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“Leadership & Humility” – Leadership Lesson

“Leadership & Humility” – Leadership Lesson

The book of Proverbs exposes many problems with pride. Here are just a few of them.


Proverbs 11:2 – “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom”

In Hebrew, “Pride” means: Boil up, Boil over. When pride comes it boils over into disgrace. Instead of being distinguished, pride ends in disgrace.


Proverbs 13:10 – “Pride breeds disagreement and quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.”

Whenever there is much disagreement you should look for pride.


Proverbs 16:18 – “Pride goes before destruction, and a stiff spirit before a fall.”

While Union General John Sedgwick was inspecting his troops during a battle, he was not careful about keeping his head down under a protective wall. When reminded to keep down for safety, Sedgwick responded: “Nonsense, they couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance” A moment later, Sedgwick was shot & killed.


Proverbs 16:5 – “The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.”

Matthew Henry Commentary: “The pride of sinners sets God against them….let him know that though he admires himself, and others caress him, yet he is an abomination to the Lord. The great God despises him… they shall not escape his righteous judgment.”

William Coffin: “There is no smaller package in the world than a man wrapped up in himself .”

Avoiding pride is extremely difficult. According to Numbers 12:3, Moses was “very meek, more than all the people on the face of the earth. How did he do it? The Answer: Psalm 90.

Moses was Wrapped up in God, not Himself. 

3 Steps in Psalm 90

  1. Standing in the Awe of God – vs. 1-2

A Prayer of Moses, the man of God.

Lord, you have been our dwelling place
in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

Psalm 90:1-2

Proverbs 1:7 – “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” — In other words: Real wisdom, real humility begins to develop begins by getting wrapped up in God.


“Lord you have been our dwelling place” – Think about this statement from Moses’ perspective. Moses lived his first 40 years as Hebrew in the Egyptian palace (not his home) – His second 40 years as a shepherd in the wilderness (not his home) – His third 40 years leading a group of homeless people in a desert….. For 120 years Moses never had a home. Yet in the opening line Moses says: “God – YOU ARE OUR HOME!”  Moses arrived Home when he was found by God.

Why is this important especially for men? It’s important because once Moses found his Home in God – then he no longer need to arrive. Moses no longer needed to “prove himself” or “make his mark or name for himself” or “boost his resume”– If you live your whole life always trying to “arrive” – it can be a struggle to be humble. **Please listen young men —- you could spend 40 years trying to “arrive” – trying to prove yourself to your family, community, father, your friends at church or Iron Leadership …all driven by Pride trying to make your life count or matter…..and you could completely miss God. Moses lived in Awe of God – Moses was at home with God – When Moses woke up every morning – He didn’t need anything: He had arrived. Think about how that would drive away pride!

2. Crystal Clear Clarity about ourselves. vs. 3-11

You return man to dust
and say, “Return, O children of man!”
For a thousand years in your sight
are but as yesterday when it is past,
or as a watch in the night.

You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream,
like grass that is renewed in the morning:
in the morning it flourishes and is renewed;
in the evening it fades and withers.

For we are brought to an end by your anger;
by your wrath we are dismayed.
You have set our iniquities before you,
our secret sins in the light of your presence.

For all our days pass away under your wrath;
we bring our years to an end like a sigh.
The years of our life are seventy,
or even by reason of strength eighty;
yet their span is but toil and trouble;
they are soon gone, and we fly away.
Who considers the power of your anger,
and your wrath according to the fear of you?

(Psalm 90:3-11)

Binoculars – two lenses need adjustment- Moses points out two areas about ourselves which must come into crystal clear focus.

First Lens: Clarity concerning our Brevity – (Read vs. 4) – It’s difficult for us to think about God existing outside of time. To get perspective, Moses says: “For God, 1000 years is like one of our days.” Which means: 2 days ago for God was the birth of Christ,  3.5 days ago for God was Moses’ life – and 7 days ago For God was the creation of Adam & Eve.

For God – the entire human timeline is only one week old.

Then in vs. 5-6 Moses contrasts humanity with 3 visual analogies. Now before we review these – if you asked the man on the street to come up with an analogy for mankind – I think you anticipate something like “Mankind: A towering Redwood” or “Mankind: An impressive monument.”

Notice God’s view:

  • Mankind: “Swept away as with a flood.”

This perspective creates humility!

Second Lens: Clarity Concerning Sin – Moses tells us, to get humility we must have crystal clear clarity about our standing before God.

(Read vs. 8) Once again, its hard to imagine but your every sin: Every thought, word and deed sits before God like a massive buffet table. Every sin sits under the bright, holy light of God. There is no comparing yourself to others, no excuses, no cover. Do you know what meditating on that reality should produce? Yep, Humility!

3rd Lense: Transition – “So”

  • “So” – (vs. 12) “Teach us to number our days”. (vs. 14) We need to wake up in the morning and before our feet hit the floor we want to be thanking God for his “steadfast love” That’s why we woke up this morning.
  • “So” – (vs. 16) “Let your work be shown (not ours) “Let your glorious power be on display (not ours).

A Prayer Influenced by Moses’ Humility

“Lord, I have already arrived home so I have nothing to prove today. I am awake this morning solely because of your steadfast love – You don’t need me and I certainly don’t deserve to be here. I am here for a limited number of days and those days are quickly fading, so I want your work and your glory to be shown as I walk through this day. O Lord – It’s not about me, it’s only about you!

Questions for Reflection

  1. How have you seen your own pride be destructive in your life?
  1. When Moses woke up every morning – He didn’t need anything: He had “arrived” – Moses was at home with God and didn’t need to prove anything. How would that mindset for you affect your day? How does it drive away pride and instill humility?
  1. How would clearly seeing the Brevity and Sin in your life help develop humility?


Friends and Brothers,
Paul Phillips Signiture



Paul Phillips                                                                                                                                                         Pastor, Christ Community Church                                                                                   

“I got this!” …Or So You Think.

“I got this!” …Or So You Think.

This is an important picture for me and for some of you. Something is washed out in your life and in desperate need of repair. The repair will take quite a bit of time. You are convinced that you don’t have the time to stop or you can’t stop or you don’t think you need to stop and address the core problem. Instead, your solution (and mine) is to foolishly speed up because, “I got this!” Great leadership requires knowing when to stop, having the courage to stop, and then asking for help as you take time required to repair what’s been washed out. At Iron Leadership we are here to help.



Paul Phillips
Pastor, Christ Community Church

Keller, Piper, and Carson on Staying the Course in a Changing Culture

Keller, Piper, and Carson on Staying the Course in a Changing Culture

As Western culture has changed, prevailing attitudes toward Christianity have changed with it. There’s no denying this reality.

But what about Tim Keller, John Piper, and Don Carson? Has their attitude toward matters of Christ and culture evolved over the years as the world around them has grown more hostile to Christianity?


Being a Guide – Leadership Lesson

Being a Guide – Leadership Lesson

When you are in real need for leadership, the best guide is one who has already made the journey themselves.

Part of what qualified Moses for his leadership journey is he had already been on his own journey with God. Moses had been in the wilderness (physically and spiritually) for 40 years. He knew how to navigate others through their wilderness experience.

Right now I want to give 4 tips for guides, but before I do I want to make two comments:

  1. Challenge: Almost all of us here should be regularly serving as a guide – especially guiding other, younger, men. If you can’t immediately state who you are guiding then you need to get to work finding someone who needs help.
  2. If you’re young (under 35), do you have a guide? Are you learning? Are you taking notes on how to guide? Be anxious to learn, not simply to lead.

Proverbs 19:2 – It is not good to have zeal without knowledge

Moses learned to lead sheep in the wilderness when no one was looking for 40 years. Then, he was ready to lead a nation.

David learned to fight in the wilderness against lions and bears when no one was looking. When his time came to step up, he was ready to defeat Goliath.

Drew Brees: “Train like it was meant to be.”

While not many people are looking, are you learning how to be a better guide, are you training like it was meant to be?

4 Tips for Guides: What Moses learned about Leadership

1. Stirring

Leadership usually starts with a stirring. There is an event or accumulation of events which stirs up the awareness that something needs to be changed. Something needs a new direction.

  • Exodus 2:11-12 – Moses’ stirring begins. However, Moses has an immature game plan. He needs 40 years in the Wilderness.
  • Exodus 2:23  40 years later the cumulative effect of slavery had reached a boiling point. Something needed to change! The Israelites as a whole had a stirring

God is stirring. Stirring your heart and stirring circumstances. If it’s not obvious to you where He is stirring right now, then my question would be: Are you getting in the best shape you can right now? Are you “Training like it was meant to be”   When you are called onto the playing field, will you be ready?

2. Collision of Leadership and Vision

This is where leadership can get very messy. Stirring creates a vision. A vision is defined as: “A dissatisfaction of what is and a picture of what could be a preferred future.” Yet, your vision is not preferred by everyone. Moses’ vision of getting people out of slavery isn’t preferred by everyone, especially Pharaoh. No one should be surprised!

Exodus 6:10-12 –  So the LORD said to Moses, “Go in, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the people of Israel go out of his land.” But Moses said to the LORD, “Behold, the people of Israel have not listened to me. How then shall Pharaoh listen to me, for I am of uncircumcised lips?”

Paul Phillips Version:

“Lord, it’s not working out as planned. No one is Listening to my vision. Not the Israelites, not Pharaoh, and I told you I wasn’t a good communicator (Blame shifting toward God) things are getting pretty tense down here! ”

Denial is a lot less painful than collision. Being a good guide requires helping people have the courage to keep facing the problem and moving forward. Can you withstand this collision, or do you prefer denial?

3. Round-About Way

Exodus 13:17-18 – “When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near. For God said, “Lest the people change their minds when they see war and return to Egypt.” But God led the people around by the way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea. And the people of Israel went up out of the land of Egypt equipped for battle.”

Being a good guide requires knowing the capacity of those you lead. God knows they arew newly freed slaves. They are still fragile and wouldn’t survive a direct conflict with the Philistines. To protect them, he takes them on a Round-About way. Sometimes the most direct route is not the best one.

Are you patient enough to be lead in a Round-About way. Moses tried the direct way and it failed. God took him on a 40 year journey. Are you patient enough to lead someone else in a Round-About way or does all the transformation have to happen now?

4. Pain Tolerance

Moses spent 40 years leading thousands of people through a desert. One outstanding feature of these people is they complained a lot. What a Joy! Good guides help you uncover whether you really want to change the world or if you just want credit for it. A good guide helps you understand the critical need for humility and pain tolerance.


  1. Stirring: Leadership usually starts with a stirring; an event or accumulation of events which stirs up your awareness something needs to be changed. ”   Is there something stirring in You?


  1. Collision of Leadership and Vision: Denial is a lot less painful than collision. Being a good guide requires helping people have the courage to keep facing the problem and moving forward. Can you withstand this collision – or, do you prefer denial?


  1. Round-About Way: Are you patient enough to be led in a Round-About way? Moses tried the direct way and it failed, God took him on a 40 year journey. Are you patient enough to lead someone else in a Round-About way or does all the transformation have to happen now!


  1. Pain Tolerance: How do you increase your capacity for Humility and Pain Tolerance? How do you know if you really want to help change the world or you just want credit for it?


Friends and Brothers,

Paul Phillips Signiture




Paul Phillips

Pastor, Christ Community Church