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Preparing the Church for the End Times
Baghdad, Iraq, 2005. Victory Base Chapel. Early morning.
I watch Soldiers who are just now entering chapel for services. They look weary, most have been up all night either on a mission or pulling guard duty. They bring their weapons with them and drop them on the floor, and then they lift their hands in worship. After service is over, they pick up their firearms and continue their mission. There is no respite in combat.
I want you to get this picture: Soldiers never leave their weapons unattended, even in chapel services at Victory Base, Baghdad, Iraq. They have those weapons beside them just in case of an enemy attack. They are ready for combat at all times.
If we did that here in America, it would be a strange sight indeed, but not in a war zone, not in combat. The interesting thing to note is we are at war in America!
            What war, you ask?
            There are dark spiritual forces at war with believers here in America and     around the world. Make no mistake about it; we are in combat every day            with the unseen enemy. Ephesians 6:12 tells us: “For our struggle is           not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the        authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the     spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
            What do we need to do to combat the forces of darkness? Be ready and     prepared! The Lord, in these last days, is preparing His Army for  spiritual hand to hand combat.
Look at Matthew 25:1-5, the parable of the ten virgins: “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
The ten virgins’ job was to provide light, and some of them, according to John Piper, had “lamps without oil, candles without wicks, torches without fire, light bulbs without electricity. They had the outward form of religion and no internal power. They liked their position; otherwise, they would have left. But they did not have a passion for using the necessary means to fulfill the point of their position.”[1]
Five were ready, and five were not. Those five were distracted, too busy with politics or shopping or sports or whatever. They probably relished the excellent church services, loved the sermons, enjoyed fellowship feasts, and were very busy with the details of the day, yet the Bible tells us they were asleep! They were not ready for the coming of their Lord.
I want to share with you the secret of the US Army’s success. The number one priority is READINESS! There is no other number one priority. If the Army was not adequately trained, equipped, manned, and supplied, what do you think will happen in the next conflict? We lose. Period.
The five virgins who were ready had oil, and they had their lamps, they prepared for the return of the groom. Are You ready?
Here are some ways to start getting ready:
1. Take a good hard look at your life right now: are you focused and doing all that Christ has asked of you? How do you spend your time?
2. Start by repenting! Just start. When the Army throws you into boot camp, on day one you are now a Soldier, not a civilian. No looking back.
3. Determine to follow Christ every moment of every day by putting to death the flesh, that part of me that doesn’t relate to Christ. In the Army, you follow the orders of those who are over you. Throw out all idols in your life, those things that are higher priority than God.
4. Fill your lamp with oil, which is the power of the Holy Spirit. We need power packed disciples. Listening to Him every moment of every day.
5. Read and live the Word every day.
How shall we live in 2021 and beyond? Keep your weapons by you at all times.
 David J Giammona

Astronaut James Irwin said, “You think going to the moon was the most scientific project ever, but they literally threw us in the direction of the moon. We had to adjust course every ten minutes and landed only 50 feet inside a 500-mile radius of our target.”
On that mission every change, no matter how small, was essential to success. So it is with yours. If you resist even the slightest change long enough, you may find yourself off course, too late to adjust, and have to abort the mission.
What causes a lack of behavioral or organizational change? Team members are seldom the problem but get most of the blame. Senior leaders create most of their own problems by their lack of leadership in one or more of the following four areas:
First, lack of clarity about the rationale not only for the daily action plan, but more so for the long-term goals and strategy for change. People seldom buy into what they cannot see and understand.
Second, lack of commitment and passion for change by the core leadership team. Passion, or the lack of it, is contagious. There must be consensus and one hundred percent buy in by the core team. If not, delay the change or change players on the team.
Third, lack of accountability on a regular basis to reinforce positive sustainable change. Without accountability there is no improvement of what already exists much less changing it.
Fourth, lack of trust by the team in their Leaders’ decision-making skill in leading change. Trust is the glue that holds teams together when they face the unknown and the lubricant that enables them to flow together till the needed change becomes a way of life.  
Average leaders can keep the car between the guardrails most of the time. However, it takes outstanding leaders to lead when the way forward is no longer on the map and current conditions demand a change of direction.
“Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” George Bernard Shaw
Why not ask your leadership team which of the four areas above challenge them the most. Great leaders constantly ask this question and many others that make their leadership vulnerable and open for inspection. Weak leaders avoid questions about their leadership at all costs.
Technology-driven smart phones, tablets and laptops, microwave ovens, computer-flown airplanes, robots that can do just about anything, most kids toys and big box stores filled gadgets unheard-of a generation ago. 
They are today’s reality as a result of that first trip to the moon led by men and women not threatened by change. The wealthiest corporations on earth today were founded and continue to be led by leaders who declare war on the status quo every day.
Remember, without change your organization has no future. Without you personally changing your team remains stuck in “today” and only dreams about a better tomorrow.

Poor leaders find themselves running out of time while their direct reports lack motivation and are running out of productive work.  Great leadership is not about your personal production but your team’s production, especially when you are not around.
Delegation and deferring are two of your most important strengths as a leader. Doing them well is a must for providing effective leadership and significant success.  Great leaders spend less time “doing” and invest most of their time planning, organizing resources and coaching their team to do the “doing.”
There is a major difference between delegating and deferring.  Delegating means you still own some responsibility for the results, deferring means you give the task away without any further responsibility.  Great leaders use both and know when and how to use them.
Some warning signs you need to improve your delegating skills:
1. Your in-box is always full with work only YOU can do.
2. Delegated assignments are often incomplete and deadlines missed.
3. Direct reports feel they lack authority, resources and empowerment.
4. You constantly second guess your team members’ decisions.
5. Team morale is low, turnover rates rising and people lack motivation.
6. You frequently intervene in work you previously delegated or deferred.
7. Team members feel unprepared and are not taking full responsibility.
Tips for delegating effectively:
1. Recognize and affirm the capabilities of your team for their assignments.
2. Focus on results, not how tasks should be accomplished.
3. Use delegation to develop the skills of your team members and position them for advancement.
4. Always delegate or defer to the lowest level possible.
5. Explain assignments clearly and provide necessary resources.
6. Provide consistent feedback, emotional support during tough times and celebrate all wins, big or small.
7. Defer more, give away responsibility for results and avoid the comebacks.
Overworked and overwhelmed leaders are leaders who failed to learn how to delegate and defer effectively.
As a result your best people leave you because they are bored, you hold back the development of your good people and your average team members are burned up, or burned out because of trying to do it all.
How are you feeling as you start a new week?

There are many principles and keys to successful Christian leadership but most are not as vital as prayer. Prayer is one of the most powerful communication tools given to man to use to commune with our heavenly father. Do not burden yourself by attempting to pray as good or as fluent as some of your ministerial colleagues or spiritual mentors. Simply ask the Holy Spirit to help you pray as best as you can. The ever wise Holy Spirit will teach you Psalm 32:8 “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye”, and will divinely connect you with those who will help sharpen and perfect YOUR praying style. Diligently learn from those God has brought into your life, but learn as led by the Holy Spirit. When I attempted to pray as some of the prayer warriors I respected, I did not connect with the Lord as I expected. When I trusted the Holy Spirit to help me pray based on what He and others taught me, then I truly felt the power of God as I prayed. This is the best type of praying leader you should desire to be, the one God has ordained you to become.

Jesus Christ, our Lord and best example of how to obey God prayed while he was on earth. Jesus prayed for himself in John 17:1-2 “Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, 2 as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.” Jesus also prayed for his disciples as shown in John 17:9-10 “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. 10 And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them”.  One of my deepest desires is for every pastor and ministry leader to be able to prayer this prayer as often as needed. This particular prayer emphasizes the accountability we have to God for those given to us, but more importantly clarifies that we are simply custodians for these truly belong to God our father. Finally Jesus prayed for all believers in John 17:20-21 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me”.

I offer these 3 examples in John 17 to highlight the importance of praying for ourselves John 17:1-5, praying for those God has ordained us to lead, John 17:6-19 and also praying for those whom will believe in Jesus in John 17:20-26. This is one of the best examples of God’s expectation of prayer from his servant leaders. Take the time to read study and meditate on John 17 for Jesus provides profound guidelines for mastering the essentials of prayer for these 3 categories of his children which are most important to our mission on earth.

I have seen the biggest results in my life when I pray according to God’s mission for me and those he has called me to lead. Let’s be clear, God is certainly concerned about our personal welfare, such as health and family success and balance. He is also highly interested in us praying for his will in our lives and the lives he has mandated us to lead. I trust you will experience the glory of God as you use John 17 to pray for yourself, your disciples and those who will believe in our Lord and Savior.

Shalom and Glory to you.

Join us next time for part 2 which explores the root reasons for prayer in our current challenging environment.

 

Events

 

We are pleased to welcome two encouraging speakers at our

First Annual Central Florida Leadership Prayer Breakfast!

 

Come and hear these powerful messages of hope and change.

 

Mr. Mike Lindell, CEO


Boykin

Lieutenant General (ret) William G. Boykin