Dear Friends,

I have begun a new series on Leadership Principles from God’s Word at
our Friday Morning Men’s Fellowship that meets at Chili’s in Tucker.
Come join us if you are in the area. Ken Boa is a contributing editor to a new
Bible by Zondervan on Leadership. The teachings are on forty-four different
topics on leadership for personal development (humility, commitment, character,
etc.), personal skills (communicating vision, conflict management, etc.) and
relationships (power and influence, servant leadership, etc.) The teaching notes
are excellent and the main value is that they come directly from God’s

The first topic is character. The order is very appropriate for as Howard Hendricks
says: “Learning leadership skills without developing godly character only
makes a man a better rip-off artist.” So as Christians a good prayer to
pray is: “Lord, never give me more power and influence than my character
can handle.” The teachings always begin by seeing from the Scriptures
how God manifests the various leadership principles and then how we are to manifest
these principles by learning from God and His people in the Bible. Godly leaders
cultivate character by acquiring wisdom through diligently searching the Scriptures
to find the hidden treasures of God’s truth and praying for God to open
their spiritual eyes for revelation knowledge. (Ephesians 1:18) These truths
help us make right choices that shape our character. In Proverbs 2:1-11 we see
the effort required to find wisdom (“call out for, cry aloud for, look
for as silver, search for as hidden treasure”). What is wisdom from God’s
perspective? The skill (bringing order to) of living life God’s way –
or bringing moral and relational order/harmony out of moral and relational chaos.
And wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord (v.5). Simply put, the fear of the
Lord is when we know that all of our choices and actions have consequences,
good or bad, both for this life and especially for eternity.

As we diligently search the Scriptures we see the character of our God. Let’s
look at His character in one particular passage, Exodus 34:6-7. God revealed
His Name as Yahweh, the Lord God, (Jehovah-El, KJV – Good and Great) the almighty
God and the covenant keeping God with His people. Then He revealed His character
(glory) in response to Moses’ prayer (Exodus 33:18-19) to see His glory.
(This is a great prayer, by the way.) God revealed that He is compassionate
(merciful – the first need sinful man has); gracious (kind), getting far more
than we deserve; slow to anger (long-suffering, patient); “abounding”
in love (extraordinarily loving) and faithfulness (extraordinarily faithful
to love us); forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. And He is just and holy
– punishing the guilty and unrepentant (unbelievers –hell). God
is the standard for all these character qualities, so we are to forgive as He
forgives, love as He loves, etc., as Jesus says in Matthew 5:44-48.

Becoming like our Lord is only possible through the new birth and His power
working in us to enable us to grow from glory to glory and reflect His character.
(2 Corinthians 3:18) And Peter tells us that since we have God’s power
within us we can grow (add to our faith) in the character qualities that manifest
our Lord’s character. "His divine power has given us everything we
need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his
own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious
promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and
escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason,
make every effort (Grace is opposed to earning, but not opposed to effort –
Philippians 2:12-13) to add to your faith goodness (moral excellency);
knowledge (spiritual knowledge; Ephesians 1:17-19); self-control (our passions
and desires are under God’s control/rule); perseverance (endurance under
adversity – never quit following Jesus); godliness (reverence toward God);
brotherly kindness (practical care for others); love (agape), desiring a person’s
highest good (salvation, spiritual growth, Christlike character, eternal rewards.)
For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you
from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus
Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has
forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. Therefore, my brothers,
be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do
these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into
the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 1:3-11)
Spiritual growth, conformity to Jesus and increasing fruitfulness is “normal”
but carnal Christianity is abnormal. (See vv. 8-11) God uses trials to test
and refine our character by breaking our pride and self-sufficiency. Look at
Peter before and after God’s sifting, breaking, shaping and restoration.
(See Luke 22:31, 54-62; John 21:15-17) God is relentless in finishing what He
started (Philippians 1:6) and conforming us to the image of His Son. (Ephesians
4:13; Romans 8:29) Jesus graciously restored Peter by offsetting Peter’s
three denials with three statements of commissioning (“feed my sheep”).
We can’t speed up the breaking and shaping process but we can retard it
by hardness of heart. (So one more time around the mountain – deeper trials)

Paul gives us a vision for godly character in Philippians 4:8-9: “Finally,
brothers, whatever is true (versus dishonesty), whatever is noble (worthy of
respect), whatever is right (in conformity to God’s Word), whatever is
pure (moral purity), whatever is lovely (beautiful), whatever is admirable (speaking
well of others – constructive), -if anything is excellent (in activities and
in report from others) or praiseworthy (from others)–think about such things
(reflect upon and then allow these things to change your conduct.) Whatever
you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into
. And the God of peace will be with you.” (We lose God’s
peace if we are not truthful, pure, admirable, etc.) Paul says imitate me as
I imitate Jesus (See 1 Corinthians 11:1). Our life speaks louder than our words
(the power of modeling). “It would be a convenient arrangement if we were
so constituted that we could not talk better than we live.” (A.W. Tozer)
“Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider
the outcome of their way of life
and imitate their faith.”
(Not their personality, or their ministry, or their techniques.) Jesus Christ
is the same yesterday and today and forever." (Hebrews 13:7-8) Jesus is
The Role Model. Fix your eyes on Him. In Jesus, we see that His being (character)
preceded His doing and His doing preceded His speaking.

Who are you betting on? Malcolm Forbes of Forbes magazine, says he
doesn’t bet on the horse but on the jockey. And in business investments,
he doesn’t bet on the corporation but on the CEO (i.e., his integrity
and character). Are you betting on God? Are you putting all your hopes in Him,
His integrity, His character, His commitment to keep His promises to you, to
keep His Word? From our study we see that God is the most admirable Person in
the world. Why do you think people don’t admire Him, and love, trust,
follow and desire to emulate Him, above all others? As Dr. Bill Bright said
in one of his last interviews before going to be with Lord: “Many Christians
only have a superficial knowledge of the Lord. How can you love, trust and therefore
obey Someone you don’t truly know? Make it your highest priority in life
to know the Lord as He really is and then you will joyfully love and serve Him
with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.”

A.W. Tozer in his book, Born After Midnight, gives us seven provoking
questions to help us know ourselves and how our character may or may not reflect
Jesus’ character as a Man. What do you want most out of life? What do
you think about most in your life? How do you use your money? What do you do
with your leisure time, discretionary time? Who is the company you most enjoy?
Whom do you admire? What do you laugh at? May our prayer and our commitment
be that of Paul’s: "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection
and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death".
(Philippians 3:10)

Until He comes,
Len and Kristen

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