Profiles in Leadership—A “Leader” that Whines—February 26, 2017

frettingVol. 2, No. 9 – 2017

If the Lord is with us, why is all this happening to us. Judges 6:13

A Pandora’s box is bursting at the seams for Gideon. The word, dismay, comes to mind, a word we frequently use in today’s language.

Dismay comes from the Teutonic des and magen, desmagen, meaning to remove the strength of mind (courage). It is the outcome in relation to continually thinking about impending trouble.

Have your experienced dismay?

God’s people hid from the Midianites for seven years, with paralyzing fear—from the camel-riding nomads of the Arabian desert. The choice for attack was during the harvest season, with speed and vengeance. Their angular and imposing dromedaries (highly trained camels), provided a speedy long range strike force, bringing absolute devastation by and through hordes of villains, not unlike the IS (ISIS, ISIL) terrorists of today in the Middle East.

To accomplish their goal, the enemy used terror and panic—it was the order of the day. Rather than defend themselves, Gideon and his cohorts hid out in a camouflaged cave at Ophrah. A messenger of God approaches, telling Gideon, “Get up, and be a leader. Get rid of the evil band that causes you to not move forward as a nation. Gideon, you are the man of the hour, chosen specifically as a leader; go after them.”

Gideon, the leader, produces a pent up reply to the God who would use a coward. If you read Judges 6:13, you will come across some vocabulary of a whining leader:

            Oh (sir!)–expressing fear
             If–expressing unbelief
            Why–expressing doubt
            Has–expressing the question “did”—a reflection
            Abandoned–expressing the mindset of being forsaken
            Handed–expressing the testimony of being pressed down upon by the enemy

One who wallows in the why never moves forward because that kind of leader refuses their commission—substituting self-depreciation and unworthiness. Can you hear the sound of the whine? Gideon whined about lack of resources, whined about being tired, and whined about being a nobody. Complaining or fretting is stewing in one’s own juice (Psalm 37).

Fretting was Gideon’s problem. Fretting gnaws at one’s innards; it eats one’s lunch. A leader is not supposed to get uptight or unduly heated. A leader is to keep their cool. Fretting makes one lose their bearings. A train with hot wheels eventually drags its cars and comes to a halt. Angry heat is a hindrance, providing unnecessary friction, eventually bringing ministry to a halt..

Without the oil of God’s Holy Spirit all we have left is our own whine. Hear it? Our inner gears are dry; we cannot move in our dryness.

Mighty hero, the Lord is with you! Judges 6:12

The potential for leadership is greatest when surrendered to God first. God enables leaders to be strong, un-cowardly. It is not what we think we are, but what, by His grace, God leads us to become. It is not who we are, but who God is. That is the secret to addressing the “why.”

Do not worry (fret) about the wicked. Do not envy those who do wrong. For like grass, they soon fade away. Like springtime flowers, they soon wither. Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Psalm 37:1-3

Those That Serve—February 19, 2017

Vol. 2, No. 8 – 2017face-to-face

I had to oppose him publicly, speaking strongly against what he was doing, for it was very wrong. Galatians 2:11

Peter and Paul—two peas in a pod—two leaders. Can they co-exist? What if they had different ideas? Can one be so altogether right and the other altogether wrong?

Let’s think for a few minutes about leaders working side-by-side; can it really work? Which leader will have the say? Which leader has to be subservient?

Maybe it would be best for them to separate; each in charge of a separate branch. Maybe just send reports to one another; existing in their own offices and domains. After all, it is best to avoid offence; just be a peacekeeper, not a peacemaker (peacemaking is sort of like work).

  1. One (Peter) was a pillar of a leader in the city
  2. The other (Paul) was a pillar in the outlying cities
  3. Both were strong-willed, competent, and committed to the cause

Paul was upset with Peter because of his “error” in conduct—so serious, according to Paul, that he must be confronted face-to-face; eyeball-to-eyeball; man-to-man. Paul decides to confront openly, in front of an audience. It was Augustine that remarked, “It is not advantageous to correct in secret an error which occurred publically.”

Really? Is it not true that if you do not discipline, you lose credibility? Was the action of Peter inexcusable? Well, who does he surround himself with? Who does he eat with? What kind of people are they, and how do they think? What is their heritage; are they like us?

Who sets the rules for associations? What if we drive good leaders away because of our own rules? Who loses? How do we know when those who associate with us are not following the rules?

When I saw that they were not following the truth of the Good News, I said to Peter in front of all the others, “Since you, a Jew by birth, have discarded the Jewish laws and are living like a Gentile, why are you trying to make these Gentiles obey the Jewish laws you abandoned?” Galatians 2:14

In other words, it is not enough that those Gentiles are converted, they need to follow our rules (some of which we make up along the way). They can be more like us if they try! However, you, their leader, are not teaching them our Jewish way of life! Get with the program!

Peter’s response:

We Jewish Christians know that we become right with God, not by the continuing of making laws, but by faith in Jesus Christ. Membership in the body, the organization, of Christ is from absolute trust in the finished work of Christ, not in some ceremonial law or tradition imposed upon us.

Silence! You could hear a pin drop! Suddenly the two peas in a pod embrace, and the Gospel of Grace triumphs. The confrontation of Peter was suddenly seen for what it is; tinged by the legalism formed by the select group of city theologians. Paul suddenly came to understand he did not have a right to build his own reputation at the expense of a fellow-worker, fellow-leader.

I will make myself guilty if I (attempt to, or) rebuild the old system I already tore down. Galatians 2:18

Profiles in Leadership—A Leadership Crisis—February 12, 2017

Judges 4-14Vol. 2, No. 7 – 2017

Get ready! Today the Lord will give you victory . . For the Lord is marching ahead of you. Judges 4:14

The crisis of leadership today is the mediocrity of so many men and women in power. Leadership has given way to the cult of personality; to a “gee whiz” approach to celebrities. (Leadership, James M. Burns)

Barak, a mountain-man, was reluctant and hesitant. He was the chief-in-charge of the military under Deborah. Barak waited to be inspired; otherwise he spent his time in his own frivolities (maybe some golf). Under Deborah, he was the hands, she was the brains; the heart and head of the nation.

The book of Judges exposes the need of the hour. The nation needed to be delivered from the evil devices of King Jabin of Cannan. Deborah called him to the ready, with 10,000 chosen (hand-picked) warriors of skill. But wait, there was a great disparity—Barak’s warriors faced 100,000 well-equipped warriors under the leadership of General Sisera, having twenty years of experience against Israel.

Sisera had the advantage—900 chariots (according to history having scythes fastened to their axles). These were execution machines as they would be driven through the foot-warriors. The place for battle was on the flat plain; Israel was outmanned, but God is not outfoxed.

On Barak’s side was God. Yet, Barak asked for Deborah to come with him. God’s leading, as Deborah gave the battle cry, proved catastrophic to Sisera’s warriors.

When we leaders are summoned to lead against heavy odds, we may question our competence, and often may lack the enthusiasm to face difficult choices. Moses did not want to face Pharaoh to lead God’s people out of Egypt, Gideon responded, “I am but a farm-boy; who am I to lead an army against the Midianites?” Jeremiah was not exactly thrilled to be called upon to preach.

The result for Barak is that the battle was a rout. The reason for Israel’s victory was not surprise, strategy, or superior leadership (his or Deborah’s). Victory came through God’s timing of an unseasonal, unusual torrential downpour that flooded the battlefield. The resulting quagmire of mud caused the chariots to get bogged down so that the horses could not operate, or they may have broken away. The battle ensued with 10,000 devastating 100,000.

The plans were devised by man (Israel’s Deborah and Barak) . . . the odds belong to God.

Great leaders arise from being following leaders. The wise choose a proper leader to follow. Who are you following as your leader today?

So, you see, it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that there is a God, and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

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