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Word For You Today

Servant leadership 1



??not lording it over those assigned to your care ?? 1 Peter 5:3 AMP

Are you called to be a leader in the home, workplace or church? Understand this: today's generation is not impressed by the old 'top down' style of leadership that says, 'I'm in charge, and the sooner you figure that out the better.' No, you don't demand leadership; you earn it - every day. How? By being a servant! By putting others first and yourself last. That's what Jesus taught and practiced. The New Testament model for leadership is an inverted pyramid, with the leader at the bottom, supporting the others, bringing out the best in them, laying aside their own comfort and desires to serve those they lead so that the job can get done well. This means gently correcting mistakes and tying up loose ends while people learn. It also calls for breaking a sweat and getting dirt under their fingernails. AW Tozer wrote: 'A true and safe leader is likely to be one who has no desire to lead, but is forced into a position of leadership by the inward pressure of the Holy Spirit, and the press of the external situation. A person who is ambitious to lead is disqualified as a leader. The true leader will have no desire to lord it over God's heritage, but will be humble, gentle, self-sacrificing and altogether as ready to follow as to lead, when the Spirit makes it clear that a wiser and more talented man than himself has appeared.'So what now? Are you called to be a leader? Then earn it by being a servant to those you are leading.

Soulfood: Gal 4-6, Matt 12:38-50, Ps 108, Prov 13:24-25

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Honesty the best policy



'It's better to be honest and poor than to be dishonest and rich.' Proverbs 16:8 CEV

After a week of special meetings, the guest preacher purchased a flight for home at the airline desk. Ticket in hand, he took a seat in the waiting area. Checking his credit card receipt, he realised the attendant had undercharged him almost fifty percent. 'It's wonderful how God provides,' he rationalised. The church hadn't paid him too well and the bills were piling up at home. For the next half hour he wrestled with himself although, deep down, he knew what he had to do. Finally he returned to the desk and said to the attendant, 'I think you made a mistake.' 'No,' she replied, 'you see, I was in church last night when you spoke on honesty, and I thought I'd put you to the test.'Why be honest? Because people are watching. Your actions and attitudes, in even the smallest of details, are forming the opinions of those who hear you claim to be a follower of Christ.There's a golden moment in the life of Samuel the prophet. Standing before the nation he'd led for 40 years, he asks, '"...Did I cheat or oppress anyone? Did I take a bribe from anyone to look the other way? If so, I will give it all back." They answered, "You didn't ..."' (1 Samuel 12:3-4 GWT). When those who've known you best for four decades can say that about you, you did it right. And that's as good as it gets! So what now? Don't wrestle with whether or not to be honest. Be honest - it's totally worth it!

Soulfood: Gal 1-3, Matt 12:22-37, Ps 101, Prov 13:20-23

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Encourage your pastor



'The elders who lead...well should receive double honour, especially...by speaking and teaching.' 1 Timothy 5:17 NCV

A mother watched her son drain of energy as the week went on. By the end of the week he'd lost his desire to get out of bed. She heard his alarm go off again and again; he just kept punching the snooze button. Finally, she walked in and said, 'Son, it's time to get up.' He peeked out from under the covers, 'Can you give me three good reasons to get up?' She said, 'Yes. First, it's Sunday - time for church. Second, you're 43 years old and you know better. Third, you're the pastor and they expect you to be there.' Your pastor is always on call. He needs encouragement. Give him some!Richard DeHann writes, 'Here are some creative ways a church can get rid of their pastor. First, you could look him straight in the eye while he's preaching and say 'Amen,' and he'll preach himself to death in a few weeks. Or you could acknowledge his good points, and he'll probably work himself into the grave by the end of the year. Or you could dedicate your life to Christ and ask him to give you a job, such as winning others to Christ, and there's a good chance he'll die immediately of heart failure. Or you could get the whole church to unite in prayer behind him, and soon he'll become so effective that some larger church will take him off your hands and you won't have to worry about it anymore.' So what now? Encourage your pastor (or elder/youth leader).

Soulfood: Lk 24:50-53, Acts 1:1-11, Eph 4:7-10,

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No additives



'By his doing you are in Christ Jesus...' 1 Corinthians 1:30 NAS

A food company released the perfect cake mix. It required no additives. Just mix some water with the powder, pop into the oven and prepare yourself for a treat. One problem surfaced; nobody bought it. Puzzled, the manufacturer conducted surveys, identified the problem and reissued the cake with a slight alteration - add one egg. Sales skyrocketed.Why are we like that? What makes us want to add to what's already complete? Paul asked the same question. Legalists angered him by adding their work to Christ's finished work. Not much, just one small rule 'you must be circumcised to be saved' (see Acts 15:24). How does Paul respond? With a verbal blowtorch! 'Watch out for those who do evil...[dogs] who demand to cut the body' (Philippians 3:2 NCV). 'Evil,' 'dogs.' We dismiss legalists as harmless; after all, they promote morality. They don't dismiss Christ, they trust in him a lot. But - they don't trust in him alone! They look at the cross and say 'Great work, Jesus. Sorry you couldn't finish it, but I'll take up the slack.' So Paul writes, '...how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again' (Galatians 4:9 NIV)?Legalism is miserable because legalism is endless. It leaves you with the anxiety that having done everything you know, you might not have done enough. So what now? Can your efforts make you more worthy of salvation? No, it's not about what you do, it's about what he's already done! No additives!

Soulfood: Judg 19:16 - 21:25, Matt 12:15-21, Ps 128, Prov 13:17-19

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Be yourself and reveal God's glory



'...Before all the people I must be glorified.' Leviticus 10:3 NKJ

At the end of his life, Jesus declared his mission a success by saying 'I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do' (John 17:4 NIV). David writes, 'Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory...' (Psalm 115:1 AMP). The breath you take each day is given to you for one reason: to 'reflect the Lord's glory...' (2 Corinthians 3:18 GWT).Before Moses was qualified to lead Israel he prayed, '...show me your glory' (Exodus 33:18 NCV). When our deepest desire is not the things of God, or the favour of God, but God himself, we cross a threshold. Less self-focus, more God-focus. Less about us; more about him. It's a truth we must constantly remind ourselves of: ...'God made all things, and everything continues through him and for him. To him be the glory forever' (Romans 11:36 NCV)! '...There is only one God, the Father, who created everything, and we exist for him...' (1 Corinthians 8:6 NLT).Why does the earth spin? For him. Whose Word matters? His. Whose will must be done? His, not ours. God's to-do list consists of one item: 'Reveal my glory.' So what now? Ever wondered why you have the talents and abilities that you have? God gave them to you, so that you can reveal who he is to the world through them. Your creativity, your passion, your love for people, your intellect, your zany sense of humour - don't be afraid to be you to bring glory to the one who created you.

Soulfood: Judg 16:1 - 19:15, Matt 12:1-14, Ps 45, Prov 13:13-16

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Learn to delegate



'Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labour.' Ecclesiastes 4:9 NIV

Snoopy is lying on top of his famous doghouse, complaining that there's too much to do. In the final frame of the cartoon, he sighs, 'I hate being head beagle!' If you like the privileges of being head beagle but not the responsibilities, you probably haven't learned the scriptural art of delegation (Acts 6:1-6).Why are we unable (or unwilling) to delegate? (1) Fear of losing authority. Some of us would rather look for compliant people to implement our wishes. (2) Fear of work being done poorly. In some cases you're right! But often our hang-up is not being willing to allow others to work their way. (3) Fear of work being done better. That's pride! We should surround ourselves with people who have the potential to do an even better job, then our work will outlive us. (4) Unwillingness to take the necessary time. Sometimes we just want to get the job done and have too little patience to wait for others to learn and become capable. (5) Lack of training and positive experience. Nobody ever believed enough in us to delegate stuff to us, so we learned to work as independents. That can be fatal.Theodore Roosevelt said, 'The best leader is the one who has sense to pick good people to do what he or she wants done, and enough self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.' So what now? Learn to delegate to others. Put pride and independence aside and allow others to shine and be successful with you. It's also more fun to share.

Soulfood: Judg 12-15, Matt 11:20-30, Ps 47, Prov 13:11-12

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'With my teeeeeeeeeeeeth'



'...that we might not rely on ourselves but on God...' 2 Corinthians 1:9 NIV

Four guys decided to go mountain climbing. In the middle of the climb one fellow slipped over a cliff, dropped about sixty feet and landed with a thud on the ledge below. The other three, hoping to rescue him, yelled, 'Joe, are you ok?' He replied, 'I'm alive, but I think I broke both my arms.' The three said, 'We'll toss a rope down to you and pull you up.' 'Fine,' answered Joe. After dropping one end of the rope they started tugging, working feverishly to pull their wounded friend to safety. When they had him about three-quarters of the way up, they suddenly remembered that he said he'd broken both his arms. 'Joe! If you broke both of your arms, how in the world are you hanging on?' Jaw taut, Joe responded, 'With my teeeeeeeeeeeeth!'Some days the best we can do is just hang on by the skin of our teeth. Even the strongest and wisest amongst us have times when we don't have the answers and can't see the way forward; all we can do is look up and trust God to pull us through - and he does. That's where Paul was when he wrote, '...But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead' (2 Corinthians 1:9-10 NIV). So what now? If you're in a tight spot today, don't let go of the rope. If you have to, hang on by your teeth. Some things are just a job for God. Be still. Trust him and let him work.

Soulfood: Gen 2:7-25, 1 Cor 15:39-55

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