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Solomon’s Wisdom: Beginning With the End in Mind – Leadership Lesson

Solomon’s Wisdom: Beginning With the End in Mind – Leadership Lesson

For today’s lesson, we will have a guest lecturer. He happens to be the smartest person who ever lived. It might be good to confess up front that it’s often hard to be in the room with the smartest person, especially if they look down on you. (view video below)

Today we are learning from someone much smarter than a rocket scientist or a brain surgeon, and thankfully he doesn’t look down. Instead, he writes down all the mistakes he made, so you and I can avoid wasting our lives investing in emptiness.

Our guest speaker is Solomon. His wisdom comes from the book of Ecclesiastes. The book is jammed with great leadership advice, but today let me offer just a few highlights from chapters 1 and 2.

Solomon tells us: Begin with the end in mind!

(Read Ecclesiastes 1:2-3) The word “Vanity” is used 38 times in the book. “Vanity” means “Vapor”. If all you do is live your life “under the sun” then it’s vanity. Its like chasing a soap bubble. Its shiny, but even if you catch it, it ends up being empty.

Solomon has some vivid descriptions throughout the book:

Read Ecclesiastes 1:5 – Life under the sun is like a giant treadmill. You work, you sweat, but you don’t get anywhere.

Read Ecclesiastes 1:4 and Ecclesiastes 1:11 – Generations come and go, like waves on a sea shore thinking they are leaving their mark. But they actually recede quickly and nobody remembers them. In one hundred years, very few people on planet earth will ever know you existed.

Not long ago, I assisted in cleaning out a 90 year old woman’s house who had recently died. In just a couple of days, all of the furnishings were donated to the Rescue Mission, the inside was painted, and the house was sold. It was as if the woman never existed.

By the time you finish the opening poem in the book (verses 2-11), it’s so depressing that you are desperately searching for a bottle of Prozac! Yet, Solomon is very smart. Over and over in his book he presses the reader up against the brevity of life, the futility of wisdom, the emptiness of pleasure, and the meaninglessness of work. It’s like he is singing the repetitive chorus of “Vanity, Vanity!”

Solomon is demolishing in order to rebuild. He’s demolishing an empty way of thinking. Once we stop pretending that what is mortal is enough for us, only then do we have the capacity for the eternal. The depressing conclusion to the poem is designed to draw you into an awareness of and dependence on someone beyond the sun.

The end of the matter” (Read Ecclesiastes 12:13-14) You see, there is life after our brief lives under the sun. Each one of us will, one day, stand before God who will judge how we lived. So it actually matters how you live. It is not all vanity! “Fear God and keep his commandments . . . this is the whole duty of man.” We must live our lives with the end in mind.

Pleasure as a Goal is Vanity

We can see by the way Solomon outlines the rest of his letter that he is anticipating push back. So, he begins by answering the skeptic who falsely believes that there can be ultimate meaning and satisfaction in personal pleasure.

Here us the motto for the one who desires personal pleasure: “Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure.”This sounds like the immortal words from the 80’s rock band, The Cars. It is like Solomon is saying “Let the Good Times Roll.” In chapter 2, there are 5 stops on Solomon’s “Let the Good Times Roll” tour.

Stop 1 – Entertainment

(Read Ecclesiastes 2:2 and Ecclesiastes 2:8)

Here is a wealthy king at a grand party, surrounded by treasure chests full of gold and silver, encircled by beautiful women, entertained by the best musicians, the envy of everyone. You can hear people saying, “He’s got it made”.

Yet, Solomon’s conclusion in Ecclesiastes 2:11 says the end of the entertainment rainbow held not a pot of gold, but instead emptiness.

In 1985, Neil Postman wrote a landmark book titled: Amusing Ourselves to Death. In the book, Postman makes the case that the future of our society will look less like George Orwell’s vision in his book: 1984 and more like Aldous Huxley’s vision in his book: Brave New World. Postman argued that the public will not be oppressed by the State (Orwell – vision) instead the public will be oppressed by their addiction to amusement.

“What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture. Huxley stated: Those who fear State control have “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.”

You know what Solomon would have said to Neil Postman: “There is nothing new under the sun.” People have been trying to amuse themselves to death for 1000’s of years. It has always terminated in “Vanity”.

Here is a story from my saddest counseling session. There was a newly married couple with a lot of tension. The beautiful young girl was trying to save the marriage, but the guy wouldn’t give up his video games. Later, I found out they got a divorce, but he got to keep playing video games.

Stop 2 – Wine

(Read Ecclesiastes 1:3)

If entertainment alone doesn’t work, then let’s add alcohol. Let’s use whatever substance or pill that will anesthetize us from the pain in
this world.

A few of you might remember the old beer commercial slogans: “It doesn’t get any better than this.” That’s what Solomon believed. The commercial practically plagiarizes Ecclesiastes 2:3.

Stop 3 – Work

Solomon was gifted as intellectually as he was monetarily, so he puts his intellect and money to work with an almost God-like creativity.

(Read Ecclesiastes 2:4-7)

Notice the maximum use of personal pronouns: “I made, I built, for myself, I made myself, I made myself…….AND (vs. 7) When he can’t get enough done by himself, for himself, he buys and owns people to make them work for him.

Stops 4 & 5 – Wealth and Women

To get a picture of his wealth and women I want to read a description of Solomon’s life from I Kings 10 & 11:

“Then the king made a great throne inlaid with ivory and overlaid with fine gold. The throne had six steps. On both sides of the seat were armrests, with a lion standing beside each of them. Twelve lions stood on the six steps, one at either end of each step. Nothing like it had ever been…All King Solomon’s goblets were gold….. Nothing was made of silver, because silver was considered of little value in Solomon’s days..Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. The whole world sought audience with Solomon – Solomon loved many foreign women..He had 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines”

Entertainment, Wine, Work, Wealth, Women – Solomon had it all. If he were alive today he would be a regular face on the cover on Fortune magazine. Our culture would be drooling, saying: “If only I could live like him.”

But what us the end result? When the preacher reaches the end of the “Let the Good Time Roll” tour, what does he conclude?

Answers:

  • Vanity – Ecclesiastes 2:11
  • Hate – Ecclesiastes 2:18
  • Despair – Ecclesiastes 2:20

On February 2, 2014, Oscar winning actor Philip Seymor Hoffman failed to pick up his three children. They went to check on him in his $10,000 month rented apartment in New York City and they found him lying on his bathroom floor in boxers and a t-shirt. He had a needle stuck in his arm, dead at 46. In a haunting quote from an interview in 2013, Hoffman said, “There is no pleasure that I haven’t actually made myself sick on.”

If all there is, is what’s under the sun, if there isn’t something or someone bigger, someone above the sun… then Solomon tells us it all terminates in vanity, hatred, despair, and even death.

Solomon’s despair is not intended to be the last stop on the tour. No, he is kindly using despair to draw us out of ourselves and into dependence on God. He’s demolishing false hopes in order to rebuild on an eternal foundation. Only when we stop pretending that what is created is enough, only then will be have the capacity for the creator.

Conclusion

Read Ecclesiastes 2:24-26. Please notice that these things are not taken away when you enter into a relationship with God. These are all good things that actually come from the hand of God!

24 There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, 25 for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? 26 For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind. 

Ecclesiastes 2:24-26 ESV

But (vs. 25), they are not to be consumed “apart from Him.” They are to be enjoyed according to his boundaries. If you use them for your chief end and not his, you make yourself sick on every pleasure. It’s Vanity.

Questions:

1. Why is it important to keeping the end in mind every day? How do you do it?

2. Of the 5 stops on the “Let the Good Times Roll” tour – Entertainment, Wine, Work, Wealth & Women: Which stop is the most tempting for You?

3. This morning you have had a counseling session with the smartest business leader in the world: What one thing to you want to take away?

Friends and Brothers,

Paul Phillips Signiture

 

 

 

Paul Phillips

Pastor, Christ Community Church
www.ironleader.org
paul@cccwnc.com

Iron Leader Update – Ron Edmonson, Tim Challies, and Millenials

Iron Leader Update – Ron Edmonson, Tim Challies, and Millenials

Iron Leaders,

Ron Edmondson (ronedmondson.com) has a good website about leadership you might want to add to your favorites list. Below is one of his blog posts about Traits of Courageous Leaders. Tim Challies (challies.com) also has a great website and his article on Sexual Detox is a must-read for men in leadership. On a less serious note, enjoy the video about Millennials.

I look forward to seeing you this Friday, January 20 at 6:30 AM or at 6:00 AM for the Daily Office.

Friends and Brothers,

Paul Phillips Signiture
Paul Phillips
Pastor, Christ Community Church
www.ironleader.org
paul@cccwnc.com

 

Saul’s Disobedience and its Consequences – Leadership Lesson

Saul’s Disobedience and its Consequences – Leadership Lesson

As we begin our first lesson in 2017. Let’s review where we left off in 2016:

  • Moses: Leads the people of God out of Egypt and Slavery
  • Joshua: Military general who leads them into the Promised Land
  • Judges: Gideon (Judges 2:11-12 – Read) “The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals. They abandoned the Lord….instead they went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them.” **They preferred to follow the ways of the world around them rather than be Obedient to God. **This disobedience set up a sad spiral which ended: Judges 21:25“In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”

So – When you turn from Judges to Samuel (the last Judge), you could say Israel was looking for a leader. The leader they chose, was Saul.

Unfortunately, Saul continued the sad spiral of disobedience. This clip is a good example of the childishness of blatant disobedience:

The greatest challenge in leadership is Self-Leadership. The hardest person to lea is the person you stare at in the mirror every morning. We all have preferences, impulses, and desires. They strongly influence our leadership. (We want ice cream!) But Christian Leadership requires obedience to God’s preferences, impulses, and desires above your own! The failure of obedience can have heavy consequences, much more than being taken to your room.

1. Fatal Beginning: I Samuel 8:4-7 (Read)

The Elders (the Leaders) uncoupled themselves from God’s leadership.
They decided instead to obey their own desires – their voice/their
desires will be King. (This is a repeat of Genesis 3 when desires become King)

Samuel’s Warning (1 Samuel 8:10-18)

God warns his people through the prophet Samuel that the leader they elect will bring trials upon them. The phrase “He will take” is repeated in verses 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17.

He will take:

  • Your sons
  • Your daughters
  • The best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards
  • A tenth of your grain
  • Your male and female servants, and your donkeys
  • A tenth of your flocks…and you shall be his slaves.

This is important: Whenever you uncouple your life from God and listen to another voice, that voice takes. He will take.

John 10:10 – “I have come that they may have life, and to have it to the full…the thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy…(i.e. to take).

Samuel 8:18 – Just hold on to that, there will be a day when you cry out and the LORD will not answer!

People’s Response (1 Samuel 8:19-20)

Even after God’s warning, the people respond – “No, we don’t want God as our King, we want what we want, we want to be like everyone else. Just like the kid in the movie, “We want ice cream!”

The LORD’s Response (1 Samuel 8:22)

Verse 22 is such a scary and sobering voice. The Lord said to Samuel: “Obey their voice.” Let them lead. “Make them a king.” Give them a king in their own image. One who is emotionally immature, a king who will easily uncouple himself from God’s instruction.

2. Saul’s Downward Spiral of Leadership

It is worth noticing in 1 Samuel 9:1-2 that Saul is wealthy, handsome, and tall. These are all of the external qualities the world is looking for in a leader. Yet, it is not those qualities which make great leaders.

Saul’s 1st Leadership Test – Chapter 13

Samuel (representing God’s voice) tells Saul to go to Gilgal and prepare to fight against the Philistines. Saul is instructed to wait 7 days for Samuel to arrive. When Samuel arrives, he is supposed to give an offering (seeking the Lord’s favor in battle) and give instruction to Saul.

So here is the real leadership test. It is not the fight against the enemy (Philistines), the real fight is against himself. Will Saul obey they voice of the Lord or will he “eat the ice cream?”

Question: As a leader, are you willing to be led by God’s Word, even when you have to wait? Even when it looks like things are falling apart and people are abandoning you? Even when everyone else is doing business another way? When those things happen, who’s voice do you obey? This is a constant challenge!

Read 1 Samuel 13:8-11 – This is oh so painful. So familiar to times in my own life! In verse 10, if he had just waited a little. In verse 11, he is skilled in blame shifting. He says “I saw,” meaning that he follows what he sees, not God’s instructions. He blames the people, then Samuel, and then the Philistines. Everyone gets thrown under the bus, except Saul! In verse 12, he says “So I forced myself”. In other words: it was difficult to go against God’s word, but I forced myself. Saul uncouples himself from God’s Word.

Back to the key point, your biggest enemy is yourself!

A Second Similar Test – Chapter 15

Who’s word will Saul obey? Samuel gives Saul specific instructions to destroy the wicket Amalekites. “Saul, go to war and don’t bring anything back.”

Saul’s response is in 1 Samuel 15:9. Saul keeps the king (Agag) and the best of the livestock alive. Verse 12 tells us that after the battle, Saul sets up a monument to himself. His voice, his desires are king. 1 Samuel 15:19-21 display so many poor leadership traits: Blame shifting, the fear of man, and a disconnect between his leadership and those he leads.

Here’s an illustration: Long ago, when my son Zachary was little, I saw there was a broken pot in our house. I asked my wife if she broke the pot. She said no. At this point, I knew it was Zachary so I asked him, “Did you break the pot?” “No,” he said. A few seconds went by, and then he said, “…but my foot did.” We blame shift so easily, but good leaders take responsibility for themselves and their people.

1 Samuel 15:23b is the LORD’s response. “Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you from being king.”

Chapter 18

Following David’s defeat of Goliath (Read vs. 6-9), Saul’s emotionally immaturity intensifies. Saul’s childish response is so incredibly unattractive. He drifts further from God. Saul is uncoupled from God’s word and is slowly being destroyed.

Chapter 28

Saul is nearing the end of his reign. He is now completely uncoupled from God’s voice and under great pressure from the Philistines.

Read 1 Samuel 28:5-6. Saul doesn’t cry out to repent, he doesn’t cry out for a restored relationship with God. No, he cries out for rescue. He is only concerned about himself. Recall 1 Samuel 8:18. God did not answer him in that day.

Read 1 Samuel 28:7 . Saul, who once forced himself to go against God’s Word now easily consults a Medium, a Necromancer.

Leaders, please listen. Sin, when left unchecked, grows. When you uncouple yourself from God’s word, it may seem like a small thing in the beginning. But when left unchecked, it is catastrophic.

Chapter 31

Saul commits suicide. John 10:10. The enemy wins. Saul’s total destruction. The failure of obedience can have some heavy consequences. Saul loses himself, his sons, and a nation.

Questions

1. If your greatest enemy is yourself (self leadership), then what area of Self-leadership do you need to focus on in 2017? Do you have a real plan to work on that area?

2. Saul was:

  • A blame-shifter
  • Afraid of what others thought
  • Refused to take personal responsibility for personal mistakes
  • Emotionally Immature (Jealous of David’s victory).

In your mind, which one of these is the most unattractive leadership quality? Why?

3. How does God’s Word affect your everyday leadership style and decision making?

Friends and Brothers,

Paul Phillips Signiture
Paul Phillips
Pastor, Christ Community Church
paul@cccwnc.com

 

 

How I Work: An Interview with Trevin Wax – TGC

How I Work: An Interview with Trevin Wax – TGC

Iron Leaders, for the next few weeks leading up to 2017, I am going to send you some articles on time management or productivity.  The Lord teaches us to number our days and that our days are like a mist so we want to use our time wisely.  I hope you benefit from these articles and prepare to get the most out of 2017. Read How I Work: An Interview with Trevin Wax

Paul Phillips Signiture

Paul Phillips
Pastor, Christ Community Church
www.ironleader.org
paul@cccwnc.com

Leadership When Things Look Impossible – Leadership Lesson

Leadership When Things Look Impossible – Leadership Lesson

Several times it looks like it’s “over” for the Iguana. The odds of survival seem impossible. In the book of Joshua, Gideon has to lead through what looks like impossible circumstances. Gideon wasn’t perfect but his faith in God put him into the: “Faith Hall of Fame” – Hebrews 11: “By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell . . . And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, Samuel, David and the prophets…”

Gideon had to learn by Faith, not by Strength

Background:

Joshua lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. When Joshua died, there was a vacuum in leadership. (Judges 2:11-12) “The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals. They abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them. And they provoked the Lord to anger. They abandoned the Lord and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth.” This is what happens when there is no one to lead people toward God.

“Everything rises and falls on leadership, everything.”

John Maxwell

A pattern begins to develop in the book of Judges: The people rebel against
God. They suffer, they cry out, and God sends a Judge (Military Leader) to
rescue them.

Judges 6:1-10: For a period of 7 years the Midianites would invade during harvest season and swallow up all of Israel’s resources. The Israelites were so afraid of the them that they lived in caves: (Read vs. 1-6a – Israel was brought very low).

This already looks like an impossible situation. (Just like the Iguana. Before anything happens, it looks like the odds are against him!) In reality, this is a great moment for God to be noticed! God is looking for leaders who will rise up and point people to Him in the midst of Oppression, Poverty & Fear.

3 Snapshots of Gideon learning to lead by Faith, not by Strength

1.  Judges 6:11-16.

Gideon doesn’t start out looking like a strong candidate for leadership:

  • vs. 11 – Gideon is hiding
  • vs. 13 – Gideon blames God
  • vs. 15 – Gideon doesn’t see himself as capable (He is the least – and least qualified)

Yet, the main person to focus on in these verses is not Gideon – but God! Romans 8:31 – “If God is for us, who can be against us?”

  • vs. 12 – When God is involved, he sees things that are so much bigger than we can see about ourselves. Gideon’s self assessment might have been correct, but Gideon wasn’t adding God into his equation.
  • vs. 16 – “I will be with you” – If that’s true, that’s all that matters. “Be strong and courageous,” Why? “because the Lord your God is with you wherever you go!”

So the first part of leading by Faith and not by (personal) strength – is absolute trust God is in the equation.  Then, impossible circumstances can be faced.

Most biblical leadership doesn’t come as a result of self-promotion. Those who tried to self-promote were told to get in the back of the line: to be servants. (The disciples – “How can we be first or great?”)

Leadership so often comes as a disruption to our plans. You see this so often in the Bible. God t-bones someone to move and lead in a different direction than they had planned. For example, Gideon was just trying to feed his family and stay out of the Midianites’ sight.

2. Judges 6:25-32

Let’s remember, what was Gideon’s ultimate assignment? His first assignment was this: to conquer the evil in his own house. 6:25-26a – “Pull down idols . . . and build on top an altar to the LORD”

This is so important as a leader. The biggest problem Gideon faced was not the Midianites, it was his own people! Recall Judges 2:11-12 – “The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals . . .They abandoned the Lord”

Before you take on external enemies, please examine potential problems in your own soul. Our leadership is often limited because we can’t lead ourselves!

Now this request by God looks like another impossible situation. The people would be happy to have Gideon expose and defeat the Midianites, but they weren’t at all interested in having their own sin exposed and defeated! This is an enormous challenge in Self Leadership – you have to make changes that will make those closest to you uncomfortable.

Gideon clearly understands the risks (vs. 27). He was afraid, and for good reason! (vs. 30). Despite his fear, Gideon was faithful.

3. Judges 7:1-22

In chapter 6, Gideon wins the internal battle. Now is the time for the eternal battle against the Midianites. Gideon does what any military leader would do, he gathers an army: 32,000 men.

(Judges 7:2) “The Lord said to Gideon, “The people with
you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest
Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.'”

What a great verse! God is basically saying: “There is a problem here. 32,000 makes this situation look possible, so I need to reduce the umber to make the situation look impossible.” Why? The answer is in the text. You will make the victory about yourself! Your salvation is not about you, so God eventually reduces the number of soldiers to 300 (<1% of the original amount.) Now it’s impossible without God.

Instead of quitting, instead of complaining, Gideon faithfully trusts God and moves forward.

Questions

  1. How do you respond when the situation looks impossible?
  2. Is it possible that God wants you to begin a new leadership challenge by first examining the conditions of your own soul? What might need to be cut down in your life before you can move forward?
  3. Is there a leadership opportunity in 2017? Something God is calling you to that you might be resisting because it seems impossible?

Friends and Brothers,

Paul Phillips Signiture

 

 

 

Paul Phillips
Pastor, Christ Community Church
www.ironleader.org
paul@cccwnc.com

Too busy to read? General James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis doesn’t think so.

Too busy to read? General James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis doesn’t think so.

Just before Marine Gen. James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis was getting ready to deploy with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force to Iraq in early 2004, one of his colleagues asked him about officers who sometimes found themselves “too busy to read.”

The legendary general carted around a personal library of 6,000 books with him everywhere, and he had plenty to say on the topic. Read the full article here.

Adam in the Garden – Leadership Lesson

Adam in the Garden – Leadership Lesson

Sometimes videos capture exactly what you want to communicate: This is one of those videos – As you will see it’s not really about Leadership – yet I could spend several weeks focusing on some of the take away lines for what I am trying to accomplish in Iron Leadership.

Great Leaders – like Wolves caused a “Trophic Cascade”. Introducing something at top of the food chain which creates change all the way through the food chain, all the way to the bottom. They don’t personally change everything. Instead, they start a chain reaction which changes everything.

Great Leaders – like Wolves put things to death, yet that action leads to giving life to many others.

Leaders – like Wolves of Yellowstone have been absent for 70 years. Things were deteriorating because of their absence.

Great Leaders – like Wolves change patterns of behavior. They cause things to regenerate, and the growth is remarkable!

When Great Leaders – like Wolves, when introduced in small numbers can transform not just the ecosystem but also its physical geography. Wolves changed the Rivers! – A few Wolves changed a massive amount of landscape. This is my hope for Iron Leadership: Introducing just a few men into our culture, city, and churches can create a “Trophic Cascade”. Nothing is more needed as our culture rapidly deteriorates!

“To act like men” by: Equipping men to be better leaders in their own personal lives, their homes, their work, their churches and city for the sake of God’s Glory.”

Stated Purpose of Iron Leadership

This phrase: “Act like men” is lifted from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. The Apostle Paul closes his long and difficult letter with this phrase. The letter was difficult because the church at Corinth was a disorderly crowd (Politics, Power Struggles, Sexual Immorality, Lawsuits, and troubled marriages just to name a few reasons…Sounds like a fun church to lead!) — Although Paul addressed these challenges in the letter, he knows that when the letter is finished being read – the leaders in the church will not only have to face these issues head on, they will have to face PEOPLE head on. This will be an enormous leadership challenge. Paul knows the the challenge will require leaders to “Act like Men” – (An/drid/zo/mai) in the Greek.

One word in the Greek, no explanation. Paul assumes his readers will know that for some, it’s time to stop being children, it’s time to grow up, grow a spine, and step into God’s intended role: to be leaders.

Today, you’ll realize this phrase “Act like Men” is no longer politically correct. In a recent article from Princeton University, the Ivy League school banned the word “Man” from its vocabulary.

Here are suggested gender-neutral alternatives from the article:

Man Alternatives

 

So at Iron Leadership, we are swimming against the cultural tide as we learn how to “Act like men”. We believe the best place to learn how to act like men is by reading the Bible, examining the lives of men in the Bible (Good and Bad), and by being around other men.

This year we are going to walk through the entire Bible and examine leadership from different men: From Adam to Jesus, and later the Apostle Paul.

Adam’s Position as Leader

The Wolves video is perfect for this morning because Adam initiates a “Trophic Cascade” of epic proportions. His failure of Leadership initiated a cascade which has affected all of human history.

First, let me establish that Humanity (Male & Female) was given leadership over Creation. Creation is intended to thrive under man’s leadership (I realize humanity’s leadership is imperfect) but mankind is not equal to the rest of creation – we are unique & given unique responsibilities . We don’t worship the creation, we rule over it. This is important.

Biblical leadership is established in Genesis 1:26-28: “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over [all creatures]. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over [every living creature]”

Male and Female are created in the image of God and given the task of ruling. Bearing the image of God is to represent the authority of God. We serve as vice-regents over the creation.

Second, it was God’s good design to give unique leadership to Adam – Something not always affirmed, even in Christian circles. Here are 4 ways we see the unique leadership of Adam:

  1. The order of creation: Adam was created before Eve. This forms the foundation for the order of human relationships.
  2. The naming of woman: Adam was given the honor and responsibility of naming his wife. (Genesis 2:23). In the Bible, the person who names something is always the one who has authority over it. In creation, God named the night and the day, the expanse, the earth, and the waters. By naming them he showed his authority. Authority does not mean oppression or dictatorship!
  3. The primary accountability: God held Adam primarily accountable for the Fall. While Adam and Eve hid from God, God called “to the man and said to him, ‘Adam, Where are you?’” (Genesis 3:9). God called to Adam alone – he is the leader – it’s God’s Chain of Command. Notice that Satan reversed this order, approaching Eve before Adam in an attempt to disrupt the God-given design of leadership. Satan is always turning God’s plans upside down.
  4. The representation of the human race: Adam had a special role in representing the human race. Though Eve was the first to be tempted to sin, it was Adam who was considered most responsible for their combined disobedience. I Corinthians 15:22: “as in Adam all men die…” Adam is given the responsibility for causing the “Trophic Cascade” – not Eve
  5. Adam represents Christ in a marriage: Ephesians 5:23 – “For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.” Adam is designed to model Christ’s leadership of the church in his family.
  6. The need for a Second Adam: Genesis 3:15 begins to hint at the need for a “Second Adam” – a second man who can come into the world and crush Satan and reverse the effects of the first Adam. I Corinthians 15:22: “as in Adam all men die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” Christ is the second Adam, not the second Eve.

I Corinthians 15:45-49: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.

Jesus is the “last Adam” who initiates an eternal “Trophic Cascade” which reverses the effects of the first Adam.

The Second Adam is a HUGE topic that we can’t fully get into right now. But this does further add to the point that men were designed for unique leadership.

Adam’s Failure as a Leader

Read Genesis 3:1-6. Adam, what happened? Here are just a few areas where Adam failed as a leader.

  • Apathy / Severe Complacency: Adam stands nearby yet does not act. The world is about to fall apart and he doesn’t do anything.
  • Self Absorption: He may be just too into what he is doing to notice or care what’s going on around him.
  • Fear: Adam has never had to confront, challenge, stand up to anything, so he may be afraid. As a result, his fear paralyzes him.

Whatever the reason – it was a failure of Leadership. It wasn’t Satan’s fault, Eve’s fault, or God’s fault. It was Adam’s – and he began a “Trophic Cascade” which we still experience the effect of today.

Questions

  1. What has the greatest negative effect on your personal leadership: Apathy, Complacency, Self-Absorption, Fear….something else? Why or How?
  2. Are you convinced you were Divinely designed to exercise leadership? What is your biggest   leadership challenge in the coming year?

Friends and Brothers,

Paul Phillips
Pastor, Christ Community Church
paul@cccwnc.com

 

 

 

The Best Leadership Quotes from the 5LQ Podcast – Barnabas Piper

The Best Leadership Quotes from the 5LQ Podcast – Barnabas Piper

“I have the privilege – and it really is a privilege; that’s not just puffery – to interview top Christian leaders (and some who aren’t Christians but are really good at what they do) on a weekly basis alongside Todd Adkins for the 5 Leadership Questions podcast. I learn an incredible amount from getting to ask questions and converse with these people. Even knowing their credentials and accomplishments I am often blown away by their wisdom, practicality, and insight. Here are some of the best quotes from the first 100 episodes of the podcast.” See the fantastic list here.