Don’t Go—Flow

“…My time has not come…” —Jesus (John 7).

Jesus never rushed. He was never late. He was never early. Nor did He ever remain silent when He should have spoken. Nor did He ever misspeak. 

His timing and His wording were always spot on.

This wasn’t just a “Jesus thing,” as He told His followers that we could flow in God’s timing just as He was doing. 

We don’t have to try to figure out our timing or our wording by external standards (v. 24). But when we are so immersed in the same Holy Spirit that directed Jesus, we simply flow in His living water to where we need to be, when we need to be there. Whether it’s time to speak or time for silence, the Holy Spirit can again flow our thoughts and words perfectly. 

Others won’t understand. 

They have their own agenda, and they will want me to be a part of their plans (vv. 3-5, 18, 32-36, 42, 52). I must listen to the unmistakable voice of the Spirit and squelch the voices of the crowd. 

A mark of a godly leader is one who flows with the Spirit of God.

Don’t go with the flow of culture or others’ agendas. Don’t try to figure out where you need to be or what you need to say. Simply flow in the Spirit. Then your timing and your wording will be just as spot-on as Jesus showed us. 

This is part 38 in my series on godly leadership. You can check out all of my posts in this series by clicking here.

Tuning Out Enemies

“…they thought to do me harm”Nehemiah

Nehemiah had enemies on almost every side as he attempted to complete his work (the rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem). Check out his enemies’ strategy and his response to them—

Enemy’s tactic #1—Get Nehemiah preoccupied with attending meaningless meetings.

Nehemiah’s response—“I’m doing a great work; I can’t come down. Why should the work come to a standstill just so I can come down to see you?”

Enemy’s tactic #2—Send out letters slandering Nehemiah.

Nehemiah’s response—“There is no truth in any part of your story. You are making up the whole thing.” Then he prayed, “God, give me strength.”

Enemy’s tactic #3—Try to scare Nehemiah into running away.

Nehemiah’s response—“Should someone in my position run from danger? I know that God wouldn’t like that.”

Nehemiah had a vision from God and he stayed focused on that.

  • It determined his priority
  • It set his daily agenda
  • It gave him discernment
  • It gave him courage

The result: “When all our enemies heard [that we had completed our project]…they were frightened and humiliated. They realized this work had been done with the help of our God.”

A mark of a godly leader is one so focused on God’s plan that he pays no attention to his critics or enemies.

This is Part 7 in my series on godly leadership. To read my other posts, please click here.

Leadership Promises For Every Day (book review)

leadership-promisesJohn Maxwell wisely noted, “The secret to your success can be found in your daily agenda.” He also says, “All’s well that begins well.” With those two thoughts in mind, his Leadership Promises For Every Day can be a key component to a leader’s success.

For 20+ years John Maxwell has written extensively and persuasively on leadership development. In fact, my library has an entire shelf devoted to his wisdom! I have benefited from all of his books, as they have helped me go deeper into various leadership topics.

But Leadership Promises is a different way of presenting Maxwell’s wisdom. Instead of a deep dive into specific topics, this devotional presents a broad foundation across the entire leadership spectrum. Each day’s leadership thought is introduced with a passage from the Bible, and then a relevant passage from one of Maxwell’s outstanding books.

As I have included Leadership Promises in my beginning-of-the-day routine, I have found timely insights I have needed for each day. I have also found that discussing each day’s thought with a friend who is also reading this book has added a deeper dimension to both of our leadership development.

Whether reading this on your own or as means of starting a discussion with other leaders-in-training, Leadership Promises will help you soar in your personal leadership growth. It takes just a few minutes to read each day’s lesson, but I’m sure you will find, as I have, that you will be contemplating the wisdom all day long.

I am a Thomas Nelson book reviewer.

Confession: I Struggle With Being An Atheist

ITLWYou see, I love my day to be highly organized. I like to get to all my meetings on time, and then have them run smoothly and efficiently. I like to setup my To Do list, and then methodically check off each item as I go through my day. I like to be in charge of my day.

I am an atheist.

I’m the one calling the shots. I set my agenda. I determine my day. I decide who to see and what project to accept.

There was a guy that Jesus talked about who did the exact same thing. This guy thought to himself and talked to himself all about his plans. Seriously, in just three verses he says me/I/my a dozen times (Luke 12:17-19)!

But God said, “You fool!” The word for fool means without mind. He didn’t mind his mind. He thought the thoughts he wanted to think, without ever consulting anyone else. Not even God.

Jesus made prayer a priority every day (Mark 1:35). What do you think He prayed? Do you think He said, “Here’s what I’m going to do today, and I want You to bless it, Father”? No way!

When Jesus taught us to pray He said, Your kingdom come, Your will be done” (Matthew 6:9-13). Not only did Jesus pray this way, He lived this way too. He didn’t do a single thing unless His Father directed Him to do it (John 6:38), and He didn’t say a single word unless His Father directed Him to say it (John 12:49).

The problem is not going into my prayer closet to meet with God in the morning, the problem is thinking I can leave God in the closet as I go about my day! That is atheism!

The Apostle James gave us this sound counsel: Instead of making my plans all on my own, I should say, “If the Lord wills, this is what I will do today” (James 4:13-17). And wise King Solomon said I shouldn’t lean on my own thoughts when planning my days, but lean onto God, and then watch to see how He will direct my life in the right way (Proverbs 3:5-6).

I’ve begun writing I.T.L.W. on the top of my daily calendar. It’s my reminder to say, “If The Lord Wills” this is what I will do today. And if something else comes up, I quickly acknowledge that God is directing my path where He needs me to go.

Your Kingdom come means my kingdom has to go. Your will be done means my agenda takes a distant second.

If you’re feeling stressed about your schedule, that should be your reminder to pray: “God, what do you want to have done here.” Silence the atheistic thoughts that sound like, “I have to get my list done.” Stop and pray right there on the spot.

Here’s the full video of my message on this topic—

We will be continuing our series called Practical Prayer this Sunday. If you don’t have a home church in Cedar Springs, please come be our guest. Or you can tune into our live broadcast via Periscope.

Building Or Tripping

Building or trippingOne of the things I love about Peter, the disciple of Jesus, is the great opportunities he gave for Jesus to teach us!

Peter said something brilliant when Jesus asked, “Who do you say I am?” Peter quickly responded, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!”

Now catch Jesus’ reply to Peter: “This was not revealed to you by man, but by My Father in Heaven” (Matthew 16:17).

When I have my mind open to the things of God, the words I use are rock solid: “On this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hades will not overcome it” (verse 18).

But just a couple of verses later, Peter’s heavenly insight vanishes. Jesus told him “you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men” (v. 23). Jesus went even further to say that Peter’s words were a “stumbling block” to Him.

Did you notice the contrast? My Father spoke to your mind versus You aren’t listening to God but to man.

The difference is in my agenda: I can either try to “gain the whole world” for myself (v. 26), or I can “deny [myself] and take up [my] cross” to follow Jesus (v. 24).

Following God’s agenda = a solid foundation. 

Following my agenda = a stumbling block to the work of Christ. 

It’s my choice. And your choice too.

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