Wise Beyond Years

Group of students talkingI have seen young people who at age 15 or 17 think like they are 25 or 30 years old. They seem to have an understanding of life a lot earlier than others their age for sure. I have also learned that it is unwise to dismiss others ideas and opinions just because they are young. I do believe that age gives a person a myriad of experiences. I also believe that age and experience often lead to wisdom – but not always.

This fourth guys who shows up to speak into Job’s life regarding his suffering and loss is a younger guy. These other three guys had not been able to convince Job of his sin before the Lord. This young man actually speaks very respectfully starting out acknowledging that he is younger and therefore he waited until last to speak. Check this out…

6 So Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite said:

‘I am young in years,

    and you are old;

that is why I was fearful,

    not daring to tell you what I know.

7 I thought, “Age should speak;

    advanced years should teach wisdom.”

8 But it is the spirit in a person,

    the breath of the Almighty, that gives them understanding.

9 It is not only the old who are wise,

    not only the aged who understand what is right.(Job 32:6-9 NIV)

This young man comes out of the gate speaking pretty strongly and profoundly. He shows proper respect to the older men, but then he starts speaking from his conviction. At this point I agree with the things he is saying. I’ve seen young people full of the Spirit of God teaching older people great truth. I believe the Holy Spirit can level the playing field so to speak. If a person comes to know the Lord and starts seeking God’s heart, the Lord can reveal things to Him that someone who has known the Lord for years hasn’t seen yet. I don’t believe following the Lord is magical or mystical, but it does require discipline and faith. I can’t see the Lord, but I know He is near. I can’t be convinced that He’s not real because I’ve felt His hand upon my life. I’ve followed His lead. He has made me wise beyond my years on many occasions.

I want the Lord to continue to give me insight into things that are beyond me. I want Him to make plain the sayings of wise people. I want Him to use me to lead and influence others for His sake. I don’t want to be smart just for the sake of being smart. I want to grow smarter so that I can bring honor to Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Leadership Intercession

 

Abstract Silhouette PrayingI’m thankful for leaders over the years that I could learn from as they walked out their faith. I can bring up pictures of leaders who have influenced me tremendously and some of them may not even be aware of it. Other leaders that I’ve followed, I’ve had the opportunity to tell them personally about how they influenced me. Some leaders who have influenced me have been family; some have been ministers and some have been hardworking business owners. One of the things that all the influential leaders in my life have in common is that they are prayer warriors. They prayed for others and me as I grew up. I’m so thankful for their “leadership intercession” on my behalf.

Nehemiah comes on the scene some 100 years later than the first exiles return to Jerusalem. The first wave of exiles was rebuilding the temple as well as the walls of Jerusalem. They were meeting some resistance and word got back to Jeremiah, who was still in captivity, but serving in the king’s presence. When news of this hardship reached Nehemiah, he began to grieve and intercede. Check this out…

4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. 5 Then I said:

‘Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you.

10 ‘They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. 11 Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.’

I was cupbearer to the king. (Nehemiah 1:4-6; 10-11 NIV)

There are times the most important leadership activity that I can do involves intercessory prayer. I can talk things out until I’m blue in the face. When I talk to the Lord I’m bringing Heaven’s Resources into play. I’m still learning the value and the power of prayer in any given situation.

I think leaders should pray more intensely than others because of the weight of the responsibility of the leadership position. I also think that prayer really changes the heart of the one praying. Prayer opens the way for humility to enter and pride to exit. I believe a humble leader is way more effective than a prideful leader. It’s hard to be full of pride when you’re praying for the people you’re tasked with leading. Nehemiah is such a strong example of servant leader in his position as cupbearer. He also was a strong intercessory leader before the Lord through his humility and intense prayer on behalf of his people. I want to lead like that. I want to intercede for the people I’m blessed to lead.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

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