Many years ago when I worked at a restaurant, a certain server was noted as being a particularly good worker and showed potential for taking on more responsibility. So she was promoted to a supervisory position instead of waiting tables. Unfortunately, her initial response to the new position was to lose her friendly smile. She began to throw her weight around, waste time, clown around, and stopped engaging the customers. Shortly afterwards, she was fired.
A newly promoted employee can also be the target of envious coworkers who challenge his authority or seek to manipulate him or to get by with slothful work. All of a sudden, he is no longer just “one of the guys” even though he may not be behaving badly. His new responsibility brings a different perspective not necessarily shared or appreciated by his coworkers. Continue reading
By Swanson Soyars
“Jesus said, ‘Have the people sit down.’ There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciple, ‘Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.’ So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.”(John 6:10-13)
Jesus emphasized “Let nothing be wasted, pick up and gather the broken pieces”, (broken promises and dreams of God over your life and the lives of others). The twelve baskets represent both the twelve tribes of Israel and the governmental authority of His kingdom.
Jesus did not pick up the pieces that were left over and or broken, He directed his disciples to pick them up, and place them in the government of His authority.
In Frank Baum’s famous story, The Wizard of Oz, is a lion whose behavior is far removed from his rank as “King of the Jungle”. He is a pathetic, sniveling coward afraid to lead and to confront the threats that surround him and his traveling companions. Near the end of the story, he finally rises to the challenge and demonstrates courage for the very first time, which brings a positive transformation to his personality and respect from the others.
Too often in the Body of Christ, we have leaders with a position of authority who are afraid to address the very real problems in the lives of those they oversee. Too often, the leader shies away with a promise to pray over the troublesome situation, while apparently waiting for it to go away or for someone else to deal with it.
It is so easy to be delighted with a new puppy. He is so cute, soft, cuddly, and eager to please. His tail is wagging and he is so happy to play with his new family.
He is given dishes of fresh water and puppy food, toys, and his own place to lie down.
All is going very well for a while, but the puppy has not yet learned his boundaries, or the rules of the house. Before long, there are piddles on the kitchen floor and carpet, and chewed up shoes strewn about the bedroom. He has developed a pattern of barking at anything and everything at all hours of day and night.
Now the mood in the house has changed. The puppy is not so appealing anymore, and may even, after a time, be considered a nuisance and not worth the trouble.
In life, everything we are skilled at has come through trial and error and many times of practice. We learned from our mistakes, perhaps, asked for help from another person, and tried again. After a period of time, we learned how to feed ourselves, or read, or ride a bicycle, or give a talk, or play an instrument, or any number of skills. Even when born with a gift for singing or athletics, that gift could be honed into a greater effectiveness than just raw talent alone.
We did something with the basic material we had been given.
However, a strange mindset often is present regarding the ministry of spiritual gifts. Somehow, even though, we expect the pastor to have studied and prepared how to deliver a sermon on Sunday morning, and we expect the choir and musicians to have spent time preparing the music, it is somehow not expected that any study or training is beneficial or even necessary for ministry of the gifts of the Spirit. Continue reading
Praying for our leaders is Scriptural and commendable, but it’s not enough. We can conduct ourselves in such a way as to bring a smile to our leader’s face. Like Aaron and Hur who found a practical way to support both Moses and the Israelite army in time of battle (Ex. 17), there is something each of us can do that will make a real difference.
“Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.”
(1 John 3:18)
I know of a particular leader who works very hard to daily communicate with a large membership as best he can. Recently, a member demanded that he personally and immediately respond to her questions, even though he was actually working at his family business. Continue reading
Discernment is needed in these times when so much deception abounds. The Luciferian spirit is one that tempts gifted leaders and potential leaders in the Body of Christ. It targets those in close proximity to the senior leader, especially those with musical and spiritual gifts such as healing and miracles. Here is a teaching on how it operates and how to stay free.
Leaders are often faced with the unpleasant consequences of people who act out of immaturity, wounding, rebellion, and deception. For the benefit of the individual and community, it is often necessary for leaders to confront and instruct.
Unfortunately, too often people are (in the name of “mercy” or “tolerance”) left unaccountable for the damage they bring to ministry or family or the Kingdom. Because so many people do not understand Biblical leadership, authority, and accountability, a leader who dares to confront may be called unloving or legalistic, at times through anonymous notes left in the offering or mailbox. Genuine authority owns its actions and does not hide behind anonymous notes. Continue reading
Seasons come and go, whether we want them to do so or not. It is far better to adapt to colder temperatures with heavier clothing rather than to wish for summer and shiver. How often people resist the change of seasons and remember with longing the way things used to be!
We can learn something from the birds. They know when it is time to migrate. They are called to the South and months later, they are called to the North.
Joshua waited 40 years to enter the Promised Land due to other people’s behavior. When it was finally time to enter, he was insistent that their hope was guarded from negativity and fear, by not allowing the people to talk as they marched around Jericho.
A leader is a dealer in hope, and a leader will persevere when others quit.
These stories were written for our instruction that we might have hope.
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As the plague was devastating Jerusalem, King David prayed for mercy. The Angel of the Lord commanded the prophet Gad to instruct David to build an altar and offer a sacrifice on Ornan’s site. When Ornan heard of this, he generously offered to freely provide the oxen, wood, and wheat.
But King David said to Ornan, “No, but I will surely buy it for the full price; for I will not take what is yours for the LORD, or offer a burnt offering which costs me nothing.” Continue reading
It was a catastrophe.
David and his warriors returned to their home base at Ziklag and were shocked to discover that the city had been raided and burned and that all their wives and children were carried away captive. The men were in great anguish and, in their pain, blamed David and were ready to kill him.
David was greatly distressed. His own family had also been taken, and his life was now in danger from his own men. He was grieving and at a loss what to do.
At that point, David made the choice to strengthen himself in the Lord. He did not wallow in grief-stricken self-pity. As he stood alone, he turned to the One he knew to be a refuge in the day of trouble. He encouraged himself in the Lord.
Why was David alone able to find strength and encouragement?
God has set leadership in place so that all believers would be “equipped for the work of the ministry”. While most are not called to “pulpit” ministry, all are called to minister one to another with the gifts God has given.
Ministry and service is extending yourself for the benefit of someone else.
Whether regardless of a primary to call to public ministry, business, family, etc., all believers are to live balanced lives that include service and ministry to the body of believers!
The prophet Samuel declared that the shepherd boy, David, was destined to be the king of Israel. After Samuel went on his way, David returned to taking care of his father’s sheep.
In those days of waiting, God was at work, preparing David to be a mighty warrior king. Long before he faced Goliath, he fought and killed a lion and a bear who were after the flock. The lonely days of watching his father’s sheep were spent developing courage, faithfulness, and a heart of worship. He was being prepared to rule the Lord’s sheep, the people of Israel.