Saturday, May 16, 2009

The 5 D’s of Leadership [modified from swerve blog for our context]

Years ago I did a study of Joseph. On his way to God’s ultimate plan, Joseph (as well as many other leaders) experienced five specific phases on the road to his destiny.

This week we’ll talk about the four phases (or D’s) most leaders experience.
The first phase is the dream. Your destination needs to align with God’s destiny for your life
Long before he had any credibility with others, God gave Joseph a dream.
It is noteworthy that those closest to him didn’t like or understand his dream. In fact, Joseph’s dream of future leadership incensed his brothers.
How do you uncover your dream, burden, or passion? It helps to wrestle with these statements and fill in the blanks.

I’ve always wanted to _________________________________.I believe I was created to _______________________________.
My deepest passion is _________________________________.
I’ve never told anyone _________________________________.
I’ll regret this if I don’t try ______________________________.

Maybe God has planted a dream in your heart to do children’s ministry or youth, or to fund water wells for those without clean drinking water, or to disciple 12 underprivileged kids, or to write new intimate worship songs, or to create Christian movies for children, or to find a cure for AIDS, or something else.

When God gives you a dream, don’t be devastated if everyone around you doesn’t understand. Every leader is first “alone” with the dream. It starts in our private place with God and goes public in God’s timing.

The Living Bible translates Eph. 3:20 like this, “God is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of –infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.”

If God gives you a dream, remember, He is able to bring it about.
What are you dreaming about?

The Second “D”
To pursue your dream, at some point, you’ll likely have to take an aggressive step. Phase two is to make the decision to pursue your dream.
This sounds easier than it is.

A friend of mine who occasionally flies a small plane recreationally once described to me the point of no return on takeoffs. He explained that on the runway, there comes a point that the pilot must be absolutely committed to takeoff. If the pilot isn’t committed at full throttle, he’ll run out of runway and won’t get the plane off the ground.
The same is true of the dream. At some point, you’ll have to make a faith decision.
Your faith decision could be as bold as leaving a job or moving your family to another country. Or it could be as simple as going public with your dream, starting to raise money, or forming a 501c-3.
No matter what the decision, to step toward your destiny will often require a daring step away from your security. In other words, if you want to walk on water, you’re going to have to get out of the boat.
Remember, it is impossible to please God without faith.
When did you make a big faith decision toward your dream? Or… Do you have a decision to make?

The Third “D”
If you seek Him, God will likely give you a dream or a burden. Once you know you’ve heard from Him, you’ll need to make a decision of commitment to the dream.
The third “D” is not much fun. Not every leader must endure phase 3, but most do. The third “D” is the delay.
Joseph had a dream. After going public with his dream, his brothers roughed him up and sold him into slavery. After being falsely accused, our hero ended up doing jail time.
It appeared that his dream would never come to pass. But a careful reading of scripture shows that God was with him each step of the way.
Someone said, “God’s delays are not God’s denials.”
You may feel like your dream is on hold. God may be doing something in you during the delay to prepare you for what God will do through you.
If you are in a season of delay, let the Living Bible’s version of Hab 2:3 speak to you. It reads, “These things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day.”

The Fourth “D”
If you serve God, Satan will be upset. He will send everything at you to get you off-page with God’s destiny for your life.
The fourth “D” is the crucified life, a life of sacrifices and pain. The fourth D determines the strength you will need for your destination. This “D” will drive you into deeper dependence on God. The fruit of this dependence will be increased determination. The Fourth “D” is the discouragement and determination
Joseph had to endure accusations, and injustice. He was betrayed and hated. People guessed wrong at his motivations and character. And Joseph was at times surrounded by selfish and self-serving people. He could choose bitterness or grace; hope or hopelessness; faith or feelings of failure. But Joseph as a slave or in prison always did the best he could with what he had, where he was. Discouragement teaches us resilience on the anvil of pain.
If you are in a season of discouragement remember these promises and principles:
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 1 Peter 4:12 [ Suffering for Being a Christian ] Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.

The Fifth “D”
God gave Joseph a dream. Even as a very young man, Joseph made a decision to go public with his dream—even though he only faced resistance. If he experienced one step forward, he immediately fell two steps back with unfair treatment and false accusations.
Like many others, he had a dream, made a decision, and experienced a delay before reaching what some would call the final “D”—his destiny. God elevated Joseph to second in charge over all of Egypt.
Some might look at Joseph ruling like they do at other great leaders. People often say, “They are an overnight success.”
In reality, there is no such thing. When God blesses you with what others call your destiny, you’ll know God was with you each painful and grueling step of the way.
Like with Joseph:

§ He was with you when he gave you the dream.
§ He was with you when you made a decision of faith.
§ He was with you in divine delays.
§ He used discouragement to refine your determination

Because He’s been with you every step of the way, you won’t forget Him when you are living your dream. And even if you never get to experience your greatest dreams, He will be still with you.

Ultimately, that’s what matters most.



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