Nehemiah 13- Leadership Leaves a Legacy

Here we are to the end of Nehemiah and we see today how leadership leaves things when their time is done.

Nehemiah 13- Leadership Leaves a Legacy

Part 1- To Prevent a Repeat

1. Nehemiah understands what is at stake.  He has seen what has happened and watched the people get things straightened out for the first time, in a a long time.  Add to that their newly realized passion for the Word of God and he knows there is something unique going on.  Unfortunately, he had heard of some evil that had taken place that needed to be addressed to prevent repeating the past.   The people need constant reminding of what has happened and what the Word of God says they are to do.

Leadership Principle # 1-   Leaders must keep the vision constantly before the people so that they don’t compromise what needs to be done and mess up the work that has already been accomplished.

2. Nehemiah also deals with individual sins that people have committed.  He first deals with Tobiah by having him thrown out and the rooms purified.  Then he goes and deals with the neglect of the house of God and says, “So I rebuked the officials and asked them, “Why is the house of God neglected?” (Nehemiah 13:11)  So, he makes corrections to the people at the different positions in order to protect the house of God.  There were also compromises going on with the business practices as well.  (working on the Sabbath)  All things that they had promised not to do in the agreement.

Leadership Principle # 2-  Leaders hold those who are committed to something accountable for their actions.

3.  Nehemiah also noticed that the people were intermarrying with pagans.  This was something they should have learned their lesson from in the past.  It was wrong and it caused Nehemiah to lash out against them.  “I rebuked them and called curses down on them.  I beat some of the men and pulled out their hair.  I made them take an oath in God’s name.”  This was clearly frustrating to Nehemiah, but he did not give up on them.

“I often ask God what he has me here for.  There is so much that is good and then there is so much that is frustrating.  The answer I always get is, “see that stuff that frustrates you, that is why you are here.” Missionary in Gabon Africa.

Leadership Principle # 3-  Leaders continue to help people see the direction they should go, even when they constantly do the wrong thing.

Part 2- To Continue Personally for God’s Glory

1. Nehemiah ends every phrase here asking God to remember him with favor.  He has a desire to make God proud with what he is doing and how he is handling situations.  He ends the book saying, “remember me with favor, O my God.”  The book of Nehemiah and the story of his leadership begins with God and ends with God.

Leadership Principle #4 –  Leaders never stop looking to God for both direction and for approval from the very beginning to the very end.

If you were to take an overview of your life would God be proud?  I know that is a hard question.  We all have places of influence, some in bigger arenas than others.  No matter where God has you, or what he has you doing, your call is to make Him proud.

I would love to hear from you.  Are there people who have done this well?  Are there stories that you could share about this?

Nehemiah 11 &12- Leadership Sets the Pace

It is Sunday which means we continue our leadership series today. If you have missed any, you can find them all listed under the “Sunday Series” tab above.

Nehemiah 11 & 12- Leadership Sets the Pace

Part 1- What’s the Next Step?

1.  The residents of Jerusalem had come a long way in nearly every category.  They had restored almost every area of brokenness.  There were, however, still some practical matters to take care of right away.  There was no time to stand around and pat each other on the back.    Everything was changed now and it would continue to change as things moved forward.  Nehemiah has seen what they could become and doesn’t want them to stop until they get there.

Leadership Principle # 1-  Leaders are never satisfied with where things are at.  They are looking to the future and what could become of the people.

2. They are finally prepared to dedicate this wall to God.  It is a time of celebration and joy as they praise God for the way he has brought order to the chaos.

“Servant leaders entrusted with a mission cannot complete that mission on their own.  God gives us work to do that which is beyond the abilities of a single person, and a leader learns to involve others —- their wisdom, gifts, and callings” – Gene Wilkes in Jesus on Leadership.

Leadership Principle # 2-  Leaders are constantly reminding themselves and the people they lead that the mission is only possible with God.  It is him who give us the abilities to do the work and it is Him who gets the praise for the completed project.

What areas are you leading in?  What areas are you supposed to be leading in but are letting someone else set the pace?  

Nehemiah 8, 9 & 10 – Leadership is Shepherding People

 We are working out way through Nehemiah for the leadership lessons inside.  This week we take three chapters at once.

Nehemiah 8, 9 & 10- Leadership is  Shepherding People

Part 1- From Despair to Worship

1.  Now that the people had completed a task together, they were experiencing a new sense of unity and hope.   Ezra is invited to come and read the law of Moses to them.  He read it for hours and hours in what was, perhaps, the first time they had gone back to read the law in a long time.  They had a new hunger for the Word of God and were intent on listening in communion with God.

“Effective preaching happens when the Spirit of God takes the word of God and transforms us into the people of God” – John Kitchen in “Revival in the Rubble”

Leadership Principle # 1-  Leaders shepherd people by knowing, obeying  and teaching the Word of God.  They have an appreciation for the Word and use it as their authoritative guide.

2.  There is clearly heart change going on in the people.  The Word of God is becoming clear to them by the work of the Holy Spirit.  You can see it in their response.

“Amen! Amen! Then they bowed down and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.” (Nehemiah 8:6)

Leadership Principle # 2- Leaders shepherd people to the throne of God with consistency.  They also constantly petition God to work in their hearts.

3.  The Word of God was convicting the people in their sin and they were getting very gloomy.   So, Nehemiah recognizing what was going on, quickly addresses the situation.   He said, “This day is sacred to the Lord your God.  Do not mourn or weep.” (Nehemiah 8:9)

Leadership Principle # 3-  Leaders shepherd people with proper counsel in their emotional times.  This means assessing what is going on and providing the encouraging word they need.

Part 2- From Celebration to Confession

1.  Nehemiah has allowed their celebration for the wonderful work of God among them.  He has encouraged them to worship the Lord and celebrate all that He has done.  The work in the hearts of the people is not complete because he work of restoring the relationship between God and man needs to be completed.  They stood before the Word of God and confessed their sins.   Sin is not a popular topic, but it was what the people needed and Nehemiah knew it.

“It is not doing things we like to do, but doing things we have to do that causes growth” – John Maxwell

Leadership Principle #4-  Leaders will lead people through a problem by addressing what needs to be done.    In this case, the sin that had caused them all that hardship needed to be put aside and a new chapter written.

2. The prayer listed here is a long one that includes mostly praise and confession.  Nehemiah begins his leadership with a proper understanding of his place before God. Now he has the opportunity to shepherd the people to that very same understanding.   This shows that they have fully subscribed to him as their shepherding leader.

“No matter how smart, talented, and persuasive you are naturally or by training, you are not the leader until the group you are leading says so.  The mantle of leadership is bestowed on you by those who grasp your mission and choose to follow you” Gene Wilkes in “Jesus on Leadership”

Leadership Principle # 5-  Leaders are only really leading if people are following them.

3. The confession doesn’t just lead to nowhere.  It leads to the development of a plan to not go back there again.  It says, “In view of all of this we are making a binding agreement, putting it in writing, and our leaders, our Levites are affixing their seals to it.” (Nehemiah 9: 38)  It was not enough to confess what was wrong in the past.  There needed to be a line drawn in the sand and a vision cast for what they are to be about in the future.   There is momentum here for change and a new direction.

Leadership Principle #6 –  Leaders create momentum and use it to implement change.

So, I trust this has once again inspired you in your leadership roles.  How are you shepherding people and how are people shepherding you?

Nehemiah 6 & 7 – Leadership is Completing Tasks

We are working our way through Nehemiah for our Sunday Series.  If you missed a week, you can find them under the tab above.  I intentionally don’t write out a bunch of verses here so that people take the time to read from their Bibles.

Task complete?

Nehemiah 6 & 7- Leadership is Completing Tasks 

Part 1- Not being Distracted

1. The wall was now nearly completed.  However, the opposition to this was still there and getting even more desperate.  So, they send a message to Nehemiah for him to come and see them.  However, Nehemiah is wise to their tricks and refuses to leave.

Leadership Principle # 1-  Leaders know what to focus their attention on and what to ignore.

2. Nehemiah received the same message four different times and each time he responded with the same answer to them.  Then he sends an aid to deliver a sealed message.  Inside of that is an accusation that the people were planning a revolt and that is the reason the wall was being built.  Nehemiah doesn’t fall for the bait and says, “Nothing like what you are saying is happening;  you are just making it up out of your head.”

Leadership Principle # 2-   Leaders don’t waste time with frivolous accusations made in foolish ways.  Instead, they respond with grace letting them know it is not true and continuing on with the task.

3.  Nehemiah understands the importance of the mission he has been called to do.  This had implications both in the immediate future and in the future when Jesus comes.  This city needed to be rebuilt for all of God’s redeeming plans to be fulfilled.  So, he once again prays for God to strengthen his hands.

Leadership Principle # 3-  Leaders constantly renew their strength in the Lord through-out the process.

Part 2- Seeing it Through to the Next Step 

1. Finally the wall was completed and the enemies lost their confidence in being able to mess the plan up.  After all, it was clearly God doing the work.  Nehemiah’s first task was to appoint some leadership.  He put in charge two people because they were men of integrity who feared God.

“The first thing to look for in any kind of leader or potential leader is strength of character.  Character flaws cannot be ignored.  They will eventually make a leader ineffective — every time” – John Maxwell

Leadership Principle #4-   Leaders see a task through by appointing and developing the right leaders.

2.  Nehemiah then equips them for what they need to be doing.  They were supposed to keep the gates closed and appoint residents as posts and guards.  This is all part of the process of seeing the project through to completion.

Leadership Principle #5 –  Leaders are always looking for ways to equip other people to do the work of the ministry.  This multiplies their effectiveness.

3. Over this time of ruin many people had left the city. Now that the wall was back in place, the next step was to get people to come back to rebuild their homes.  Nehemiah was able to locate the people and they returned from exile.  This project became about more than just a wall built, it was a spiritual revival.

“The goal in Nehemiah’s day was the restoration of Israel to God’s high purpose for them.  They were to be a light to the nations.  They would be the channel through which the Savior of the world would come.  Fulfilling such a high calling required a repopulated nation” John Kitchen in “Revival in the Rubble

Leadership Principle # 6-  Leaders see the value of the task for the people both right now and in the future.

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So, what do you think?  How has this happened in your life?  How do you wish it would happen?

Nehemiah 5 – Leadership is about Serving

I have heard some real positive things from this series and I am delighted to come back to it today with the next installment.  If you have missed any, you can view them in the Sunday Series section.

Nehemiah 5 – Leadership is about Serving 

lead by doing the right thing

Part 1-Serving by doing right

1. Nehemiah hears about a great injustice going on.  There was such hardship among them that in order to even buy grain they had to sell their kids into slavery.  This is wrong and Nehemiah was angered by it.  “When I heard their outcry and these charges, I was very angry.” (Nehemiah 5:6)  The people were suffering and something needed to be done.

Leadership Principle # 1-  Leaders are close enough to the people to see their suffering, have compassion for them and act on their behalf.

2. Nehemiah is very angry with all that is going on.  However, he doesn’t just stew in anger. Instead he pondered what he should do about it.   He came up a with a plan to challenge the people in how they were treating each other.

Leadership Principle # 2-   Leaders confront the wrong that is going on before them simply because they know it is wrong.

3.  Nehemiah’s challenge did not just come out of anger for what was happening.  It came out of a heart connected to the purposes of God.  He says, “What you are doing is not right.  Shouldn’t you walk in the fear of our God to avoid the reproach of our Gentile enemies?” (Nehemiah 5:9)

Leadership Principle # 3- Leaders are connected to the purposes of God and draw from that connection in the way they challenge people in right and wrong.

4.  Nehemiah’s heart was broken for what the people were doing to each other.  He confronts what they are doing, telling them they are wrong.  He also has them pay restitution to the people and promise to God that this practice will not continue.

Leadership Principle # 4-  Leaders will go through all necessary steps to make a wrong situation a right situation.

Part 2-Serving by Living Right 

1.  Nehemiah had seen first hand the result of broken relationships and greed.  He has confronted and challenged them to a new way of life.  Now, in a powerful act of leadership, he shows what it means to live that way by example.

“We cannot lead anyone else farther than we have been ourselves.  Too many times we are so concerned about the product that we try to shortcut the process.  There are no shortcuts when integrity is involved” – John Maxwell

Leadership Principle # 5-  Leaders lead and live by example.

2.  Nehemiah led in his example by not taking the food allotted to the governor.  He decided that this would put to heavy a burden on them and potentially lead them back to the place they were before.    To him it was not about status before the people.  He just wanted to do what was right in God’s eyes.  He says, “Remember me with favor, O my God, for all I have done for these people.”   (Nehemiah 5:19)

Leadership Principle #6 – Leaders live a life of humility.  They do not demand things of people because of their status, but rather look for ways to serve and bless them.

What would happen if people in any sort of leadership adopted this approach?  Are there any potential negatives to it?  I look forward to hearing from you!

Nehemiah 3 – Leadership Invites Teamwork

We continue the Sunday Series today on leadership lessons from Nehemiah.

Nehemiah 3- Leadership Invites Teamwork 

Teamwork: I got this dad.

Part 1- Teams Delegate

1.  Nehemiah’s assessment involved determining what the best approach was going to be.  The people needed to be inspired to participate in this project.  So he gave different people different sections of the wall to take on some ownership.   This allowed them to have a hand in the overall project while also repairing the bonds with each other while getting  a lot of work done at one time.

“Servant leaders entrusted with a mission cannot complete that mission on their own.  God gives us work to do that is beyond the abilities of a single person, and a leader learns to involve others — their wisdom, gifts and callings” (Gene Wilkes, Jesus on Leadership)

Leadership Principle # 1-  Leaders realize that they cannot do it all themselves.  In order to be effective in leadership, teams must be formed where people have tasks delegated to them.  This builds community and accomplishes different, simultaneous jobs well.

Part 2- Teams Cooperate

1.  The cooperation that was taking place to rebuild this wall was nothing short of a miracle.  This was a change that only God could take the credit for.  In the true essence of team work, everyone had their job and worked together to get it done.  Whatever issues they had with each other over the years of despair had been overshadowed by this important task.

Leadership Principle #2- Leaders are able to encourage people to cooperate and get a task done.

 2.  Nehemiah uses great wisdom in the way he puts people to work.  He did this by placing them on a section of the wall that was near where they lived.  This naturally incites responsibility because most people will defend their home.

“Beyond them, Benjamin and Hasshub made repairs in front of their house; and next to them, Azariah son of Masseiah, the song of Ananiah , made repairs beside his house.”  (Nehemiah 3:23)

Leadership Principle # 3-  Leaders are willing to give responsibility to capable people who will take ownership for a task.

What are the implications for your particular situation?  Are there tasks at home or at work that you are responsible for?  How might you delegate some of these things like Nehemiah did?  He had some success at it.  We can definitely learn some things from him.

Nehemiah 2 – Leadership Takes Discernment (part 2)

Last week we started on Nehemiah 2, but I split it up to make it easier to read and apply.  This week I continue that with the remaining portion.  Last week’s post was called “Nehemiah 2- Leadership Takes Discernment (part1)”

Part 4- Discerning Where to Begin

1.  Nehemiah had a large task at hand and when he arrived and saw it he likely didn’t know where to begin.  So, he goes out on a mission to see first hand what the extent of the situation was.  He was simply on a mission to take in information and he did not share with anyone what he was doing yet.   This allows him to prioritize and plan the rebuilding project.

“The ability to juggle three or four high-priority projects successfully is a must for every leader.  A life in which anything goes will ultimately be a life in which nothing goes” – John Maxwell

Leadership Principle # 7 –  Leaders take time to plan before starting something.  This allows for a quality plan to be implemented and for people to truly understand what the steps are going to be to complete it.

2.  Nehemiah takes the time to inspect the wall.  Once he does, the officials hear what is on his heart.  This shows his leadership in determining what to begin with and with whom to share it with.

“Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.  I also told them about the gracious hand of my God upon me and what the king had said to me.  They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.”  So they began this good work.” (Nehemiah 2:17-18)

Leadership Principle # 8 –  Leaders observe all that is going on before starting.  This prevents overlooking important details and starting with people who will hinder the process.

Part 4- Discerning the Critic’s Motives

1. The criticism here was to be expected.  After all, it had been some time since the wall was destroyed.   Also the king had made it illegal for any rebuilding of this wall.  This is ironic since it is the same king that sent Nehemiah to rebuild the wall.  But, whatever the case, there was going to be critics.

Leadership Principle # 9 –  Leaders will be criticized for their plan.  This is especially true if it is something that goes against the status quo.

2.   Nehemiah’s approach is to address them with a reminder that this is God’s work.  He constantly keeps the mission in mind and he is not going to be intimated by people who don’t understand it.

“Leadership begins when a God-revealed mission captures a person”  – Gene Wilkes in the book “Jesus on Leadership”

“Simply put: Servant leadership is passionate service to the mission and to those who join the leader in that mission” – Wilkes

Leadership Principle # 10 –  Leaders know the mission God has called them to and are willing to do whatever it takes, even lose popularity, to get it done.  In this way, leaders are not afraid of change and giving all the credit to God.

So, how are you doing so far?  Are you one who has a God give mission?  Do you live the life of a servant leader?

We have many more chapters to go and much more ground to cover.  The question for today is:  “What would families look like today if leadership within them exercised discernment?”