Rest in what you don’t know or rest assured God isn’t in it. The faith factor is a gentle assurance that the leader doesn’t have it all figured out. God is too big, his plans are too vast, his involvement is too unpredictable. Do your due diligence and dot every “i” you know about. Gather all the information you can about the decision at hand. But, infuse the current moment with prayer. You can’t ever see everything. You can’t know everything. You can’t anticipate every contingency. You cannot be ahead of the ball at every point. You would be a faithless leader.
Let God cover it. Go where you cannot go alone. Do what you cannot do without God doing it through you. Moses was completely hands-off in the mismatched battle against the Amalekites. The battle raged beyond his direct supervision, outside his communication lines, and past his immediate jurisdiction. Instead, Moses was hands-up. The more Moses stayed out of it and lifted his hands over it the more God was free to cover the battle with victory.
As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning… – Exodus 17:8-16
In a world of veiled offers, snake-oil salesman, and political side-stepping, teach your people to lean on God’s word. Disappointment has programmed us to doubt and question, two characteristics incompatible with a growing faith.
Promise is the language of God. He does what he says he will do. He doesn’t understate nor over reach. Every word is true and backed by the authority and capacity to see it through.
- He promises friendship. Help your church receive it. (Jn 15:15)
- He promises peace. Show your church how to expect it. (Jn 14:27)
- He promise guidance. Enable your church to ask for it. (Isa 42:16)
- He promises strength. Model for your church how to lean on it. (Phil 4:13)
- He promises rest. Reveal to your church how to enter it. (Heb 4:9)
Churches cannot doubt his provision; they will never walk by faith. They cannot question God’s character; they will never enter the deeper life. Walking by promise is the surest defense against sin. Promise led Israel out of Egypt. Promise entered our world at Bethlehem. Promise was sealed at Calvary. Promise was proven by the empty tomb.
…for He who promised is faithful (Heb 10:23)
Worship has a real effect on us. It changes us. Praise pulls the photo album of God off the shelf. As we look at the portraits of God, who God is and what God has done, like one might look on the pictures of a dearly loved and hard working father five things happen;
- Praise reminds us we are in a relationship with a good God that does good things.
- Praise shifts our eyes off the concerns of the day and gives them perspective
- Praise anchors our mind on what is most True
- Praise calms our heart
- Praise forces our soul to smile when we are overcome with worry
Take the album down. Trace the pictures of God. Look, here, He calms the storms. And here, in this picture, where He creates the dawn and moves the stars. Remember this day, your spiritual birth; He offered you an eternal home. See Him smile and extend his arms in this picture. And here…you both cried on that night, but He never left you. Turn each page and lift up each memory and moment back to God in praise. It will change you.
The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – the Psalmist (Psalm 145)
Prayer is your single greatest contribution towards someone else. Your experience only informs your skewed perspective not theirs. Your leadership is contingent upon follower-ship and both can be blind. Financial resources can be wasted or unavailable. Friendship might not be reciprocated. If you really want to give someone your best then give them your prayers. Because remember, the other person doesn’t need you. They need God.
Prayer infuses your perspective and leadership, resources and relationships with divine initiative and power. Prayer crosses distance, time, language, and history. Prayer partners your finite-ness with the all-powerful, all-seeing, all-present, all-loving work of God. Your prayer opens up spiritual stongholds when you aren’t even strong enough to open the peanut butter jar you are holding. What do they need from you? They need you to pray. They need a church that prays.
I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers… Ephesians 1:16
What do you do in the night, in the dark forest of “alone” and “stranded” and “uncertain”? If I believe that God loves me then I won’t do anything. I won’t take matters into my own hands and march off where I see no path. Then I will most likely walk right into a tree branch, trip and fall into a ravine. No, if I believe God loves me as his son then I will turn towards the east and wait for the dawn. God, who is love, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. God does not fail. Yes, when the night is to end the Giver of the morning will light my path, glimmer upon glimmer and ray upon ray and step upon step.
Even in darkness light dawns for the upright…his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. – Psalm 112:4,7