Learning to lead (1)

2017-10-21
Exodus 18:18 NIV

President Theodore Roosevelt once said, “The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” Bottom line: Unless you learn to delegate, your leadership will deteriorate and your vision will stagnate. In Exodus, Moses was wearing himself out physically, emotionally, and spiritually trying to keep up with the demands of two million Israelites and be “the answer man” for every problem. That’s when his father-in-law told him, “You cannot handle it alone. Listen…to me and I will give you some advice” (vv. 18-19 NIV). It takes wisdom, maturity, and humility to ask for help. And it’s a sign of strength, not weakness. That’s hard to come to terms with, for those of us who take pride in our ability to “do it all.” The truth is, what Moses was doing was neither good for him nor the people depending on him. As a leader, it’s easy to overestimate your own importance and competence. That’s why Paul cautions, “[Don’t] think you are better than you really are. Use good sense” (Romans 12:3 CEV). God has placed people around you who have certain gifts and talents. When you recognize and involve these people, they’re fulfilled and the job gets done right. God created us to be interdependent, not independent. Delegating authority to the right people strengthened Moses for the task of leading as God intended. When you try to be “all things to all people,” you end up frustrated. You’re not called to do it all, but to get it done through others. That’s what leadership is about.

Soul food: Isa 4-7; John 5:1-15; Ps 126; Prov 27:17-19

We can’t do it all


Exodus 18:18 NIV

Helping others is something we’re called to do. The Bible says that we should care about the ‘interests of the others’ not just our own (Philippians 2:4 NIV). But sometimes we can take this too far. We try and be everything for everyone, seeing it as our responsibility to help everyone with their problems. And that can be dangerous because we can end up feeling overwhelmed. Instead we need to remember that we’re part of the body of Christ (have a read of 1 Corinthians 12:12-31) and so all of us have a responsibility to be there for other people, but we can all offer different things. Sometimes God will use us to help others, other times He’ll use someone else. It doesn’t always have to be us. Moses had to learn this when he was leading the Israelites. Moses was wearing himself out physically, emotionally, and spiritually trying to keep up with the demands of two million Israelites and be the one everyone turned to when they needed answers to their problems. That’s when his father-in-law told him, ‘You cannot handle it alone. Listen now to me and I will give you some advice’ (vv. 18-19 NIV). It takes wisdom, maturity, and humility to ask for help or to say no to helping when someone is in a bad place. When we’re taking on too much, we can end up not helping anyone because we can’t cope. What Moses was doing was neither good for him nor the people depending on him. Sometimes we may need to guard ourselves from becoming overwhelmed by too many people offloading their problems to us. And doing that is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Isa 4-7; John 5:1-15; Ps 126; Prov 27:17-19

Change your thinking

2017-10-12
Philippians 4:8 NLT

In order to change your life, you must first change your thinking. And that’s not easy when you’ve spent your life thinking a certain way. Minister and columnist Dr. Frank Crane said, “Our best friends and our worst enemies are our thoughts.” King Solomon put it this way: “As [a man] thinks within himself, so he is” (Proverbs 23:7 NAS). To change your thinking, you must do it – one thought at a time. That calls for discipline and determination. But it’s worth it. If you wanted to compete in a marathon you wouldn’t go on an all-candy diet, would you? The fuel you put into something determines its performance. Yet we disregard this basic piece of wisdom: What you feed everything else is nothing compared to what you feed your mind! Here’s a truth that will transform you: Think excellent thoughts! What enters your mind repeatedly, occupies it, shapes it, controls it, and in the end expresses itself in what you do and who you become. Your mind will absorb and reflect whatever it’s exposed to. The events you attend, the relationships you build, the materials you read or don’t read, the music you listen to, the media images you’re exposed to, the conversations you engage in, and the thoughts you entertain all shape your mind, and eventually your character and your destiny. So what should you do? Start each day by praying: “Lord, I want the kind of mind Your Word describes. One that’s filled with excellent, admirable, honorable, praiseworthy thoughts” (See Philippians 4:8). Can you imagine what your life would be like if you constantly prayed that way and programmed your thinking accordingly?

Soul food: Exo 22-24; John 2:12-25; Ps 89:15-37; Prov 26:20-22

Growing through tough times

2017-09-01
James 1:4 CEV

James writes: ‘Be glad, even if you have a lot of trouble. You know that you learn to endure by having your faith tested. But you must learn to endure everything, so that you will be completely mature and not lacking in anything’ (vv. 2-4). Trouble isn’t something we’re usually glad to have. In fact, we probably try and avoid it, or pray for it to end quickly. When life brings us to a low, we can become low with it and get tired waiting for a good season to come along. How often do we begin to question God’s goodness and nearness? How often do we end up asking God ‘why’? But James tells us that through tough times we gain endurance and spiritual maturity. The same thought appears in Romans: ‘We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next’ (5:3-4 MSG). Our faith grows when it is put to the test. Tough times require us to really trust God and lean on Him for support. We start to realise that we can’t control everything, and that, ultimately, God’s the One in control. We may not get answers to our ‘why’s’ but what we will get, if we ask, is a ‘how’. God will show us how He can use the situation we’re in to develop us into who He’s created us to be. So when we’re facing trouble, let’s not become discouraged and frustrated but instead keep focusing on what God can do through it.

Josh 8:30-10:43; Mark 9:30-37; Ps 111; Prov 23:4-6

Growing through life’s tests


James 1:4 CEV

James writes: “Be glad, even if you have a lot of trouble. You know that you learn to endure by having your faith tested. But you must learn to endure everything, so that you will be completely mature and not lacking in anything. If any of you need wisdom, you should ask God, and it will be given you…But when you ask…you must have faith…Anyone who doubts is like an ocean wave tossed around in a storm. If you are that kind of person, you can’t make up your mind, and you surely can’t be trusted. So don’t expect the Lord to give you anything at all” (vv. 2-8). Note three things in this Scripture: (1) Your faith grows when it’s tested. You’ll never know the strength of your anchor until you feel the blast of the storm. (2) God will give you wisdom to handle the test. Now, He won’t answer all your “whys.” So instead of questioning Him, you need to pray, “Lord, how do You want to use this trial to develop me spiritually? How can I cooperate with You to reap the maximum benefit? What changes do You desire to bring about in my life?” Those are questions God will answer. (3) You must be willing to obey. It’s possible to ask God for wisdom, then debate, stall, or mess around trying to decide whether or not to obey Him. “If you’re that kind of person…don’t expect the Lord to give you anything at all.” When God gives you His wisdom, your first response should be: “Speak, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:10 NIV).

Soul food: Josh 8:30-10:43; Mark 9:30-37; Ps 111; Prov 23:4-6