Ps Wayne Alcorn preached on leadership. He’s the national leader of ACC churches, and he spoke on how leaders can build something of worth. We take a look at Nehemiah here, a guy who did a lot of building, and a lot of leading. Nehemiah was moved to lead out of the passion He had for God and His people. In Ps Wayne’s words, Nehemiah prayed, got a team together and got building. What a great way to start!
Ps Wayne was clear: when we are used by Jesus to start building something great for God’s Kingdom, the devil will hate it. He will want to attack and to interrupt and break down what is giving Glory to God. You can bet if what you are building is pointing to Jesus, that the devil wants to tear it down. And we see this in Nehemiah. His enemies come in at chapter 2, verse 19 specifically. Have a read of what they say. Throughout the book Nehemiah is interrupted by his enemies, trying to break down what Nehemiah is trying to build, because they know it will be great. Here are some of the ways we as leaders can be broken down, when we start to honour God.
We start to believe our enemy’s lies:
1. 2:19 “…’what is it you are doing?’ they asked, “Are you rebelling against the king?’” We can be broken down by this lie from our enemy: We are doing the wrong thing. The objective of this lie is to confuse us. Have you ever stopped and thought maybe what you’re doing is a horrible idea? Filled with doubt, confusion, the voices in your head tell you that what you’re doing is a bad idea, and that it won’t work. Don’t listen! If your vision is from God- go for it, and be faithful! Remember- every time the enemy tells you a lie – Holy Spirit has an answer! The best way to fight confusion is conviction. Hold tight to what God has convicted you of, and keep building! Look to Nehemiah’s conviction: “The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding…” If it is God’s will for your ministry to spread His gospel and bring Him glory – you can bet that it will!
2. 4:3 “… ’What they are building- even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!” The second lie leaders who are building for God hear is, “You aren’t good enough, and you will fail.” The objective of this lie is to belittle you. But Ephesians 2:10 tells us that “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Christ Jesus created us, and God prepared our works. We don’t need to worry about being good enough- our God is more than good, and it on Him who we rely! Don’t listen to this lie- you are never asked to be ‘good enough’ –only to surrender to Jesus! It is a relief to be reminded that it is God’s ministry, God’s church, and God’s people – and He will see it built to HIS desires – despite how ‘good’ we are at building. How often do we see God use very, very ordinary, underqualified people to do His work throughout the Bible!
3. 6:11 “Wherever you turn, they will attack us,” The Jews began to fear their enemies; they started to believe that their enemies were stronger than their God. Lie number 3 is “you’re going to suffer and God won’t look after you”, and the objective here is to discourage you. How many times in ministry have we thought God was calling us to something, but the thought of failure, or the idea of having to sacrifice for it was too much? When God calls you to something, you can be sure He will carry you through it. He carries us through trials and storms daily, and He wants us to fully rely on Him, not to fear our enemies, or things that could hurt us along the way. Nehemiah encouraged the Israelites to “walk in the fear of our God…” not our enemies! What we focus on really does affect us – so don’t focus on the fear, focus on Jesus. “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face; and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”
4. The fourth and final lie leaders believe: “we should make a deal.” The objective here is to make you COMPROMISE. I put this in capitals because SO many great leaders have fallen down and believed this lie. Do not be tempted to compromise your integrity! Jesus was told this lie by the devil in the desert, and Nehemiah was asked to compromise his vision too. 6:2 “Come, let us meet together in one of the villages on the plains of Ono.” But Nehemiah knew that it was a scam from his enemies. Look at his reply, “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down…” Nehemiah was assured that God had given him a task, and would not compromise and consult with his enemies. Sometimes we are offered a choice to compromise what we are doing. The compromise can be attractive; it can make our task look easier, more appealing and even more efficient. But when leaders compromise, it helps no one. When we compromise on our own standards, and fall into sin, we are serving ourselves. And a leader who is seeking to serve themself cannot point others to Jesus. When we are faced with compromise, we can respond like Nehemiah. “I am carrying on a great project and I cannot go down…” We can look to Jesus, and how He responded; “For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord and serve Him only.’” Like Jesus, and Nehemiah, we are to serve the Lord, not ourselves, and when we don’t give into this lie, and focus on Jesus and not on how to build something that glorifies ourselves, we can be used by God to reach many people for Him.
The lies that leaders believe that Ps Wayne outlined are, I’m sure, familiar to all of us. But as Barry Newton, aka Squirt the Clown, told us at the conference: “the most effective lie the devil uses to bring us down, is that you are all on your own.” This lie makes us all feel as if we are the only ones who have self-doubts, gets discouraged, is tempted, and gets confused. But it’s not true! We are serving Jesus in a family, as a team, with Christ as the head. And we were never intended to feel isolated! And Jesus has equipped those he calls to serve, with weapons to fight these lies. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” This passage says ‘we’. That means we should never feel as if we are fighting these lies alone. We have unity in Christ to work together to spread His gospel, and extend His kingdom. Don’t believe the lies of the enemy. You have been called into leadership to make a difference for the kingdom, and Jesus will equip you with people, and with whatever you need. Have courage to build something of worth, for the kingdom, not just a ministry that looks good from the outside.
Footnotes: http://acckids.org.au • For more information on Kidshaper conference, or ACC Kids, have a look at their fantastic website full of training and resources!!
Post date: 01/09/2014 • Post Author: Sally Contessi