Mid-Month Blog—Leader Alone—November 15, 2016

Vol. 1, No. 11M – 20161 Kings 18

How long are you going to waver between two opinions? 1 Kings 18:21

I heard an illustration used by a pastor regarding the feeling of being alone:

Imagine, if you will, being on the home court of the Cleveland Cavaliers, surrounded by 35,000 vibrant fans, all dresses in wine and gold. You are expected to play the “Cavs.” However, there is a problem. You are by yourself; and they have strength in their bench as well.

When the announcer gives the list of starters, your team list is short—one, you. The announcer asks the audience supporting the visiting team to stand and clap—no one does. It is simply silence—dead silence.

Elijah felt the rumble of the feet of the opposing “team.”

Mount Carmel, the arena, is an intimidating place for a lonely prophet (leadership often has that feeling). The confrontation ensues, and the environment is heated and strong.

  1. Elijah is seen as a “trouble-maker”—many leaders are seen that way
  2. Elijah goes against the politically correct flow—however, even dead fish go with the flow
  3. Elijah did not read the opinion polls—however, most opinion polls are fraudulent
  4. Elijah is blamed for the problems of the day—but then, the Christians seem to hold that mark
  5. Elijah faces horrendous odds, 850:1—but then God’s people have always faced large opposition
  6. Elijah fights for the soul of the nation—but the nation wants man’s hope and change
  7. Elijah challenges the people—but the nations media attempts to drown him out

Elijah, the leader chosen by God, shouts out: Stop wavering—pick—then follow! Elijah, the leader, gives the people a shove—get off the fence!

Leaders God is willing to use confront all odds. They appeal to the power of the One they serve.

Our nation, businesses, and institutions are all looking for a few good leaders; leaders who will commit to follow the One who has integrity, righteousness, justice, and absolute truth before all others.

Who are you committed to, first of all? Leaders develop following leaders—they will mimic the life you model.

We are Christ’s ambassadors, and God is using us to speak to you. We urge you, as though Christ himself were here pleading with you. Be reconciled to God! 2 Corinthians 5:20

Profiles in Valiant Leadership; the 300—Judges 6-7

 

Vol. 1 No. 12 – 2017JustaFewGoodMen

I the Lord am with you, O valiant warrior. Judges 6:12

The most important animal; an elephant or a mouse? Which building is more impressive; the U.N. building in NYC or the “Golden Arches” in your community? Who would make your team imperious; Goliath (9’9″) or Zacchaeus (4’8″) [or NeHIGHmiah, or Beldad the SHOEhight].

Well, it all depends. In the book of Judges, we discover there was a group paralyzing the nation of Israel. 135,000 crack troops were poised for the slaughter of Gideon’s 32,000 not so crack troops. 4:1—in sports one can live with those odds, depending on the dedication and courage the smaller group possesses. In business or education (and in the Church) we would question the odds.

God speaks: Gideon, you have too many; if you gain victory, they will say, “we did it!” (7:2). Churches, businesses, and schools are always clamoring for more workers or ministry servants. While often laudable, large numbers do not necessarily lead to success.

Gideon makes an announcement: “If you do not wish to participate, if you do not have courage, if you are afraid to do the work, go home or someplace else!” 22,000 left; discharged to go their way. Now the odds are 13.5:1. Does not sound too good for the work that needs to be done. Makes you stop and think a little—should you continue on, or fold up your tent?

Mere numbers are never a guarantee of success. Following the reduction, Gideon was instructed to dismiss the careless (Judges 7:5-6). Only 300 remained—hardcore faithful, watchful, and ready warriors. The odds . . . 450:1. Impossible! A recruiting venture is needed! Yet, God accepts the odds. As Thomas Fuller expressed: “There were fewer persons, but not fewer men. This is the purgatory of water.”

99% of Gideon’s troops received pink slips; they were more interested in what pleased them, than what pleased God. Self-interest (me), self-protection (me), status (me), what can you do for me prevailed among the larger group. Did the 99% have another choice? Yes, they could have shown courage, developed their skills, and placed their lives in the hand of the Almighty. But, no, they were content with going with the flow until they came to a dam in the river of their lives. Even dead fish go with the flow, until they get entangled with the debris of life.

What has changed over the years in business, education, and the Church—unfortunately, the same problems infest all. So fearful of our enemy, so focused on one’s own welfare, so self-centered (rather than God-centered), the larger number remain ineffective. It ought not be!

What is it to us that is important, impressive, or imperious? Are we better with 300 faithful people in our businesses, education institutions, and churches today? 300 seems few, but if they are fit, and faithful, God will bring success. What if our places of service were reduced to 300 people, prepared for battle? What if the unwilling went home?

The Lord looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men; from His dwelling place He looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, He who fashions the hearts of them all; He who understands all their works. The king is not saved by a mighty army; a warrior is not delivered by great strength. A horse is a false hope for victory; nor does it deliver anyone by its great strength. Behold the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him. (Psalm 33:13-18)

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