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Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Shepherd's Model of Leadership

One of the most fascinating models of leadership that I have come across is the shepherd's model. When you think of examples of leadership, the shepherd rarely comes out at the top of the list. However there is much that we can learn as leaders from the leadership model of the shepherd.

 When I think of a shepherd the following attributes come to mind: loving, patient, sacrificial, skillful, wise, caring, courageous, guide, strategic thinker, diligent and faithful. These are all attributes that a truly great leader should possess. The dictionary defines the word shepherd as "A person who protects, guides or watches over another person or a group of people". Synonyms of the word shepherd include: coach, counsel, lead, mentor, pilot, guide, and tutor. It is clear that when you dig into the true meaning of the word shepherd you will see several desirable traits of truly great leadership.

One of the greatest examples of a shepherd-leader was King David. The Bible tells us that David was a shepherd before he became king over Israel. David trained to become king by first becoming a shepherd. It was in those days tending sheep that David developed the heart to become a truly great leader. Even though David had the capacity to lead, as we all do, he had to develop his gifts before he could deploy them.

The biblical account of David's life in 1 Sam 17:34-37 describes some of the training that David underwent as a shepherd.

1 Sam 17:34-37 NKJV
34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a zlion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock,  
35 I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it.  
36 Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.”  
37 Moreover David said, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”  And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!”

David's account of some of his experiences as a shepherd illustrates some of the leadership attributes that he had to develop and display in the execution of his role. As a shepherd David had to be a guide and a pilot in order to lead the sheep away from danger and to green pastures where the sheep could feed and be nourished (v34). It took love and courage for him to risk his life in order to protect his sheep (v35). It took strategic thinking for him, to devise tactics for defeating the bear and the lion (v35). David then acted as a coach and mentor to the rest of the army by illustrating to them the link between his successes as a shepherd and the impending defeat of the Philistine - Goliath (v37).

Psa 78:70-72 is another account of David's time as a shepherd.

Psa 78:70-72 NIV
70 He chose David his servant and took him from the sheep pens;  
71 from tending the sheep he brought him to be the shepherd of his people Jacob, of Israel his inheritance.  
72 And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them. 

It is interesting to note that in Psa 78:71 the word shepherd was used to describe David's kingship over Israel. The scripture in Psa 78:72 leads us to believe that David developed great skill as a shepherd; David's leadership of the nation of Israel was described as skillful. He had to have developed these skills in his previous role as a shepherd. God allowed David to serve in the role of a shepherd over sheep in preparation for his role as shepherd over Israel. God guided David to develop the skills and display the attributes needed to eventually become king.

 David was one of the greatest leaders that ever lived. He oversaw the expansion of Israel and the defeat of numerous enemies. However his apprenticeship began as a shepherd. In your journey to becoming a truly great leader you can look unto David's leadership development as a shepherd, as an example of what it will take to develop into a truly great leader. Also note that God's guidance and David's relationship with God (1 Sam 17:37, Acts 13:22) were instrumental in David's emergence as a truly great king. David ultimately accomplished everything that he was created to do (Acts 13:36). Likewise, you can become the great leader that God created you to be.

I look forward to reading your comments and questions.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Heirs of the Kingdom

According to Col 1:12 you are partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light once you become a member of God's Kingdom. (Eph 1:11. Acts 26:18). This means that you became an heir to the Kingdom. (Rom 8:17,14. Tit 3:7. Gal 3:29,4:7).

There are privileges and responsibilities to being an heir to any Kingdom.
As an heir to the Kingdom you have a right to everything that the Ruler of the Kingdom has - including the power, resources, and silver and gold that are His. The heir is treated with the same respect and honor as the one on the throne. He enjoys the same privileges. When he speaks it is assumed that he speaks on behalf of the throne.

The heir also has a responsibility to serve in the Kingdom, to protect the Kingdom, to honor the Kingdom and to increase the influence of the Kingdom. He does this by living according to the rules and standards of the Kingdom. He makes the Kingdom his priority and in natural Kingdoms he spends time in the military to protect the Kingdom. He is also committed to the propagation of the Kingdom's influence by His actions and by spreading the news and information about the Kingdom and what it represents (including it's benefits).

An heir still has the responsibility to grow into sonship or else he cannot fully enjoy the benefits of his sonship. (Gal 4:1). Just like a natural father will not give the keys to his house or his car to his 2 year old child, likewise, God, the Father, will not give you certain things that are yours by covenant while you are still 'young' spiritually.

It's time for you and I to take our rightful place in The Kingdom. You can grow in sonship, and leave the 'young' stage by applying yourself in God's Word and serving in the Kingdom. You can build your spirit by feeding on God's Word (Acts 20:32, Deut 4:6;29:9, 1 Ki 2:3, Jn 6;63, Psa 119:1,130,133), and increase your commitment to God's Kingdom by your ongoing service. (Mt 6:33).

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Living a whole life through intimacy with God

The fact that God wants us to prosper is already settled. According to Psa 35:27 God has pleasure in our prosperity; it delights Him. Prosperity here refers to more than your finances. It also refers to your health, family, business, etc. A prosperous man enjoys wholeness in every area of his life. Furthermore according to Psa 37:23 God orders the steps of the righteous; again it delights Him. If you allow God to order your steps you cannot fail, you can only end up in prosperity.

A key part to allowing God to order your steps and walking in prosperity is your ability to hear God's instructions constantly. The ability to hear God is developed in intimacy; intimacy is developed by spending time with someone. Intimacy also leads to trust.

For example a man and his wife have an intimate relationship because they have spent numerous hours together, discussing and sharing about themselves. Consequently they have developed an ability to understand and trust each other. They share unspoken words that no one else can decipher.

The Bible lets us know that Abraham was wealthy; he had so much wealth that He was a reference point of his generation. It started however with an instruction to leave his father's house (Gen 12:1). He trusted God so much (intimacy) that when God spoke he obeyed. He even obeyed when God requested him to sacrifice his only son (that he waited 99 years for). And as he continued to obey, God continued to increase him. He prospered in his family, businesses, finances, etc. Likewise Isaac, Jacob, Daniel, Joseph, etc. all prospered because they had the ability to hear God, cultivated by being in God's presence.

For you and I the example has been set; we know God's intention to prosper us. The challenge before you and I is to take our relationship with God to the next level. We must make being in His presence a lifestyle, and thus intimacy with Him is established. In so doing we will set ourselves up to hear from Him constantly and thus everything that we do will prosper.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Leader In You

Each of us was created with the capacity to lead.

Gen 1:26.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (NKJV)

The first thing to note is that when God created man, he created man specifically in His image and to have dominion over the earth. Dominion is associated with influence or control. It also speaks of leadership. So it was God's intention at creation to create man for the purpose of leadership. It is clear from this scripture that leadership is by nature. Every human being was created with the capacity for leadership. This may not be consistent with what you may have been taught growing up. If this applies to you then now is the time to change your mindset about leadership. You and I were created to lead in the specific areas of our gifts. Your ability to grasp this and express it is key to your success in the marketplace.

Here are some of the things that leaders do:
1. Leaders enable others to lead.
2. Leaders add value to others.
3. Leaders are team players.
4. Leaders are people of influence.
5. Leaders represent their organization well.

Your next question may be: Now, I know that I am a leader and I know what leaders do, but how do lead?

1. Grace
1 Cor 15:10.
But because God was so gracious, so very generous, here I am. And I'm not about to let His grace go to waste. Haven't I worked hard trying to do more than any of the others? Even then, my work didn't amount to all that much. It was God giving me the work to do, God giving me the energy to do it. (MESSAGE)

As a leader you have to factor in the grace of God. How may times have you come across situations that seem bigger than you? How many times have you asked yourself, how will I complete this assignment in the time that I have been given? This is where the grace of God comes in. The grace of God is a companion to God's power. It is the grace of God that give us access to God's power in order to accomplish what seems impossible to the natural mind. In the scriptural reference above, Apostle Paul indicates that it is God's grace that enabled him to accomplish all that he did. This same grace is available to us. Many times leaders are called upon to do things that seem impossible. It is God's grace that enables you as a leader to accomplish the impossible!

2. Power
Eph 3:20.
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us. (NKJV)

The next thing is to realize that God has made His power available for you to lead. There is nothing that God's power cannot accomplish. The question is, have you been leading based on your own power? Anyone who has ever tried to lead by their own natural power will quickly realize that there is a limit to what you can do. However this is where the power of God comes in. God's power picks up where our natural limitations end, and enables us to go further and succeed.

3. Wisdom
1 Cor 2:16.
For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ. (NKJV)

Wisdom is essential for every leader. Wisdom sets you apart and enables you to chart the course even when it seems like there is no way out. This is necessary to maintain the momentum of any team. Through the sacrifice of Christ at the cross, and His eventual resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the Father, we have access to the mind of Christ. Therefore the wisdom of God is readily available to us. There is no situation that you can face as a leader where the wisdom of God cannot provide a solution. How big does that challenge seem to you? Simply access the wisdom of God in fellowship (your quiet time), and watch God shed light upon the situation.

4. Boldness
Acts 4:13.
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. (NKJV)

Leaders have to be bold. There are many situations that you will face as a leader where you will be tempted to run away, to turn back or to slow down. Your success as a leader will frequently be determined by your boldness in these situations. When i) God's power is at work in you, ii) God's grace is upon you, and iii) you are walking in His wisdom, you will find yourself boldly facing those challenging situations. In Acts 4:13 it is clear that Peter and John were bold because they encountered Jesus. I believe that their encounter with Jesus imparted them with power, wisdom and grace necessary for their assignment. God has not changed. He remains willing and able to impart you with the power, wisdom and grace needed to boldly face different situations and succeed as a leader.

5. Replication
Psa 115:14.
May the Lord give you increase more and more, You and your children. (NKJV)

As a leader you have to lead by replicating yourself. The more you are able to replicate yourself in the people that you lead, the easier it is for you to be a success and accomplish your goals. And in so doing you are developing the next set of leaders for the organization. This may sound counter-intuitive. However the more you impart what you know into your team members and share the knowledge that you have, the greater the impact you will make on the organization. Suddenly your ability to accomplish tasks is multiplied by the number of people that you have imparted. You can do much more through many people that you can do by yourself.

Your ability to be an effective leader is determined by how much you cultivate your leadership skills and develop your leadership capacity. Irrespective of where you are or what position you occupy you occupy in your organization you can be a leader. You must factor in God's power, wisdom and grace in order to lead successfully. Then you will be bold in all that you do, and you will develop the next generation of leaders. God's plan is that you take your rightful place as a leader. Your time is now.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Harvest in your career and business

We are already in February 2011. And I trust that you are having a good start to the year.

Looking forward I can confidently say that 2011 will be a better year than 2010. You see God is a progressive God. He is never satisfied with the status quo. He is always looking to advance in everything that he does. Likewise He expects us not to settle wherever we are but to keep pressing on to lay hold of the prize that He has already set out for us. Afterall, we are made in His image and likeness (Gen 1:26-28).

As we progress through the second month of 2011, it can be tempting to lose the fire and passion with which we started the year, especially with the freezing temperatures outside. However as I explore the Word of God I am reminded of God's promises to us. According to Lev 26:10, God will bless us with such a harvest that we will have to clear the old harvest for the new harvest. This means that whatever you were able to achieve or not achieve in 2010 God is committed to you surpassing those levels in 2011.

Lev 26:10.
"You shall eat the old harvest, and clear out the old because of the new."

In order to lay hold of that bountiful harvest, God is also promising to provide rain. Rain acts like a catalyst for your harvest. Essentially God is saying that He will speed up the process of your harvest. Your time of waiting is over.

Deut 11:14.
"then I will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil."

At this point you may be asking how to do I gather my harvest? How do I make sure that I am not going to miss my harvest? How do I maximize my harvest?

In a few weeks time, the seasons will begin to change. Spring will soon be around the corner. Many of us are already looking past winter and positioning ourselves for the Spring that is soon to be on the Horizon. Likewise you must position yourself for the harvest that God has already declared. Are you positioned to hear from God? Are you where God has called you to be? Are you committed to living your life according to God's word? Are you prioritizing the Kingdom before every other thing? What do you spend your money and your time on? Are you surrounded by wise counselors and friends? This is referred to as divine positioning.

If you have not started to position yourself rightly for the harvest I have good news for you. It's not too late. It's just 2nd week of February. This means that you have over 10.5 months left in 2011. Today is a great time to start setting things right. Make a renewed commitment to God and His Kingdom and watch Him surprise you. I guarantee you that if you follow God and obey His commands you will enjoy 100% success. This is your season. You must maximize it.

Please leave a comment or a question on the blog and I will respond. Also, feel free to leave a prayer request or any questions that you may have especially related to your career, business or finances.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Warm Regards,

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