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Bold steps not always seen…

Boldness

Leadership requires taking steps. Sometimes the steps are forward, sometimes to the side, and sometimes backward. The classic biblical example of taking bold steps is, of course, Peter stepping out onto the water after asking Christ to call him. But not every bold step is outwardly bold.

Bringing a team forward and enacting culture change in an organization blends outwardly bold steps with inwardly bold steps. The organization needs to understand that change is coming or is already in process. Those are the outwardly bold steps.

But the inwardly bold steps are more critical to success. The choice to bring a neutral response to a tumultuous situation shows your people that calm gets the job done better than panic. The choice to show understanding even while correcting behavior proves both that everyone makes mistakes and mistakes cannot continue as a standard practice. And let’s face it: sometimes the choice to walk out the door is the boldest decision you can make.

But with Peter’s water-walking so prominent in our memories, we sometimes need a reminder that the more private bold steps make a world of difference.

  • Hannah, while praying boldly before God in 1 Samuel about her desire for a child, took the bold step of revealing her heartache to the priest who thought she was drunk. That boldness, not described in scripture as something she shared with anyone else, led to the blessing that led to her son who would become a priest for the people Israel.
  • Stephen, in Acts, took the bold step of accepting the task from the disciples to feed the widows. The people’s needs were met while allowing the disciples to continue with their work.
  • David prayed with all his might that his son with Bathsheba would be spared the illness. But when the child passed away, David changed his clothes and continued with his work. The time for supplication over the matter was complete. He didn’t love his son any less, but he boldly chose to continue living.

As we lead others, remember that the seemingly small, quiet steps lay the bricks of the organization you seek to build. Boldness is not merely outward; boldness emerges from the quiet decisions made when nobody else is looking.

Chronological Bible: May 21, Blessed because of Another’s faithfulness…

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Read:

  • 1 Kings 14:21-16:20
  • 2 Chronicles 10:1-11:23

“(King Jeroboam) walked in all the sins that his father did before him, and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father. Nevertheless, for David’s sake the Lord his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem, setting up his son after him, and establishing Jerusalem, because David did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and did not turn aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.” –1 Kings 15:3-5, ESV

Reading the events in the lineage beyond King David strikes me how faithful God is to His promises. He promised David’s kingdom would endure forever. And though David’s kin chose ways apart from the Lord, God blessed subsequent generations for David’s faithfulness.

And I am humbled by my own state. David followed God and he and his generations received great blessing because of that one man’s faithfulness. Jesus followed God and I am blessed because of that one Man’s faithfulness. It is not for my own goodness that God is pleased with me, but because of Christ alone. I receive the blessings of faithfulness, not because of my own wretched attempts, but because of His obedience.

Thank Him for all the blessings you receive because of His faithful obedience.

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Chronological Bible: May 12, Narrowing your focus…

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Read:

  • 1 Kings 9:15-10:29

“These were the chief officers who were over Solomon’s work: 550 who had charge of the people who carried on the work.” –1 Kings 9:23, ESV

Solomon, the wisest man to ever live, delegated. his vast work, the expanse of his kingdom, and the many massive undertakings given by the Lord and his father David, and Solomon knew he could not do it alone. He knew he could not even oversee all of it himself. Identifying chief officers to oversee the work was the only way the work could get done.

This challenges me. As I see the many projects and time commitments in my days, I wonder what I should delegate. Frankly, I also wonder which I should not undertake at all. I, and judging by the number of books on the topic, many others, struggle with staying clear on your purpose and saying no to those things outside of our purpose.

I believe that Solomon’s call for the kingdom would have been radically different had he not had the people resources to manage the work. Just as I believe that God has given each of us calling and purpose according to that which He has or will provide. God may give me something that is beyond what I can handle alone, and it may be required that I recruit others to join. Or in some cases it may be that I, myself, have identified something outside my ability, but rather than recruit others to join, I should probably let that one go. If it didn’t come from God’s storehouse for my life, then I need to be okay stepping away and either let others step in or let the thing fall completely.

Do you struggle with focusing your energies? Seek the Lord and learn what He would have you do.

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Chronological Bible: May 3, Insight: The fruit of obedience…

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Read:

  • 1 Kings 3:1-4:34

Solomon’s asking for wisdom from the Lord happens in the most important of contexts. Every other time I read this text, I missed it. I felt the thrill of the Lord giving Solomon carte blanche to ask whatever he wanted. I understood the intensity of insight required for Solomon to consider his options. I imagined the smile on God’s face when Solomon asked for this good thing. And I saw the unintended consequences of God giving Solomon earthly riches as a result of his request for spiritual things.

But I missed everything that came before. I prayed for insight to know what to ask of the Lord. I bowed at the throne wondering what to ask. A re-reading of 1 Kings 3 shows all the preceded the unprecedented interaction.

“And Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of his father David…” –1 Kings 3:3, NKJV

Solomon held no super-powers. Though he carried his father’s striking looks, he still existed as just a man. The reason he knew what to ask for when the time came was because he had been walking with the Lord beforehand. Solomon was not great because of his request. His obedience to the Lord  created a fruit from it that knew to ask for wisdom. The fruit of obedience is insight we wouldn’t have any chance of having otherwise.

You may not know today what to answer. But you know how to obey. Take care of that which you know and that which is still unclear will come in due time.

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Chronological Bible: April 26, Feeling not good enough?

1381989_48958170Read:

  • Psalm 37
  • 1 Chronicles 22
  • Psalm 30

Calling. Purpose. Talent. Gifts. A hot topic in Christian circles, yet something we can lose so easily. At times I confuse my skills, which are abilities developed, with my calling or talent, which are things given by God. Yes, we need to nurture and grow talents to fulfill our calling, but the root of it is something we cannot create on our own.

I have musical talent. However, I have piano-playing ability. Playing the piano is something I enjoy, it helps relieve stress, and it fills my musical cravings. However, it is not a talent in and of itself. My mother however, is a brilliant, talented, gifted pianist. She can create symphonies from a hummed tune. On the times when she accompanies me while I sing, we would sometimes stumble. Engrossed in the story I was portraying, I would sometimes get lost in the story she was portraying on the keys. We figured out that if I chart out the very simple notes from which I cue to know where we are in the song, we could bring our two stories into one. It gave me the structure I needed while giving her the freedom to play whatever struck her as beautiful and necessary in the moment.

I cannot do what my mother can do on the piano. There have been times when I have tried to serve the church as the pianist. And. I. Struggggggggled. It was an ability, and I could work on it, but it was neither my talent or my calling. I subjugated my teaching and writing because I thought that piano was a better talent. I took what I was given, and in my own insecurity, deemed it not enough. And. I. Struggled.

When the time came for David to tell Solomon of God’s plans for Solomon to build the temple, David shared an important piece of information with Solomon.

“Moreover there are workmen with you in abundance: woodsmen and stonecutters, and all types of skillful men for every kind of work. Of gold and silver and bronze and iron there is no limit. Arise and begin working, and the Lord be with you.” –1 Chronicles 22:15-16, NKJV

The laborers were there. Skilled laborer from every needed field. God provided by issuing separate callings and then bringing those callings together at the right time for the right purpose. If the woodsmen tried to be a stonecutter, the stones would not be what they needed to be to fulfill the House of God. If the stonecutter tried to be a linen-maker, the linens would be less than what God intended.

If you do not develop the talent God has given you under the calling He has placed on your life, His kingdom will be the lesser for it. Put aside insecurity and comparison. Use the gifts given and you will see your place in the great House of God.

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