God's truth for today's world

Leadership is a very important matter, for leaders, by definition, lead people. Who we choose to follow as a leader has very real consequences. How should we decide who we follow? In this post, I would like to make the case that the most important characteristic of a leader is character. What a leader says he will do and his stand on various issues is of lesser importance. Without good character, what confidence do we have that what a leader says, he will do?

Simply speaking, character is a combination of a person’s beliefs, reputation and managing relationships. For the purposes of this discussion, I will look at the Bible’s qualifications for an overseer in the church. I believe that these character qualities are essential for a good leader in every field of human endeavor, whether church, business or government. A study of the Old Testament would show that most of these qualities were noted as being important for leaders of nations, such as kings.

1 Timothy 3:2-7 (NIV) Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.

Let’s begin with the requirements regarding relationships. The Bible says that a leader should be “the husband of but one wife” and that “he must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect.” The reason is that if someone cannot manage his own family, how can he possibly manage anything bigger, like a business, a church or a government body. Now of course, this wisdom is not politically correct, for the media tells us that one’s private life and family life have absolutely nothing to do with how someone leads. This is foolish. If one is unsuccessful in his family life, he has a definite character flaw. Multiple marriages is a big red flag which you ignore at your own risk. If you want to learn something about today’s aspiring political leaders’ family lives, look them up in Wikipedia.

Next, let’s look at a leader’s reputation, which must be good with people outside of his immediate group. I don’t have time to go over each individual quality which make up reputation, but the list is worthy of study. A leader must be temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome and not a lover of money. This list covers dealing with people, lack of addictions, ability to communicate and proper handling of finances. The passage also indicates that a leader should grow in his leadership ability over time, so that he will not become prideful. Whereas, there seems to be a tendency to gravitate towards leaders who exhibit quarrelsome and angry traits, this is not what the Bible recommends.

Finally, I want to look at the importance of a leader’s beliefs as the foundation of their character. Again, contrary to popular opinion, a leader’s beliefs are not irrelevant and a private matter, but they form the basic worldview from which a leader draws principles with which to govern. If a leader’s beliefs are correct, the principles he governs by will be correct and ultimately successful. If a leader’s beliefs are incorrect or he draws his principles simply by polling the public, the result will be leadership failure.

Proverbs 9:10 (NIV) The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. True wisdom and understanding only comes from knowing God and the truth of God’s Word. Can a leader who does not personally fear the Lord, govern by godly principles? Yes, to some degree, but how much better a leader who can lead both by the general principles of God’s word and the specific guidance of the Holy Spirit. Now, the vast majority of leaders in America claim to be Christians, so this claim doesn’t do much to winnow the field. One must analyze their words and their actions to determine their beliefs. If they have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, they will talk about it and not be ashamed of it. However, some leaders may be believers but have a very shallow understanding of God’s Word and how it’s principles apply to a Christian worldview. A leader with true Christian beliefs will exhibit a long track record of applying biblical principles to the issues of leadership.

In future posts, I will explore how biblical principles apply to various issues of importance to leaders and all of us. Moral character is of essential importance in leadership. Don’t fall for that line used so often, that all of us make mistakes. Yes, we all sin, but there are leaders who have godly character according to the biblical standard and have not fallen in the major areas highlighted by Scripture. Elect and follow leaders who follow God and you won’t go wrong.

It seems to me that these days a lot of people are overwhelmed with life. What I mean is that just the task of making an income and holding together a family is too much for many people. The average credit card debt is $10000 per family and rising, despite most families having two wage earners. On the relationship front, about 50% of marriages end up in divorce. One of the current presidential frontrunners is on his third marriage, as is his current wife. My point is that the simple things of life are simply overwhelming many people.

God wants to provide all you need with respect to life, from making an income to prospering your family. However, he has much more in mind for you than that. His purpose and plan for every believer is that they impact their world for Him. God wants you to be blessed and for you to be a blessing to others. He wants you to reach people who don’t know God and bring them to Jesus.

God wants you to be an overcomer. An overcomer is a believer who isn’t defeated by life, no, an overcomer is someone who wins great victories in life through God’s power. NIV 1 John 5:4 For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Are you an overcomer this morning? If you are a believer, you should be an overcomer. You should overcome difficulties, problems, crises of all kinds through your faith. Why? So you can do something to help others find that same kind of overcoming faith in God.

Today my message is entitled “Becoming An Overcomer.” I’m going to talk about how you can go from being overcome by life to becoming an overcomer. Someone who is a positive force for God to impact the world around you. NIV Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. As I go through the message today, keep in mind what you need to overcome in your own life so that you can be freed up to impact your world.

In this series “Dealing with Difficulties” I am drawing principles from stories in the Bible The stories in the Bible were not put there just because they are interesting, but because they serve as examples of how we should respond in similar situations. The story we’re going to be looking at today involves a king facing an insurmountable problem. A vast army was poised to annihilate him and his people. How could he overcome such an obstacle?

To hear more about this topic, listen to my November 4, 2007 message entitled Becoming An Overcomer

Currently, we’re in a message series which I’ve entitled “Created To Do What?” The basic truth underlying this series is that you and I were created by God with a purpose in mind. God created you to do something special with your life, to do something unique that only you can do.

When you become a believer, God implants a desire in your heart to please God. God gives you a desire to fulfill the purpose you were created to fulfill. The desire of an unbeliever is to please himself first and foremost, but the desire of a believer is to please God first and foremost. If you’re living life with a me-first please myself mentality, you’re headed down a dead-end street, you’ll never fulfill the potential God created you with. But that can change this morning and you can become a God pleaser, you can become someone who serves God.

This morning I want to address and answer the question “How Can I Serve God”? The short answer to that question is to live as Jesus lived. Jesus is our example. When we pattern our lives after Him we will serve God as He did. Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to just get by in life.I want to be great in the Kingdom of God, I want to be great in God’s eyes. How about you? Here’s what Jesus said to His disciples who also wanted to be great. NIV Matthew 20:26,28 Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. So the key to become great in serving God is to be a servant of others, just as Jesus came to serve others and not to be served. Now this runs contrary to the me-first culture of our time. Jesus is saying that you become great by serving God and others rather than serving yourself.

Now for a lot of people this is a scary and frightening thought. I hear it nearly every week from people and it basically goes like this. “My life is in such trouble that I’ve got to look out for myself first. I don’t have any time or resources to help anybody else, in fact I’m so busy taking care of myself that I don’t have much time for God or the church either. Maybe when I pull myself together, I’ll have time for God and serving others.” People are basically afraid that if they give to God and others that they’ll come out on the short end of the stick and their stick is pretty short to begin with. If you’re one of those people this morning, here’s what God says to you “Just close your eyes and jump into serving me and others and see what happens. See if your life doesn’t change for the better, don’t be afraid just jump in.”

So today I challenge you to make a decision to just jump into all that God has for you in serving Him and others Just jump in.

To hear more about this topic, listen to my message entitled How Can I Serve God?

Relationships are at the core of what it means to be human. Nobody wants to live life alone, nobody wants to live life without warm, loving relationships. Where do we get this strong desire for relationships? We get it from God. We were created in God’s image and God Himself consists of a relationship between the three persons of the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. So God created us to have a loving relationship with Himself and to have loving relationships with other people. Whether you’re a believer or not, every human being has the innate desire to have those two basic relationships with God and with people. Today I’m going to focus on our relationships with other people, but your relationship with God is actually the most important.

Last week we talked about Growing Together In A Life Group, building relationships with new people. Each of us needs to learn to build the relationships in our lives that God has blessed us with. NLT Philippians 2:1-2 Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one heart and purpose. There you have God’s will for the family of God, we should agree wholeheartedly with each other, we should love one another and we should work together with one heart and purpose. Those three things are also God’s will for your family, agreeing with one another, loving one another and working together with one purpose.

Yet sometimes things go wrong and relationships that were once warm and close become cold and distant. Relationships that were once loving become broken. What should you do when a relationship becomes broken? Should you just give up on it? Look elsewhere for a new one? I believe that relationships are worth salvaging, so today I’m going to talk about How To Restore Broken Relationships. Those who restore broken relationships are peacemakers because broken relationships lead to conflict arguments and fights.

NLT Matthew 5:9 God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God. The blessing of God is upon those who work for peace the blessing of God is on those who restore broken relationships. They will be called the children of God. Why? Because peacemakers are acting like their heavenly Father who made peace with us through the death of Jesus. So now lets see what God’s Word teaches about how to restore broken relationships in your life.

Think about the relationships in your life. Some may be going good, but there may be others that are strained or completely broken. Keep the one in mind that is the biggest problem in your life right now as we look at God’s Word.

To hear more about this topic, listen to my message entitled How To Restore Broken Relationships.

Today I’m going to talk about “How To Get Close To God.” Why would you want to get close to God? Think about it for a minute, why do people want to get close to other people? Some people want to get close to other people because they love and care about them. Other people want to get close to someone else because that person has power, money or influence and they feel they can receive a benefit by being close to them. Another reason someone might want to get close to someone else is to learn from them, to follow their example, to become like someone. All of those reasons are also reasons to get close to God.

When you are close to God, you benefit from that close relationship. NCV Psalm 73:28 But I am close to God, and that is good. The Lord God is my protection. When you are close to God, you receive God’s protection. When you are far from God, you’re out of His protection. That’s just one example of how getting close to God benefits your life.

Some people think being close to God is just for pastors or other spiritual leaders, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Regardless of your career, you can get close to God. Getting close to God does not depend on some special gifting from God, getting close to God depends on you. If you want to get close to God, if you follow God’s principles to get close to Him, you can become one of God’s best friends.

NLT James 4:8 Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you. This verse is both a command and a promise. God commands you to draw close to Him. He also promises that if you obey that command to draw close to God, then God will draw close to you. God is waiting for you to respond to Him. He has issued the invitation. He is calling you this morning to draw close to Him, you need to answer His call.

God is calling you to draw close to Him. If you ignore His call, if you ignore His command, if you ignore His direction, you won’t build your friendship with God. You won’t get close to God, you’ll miss out on all the benefits of living life in the presence of God. In fact, if you don’t live a life close to God in this life, you won’t spend eternity with Him. Heaven is reserved for friends of God, those who have a growing close relationship with God. So today, let’s look at some biblical principles to discover how to get close to God.

To hear more about this topic, listen to my message entitled How To Get Close To God