#197: Who Does God Call to do Great Things?

Who was Noah before God called him? He was a simple, good man who lived among an increasingly evil people. God called Noah to build an ark when Noah was 600 years old, and God promised to bless him.

God's Call

Who was Abraham before God called him? Abraham was living in the land of the Chaldees when God called him at 75-years old to take his family and travel to Canaan where God promised to bless Abraham.

Who was Esther before God called her? Esther was an orphan child being raised by her cousin, Mordecai. They were Jews living in the capital city of the Persian Empire when God placed Esther in a position to save the entire nation of Israel from extermination.

Who was Ruth before God called her? Ruth was a Moabite widow who left her homeland and followed Naomi, her mother-in-law to Bethlehem. Ruth became a lowly fieldhand gleaning grain from the edges of a field to survive. It was only then that God placed Ruth in a position to meet and marry Boaz and become the great-grandmother of David.

Who was David before God called him? David was the youngest of seven boys. He was a simple shepherd, only 15-years old when God sent Samuel to anoint him as king over the people of Israel.

Who were the brothers Peter and Andrew, and James and John when Jesus called them? All four were probably only teenagers under 18-years old, and they were all lowly fishermen tending their nets when Jesus called them to be His disciples.

Who Does God Call?

God calls people of all ages. You are never too young or too old to be called by God.

God calls both men and women. Look around. God is calling men and women all around the world.

God calls people without regard to their vocation. It doesn’t matter to God if you are a street sweeper or a CEO. He calls people from all walks of life.

God calls people without regard to their standing in society. Don’t think for a minute that God only calls people at the top of the society ladder. He calls simple shepherds as well as kings.

Here’s why God calls people without regard to their sex, age, vocation, or standing in society. God looks not on the outward person but our hearts!

The prophet Samuel explained God’s choice in calling David to be a future king over the people of Israel saying,

“People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

God sees the heart of the person He calls. He sees their willingness to follow Him.

God told Noah to build an ark and promised to bless him, but the blessing didn’t come until long after Noah followed God’s instructions to build the ark.

God told Abraham to gather his belongings and his family and travel to an unknown land where God would then bless them. The blessing to Abraham came after he followed God’s instructions.

God directed Mordecai to give instructions to his young cousin Esther, and because they both followed God’s direction, Esther saved the Israelite nation from annihilation.

God directed Samuel to anoint young David king over Israel. Luke records God’s description of David as “a man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22).

Jesus called Peter and Andrew and James and John to be His disciples when they were fishing. They immediately put down their nets and followed him.

Do you see the pattern here? It doesn’t matter who you are in the world’s eye. It only matters who you are in God’s eye! What matters is if we are ready and willing to answer God’s call.

When the Lord described to Isaiah the terrible situation Israel had gotten themselves into God asked the question, “Whom shall I send” to save them? And Isaiah answered, “Here I am. Send me” (Isaiah 6:8).

Isaiah was willing and ready to answer God’s call to serve Him and His people.

I must ask myself, “Am I willing and ready to answer God’s call whenever it comes?”

I pray that I am.

Are you willing and ready?

I pray that you are as well.

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Are you willing and ready to answer God’s call on your life?

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 #021: Bribes, Given or Received, Are Wicked in God’s Sight

Today in our Inspired Leadership Minute I want us to look at Proverbs 17:23: “A wicked man accepts a bribe in secret to pervert the course of justice.”     

In this proverb, Solomon is warning against the man who offers or receives a bribe, referring to them as wicked because the purpose of the bribe is to pervert justice.

The original judges in Israel were appointed by God to lead the people. Judges were expected to be above reproach. They were to render decisions honestly and fairly because they represented God.

What does this mean for us as leaders today?

Look around in the business world and across the political scene. It is easy to see the impact of bribes that have perverted justice.

Bribes are commonly the exchange of money for a favor. But bribes may also take the form of special treatment granted for favors. Like the politician who gets a tip on cattle futures from an insider; she makes a lot of money, and then she does favors for the man who gave her the insider information.

Christian leaders, we need to be examples to our organizations. We need to be above reproach. We cannot offer nor accept bribes of any kind. The short-term gain that might be won from engaging in bribery is never worth being seen as wicked in God’s eyes.

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!

#196: Have We Forgotten the Real Meaning of Thanksgiving?

This week in America we will celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. It is a holiday steeped in America’s rich heritage.

Thanksgiving

The first formal Thanksgiving proclamation came in 1676 when the Charlestown, Massachusetts governing council voted unanimously to proclaim a day of praise and thanksgiving to the Holy God in recognition of His blessings upon them.

Some 113 years later in 1789, George Washington, at the urging of both houses of Congress, issued the first presidential proclamation calling for a day of thanksgiving. The first paragraph of Washington’s proclamation reads:

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Abraham Lincoln formalized the holiday when he established the last Thursday of November as the date for all of America to celebrate Thanksgiving in 1863. His proclamation reads in part:

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

Imagine that!

A governing council of a town set aside a day specifically to praise and thank God for His blessings to them.

Then, of all things, BOTH houses of Congress urged Washington to declare a day of Thanksgiving and prayer to Almighty God. Washington said it was the DUTY of all nations to acknowledge God and be grateful for His benefits while they also prayed for His protection and favor.

Finally, Lincoln, in the midst of the Civil War, recognized in his Thanksgiving proclamation that the extraordinary bounties enjoyed in America were derived from the providence of God.

Fast Forward to Today

Today the Thanksgiving Holiday stands for a lot of things but rarely, if ever, does the idea of thanking our Almighty God for His blessings enter the picture.

Families gather together for a bountiful feast but more often than not, the purpose of the feast is not thanksgiving and prayer, it is centered around a television as we watch one of several football games.

Do you know of a single church that has a special service on Thanksgiving to offer prayer and thanksgiving to God? I don’t.

Given the acrimony and division I have witnessed this past year, it is more important than ever that we come together this Thanksgiving to spend a few moments in reflection and prayer as we thank Almighty God for His provision in this country.

While we have not achieved the ideals we might wish for; we have much to be thankful for. At the very top of that list is the freedom to worship as we choose.

So, let’s all do this, this Thanksgiving Day, let’s stop fighting amongst ourselves for a day, and spend time in prayer.

Let us lay aside our differences and love one another as Christ first loved us.

Let us thank God that we live in a country in which we can pray and thank God for His great provision.

Then, let’s be Christ-like and carry that love for our brothers and our thankfulness to God over to the next day, and the next. And let us live lives of love and thankfulness so that all the world will see our light and glorify our Father in Heaven.

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. What are you especially thankful for this Thanksgiving?

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 | Dependence on God

 

ILM #020: Trials Can Strengthen and Purify Us

Today in our Inspired Leadership Minute I want us to look at Proverbs 17:3: “The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the heart.”

Silversmiths and goldsmiths would heat up the silver or gold until it was liquid. Impurities would rise to the top and could then be removed, leaving the pure metals behind.

In the same way, the Lord uses the fire of trials to test our hearts and purify us.

What does this mean for us as leaders today?

Just like metals are strengthened by being purified and tempered, so the Lord uses trials to purify and strengthen us.

James, the half-brother of Jesus, admonished believers in James 1:2-3 saying, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”

Being a Christian leader in today’s world is sure to bring trials as you stand against the secularization of our society. But when the trials come, and they will come, realize the Lord is purifying and strengthening you for an even greater work if you remain steadfast in your faith.

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!

#195: Do You See Yourself in the Life of Zacchaeus?

Lessons from the Lesser Known

Have you ever read a Bible story and imagined yourself in the place of the main character? You think, “that could be me!”

Zacchaeus

Some people may see themselves as a leader like Moses, courageous like Joshua, wise like Solomon, or brave and determined like Paul. Others may see themselves more like Peter; bold and outspoken.

I wonder how many of us see ourselves like Jonah, who ran from God’s call on his life? Or like Jacob who deceived his father and brother all in an effort to get ahead?

One person most of us probably don’t identify with is a man Luke tells us about; Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector (Luke 19:1-10).

Zacchaeus is described as the chief tax collector in the city of Jericho. He was a Jew who had become rich by extorting more money in taxes from his fellow Jews than required by Rome.

He was small in stature, an outcast despised by his own people.

Despite his wealth and influence with Rome, there was something missing in his life. When he heard that Jesus was passing through town he wanted to see him. He was too short amidst the crowd following Jesus to see him, so Zacchaeus ran ahead and climbed a tree to get a better look at this man, Jesus, that he had heard so much about.

As Jesus approached the tree where Zacchaeus was, Jesus called him by name and told him to come down because he was going to stay at Zacchaeus’ house. So Zacchaeus scampered down and received Jesus joyfully.

While the crowd muttered against Jesus for staying with a sinner like Zacchaeus, Zacchaeus jumped down and immediately announced he would give half of everything he owned to the poor and pay back four times the amount of anything he had cheated out of others.

Jesus said salvation had come to the house of Zacchaeus that day. The Son of Man had come to seek and save that which was lost.

5 Lessons from the story of Zacchaeus

1) He was searching. Money and influence were not enough. Zacchaeus knew there was something missing in his life.

2) He was determined. Something in Zacchaeus drove him to set aside his pride, rush ahead of the crowd, and climb a tree just so he would have a chance to see Jesus.

3) Jesus came to him. Despite being surrounded by a crowd, Jesus came to Zacchaeus and dealt with him as an individual.

4) Jesus knew him. Jesus not only called Zacchaeus by name, but He knew the condition of his heart.

5) He responded to Jesus immediately. When Jesus called out to Zacchaeus, he jumped down immediately and responded to Jesus with rejoicing. He publicly repented of his sins against his people. He promised to give away half of his fortune and to make restitution to those he had cheated.

Zacchaeus was desperate to see Jesus, but at the same time, Jesus was on his way to meet Zacchaeus. The Lord knew Zacchaeus’ heart and he responded just as the Lord knew he would. The world may have despised or even hated Zacchaeus. But the Lord saw him through a different lens; one that saw his repentant heart and his desire to know the Lord.

Many of us are searching for the something that is missing in our lives. We work hard to accumulate wealth, power, and influence only to find that they are not enough. Then we go searching for what will fill that God-shaped hole in our lives.

Hopefully, when Jesus comes to us we will put away our pride, greet Him with rejoicing, repent of our sins, and follow him as the Great Shepherd!

The Lord knows His sheep and they recognize His voice (John 10:14).

 Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Have you ever imagined yourself in the place of a Bible character? If so, who and what about that character did you identify with?

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 | Character

 

 

 

ILM #019: Are You Doing the Right Thing for the Right Reason with Pure Motives?

Today in our Inspired Leadership Minute I want us to look at Proverbs 16:2: “All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirit.”

I think there are a couple of ways of thinking about this proverb.

First, there is the man who believes he is doing the right thing for the right reason. He is pure in his own eyes.

Second, there is the man whose actions seem innocent from the outside but in reality, he is hiding impure motives.

In both cases, the Lord knows the condition of our hearts. He knows whether our actions stem from a pure heart.

What does this mean for us as leaders today?

Christian leaders take a hard look in the mirror of your soul. Make sure that your actions stem from pure motives.

Additionally, pray for God to reveal any impurity in your motives. David prayed in Psalm 139:23-24 for the Lord to search his heart, reveal any wickedness in him, and lead him in the way everlasting.

Do the right thing, for the right reason, with a pure heart so when the Lord weighs your spirit He will say, “well done, good and faithful servant.”

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!

#194: Do You Know the 3 E’s of Expanded Leadership?

I had the great pleasure of attending the Global Leadership Summit hosted by Willow Creek Church again this year.

Expanded Leadership

Among the incredible speakers was Jossy Chacko, founder and president of Empart, Inc, a global church planting ministry.

Jossy’s talk entitled, “Unquestionable Ways to Expand Your Leadership Reach” was based on the Parable of the Talents recorded in Matthew 25:14-30.

As He teaches the disciples this parable, Jesus described the master who is going on a journey and called his three servants together to entrust his property to them. To one servant he gave five talents of money, to the second servant he gave two talents, and to the third servant he gave one talent.

The man who received five talents and the man who received two talents both put the money to work and doubled it. The man who received one talent was afraid of his master, so he just took the talent and buried it in the ground.

When the master returned, he held his servants accountable for their results. The man with five talents and the man with two talents who had doubled what they were given were commended by the master and invited to share his happiness.

The man with one talent who was afraid and hid the talent in the ground was reprimanded for not at least investing the talent, so what he had was taken from him since he was a worthless servant.

In God’s economy, the two men who multiplied what they were given were rewarded, while the man who just returned what he was given was not rewarded.

What talent has God entrusted to you? If God has entrusted you with leadership responsibility, how you are multiplying and expanding your leadership?

The 3E’s of Expanded Leadership

1) Enlarge Your Vision

  • One man with a small vision played it safe by burying his talent in the ground. If your vision is only to keep what you have, you’ll never see the opportunities all around you.
  • Your vision is directly related to your view of God. If you have a small vision, you have a small view of God. If you have a large vision, you have a large view of God.

2) Empower Your People

  • The master gave the money to the three servants and left! He went on his journey without giving specific instructions of what each person was to do—he left that decision to them individually.
  • People’s character is built through being held accountable for their actions. People often fail for lack of character.

3) Embrace Risk

  • See risk as a friend. The third servant said, “I was afraid,” but Paul, writing to Timothy said, “God has not given us a spirit of fear” (2 Timothy 1:7).
  • Don’t let the fear of losing what you have, keep you from getting what God has for you.

Perfection is Not Required or Expected

When Jesus selected the apostles, He knew they would all be weak and abandon Him in His darkest hour. He knew Peter would deny Him three times. He knew Judas would betray Him.

Jesus didn’t expect the apostles to be perfect. In fact, knew they weren’t! He selected them anyway. What He expected was they would come back to Him in faith to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20).

Jesus doesn’t expect us to be perfect either. In fact, He knows we’re not but He has called us anyway. The question is, will you be a servant who answers the call and multiplies the talents you have received?

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Has God entrusted you with the responsibility of being a leader? If so, how are you multiplying and expanding that talent to others for the benefit of the Kingdom?

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 | Character

 

ILM #018: Watch Out for the Flatterer and the Gift-Giver

Today in our Inspired Leadership Minute I want us to look at Proverbs 19:6: “Many curry favor with a ruler, and everyone is the friend of a man who gives gifts.”

Solomon warns about two different kinds of dangerous men in this Proverb.

The first warning is against people who try to flatter the leader. The phrase “curry favor” refers to blatant, insincere flattery. There are folks who will flatter a leader for the sole purpose of getting into their good graces to elevate themselves or take advantage of someone else.

Solomon also warns leaders there are those who will give gifts for the sole purpose of buying friends.

What does this mean for us as leaders today?

Leaders need to be wary of those who use flattery as a way of getting into our good graces, to get close to us, or to influence us in some way.

Likewise, leaders need to be cautious of those who try to bribe others with expensive gifts.

Christian leaders, the higher up you go, the more likely there will be people who try to influence you through flattery or buy your friendship with expensive gifts. Recognize these people for what they are and be cautious of forming any relationship with them.

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!