Learning to lead with Permission

Leadership is hard. It’s not easy to be a leader. People can sometimes expect so many things from you. When you fail, you are judged. When you succeed, not everyone will celebrate with you. But as a leader, when you are able to develop others to be the leader that God has called them to be, there is that great fulfillment that outweighs the downside of leadership.

osition, permission, production, people development and personhoodI am just started to read John Maxwell’s book, developing the leader within you and I have learned so many things already. According to John Maxwell, there are five stages in leadership – position, permission, production, people development, and personhood. I started to think what stage I am in. I wanted to convince myself that I am already in the 4th level (people development), but as I assess the characteristics per level, I realized that I have so much to learn. I might still be in the permission stage.

The permission stage is the stage where from being given a title or position you don’t lead through authority but authenticity. In short, you lead by building a relationship with your people. I must admit I need to develop that. I am the type of leader that wants action and results. I want to immediately develop leaders. The downside of this personality is the lack of relationship with your leaders – all work.

I prayed and asked God to show me where in his word tells us to love first rather than focusing on the tasks and results. By God’s grace, I remembered 1 Corinthians 13.

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance

It’s amazing how God speaks through his word. How I pray that I’ll be able to really apply this passage in my life. How I really pray that I’ll be an authentic and loving leader first to everyone. How I pray that I’ll learn to love through:

  • Being patient with the growth curve of people that I lead (Love is patient)
  • Rejoicing in the success of our cluster teams (Love is not jealous)
  • Not being demanding and forcing what I want (Love does not demand)
  • Forgiving others (Love does not keep a wrong record)
  • Always believing the best in people (Love is always hopeful)

It’s not easy to be a leader, but through God’s love and grace, you can lead well.

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Leadership begins with the heart, not the head. – John Maxwell

The Potter and the Pot

Tomato and Lemon PlantI haven’t really tried creating my own clay pot, but I have noticed that designing and creating one is not that easy. Just recently, my wife and I are interested in plants. We’re now trying to grow lemon and tomato plants on our balcony, and I’ve noticed that the pots that we used have a specific design. The design can vary from the size, drainage, material, etc. It is the potter that dictates the design. And the same truth is applicable in our life. It is God, our potter, who dictates how we, the pot, is made.

ISAIAH 29:15-16

15 Woe to those who deeply hide their plans from the Lord,

And whose deeds are done in a dark place,

And they say, “Who sees us?” or “Who knows us?”

16 You turn things around!

Shall the potter be considered as equal with the clay,

That what is made would say to its maker, “He did not make me”;

Or what is formed say to him who formed it, “He has no understanding”?

You see, the pot can’t tell the potter how he should be designed or molded. The pot can’t also say that “He did not make me” therefore, I can do what I want. It is God who made us, and it is God who has the right to do as he please. But let us not think that just because God can do as He please, that He will do something that will harm us. He always does what is best for us, even though that might mean discipline at times. That is exactly the context of one famous verse that is often misquoted.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

So, let us trust the potter. Let us trust his work and let us trust him that he has designed us perfectly for his own purpose and glory.

Psalm 139:13-14

13 For You formed my inward parts;

You wove me in my mother’s womb.

14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

Wonderful are Your works,

And my soul knows it very well.

Is there anything in your life right now that you grumble about? Are you willing to trust the potter that he knows that he is doing?

Is there anything in your body that you don’t like? Why don’t you see that you are perfectly designed by God for a purpose?

Do you like detours?

Do you like detours? Here in Manila we know a simple detour can greatly affect our traffic. I know we don’t like detours. I know we don’t like seeing our plans change. But the reality is, there can be detours on the road but at the same time in our lives as well.

I remember a detour that I experienced in life. Only a few people know this, but last 2016 I already wanted to get married. I had a chance to talk to the parents of my girlfriend back then but was advised to wait. They wanted to get to know me more before they give me their approval for marriage. It was a huge detour in my life. At first, I did not understand why. But looking back, I now understand why God had to allow that. God had my best interest in His mind and His perfect timing for me to get married was last November 30, 2017.

Another person that experienced, not just one detour in his life, but a lot of detours is Joseph.

jacob_joseph_coatJoseph was a dreamer. He had a dream (Genesis 37:5-8) that he was going to be someone great. His brothers were so jealous of him and they planned to kill him. But instead, they sold him into slavery. This was the first detour in Joseph’s life. Normally, when we experience detours in our life, we grumble and complain against God, but in Joseph’s case, he never did. When he was sold as a slave in the household of Potiphar, he found success. But just when things were now going well (Genesis 39:1-2), another detour came his way. Potiphar’s wife accused him (Genesis 39:17-18) of rape, so Joseph was sent to jail. In jail, Joseph still found success. God’s hand was with him. He was able to interpret the dream of Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker. The cupbearer was restored to his office as Joseph interpreted and just as he taught the cupbearer would return the favor by mentioning him (Genesis 40:14) to Pharaoh, the cupbearer forgets him for two more years – another detour.

Despite the multiple detours that Joseph experienced, God was still with him. Pharaoh learned about Joseph who can interpret dreams and made him second in command. And he was used by God to save the very brothers that sold him into slavery. Joseph said in Genesis 50:20:

 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.

Detours are not really easy to accept. In life, there will be many detours we will experience. But be encouraged that our detours are not accidents. God has a plan and God is always in control. He can turn something evil for good. The best response during detours is to trust God and refrain from grumbling against Him. Everything that he allows is for our good. James 1:16-17 said:

 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

Don’t allow your circumstances to dictate the character of God. God is always good. Everything that He allows for our life is for our good because God is good. Be encouraged with the life of Joseph.

Are you experiencing a detour in your life right now? Are your plans not going as planned? What do you think God is teaching you? How do you think should you respond?

I don’t know what you are going through, but I know God knows. Trust Him. When you encounter detours, remember what Joseph said, and comfort your heart with this truth: