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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Leadership Essentials - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Leadership Essentials - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Leadership Essentials - Part 2
TOPICS: Leadership

It's an honor to be with you today. We're going to continue our study on leadership essentials. We're going to talk about influence. Leadership at the end of the day is about influence. It's not about titles, or positions, or offices, or orange charts; it's about the influence of your life. But I want to plant an idea. You're using your influence in your life every day. You're using it either for godliness or ungodliness. So the question is, what is the direction in which you're influencing people, not with your words, with your behavior, your actions? If they modeled who you are and what you do, what would the influence of your life be? It's an important question. Grab your Bible, and let's ask God for his insight.

Leadership is not about titles or positions or offices. All of you know someone who has a title or a position that identifies them as a leader and people could care less, right? I'm sure somebody's face just came to mind. I hope they're not your supervisor and I hope it wasn't me. And then you know some people who maybe don't have a formal title or position but you care about their opinion. You want to know what they think. You wanted them to help you interpret what you're watching and what you're seeing. Ultimately, leadership is about influence. So when I talk about leading with your faith I'm talking about you allowing your faith to influence your words, your actions, your choices, and the people with whom you interact. We've been covered Christians for too long.

Now, here's what you have to know, is you're exerting influence every day. Every day, whether you're doing it on purpose or not, you're exerting influence. My question to you is, are you exerting a godly influence or an ungodly influence? You can sit in church and be a tremendous influence for ungodliness. You can give passive permission to wickedness and immorality. You may be an active participant, and other people know you affiliate with the church or affiliate with the Christian faith, that you have some sense of a relationship with Jesus, and they watch your behaviors, and you are giving them license, permission to behave in the way you're acting, and it'll bring judgment on them just as certainly as it will on you.

So you're an exhibiting, I'm exhibiting influence every day. I've been in those academic places where I would write the papers I needed to write to get the grades that I wanted so I could get the degree that I wanted. I didn't challenge anything. I just went along with the flow. I thought it would add some momentum to my professional life. So I sat down and shut up and wrote the papers. I'm sorry. You understand. You're demonstrating influence every day. And don't imagine that you have to be wicked or ungodly to lead with an ungodly influence. I brought you an example. It's Exodus 32. This is the group. They still smell like Egypt. They've still got mud from the brick pits in their clothes. They're not long on the other side of the Red Sea. And Moses has gone up the mountain to get the Ten Commandments, and he's left Aaron in charge. He's left family in charge.

And the people say, "We miss Moses. He's been gone a while". "And Aaron says, 'Take off your gold earrings that your wives and your sons and your daughters are wearing". Right there's a problem, but we'll go on. "'Bring them to me.' So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. And he took what they handed him. And they made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool, and they said, 'These are your gods. These are your gods, Israel.'" Aaron did it, not some pagan, somewhere out here or other, not some roughing in on the periphery of the crowd of this mixed multitude that came out of Egypt. Aaron said it. He orchestrated the rebellion. You know what God said to Moses? "Get out of my way. I'm going to wipe them all out. I'll start over". And Moses said, "Please don't".

Please don't be confused on it. It said if you see somebody that you've imagined to be a Christ follower behaving in an ungodly way, do not take it for license. And I want to encourage you to begin to think about the influence of your life: the people who work with you, the people who live next door to you, the people who sit on the bleachers with you while your children engage or your grandchildren engage in sporting activities. Are you leading with your faith? Do you talk to them about your faith? Do you talk to them about your worldview? Do you give them your perspective on what's happening in the world? Do they know without any question, without any doubt where you stand?

You see, I hear people out there, "What can I do, pastor? You know, should I go to Washington"? No, no, go to the ball fields. "Should I contact my senator"? Well, I'm not opposed to that, but first contact your family and talk to them about honoring the Lord. You see, it starts at the kitchen table and our family system and it moves into that concentric circle of those people we choose to spend our discretionary time with, and then we can talk about moving outward where we work, then we can lift their eyes to the horizon, those people we wish would stand up. Why should God send someone to stand up at a distance if we won't stand up where we are? You have influence. I brought you a long passage from Acts. I'm not going to read the whole thing. It's Peter and the apostles.

Jesus hasn't been gone very long. The church is gaining some momentum in Jerusalem, and it's creating a great deal of consternation. They thought they'd eliminated the threat to the existing power system when they executed Jesus. They did it publicly. It was a very clear message to anybody that would have dared to continue to follow him. "If you'll do what, if you'll continue with that crazy message, we'll do to you what we did to him". They crucified him. They tortured him to death in a very public way. Cancel culture is not new. You with me? There have been threats to cancel the message of the kingdom of God since it first arrived. What's going to be said about the 21st century church? Did we capitulate? You can forget an audience far more quickly amongst Christians if we're going to talk about building bridges with the world than you can if we talk about holiness, and purity, and godliness, and leading with your faith.

Well, anyway, the jealousy in Jerusalem is growing because now people are listening to the apostles, the disciples. So they bring in Peter and the crew, and they said, "If you don't stop this". And Peter's answer, I think I put it there. Yeah, it's in verse 29. He said, "We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree". Are you kidding me? By current standards, that's a brazen response, standing in front of the powerful elite in Jerusalem and saying, "You killed the Messiah". Whoa, big fella. And they're ready to have them executed. And it says someone in the Sanhedrin spoke up, a man by the name of Gamaliel, and said, "Will you just ask them to step out of the room for a minute. I need to talk to you".

This man had tremendous courage. He understands there's a murderous rage in that room, and he's seen it expressed a few weeks earlier. They crucified a man who raised people from the dead and healed blind eyes. And now he has the courage to stand in front of that body of people that orchestrated that event and say, "I need to talk to you about your attitude. It's possible you're resisting God and not just people". I'm telling you that's courage to lead. And it says there in your notes, you can read it. It says his speech persuaded them. If he'd been silent, they might have killed the apostles. It seems to be the suggestion; because after his speech persuaded them, they brought them back in and ordered that they be flogged. It's an old English word for beaten almost to death.

So after his speech persuaded them, they took their foot off the gas enough to say, "We're just going to beat you within an inch of your life". But he had the courage to use his voice. Church, we've got to find our voice. We do. I brought you a proclamation. Again, I'm working, I'm commissioning leaders everywhere I can find a little group of people. I want you to lead with your faith in your home, in your neighborhood, at the ball fields, in the office, wherever you go. We're going to talk about the how to of this for several sessions with God's help. This is Philippians 4:9. Have you found it? Keep ignoring me. I'll keep bringing you back to your notes.

Let's say this verse together. "Whatever you have learned, or received, or heard from me, or seen in me, put it into practice, and the God of peace will be with you". Well, that verse always gives me just a little pause. Can you imagine going to work tomorrow and say, "Listen. I want to help you with your faith. Whatever you've learned or heard or seen in me, you just do that". Feel inadequate? Me too. That's what Paul wrote to the church at Philippi. Are you living that way or are you such an undercover Christian that if they emulated your behavior and your words and your attitudes, that it wouldn't be clear whether they were Christian or not? See, the problem is not the others, it's us. We got to learn to lead with our faith. I'm tired of the brazenness of wicked. I'm tired of the determination of the ungodly while the church cowers in the corner. We are children of the King.

We're inadequate, we have influence that needs to be exerted, and thirdly, we've got to be intentional about this. Leading is not accidental. You're not going to be an accidental leader. I promise you're not. It's not just a coincidental thing. In Luke 9 there's a statement made about Jesus. It's very insightful. It says, "As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven", what an interesting statement, "As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven". We're going to heaven. How many of you will like to taken up to heaven? Yeah, I'm in. Let's go. Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. There's something left out of that. Before he ascends to heaven he's going to be betrayed, his best friends are going to abandon him, he's going to be beaten almost beyond recognition, and then he'll be tortured to death. Oh, yeah, they left that out. The time approached for him to be taken up to heaven.

You see, we've been making God-decisions based on comfort and convenience and ease, what makes me happy. And I'm not opposed to happy, but I refuse to serve happy. I mean, if I can choose happy or sad, I choose happy. I don't look for the most difficult path, but I will not yield the privilege of serving the Lord in order to maintain the space that makes me happy. Let's do some hard things for the kingdom of God. Let's teach our kids that doing life being a person of character is going to require you to make some difficult lifts. It's not always about easy. Jesus set his face resolutely to go to Jerusalem. In the King James it says he set his face like a flint.

Look at 1 Corinthians 9. This is the apostle Paul. "Therefore I don't run like a man running aimlessly". He's not just out for a jog. If you catch me running and I'm running hard, you stop and give me a ride. Something is after me. I promise. Don't you just drive past me; you call 911, you back up, you come get me. We're in real trouble. If you catch me walking, shuffling bottle of water, earbuds in, you just move on. I'm out there for a pseudo, carto, cardio. I want to eat more desert trip. And I think we put them in coach to lead to our Christian lives like that. We participate when it's convenient. If we don't have a better option, if our team's not playing, if it's not a good day to be someplace else we'll choose the commandments that are most comfortable.

We've kind of had an aimless, and we've been able to do that because our lives have been secured by the systems around us. We weren't Sudanese Christians. We weren't Rwandan Christians. We weren't in those places in the world where there was tremendous suffering and death and volatility, we've been in a stable place with a great deal of liberty and freedom. And we could use our Christianity as kind of a casual self-identifier, and we didn't want to identify as Muslim. "So, yeah, I'm kind of a Christian". But we were pretty aimless. Paul said, "I don't run like that. I don't fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and I make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize".

There's a intentionality in Paul's language. I want to ask you to begin to think of your faith in a little more intentional way. I think of the way, we process God questions in our lives, and it seems to me we're accepting of things, but we're often not intentional. "I'm open for anything God has for me". People say that to me. "You know, pastor, I'll just, whatever God wants to do, that'd be fine with me. Whatever God want. If you'll just tell me what he wants me to do, I'm just all in for that. I promise I'll cooperate".

You know, with that attitude there's a high degree of probability you could go to hell. Jesus died on a cross for us. And the Bible says in order to benefit from that I have to believe in my heart and confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord. God's done what he's going to do to make it possible for me to participate in his kingdom. So I need more than just an accepting attitude for whatever God forces upon me. I have to be intentional in how I seek him. Bible says seek him while he may be found. In Hebrews it says he's the rewarder of those who diligently seek him. We've been a little casual. We've tried to get our God business done, and then we want to go live our lives. We're going to lead with our faith now. It's a new season. We need a new outcome. We need, and our children need us to lead in a new way. We got to help them with their masks. We've been sitting over here breathing pretty comfortably.

Now, there's some preparation that goes with this. 1 Peter 1:13 says, "Prepare your minds for action". I love this is the fisherman Jesus recruited, and he's near the end of his life, and he writes to the church. He said, "You better prepare your minds for action. You haven't been thinking in a way that makes you able to get in the active end of the discussion". We've had theoretical Christianity long enough. We've sat in our churches and talked about first century culture, but we didn't want to talk about 21st century culture. That's inappropriate, we've been told. No, it's not. It's essential. If our faith does not impact the culture of the 21st century, we failed as salt and light, and we won't make an influence. We can't make an impact if we can't even talk about it. I brought you a comparison; two persons that had done something in the way they thought that changed their significance in the kingdom. The first is Daniel. You know him as a slave his whole life in Babylon, remarkable man of faith.

It says the angel says to Daniel, "Do not be afraid. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before God, your words were heard, and I came in response to them". He got an angelic visit because of an attitude in his mind. He was intentional in the pursuit of God, and he humbled himself. He knew he was inadequate. The assignment in front of him was too great. He wasn't going to overthrow the Babylonian or the Persian Empire on his strength alone, but God in him was so real that the leaders of both of those empires came to him for direction in making their choices. You're right. We're inadequate, but we have to determine that we are going to, on purpose, intentionally seek the Lord.

Look in Matthew 16. This was Jesus talking to Peter. He turned to Peter and he said, "Get behind me. You are a stumbling block to me. You're not setting your mind on God's interests". This is Peter, water walking. This is the first person to say, "You're the Messiah". He's a disciple. He's a trusted friend of Jesus. He is an inner-circle learner. There isn't anybody in the book that's any closer to the Messiah than Peter, and Jesus looks at Peter and he said, "Your mind is not set on the right thing. Get out of my way". We've been living a little presumptuously. We have to invite the Spirit of God to help us with our thoughts, with our priorities, with our determinations. We have to set our minds on the things of God.

I want to give you a little paradigm, and I'm going to wrap up with this one. I've used this through the years. In fact, when I sent my notes in, they sent them back to me and said I had a typo. The paradigm is this: ready, fire, aim. When they sent them back to me, what did they say? Ready, aim, fire. You know what we do in church? Church, well, I've lived in church. Well, I can speak this. Our process is, "Ready? Aim. Let's have a committee meeting in talking about how to aim more effectively. Let's have a vote. Aim. Well, I don't know. Is anybody else aiming in this direction? Aim. I forgot what we were aiming at. Can we go back to the beginning? Ready"?

I want to suggest a different plan. Ready? Fire. Fire. Fire. Somebody better look. I'm not encouraging violence. I'm not talking about guns. I'm talking about leading with your faith. There are people all around you desperate to know the truth. All day here is what's cascading over them from all the delivery systems in our world, and most of them are not helpful. They need a biblical perspective. They need a Judeo-Christian worldview. They need somebody that they're acquainted with, that they interact with that will have the courage to say to them that, "I believe Jesus is Lord". And as much as we would like it to be an angel, or a talking donkey, or some elected official, or somebody other than us, we're the church.

When God recruited Moses in Exodus 3, he comes and he says this wonderful thing to him. He said, "I've heard the suffering of my people, and I've come down to deliver them". And Moses is going, "Yes. Thank God. I tried that. I messed that up in a major way". And then God says, "Now, I'm sending you". "Whoa". See, most of us would be happy if they prayed in our schools and put the Ten Commandments on the wall, and they prayed in the hospitals, in the ballgames, in the courtrooms, and the nativity scenes are back in the public square. We'd be happy if somebody else would go say, "That's a good idea," while we stand over here and mumble something about separating something from something. We've got to lead with our faith. The freedoms and liberties we have don't come from the government, they come from God.

Governments encroach upon liberties and freedoms. They have throughout human history. They're doing it all over the earth today. So what's our action plan? I'll talk to you about it in the next session, but I brought you one more proclamation. It's Isaiah 6. It's near the end of your notes. There's hope. I'm done. It's Isaiah 6:8. Let's just say it together. "I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?' And I said, 'Here I am. Send me.'"

Now, I want you to stand with me, if you will. How many of you be willing to lead with your faith? If the Lord gave you an opportunity this week to be an advocate for Jesus, if he gave you a let's-pray moment, if he gave you an opportunity to say, "Yeah, I go to that church," if he gave you an opportunity to say, "I don't think that's an appropriate content for our minor children to be learning," would you be willing to lead with your faith? If you would, I'd like to pray a prayer of commissioning. It's a serious thing. I believe God takes us at our word. But I have something God's put in my heart that by the end of the year we will have commissioned thousands of people across this nation to lead with their faith. It's time.

Again, we're not angry, we're not belligerent, we're certainly not violent, but we're taking Jesus with us wherever we go. You know, they don't so much anymore. They used to ask me if I'd come do some prayer to dedicate something, and they'd say, "You know, it's going to be a very diverse audience. Could you kind of go light on the Jesus thing"? I'd go, "No". So it kind of became a game with me. Kathy, she knows by now. She'll take count how many times I can say Jesus in a 3-minute prayer. You're right. I'm inadequate. But Christ in you, you can do that. You can do that. You ready?

Father, I thank you. Lord, I believe you gathered us today. For far more than our decision or our will, I believe you led us together by your Spirit, Lord, on our campus and far beyond. And just as Isaiah was willing to say, "Here I am, send me," Father, we stand in your presence this morning to say here we are. Send us into this generation. Holy Spirit, we need your help. Where we've been unaware or unconcerned or uninvolved, I pray you'll give us understanding hearts and new eyes and new ears to be aware of what's happening. Give us the humility to recognize that in ourselves we are weak and frail but the boldness to acknowledge that Christ in us is sufficient.

I thank you for it, but I thank you that as we're willing to use our voice and encourage others and pray for others and extend hope to others that we'll begin to see you move in the most remarkable ways. We'll bring those stories back where we'll share them, we'll celebrate them, we'll give thanks for them. We'll let the name of Jesus be exalted in the earth. Let your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Here we are. Lord, anoint us. Give us boldness. May the fear of the Lord grow in our hearts more than the fear of people. And I thank you for what you will do in Jesus' name, amen.

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