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

Leadership Structure

3D Leadership CrosswordThere are times when businesses or big organizations are stuck with a leadership structure that is a bit out of date. There are times when these leaders do things because we’ve always done them that way before. I believe Leaders should continue to grow and learn even when their position is “topped out”. Leaders, in my view, should be perceived as a leader by other leaders. I think leadership is a skill to be learned but there are some people who appear to be “naturally born leaders”.

As Moses and the people of Israel were on the cusp of going into The Promise Land, God is still doing prep work through Moses. The leadership “hand-off” is starting to unfold as these instructions are given. Check this out….

16 The Lord said to Moses, 17 ‘These are the names of the men who are to assign the land for you as an inheritance: Eleazar the priest and Joshua son of Nun. 18 And appoint one leader from each tribe to help assign the land. (Numbers 34:16-18 NIV)

Joshua, the son of Nun was heir apparent to Moses. His leadership goes back to the first spy mission some 40+ years earlier. He is appointed by the Lord to succeed Moses, but it appears to start with a process. I also found it interesting that as the Lord appointed leaders from each family to help with the boundary assignment, the first guy on the list is Caleb who stood with Joshua after the first spy trip-the only two remaining leaders from the generation before.

I believe leadership hand-offs can go very smooth if ego and power are set aside. I believe Leaders don’t need titles to lead. I also don’t believe that every person with the title “leader” is in fact leading.

I see this transition time where Joshua is working closely with Moses as an intensive training ground on the day-to-day leadership. I see Joshua as having some natural qualities already in place.

When I come across a simple verse like this I’m challenged to take a good hard look at who I am as a leader in my family, in the church, in my business and any other areas where I’m asked or tasked with leading. I’m not afraid of leadership when I feel the Lord is leading me. My success as a leader is in direct proportion of my ability to follow Him first.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Chosen

 

Basektball TeamI remember as a kid at Knifley Elementary School when we would choose sides for a pick up game, I always wanted to be chosen first or at least close to it. I was a bit slow to “bloom”, so I was often chosen near the end. It was not a fun experience. I usually did pretty well if the pick up game was co-ed. (lol) I just was never super athletic. Looking back now I see how much I valued being chosen by my peers to participate in the playground game. I think everyone wants to be chosen first for a pick up game. Everyone wants to be of value.

The Lord was pretty frustrated with the grumbling of the people of Israel against the leadership team He had assembled. He gives instructions as to how He wants everyone to know whom He has chosen. Check this out…

1 The Lord said to Moses, 2 ‘Speak to the Israelites and get twelve staffs from them, one from the leader of each of their ancestral tribes. Write the name of each man on his staff. 3 On the staff of Levi write Aaron’s name, for there must be one staff for the head of each ancestral tribe. 4 Place them in the tent of meeting in front of the ark of the covenant law, where I meet with you. 5 The staff belonging to the man I choose will sprout, and I will rid myself of this constant grumbling against you by the Israelites.’

8 The next day Moses entered the tent and saw that Aaron’s staff, which represented the tribe of Levi, had not only sprouted but had budded, blossomed and produced almonds. (Numbers 17:1-5,8 NIV)

The Lord made a statement about His chosen leader. This exercise freaked the other people out a bit as it should. It was a profound statement of God’s confidence in Aaron to be the lead priest before Him.

As I look back over the years I see that God chooses leaders much differently than the world choses leaders. It is very much a popularity contest as we elect official leaders from the local level all the way up to the national level. The Lord looks at the heart of His leaders. He is more concerned about what is going on in the “unseen” part of my soul because He knows that there is a direct connection to the outward behavior.

I want to be chosen to lead others to the Lord. I don’t want to be chosen not because of popularity or good looks. (I’m lacking in both!) I want to be chosen to lead because the Lord notices my faithfulness. I’m only capable of leading because of His Amazing Grace. He has cleaned up my soul more times than I can count. I know that leading in God’s economy begins with entry-level service. His economy isn’t about titles but towels. I will follow wherever He leads me. It’s elementary in God’s leadership structure to be a follower of Him first, then lead on.

Pressing On!

Dwayne