3 Leadership Lessons from Moses

One of my favorite things to do is study and talk about Biblical leadership. I believe that everyone has the potential to be a Biblical leader. I shared this simple thought with a group of men this past Sunday. These were not your average church guys or men gathered for a Bible study, these were men inside the Medina County Jail. I went to the jail to preach God’s Word to these men and my message could have been summed up in this one though: Everyone has the potential to be a Biblical leader. I believe on major reason we don’t always believe that truth is because we allow our past and our mistakes keep us from moving forward as leaders. Certainly this is what these men felt when they were listening to me preach this message while inside a jail. I believe the person who has made terrible mistakes and been through many trails is a great candidate to be a great leader of God. Charles Swindoll said, “No one deserves the right to lead without first preserving through pain, heartache, and failure.

Maybe you feel that way. How could you be a Biblical leader with your past? I want to remind you, just as I did the men in the jail, that some of the greatest leaders in the Bible could have easily used the excuse of their past. One of these leaders is Moses. I want to share with you three leadership lessons we see from the early life of Moses:

1. Leaders have a past full of mistakes. In Exodus 2:12 we read that Moses murdered a man and then buried him in the sand! Think about that compared to your past mistakes. If God can forgive and use Moses, a murder, in leadership, why couldn’t He use you? We all have a past full of mistakes, but we must not allow that past to keep us from doing what God calls us to do. Jeremy Hales, camp director at Skyview Ranch, says, “The rear view mirror is smaller that the front window.” It’s easy to look in the rear view mirror of our life and see the mistakes behind us, but the front window is huge and is a full-view of what God has for us in the future. Again, Moses murdered someone and God used him; God can use you!

2. Leaders must go through the wilderness. The best leaders in the world have been through the wilderness. After Moses killed a man, he ran (Exodus 2:15) to the land of Midian, which was basically a wilderness. God had two purposes for the wilderness for Moses: to punish him for his sin and to teach him lessons for the future. This is how God disciplines His children. We see this twofold purpose in Hebrews 12:5-11. In this passage we see that God disciplines us because He loves us just as a good father disciplines his children. God is holy and must punish sin. Ultimately, He did this through His Son who bore God’s wrath for our sins. But even as Christians, God has to chasten us and correct us when we sin. What we see in this Hebrews passage is that even as God does that, He also has another purpose in mind: to train us and to make us more holy (Hebrews 12:10-11). Before you can be a leader, God has to train you and sometimes that training comes through a wilderness. Currently I am experience that. I am waiting and praying for God to open a door for my first full-time ministry job, but I am having to go through the wilderness of discouragement, learning to trust God, and patience on Him. Click here to view a post I wrote awhile back on this subject.

3. Leaders have a holy calling. I believe we sometimes don’t fully understand just how special and awesome it is to know God has called you into leadership of some type for Him! In Exodus 3:1-6 we read that God showed up to call Moses from within a burning bush! God then tells Moses to take of his shoes because the ground he was standing on was holy. When God calls you to do something for Him, it’s a holy thing! Don’t take lightly the calling of God on your life.

I hope these three leadership lessons from the early life of Moses are an encouragement to you. Remember, God can forgive you and use you! You may have to go through the wilderness to get there, but the calling of God on your life is a holy thing!

Related post:
3 Leadership Lessons from Jude
3 Leadership Lessons from Jeremiah
3 Ways to Handle Personal Sin as a Leader 

The Danger of Parachurch

Throughout my short time in the ministry world so far I have seen a lot of people involved and excited about parachurch ministries. Honestly, I don’t have much excitement for parachurch ministry because my heart is with the local church. I believe God instituted the local church as the center of ministry in this age. Before I go any further, lets define what a parachurch ministry is. A parachurch ministry is a Christian faith-based organization that works outside of and across denominations to engage in social welfare and evangelism, usually independent of church oversight. Basically, a parachurch ministry is any ministry that is not done within or from a local church.

I am not here to bash parachurch ministry. I believe God can use it and is using it to spread the Gospel. I have worked and currently support many parachurch ministries, but I believe there is a danger with parachurch ministry that we need to be aware of. Let me just say that I believe all parachurch ministry are started and ran with a good motivation: to share and spread the Gospel. There are people in the world that will never step foot inside a church so if we do not go out and reach them where they are they may never hear the Gospel. Personally, I believe the church should do this, but I am glad parachurch ministries are going out and reaching people who would never come to church. The danger I see is where parachurch ministries stops.

Here is the danger we must be aware of when dealing with parachurch ministry: Parachurch ministry has a tendency to not connect people with the local church. This problem started back in the 70’s with the Jesus Movement. When teens and young adults didn’t feel welcome in the traditional church and ministries started springing up that gave these teens a place to go where they can express their faith in Christ in their own way. The church at the time didn’t like their new music and such parachurch ministries started springing up and this is also the time mega-churches started rising across the country.

So this is my point. If a parachurch ministry is going to be Biblical and honor God in their ministry endeavors, they must connect the people they reach to a local church. The camp director at Skyview Ranch, Jeremy Hales, says it best: “We exist to support the local church.” Parachurch ministry exist to support the local church. Not replace it because the church isn’t good enough or go where the church isn’t willing to go. Parachurch ministry should be done to support the local church. People who are reached by parachurch ministries need to be a part of a New Testament local church. If we see people reached with the Gospel by a parachurch ministry and never connected to a local church, the job is only half done. The Great Commission has two parts: evangelism and discipleship. Parachurch ministry, if you reach people, connect them to the church where they can be discipled within a community of faith.

I hope everyone who reads this knows I am not against parachurch ministry, but I am against parachurch ministries that do not support and connect people to a local church. I just love the local church! I believe my passion and love for the local church is Biblical and based on God’s Word. Jesus said, “I will build my church.” Yes, I realize there is the universal church, the body of Christ, but God builds that body and universal church through local churches.

Last year Rick Warren spoke at Liberty University and said these great words that are worth ending this post with. He said, “My generation of Christians made a huge mistake, they fell in love with the parachurch. I beg you, don’t make that mistake. Fall in love with not Christian organizations, fall in love with the local church…If this generation will love the local church, God will bless you…Don’t invest your life in a parachurch organization, do it through the local church.” 

3 Leadership Lessons from Jeremiah

One of my favorite things to study and talk about is leadership. That is why part of my blog is dedicated to the category of leadership. As I read through Scripture, I try to look for Biblical leadership principles that I can apply to my own life and share with others. Recently I wrote a blog called “3 Leadership Lessons from Jude” that received great feedback. I recently started studying the book of Jeremiah and right from the start I saw a few leadership lessons I wanted to share.

Before I jump into them let’s talk a little about the person of Jeremiah. Jeremiah was a prophet God called to announce judgement on God’s people because of their sin and disobedience. Jeremiah is often called the “weeping prophet” (Jer. 9:1; 13:17). For more than 40 years Jeremiah faithfully proclaimed God’s judgement. Jeremiah was truly a great leader and it would do leaders today to follow his example. With all that being said, here are three leadership lessons from the opening verses of the book of Jeremiah:

1. God has called leaders before they were even born. In verse 5 of chapter 1, it says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you…” Before leaders are even born, God has already called them to lead. As a leader, it is encouraging to know God not only has chosen me to be one of His elect, but has chosen me to be a leader! If you are in leadership and you struggle with wondering if your actually called to do what you’re doing, remember God knew you and called you before you were even born into this world!

2. God usually calls younger people to be leaders. I am not suggesting that God does not call older people to lead, but what I am saying is that most great leaders are called at a younger age. We see this in verses 6-7 of Jeremiah 1. God calls Jeremiah and what is Jeremiah’s response? He says, “I am only a youth.” According to the Ryrie Study Bible, Jeremiah was likely in his late teens or early twenties at this time! That should encourage you younger leaders! In the following verse, God tells Jeremiah not to respond that way because He is with him! Throughout the Bible we see that God usually calls younger people to be great leaders. In his book Raising the Bar, Alvin Reid points out two important things that are helpful to mention here. First, Old Testament examples such as Joseph, Samuel, and David show us that God calls and uses younger people to be leaders. Second, Reid points out that Jonathan Edwards, in his treatise called Some Thoughts Concerning the Present Revival of Religion in New England, says, “The work has been chiefly amongst the young…” Did you catch that? Edwards clearly says that the First Great Awakening was carried out by mostly the young! Reid says it best, “When God begins a new movement of His Spirit, He often uses young people at the heart if it.” One more example of God calling the young. It is likely that the disciples where just teenagers as they walked with Jesus and went into their ministry of changing the world. There is too much to say about that here, so click here to read a post that will explain why many believe the disciples were just teenagers.

3. God will equip those that He calls. Often leaders don’t feel equipped or qualified to do what God called them to do. It is likely that is what Jeremiah felt when he told God, “I am only a youth.” God responds to that and reminds Jeremiah, and us, that He equips those He calls. In verses 7b-9 we see that God tells Jeremiah He will send him, He will be with him, and He will put His Words in his mouth. See, God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called! None of us are equipped to do anything for God, but when God calls us He gives us everything we need to carry out what He has called us to do. When I worked at Skyview Ranch the camp director said this, “God will never lead you where He will not sustain you.” Leader, God has called you to lead and He will sustain and equip you to do exactly what He wants you to do!

I hope these lessons are encouraging to you. Leadership is hard and down right discouraging at times, but God has called us to lead for a reason. Allow these lessons from His Word to encourage you today!

Your Love Never Fails

A few weeks ago I posted a blog about the song “Give Me Faith” by Elevation Worship that God was using to minister to my heart at the time. You can read that post here. God has been using another song to minister to my heart right now and figured I would post a video of it and maybe God will use it to minister to you as well. The song that God has been using is called “Your Love Never Fails” by Jesus Culture. I first heard the song at Skyview Ranch because it would play on the speakers outside as campers came on Monday mornings, but recently heard it again as the worship band did it here at COD for a youth event called Ignition. You can read all about that awesome event here. This song is so awesome because I think it expresses the way many of us feel as Christians sometimes. We make mistakes, we sin, we rebel against God’s Word, but we must remember that even in those times God loves us! That truth is expressed throughout the song and every time I hear this song Romans 8:38-39 comes to mind. Romans 8:38-39 says, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The bridge of the song is powerful as it reminds us of the promise given to us in Romans 8:28 where it says, And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Watch the video below where Jesus Culture does this song live and allow God to minister to you through it.

Here are the lyrics:

Nothing can separate
Even if I ran away
Your love never fails

I know I still make mistakes
But You have new mercies for me everyday
Your love never fails

Chorus:
You stay the same through the ages
Your love never changes
There maybe pain in the night but joy comes in the morning

And when the oceans rage
I don’t have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me
Your love never fails

Verse 2:
The wind is strong and the water’s deep
But I’m not alone in these open seas
Cause Your love never fails

The chasm is far too wide
I never thought I’d reach the other side
But Your love never fails

Bridge:
You make all things work together for my good

All Scripture from English Standard Version

Lessons Learned From a Semester of Good Grades

It’s finally Christmas break. And as I sit here watching Sports Center after sleeping in till noon I’m thinking back over my semester. After spending the summer working as a counselor at Skyview Ranch in Millersburg, Ohio I came back to Piedmont Baptist College for my last year with the focus to do well and make good grades in all my classes. With a renewed focused and much self-discipline thanks to my training at Skyview I did awesome this past semester in my classes. My final grades come out to be three A’s and four B’s! The biggest thing I did this semester that helped me is I got ahead. I knocked out all my collateral reading in the first two months and anything that I could do early I did. That helped me a ton and it showed in the last few weeks of school when everyone was rushing around trying to get their collateral reading and projects in, but I already had them done. With that being said, there are a few lessons I learned from my grades this semester.

My grades are a way to worship God. Throughout the semester I have prayed that my grades would be worship to God. That in itself is enough to push you to do well because you wouldn’t want to worship God by poor grades. I think all of us as believers struggle with letting God be in our every aspect of life. We tend to keep God the center of our devotional time or prayer time, but we struggle to make God the center of things like our job, relationships, and even our grades. This is sad because God wants to be the center of our entire life, that means everything! I am constantly reminded of this verse:

1 Corinthians 10:31 (ESV) “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

If we want to obey the Word of God, we must come to the truth of this verse. We have to do all things to glorify God and that means even grades. That is a huge lesson I learned this semester, that even in my grades I can worship God!

My grades are a reflection of my spiritual condition. Back in high school, my Bible teacher, Doug Hull, told us a story about a young man who started living for God, but he was a poor student and his grades showed it. Once he started living for God he saw his grades go up and do much better. Since high school that story has stuck with me and I saw it in action this semester in my life. When I look back over my college career, when my spiritual life was struggling my grades where struggling as well, but when I was do good spiritually my grades were good too. It’s an exact mirror of each other, our grades will reflect how we are doing spiritually! For college students this is something we all must learn. I learned this semester that I must make my spiritual life a priority and much come before everything. When I did that and practiced that this semester everything else fell into place and my grades showed it.

My grades determine my future. When I say future I mean academic future. If you know me pretty well you know I am thinking about continuing my education after I finish my undergrad. I am still looking into graduate schools and Seminary, but two are standing out right now which are Baptist Bible College Graduate School and Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. Most seminaries and graduate school require you to have a 3.0 GPA coming out if undergraduate just to be accepted into their school. So with that in mind it is important to make good grades in college if you want to continue your education. This is something I want to do so I need to keep doing well in my grades now.

These are just a few lessons I learned this semester and hope they might be an encouragement to you. I say none of this to be prideful, but to give glory to God. If it was not for God’s direction, strength, and power I could not have done this well, but I did and all the credit goes to Him!