A Leader’s Prayer-Resting On God

Church-Rest-Leadership

Kevin Dooley on Flickr

[av_dropcap1]I[/av_dropcap1] have often been ministered to by the prayers of the Puritans. The one below was especially meaningful for me today. Every leader I know is in deep need of rest. This simple, yet profound, prayer points us in the right direction. May it be a blessing to you.

O God Most High, Most Glorious,

The thought of thine infinite serenity cheers me, for I am toiling, moiling, troubled and distressed, but that art forever at perfect peace.

Thy designs cause thee no fear or care of unfulfillment, they stand fast as the eternal hills.

Thy power knows no bond, they goodness no stint.

Thou bringest order out of confusion, and my defeats are thy victories.

The Lord God omnipotent reigneth.

I come to thee as a sinner with cares and sorrows, to leave every concern entirely to thee, every sin calling for Christ’s precious blood; Revive deep spirituality in my heart; Let me live near the great Shepherd, hear his voice, know its tones, follow its calls.

Keep me from deception by causing me to abide in the truth, from harm by helping me to walk in the power of the Spirit.

Give me intenser faith in the eternal verities, burning into me by experience the things I know; Let me never be ashamed of the truth of the gospel, that I may bear its reproach, vindicate it, see Jesus as its essence, know in it the power of the Spirit.

Lord, help me, for I am often lukewarm and chill; unbelief mars my confidence, sin makes me forget thee.

Let the weeds that grow in my soul be cut at their roots; Grant me to know that I truly live only when I live to thee, that all else is trifling.

Thy presence alone can make me holy, devout, strong and happy.

Abide in me, gracious God.

(from The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions, The Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle, PA, 2003.)

Set Up For A Fall & Our Real Enemy

Lion-Leadership-Enemy
Spiritual leader beware!

You have an enemy and it is not someone in your congregation, a member of your staff, or your peer across town. This enemy is not a member of your immediate family, extended family, or the person you bike with. This enemy is not popular culture, the political left or right, nor the latest movement that seems antithetical to the teachings of Scripture. This enemy is the enemy of your soul and he knows your most vulnerable tendencies.

Peter, in his first epistle, chapter five, addresses the spiritual leaders of the diaspora communities in Asia Minor. After posturing himself as a servant leader and speaking to the proper motives of a true spiritual leader, Peter warns them about this natural enemy with some of the most graphic language he can muster. “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

“In encounters with the king of beasts, an unarmed person is ‘one of the most helpless creatures,’ notes Charles Guggisberg in Simba: the Life of the Lion. ‘Man cannot run as fast as a zebra or a gazelle, he has not the horns of the sable antelope or the tusks of the warthog, and he cannot deal terrific blows like the giraffe.’ People are, in other words, easy pickings.” (The Most Ferocious Man-Eating Lions, The Smithsonian, 12/16/2009)

Just prior to this staunch warning, Peter provides us with the three biggest chinks in our armor as leaders that can prove to be our downfall.

1. Pride.

Verse 6 states, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that at the proper time he may exalt you . . .” The antithesis of humility is pride–self exaltation. If we are spiritual leaders it is because God has given us a platform to do so. It is his doing and his calling in his timing. Pride tries to run ahead of God. Pride sees superiority, not humility. Pride makes us very vulnerable to the lion.

2. Anxiety.

Verse 7 says, ” . . . casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” Leadership is difficult. Leadership into anything of significance finds itself in the fertile soil of potential anxiety. This is the disease of fear over what might happen. We are commanded to hurl all of our anxieties upon God. This verb is the notion of a 97 mile an hour fastball pitcher unleashing the ball as fast as he can. The motivation is the absolute, perfect care of God. I especially become anxious when I think no one cares. That is never the case. There is One who always cares–and we can unfetter ourselves of all that weighs us down as leaders.

3. Unaware.

Finally, in verse eight, Peter tells us to “be sober minded; be watchful . . . ” As spiritual leaders we deal in the spiritual realm. We should never be surprised that we will be opposed. But we are regularly. We forget that we are in a battle and that all of our leadership decisions are leveraged. We are not thinking correctly. We lack perspective. We are unaware. To be aware takes discernment and community. We need the help of others, peers, to see accurately.

Peter does provide us with an equal measure of reassurance in dealing with our enemy. In verses nine through eleven, he first tells us to actively resist the devil by standing in the gospel. He tells us to realize that there is world wide community of brothers and sisters who are suffering too. We never suffer alone. And he promises us that the God we serve will personally restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish us–for he alone has all dominion. Not some roaring beast who threatens to dismember us.

Where are you feeling superior today?
What are you afraid of today–that is making your belly ache?
Where are you being obtuse today?
The enemy doesn’t have to win. Lead well!

 

(photo credit)

 

My Top Posts for September

UnknownHere are the 5 most popular posts from this past month.

Delegation vs Empowerment  “To delegate means to choose or elect a person to act as a representative for another.  To empower someone means to give power or authority to someone else.  Do you hear the difference?” This is in the top 5 every month.

3 Types of Leadership Decisions  “Sometimes leaders look at decision making like a game of rock, paper, scissors.  We use the same approach in every situation and we leave it up to chance.  But there is a way to think through the type of decision that should be made for the best possible result.”

21st Century Leadership: 7 Questions for Evaluation  “Lynn Joy McFarland, Larry E. Senn, and John R. Childress have written a well informed work entitled, 21st Century Leadership: Dialogues with 100 Top Leaders. As I was reading a portion of their book I was struck by the wisdom of seven sets of questions that are posed to help you in evaluating your 21st century leadership readiness.”

Lust Destroys Beauty  “Lust is about self gratification, which is counter to a benevolent, all authoritative God. And this is a God who is ultimately beautiful. We literally appreciate beauty because we were created by a beautiful Creator. Lust is our desire for beauty turned inward.”

The Character It Takes To Be A Good Partner  “We were designed for community and we are most effective when we live out our work in community. It is a necessity inside your organization and with others outside the organization. This truly requires partnership.” But what type of character dos it take to get there?

There are the five most popular posts from my blog for September. May you have a blessed October!

5 for Leadership (9/28/13)

images-2Here is a fresh 5–on time! We have leadership thoughts about TV, on church planting, on confrontation, telling the truth, and leadership influence.

9 Reasons To Lead In A No Spin Zone  This is a great post from Mike Myatt. “Leadership not deeply rooted in a foundation of truth is leadership destined to fail. The reality is the best leaders are also absolutists when it comes to truth – they view truth as a non-negotiable.” This is a must read.

Speak From The Heart Lolly Daskal always has content that communicates and is profitable. “Difficult conversations with difficult people come in all sorts of situations and circumstances.  Often they involve a sensitive topic, and we worry about finding the perfect time and perfect place to approach it. So how do you engage in a difficult conversation with a difficult person? The answer is in the heart.”

6 Lessons On Creating Lasting Influence  “In an organizational context, ability to influence is at the heart of a leader’s success in driving changes, building great teams, delivering results and implementing the strategic vision. At an individual level, your ability to influence others is at the core of building relationships, creating a network and achieving your goals.” See what Tanmay Vora has to say.

5 Legitimate Fears of a Church Planter  Here is another solid post from Ron Edmondson. His theory is we have to recognize our fears to overcome them. Take a look.

Badly Broken  This final post is a theological perspective on the popular show Breaking Bad. Read this to find out why we are all Walter White.

There are the 5 for this week, the final one for September 2013! Keep enjoying your fall.

The Story Beyond The Story

images-3“On October 3, 1993, U.S. Special Operations Forces from Task Force Ranger operating in Mogadishu, Somalia launched a daytime mission into the Bakaara Market to capture high-priority targets loyal to war criminal Mohammed Farrah Aidid. The raid, meant to last no longer than one hour, quickly shifted when armed Somalia militia, armed with assault weapons and RPG’s, managed to shoot down multiple UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters. As the numbers of armed Somalis quickly increased into the tens of thousands, U.S. Rangers and Special Operators, heroically attempting to defend both crash sites, quickly found themselves pinned down and surrounded in a 19-hour standoff that lasted throughout the night. Ultimately, 18 U.S. soldiers were lost in the most intense combat firefight since the Vietnam War. Now, 20 years later, Jeff Struecker, a former Army Ranger from the battle and a key character in the film, returns to what is still considered the most dangerous place in the world, the lawless streets of Mogadishu, to relive the battle.”

My friend Mary Beth Minis produced this film. You must watch it. Most of you will remember the events that surround this story. Some of you are too young to connect that day to this one. But the message that arises out of the chaos of that day is one that goes way beyond the significance of this one.

Return To Mogadishu Web Site