Friday, July 30, 2010

Leading with Integrity

Leadership requires integrity.

I just re-ordered a copy of the "21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership" by John Maxwell. My copy was very well-read, with some underlines and yellow highlighting. After a few years, I gave it to a good friend.

Most of us want to be good leaders and I remember that this book had some great pointers on becoming more effective, about developing trust and earning influence. I need to be reminded from time to time about how to be a better leader.

The one lesson however that I’ve learned well is that if you want to lead others, you have to lead with integrity.

John Maxwell said that leadership is about influence, “nothing more, nothing less”. Many learn the hard way that in order to have influence you have to have the leadership character, quality and integrity that allows others to see that you are worthy of their trust. If they see integrity in your steps and you have a passion to lead, they will follow.

Integrity is critically important in the church, as leaders need to fully identify with the global mission of the Kingdom of God. We are to be motivated by the two instructions given by Jesus: The Great Commission, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. (Matthew 28:19-20); and The Great Commandment, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself."(Matthew 22:38&39)

If you notice in Jesus words, our ministry is not about our own personal gain or our own agenda. When our church leaders truly focus on these very simple instructions, we avoid a lot of the ethical and character flaws that make so many leaders stumble.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Truth or Consequences

Recently, I was reading through some of those prophetical books in the bible and came across some of the pending judgements of God that was prophesied by the prophets.

For example, the prophet Habakkuk (written about 700 BC) wrote about coming judgement. The judgement was coming on people and nations because greedy people had made themselves wealthy by extortion. Habakkuk said that judgement was coming because of the violent and because of those that had used wine and drugs to exploit others. Judgement was also coming because most had looked to other gods rather than the one true God to give guidance.

As a result, there were consequences; God was going to use the ruthless Babylonians to come, kill, conquer and destroy the people.

My first thought was "Wow, I'm glad God didn't call me to be a prophet like Habakkuk". My second thought however was a quick check on my own behavior and lifestyle as I certainly don't want to be included in the judgment of the wicked.

However, I think there is another more important message here. God has given us His truth and if we don't embrace His truth we are going to have to suffer the consequences.

I know that isn't a very popular message in the church today. It wasn't in Habakkuk's time either. Nevertheless, "truth or consequences" needs to be a part of our understanding of reaching the unconverted, teaching the converted, raising our children and establishing the legacy of the Kingdom of God.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Living the Reality

Reality shows are the rage today. From American Idol and Dancing with the Stars to Orange County Choppers and Real Housewives of Atlanta/New York/ New Jersey and a city near you, it seems like we are consumed with reality.

Or are we?

Often true reality is not necessarily that which is easily portrayed by wanna-be actors and those seeking their 30 seconds of fame. The Bible tells us that what is unseen is eternal but that which can be seen, can be touched, or easily portrayed on TV is actually quite temporary and subject to change (2 Cor 4:18).

What is the true reality that is unseen and actually eternal? Well, in the final book in the Bible, in the last two chapters of that book, (Chapter 21 & 22), we have a picture of what is referred to as the “new heaven and the new earth”. This is the eternal dwelling place of all of those who have put their trust in God. This is the real heaven that studies show 80% of all Americans believe in but don't really know about as they likely have never read these two chapters.

That is unfortunate because if we read about this reality, our eternal dwelling place called heaven, we find that heaven is a real place. In this real heaven God dwells with man, takes away all of our suffering, out tears and fears. There is no longer any pain or death. This is the reality of the kingdom of God on earth.

This is the place where Jesus reigns. Jesus, the “Bright and Morning Star”, the “Root and Branch of David”, “Jesus the Christ” born of a virgin, the savior of the world and accessible to everyone that would call on his name, repent of their sin and embrace Him as Lord and Savior.

When we fully understand the reality of the kingdom of God, when we truly understand the promises of God and the reality of the plan, the place and the purpose that we have in God, then the Kingdom of God becomes a reality in our life.

The more we understand the reality of the Kingdom of God, the more the Kingdom of God becomes a reality in our lives today.

Live it!

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