Tag: leaders

Will The Leaders Please Lead?

 Remember the day when leaders said things like “the buck stops here”(Truman) and “when you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat” (Reagan)?

And they meant it?

How about this one from General Douglas MacArthur? “A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.”

This nation has many people in leadership positions, but who is really leading? 

There are many vying for our votes, hoping to be the next President of the United States. They all say they’re leaders. But in what way are they leading?

In my opinion, much of what’s taking place today is because there’s a lack of leadership. Of course, in a society that pretty much buys into the “you do your thing, I’ll do mine” mentality, who’s going to get in front of that train and say, “Whoa!”?

Only a leader. 

But who wants to try and explain to the masses they’re heading the wrong direction, especially if it could cost them their job?

Only a leader.

Of course, it’s important for everyone to be accountable for their actions, say and do the right thing. No one gets a free pass, for we all will reap what we sow.

However, where nations, countries, or governments are concerned, it’s the leaders who are accountable to God.

In other words, those who stand and say, “I’m the leader”, will also have to give an answer to the One who put them in office and Who established governments in the first place.

And it’s the leader who must acknowledge before the Court of Heaven, “We have turned from Your ways, O God, to our own selfish ways. Forgive us, Righteous God, lead us in paths of righteousness. Protect us by Your might, Great God and King! In the Name of the matchless Son of God, Jesus. Amen.”

Throughout history, leaders such as Abraham, David, Jehoshaphat, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, and Franklin Roosevelt faced impossible odds. But as they led their people with humility and repentance before the Lord, God wrought miracles for their nations.

Though God had plans to destroy a major metropolis in Jonah’s day, when the king heard the prophet’s message and led his constituents in full scale repentance, God stopped the planned destruction.

“The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, ‘By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.’

“When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.” (Jonah 3:6-10 ESV)

Jeremiah wrote that the nation of Israel was being judged, exiled for 70 years in a foreign land.

Why? Because of Israel’s leaders. Her prophets, priests, and princes. 

It’s the way God established governments from the beginning. He put them in place for the benefit of His people, but also reserved the right to change things if necessary.

And it’s beginning to look as though it’s necessary.

So will the leaders please lead? Will those who blow about all their qualifications, and why they deserve the highest office in the land, please just lead this nation in humbling ourselves before the Mighty God?

Please?

Before it’s too late.

An Open Letter To Worship Teams (part 2)

20130225-192015.jpg

“Now after the death of Joshua it came to pass that the children of Israel asked the Lord, saying, “Who shall be first to go up for us against the Canaanites to fight against them?” And the Lord said, “Judah shall go up. Indeed I have delivered the land into his hand.” So Judah said to Simeon his brother, “Come up with me to my allotted territory, that we may fight against the Canaanites; and I will likewise go with you to your allotted territory.” And Simeon went with him. Then Judah went up, and the Lord delivered the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand; and they killed ten thousand men at Bezek. “Judges 1:1-4 NKJV

In the above passage of scripture, Judah was told to lead the battle against the Canaanites and the Perizzites. Most people understand the name, “Judah”, means “praise”. That’s one reason the idea of “praise” marching against the enemy is taught. But some people read this passage and believe God always sends His worship team into battle first. God has done such things a few times, but “few” doesn’t equal always.

The words Canaanite and Perizzite have meaning as well. Canaanite is “to humiliate” or “vanquish”. Perizzite means “open” or “unwalled”. In other words, “praise” was to go up against a formidable foe that had the reputation of humiliating and vanquishing all of their enemies. And if that wasn’t enough, the other half of the enemy combatants were so powerful they needed no walls of protection for their cities. They could defend their territory without anything but their ability to fight.

Worship can be, and is at times, used by the Lord to rout an enemy from a situation, a people group, a city, etc. An example can be seen in 2 Chronicles 20, in the story of King Jehoshaphat.

But for worship and praise to have Heaven’s Anointing upon it, it must have God’s Word, God’s direction, behind it.

If you are part of a worship team, you are in a critical, front line ministry. Notice I said worship team. I’m not talking about a group of singers and musicians who perform for their congregation during the “worship” part of a church service. I’m referring to a group of singers and musicians who, along with their leader, actually have their heart fixed on worshipping God, whether there’s music or not, whether the song is fast or slow. They worship God. And others follow their lead, right into Heaven’s Throne Room.

As I said, leading worship and ministering on a worship team is front line ministry. Worship, coupled with intercession (the two go hand in hand), has the ability to connect Heaven and Earth. God moves through the conduit of worship and touches those in need, those who are bound by afflictions or addictions, and brings deliverance. But one of the things a worship team must understand is, the Lord doesn’t necessarily use a packaged or planned worship set like we’d believe; for there’s nothing magical, or spiritual, about an arrangement of songs.

I keep track of worship “sets” I use. I do that for three reasons. One, in case someone would ask about a certain song used on a particular day or service. Two, to file a report with CCLI regarding song usage. And three, for my own reference in planning future worship times. These “sets” have been blessed by God, at times, to “bring Heaven down”. People have received from the Lord marvelously as our worship team sang and played the worship set.

However what worked before doesn’t guarantee future victories. Repeating a worship set doesn’t mean the automatic rerun of a previous “gully washer.”

Judah had an idea. I believe it was an idea we as worshippers need to adapt. Judah (praise) said to brother Simeon, “will you please help me?” Simeon means “hearing”. The picture behind the word isn’t just the physical act of hearing. It means “to hear with the intent of obeying”.

So “praise” said to “hearing, with the intent of obeying”, “please help me defeat these enemies who have the ability and the reputation of defeating all who rise against them.” “Hearing” agreed, and TOGETHER they cleared their land of the enemy.

When we as worship team members and leaders stand in front of a congregation, singing songs should be one of the last things we’re concerned with. Singing praises alone doesn’t automatically open windows for victory. We must keep our heart and mind sensitive to God’s voice, and to the leader’s heart (and the pastor’s).

When we unite praise and obedience to God’s voice we will see God’s Kingdom come and His will done in our world.

When I “plan” the songs for worship, I try and sense the Lord’s desire for the gathering. I’ll pick the songs, the keys, arrange the order, and submit the finished set to the pastor or sound personnel. But the songs aren’t set in stone. We may do some, all, or none of them.

What we will do, with the Spirit’s help, is join Judah and Simeon together – praising, listening, and obeying God.

THAT is when the enemy is routed and people are set free. THAT is when Heaven touches Earth. THAT is when Jesus is glorified!

It’s great to prepare worship sets. It’s great to practice vocal parts, instrumentals, tags, etc. It’s important to rehearse and “perform” the best we can.

But when it’s time to worship, don’t forget to listen to the Chief Musician’s heart. He just may have something other than singing planned.

There may be a Canaanite or Perrizite to drive out.

Union…Support

20121205-132942.jpg
Union-
“an act or instance of uniting or joining two or more things into one”

There are several aspects involved with defining the word “union”, but I think it’s really important to understand the “uniting” concept.

Usually I write about “spiritual” truths, and though this post will primarily apply to labor unions, there’s still a spiritual application to understand.

Whether with marriage, labor, or church, the concept of “uniting” to form one unit (union) out of two or more is the same. Each person that is “uniting” brings to the union all their strengths and weaknesses, answers and questions; in short, who they are and all they are. The union becomes a covenant relationship of sorts.

One major reason for uniting is support. Support FOR each one FROM each one in the union. The strengths of some support the weaknesses of others. Where one succeeds, all succeed. If one fails, it affects all in union. And though there may be personal preferences (which we all have) the success of the union takes precedence.

I have belonged to several labor unions throughout my life, I’ve been married for over 40 years, and I’ve been a Christian (in union with Christ) for 37 years. Each union requires my complete support and allegiance, otherwise the union is in jeopardy.

A few years ago while working for the Postal Service as a Station Manager, I messed up and forgot to do one of my duties. As I sat in front of my boss, answering for my actions, I was in shock by the lack of support I was getting. Finally I said, “I might as well go back to the carrier union; at least I’d get better support!”

Well, that’s where they sent me. Back to support. Back to the union.
(I really want to thank all my union brothers and sisters for their support, and for welcoming me back to their ranks.)

Being in union is more than paying dues, bills, or tithes. It is supporting one another for the benefit of the whole. So be it!

© 2012 Jan Grace

The Chef’s in the Kitchen…it’s pudding time!

20121204-205643.jpg
It’s called banana pudding, not bananas with pudding, vanilla wafers and bananas, or even vanilla extract and friends!

Now a recipe may have a main ingredient or two, like in banana pudding, but there are no “big chiefs”. The amount of each ingredient may vary, but every ingredient is necessary. As the pudding is created, everything is mixed together to make something all the ingredients individually could never make, even if they fasted and prayed for 40 days straight! Any ingredient, by themself, is just that; they are by themself. Regardless the amount of “schooling”, or the “heritage” they have, or even the “size of their cupboard”, they are only what they are and cannot be anything different unless mixed with something else. I’ve heard more than one box of wafers cry out, “Fill me without measure!”, yet the only One anointed without measure is The Chef. The ingredients must not think more highly of themselves than they should, and must realize they NEED each other.

Jesus prayed in John 17 for His Church to be one, AS He and the Father are one.

The Lord has all the ingredients to make up His “pudding”. There are bananas, milk, wafers, etc; prominent players and groups of players that are very evident. These are the churches and individuals who seem to be anointed to be “out front”. Then there are others, the supporting cast if you will, that aren’t very appealing to those around them. These are those within the Church that have smaller rolls, maybe believe a little different, do things a little odd (anyway, that’s what the banana told me), and have a hard time mixing with others. Actually, none of the ingredients can mix themselves! Even the best banana in the bunch cannot peel itself. And who really wants to take a knife to their hide and divide what they have just so someone else can be blessed! Don’t expect that from a vanilla wafer!

But the Lord is trying to get the ingredients together! I realize each one likes to hang out with their own bunch, or be in groups where the spoon is not so cold or harsh when it stirs, but you can’t taste the pudding if the ingredients are segregated.

I’ve recently been hanging around various and sundry ministers and ministries and this thought came to me: many are content to join with others when they have time and when they are with people who “taste” the same as they do. They keep to themselves, or their “own kind”, and fail to realize the flavor isn’t the same without them. Also, by keeping apart from others, they will rot or grow stale before they ever become what the Chef has in mind. 

There’s a verse in Hebrews 12 which says, “everything that can be shaken will be shaken.” Allow me to paraphrase-“The Chef has gotten the mixer out of the drawer and has plugged it in!” Kind of a scary thought, to be in the Lord’s mixing bowl. But what a joy when it comes time to lick the beaters…

As I said earlier, the Chef is moving in the Kitchen. He’s pulling the ingredients out of storage and cracking some eggs, cutting some bananas. The salt’s getting pinched, the flour sifted, and everyone is smelling the vanilla! The heat is rising on top of the stove and soon, very soon, the Chef will pick up each ingredient and use them AS HE SEES FIT.

This would be the best time to yield, to be ready to mix it up. For your finest hour is at hand; His Hand.

Forgive me, I have sinned

20121201-222813.jpg

Forgive me, for I have sinned.

I’ve been as guilty as the next person. As a matter of fact, I have just plain out and out sinned! “Oh no, brother, what have you done? Have you become trapped in pornography, or started smoking? Maybe you’ve started drinking again…”

No, something more serious than that, I’m afraid.

You see, I am someone who has talked about others, made them the butt end of jokes, and have helped sow discord when I, as a follower of Jesus, should have been sowing unity. I have secretly, and not so secretly, wanted certain people to fail because I don’t agree with their philosophy. I have spoken disparaging words against them and have failed to follow the words of Jesus completely by not praying for them.

You may say, “how could you act so bad?” “I thought you were a Christian!” “And you had the nerve to write a book about the power of encouragement!”

I’m sorry that I have let each one of you down. I let The Lord down, as well.

Most importantly I let President Obama down, along with his staff. Just because I don’t like his policies is no excuse for not praying and believing God for him. When I was a pastor I’m sure the congregation didn’t agree with all my opinions and decisions yet I expected them to pray for me anyway. No difference.

Joseph had a tough life, the children of Israel had it rough as well. Sometimes there were good rulers and sometimes the rulers were rotten. Daniel is an interesting study, as he said to the heathen king, “O king, live forever!” The early church had horrible persecution yet Paul told them to pray for their leaders.

I repent of my Obama jokes, posts, etc. My choice, now, is to be part of God’s solution rather than part of the problem. God HATES those who sow discord, and speaking ill of leadership is sowing discord.

The election is over! That doesn’t mean we just give in to every policy that our leaders come up with, but it does mean we do what God said in His Word. Pray. Believe God can change a heart, change a nation. Speak life, unity, peace, righteousness over our leaders and nation. We cannot speak ill and ugly of someone we carry regularly to God in prayer.

Righteousness exalts a nation. Prayer prepares the way for righteousness. May we be one nation under God.

%d bloggers like this: