LEADERSHIP CHECKLIST

I have spent this week writing about leadership. It’s a subject that I love reading and talking about. To finish up this week, I would like to ask every leader a few questions.

1. Are you willing to admit when you’re wrong?

2. How do you respond to criticism?

3. Is it ok if someone has a better idea than you on your team?

4. How would your followers rate your communication to them?

5. What do you do after you cast vision?

6. Do your actions reflect what you say?

7. Do your followers feel valued by you?

8. Did you grow as a leader last year?

9. What things do you need to work on this year to be a better leader?

10. How have you allowed disappointments to affect your leadership?

11. What are you currently reading?

12. What is your greatest frustration?

13. Do you have people that you allow to speak into your life?

14. Are you reactive or proactive?

15. Do you get proper rest?

THE DISCIPLINED LEADER

We are all emotional and as leaders, we have all faced situations that challenge our own emotions. We are not exempt from feeling anger or even extreme sadness. The problem comes when we start allowing ourselves to lead by those emotions. In those difficult times, we must be committed to the principles of true, Godly leadership. Reacting too soon could create an even bigger problem than the one at hand. Emotional leaders tend to cause their followers to not want to approach them for fear of how they might respond. As leaders, we should promote and practice an atmosphere of accessibility, transparency, and calm. I know this is not easy, especially when dealing with someone who tries your patience. As difficult as it may be, God could be allowing this to test your leadership. You can’t grow in your leadership until you learn to rise above your adversity. Commit to leading by discipline instead of emotions.

THE PRIVILEGE OF LEADING

Leaders must never forget that it is a privilege to be asked to lead. It is not an entitlement, it is a blessing and one of the greatest blessings is to have people who are willing to follow. No matter how big your dreams and goals are, you’ll never get there without people who believe in you and are willing to go where you’re taking them. Whether you are a worship leader, teacher, student pastor or lead pastor, you should strive to inspire those that are with you. Remember…they don’t have to follow you. Manipulation and guilt tripping are the signs of a dictator, not a true leader. Whatever area people are talented in, they want to use that talent to make a difference and they want to be led by a leader who encourages them and challenges them to be better. This is a great responsibility for every leader. Embrace the privilege of leadership. You should love what you’re leading, but love who you are leading even more.

“POSITION OR POSSESSION”

If you hold a position in your church, ask yourself this question.

WHY DO I DO WHAT I DO?

I find many times that people become more possessive of what they do rather than being passionate about why they’re doing it. Having a title doesn’t mean it’s your domain and you should treat it as a blessing, not your kingdom. When your agenda is larger than your burden, you’re in it for the wrong reason. It is a privilege to lead and you should treat those who have chosen to follow you with great respect and love. You’re not doing the church any favors by hanging on to a position because you need the glory of a title, in fact, you could be hurting it. The church can only grow when we have leaders who understand the blessing in leading and the responsibility of unity within the body. Whatever you do for God must be bigger than you and not about you.

“TEAM BUILDING”

As a leader, you don’t really know who is with you until you have to deal with them or confront them about something. I’ll take it a step further. You don’t even know the true heart of someone until you have one of those conversations that you really don’t want to have. I’ve had it go both ways. I’ve had some to get mad and display a bad spirit, while the ones that love you, love God and want to do what’s right will gladly receive it and assure you they will do better. I’m a firm believer that if you can’t receive a rebuke with a submissive spirit, you have no right leading others. You don’t build a team with bodies, you build it with hearts.

IN TUNE

Day 6

“IN TUNE”

Written by: Denny Livingston

As our 21-day journey continues, I couldn’t help but remember something I saw my dad do for many years. My dad was an amazing minister and musician, but he was also a piano technician and restorer. He could take an old beat up piano and make it look brand new in just a few weeks. Not only could he make it look new, but he could make it sound new. When dad would bring a broken piano into his shop and set it up, you would stand and wonder how this instrument could ever look and sound new again. You might even try and play it, but there would be no way you could make out what you were playing because it would be so out of tune.

You see, when an instrument is out of tune, the melody of a song cannot be established. Also, you’re not able to build harmony parts because harmony is based on melody. In fact, if just one note is either sharp or flat, it throws everything off, even if the other notes are on pitch. Some people might hear how bad it sounds and give up, but not my dad. An out of tune piano is where my dad’s greatest work would begin.

Dad would use a device called a strobe-tuner. He would set it on top of the piano, plug it into the wall and start the tuning process. The standard musical pitch is set at a frequency of 440 hertz. A strobe-tuner is set at that pitch and can detect when a note is not at the correct level. Dad would go string by string on a piano and find out if it was too low or too high. He would then start adjusting the string with an instrument called a tuning hammer. Dad would say, “Now you can’t move the string up too fast or the string might break. Just move it a little at a time and after a while, it will get there.” He was right, because, in a matter of 45 minutes or so, the out of tune piano would sound great and new again.

After thinking about the tuning process, it reminded me of why we are on this 21-day journey. Just like a piano, we are an instrument that over time can get out of tune. It’s nothing we planned on doing, it just happens. We can so easily find ourselves out of tune with God and off pitch from His Will. Just a slight move can cause us to be flat or sharp. God’s Will for our lives is set at 440 hertz and at times we need tuning to get back to that level.

Prayer, fasting and God’s Word are the tuning devices God uses to help us get back to where we should be. When we start to communicate with Him in prayer, He reveals how far we’ve drifted from the level where we once were. Fasting causes us to focus on God and not ourselves. As we overcome physical hunger, our appetite for spiritual things begins to increase, helping us return to a place of perfect harmony with God. The Word of God is like a two-edged sword, cutting out the things in our lives that have caused us to become out of tune.

Be encouraged on day 6, for little by little, we are getting back in tune with God’s Will and His voice. It won’t happen all at once, but over the next 21 days, we are being renewed in the Spirit of the Lord. You will start to feel a difference when you stand in the presence of God. You’re moving closer to Him, which means you’re moving further away from the things that have caused you to slip off pitch. Soon our melody will return and the sounds of sweet harmony will come forth. Dear Lord, help me to be sensitive to your Spirit by being in tune with your voice.

Psalm 51:12 (NKJV)
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.

GUARD YOUR HEART

Day 5

Guard Your Heart

Written by: Jason Potter

To start today’s blog, I want to take a moment to congratulate you for making it this far. By now, you’ve probably seen every Krispy Cream Doughnut Ad and every “sizzling” steak billboard in your area. But for the past four days, you have fought off temptation, dealt with “the hangries”, and struggled through fatigue. That in itself is an accomplishment! However, there is still a long ways to go. So let’s keep things going and look at today’s focus; the heart.

The Bible tells us to “love the Lord your God with all your heart…” (see Duet 6:5). Loving God with all your heart is key because scripture teaches us that the heart is the core of our thoughts, motives, fears, beliefs, etc.

In fact, Jesus said to His disciples, “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (See Matt 6:21). So then, what ever we desire, our heart will be right there propetuating us towards that desire. Fasting causes us to address the issue of our heart’s desires. What do I really want more? Natural things or heavenly things?

When we deprive ourselves of natural cravings, we begin to draw out the carnal desires that are in our hearts. However, let me say this; fasting as a ritual will never bring the spiritual results we suppose. Just depriving ourselves from food does not address or change the condition of our hearts. In order to do this, we must stay focused on God during fasting through prayer and reading our Bibles.

While fasting, we may begin to see desires surface that we are not aware that we have. But how can this be? Don’t we know our own heart? The truth is we don’t know everything that is in our heart. The Lord tells us that, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? ” (See Jer 17:9).

Over time, with out us knowing, we have probably let things get in our hearts that should not be. We’ve let in offenses, doubts, perversions, and anything else the enemy can sow into our hearts for our destruction. To combat this, we must learn to “Guard our Heart.”

The only way to truly guard our heart is to give it to the Lord. During this fast, we must be willing to ask God to search us and know our hearts (See Ps 139:23). We must be willing to allow God to surface any sinful desire that needs purging, ask him to remove it through prayer, and replace those things with the word of God.

Let me end by saying how fitting it is to discuss the heart on day five. Traditionally, five in the Bible represents grace. We all fall short and fail to guard our hearts from the enemy’s tactics. But today, as you fast, trust in the grace of God. Allow Him to continue to do a work in you, for you, and through you. And today, as you fast, make up in your mind to guard your heart.

(Prov 4:23 NLT)
“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”

21 DAYS OF RHYTHM, RESTORATION AND RELEASE (Day 4)

Day 4

THANKSGIVING
Written by: T.J. Pruitt

 

Colossians 4:2
Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving;

Yesterday’s devotional was about continuing in prayer, fasting and Bible study. Just as Paul stated to the Colossians, we should also be vigilant in it with thanksgiving. So as we continue, let’s take some time and reflect on the things that God has done for us and be thankful.

The act of thanksgiving is like the ripple effect when you throw a stone into a pond. It deepens our relationship with God by reminding us of His love, and all He has done for us. At the same time, this spirit of gratitude adjusts our vision of the present. Goliath fell, partially, because David was still grateful for God’s help in slaying the lion and the bear.

He mentioned it to Saul as a reason he knew he could face Goliath. His perspective positioned him in a launch position, like the shooting of an arrow. It not only gave David an appreciation for the God that he loved, it reminded him He is bigger than anything we’re facing.

The psalmist, famous for his songs of thanksgiving, had spent time being thankful in both the presence of God and the sheep. Yesterday’s verse spoke of being thankful in prayer, or talking to God. Today’s verse is about being thankful when speaking to others. Thanksgiving starts by being in His presence, wondering at His love, and His greatness. When we grasp it, we step into the lives of those around us and reflect it.

It’s the joy of knowing we are not just floating in a sea of chance. There is a purpose to our course, it’s been designed, not only to affect us, but those around us. The two examples, throwing a stone, or shooting an arrow, are actually two of the meanings of the Hebrew word for thanksgiving.

God crafted it to bring us closer to Him and to share our joy with others. It’s easy to tell people how wonderful God is when we are focused on how far He has brought us. Like any great gift, we desire to let everyone know.

So today, in the midst of all that you may be facing, step out of it for a few moments. Step into the quiet place, that place of thanksgiving. For a minute, focus on Him.

Reflect on the reason for His giant, His storm on Calvary. You and I were the why behind the scars, the whipping, the mocking, and the dying. It could easily have felt like chaos to Him, but He knew the purpose.

He was thankful enough for the results of His suffering, to endure it all. Because that He did, countless soul’s were given life. Is there a better reason to be thankful, to view our problems differently, and to know that through our course, we can affect others? He didn’t think so.

Hebrews 12:2

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

21 DAYS OF RHYTHM, RESTORATION AND RELEASE (DAY 3)

DAY 3

“CONTINUE”

 

In today’s devotional, I would like to use the words of the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Colossians.

Colossians 4:2
Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving;

It’s obvious, Paul is not trying to get them started in prayer, but he is encouraging them to continue in prayer. In other words, keep it going, you’re on a roll and don’t stop now. In the very next verse, he tells them to pray for God to open a door. Maybe Paul said something like this, Brothers and sisters, please continue praying because we cannot afford to stop what we’re doing on this side of a closed door. I feel the same way today as Paul felt on that day. We can’t stop now, we need God to open some doors that only He can. Let’s not stop on this side of a closed door.

The third day is very important because you are now moving from motivation to commitment. You have transitioned from what you feel like doing, to what you know you need to do. There may be a scheduling conflict but stay determined no matter what. This is not emotional, but intentional. Whatever it is you’re praying, fasting and studying God’s Word for…DON’T STOP NOW!!!

In the second chapter of the book of Acts, we read about the birth of the church and the outpouring of God’s Spirit. There was such excitement and enthusiasm for those that were a part of this historical event. It was the start of God’s glorious church and what an amazing launch it was. One of the things I appreciate so much about the early church members was not just how they began, but how committed they were to keep things going. They made up in their minds to endure, no matter how much adversity came their way and that’s exactly what they did. We have a church today because the ones before us were committed to continuing.

Let’s allow that same attitude of commitment to take over in our hearts and minds today. Great things are coming for those who are willing to stay committed to the cause. I encourage you today to, keep praying, keep fasting and keep studying the Word of God. Your answer, healing and direction are coming….you just need to CONTINUE!!!

Acts 2:46-47
46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

21 DAYS OF RHYTHM, RESTORATION AND RELEASE (Day 2)

DAY 2

“RHYTHM”

As you get ready to kneel before the Lord this morning, I want you to focus on one word. Rhythm.

Here is the definition of rhythm:

A strong, regular, repeated pattern of movement or sound.

Day 2 is about understanding rhythm. It’s about getting into a repeated pattern of prayer. You see, once something becomes a rhythm, it just automatically happens. The problem occurs when our prayer life is out of rhythm and we have no set pattern whatsoever. Before you know it, you’ve gone an entire day and haven’t communicated with God. In my opinion, whatever the priority is in your life, should become a pattern in your life.

This is why Daniel was such an amazing prophet of God and example to everyone. Daniel not only prayed, but he had a pattern of prayer. Three times a day he would kneel before the Lord and communicate with Him. This is how Daniel was able to rise about so many adversities in his life.

– He endured the pressures of living under a pagan government through the rhythm of prayer.
– When his co-workers conspired against him, he overcame with the rhythm of prayer.
– After being thrown into a den of lions, he makes it out alive through the rhythm of prayer.
– He was able to prophesy God’s Word because he heard God’s voice through the rhythm of prayer.

Make up your mind today, that you’re not just going to pray, but you are going to reach a new level in God through the rhythm of prayer.

Daniel 6:10

When Daniel learned that the decree had been signed and posted, he continued to pray just as he had always done. His house had windows in the upstairs that opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he knelt there in prayer, thanking and praising his God.

Encourage, Inspire, Challenge