Easter Power

Easter isn't what it used to be. Today, it is mostly about Easter bunnies, colored eggs, candy, and mall salesif it's acknowledged or celebrated at all. EasterPic2I was in England a few years ago over Easter and I can remember thinking that if it wasn't for the hotels advertising Easter Sunday dinner, I would never have known that Easter was approaching. When I was a child, businesses closed down between noon and 3 p.m. on Good Friday and no business ever opened on Easter Sunday. There was never any school on Good Friday or Easter Monday.

This Memo is about the good old days, but not those days 65 years ago when I was young. The good old days I want to remember are the days 2,000 years ago when Jesus came back to life, after having been dead for three days. 


Easter is still one of the best-attended church days of the year when many attend worship services, some for the only time of the year, to commemorate Jesus' resurrection. Think of it: All those people come back to commemorate that the Spirit brought a dead man back to life. They believe it actually happened and bear witness to it by their presence. If you're among them and believe that Jesus was raised from the dead, then you should be able to believe God for anything.

If God raises the dead, which He does, then He can cure cancer. He can provide for your business or ministry. He can transform you into the person He intended you to be, that person you want to be. If God can take a dead body and give it life, then nothing is beyond His miracle-working power. What's more, you have the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead living in you if you have put your faith in Christ. It's not a replica of that Spirit, it's not a portion of that Spirit. You have the Spirit that raises the dead living in you. Here's what Paul had to say about the implications of your Spirit-resident:

You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you (Romans 8:9-11).


The Spirit lives in you, and He didn't run out of power when He brought Jesus back to life. He isn't "out there" somewhere doing good work with the same power that raises dead people. He's in you. He's present to give you the mind of Christ so you can think the very thoughts of God. He's in you so you can transmit His presence to others who have no such Spirit resident; when they have an encounter with you, they're actually having one with Him. You're His hands, His feet, His ambassador, His emissary. Jesus put it this way:

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified (John 7:37-39).

People often talk about coming into God's presence, but God's presence is always with you, whether you feel it or are aware of it. What difference should that make when you pray, work, and serve? It should make a big difference. Is it? Is Easter power present in your life and purpose work all year long? Are the rivers of living water from the Spirit's presence flowing from you? If not, then think about Romans 8:9-11 and John 7:37-39 and ask God to show you how you can allow this life-giving Spirit more room in your life to work and flow in the coming days and weeks. As you're doing that, I hope you find the time to have a blessed Resurrection Day.

W52D4 - Power

"The Lord turned to him and said, 'Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?'" - Judges 6:14.

Gideon lacked power, or so he thought, when the Lord commissioned him to go and defeat the Midianites. Yet he did indeed have powerthe power of God's choice and presence as Gideon carried out the Lord's assignment. There is no question that any leadership position has positional powerwhat the boss says goes. And there is expert power, where leaders have greater experience or expertise, thus giving them power to direct other people's actions and roles. The power mentioned in today's verse stems from the leaders call to do something related to his or her God-given purpose. The source of that power is not authority or expertise, but the leader's partnership with God.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to meditate on the source of your leadership power. Do you sense a call from the Lord to do what you are doing, or is it more of a career choice? If it is the latter, then perhaps it's time to look for something more tied to your purpose? If it is the former, are you maximizing the relationship and partnership with the Lord, focusing less on your abilities and 'power' and more on His? Are you looking for reasons to lead or excuses not to?

Week 49, Day 1 - Power

"Look! It is Solomon’s carriage, escorted by sixty warriors, the noblest of Israel, all of them wearing the sword, all experienced in battle, each with his sword at his side, prepared for the terrors of the night" - Song of Solomon 3:7-8.

Today's passage describes Solomon's entourage as it passed by the writer. The king had 60 men in attendance, all dressed in battle regalia and prepared for action, and the writer was quite impressed with Solomon's royal swagger. The problem was that Solomon eventually used his power to enslave the people while he dipped into treasury funds for personal building projects. Eventually he believed he was above God's law, marrying many wives and learning to serve their gods. His show of power ultimately split the twelve tribes into two nations and ruined any chance for the continuation of the glory days of his father David. Leaders must be careful lest, when they surround themselves with pomp and the trappings of power, they think they deserve all the ceremony and hoopla accompanying their presence - and then use that power for personal gain.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to inoculate yourself against power going to your head and giving you an inflated estimation of your importance. One thing you can do is to write your funeral eulogy, for you must be doing today what you want people to say about you when you're gone. What will your legacy be? This exercise also reminds you that you are mortal and will pass from the scene eventually, motivating you to plan for your succession and keeping you accountable for how you use your power.


Week 44, Day 1 - Power

 “'The Lord bless him!' Naomi said to her daughter-in-law. 'He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead.' She added, 'That man is our close relative; he is one of our guardian-redeemers'” - Ruth 2:20.

The 'him' in this story is Boaz, who was kind to the widows Naomi and Ruth when they returned from the famine in Moab because there was food in Israel. Boaz had resources and power, and he used them both not only for business but also to help others. Because of his kindness, Naomi blessed him and God heard her words and blessed Boaz with a good wife - and that wife was none other than Ruth, grandmother of Kind David and part of Jesus' family tree. All leaders have power and if they use it to help and bless others, it will put a blessing cycle into motion: leaders do good deeds, people are helped, people will speak good things about them and their organization, God will hear, and the Lord will bless the leaders.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to create the right conditions that will put the blessing cycle into motion. How can you use your power and resources to bless your employees or your community? This will require that you discover what either needs and then make a concerted, long-term effort to meet those needs. All the while, you must be doing it for the right reasons: to please the Lord as a good steward of personal and organizational resources.

Week 39, Day 1 - Power

"When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi" - Matthew 2:16.

In today's verse, Herod was old, but was not happy to hear a king had been born in his kingdom, a king Herod did not endorse or appoint. Therefore, he set out to restore order in his kingdom by ordering the execution of any male child in his region in order to wipe out his competition to the throne. Rome had appointed Herod and he had plans for his sons to succeed him, not this child about whom the Magi had told him. The hallmark of an authoritarian leader is anger. They believe they own what they lead (sometimes they do) and anyone who does anything to harm or damage what is theirs brings an eruption of emotion. This anger is how they control people and get them to do what the angry leader wants.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to examine the role anger plays in your leadership style and position. Are you known for your outbursts of anger, disgust, or sarcasm? How do you act when you become angry? Do you speak angry words or show your anger in some other way? Reflect on why you become so agitated when people don't do what you want or expect. Remember, God appointed you, and you don't own your position; you are simply a steward.

Week 34, Day 1 - Power

"Hear this, you leaders of Jacob, you rulers of Israel,
who despise justice and distort all that is right;
who build Zion with bloodshed, and Jerusalem with wickedness.
Her leaders judge for a bribe, her priests teach for a price,
and her prophets tell fortunes for money. Yet they look for
the Lord’s support and say, 'Is not the Lord among us?
No disaster will come upon us'" - Micah 3:9-11.

In this passage, God alerted the leaders to the fact that He knew what they had been doing and He was not pleased. Notice that each one of the leadership roles was doing what they were doing only for the money, and had in effect become mercenaries - giving their services to the highest bidder. What's more, they did this and felt like God was not going to judge their perversion of power; in fact, they felt confident the Lord was on their side! Leaders must all deal with the 'big three' of temptations - sex, money and power - and in this case, the leaders had failed miserably over two of those 'big three.' The lesson is that God is watching leaders and will hold them accountable for any abuse of power.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Leadership Step today is to examine your relationship with money and power. Why are you doing what you do? Is it for the money? Are you using your position and authority to enrich yourself? This is not to say that you cannot be rewarded handsomely for your work or gifts, but you cannot allow money to be your main motive. Of course, the major antidote for greed is generosity, so also look at your giving habits during today's reflection.

Week 29 Day 1 - Power

"When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi" - Matthew 2:16.

The hallmark of authoritarian leaders is anger. They believe they own what they lead (sometimes they do) and they are infuriated when someone does something to their 'baby.' This anger can be expressed verbally or in actions that let everyone know who is in charge and the consequences for failure or disobedience. What's more, in this verse we see that Herod did not have a succession plan, except that his sons would take over, but only upon his death. In some ways, authoritarian leaders believe they will live a long time, if not forever, and plan on holding on to their power until the bitter end.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Today's Leadership Step is for you to reflect on the role that power plays in your leadership role. You can measure that by your anger level. How angry do you get when people do 'dumb' things or when they disappoint or fall short of your expectations? How do you express this anger? Do you show it and you don't even know it? If your anger level is high, then ask God to show you the root source of your anger and determine to change your style.

Week 24, Day 1 - Power

"He [Herod] had been quarreling with the people
of Tyre and Sidon; they now joined together
and sought an audience with him. After securing
the support of Blastus, a trusted personal servant of
the king, they asked for peace, because they depended
on the king’s country for their food supply" - Acts 12:20-21.

In this passage, we see that Herod was feuding with a people from the region of Sidon and Tyre. The people sought an audience because Herod controlled their food supply and held the upper hand in negotiations and relationships. There is little doubt that the people would have paid Blastus a bribe to 'secure his support,' which indicates the dysfunction in these relationships with Herod that impacted the lives of many and enriched a few. For Herod and Blastus, power was something to be used to control others while benefitting personally from its application. Leaders who serve the people do not use their power to control others, but when they do, it creates all kinds of disorder and suffering.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Because you have power, people may be telling you what they think you want to hear, which may not be the full truth. Your Step today is to set some meetings this week away from the office to talk to people who have the courage to tell you the truth about you or your organization. When they tell you, you are not to take offense, but to thank them for their candor and honesty. Repeat this exercise regularly so people are not intimidated by your power.

W18D6 - Power

"Woe to the land whose king was a servant and whose princes feast in the morning" - Ecclesiastes 10:6.

Today's verse indicates that there are two categories of leaders who abuse power when they finally obtain it. One group is made up of the former 'servants'—those who were abused by power and now that they have it, they are going to abuse it the way they had experienced it. The second group is comprised of the 'princes'—those who have always had power by virtue of the fact that they are royalty. They were never followers so they have no idea what it is like to feel the sting of a leader's whip or tongue. The princes use their power to feed themselves and their ego and not serve the needs of others. Both groups are guilty of abusing power by not using it for the purpose it was given, and that is to lead effectively by serving the needs of others, not to use it as a means to personal gain.

LEADERSHIP STEP: The best time to determine how you will use leadership power is before you have it. If you already have it, you must learn to shift the benefit of your power to others and to the future good of your organization. Your step today is to revisit an exercise from January 22 and develop your leadership philosophy that describes how you will use your leadership power. Once you have written it out, obtain some help from others in deciding how you will apply it on a consistent basis.

Download My Ldrshp Philo

Week 14 Day 1 - Power Protector

"God will help the king to judge the people fairly;
there need be no mistakes" - Proverbs 16:10, LB.

This verse is really about power and how the leader should use it. God gives leaders power to judge and make decisions, and then assists leaders to apply that power properly, without prejudice or self-interest. Since some decisions are complex involving many people and complicated technical and far-reaching issues, leaders should eagerly welcome God into the leadership process to ensure they are not abusing their power or falling short of the lofty standard God sets for those He has promoted to deploy that power.

LEADERSHIP STEP: You should have a personal leadership board made up of advisors and mentors who help you develop and evaluate your leadership role and progress. They can also help you evaluate how effectively you are using your God-given leadership power to ensure you are acting appropriately and without bias. Make a list today of five people who could function on that board. Then call or meet with them this week and ask them to serve you in this capacity.