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Category: 2015/2016 – Moses

“Training, Not Trying” – Leadership Lesson

“Training, Not Trying” – 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.

  • Wolves caused a “Trophic Cascade”: (Love that Phrase) Introducing something at the top of the food chain which creates change all the way through the food chain, all the way to the bottom.
  • Wolves kill various species but that gives life to many others.
  • Wolves had been absent for 70 years…the park was deteriorating
  • Wolves changed the behavior of the deer….deer changed their patterns, the park began to regenerate, growth was remarkable!
  • Wolves were introduced – small in number – yet transformed not just the ecosystem but also its physical geography, Wolves changed the Rivers!  —- “Trophic Cascade” – nothing was unaffected!

The introduction of just a few wolves changed a massive amount of Landscape. This is my hope for Iron Leadership —- Introducing just a few men can create a “Trophic Cascade”. These men will have to kill things but their leadership will give life to many others. Their leadership will effect patterns of behavior in others, it will have an effect all the way down the food chain and has the potential to transform an entire ecosystem and physical geography.   — That’s the power and the Goal of Biblical Leadership. Nothing is more needed in our culture as it fly’s itself into the ground.

We started out in September with this picture and quote from Joe Frazier.

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“You can map out a fight plan or a life plan, but when the action starts, it may not go the way you planned, and you’re down to your reflexes – that means your preparation. That’s where your roadwork shows. If you cheated on that in the dark of the morning, well you’re going to get found out now, under the bright lights of the ring.” – Joe Fraizer

Frazier knocked down the greatest boxer in the world. How do you knock down your greatest opponent?

Question: As a leader or potential leader: What is your greatest opponent – what is it that needs to be “killed, put to death?” (It’s not Donald or Hilary – it’s not your boss or Social Media) Col 3:5-6 – “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” As a leader, these are the things that must be killed. If they aren’t, there is NO CHANCE for “Trophic Cascade” — And how do you put these things to death? By road work in the dark of the morning…BY TRAINING, NOT TRYING.

Dallas Willard: “Think of certain young man who idolizes an outstanding baseball player. They want nothing so much as to pitch or run or hit as well as their idol. So what do they do? When they are playing in a baseball game, they try to behave exactly as their favorite baseball star….they try everything their idol does, hoping to be like him—they buy the same shoes, glove & bat. Will they succeed in performing like the star? We all know the answer. We know they won’t succeed if all they do is try to be like him in the game— We understand why. The star performer himself didn’t achieve his excellence by Trying to behave in a certain way only during the game. Instead, he chose an overall life of preparation of mind and body. This Training provides a foundation in the body’s automatic responses for his efforts during the game. The amazing timing and strength of the athlete aren’t produced and maintained by the short hours of the game itself. Their skills are available to them for those short and important hours of the game because of a daily regimen no one sees.”

Moses’ training, Moses “road work” happened over the course of 40 years in the desert. Recall – Moses tried to do lead, tried to rescue a nation… by himself, by doing it his way (READ Exodus 2:11-15) — Moses severely miscalculated his own ability & severely miscalculated the response by the people he is trying to rescue.

  • He can’t defeat Egypt by killing one soldier at a time and burying them in the sand.
  • The people had no respect for Moses and had no plan on following him.

Hebrews 11:24-26 – “When Moses had grown up, (40 years in the desert – Moses was 80!) he refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose instead to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.”

Moses leadership began by putting things to death, by killing things: Power, Pleasure, and Treasure.

Power (By the World’s Definition)

Moses “refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.” He said no to earthly popularity and riches for the sake of leading his people.

Pleasure

Moses said “no” to pleasures of sin. “He chose instead to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time.”

Treasure

Moses said “no” to treasures (money). “He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.”

Consider how much better of a leader you would be if you were completely free to say “NO” to Power – Pleasure and Treasure.

Jesus – like Moses, learned to say no in his 40 days in the desert.

  • Power – he refused to throw himself off the Temple to show off his power to the public, as Satan suggested.
  • Pleasure – He refused to turn the stones into bread to feed his flesh.
  • Treasure – Satan promised Jesus all the treasure in the world if he worshiped him. Jesus said no.

When Moses emerged from the desert, he was ready to lead! Moses’ leadership was going to cause a “Trophic Cascade”. Moses unqualified commitment to God, “transformed not just the ecosystem but also its physical geography.”

  • The Hebrews became a nation: Israel, which lead to a King (David), which ultimately lead to Jesus.
  • Moses delivered the Word of God: 10 commandments – Jesus was the Word.
  • Moses developed the Tabernacle: God with Us! – Jesus was the ultimate “God with us”.

Now I am not suggesting that we can all be Moses, but we can all be leaders with an unqualified commitment to God.

It was the great evangelist DL Moody who is quoted as saying: “The world has yet to see what God can do with a man fully consecrated to him. By God’s help, I aim to be that man.”

Questions:
  1. Do you really want to be a Leader – Do you aim to be “a man fully  consecrated to God” – Do you want to be a part of a “Trophic Cascade”     which changes the landscape of our community? (or) Honestly, would you rather follow? Why?
  2. The first step in Leadership is “putting things to death” in your own life.This will require “Training not Trying” – It will require “road work in the dark of the morning” – What one piece of spiritual training do you need to work on this summer? Why is that one most important to you?
  3. Power, Pleasure, Treasure: What’s most difficult for you to say “No” to? Why?

Friends and Brothers,

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

“Passing the Baton” – Leadership Lesson

“Passing the Baton” – Leadership Lesson

 

Joshua was Moses’ successor. Joshua was the one who would carry Moses’ tune into the Promised Land. See how Joshua was with Moses at important events:

  • Joshua fought the first battle in the wilderness (When Moses was holding up his hands)
  • Joshua was one of the 12 spies who first entered Canaan
  • Joshua was with Moses on mountain when Moses received the 10 commandments

I want to use the events Exodus 32-33 to see some important practices Moses imprinted on Joshua’s life. In other words, Moses’ spiritual legacy and the tune that Moses left Joshua.

Setting: Exodus 32: This has to be one of the lowest moments for Moses. Moses (with Joshua) is on Mount Sinai receiving the 10 commandments when the Lord delivers this report to Moses about the people he has lead out of Egypt (Read vs. 7-8)

  • ( 19-20) Moses reaction: White hot anger
  • ( 21-24) Aaron’s leadership: failure and excuses
  • (33:1-3a) God’s reaction: Moses, go to the Promised Land but I won’t be going with you!

 

**This is a disaster!! What will Moses do – What leadership lessons does Joshua learn at this pivotal moment – what can we learn?

Answer: 33:7-11– Moses meets with God in the Tabernacle/Tent of Meeting

  • Separate Frequently: ( 7 – “outside the camp”) – To meet with God you must separate from the crowd and noise.
  • Seek Completely: The purpose of the tent’s location was to singularly pursue God. The separation is a physical gesture to say: “God, I want to hear from you and follow after you – not follow the crowd.”
  • Submit to Observation: The people watched Moses go meet with God and Joshua ( 11) went into the tent with Moses. How do people learn how to meet with God – they observe others.

 

Silence, Speaking, Submission:

Silence

The Lord would speak with Moses” – Today, it doesn’t happen with a pillar of cloud. Instead, its by reading the Bible.

John 14:25– “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

Speaking

I love this statement by Moses in verse 13: “Show me your ways”…not “God, affirm my ways” — notice Moses ‘primary target: “To know God, to find favor with God,” — not to get something done.

If your prayers are primarily about getting something done then your prayers probably terminate on You, not God.

 

Exodus 33:1-3 – God promised to give them the Land, a land flowing with milk and honey, promised to send a Angel to go before them and fight for them – Those are pretty good promises, yet Moses refuses unless God goes with them — What’s most important to Moses is not what Moses gets, but God. WOW!

Submission:

Moses does what God says.

Question: Does the “music of Moses’ life” continue to play into Joshua’s life after Moses is gone? Answer: Yes! Look at the end of Joshua’s life

Joshua 24: “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

Question: What do you need to learn? Who are you learning it from – Whose making an imprint on your life?

Challenge: Everyone can begin now, if you haven’t already – being a model for other men or boys. Who are you intentionally investing in? What music are they learning from you?

Questions For Reflection:

  1. Separate Frequently, Seek Completely, Submit to Observation,

Silence-Speaking-Submission: Which one or two of these needs more work on your part?

  1. In Exodus 32 Moses faces a critical leadership moment. It has been said:

“Adversity doesn’t build character, it reveals it” – What does that mean and what do people learn from you when you are under adversity?

  1. Who has left a lasting spiritual imprint on your life? What was the most important lesson they left that you will carry forward?

Friends and Brothers,

Paul Phillips Signiture

 

 

 

Paul Phillips

Pastor, Christ Community Church
paul@cccwnc.com

“Leadership & Humility” – Leadership Lesson

“Leadership & Humility” – Leadership Lesson

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

Disgrace

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.

Disagreement

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.

Destruction

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.

Detests

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                                                                                             paul@cccwnc.com

“Long Haul Leadership – Getting to the Finish Line” – Leadership Lesson

“Long Haul Leadership – Getting to the Finish Line” – Leadership Lesson

In 1968 the country of Tanzania selected John Stephen Akhwari to represent them in the Mexico City Olympics. During the race Akhwari stumbled and fell, severely injuring his knee and ankle. Long after the winner had crossed the finish line and with only a few thousand spectators left in the stadium a police siren went off alerting everyone that one final competitor was entering the stadium – it was Akhwari. After he finished the race a reported asked him: “Why did you continue the race after you were so badly injured?”

Akhwari: “My country did not send me 5000 miles to start the race, they sent me 5000 miles to finish the race.”

My Question today is this: “How good are you at finishing?” Most of you can’t even answer that question because you are so young and just now starting…..yet you have had some opportunity to start a project, job, school…..and learned something about finishing.

Starting is so, so, so much easier than finishing. I’ve have many more stories to tell you about projects I started than stories about projects I finished.

Read Numbers 33: 1-49. Moses was a Finisher! He brought them out of Egypt and delivered the people to the Jordan River – on the edge of the promised land. These 50 verses represent 40 years of traveling from one place to another with a million people.

Imagine for a moment being enlisted by God for this task: It’s a task that will require your best effort for 40 years – you will be leading some of the most difficult, demanding people who will constantly challenge your leadership style and decision making. Along with the difficult people, the terrain in which you lead will be most inhospitable. The assignment will be so spiritually, physically and emotionally difficult that near the end of the 40 years you are going to have an “I’ve had It” moment which will cost you crossing the finish line with them – you will only deliver them to the finish line….not cross it.

Yet – Moses is such a great example of Perseverance! He was sent by God not to just start a race but to finish it…….and that’s what he did.

“If you were searching for leaders to change the world, what qualities would you look for? Courage and intelligence would certainly be prime candidates. Charisma might make the list. Yet, as important as these characteristics may be, I would rank two others ahead of them, the two qualities I’m thinking of are: Humility and Pain Tolerance.”

Patrick Lencioni, Leadership Writer


Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all people who were on the face of the earth.

Numbers 12:3


True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”

Definition of Humility: C.S. Lewis

Moses had very high level of Pain Tolerance & Humility. The Apostle Paul also had a very difficult leadership task. He talks about finishing well in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

4 “D’s” to Finishing Well

  1. Determination: “Run in such a way as to get the prize.”

As a Christian Leader: Do you have your eyes on the real prize which is not anything in this world – Education, Power or Position, Financial Success or Physical Success……..the real prize is Glorifying God in your life as you race toward Heaven….or Heaven races toward you?

Is there is a Determination to get that prize? Is it a controlling feature of your life and your habits?

2. Discipline: “Goes into strict training”

“You can map out a fight plan or a life plan, but when the action starts, it may not go the way you planned, and you’re down to your reflexes – that means your preparation. That’s where your roadwork shows. If you cheated on that in the dark of the morning, well, you’re going to get found out now, under the bright lights of the ring.”

Joe Frazier

Discipline is what you do in the dark hours of the morning – when no one else is watching. What are your Spiritual Disciplines?

3. Direction: “I do not run like a man running aimlessly”

You know where you are going and you stay on track. I wonder – how many of you have a definite Direction – You have a vision for your life? Sure life can throw curve balls but in general you have a vision for you as a leader, businessman, churchman, family man, or do you run aimlessly hoping to arrive somewhere worthwhile?

4. Denial:  “I beat my body and make it my slave”

Have you learned how to say “NO” to your physical and emotional appetites?

James 1:14- “Each person is tempted when he is dragged off and enticed by the bait of his own desire.” Please Notice: You aren’t dragged off by the temptation……..NO, you are dragged off by your own desire.

Desire: Epi-thumea – Root – Epi

Example -Epicenter of an earthquake is the very middle – Normal desires have become the center of your life. So the sin that James is talking about isn’t wanting bad things but wanting things too badly. In other words: You feel like you can’t say “NO” — Normal desires become the consuming center of our lives.

  • Hunger is a normal desire – Eating is normal – Gluttony is a sin
  • Intimacy is a normal desire – Sex is normal – Adultery is a sin
  • Fatigue is a normal desire – Sleep is normal – Laziness is a sin

Sorry for another track video (and the cheesy Rocky music), but about 75 yards out, all 4 of these “D’s” kicked in for Steve Jones.

 

Questions for Reflection

  1. Self-Assessment of how you are as a “Finisher”
  1. Of the 4 D’s – Determination, Discipline, Direction, Denial: Which is a strength, which is a weakness?
  1. What’s the most challenging or difficult aspect of Glorifying God in your : Business – Family?

Friends and Brothers,

Paul Phillips Signiture

 

 

 

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

Moses Deals with Conflict – Leadership Lesson

Moses Deals with Conflict – Leadership Lesson

There are all kinds of ways to deal with conflict. One way is to fight. There is a problem though: there is only one winner and everyone else gets hurt.

Here’s a funny example:

Handling conflict was of mighty importance in Moses’ life. Immediately after he delivered the Israelites out of Egypt, the conflict and complaints begin. When you read about Moses’ 40 years of leadership it reads like 40 years of conflict – with people he leads, enemies, himself, and even God.

Notice how quickly rejoicing turns into grumbling:

  • Exodus 14:30-31: Rescue
  • Exodus 15:1-21: Two songs of celebration
  • Exodus 15:22-24: Grumbling
  • Exodus 16:1-3: Grumbling
  • Exodus 17:1-4: Threats of Stoning

My first question is: why does God choose this path? Why does he choose this way of dealing with his people? Why didn’t they go from rescue to rest? From the Exodus to the Promised Land? Why was there this journey in between in the wilderness? The wilderness wasn’t necessary for Salvation, but it was needed for Sanctification.

Read Colossians 3:10 – The reason this is important to keep in mind as a Christian and as a leader is that the challenges you face and the conflicts you are engaged in serve a greater purpose. Are the merely hurdles in your way? No. God has allowed them to play a role in your formation. This should reduce your personal complaining.

When dealing with conflict, the first step is backwards. You need to know yourself, examine yourself, and understand the downward spiral of idolatry.

Know Yourself – EQ vs IQ

So many problems in a marriage or business meeting are not caused by a lack of intelligence, but a lack of emotional maturity. Example: You are working on a difficult problem, there are differing opinions and then someone verbally loses it (or) shuts down. Now you have two problems: the original problem and the way you dealt with the problem.

I love this character list the Apostle Paul gives for potential leaders in the church: “Elders must be…..temperate, self-controlled.. not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome…..”

Proverbs 15:1 – “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

I tell people all the time, “Don’t let the way you deal with the problem become another problem.”

Question: What situation or area of your life do you need to work on your EQ? The answer comes from examining yourself.

Examine Yourself – Matthew 7:3-5

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

This is so difficult yet so critical. The very first step to resolving conflict is to examine yourself.

Notice: Jesus doesn’t forbid pointing out or addressing issues in the life of others, but when doing so creates conflict then you need to step back and examine yourself. This is the first step of a High EQ, emotionally mature person. This is the most difficult step for a teenager.

Colossians 3:5 and Colossians 3:8 tell us to “put to death & rid yourself.” This is painful!

Sexual immorality, lusts, greed, anger, rage, malice, slander or filthy language: It’s all very difficult to put these emotional idols to death. No one wants to put something you love to death!

How can we put these things to death? Colossians 3:1 tells us how. “Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart.

Paul understands there is an internal battle for “rule” within your heart. Stepping back gives you a chance to examine what rules or governs your heart.

Question: When has a craving of yours lead to a conflict?

The Downward Spiral of Idolatry: James 4:1-2

“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want….so you quarrel and fight.”

Definition of an Idol: Anything other than God that we trust or must have in order to be happy or secure.

Notice: James does not comment directly on the issues involved because James’ primary concern was not the issue but the source of the conflict. James is more concerned with the what is ruling your heart rather than issues.

The downward spiral of Idolatry is a lot like this:

  1. Desire
  2. Demand – (I must have)
  3. Disappointment – (unmet demands)
  4. Judgement – (Disappointment leads to frustration, and frustration leads to judgement)
  5. Punishment – (I am hurt. My ego is bruised. I tried to be controlling, yet I still didn’t get my way, so I strike back.)

Questions

With these questions, specifically focus on yourself. Don’t think: WOW, Paul really understands the problems with my Boss, Spouse, and children. Right now, focus on you.

  1. In examining yourself ask: In what situation/area of your life do you need to work on your EQ?
  2. When has a craving of yours lead to a conflict?
  3. Think about a recent conflict in your life. Did you elevate a desire to a demand? How far down the spiral did you go? What’s one of your common forms of punishment when your demands go unmet?

 

Friends and Brothers,

Paul Phillips Signiture

 

 

 

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

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.

Questions

  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
paul@cccwnc.com

Leadership in the face of the Sovereignty of Man – Leadership Lesson

Leadership in the face of the Sovereignty of Man – Leadership Lesson

When you challenge or threaten the sovereignty of man, it’s like cutting down a hornets nest. See this example from The Hunger Games

Everything was peaceful until Katniss disturbed the hornets nest, then all hell broke loose. This is essentially what happens when Moses confronts Pharaoh  in Exodus chapters 5 through 14. When Moses threatens Pharaoh’s sovereignty, all hell breaks loose.

Here’s my main question: As a leader – when you challenge the sovereignty of man and all hell breaks loose – what happens to you?

Read Exodus 5:1-21:

[1] Afterward Moses and Aaron went and said to Pharaoh, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.’” [2] But Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, and moreover, I will not let Israel go.” [3] Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God, lest he fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword.” [4] But the king of Egypt said to them, “Moses and Aaron, why do you take the people away from their work? Get back to your burdens.” [5] And Pharaoh said, “Behold, the people of the land are now many, and you make them rest from their burdens!” [6] The same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people and their foremen, [7] “You shall no longer give the people straw to make bricks, as in the past; let them go and gather straw for themselves. [8] But the number of bricks that they made in the past you shall impose on them, you shall by no means reduce it, for they are idle. Therefore they cry, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifice to our God.’ [9] Let heavier work be laid on the men that they may labor at it and pay no regard to lying words.”

[10] So the taskmasters and the foremen of the people went out and said to the people, “Thus says Pharaoh, ‘I will not give you straw. [11] Go and get your straw yourselves wherever you can find it, but your work will not be reduced in the least.’” [12] So the people were scattered throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw. [13] The taskmasters were urgent, saying, “Complete your work, your daily task each day, as when there was straw.” [14] And the foremen of the people of Israel, whom Pharaoh’s taskmasters had set over them, were beaten and were asked, “Why have you not done all your task of making bricks today and yesterday, as in the past?”

[15] Then the foremen of the people of Israel came and cried to Pharaoh, “Why do you treat your servants like this? [16] No straw is given to your servants, yet they say to us, ‘Make bricks!’ And behold, your servants are beaten; but the fault is in your own people.” [17] But he said, “You are idle, you are idle; that is why you say, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the LORD.’ [18] Go now and work. No straw will be given you, but you must still deliver the same number of bricks.” [19] The foremen of the people of Israel saw that they were in trouble when they said, “You shall by no means reduce your number of bricks, your daily task each day.” [20] They met Moses and Aaron, who were waiting for them, as they came out from Pharaoh; [21] and they said to them, “The LORD look on you and judge, because you have made us stink in the sight of Pharaoh and his servants, and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.”

(Exodus 5:1-21 ESV)

The first thing you need to see is the collision of world views. This isn’t a collision of Theistic and Atheistic world views – NO – This is a a collision of Theistic and Polythestic world views.

  • Moses – Theistic: “This is what the LORD (Yahweh) says” (vs. 1)
  • Pharaoh – Polythesitic – There were multiple gods in Egypt. The sun, moon, stars, sky, rivers, animals, even some men were all gods. Thats why Moses informs the Israelites in Genesis 1 that those things weren’t gods, they were created by God.
    • In Egypt, guess who was at the top of the polytheistic food chain? You guessed it, Pharaoh. He was considered the incarnation of God. Pharaoh had absolute power.

Moses steps in and threatens Pharaoh’s sovereignty. Pharaoh responds in Exodus 5:2 with “Who is the LORD – I don’t obey him, I don’t know him, I will not do what he says.” Essentially telling Moses: “I don’t want anyone telling me how to run my world!”

When you step into a life, a family, culture, or nation and say: “There is Truth – which is exclusive: There is a God, you are not him. Instead, you were created by him, you will ultimately answer to him, and he alone establishes boundaries for how you live your life.” No matter how you kindly or coldly you state it, if it’s a person or culture who doesn’t want anyone telling them how to run their individual worlds, you will have this explosion. This is exactly how Pharaoh reacted. He exploded in anger!

Our culture today is not so far away from Egypt. Very few people actually think of themselves as the incarnation of a god, yet we do live in a very autonomous culture.

We live in a culture which prefers autonomy. If you step into our culture on an issue like “Right to Life” or “sexual practices” and try to say: This is what the Bible says…explosion! “We don’t want anyone telling us what to do! – We want autonomy — well except for you – you don’t get autonomy – instead, you must affirm our way of life or you are quickly labeled and silenced.”

Now whether you agree with my cultural analysis or not, when you step into a relationship as a Christian leader…you will, at some point, have this clash of world views.

Another Question: When this happens, when you challenge the sovereignty of man, when you cut down the hornets nest and all hell breaks loose –what happens to you?

“In my experience, churches, institutions, and organizations do not go bad because of coups by liberals. They go bad because otherwise orthodox people sit on their hands – hands which are clean because others have dirtied theirs by taking the tough decisions and putting their careers and reputations on the line.” – Carl Trueman

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Teddy Roosevelt

God is looking for leaders who will not sit on their hands. Instead, they will get into the arena and clash (not with pride, looking down – not with bluster or volume) but people who will run the opposite way of Autonomy.

The reason I ask the question is because so many prefer (including myself!) comfort over conflict.

Here are three things that happened that were designed to get Moses to give up:

  1. Pharaoh turns up the heat: (6-8) & (10-14) – the slaves must get their own straw for brick making yet keep up the same work load. They are beaten when they don’t perform.
  1. Pharaoh scorn: (vs. 9) – Pharaoh tells the slaves – “pay no attention to Moses’ lies”   430 years of slavery…..powerful Pharaoh who is the incarnation of god tells them Moses is a liar……this emotional and physical abuse produces Pharaoh’s desired effect
  1. Moses has to take arrows from those he is trying to save: (20-21) “Thanks Moses – your rescue plan is actually getting us killed”

Real, godly leadership in the midst of an increasingly autonomous culture is extremely difficult! Moses understands!

Another Question: As a leader – when you challenge the sovereignty of man, when you challenge the prevailing wind of the culture and all hell breaks loose – what happens to you?

Lets look at the example of William Wilberforce.

William Wilberforce was a politician in the British Parliament 1790-1825 that was best known for his fight against slave trade. Early in his career he came to know Christ. John Newton (the writer of Amazing Grace) was his pastor/mentor. Wilberforce once thought of joining the clergy, but instead he was called to fight a very public and brutal fight against slavery.  Just before his death the bill to end the slave trade passed.

Questions:

  1. As a leader – when you challenge the sovereignty of man, when you challenge the prevailing wind of the culture (single individual/business church/community) and all hell breaks loose – what happens to you? How well do you respond to “Heat” – “Scorn” & “Arrows from those you are trying to help?”
  1. Have you experience this clash of world views? In what way?

 

Friends and Brothers,

Paul Phillips Signiture

 

 

 

Paul Phillips

Pastor, Christ Community Church
paul@cccwnc.com