ILM #016: I Would Rather Be Judged Righteous by God

Today in our Inspired Leadership Minute I want us to look at Proverbs 18:5: “It is not good to be partial to the wicked or to deprive the innocent of justice.”

We have two situations described in this proverb and both involve a perversion of justice. First, there is the judge who gives preferential treatment to someone who is guilty. And second, there is the judge who deprives the innocent of a fair hearing.

In effect, this judge is reversing moral standards by calling the guilty good, and the innocent guilty.

What does this mean for us as leaders today?

Leaders are called on to make judgements about people and issues all the time. As Christian leaders, we must stand against the reversal of morality where evil is called good, and good is called evil.

I don’t know who said it first, but there is a line in the movie “God’s Not Dead 2” that goes, “I would rather stand with God and be judged by the world than stand with the world and be judged by God.”

Christian leaders, we need to stand with God against the reversal of moral standards that is becoming so prevalent in our society today!

That’s it for this week’s Inspired Leadership Minute. My prayer is that together we will be the powerful, inspired leaders God intends us to be!

Please leave me a comment and let me know how this week’s Inspired Leadership Minute inspired you!

#191: It Takes Character & Courage to be Used by God

Leadership Lessons from the Lesser Known

Have you ever wondered why God uses some people in a mighty way and not others? It seems like God grabs the most obscure, least qualified person He can find to save the Israelites from impending doom. All the while the well-known, talented guy sits out the game on the bench.

Shamgar, oxgoad, oxen

We can learn a lot by studying the men and women God uses. In my case, I especially enjoy studying the obscure Bible characters. In the grand scheme of things, I can identify more with the obscure characters in the Bible because they seem more like me. Sometimes they are full of doubts, fear, and skepticism. Sometimes they are wholly unprepared for the task God has given them.

God Raised Up Judges

The Israelites had settled in the Promised Land but had failed to drive out the pagans completely as the Lord had commanded. Worse, the Israelites abandoned the Lord and worshipped foreign gods. God allowed marauders to come against the Israelites to test them; to see if they would return to Him. But they did not.

The people cried out to the Lord in their oppression and the Lord raised up a series of judges to save the people. Each of these judges led the Israelites to victory against their enemies. They would have peace for a time but eventually they would fall away from God again.

Shamgar: The Obscure Warrior Judge

Among the most obscure Bible characters is Shamgar. Shamgar comes on the scene suddenly. He is mentioned directly in only one verse of the Bible; Judges 3:31, and then is referred to in one other verse; Judges 5:6. Despite his fleeting appearance in the pages of Scripture, there is much we can learn from Shamgar who was used in a mighty way by God.

Shamgar was the third judge God raised up over the Israelites. Judges 3:31 records Shamgar’s military victory over the Philistines:

“After Ehud, Shamgar son of Anath became judge. He delivered Israel by striking down 600 Philistines with an oxgoad” (Judges 3:31 HCSB).

Note: An oxgoad was a pole 8-10′ in length with a sharp point on one end to prod the oxen, and a flat spade on the other end to clean dirt from the plow.

That’s it. That’s all we know about Shamgar. But in this single verse we see a man of character and courage. Here are four important things to note about Shamgar:

  • Shamgar was busy working. Shamgar was a farmer with oxen for plowing. When God looks around for someone He can use, He always looks for someone who is already busy working. God does not call the lazy man to serve.
  • Shamgar stood his ground. The Israelites stayed off of the main highways and stuck to the side trails for fear of the Philistines (see Judges 5:6). When the Philistines attacked, most of the Israelites ran to hide in the hills or caves but Shamgar stood his ground, despite the danger.
  • Shamgar used what he had. The Philistines had confiscated the Israelite’s weapons, so the only weapon Shamgar had was his oxgoad. He didn’t let the lack of traditional weapons keep him from answering God’s call to deliver the Israelites from the Philistines!
  • Shamgar was called by God. Only God’s anointing and power enabled Shamgar to secure victory over hundreds of Philistines. Where God leads, God provides His anointing.

Shamgar was a man of character and courage who set aside his daily activities to answer God’s call on his life. He stood his ground against their enemy. He offered no excuses for his lack of equipment but used what he had at hand.

God is still raising up warriors who are willing to answer His call. Who will put God’s plans before their own? Who will stand their ground in faith knowing that where God leads, God provides?

What is there in your life worth fighting for? Your marriage? Your children? Your freedom to worship God and follow His commands? Those who don’t yet know the Lord?

If there is something in your life worth fighting for, if you are a warrior, be prepared to answer God’s call.

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. What traits do you think are most important for someone to be used by God?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?


Category: Personal Development | Obedience to God




ILM #015: Be Wary of Those Who Listen to Lies and Those Who Spread Gossip

Today in our Inspired Leadership Minute I want to us look at Proverbs 17:4: A wicked man listens to evil lips; a liar pays attention to a malicious tongue.”

Two kinds of people are in view in this short proverb. First, there is the wicked person who listens to lies, rumors, and gossip of people with evil lips. Second, there is the liar who listens to scandal and the slander of the man with a malicious tongue.

What does this mean for us as leaders today?

There is no shortage of wicked men who listens to lies, rumors, and gossip; and liars who feed on scandal and slander.

What they consume is a reflection of their own hearts. They are wicked liars because they feed on wickedness and lies. Ultimately, both of them feed on what makes them dangerous to have in any organization.

As Christian leaders, we need to be especially mindful of those who listen to lies, rumors, gossip, scandal and slander. They are a cancer that will spread and can destroy any organization.

That’s it for this week’s Inspired Leadership Minute. My prayer is that together we will be the powerful, inspired leaders God intends us to be!

Please leave me a comment and let me know how this week’s Inspired Leadership Minute inspired you!

#190: The Most Important Overlooked Quality of Leadership

When I was a young lad in my first managerial assignment most of the senior business leaders I was exposed to were World War II veterans. They exhibited a command and control style of leadership.

Humble, Humility, Leadership

Many of my peers had been officers during the Vietnam war. They were also command and control leaders.

Their careers were advancing so I decided to emulate them and adopt this same strong command and control style of leadership. I expected my “troops” to follow my orders without question.

The driving force of my leadership style was very selfish. I wanted to make myself look good to my bosses regardless of the effect on those who reported to me. I was proud, arrogant, and more than a little cocky about my accomplishments.

When I became a Christian, I started reading the Scripture. I noted a lot of God’s Word that seemed to suggest my style of leadership did not comport with God’s design.

I noted a recurring theme in the Scripture that I realized was lacking in my own leadership style; humility!

In the world’s view, being brash and arrogant was a sign of a strong leader. But in God’s view, a strong leader was a humble, selfless leader.

I decided to turn away from the world’s view of a strong leader in favor of becoming the kind of humble leader God wanted me to be.

There are many verses in the Bible that speak to being a leader. Here are seven that focus on how we, as leaders, should treat those who God gives us to shepherd:

  1. Be sincerely devoted to those you lead

“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor” (Romans 12:10 ESV).

  1. Regard others as more important than myself

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3 NASB).

  1. Do not take advantage of others, but serve one another in love

“For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13 NASB).

  1. Be self-sacrificing and lead by example

“If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14 NASB).

  1. Be willing to work with everyone—high or low

“Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited” (Romans 12:16 NIV).

  1. Do not dominate others, but submit to and serve one another

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21 NIV).

  1. Be humble and submit to those in authority

“Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5 NIV).

The command and control style of leadership has become less prevalent as the concept of servant leadership has become more popular. And for that I am glad.

As Christian leaders, we must emulate the Great Shepherd and lead with humility. It may still be the most overlooked quality of a leader but in God’s economy, it is the most important!

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Are you growing into the kind of leader God intends you to be? If so, what are you doing that is helpful?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?


Category: Personal Development | Leader Qualifications

ILM #014: It is Better to Be Poor and Honest Than a Rich Fraud

Today in our Inspired Leadership Minute I want to us look at Proverbs 16:8: “Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice.”

It’s clear this proverb is referring to money, our incomes, and by extension, our possessions. It is better to have a very modest income and earn it honestly than to have a large income and lots of possessions earned dishonestly or through fraud.

What is the lesson for us as leaders today?

As Christians leaders, we should always choose what is right, even if it means we live with a little less income. It means we walk away from a sale rather than stretch the truth about our product. It means our products live up to every claim we make. It means we honor our commitments to our employees even if it costs us money. It means we never choose the dishonest path in the pursuit of worldly treasure.

Our role as Christian leaders is to use all of our God-given talents righteously; in ways that bring honor to God. Whether we have much or not so much, God expects us to use what He gives us with integrity.

That’s it for this week’s Inspired Leadership Minute. My prayer is that together we will be the powerful, inspired leaders God intends us to be!

Please leave me a comment and let me know how this week’s Inspired Leadership Minute inspired you!



#189: Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho! It’s Off to Work We Go!

5 Steps to Getting You Whistling While You Work

Anyone who has ever seen the Walt Disney classic Snow White can picture the seven dwarfs singing and whistling as they march off, tools in hand, to spend their day working in the mine.

Work Dwarfs

Walt Disney made this epic film shortly after the great depression when people were thrilled to have jobs. A job meant they could feed and clothe their families without taking government handouts.

That was then. Today’s bumper sticker reads, “I-owe, I-owe, so it’s off to work I go.” We get up before dawn to join the freeway demolition derby, arrive at work stressed out, grit our teeth through another day at the salt mines, and then clench our teeth as we battle the traffic back home. We endure all this so that we can pay our mortgages, save up a little for vacation, and maybe put a bit away for a rainy day.

What has happened to us? Why aren’t we thrilled with our jobs? Why aren’t we going off to work singing and whistling like the seven dwarfs?

Perhaps you are so far gone that you think the only reason the seven dwarfs were singing is because they were strung out on mega-doses of antidepressants prescribed by over indulgent doctors, who were in cahoots with Simon Legree, the owner of the mine!

Some people think that work is a curse that God put on man after he sinned. But in reviewing Genesis 1, we find that God first blessed Adam and Eve, and then gave them the command to rule over the fish of the sea and birds of the air and every other living creature that moves on the ground; to work.

Long before the first sin, work was part of the plan even in paradise. So if work is part of the plan God has for our lives, and God blessed Adam and Even before He gave them the command to work, then our attitude toward work should have us singing “Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho,” not the familiar Johnny Paycheck song, “Take This Job and Shove It!”

By understanding the plan God has for our lives we can improve our attitudes, and find new motivation for our work. The Scottish philosopher Thomas Chalmers said, “The grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.” Incorporate these essentials into your life and you may even find yourself whistling while you work!

5 Steps to Getting You Whistling While You Work

Something to do, something to love, something to hope for. If we cannot find a way to live the part of our lives that are our occupations Biblically then we shall have empty, unfulfilled lives. Here are five steps to get you whistling while you work:


Remember Paul’s admonition to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 7:17) to be content in their stations. The one with the most toys is not the winner!

Your occupation is secondary to the fulfillment of your vocation; to be a servant of God, a light unto the world. Forget what the “world” says. It really doesn’t matter whether you are the janitor or the president as long as you do the best work possible as unto the Lord.

So the first step is to adjust your attitude to reflect your vocation while you’re working at your occupation.


It is not honoring to the Lord if your coworkers can accuse you, a Christian, of being a sluggard. So work as Solomon said with diligent hands. That way no one will be able to say behind your back that Christians are a lazy bunch who don’t carry their fair share of the load.


If you do not have passion for your work it is a clear signal that you do not love your work. Perhaps it is because you do not have a job that makes use of your talents, or perhaps it is because you are focused on your occupation rather than your vocation. Take steps to either work in your job with passion, or find a job in which you can!


Life is not as they say “A bowl full of cherries.” Often times life is more like just the pits. Paul was shipwrecked, stoned, flogged, and put in prison. Yet he counts these difficult times as “light and momentary afflictions.” Paul’s passion and his sheer determination kept him from being defeated by the difficulties that he encountered.

If he can count his tribulations as light, what are ours in comparison? Is it really that important to get mad at the fool who cut you off on the freeway, or take personally a comment that a coworker made about your department? Or are these things the really “light and momentary” afflictions? For goodness sake, do not let the light and momentary take precedence over the eternal implications of your vocation to serve God.


We are, all of us, nothing but flesh and blood. And with that frailty comes the knowledge that eventually, no matter how loud we whistle, we will fall short. When this day happens, remember to hear the melody of the future and dance to it today. Our melody is the knowledge of our salvation through Christ. We may not be able to physically see Him with our eyes, but we can certainly hear His melody in our hearts.

One Final Thought

Every morning when you get up, you have a very important choice to make. “Shall I live this day as though tomorrow will never come, and work as though God were standing beside me?” Or “I will live this day for myself, tomorrow is always another day”?

James writes, “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year here or there, carry on business and make money.’ Why you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’ Anyone then who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins” (James 4:13-15, 17).

Spend a few minutes every morning in quiet prayer seeking God’s direction for your life. It is all a gift from Him! You’ll be amazed at the results. You might even find yourself singing “Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho” as you drive the freeway to work!

Bonus Whitepaper

This week’s post is excerpted from a 6-page whitepaper entitled Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, It’s Off to Work We Go!

This whitepaper is a broader discussion of how you can begin whistling as you go off to work:

  • Something to Do. What’s the difference between vocation and occupation?
  • Something to Love. Is it Biblical to love your work?
  • Something to Hope For. How to get the drive and determination to see the race through to the end.

You can download the free 6-page whitepaper here: Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, It’s Off to Work We Go!

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. What do you do that helps you “Whistle while you work?”

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?


Category: Personal Development | Commitment


ILM #013: A Wise Leader is Always on the Lookout for Liars and Gossips

Today in our Inspired Leadership Minute I want us to look at Proverbs 16:28: “A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.”

In this proverb, Solomon is warning about two dangerous kinds of people. The first is the dishonest person who, through lies, creates conflict. The second dangerous person is the gossip who seeks to create division between people. So one person creates conflict through their lies, and the second person uses gossip to pit one person against another.

What is the lesson for us as leaders today?

Is it any wonder why Solomon warned about these two dangerous kinds of people? We are still surrounded by them today!

A wise leader will be on the lookout for someone who spins the truth or tells outright lies to create trouble in an organization.

The second person the wise leader needs to be on the lookout for is the gossip who seeks to spread cruel and hateful information for the purpose of causing division.

Both the dishonest man who creates trouble and the gossip can bring leaders and organizations down. Watch out for them!

Please leave me a comment and let me know how this week’s Inspired Leadership Minute inspired you!

#188: Your Values Aren’t Your Values Unless They Cost You Something

Your values aren’t your values unless they cost you something.


Consider this list of company values: Communication, Respect, Integrity, Excellence. Sounds pretty lofty, right? Any decent company would like to have these values. These “values” were listed in the Enron annual report from 2000. Based on their behavior, their stated values weren’t their real values at all.

By contrast, in a letter to shareholders, Larry Merlo, CVS Caremark CEO, said, “CVS Caremark is committed to reinventing pharmacy to help people on their path to better health.” Their tagline is “Health is Everything.”

CVS put their money where their values were by suspending the sale of all tobacco products in 2014. That decision cost them an estimated $2B in tobacco product sales. Following the announcement, the public rewarded them by driving their stock price to a 34-year high.

CVS’s decision to suspend tobacco sales was costly but the decision supported their stated values and it resonated with consumers. Their stated values were aligned with their behavior. On the other hand, how would it look if they said they valued better health for their customer when they still sold tobacco products?

In the best companies, a company’s values reflect the core values of the leaders and employees in the company.

King David’s 11 Core Values

King David was described as a man “after God’s own heart” in Acts 13. David, like most of us, certainly had his shortcomings as a leader, but David wanted to be a man who honored God. At one point, he wondered what kind of values would a person have who would be allowed to worship the Lord in His sanctuary. His answer is recorded in Psalm 15:

1  LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill?
2  He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart
3  and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman,
4  who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the LORD, who keeps his oath even when it hurts,
5  who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken.
Psalm 15:1-5 (NIV)


David begins by describing two general values (v. 2):

  • His walk is blameless. He is a man of integrity.
  • He does what is righteous. He has a clear conscience because he lives a righteous life.

David then details an additional nine values (vv. 3-5):

  • He speaks the truth. He speaks the truth in love from his heart.
  • He does not slander others. He does not tell lies or gossip about others.
  • He treats his neighbors well. He cares for, helps, and encourages his neighbor.
  • He does not speak ill of others. He does not say mean or spiteful things about others.
  • He despises evil men. He does not condone evil but stands up against evil men.
  • He honors those who fear God. He gives honor to those who are part of God’s kingdom.
  • He always keeps his word. He is trustworthy. He will keep his word even if it costs him.
  • He lends money fairly. He does not take advantage of those he lends money to.
  • He does not accept bribes. He is a just man who will not take a bribe.

The result of these values, says David, is the man who lives this way will never be shaken!

When David refers to the person’s “walk” he is referring to a pattern of behavior over time. A leader’s effectiveness is directly related to their ability to demonstrate their core values over time.

It’s easy to say you espouse certain values but unless they are demonstrated by the way you live they are meaningless words

As leaders, we are called to be salt and light to the world. We are to live in such a way that our example draws others to Christ. We can only do that if we are living out our core values every day—despite the cost.

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. What Are Your Core Values? Has maintaining your core values cost you economically or relationally?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?



Category: Personal Development | Values

ILM #012: Wise Men Heed Instruction, but a Fool Rejects Correction

Today in our Inspired Leadership Minute I want us to look at Proverbs 16:22:Good sense is a fountain of life to him who has it, but the instruction of fools is folly.”

This proverb contrasts a person with good sense versus a foolish person.

Good sense is also translated “understanding” or “insight.” In today’s vernacular it might be termed wisdom. Here, Solomon is saying good sense is a fountain that refreshes and sustains us throughout our lives. Good sense, understanding, insight bring wisdom that instructs and guides our life.

By contrast, fools will not listen. They will not heed instruction or correction. In fact, says Solomon, it is a waste of time to even try to instruct a foolish person because will not listen.

What is the lesson for us as leaders today?

A wise person has good sense. They are teachable. They will heed discipline. They are capable of learning and growing in their understanding.

By contrast, the foolish person is not teachable. They will not heed discipline. They are rebellious.

A wise leader will surround themselves with people of good sense who are teachable while avoiding the rebellious foolish person.

Please leave me a comment and let me know how this week’s Inspired Leadership Minute inspired you!

#187: The Principled Patriot Who Refused to Kneel

Leadership Lessons from the Lesser Known

There are times in life when a matter of principle is at stake. You have to decide; will I stand, or will I kneel?

Patriot, Kneel, Principles

Standing up for our principles requires us to muster our courage and set aside our fear of retribution or disapproval.  It requires that we stand up for what is right against what is wrong even when it is not convenient—especially when it is not convenient!

Joshua and Caleb stood up for their principles against the majority when they encouraged the Israelites to believe God’s promise and to push on into the Promised Land (Numbers 14).

Elijah courageously stood up for his principles against 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah (1 Kings 18). Elijah stood alone against 850 men but secured victory because of his faith in God’s promise.

Daniel refused to obey the law forbidding worship of any entity other than the king (Daniel 3). Daniel stood up for his principles. He continued to openly worship God despite knowing it could cost him his life.

Peter and John preached about Jesus and were jailed by the Temple leaders (Acts 4). They stood up for their principles. Refusing to be silenced, they said, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20).

Mordecai, the Principled Patriot

Mordecai is another example of a man who stood up for his principles. His story is usually overshadowed by the story of Esther, his adopted daughter, and cousin.

Mordecai was a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin living in Suza under the rule of King Xerxes. Xerxes was the most powerful man in the world at that time. Mordecai had probably achieved a position of rank in the Persian court because he was allowed to sit at the King’s Gate (Esther 2:21). Mordecai overheard a plot to assassinate Xerxes. He was able to warn the King by passing a message through Queen Esther.

After this, Xerxes appointed a man named Haman to a high position in the royal court and ordered that everyone must bow down to Haman. Haman was an Amalekite.

The Amalekites had stood against the nation of Israel during their exodus from Egypt. God had cursed the Amalekites and told Moses that He would utterly blot them out. Years later (1 Samuel 5), God ordered Saul to wipe out the Amalekites but Saul spared the Amalekite king and for that, Saul, who was also a Benjamite, lost his kingship.

There had been enmity between the Amalekites and the Israelites for hundreds of years. Mordecai viewed Haman as a representative of the nation who had stood against and opposed God’s people so he refused to bow down and pay honor to a man of the people whom God had cursed.

Mordecai stood up for his principles knowing it might cost him his life if word got back to Haman or Xerxes. Sure enough, that is exactly what happened. Haman was told of Mordecai’s refusal to bow to him and he hatched his plot to destroy all the Jews living throughout the empire.

We know the end of the story. Queen Esther, Mordecai’s cousin, set a trap for Haman with King Xerxes. Haman fell for the trap. Xerxes discovered Haman’s treachery and Xerxes had Haman hanged on the very gallows Haman had just built where he had planned to hang Mordecai.

God had miraculously protected the entire nation of Israel through the wisdom of Queen Esther, and Mordecai who refused to bow down to a man opposed to God’s people.

God honored Joshua and Caleb. God gave the victory to Elijah. God protected Daniel. God saved Peter and John. And God saved Mordecai. Each one stood up for their principles to honor God and His commands.

As leaders today, do we honor God by standing up for our principles in every sphere of our lives? Do we stand against those who stand against God and His principles, or do we acquiesce and kneel to popular opinion?

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Are there times when you have had to take a stand, perhaps against popular opinion, to maintain your principles?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?



Category: Personal Development | Values