LIMITED BY OUR SENSES

We walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7 NAS

The reason many of us aren’t growing spiritually is because our faith doesn’t reach beyond our sight. Real faith begins where our senses end. When we can see something, we usually don’t feel the need to trust God for it. And since we can’t see very far, living by sight keeps us living small. Think of the African impala, a marvelous animal that can soar 10 feet high and 30 feet out with just one jump. But did you know that you can put that impala in a 3-foot cage with no roof and it will not attempt to escape, even though it has more than enough power to clear the cage. That’s because the impala won’t jump if it cannot see where its feet are going to land. The impala lives by sight, so it’s easy to keep it caged. The same goes for you!

But let’s add an all-important truth here. Some children believe in the Tooth Fairy. The problem with that is, their faith is ineffective because the object of their faith isn’t real. Scriptural faith says, “God, I know that whenever You speak You’re telling the truth, and that I can stake my life on it.” Faith

establishes what we believe about God. Too many of us act like we’ve more confidence in ourselves than we do in Him. If faith is the action by which we lay hold of the power and promises of God, then if our faith is lacking we won’t see the supernatural work of God in our Iives-and we’ll live in the natural with all its limitations.

From the Best of Word for Today, 2007



BE A FRIEND WHO PRAYS

When a believing person prays, great things happen. James 5:16 NCV

Mark records: “Four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They couldn’t get to Jesus through the crowd, so they dug through the clay roof above his head … they lowered the sick man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, My child, your sins are forgiven” (Mk 2:3-5 NLT). The word “prayer” doesn’t show up once in this paragraph. But look closely and you’ll see it in action; four men lowering their sick friend through the roof into the presence of Jesus. He stops preaching, looks at the man and then announces, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” What stirred Jesus? Mark answers, “Seeing their faith.” The faith of 4 friends triggered Christ’s power on his behalf. Notice, he has no movement, no treatment, no answers, and no hope. But what he does have is friends who know how to lift him into the presence of Christ. The paralytic might be gulping (“don’t drop me!”). The homeowner might be groaning (de-roofing is decidedly antisocial). But Christ? He’s smiling! Their faith stirs His strength. He heals the man. The paralytic leaves the house with a clean soul and strong body. Faithful friends carry those they love in prayer, into God’s presence. And when they do God responds. How? When? The four men didn’t know. And we don’t know either, but we know this:

“When a believing person prays, great things happen.” So be that kind of friend. Go ahead, carry your loved ones into the presence of Jesus, then watch what happens!

From the Best of Word for Today, 2007



IS YOUR GIFT BIGGER THAN YOU?

Oh Lord … who may dwell on your holy hill? He who walks with integrity.  Psalm 15:1-2 NAS

You wouldn’t give your 5-year-old a 12-gauge shotgun or a big Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Shotguns and motorcycles are for adults. You need maturity to handle them. Giving such gifts to your child would endanger them, and everybody else around them. The gifts just don’t fit the person. Perhaps you’re a talented individual. God’s given you some large gifts like the ability to speak well, or organize things, or

create and design. But we sabotage ourselves when our gift becomes bigger than we are. How does this happen? When we begin to lean on the talents God gave us and don’t mature emotionally and spiritually, we ruin our chance to use those talents as God designed them. When our character doesn’t keep up with our talent, we learn to “wing it” through life. We live on the surface but lack real strength underneath. And it shows up when the crisis hits, the storm comes, or we are under pressure. You can’t “wing it” when it comes to character building. The greater the size of your gifts, the more you must dedicate time to developing your character. Eugene Peterson paraphrases the Psalmist in The Message: “God, who gets invited to dinner at your place? How do we get on your guest list? Walk straight, act right, tell the truth. Don’t hurt your friend, don’t blame your neighbor; despise the despicable. Keep your word even when it costs you, make an honest living, never take a bribe. You’ll never get blacklisted if you live like this” (Ps ] 5: 1-5 1M). So, do you live that way’?

From the Best of Word for Today, 2007



THE PRESENCE OF LOVE

How much of what is done within your organization is motivated by love? Who will pray the leader’s prayer? Who will invite the Holy Spirit to lead the way and the day?

Revivalist A. W. Tozer wrote, “If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference.” What would we say about our organizations if we knew the Holy Spirit, who is love, was not invited in? Would things be different around the office? Would lives be changed in a meaningful way? Would the business of the organization operate any differently? Would people from outside of the organization think. “Something has changed around here”?

The Holy Spirit’s presence in our organizations should be observable. We demonstrate His leadership in the way we treat one another, how we approach our work, and how we seek God. It is a simple sermon to preach concerning what should be happening within our organizations. If we are led by the Holy Spirit, everyone will notice His presence in how we do what we do. We seek direction from the Holy Spirit in our personal lives. Shouldn’t leaders also seek direction from the Holy Spirit for leading an organization?

When leaders rise from their daily prayers, they should know that they’ve done their best to hear from God. There is no need to worry about what others think or do. The psalmist said, “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we will remember the name of the Lord our God” (Ps 20:7). All a leader needs is to follow the Holy Spirit.

From Love Leads, by Dr. Steve Greene, 2017



WHAT ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT?

Paul wrote in his letter to the church at Philippi, “Finally, brothers, what?ever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think on these things” (Phil 4:8).

Leaders often need to help their teams with “right thinking”. When Paul exhorted the Philippians to “think on these things,” his coaching, demonstrated good love-driven leadership. Paul’s list of what to think about included things that are true, honest, lovely, just, of good report, praiseworthy, and virtuous. The apostle’s suggested thinking list is a good guide for a healthy mind-set in the workplace.

My guess is we’ve all been in offices in which one could observe the antonym of every word on Paul’s list. Some workers assume the worst in all cases, and workers are sure to maintain a constant flow of words to describe their gloom and despair.

Love-motivated leaders create an environment for right thinking to stimulate growth. Healthy thinking is a catalyst for high energy and productivity. How often have you seen highly productive negative Nellys” The goal for leaders is to create an atmosphere conducive to an abundance mentality. Believing that God is in control and that His favor will prevail is a learned mentality.

From Love Leads, by Dr. Steve Greene, 2017



TEACH THOSE WHO CAN TEACH OTHERS

The effect we have on others is our greatest currency as leaders. Beginning a work is not enough. Highly effective leaders – love-driven leaders – will nurture a team until it is mature and producing offspring. Love inspired leaders replicate. Paul told his spiritual son Timothy, “Share the things that you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses with faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2). It’s not always easy, but leader love doesn’t give up easily.

My wife and I watched a sandhill crane on her nest for several weeks on the golf course we frequent. We drove by on our golf cart at various times. She was always there and ready to pose for my camera. Most of the shots look the same because she didn’t appear to move much. Then the rains came. A band of storms dumped over five inches of rain on the nest in just a few hours.

When we went out to check on our crane, we saw only the egg on the nest. The water from a nearby pond came up high enough to threaten mama crane, and she abandoned her nest. Storms do that to people “Thunder,” “Lightning”, and “Rain” can make us leave a project we’ve spent weeks, months, or years nurturing. Some leaders are simply not willing to die to self for the good of a project or a team in development.

It’s not fair to judge the crane. Her instincts are to survive the day and lay another egg. But what about a leader who walks away when the going gets tough? Sometimes the flesh is week and the storms are strong. Led us, Holy Spirit, to finish the race. Help us hatch our eggs and raise up a generation of powerfully equipped leaders to follow our example. Influence has a generational impact.

From Love Leads, by Dr. Steve Greene, 2017



LEADERS LOVE A FISHBOWL

The clarion call for leaders today is to become increasingly transparent. Those in the baby boomer generation seemed to accept the fact that leaders would tell them what they needed to know when they needed to know it. Their need to know wasn’t as fierce as it appears to be today,

The apostle Paul was about as transparent as they come. He shared personal thoughts such as, “For the good I desire to do, I do not do, but the evil I do not want is what I do” (Rom 7:19), and “I am in a difficult position between the two, having a desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless, to remain in the flesh is more needful for your sake. Having this confidence, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your joyful advancement of the faith” (Phil 1:23-25). He even called himself the chief sinner (1 Tim 1:15). That’s transparency!

Trailing generations are cranky and demanding about wide-open leadership. The workforce today seems to have a need to know everything always – and right now, please. Transparency seems to be defined as, “Tell me everything you know the minute you know it.” Our teams today seem to demand that every can of worms be opened.

I’ve settled on business transparency in this way. I shed full light on relationships with people. If I’m asked questions about personal job performance, I won’t dim the light. If I am asked questions about corporate plans and activities, I will shed appropriate light. If I’m asked questions about business matters by people who are simply nosy, I will shed no light. Employees come and go in every organization. Some corporate information simply doesn’t belong in the marketplace.

From Love Leads, by Dr. Steve Greene, 2017



LESSONS FROM JOHN THE BAPTIST

Consider the leadership of John the Baptist. First, we note that he was an excellent communicator, as is evident by the way John was introduced in Matthew 3:1-3. His message was clear and oft repeated: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt 3:2). John the Baptist had many followers, and they all understood his powerful and convicting message. His clarity produced instant results.

Second, John was not focused on his personal image or how others viewed him. He wore camel’s hair and ate locusts. John didn’t appear to be the type of person who could energize a crowd. Yet he attracted the masses for baptism in the Jordan River. He did not lead with his external images. People wanted what John offered even though he didn’t dress for success.

Third, in the face of visitors sent to determine what John was up to, he maintained his integrity and strong convictions. The Sanhedrin body of Pharisees, Sadducees, and town rulers came to the river to investigate John and do the baptism thing. He greeted them powerfully, sayings, “Who warned you to flee from the [divine] wrath and judgment to come?” (Matt 3:7, AMP). John made it clear that baptism would do them no good without repentance. He was not intimidated by ruling authorities. Yet we learned that John was ready to submit to Jesus.

The final point about John’s leadership character is that he knew how and to whom to submit. He told Jesus, “I need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?” (Matt 3:14). Notice the radical difference in how John spoke to Jesus and how he spoke to the ruling Sanhedrin. Then John submitted to Jesus and baptized Him.

From Love Leads, by Dr. Steve Greene, 2017



Carnal vs Spirit-Led Leaders

A Spirit led leader is different from a carnal leader in almost every way. Consider these seven indicators of a Spirit-led leader.

  1. Displays a continual flow of gratitude. A grateful leader expresses thanks as a matter of course. It is not a once-in-a-while thing. Gratitude comes easily because the leader lives in contentment.
  2. Believes the best in people and know there is a reasonable explanation for unusual behavior in others.
  3. Welcomes healthy relationships. A Spirit-led leader regularly displays the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.
  4. Demonstrates a teachable spirit. Spirit-led leaders display humility in the way they remain open to learning. They are avid readers and can learn from anyone at any time without prejudice.
  5. Walks by faith. The “evidence of things not seen” doesn’t rattle a Spirit-led leader. He knows with an inner peace that God is in control of every situation.
  6. Considers the opinions of others but tests and considers the leading of the Holy Spirit above the opinions of man.
  7. Has the name of Jesus forever on his lips. This leader speaks of the Lord throughout his day. He gives glory to God in his speech and is quick to invoke the name of Jesus in any environment.

People want to be around Spirit-led leaders because of what they have to say. A godly leader inspires people to come up higher. Their words give life to the hearers. They don’t speak to tickle the ears of hearers but rather to exhort, correct, encourage, and build up. A Spirit-led leader is single-minded about his love for his team.

Love Leads, by Steve Greene, 2017



Demonstrating Christ’s Compassion

Jesus was the greatest leader who ever walked the earth and His disciples became great leaders by following His example. The disciples learned Jesus’s language as they walked with and talked with Him. They gleaned from His words of comfort and His words of rebuke. They learned by watching as much as by listening. In the end, they saw Him walk alone down the Via Dolorosa, the “way of sorrows,” without complaint. Jesus loved and served consistently, even when walking a difficult path.

As His followers we are called to do  the same. We may have positional authority, but we can’t be averse to grabbing a towel and wash basin. We must be willing to get our hands dirty. Loving leaders know servanthood is not top down and function best in organizations where authority and responsibility flow horizontally. Service to one another is horizontal.

After a couple of long days of ministry the disciples were worn sick. They had been so busy they hadn’t even had a chance to eat. Jesus responded as a servant-leader would. He told them, “Come away by yourselves to a remote place and rest a while” (Mark 6:31)

Such a response can come only from the heart of a servant. Leaders are never lonely when they serve with the compassion of Christ in their hearts.

Love Leads, by Steve Greene, 2017




 

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