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

Choose A Leader

 

Vote Word Ballot Box Election DemocracyThis November our nation will choose a President to lead for four years. The process of our elections has become somewhat laughable and is often very predictable. It’s hard as a citizen to discern the values of the candidates and who they really are. It seems that if they are a good actor, then they become very electable. Our process seems to have been shortened to sound bites instead of genuine discussion of the issues on the horizon for our country. I am thankful for our democracy and the rights that our forefathers instituted for us to freely vote for the candidate that we think is best to be our next leader.

Judges appointed by God up to this point had led the Israelites. The Judges often appointed their children to be their successors. Samuel had judged the Israelites for many years and while he was up in years, it was already apparent that his sons had different values and ideas about what it meant to lead Israel by following God. Check this out…

4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, 5 and said to him, “Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.”

6 But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” So Samuel prayed to the Lord. 7 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. 8 According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day—with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also. 9 Now therefore, heed their voice. However, you shall solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them.” (1 Samuel 8:4-9 NIV)

It’s really obvious that the minds of the leaders of Israel had their minds made up. They wanted a new government. They wanted what other nations had. I don’t think they completely thought this through in light of their past and their present. I heard a great saying about the grass being greener on the other side of the fence… “The grass may look greener on the other side of the fence, but it’s because there’s a septic tank underneath.” In other words things are not as they seem to be.

I’ve been in prayer for those individuals who are running for public office. Our local area has several offices up for election this fall along with the federal elected officials. I’m trying to discern which candidate would be most likely to listen to the Ultimate Leader – God. I’m wondering if these candidates are followers of God before they’re leaders of men.

I want God’s leadership over my life no matter if I’m holding and office or simply leading my family. I want His leadership and His wisdom poured out on me so that I can influence others to notice Him. Leadership in God’s economy is about Him as leader and us followers following His lead. His leadership gives me leadership insight and wisdom that I can’t explain. No matter who we elect for public office, I believe that God is still in charge of our world.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

A Broken Leader

 

tired businessman rubbing his eyesLeadership can be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling activities. It can also be incredibly frustrating and discouraging. The leader feels tremendous pressure to lead and when the followers don’t follow, it take a lot of extra work to get them back on track.

Joshua and the people of Israel are coming off their very first victory in the conquest of the Promised Land. They are still cleaning up from the assault on the city of Jericho. They are about to take on the city/town of Ai. They send spies to check it out and determine that they don’t need many. They encourage Joshua to just send a couple of SEAL teams to defeat the enemy. (I hear some major over confidence or cockiness.) They end up getting beaten badly. Joshua and the people are stunned. They felt that they were unbeatable. (They were unbeatable when God was fighting with them.) Joshua falls on his face before the Lord and crying out in anguish. The Lord speaks, but it was not what he was expecting to hear. Check this out…

10 The Lord said to Joshua, ‘Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? 11 Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. 12 That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you any more unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction. (Joshua 7:10-12 NIV)

After investigating, they found the guilty party. A man named Achen couldn’t resist a fine purple robe and some gold and silver that he found while plundering Jericho. The people were given specific instructions to take all the loot and devote it to the Lord. Much of the loot was destroyed, some was kept for the Levites to sort through. Achen didn’t follow the instructions and his sin caused the entire nation to be punished. When Achen was destroyed, the nation understood just how serious the Lord was about His Law and His instructions.

I’m so thankful that my entire family isn’t punished for my sin. I’m thankful that the Lord is patient with me as I keep moving toward following Him with my whole heart. It’s so easy to be distracted by the shiny new things and want them no matter the cost. I’m thankful that my stupidity over the years has not cost my family their lives. I’m so thankful that Jesus ushered in Grace and Mercy that spans the gap between my obedience and my stupid choices.

I need to learn from Joshua as a broken leader and fall on my face in repentance on behalf of my family and my country. Joshua was broken because of the hurt his people were going through. He was broken and humble before the Lord. The Lord lifted him back up and performed mightily through Joshua going forward. This passage reminded me to look inside my heart to make sure I’m turned toward the Lord and not shiny new objects that distract me from Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Battle Plan

 

General SchwarzkophI like old war movies. I love seeing the leaders strategize and plan in the midst of incredible stress and pressure. The history of the United States is rich with story upon story of war strategy and battle plans. I remember hearing General Norman Schwarzkoph explain the strategy of the ground offensive that toppled the Republican Guard of Iraq in the first Gulf War called Desert Storm. He told of how he made a lot of noise on the front line and made it clear they were going into Iraq from Kuwait, while he had a huge number of soldiers and tanks flanking around to the north cutting off the supply line of the enemy. He was an incredibly colorful leader and strategist. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his stellar leadership as the commander of the American-led forces. He had a great quote on leadership: “Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy.”

The Lord’s battle strategy had to absolutely baffle the men of Israel’s army, but they followed it at Jericho. The strategy involved obedience to the Lord’s plan. Check this out…

2 Then the Lord said to Joshua, ‘See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. 3 March round the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. 4 Make seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march round the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. 5 When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, make the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.’ (Joshua 6:2-5 NIV)

I love the strategy of the Lord in the battle of Jericho because the people had to know it was He who delivered the city, not them. His battle strategy worked just like He planned. Their role was to follow His strategy completely and the city would be theirs. This was the first major offensive as they entered the Promised Land for their conquest.

I know that the Lord always has a strategy for me. It’s not always logical to others and me. His strategy is often way less complicated than I make it. Sometimes faith and trust are on opposite sides of logic and common sense. I want to trust the Lord’s strategy no matter how logical the other options may be.

The Lord gives me a strategy to defeat suffering.

The Lord gives me a strategy to push through pain.

The Lord gives me a strategy to love others.

The Lord gives me a strategy to serve others.

The Lord gives me a strategy to lead my family.

The Lord gives me a strategy to lead in my workplace.

The Lord has a strategy for every area of my life, IF I will consult Him, listen and implement His plan. He has a plan for today!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Leadership 101

 

3D Leadership CrosswordI’ve grown up under some incredible leaders. I enjoy learning from most leaders because they have much to teach with their lives. There are some leaders who are more like dictators or drill sergeants. Some leaders lead by example and instructions. Some leaders lead by orders and positional power. I have never been impressed with people who are obviously impressed with themselves.

Moses was giving the people of Israel some preliminary instructions about the time that they might choose a king to lead them. He first tells them to make sure that the Lord is very involved in the process of selection. He also speaks to what the king should know in order to lead well. Check this out…

18 When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the Levitical priests. 19 It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees 20 and not consider himself better than his fellow Israelites and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:18-20 NIV)

Leadership certainly involves a strong level of confidence without arrogance. I have said it many times before that a good leader is first a good follower. I must learn to respect those I’m leading if I want their respect in return.

I think a good leader is a learner – always looking for new ways to improve themselves and those they lead.

A good leader is also a listener. He can’t make solid decisions without all of the details and facts of the matter at hand. A leader who acts hastily before gathering all of the facts will stumble and fall unnecessarily.

I want to grow as a leader by following the Lord’s lead. He is full of truth, grace and wisdom beyond words.

Pressing On!

Dwayne