Leaders' Foundry

Dress Right

The various roles we have in the marketplace require us to be dressed a certain way. As leaders, we constantly have to manage how others are dressed literally and figuratively. But in the process, it’s easy to forget ourselves yet we cannot lead anyone aright if we’re not dressed right.

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Leaders' Foundry

Take It To The Lord

Holding a leadership position typically means you are expected to resolve most if not all the challenges that come your way. Both your own and those of the people you lead.

While dealing with challenges can be exhilarating (especially when you finally figure out the solution), it can also be draining. Especially if you’re constantly moving from one problem to the next with hardly any time to take a breath in between.

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Christian Business, Leaders' Foundry

Leaders Pray

No lengthy post this month.

Just as importantly, if not more so, is a call to prayer as follows by the leading of the Holy Spirit:

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Leaders' Foundry

Spiritual Authority

Leadership in the natural/physical realm and that in the spiritual realm don’t quite work the same. The janitor of a building can have a higher spiritual rank than the CEO of the company who owns the building.

Do you know what spiritual power and authority you have? There are a couple of questions you can ask yourself and God to help you get a better understanding of this.

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Christian Business, Leaders' Foundry

Pastor Appreciation Month: Prayer

We get to end the month on the same note we started it on – by honouring the ministers in our lives, this time in prayer.

If you’ve just joined this party and have no idea what’s happening, read this first. It’s not too late to get it done. Besides, the heart of this call is to stir up a culture in us that regularly extends gratitude and honour to those God is using to bless us.

As we come to the end of Pastor Appreciation Month, more commonly known as October, I’d like us to take time to pray over these ministers as follows:

  1. Refreshing for them and their ministries – spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically.
  2. Increase in capacity for their families as the ministers continue to grow in ministry. Any minister will tell you that their family is always right there with them for all the ups and downs.
  3. New wine for new seasons – as we draw near to the end of the year, may God infill them with new revelation and direction for the coming year and equip them accordingly for it.
Christian Business, Leaders' Foundry

Pastor Appreciation Month

This leadership post comes at the beginning rather than the end of the month since October is Pastor Appreciation Month. It’s not something that’s widely celebrated (at least not in this part of the world) but I’m hoping to change that a little.

I’ve always found it ironic how quick we are to drag people under the bus at the slightest allegation of failure but celebrating those who have faithfully supplied into our lives over the years while they’re still alive to hear it is like pulling teeth.

Instead of the usual leadership thoughts I’d normally share, I make this request: this month, find a way to appreciate those God has used to minister to you in the past and in the present. I won’t prescribe what makes a worthy celebration. That’s between you, God and them.

Oh, and I’m a Pastor’s wife so this is a completely biased post. But consider that because of this, I know better than most, what the cost of ministry truly is. And the difference it makes for even one person to say thank you.

Be blessed!

 

Christian Business, Leaders' Foundry

Who’s Leading You?

Dear leader, who’s leading you?

I know it’s not a question that you’re asked often. You’re more than likely used to hearing about how you’re leading others.

Yet I’ve found that one of the greatest hallmarks of a good leader isn’t just in their ability to lead, but particularly in their ability to follow and submit to another. You cannot lead if you have no clue how to be led. This is especially the case for Christian leaders.

Why? Let’s consider who a Christian leader is. What is it that makes one a Christian leader? Is the “Christian” part merely a notation of the faith they ascribe to? Or is there something more evident in their leadership that sets them apart from everyone else?

Can people tell your leadership is Christian in nature merely by observing the impact it has on those you lead and that which you’re responsible for?

As a leader, are your thoughts (mind) in charge?  Is your heart (emotions) in control? Is your impulse (will) what guides your decisions?

Or are you in step with the Spirit of God as a Christian – leader or otherwise – should be.

“If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.”

– Galatians 5:25 ESV

Being saved by the Spirit and being led by the Spirit are not automatically synonymous for any Christian. One is a choice made in a moment that changes the course of your life eternally; the other is a life-time of daily, intentional surrender. It’s the difference between having Jesus as your Saviour and having Him as your Lord.

Unfortunately, there’s a high number of saved Christians who are as estranged to the Holy Spirit in their salvation as they were before they got saved. Yet He was the one Jesus was keen to leave us as He prepared to go back to be with the Father. Consider why Christ would put such an emphasis on the need for us to have His Spirit (John 14).

If you are not led by the Spirit in your everyday Christian walk, He will not find room in your leadership. What the rest of the world sees in public is but an expression of what’s going on in your private life. If you are led by self (mind, heart and/or will), the fruit of this will be evident in your leadership. If you are led by the opinions of others, this too will be seen in how you lead. But if the Lord Almighty is the One who guides your every step, the world and Body alike will take note of the remarkable difference in your leadership even when they may not understand it.

Leadership is a heavy call for any person to bear, all the more for Christian leaders for whom eternity is at stake. However, it’s not the weight of leadership that often breaks us but how we carry that weight. The weight of having others looking to us for direction; to know that which they do not, to understand that which makes no sense to them, to have answers to the questions that are ringing in their minds.

We cannot take people to a place we have no knowledge of. It is the Spirit of truth who leads us into all truth and helps us in turn point others back to Christ in everything we do, even in the workplace. This is why we can’t afford to lean on our own strength and understanding. We will limit people to our limitations as human beings when we should be creating environments for them to walk in limitless freedom in Jesus.

I can’t help but think that our greatest call as Christian leaders, is to be led by Christ. Everything we do will stand or fall based on our ability to submit ourselves to His Lordship.

So let’s look to the One who called us to establish and keep us in the paths He has set for us and those He has given us charge over. And may His Spirit be our advocate and guide in all we do in His name and for His glory.

 

Take Action:

Are there dimensions of your leadership that are not led of the Holy Spirit? Make the invitation to Him today and ask Him to take over. Be intentional in following His lead from now on.

Christian Business, Leaders' Foundry

Uplifting Leaders

Leadership is hard.

If you’re in it, you know exactly what I mean. If you’re not, may the Lord illuminate your spirit with revelation.

As a leader, it’s easy to get so caught up in attending to the needs of others that you forget to feed your soul and spirit. You forget to be still and take stock of how you are. You can be running on fumes and not even realize it until your body begins to fall apart on you.

As a follower, it’s easy to hold a leader in such high esteem that you forget they’re human, you forget that for all they give to you, they need your love, prayer and support too. Similarly, you can get so caught up in a leader’s weaknesses and mistakes that you disregard the need to support them in prayer and in kind. They were never qualified for leadership based on perfection and so their imperfections do not disqualify their authority in your life.

In the age of social media, Christians have excelled at the art of throwing accusations at each other and at leaders. It doesn’t take rocket science to point out what’s not working and build a monument out of it. Anyone can do that. If anything, the devil is referred to as the accuser of brethren in the Bible. So whose work are we really doing in our gusto of speculation and accusation?

“Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword.”

– Exodus 17:11-13 ESV

Consider what would happen, if every time you wanted to complain or accuse a leader about something, you prayed for them instead. Do we really believe in the power of intercession over the lives of people? Do we love them enough to commit them to the One with the ability to help them be better? It is the ultimate test of honour and humility to cover the nakedness of a leader you serve.

As someone submitted to another in authority, I ask you to take time to pray for those in leadership over you. There is so much they go through and handle that you are unaware of. For all their faults and flaws, their authority over your life and the lives of others will only bear the right fruit to the degree they are led of God. Whether they are Christians or not, the call to pray for them stands.

If you’re a leader, I ask you to take time to pray for yourself today. Take yourself to the quiet streams of the presence of God and allow Him to still every raging worry and concern you have. The work of your hands as a leader requires you to be firmly held in His hands.

May every weak and weary place in you be strengthened in Jesus’ name.

Christian Business, Leaders' Foundry

Character

I look at the world around me and I see reasons – loud, obnoxious reasons – why it doesn’t pay to do the right thing. More aptly, how people are not just getting away with doing the wrong thing, but actually being rewarded for it.

With it, a sinister lie is creeping into many hearts – it’s useless to bother. Doing the right thing doesn’t pay off so why bother? Doing the right thing is just giving me more grief and problems so why bother?

The unfortunate truth is that this is not new. None of it is. Throughout Scripture and human history is evidence of ages where wickedness seemed to reign supreme and it was a struggle to find anything good in being good.

When madness seems to abound everywhere we turn, it serves as a true test to show us what really drives us to be one thing and not another; to pursue one thing and not another; to choose the way of God not the way of the world.

This is the time when the true leaders of our age are ushered forth. Not by virtue of titles and positions held, nor by fame, popularity and fortune; but by the testimony of their lives. Testimony that has been tried and tested. Testimony that shows who truly carries the heart of God and not just His hand.

“The same power that raised Him up is the power that lives in us.”

– Brian Johnson (Strong In Us)

Every believer has an innate call to leadership and dominion in one way or another by virtue of the commissioning of Christ to us all. But divine power and authority – the kind that actually makes a difference – can only flow in the lives of they who are truly for Christ – in word and deed.

You may get away with tricking human beings including yourself by preaching water and drinking wine but the angels and principalities know better. The devil is well aware who is out rightly for him and who he can hijack to unknowingly fulfill his agenda. God will certainly not be blinded by your words when your actions tell a different story. So who’s fooling who?

Character then becomes a question of who holds you heart whether someone is there to see it or not.

If you hold your own heart, then your life is for your convenience and benefit; everything you do and don’t do is dependent on what you think and feel is best for you. You’ll do whatever it takes to make you happy and keep you comfortable even if it’s at the detriment of others. Every strength you have will propel you forward in equal measure to how every weakness and limitation you have will draw you back.

If that which you desire most – whether material possession or the affection and attention of another – holds your heart, then everything you’re doing will be centred on how you can get it; and once you have it, you’ll be obsessed with trying to get more of it while hoarding what you already have. Because one taste is never enough. And you don’t realize that that which you think you have, in actual sense, has you.

If someone else holds you heart, then you are a puppet in the hands of a master who may not truly understand the power of the sway they have over you, much less have the wherewithal to steward your destiny which is now in their hands. It’s a precarious situation when one pot relies on another for its identity when only the Potter knows why both exist.

If God holds your heart, then the decisions you make in private and public will be in sync with His heart and mind for you concerning those things. The evidence in your life will be the fruit of His Spirit – love, peace, joy, kindness, gentleness, goodness, self-control and patience. Even in moments and seasons of wilderness and great testing these things will emerge strong in who you are and all you say and do.

“He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

– Jim Elliot

We cannot build anything that is eternally relevant without the foundation of character. It matters little how gifted and talented we are, how spiritual and successful we become, if we lose sight of the most basic fundamentals of Christian living – the very things that differentiate us from all else.

Some of us want to be good/Godly not because it’s the right thing to be/do but because of what we think we’ll get out of it. Whether it’s the ticket to heaven and eternal life, a somewhat more material version of blessing on earth, or the fulfillment of your deepest desires, we’re not pursuing godliness out of our love for God. It’s a means to an end.

So when someone else on a different path seems to be getting to their end faster and with less trouble, we find ourselves questioning whether the path we’re on is really worthwhile.

We need learn how to do the right thing because it’s the right thing; not based on what we’ll get out of it. Otherwise our motivation ends up for sale to the highest bidder who can best convince us they have the best deal to offer; and our definition of right and wrong becomes blurred on the scale of benefit to self.

I look at the kingdom of the God who lives in me and I see reasons – quiet, unassuming, yet strong and steadfast reasons – why I need to pursue God’s heart all the more. Why even when I falter and fail, I need to catch my breath, get back up and keep moving forward. Why in the moments when I find myself despairing at the state of the world in me and around me, I can lean all the more on Him and trust in the goodness of His heart.

Yes, Scripture and human history have shown us terrible times that make us question humanity. But in the midst of it all, like the brightest of stars in the darkest of nights, shines the heart and hand of God working through a handful of men and women who dared to believe for something better and gave their lives for it.

You need only look up and look deep to see. Some of their stories abound in Hebrews 11.

Then you need to look within to realize your role and mandate is crucial.

The baton is in our hands.

May we faithfully run our race.

 

Pray:

As a believer, is God pleased with who you are when people are watching and who you are when they’re not? Ask Him to show you where you need to make some changes.

 

Take Action:

If you were to intentionally cultivate the fruit of the Holy Spirit – love, peace, joy, kindness, gentleness, goodness, self-control and patience – what would your everyday life look like?

That is what you need to go do.

Because that’s how you change the world one person at a time.

Christian Business, Leaders' Foundry

Obedience > Sacrifice

To obey is better than to sacrifice.

It’s a common phrase with a less common backstory and context.

Saul – King of Israel – has been tasked by God to strike the Amalekites and destroy everything in sight.

They’re celebrating their victory when Samuel shows up and rebukes Saul. Saul’s initial response is one of self defence – but we did do what God told us – only we have saved the best of the animals with the aim of sacrificing them to God.

And this is the point at which Samuel gives the rejoinder that finally hits home:

Samuel said, “Has the Lord as great a delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
As in obedience to the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed [is better] than the fat of rams.

– 1 Samuel 15:22 AMPC

Saul finally realizes the gravity of his error but at this point it’s too late. God has rejected him as king and regrets ever making him one. Samuel deeply grieves over Saul and never sees him again; he is eventually sent out to anoint David – who is little more than a shepherd boy at that point.

Being a leader means having to make a countless number of decisions on a daily basis. Decisions that don’t just affect you but those you lead. A significant percentage of the weight of leadership stems from this fact.

There are a dime a dozen theories and guides given on how to make the best decisions in the best manner. They involve all manner of things from going with your gut to trusting your instinct to philosophical scales of right and wrong.

While these may all be acceptable and even effective practices in the eyes of the world, we are of a different kingdom that holds us to different standards.

We are called to be leaders who follow the LEADER; the Head of the Body we are a part of.

We are called to be leaders who submit to the Lordship of Christ.

This means that even where our human knowledge, wisdom and understanding may seem sufficient we must always fall back on that which God requires of us.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

– Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

Easier said than done. Especially in a world that props up the ability of self every chance it gets.

Our struggle with obedience to God’s instructions is not new. We first see it in Eden when the serpent convinces Eve that God is withholding something good from them by telling them not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Adam buys into Eve’s acceptance and here we are.

Still struggling to believe in the goodness of God.

Still struggling to grasp His heart and mind for us.

Still struggling to figure out what He’s keeping from us and how we can get it for ourselves.

But we must remember who God is.

We must remember who we are in Him.

We must honour His position and ours too.

Obedience to God is predicated on an inherent belief that He has your best intentions at heart. If that isn’t ingrained as truth to the very depths of your spirit, obedience will be a struggle.

Actually a great way to find out the gaps in your trust in God is to review the areas where you struggle to obey Him.

The stakes that come with obedience or lack thereof are that much greater when you’re a leader. David learned this the hard way as king when he insisted on having a census done and Israel ended up stricken with a plague.

This is the folly of good intentions outside the divine will of God.

This is the folly of believing the lie that we want more for ourselves than our Father does for us.

This is the folly of thinking that we can outdo the good of the Lord, the same God who:

“by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]” – Ephesians 3:20 AMPC

Something happens with age – not biological age but maturity of life. You begin to realize that you actually don’t know as much as you thought you did. You have less figured out than you’d like to admit. You come to terms with the mystery that is life and accept that you need all the help you can get to navigate through it.

Submitting to God as a leader means that He will continually give you guidance on how to lead. It’s not just in your personal best interest to heed those instructions but it matters all the more for those you lead that you do.

Your obedience to God will always be better than your sacrifice.

The sacrifice that is the good idea that you esteem above the counsel of the One who’s been around since before time began. And you’ve been around how long? What could you possibly know that He doesn’t? What could you possibly factor in with your awareness of current circumstances that He hasn’t already considered in light of eternity – the past, present and future in all its fullness?

Human history has proven time and again that we are a train wreck of seemingly-good-but-ultimately- terrible ideas waiting to happen.

Don’t fall for Satan’s bait.

Trust God to lead you as you lead others.

And when He does, obey Him.