big or how small if the Lord’s Spirit is all over me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne