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Posts Tagged ‘leadership’

Are You an Example or Exception?

July 11th, 2018

Example Provides the Power for Persuasion.

“Christ, Who suffered for you, is your example. Follow in His steps.” 1 Peter 2:21 NLT.

My thoughts and comments today ask a question,

“Are You An Example Or Exception?”

When I was a young man preparing for ministry, my Dad gave me invaluable advice for success. His wise counsel applies to all areas of life and leadership. Out of his own experience and personal example, my Dad taught me practical wisdom for every day life. It was simple enough that I have recalled his words for more than fifty years.

He said, “Never ask or expect others to go where you have not gone, nor expect someone to do what you have not been willing to do, nor expect anyone to give what you are not willing to give.” “Do as I say,” never works as well as, “Do as I do.” Think about this for a moment. Example provides the power for persuasion.

Jesus is the best example. He sacrificed much more than He requires of you and me. To those who wanted to know how to live well, He kept it basic. He simply said, “Follow Me.” Anyone can do that if they want to do so. To be an effective leader of people, you must first be an example of what you expect of others. To be influential, you must be an example.

As Jesus washed the feet of the disciples in the night before His sacrifice, He established a pattern for theirs and our service and sacrifice for others and toward one another, “I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done for you.” Read John 13:15-17 NKJ. For a moment, think about Jesus’ example and yours.

Whether talking about parenting, relationships, business dealings, or any arena that requires leadership, your involvement should be exemplary and inspiring to others, whether big or small. Many years later Peter wrote of Jesus’ example,“Christ, who suffered for you, is your example. Follow in His steps.” 1 Peter 2:21 NLT.

The Apostle Paul was direct, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:9-10 NKJ. For the times when you grow weary and people seem to take your kindness for granted, remember the Bible’s counsel to keep your eyes on Jesus, “Consider Jesus who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:3 NIV. Jesus’ example always inspires. Yours should do the same.

The Bible’s intention is about your living a holy consistency of life before God and others. Let’s be practical about this: doing the least you can neither produces the satisfaction you seek nor the expected result in others’ lives. God asks you to be an example while never allowing yourself to be an exception, giving up your right to make excuses and not expecting more of others than you require of yourself.

Your Biblical responsibility and God’s expectation of you is this: “Be an example to all believers in what you teach, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12 NLT. Being an example is good; excusing yourself to be an exception to that is not.

Today I pray for you to live a life that glorifies God and edifies others.

Christian Communications 2018

Website and archives: allenrandolph.com

facebook.com/everydaylife.allenrandolph

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Rules and Standards

April 12th, 2018

God’s wisdom is the path to His richest blessings.

 “[God’s] discipline produces a harvest of righteousness and peace

for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “rules and standards.”

Life is better with rules. Rules are essential, establishing boundaries and measuring achievement. Yet, very few of us appreciate rules in the way we should. People seem to bristle when too many rules seem restrictive and imposed. We all tend to resist when we feel less free to do as we want to do. Consider this. Without rules, athletic competition would be havoc. That’s why there are rules and referees, grades and graduation requirements, right and wrong, rewards and penalties.

I can’t imagine a world without rules. With no rules of the road, driving would be dangerous. In daily interactions, the bold would overpower the timid. The strong would take advantage of the weak. The wealthy would neglect the poor. For a clear reason, the Ten Commandments were not called the, “Ten Recommendations.” Nor were they meant to be. Out of His love for you, not His love for law, God commanded those rules to live by.

Marriages are best with mutually understood rules. Families need clearly stated rules. Friendships succeed with mutually accepted rules. Employers and employees require agreement on rules. Individuals need to establish standards by which they are willing to be evaluated. I am grateful that my Dad believed in rules. Admittedly, I didn’t appreciate those as much while a teen. But Dad’s rules were always clear and fair – and enforced or rewarded. They made me wiser and better than I would otherwise have been. Rules establish safe boundaries for your benefit, not to limit or restrict you, except for your guidance and protection. Rules can protect and keep you safe. Maybe it would help to think of standards rather than rules. I see three occasions for rules and standards.

You need people in your life who help you learn and establish Godly standards. That is the value of parents, teachers, friends, civil and governmental authorities, God’s Word, and the Holy Spirit. They establish rules that benefit all. The Bible reminds us that, “The authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing.” Read Romans 13.3-6 NIV. Respect rules, embrace appropriate boundaries, and appreciate their practical need for making your life better, measuring your achievements, rewarding your efforts, and keeping you safer.

The rule of law protects the lawful and restrains the lawless. “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.” Hebrews 13:17 NKJV. In your life, whose opinion and counsel offer you trusted guidance, Godly wisdom, and a spiritual haven in uncertain times?

True liberty is not without restraints, and never without limits. I had a fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. Cook, who taught our class a simple principle about boundaries and liberties, “Your liberty to swing your fist without restraint ends at the tip of another’s nose.” What a great rule for fourth graders, as well as kids, teens, and adults of all ages. Friends and family help set standards of behavior for one another. Often it is more kind than cruel to say no. Choose wisely the bounds you will honor, and associate with friends who respect them, and thereby respect you.

At all times, you must require and embrace boundaries for yourself. The best decisions you make were made before any situation needing rules presented itself. The right decision is never too late, but it’s best when made early. Paul wrote, “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. Everything is permissible, but not everything is edifying.” I Corinthians 10:23 NAS. Choose what is profitable, in order to edify others and glorify God. God’s Word marks the places where you will find your greatest liberties, and where you and others find safety.

When I was first preparing for ministry, my Dad taught me a very practical and valuable lesson about establishing non-negotiable, personal boundaries, for success in pastoral ministry. My Dad’s advice was invaluable, “Many who look to you for leadership will likely exceed the liberties you permit yourself; so be wise and measured in all you allow yourself to say and do. And others who follow you may stop short of your disciplines, so be careful, always seeking to excel.”

There will always be others observing and following you. Jesus was clear, “I have set before you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” John 13:15 NIV. You are always safe when following Jesus’ example. Paul was clear as well with his instruction to young Timothy. ”Be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12 NKJV. Be sure that the rules you expect others to observe are a priority in your own life and relational interactions.

Even when you do not think so, someone is always following you, Many years ago, a man made this observation of me, “Pastor, you are not hard to follow because you do not make sudden turns.” I am not sure whether he meant that as a compliment, but I accepted it as one. I want to be easy to follow for my family and for those who trust my leadership. My objective is simple. I want my family and friends to know what my values are, where I am going, Who I am following, and how to get where God is leading.

“God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later, however, [His] discipline produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:10-11 NIV. I like that. In your life, His rules produce a, “harvest of righteousness and peace,” for those who accept and follow the Father’s instruction and disciplines. Anything that God requires of you is for your benefit, not His. Embracing God’s wisdom is the path to His richest blessings.

Today I pray for you to establish Godly standards. His rules are given to protect, not confine you.

Christian Communications 2018

Website and archives: allenrandolph.com

facebook.com/everydaylife.allenrandolph

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Stops and Starts

November 23rd, 2011

“Tell the people to move forward.” Exodus 14:15 NIV

“Life requires leadership for the success of your journey.”

My thoughts today are about “stops and starts.”

Life is a journey, and on any journey there is a place from which you begin and a place where you hope to arrive; in between are a sequence of stops and starts along the way. The problem comes when you are stopped when you should be starting, or starting when you should be stopped. Wisdom is to know when you should do which. There is a rhythm to your life that is unique; timing is everything. The right thing at the wrong time isn’t right and the wrong thing at the right time doesn’t work.

Israel seemed to have bad timing. They were stuck in Egypt and Moses, with God’s help, could barely dislodge them. It took a miraculous deliverance to get them started and on their way out of Egypt. Then they were stuck at the Red Sea, with an impassable obstacle ahead and a pursuing army behind them. They wanted to go anywhere, but there seemed no where to run. That’s when God spoke through Moses, “Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today . . the Lord will fight for you and you shall hold your peace.” Exodus 14:13-14 NKJV. Stand still? When they were ready to be anywhere except where they were, God said for them to stay put. Ever happened to you? Sometimes God allows life to have you where you are because there is something you need to learn about God in that place and situation.

I find it interesting that the very next instruction from God through Moses was this, “Tell the children to go forward . . (they) shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.” Exodus 14:15-18 NKJV. Stand still; go forward; it’s confusing. Go forward? How? Obedience in the moment releases the miracle that is just ahead for you. Your willingness to obey even when you do not fully understand allows God to work in ways you could not foresee. See Ephesians 3:20.

How is a person to know what to do and when to do or not do it? Life requires leadership for the success of your journey and that comes from those who have been where you have not yet been and know what you do not yet know – people who care and share – caring about your progress and sharing from life experience. Leaders are not smarter, just more experienced from their mistakes and successes; with the benefit of their experience you can be smarter, exceeding their success and being spared their mistakes while you gain experience and wisdom to share with others who will follow you. Moses had to learn to listen and obey God; Israel had to learn to trust God to speak through Moses. It is my opinion that an individual does not fully develop a sensitivity to hear and obey God well, until learning to recognize the voice of God spoken in the words of others.

The Bible says, “The steps of the Godly are directed by the Lord. He delights in every detail of their lives.” Proverbs 37:23 NLT. Someone once suggested that both the “steps and the stops” of the Godly are directed by the Lord! I find the latter – the stops – the harder of the two to hear and heed. When God says to stop, it is wise to stop. When God signals you to start, it is a mistake to stay. Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV. Your best success will always be found in the center of God’s will.

My prayer for you today is that you learn to recognize and follow God’s rhythm for your life.

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Doing What’s Right

October 7th, 2011

“After looking around to make sure no one was watching . .” Exodus 2:12 NLT

“Doing wrong never works out right, even if done for a right reason!”

My thoughts today are about “doing what’s right.”

Is your vocabulary better spoken depending on who is listening? Is your attitude better monitored when people you think important are nearby? Does your humor take a different turn depending on your present circle of companions? Is your behavior different when you know no one else is observing? But isn’t it true that someone is always looking; you just don’t always know who, or what will be the effect of your example at that time.

Your conduct, conversation, and attitudes should at all times and on all occasions be exemplary, not an exception. There is a moral danger to ever being something on an occasion that you would not choose to be all the time. Indulge others possibly, but never yourself. Conduct, conversation, and attitudes are really matters of character and integrity. It may be an over-simplification, but character is essentially being the same in public and private. Integrity is being the same inside and out – what you see is what you get, and it’s all good.

Among others things my father taught and modeled for me, I learned a principle of leadership: “Those who follow you may not match your discipline, so demand more of yourself than you would expect of them; they may also exceed your liberties so be more restrained than you would otherwise have to be.“ My takeaway was this: others are watching; what you do could affect what they do, to their detriment or benefit. Here’s the reality: someone is always watching your life and being affected for better or worse – for time or even eternity – by what you do, what you say, and who you are. As a parent and pastor I must remember others are watching to know what they should do, how they should live. I want to be a Godly example and do what’s right.

Be a Godly example, authentically not artificially. The Bible instructs that you “be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, and in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12 NKJV. Do you know how you can best do that? Follow the Leader, Christ Jesus. “For to this you were called, Christ . . leaving us an example, that you should follow in His steps: Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth.” Read 1 Peter 2:21-22 NKJV.

For a right reason, you can still do the wrong thing. Moses was a remarkable man and great leader, but even he was vulnerable to an unwise decision when he thought no one was looking; no one would know. Moses was a Prince of Egypt but now knew he was also a Hebrew by birth. Coming upon an Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave, “After looking around to make sure that no one was watching, Moses killed the Egyptian and buried him in the sand.” Exodus 2:11-15 NLT. If you have to look around to make sure no one is watching, you probably are about to do something you ought not to do! Doing wrong never works out right, even if done for a right reason! Job observed, “Times are not hidden from the Almighty.” Job 24:1 NKJV. When no one else sees, God does! Read 1 Corinthians 4:5 NIV/ 2 Corinthians 4:2 NKJV. You will never regret doing what’s right; you will regret when you don’t.

My prayer for you today is that you do what’s right because that’s right to do.

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