Pt. 2 – Share the Experience

Last week I threw out Pt. 1 – The Importance of a Leaders Invitation, which started my thoughts on the leadership training Timothy received from Paul.  Today, I want to share what I believe is the most important part of the puzzle.  So many leaders don’t to expand the number of those they are directly impacting because they are worried about what to teach.  True Leadership isn’t verbal anyway!

How did Paul train Timothy? He shared the experience of ministry with him.  We don’t know how long they traveled together but we do see Paul in his letter frequently telling Timothy to remember times and lessons learned when they were together.  We even see Paul telling him in 1 Tim 4:12 to not feel inadequate because of his age, but instead live a life that is an example.  It’s easy for Paul to say to Timothy because he did if for Timothy!

Instead of giving those you are leading a lecture on leadership, give them a picture of leadership with your own life.  This is John Maxwell’s Law of the Picture: The Most Important Lesson About Influence.  He says “The more you walk, the less you have to talk. Life the life in front of the ones you seek to influence. Our leadership is more caught than taught!”

If you want to be a leader you have to be willing to Share the Experience.

Pt. 2 – Share the Experience

Pt. 1 – The Importance of a Leader’s Invitation

Back in August we had a leadership night here at River Valley Church, and ever since then I have been thinking about the leadership training that Paul passed on to Timothy.  I see three keys to this leadership training that each one of us should constantly be doing in our own lives.  I think it’s important that we are intentional about being involved in all three stages at all times.  Leadership is cyclical and never ending!

Here is the first key…

The first time we encounter Timothy is in Acts 16.  Paul meets him in Lystra and hears that people speak highly of him. That, along with knowing his mom is a believer, is apparently enough for Paul to bring him a long on his missionary journeys… and that’s how it started. A simple encounter where Paul saw some potential in a kid and decided to allow him to be a part of the team.

The first key we see in this story seems so simple; Allow people to be on your team.

This principle never changes. Your team can always grow! And how hard is to to just let someone watch you do what you do?  We haven’t even talked about letting them carry some of the load, all I am saying is take some chances.  It won’t take long until you start to see their gifts and talents and you can lead them in a specific direction, but before any of that, just let them be on the team.  After all, this is the same guy who said “Follow me as I follow Christ.”  He’s not saying “let me tell you how to be a follower of Christ (1 Cor. 11:1),” he’s simply saying “watch what I do.”  Letting people on the team doesn’t mean that you have to have a set time to impart all of your leadership wisdom into their lives on a weekly basis, it just means they get to be in close proximity to you while you do what you do.

Timothy gets a front row seat to some amazing ministry moments, he even gets to set up to pastor his own church, but before any of that could happen it had to start with an invitation.  Leaders, always remember how important your invitation is. 

Pt. 1 – The Importance of a Leader’s Invitation

God can use your shortfall

Today I was reading Jonah chapter 1.  I’ve read it a lot. I’ve preached on it more than once. Yet, the cool thing about scripture is that God can give you something new each time you read it!

So back to the story many of you may already know… Jonah gets called by God to a place he doesn’t want to go so he jumps on a ship headed in the opposite direction.  While he’s cashed out below deck a storm comes up and threatens to wreck the ship and kill everyone on board. The captain, who’s obviously a nice guy, wakes up Jonah to see if “his god would take notice.” The crew members cast lots, find out it’s all Jonah’s fault, don’t want to kill him (which I wish the bible would expound more on, because I’m sure they didn’t want the wrath of God because they were murders, but they just found out it was Jonah’s fault that all of their lives were in danger!  You can’t tell me there wasn’t at least one guy onboard that was ready toss him overboard immediately! But I digress…), but finally realize after the storm gets even worse that their only hope is to toss Jonah overboard.  And they do (which made that one guy who wanted to in the first place happy, I’m sure).

And here’s where it gets cool! IT WORKS!

But not just that, the Bible says that “the men greatly feared the Lord and offered a sacrifice (other than Jonah, I’m assuming) and made vows to Him.”

We know that God sends a large fish to swallow Jonah, spit him back up, and that Jonah fulfills his calling, but I think its great that these sailors lives get to be changed and mentioned in scripture forever because of Jonah’s disobedience!

Disclaimer: this does not mean you can disobey God on purpose, but it does mean that God can work through you even while he’s getting you back on track!

God can use your shortfall

A Message to Young Leaders

For those of us who are young leaders in the Church ( <-note the big “C” ) there is constantly a temptation to see pastors and leaders who are further down this road than us and want the influence and platform that they have.  There are 2 verses in Exodus that help me bring this urge into perspective and both are found in chapter 33.  The first is verse 13, Moses’ perspective on the huge leadership platform that he was given.  His words to God were, “If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favour with you. Remember that this nation is your people.” (emphasis mine).    Leadership is nothing more that stewarding the influence that God has given you.  Your job is to stay in relationship with God and know is ways. He will give you leadership when you are ready for it and realize its leading HIS people.

Then there’s verse 11… “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young assistant Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.”

I find it no coincidence that Moses’ successor is found here staying longer in the tent of meeting.  Joshua understood where Moses’ strength and wisdom came from.  The people of Israel didn’t follow Moses because of his unique gifts, they followed him because they watched the presence of God engulf the Tent of Meeting when he was in it! They followed because they saw his face radiating when he came off the mountain from being in the presence of God!

Young Leaders, you must understand this; you are not ready for leadership until you care less about what people see in you, and more about if people see God in you.

A Message to Young Leaders

So you’re saved… now what?

Peter lays out the life of a christian pretty clearly in just three verses, 2 Peter 1:5-7.  So you believe, thats called faith.  Now stop stealing cheating, lying, and do what’s right… that’s called being good. After that, while being good, read and get to know God’s word, also known as gaining knowledge.  Once you start gaining knowledge, put it into practice (self-control).  But just knowing and doing doesn’t mean temptation is going to go away, so you must persevere through temptations and hardships.  Once you can put together faith, knowledge, self-control, and perseverance, you will begin to understand what godliness truly is. He overcame ALL while we struggle to persevere and we start to have higher respect and understanding of God and begin to align our hearts with His… Godliness. As we struggle through our own attempt at godliness it forces us to appreciate other’s stories and struggles and extend kindness to them.  This teaches us to love the way we should, the way Jesus tells us people will know us by (John 13:35).

Then repeat.

If we continue to repeat, we continue to grow and we will not be ineffective and unproductive as Christians (sounds harsh but thats verse 8).

Believe. Do what’s right. Study the Word. Do what it says. persevere. Align your heart with God. Put others first. Love. Repeat…

So you’re saved… now what?

Find Your Boldness

Galatians 1:1 ” Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead…”

To often I have found myself shying away from difficult situations because of my insecurity.  I feel that I haven’t done enough to gain authority to actually have someone listen when I try to speak into their life.  If you are anything like me (or have a “friend” who may be like me who must remain nameless), let me guide you to the opening line in Paul’s letter to the church in Galatia.  It’s a game changer when you realize that your authority isn’t in your own talent, ability, or past accomplishments, but in the one whom you have submitted your life too.  Even Paul, who had every right to flaunt his resume, instead rested in the fact that his authority came from “Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead.”

Find your authority in Him and you will find your boldness on this earth!

Find Your Boldness

Your Lord or Your Lucky Rabbits Foot?

This morning I dove into the book of 1 Samuel.  I believe God gave me an idea into his character, but also a stern warning against the way many of us live today.  That warning was this; God is not our Lucky Rabbits foot.  We don’t just get out of jail free whenever we “pull the God-card” and expect him to show up.  The fact is that He does have great plans for our life, but that doesn’t mean we get to do whatever we want and it’s His responsibility to make it great.

Case in point, chapter 4.  But first, let me set the stage.  Eli is 98 years old and has ruled Israel as the High Priest for 40 years.  During that time his 2 sons were placed in a leadership role and took advantage of the people at the expense of God.  They proved over and over again that they did not care about correction or about what God’s plan was for the nation of Israel.  So when we find ourselves getting to chapter 4 (yes, there is also passages that are actually about Samuel too) we see the Israelites heading out to battle against their archenemy, the Philistines.  Usually God would help the Israelites win battles, but they didn’t realize that because they had turned their back on God, He wasn’t with them and they lost the battle and 4,000 men.

I wish I could say that they learned their lesson and sought God’s direction, but I can’t because, well, I’ve actually read the Old Testament and know the Israelites.  Instead they did what is way to often still today, they played the God-card in a situation that God didn’t ordain!  They went back and brought the Ark of the Covenant, the very presence of God, to the battlefield that they weren’t supposed to be on in the first place.  The result? The Israelites once again lost the battle, this time loosing 30,000 soldiers, the Ark, both of Eli’s sons, and when Eli heard about it all he fell backwards off his chair and the weight of his hefty body snapped his neck and he died too.

Moral of the story? Just because you wear a cross around your neck does not give you the right to walk wherever you want.  Instead, if that is a simple of the cross you have picked up daily, then your steps will be guided into the right places for the right reasons so you can give God glory when you see the right victories.  If you live a life that is seeking God’s direction, you can rest in peace that his hand is on you even when you face struggles.  But let’s not get our thought process twisted.  We are on this earth to be a light, to point people to Christ, to do the work as a laborer for Him (Lk 10:2)!  We are not here so that God bless us as we do whatever, wherever.  God is our Lord, that means guidance, direction, rule, not our lucky rabbits foot.

Your Lord or Your Lucky Rabbits Foot?