Wisdom to Lead

The subject of “leadership” has been trampling through my mind in recent weeks. It started out there as a mostly tame creature more than 20 years ago but has rumbled into maturity over the past few years. It seems appropriate that now I turn my attention to it since I currently carry the title of “church planter.” I’m still not sure what that means exactly, and every day I feel as if I’m failing to live up to my role in our fledgling church.

Meanwhile, “leadership” has been on a rampage. As I work desperately to finish my seminary education this year I have found myself completely immersed in the subject of leadership. Ministry Leadership, Conflict in Ministry, and a Leadership Practicum have all challenged me from various angles, exposing my own shortcomings while at times also applying salve for my wounds.

This morning as I persevered through my time in the Bible I read 1 Kings 3. It wasn’t until some time later as I prayed and began my work day that that Old Testament story came to my mind again.

Do you remember it? God appeared to Solomon in a dream and said, “Ask what I shall give you.” Hello! If only God would appear to me and write me that blank check! I imagine Solomon was fairly amazed at the offer, as well. But here’s how he responded:

And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant David my father, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you. And you have kept for him this great and steadfast love and have given him a son to sit on his throne this day. And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?” (1 Kings 3:6–9, ESV)

Allow me to offer a clumsy paraphrase:

“God, you’ve always taken care of me and my family. You did more for my father than he deserved, and he did the best he could to follow you faithfully. Now you’ve placed me in his position to lead your people. But I don’t know how to lead them. They are too great, too many for me to take care of. Give me wisdom, God! Who can do this?!”

Solomon obviously realized that in his situation he would not be able to lead God’s people without divine help. He needed more than the standard anecdotes, conferences, videos, podcasts and books. Without the wisdom from God all the rest is just hot air.

I feel like I’m in the same place right now. I’ve been encouraged by a multitude of sources of “leadership” training, and I’m certainly not opposed to the help they offer. But what I need more than anything else is God’s help to lead God’s people. Like Solomon, I want to be a great leader of God’s people. I doubt I’ll ever have great influence over thousands of people, but I want to lead well, nonetheless. I thank God for the wisdom he gives for the task! Short of receiving divine offers in a dream I have only to ask God for wisdom, “who gives generously to all without reproach” (James 1:5, ESV). And I’ll need to keep on asking, since I need a lot of wisdom and am slow to learn.

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Bible Plan 2014 (Week 32)

Track 1

Judges 20; Acts 24

Judges 21; Acts 25

Ruth 1; Acts 26

Ruth 2; Acts 27

Ruth 3, 4; Acts 28

1 Samuel 1; Romans 1

1 Samuel 2; Romans 2

 

Track 2

Jeremiah 34; Psalms 5, 6

Jeremiah 35; Psalms 7, 8

Jeremiah 36, 45; Psalm 9

Jeremiah 37; Psalm 10

Jeremiah 38; Psalms 11, 12

Jeremiah 39; Psalms 13, 14

Jeremiah 40; Psalms 15, 16

Bible Plan 2014 (Week 31)

Track 1

Judges 13; Acts 17

Judges 14; Acts 18

Judges 15; Acts 19

Judges 16; Acts 20

Judges 17; Acts 21

Judges 18; Acts 22

Judges 19; Acts 23

 

Track 2

Jeremiah 26; Mark 12

Jeremiah 27; Mark 13

Jeremiah 28; Mark 14

Jeremiah 29; Mark 15

Jeremiah 30, 31; Mark 16

Jeremiah 32; Psalms 1, 2

Jeremiah 33; Psalms 3, 4

Bible Plan 2014 (Week 30)

Track 1

Judges 6; Acts 10

Judges 7; Acts 11

Judges 8; Acts 12

Judges 9; Acts 13

Judges 10; Acts 14

Judges 11; Acts 15

Judges 12; Acts 16

 

Track 2

Jeremiah 19; Mark 5

Jeremiah 20; Mark 6

Jeremiah 21; Mark 7

Jeremiah 22; Mark 8

Jeremiah 23; Mark 9

Jeremiah 24; Mark 10

Jeremiah 25; Mark 11

Bible Plan 2014 (Week 29)

Track 1

Joshua 23; Acts 3

Joshua 24; Acts 4

Judges 1; Acts 5

Judges 2; Acts 6

Judges 3; Acts 7

Judges 4; Acts 8

Judges 5; Acts 9

 

Track 2

Jeremiah 12; Matthew 26

Jeremiah 13; Matthew 27

Jeremiah 14; Matthew 28

Jeremiah 15; Mark 1

Jeremiah 16; Mark 2

Jeremiah 17; Mark 3

Jeremiah 18; Mark 4

Bible Plan 2014 (Week 28)

Track 1

Joshua 11; Psalm 144

Joshua 12, 13; Psalm 145

Joshua 14, 15; Psalms 146, 147

Joshua 16, 17; Psalm 148

Joshua 18, 19; Psalms 149, 150

Joshua 20, 21; Acts 1

Joshua 22; Acts 2

 

Track 2

Jeremiah 5; Matthew 19

Jeremiah 6; Matthew 20

Jeremiah 7; Matthew 21

Jeremiah 8; Matthew 22

Jeremiah 9; Matthew 23

Jeremiah 10; Matthew 24

Jeremiah 11; Matthew 25

Keys to Helping Others Discover Jesus, Part 5 – Fairness

How will you answer the difficult problem, “life’s not fair”? When people who are far from God see inequality and an imbalance of fairness in the world, how can we help them know that Jesus is our only hope for the future? The following blog is by Randy Adams, executive director of the Northwest Baptist Convention.

randyadamsdotorg

Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33b).

Warren Buffet tells a story, sometimes called The Ovarian Lottery, which speaks to the futility of the expectation of “fairness.” The story goes something like this. Suppose a genie came to you and told you that you can set the rules by which the world will operate for 100 years. You can set the economic rules, the political rules, tax laws, the legal system, the health care system, the educational structure, and every other system and regulation by which the world will operate.

That would be an extraordinary opportunity! But then the genie tells you that there is a catch. There’s always a catch! The genie says that after setting the rules you will cease to exist as the person you are, and you will be born into this world…

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Keys to Helping Others Discover Jesus, Part 4 – Justice

How can we help those who are far from God understand that their sense that things need to be “made right” in the world comes from the God who created them? How can we help them see that Jesus is the answer to the justice they seek? The following blog is by Randy Adams, executive director of the Northwest Baptist Convention.

randyadamsdotorg

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:25f).

Jesus said, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats” (Matthew 25:31f).

If there is no God, who both knows what is right and has the power to effect the right in a final resurrection and judgment, then Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Chairman Mao and every other wicked, murderous tyrant are the winners, while their victims, many of whom were women and children, are the losers. If there is no God, then life is about winners…

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Bible Plan 2014 (Week 27)

Track 1

Joshua 4; Psalms 129-131

Joshua 5; Psalms 132-134

Joshua 6; Psalms 135, 136

Joshua 7; Psalms 137, 138

Joshua 8; Psalm 139

Joshua 9; Psalms 140, 141

Joshua 10; Psalms 142, 143

 

Track 2

Isaiah 64; Matthew 12

Isaiah 65; Matthew 13

Isaiah 66; Matthew 14

Jeremiah 1; Matthew 15

Jeremiah 2; Matthew 16

Jeremiah 3; Matthew 17

Jeremiah 4; Matthew 18

Bible Plan 2014 (Week 26)

Track 1

Deuteronomy 30; Psalm 119:73-96

Deuteronomy 31; Psalm 119:97-120

Deuteronomy 32; Psalm 119:121-144

Deuteronomy 33, 34; Psalm 119:145-176

Joshua 1; Psalms 120-122

Joshua 2; Psalms 123-125

Joshua 3; Psalms 126-128

 

Track 2

Isaiah 57; Matthew 5

Isaiah 58; Matthew 6

Isaiah 59; Matthew 7

Isaiah 60; Matthew 8

Isaiah 61; Matthew 9

Isaiah 62; Matthew 10

Isaiah 63; Matthew 11