Tag Archives: moral authority
Week 1 – Leadership 101
ALONE WITH GOD
John 15:5 – I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. [ESV]
TOGETHER WITH OTHERS
Luke 22:25-26 – Jesus told them, “In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves. [NLT]
Philippians 2:3-4 – Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. [ESV]
Psalm 90:12 – Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. [NIV]
Breakout Session Questions:
1) Read Mark 1:35, Luke 5:16, and Matthew 14:23. What do these passages say about the rhythm of prayer? How does time with God help you to better lead those you are called to lead? How can you be more intentional with your time with God?
2) Read Philippians 2:3-4. What does it mean to count someone more significant than yourself? Why is this an important quality for a leader? How can you be intentional to look out for the interests of others?
3) Personal Reflection: Rest is important. Do you have a Sabbath day, a day when you don’t work but you rest with God? If not, consider why you have not made this a priority.
Week 2 – Leadership 101
Ephesians 4:14-16 – Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. [NIV]
John 3:30 – He must increase, but I must decrease. [ESV]
Colossians 3:17 – Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. [NASB]
Act in LOVE
1 Corinthians 16:14 – Do everything in love [NIV] (1 Corinthians 13)
Protect your MORAL AUTHORITY
1 John 3:18 – Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. [NASB]
Matthew 20:26-28 – It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” [NASB]
Breakout Session Questions:
1) Read Matthew 23:1-26. In verse 3, what does Jesus say to the people? What would the behavior of the Pharisees and scribes do the people they were leading? In verse 4, we read of the heavy loads that are put on the shoulders of people—loads the leaders would not be willing to carry. What can we glean from this as a leader? Verse 13 is harsh. What does it say? What does that mean? Verses 23-24 speak of the giving of the scribes and Pharisees. How does this poorly reflect a leader? Verses 25-26 speak of the clean outside and the dirty inside. What does this mean for a leader?
Your name, your reputation, it means something. In a day when it seems like reputation doesn’t mean as much, it is important to note that not everyone looks up to the people on television or in the sports arena like they can do no wrong. Many times, when someone does something to take advantage of others, to build up their own treasures at the expense of others, when it is revealed, their moral authority is gone.
The Bible tells us to choose a good reputation over great riches. This doesn’t mean having silver or gold is bad. The verse makes it clear that if you had to choose one, choose to be one with a good reputation, one who is “held in high esteem.” A good reputation cannot be taken away unless you have a moment of turmoil. Riches come and go. Riches aren’t as important as your moral authority.
It is so easy to let go of your good name just for some extra money. We all have moments of greed. Be sure to remember that it takes years to build up a good reputation; it takes a second to make a bad decision that will destroy that same reputation. Choose a good reputation. Live so your name is a good one, a name that doesn’t cause you or your family to shrink and hide. A good reputation helps you to shine a light on Jesus!
“Choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold.” – Proverbs 22:1 [NLT]
Signing your name to something is often known as an endorsement. When you sign a check, you are endorsing it. By signing your name on the check, you are giving your word that there is money in your bank account to cover whatever amount is on the check. In life we endorse more than just checks. We can endorse people by giving them a written or verbal reference, or by slapping a bumper sticker on our car. We can endorse products by writing a review. When an accountant prepares your tax returns, he endorses the returns by signing them. When a person inspects your vehicle, that inspection sticker is an endorsement, stating that the car passed inspection per the state codes.
But what happens when one endorses something but it turns out to not be good? Often when a person’s word was trusted but found to be unworthy of trust, there is a loss of moral authority. This past week, I was on the bad end of a faulty endorsement. My family was blessed with a new van; however, the fellow that sold the vehicle promised to inspect it so it could have a fresh inspection sticker good for another year. I was happy and appreciative of the gesture. I was not happy a few days later; however, when I found myself being pulled over by a police officer for malfunctioning lights. They would have been checked with the inspection. What do you mean a few are out? How could that be? Today a different mechanic looked at the van and said he never saw anything like it. So many bulbs that weren’t working, among other items that would have failed with a state inspection. It was clear that I would never do business with the man that sold the van again. He lost my trust.
Integrity and moral authority are important; however, the world does not pay much attention to these items anymore. It is so often that one can lie and cheat their way to the top. We have accepted some sins as not-so-bad and traded the truth for a lie. We will endorse anything, not caring what it will do to our moral authority. Doing our best for God’s glory is put on the back-burner. Power, pleasure and possessions trump grace and truth. Today, remember God’s word reminds us we are not part of this world. We have a higher calling. Walk with integrity friends. You may be the only gospel a person reads. Point to Jesus.
“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.” – Proverbs 11:3 [NIV]
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:1-2 [NIV]
Honesty. Moral uprightness. Integrity. It is something you are not just given. It is something you earn. It is something you can lose in the blink of an eye. It is something of great importance. Often in our society today we don’t see its importance. We see people in the limelight fall from great heights, months go by and they are back on top. But understand this isn’t integrity—this is fame. In the real world, what you don’t see on television or read in the paper or online, when a person loses his or her moral authority, it is not so easy to reclaim.
Integrity is something to value—it is something that will help you to be of great use to God’s Kingdom. Recently I was told about a person who was walking around sharing the Good News with everyone she met. She understood the importance of the Great Commission. Yet her technique was forceful and judgmental, absent of love. Even more so, integrity was not a word one used to describe her. She spoke of God’s Word, but she lived something very different. The end result was people turning away.
Today I implore you to understand the importance of your integrity. Yes each of us will fall short, each of us will sin. But let us seek strength and encouragement from the Spirit so that we can be men and women of integrity, godly examples that reflect Christ. This is something we cannot do alone; we can only do this through Christ. But living a life of moral uprightness will share Christ with more people than your words. That is a true testimony.
“Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain? The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart; whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor, and casts no slur on others; who despises a vile person but honors those who fear the Lord; who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind; who lends money to the poor without interest; who does not accept a bribe against the innocent. Whoever does these things will never be shaken.” – Psalm 15 [NIV]
Jehoshaphat followed God and his obedience brought him wealth and honor. Even so, there are times when we can make some poor decisions that can end up pulling us away from God. Jehoshaphat’s poor decision was making bad alliances.
In 2 Chronicles 18, we read about the first bad alliance. This was a marriage alliance involving Jehoshaphat’s son Joram to King Ahab’s daughter Athaliah. King Ahab was very far from God. As Ahab and Jehoshaphat aligned together, Jehoshaphat was nearly killed if not for the protection of God. The second alliance was a trading alliance Jehoshaphat formed with King Ahaziah. God responds with smashed ships unable to trade.
We are never to isolate ourselves from others. How would the Gospel spread if we hide ourselves away? Nonetheless, we need to be cautious of our alliances. Not only can a bad alliance crush our moral authority, but it can lead us away from God. It is so important to surround yourself with strong Christians for encouragement, support, guidance, and comfort.
“Late in life Jehoshaphat formed a trading syndicate with Ahaziah king of Israel—which was very wrong of him to do. He went in as partner with him to build ocean-going ships at Ezion Geber to trade with Tarshish. Eliezer son of Dodavahu of Mareshah preached against Jehoshaphat’s venture: ‘Because you joined forces with Ahaziah, God has shipwrecked your work.’ The ships were smashed and nothing ever came of the trade partnership.”
-2 Chronicles 20:35-37 [MSG]
Word of mouth is powerful. Many times you will hear things about people, sometimes good things and sometimes not so good things. Reputation is something that may take years to build and seconds to break. When you are searching for a job or a college, personal recommendations and letters of reference are beneficial. You want people who will speak well of you to provide these items. The question to ask yourself is if you poll people who know you, would they say about you? What do they “know” about you? What would others discuss?
When Ruth and Naomi returned back to Naomi’s hometown, word spread quickly of the grand return. Not only did those who knew Naomi speaking of her return, but people were speaking about Ruth the Moabite as well. People were discussing her loyalty and kindness to Naomi her mother-in-law. Word had spread. People noticed her commitment.
Boaz said he “heard all about” what Ruth did. This reputation undoubtedly encouraged people to welcome Ruth, and Boaz to quickly agree to act as family redeemer. May people speak just as kind words about you today. How is that possible? It requires living with integrity, acting in love, generously opening your hands and being bold in your faith.
“Boaz answered her, ‘I’ve heard all about you—heard about the way you treated your mother-in-law after the death of her husband, and how you left your father and mother and the land of your birth and have come to live among a bunch of total strangers. God reward you well for what you’ve done—and with a generous bonus besides from God, to whom you’ve come seeking protection under his wings.'”
– Ruth 2:11-12 [MSG]
The other day a lady was having her groceries scanned at the cash register. Everything was running smoothly but then something happened and it changed everything. There was a jar of vinegar that was not scanning so the numbers had to be typed into the register. After all of the numbers were entered from the product, the wrong price came up because of the similarity between another item in the store. The customer was blown away that the jar of vinegar rang up for over thirty dollars.
The error was quickly noticed and a correction was made; however, the lady was no longer smiling or relaxed. She was now watching as each item was scanned into the system, making sure that every item was being charged correctly. Trust was lost. That one error caused her to no longer believe that she would receive the proper price for the items she was purchasing.
I’m not telling you this because of some vinegar that did not come up properly, but to show you how easily trust can be lost. We each have something called moral authority, and it is something that can quickly be lost if we are not careful. If we are not positively representing Christ, we are providing people with something else which could turn them away from Christ. If we are telling people the Truth but not living by it, people will respond to that discrepancy. The word “hypocrite” will be said or thought. Keep this in mind as you go about your day—what are you showing people? Are you living what you are preaching?
“Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” – 1 Timothy 4:15-16 [NIV]