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LEADERSHIP ROCKSSTUDENT LEADERSHIP UNIVERSITY STUDY GUIDE SERIES
By JAY STRACK
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2006 Student Leadership University
All right reserved.
Chapter OneLEADER THE TOTAL PACKAGE
So he shepherded [led] them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands. -Psalm 78:72
COULD THIS BE YOU?
I remember vividly the night I made a deal with God: "If you get me out of this detention center, I'll go to a Bible study." I also remember the first time I heard the good news from a man who said, "God loves you just like you are, but He loves you too much to leave you that way."
For most of my life, my heart had been dark with pain and hurt; but when I heard the good news of God's grace, a floodlight suddenly came into my soul. I prayed, "God, if you are real, come into my life and change me." I went home, flushed my drugs down the toilet, picked up a Bible, and began to live a new life.
I had been a powerless and out-of-control teen, but that day, the power of Christ transformed me. When I reached out to God, He gave me ...
* power of salvation for a changed heart and eternal life,
* power to stand against temptation,
* power to keep going whendiscouragement tried to take over,
* power to accept responsibility and correct mistakes, and
* power to forgive the abusers in my life who had hurt me so deeply.
And He didn't leave me there. As a student making Ds and Fs in high school, I couldn't find a college that would take me. I was discouraged, but God was faithful to carry me through. Charleston Southern University took a chance on me, and I graduated cum laude in just two years. I went on to receive a master's degree and to earn a doctorate.
Later, when I married and then became a father, God taught me how to love more deeply than I ever imagined possible. He gave me a second chance and called me to preach the good news to others. He has been faithful to stand by me every moment as I have had the privilege of speaking to more than fifteen million people face to face and many more through television and radio.
Ever since I asked God to come into my life, He has been with me in whatever area I needed it. He has given me not only power over the past but power in the present. And every day, He continues to give me power for opportunities in the future.
I tell everyone the powerful truth that I have personally experienced: "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31).
WHY KNOW IT?
* 51 percent of church members feel that the leadership in their congregation makes them enthusiastic about the future.
* 74 percent of high school students have no interest in running for a national or local government office in the future.
transfuse (trans FYOOZ): to cause to pass from one to another; transmit
If you watch a cable news channel today, you will likely see reports about casualties in the Middle East, a terrorist act or two, violent crime in the U.S., storms battering some part of the planet, famine across the world, AIDS epidemics, and so on. Bombarded daily with this negative information, how does a young leader keep his or her thoughts positive? How do we prevent emotion from being the lead dog in our minds? How do we stay strong to the finish?
Fortunately, the Scriptures show us a plan to help us process bad days and to go through life with joy. The framework given to the nation of Israel in exile is the same timeless, powerful framework for a young leader today. * * *
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you," says the Lord, "thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." -Jeremiah 29:11 Jeremiah 29:11 is a popular Bible verse that has made it to the prime time-it can be found on posters, plaques, T-shirts, bumper stickers, and more. But many people do not know the context of this often-quoted promise.
In this verse, God declared His faithfulness to the people of Israel as their captors paraded them around in shackles through the ruins of a ransacked Jerusalem. God's chosen people had been reduced to stumbling, shamed, and defeated captives. Imagine being conquered by your enemies and then forced to walk past the smoldering rubble that once was your home. The walls that once protected your hometown of Jerusalem are now broken down and burning; and even the temple, the holy place of worship, is in flames.
In the midst of this destruction, God reassured the Israelites of His faithfulness and backed up His words with action. His promise to you today is no less faithful than the one that brought great comfort and hope to the Hebrews during this time. Their journey to captivity in Babylon seemed like a dead end, but God brought them through and eventually enabled them to return to their homeland.
infuse (in FYOOZ): to cause to be permeated with something (as a principle or quality) that alters usually for the better
The Hebrews learned through violence what we can know in peace. Through our study of Scripture, we can understand that the Creator has given us all that we require to process the many different events and emotions that we experience, whether in the high tide or low tide of life. In our time of need, God's words to us are always tender, timeless, and teaching.
How does a leader experience the daily stresses of life, yet walk confidently into the future? This is possible when we focus on the facts that God gives us in His Word. It is imperative to have ownership of these facts before you can move forward into a life of leadership and successful living as a Christian.
FOCUS ON THE FACTS
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you," says the Lord ...
Fact 1: The God of the Bible is on your side.
Fact 2: He is compassionately concerned about you.
Fact 3: You are on His mind and heart.
... thoughts of peace and not of evil ...
Fact 4: He thinks good thoughts, great thoughts, even amazing thoughts about you.
Fact 5: His plans are peaceful and for your good.
... to give you a future and a hope ...
Fact 6: He has a unique future planned for you.
Fact 7: God's plan for your future is a sure thing, an expected end.
Get this: What God thinks of you IS NOT dependent upon your actions or on your thoughts of Him!
Do most people you know believe that God's love and care is dependent on their actions? ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________
Ask yourself: Is my life ruled by facts or feelings? Out of the seven facts listed above, which am I unsure of? Why? Am I unsure of these because of what I've done or what I've thought or because of who God is? ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________
God has a promised outcome for you. This fact enables you to stay positive in a negative world. God is on your side!
This "hope" He speaks of in Jeremiah 29:11 is defined in the Hebrew as an expected end. It's not as if God is saying, "I hope so ..." Instead, His plan for your future is a sure thing. There's no better warranty in the world than God's promise!
A leader focuses on the fact that hope has been secured by the Lord on his or her behalf. It's already yours, so go ahead and start to use it.
How do we live as Jesus lived: focused on the supernatural instead of bound by the ordinary? Once we focus on the facts in our mind, we then have to strengthen our spirit.
Staying motivated is without question a great challenge. We know that the apostle Paul was one of the most highly motivated individuals who ever walked the earth. How did he stay so enthusiastic? He constantly fed his faith, and he gives us the steps to do the same.
FEED YOUR FAITH
[This was] according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.... For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height-to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. -Ephesians 3:11-12, 14-21
Let's break this passage down:
* Live by eternal purpose, not the temporary.
... in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.
* Substitute self-confidence for God-confidence.
For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ ...
* This simple act of humility before God will give birth to inner strength and dedication to God's will.
... that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man ...
* Strengthen the inner man through your devotional times.
... that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith ...
* Live by faith and not by reason.
... being rooted and grounded in love ...
* Check your motives and your foundation often. Both should be love as Christ loved.
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us ...
* Focus on the power of Christ and its availability to you. Think about it often, and thank Him for it. His power will be there when you need it.
Select ONE THING from the previous list to focus on this week. Which will it be? Write your answer in the space below. ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________
Have you ever felt that maybe you've asked too much of a person? This is not possible with God-He has more to give than you are able to receive. He wants you to have a successful life more than you want to have one. He wants to give you more than you can envision. When you focus on the facts and feed your faith, you are well on your way to being able to fight your fears.
FIGHT YOUR FEARS
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. -2 Timothy 1:7
You think you've got problems? Paul made this great declaration during his second imprisonment in Rome, after his friends and supporters had deserted him, and as he waited for death. His physical circumstances, as bad as they were, could not diminish the truth of this verse then, and they cannot diminish it for us now.
God has not given us a spirit of fear ...
Courage is a hallmark of leadership; you cannot lead others without it. Fear is a liar because it exaggerates the forces that surround us, and it is not of God. As someone has said, FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real.
X-change Fear for Power
... but of power ...
"Power" in this verse refers to divine capability. You can exchange fear for power, not because of your own capability, but because God is not limited in His divine power. Because of Christ, you have the power to do what- ever needs to be done at the moment it needs doing.
X-change Fear for Love
... and of love ...
Love is the ability and desire to forgive those who have betrayed, deserted, or hurt you. Paul spoke of love as he sat in a cold, dark, damp prison-really, just an underground cavern. He had been beaten, bound in shackles, deserted by his friends, and hated by his foes. "Even in this place," Paul was saying, "through Christ, I have the ability to love without regard to being loved back."
X-change Fear for a Sound Mind
... and of a sound mind.
The power to banish fear gave Paul the ability to have peace and a quiet mind in some of the loneliest days of his life. In the midst of the darkness, Paul was comforted by a courageously clean conscience. In this verse, he speaks of a united mind-a mind not fractured by fear.
God has given you a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind. No matter the need, God has already provided for you. Lead on!
Do I focus on the facts or live by my feelings? ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________
Do I live expecting God to work in my future? ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________
In an increasingly violent world, can I confidently present the power of Christ as exceedingly, abundantly, and above?
Will I take the time and effort to share with others the good news of the gospel-that Christ offers courage, love, and peace?
God's part: He is on your side and is willing to give you an amazing future.
Your part: Believe that God is not only willing but absolutely able to transform your life and ensure your future.
PRIVATE WORLD DEVOTIONS
MONDAY: See it. Read the surrounding passages or chapter for the Key Scripture so that you can get an understanding of the background and context. This helps you to really see the verse.
TUESDAY: Hear it. Read the daily Key Scripture and/or surrounding passage out loud, putting your name in, if applicable. For example, John can do all things through Christ. Thieves have come to destroy John, but Jesus has come that John might have eternal life.
WEDNESDAY: Write it. Write the verse and then what it says about:
* Others: Respond, serve, and love as Jesus would.
* Me: Specific attitudes, choices, or habits.
* God: His love, mercy, holiness, peace, joy, etc. ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________
PRIVATE WORLD JOURNAL
I am grateful for-I praise you for-I am feeling-I am thinking-I need help with ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________
Excerpted from LEADERSHIP ROCKS by JAY STRACK Copyright © 2006 by Student Leadership University. Excerpted by permission.
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