Preaching Daily - July 31

Today's Word for Pastors...

Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 
Psalms 139:16

Today's Preaching Insight...

Leadership Lessons

In a recent article for Rick Warren's Ministry Toolbox newsletter, Senate Chaplain Barry Black wrote: "During my lifetime, I learned far more about leadership from faithful people working behind the scenes than from those who were more prominent. Here are a few of the lessons I learned.

Expect events to shape destinies. One of my earliest leadership lessons was that events, more than ability, often catapult people into positions of prominence. Shakespeare captured this notion when he said, "Be not afraid of greatness. Some men are born great, others achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them." Without the Civil War, we may have never known the wonderful greatness of many notable Americans. Without World War II, names like Patton, Marshall, and MacArthur might be historical footnotes. Without Rosa Parks' refusal to give up her seat on that bus, we probably wouldn't have a national holiday honoring Dr. King. Events often provide the critical variables for effective leadership.

Expect leaders to have different talents. I learned early that leaders come in many forms with many styles and abilities. Some are quiet, and others almost bombastic. Some are eloquent while others express themselves with difficulty. The five presidents mentioned at the beginning of this chapter had their individual strengths and weaknesses. Nonetheless, each made a substantive difference. Most successful leaders, however, have one thing in common: they mobilize people to achieve shared objectives.

Don't run from the possibility of failure. I learned that most effective leaders are willing to fail. They seem to sense that it is better to attempt something great and fail than to not try at all. Time and again, I've seen strong leaders who possessed the courage to fall and get up repeatedly.

Be humbly hospitable. Luther Palmer was the headmaster at the boarding high school that I attended. He was the exact opposite of the stereotypically remote, distant principal. Instead, he invited students home for dinner and got to know them one-on-one. He kept an eye on students who aspired to the Gospel ministry, and set up instructional periods with key preachers who visited our school. Though a busy administrator, he took the time to teach a class called "Facing Life," which was a requirement for all students. In this way, he came to know most of us in a very personal way."

(Adapted from Black's biography From the Hood to the Hill. To read the full article, click here. To learn more about the book, click here.)

Today's Extra...

Illustration: Successful Marriage

A couple was celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. Over the years they had raised a brood of 10 children and were blessed with 22 grandchildren.

When asked the secret for staying together all that time, the wife replied, "Many years ago we made a promise to each other: the first one to pack up and leave has to take all the kids."

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