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Blog: Max Dawson
July 13, 2017
Last time we talked about how Nehemiah began his task of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem with the end in mind. This is one of the qualities that made him a leader. He knew the result he wanted to achieve and would let nothing stand in the way.
A leader not only begins with the end in mind, he also knows the steps to take along the way. He knows what needs to be done next. Let’s follow the steps Nehemiah took to accomplish his task. [Read more…]


Blog: Max Dawson
July 10, 2017
Our last couple of blogs have focused on Nehemiah. He was the king’s cup bearer in Persia, but became the construction leader in Jerusalem. He was a man with the ability to see what others did not see. He saw that the walls of Jerusalem could be rebuilt. He saw that task–and completed that task in only 52 days.
While others might have made excuses about why the walls were not rebuilt, Nehemiah just did it! No excuses. Just got to work. Rallied the workers. Completed the job.
One of the factors that contributed to his success was that he began with the end in mind. That means he had it fixed in his mind that the walls and gates of the city were going to be finished. In his mind, he could see what the job looked like when it was complete. With that picture firmly fixed in his thinking, he would allow no interference or hindrance to stand in the way of the finished task.
A leader can be successful only if he has the end in mind that he wants to reach.
In Alice in Wonderland, Alice asked the Cheshire Cat, “Would you tell me which way to go from here?” [Read more…]


Blog: Max Dawson
July 6, 2017
That’s a question we need to ask and answer!
In Monday’s Leadership Blog I wrote about the success Nehemiah had in rebuilding the walls of the city of Jerusalem. He was a visionary leader. While he never received a miraculous vision from God, his insight into what could be done was powerful.
He set out all the way from Persia to go to Jerusalem–a distance of more than 800 miles. When he got to the city, he motivated the Jewish people to “rise up and build” (). The work was completed in only 52 days ().
Now to our question: Why Nehemiah? [Read more…]

18 And I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, “Let us rise up and build.” So they strengthened their hands for the good work. (ESV)

15 So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty-two days. (ESV)


Blog: Max Dawson
July 3, 2017
And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it.”

Nehemiah is the great leader who rebuilt the walls of the city of Jerusalem. He learned of the terrible condition of the city from some of his brethren who had come from Judah (). He was determined to do something about the condition of the city–even though he currently lived hundreds of miles away.
Men are often limited in what they accomplish in God’s kingdom because they do not see what might be accomplished. They try to find reasons why something can’t be done, rather than what can be.
Have you ever heard the line that says, “You can’t get there from here”? It is often said as a joke, but when it comes to God’s work, a lot of folks take that line far beyond a joke. They like to talk about what can’t be done, what we cannot achieve. [Read more…]

And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ graves, that I may rebuild it.” (ESV)

1:1 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah.

Now it happened in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Susa the capital, that Hanani, one of my brothers, came with certain men from Judah. And I asked them concerning the Jews who escaped, who had survived the exile, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said to me, “The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.” (ESV)


Blog: Max Dawson
June 29, 2017
Let me tell you a story that I heard more than thirty years ago. It was an incident that took place at a women’s club in a large city.
A concert pianist (I don’t recall her name) put on a private event for the women’s group. She thrilled those present with selections from Rachmaninoff and Gershwin. After the event was over, one of the club’s patrons chatted with the pianist.
“Your playing just thrilled me. I would give anything to be able to play like you.”
“No, you wouldn’t!” was the terse reply. [Read more…]


Blog: Max Dawson
June 26, 2017
I believe it was Maxwell who first said, “Leadership develops daily–not in a day.”
The story of Joseph in the Old Testament bears witness to that truth. His case shows what can happen when the right things are practiced day-by-day. Joseph became one of the great leaders of all time and was used by God to further His purposes. But the key is in understanding that Joseph became a great leader. He was not born as a leader. In fact, there were several things in his life that were obstacles that had to be overcome in order to be a leader. [Read more…]


Blog: Max Dawson
June 22, 2017
In our last look at leadership we saw a contrast between King Saul and King David. One of these men was successful. The other was not. You know which is which.
While David was successful as the leader of his nation, there were a number of factors that might have limited him.
Here are some things that might have held David back from being a great leader.
His Family: His older brothers certainly did not consider him to be a leader. They regarded him as a pest (). His family would have excluded him from the army of Israel. They even mocked him as a young man. David could have withdrawn into a shell of self-pity. [Read more…]

28 brought beds, basins, and earthen vessels, wheat, barley, flour, parched grain, beans and lentils, 29 honey and curds and sheep and cheese from the herd, for David and the people with him to eat, for they said, “The people are hungry and weary and thirsty in the wilderness.” (ESV)


Blog: Max Dawson
June 19, 2017
When we think of these two kings–Saul and David–we immediately think of the drastic differences between these men. Saul’s failed leadership was monumental. By contrast, David was a man after God’s own heart. Even though David had a number of faults, he was very successful as a leader. Why the difference? That is an especially significant question when you consider all that these two men had in common.
Both men had a common opportunity. They were both chosen by God to be king.
Both Saul and David had a common cause. They were both used by God for the purpose of propagating the nation of Israel.
These two men shared the same counselor. Samuel, God’s prophet, was present to guide each of them.
David and Saul faced a common enemy. Both had to face the armies of the Philistines.
They shared common choices. Both Saul and David had opportunity to repent when they sinned.
With so much in common, you might think these men would turn out to be much the same when it comes to leadership. But they were not the same at all. [Read more…]


Blog: Max Dawson
June 15, 2017
In our last look at leadership we did a case study on Joshua. Needless to say, he was a great leader in so many ways. Now we look at another leader who was not so great. “Poor King Saul.” I use the word “poor,” not because he was broke or bankrupt, but because he was a broken and bankrupted leader. Saul is a case study in poor leadership. We need to avoid his mistakes.
Here are fifteen things that characterized his poor leadership:
. IMPATIENT: He failed to wait for Samuel; he disobeyed God.
. IMPULSIVE: He made a foolish oath that jeopardized Jonathan.
. PROUD: Saul would rather kill Jonathan than admit a mistake.
. DISOBEDIENT: The king chose to go against God’s command.
. ARROGANT: Disobedient Saul built a monument for himself.
. DISHONEST: He lied to Samuel, professing he had obeyed God.
. MANIPULATIVE: He blamed others for his own sins.
. REBELLIOUS: Saul rejected the word of the Lord.
. COWARDLY: The king feared the people rather than the Lord.
. DELUSIONAL: He wanted to continue as though all was well.
. FEARFUL: Because he did not fear God, he feared Goliath.
. JEALOUS: Saul had jealous anger over praise given to David.
. MURDEROUS: His anger provoked him to try to kill David.
. VENGEFUL: He killed God’s priests because they helped David.
. FAITHLESS: He resorted to sorcery as he consulted a medium.
[Read more…]

He waited seven days, the time appointed by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the people were scattering from him. So Saul said, “Bring the burnt offering here to me, and the peace offerings.” And he offered the burnt offering. 10 As soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came. And Saul went out to meet him and greet him. 11 Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines had mustered at Michmash, (ESV)

24 And the men of Israel had been hard pressed that day, so Saul had laid an oath on the people, saying, “Cursed be the man who eats food until it is evening and I am avenged on my enemies.” So none of the people had tasted food. 25 Now when all the people came to the forest, behold, there was honey on the ground. 26 And when the people entered the forest, behold, the honey was dropping, but no one put his hand to his mouth, for the people feared the oath. 27 But Jonathan had not heard his father charge the people with the oath, so he put out the tip of the staff that was in his hand and dipped it in the honeycomb and put his hand to his mouth, and his eyes became bright. 28 Then one of the people said, “Your father strictly charged the people with an oath, saying, ‘Cursed be the man who eats food this day.’” And the people were faint. 29 Then Jonathan said, “My father has troubled the land. See how my eyes have become bright because I tasted a little of this honey. 30 How much better if the people had eaten freely today of the spoil of their enemies that they found. For now the defeat among the Philistines has not been great.” (ESV)

39 For as the Lord lives who saves Israel, though it be in Jonathan my son, he shall surely die.” But there was not a man among all the people who answered him. 40 Then he said to all Israel, “You shall be on one side, and I and Jonathan my son will be on the other side.” And the people said to Saul, “Do what seems good to you.” 41 Therefore Saul said, “O Lord God of Israel, why have you not answered your servant this day? If this guilt is in me or in Jonathan my son, O Lord, God of Israel, give Urim. But if this guilt is in your people Israel, give Thummim.” And Jonathan and Saul were taken, but the people escaped. 42 Then Saul said, “Cast the lot between me and my son Jonathan.” And Jonathan was taken.

43 Then Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.” And Jonathan told him, “I tasted a little honey with the tip of the staff that was in my hand. Here I am; I will die.” 44 And Saul said, “God do so to me and more also; you shall surely die, Jonathan.” 45 Then the people said to Saul, “Shall Jonathan die, who has worked this great salvation in Israel? Far from it! As the Lord lives, there shall not one hair of his head fall to the ground, for he has worked with God this day.” So the people ransomed Jonathan, so that he did not die. (ESV)

And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive and devoted to destruction all the people with the edge of the sword. But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep and of the oxen and of the fattened calves and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them. All that was despised and worthless they devoted to destruction.

10 The word of the Lord came to Samuel: 11 “I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following me and has not performed my commandments.” And Samuel was angry, and he cried to the Lord all night. (ESV)

12 And Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning. And it was told Samuel, “Saul came to Carmel, and behold, he set up a monument for himself and turned and passed on and went down to Gilgal.” (ESV)

13 And Samuel came to Saul, and Saul said to him, “Blessed be you to the Lord. I have performed the commandment of the Lord.” (ESV)

14 And Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears and the lowing of the oxen that I hear?” 15 Saul said, “They have brought them from the Amalekites, for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen to sacrifice to the Lord your God, and the rest we have devoted to destruction.” (ESV)

16 Then Samuel said to Saul, “Stop! I will tell you what the Lord said to me this night.” And he said to him, “Speak.”

17 And Samuel said, “Though you are little in your own eyes, are you not the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel. 18 And the Lord sent you on a mission and said, ‘Go, devote to destruction the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’ 19 Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you pounce on the spoil and do what was evil in the sight of the Lord?” 20 And Saul said to Samuel, “I have obeyed the voice of the Lord. I have gone on the mission on which the Lord sent me. I have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and I have devoted the Amalekites to destruction. 21 But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the best of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.” 22 And Samuel said,

“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
as in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
and to listen than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is as the sin of divination,
and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
he has also rejected you from being king.” (ESV)

24 Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. (ESV)

25 Now therefore, please pardon my sin and return with me that I may worship the Lord.” 26 And Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you. For you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.” 27 As Samuel turned to go away, Saul seized the skirt of his robe, and it tore. 28 And Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you this day and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you. 29 And also the Glory of Israel will not lie or have regret, for he is not a man, that he should have regret.” 30 Then he said, “I have sinned; yet honor me now before the elders of my people and before Israel, and return with me, that I may bow before the Lord your God.” (ESV)

10 And the Philistine said, “I defy the ranks of Israel this day. Give me a man, that we may fight together.” 11 When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid. (ESV)

And David went out and was successful wherever Saul sent him, so that Saul set him over the men of war. And this was good in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants.

As they were coming home, when David returned from striking down the Philistine, the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with songs of joy, and with musical instruments. And the women sang to one another as they celebrated,

“Saul has struck down his thousands,
and David his ten thousands.”

And Saul was very angry, and this saying displeased him. He said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands, and what more can he have but the kingdom?” And Saul eyed David from that day on. (ESV)

And Jonathan told David, “Saul my father seeks to kill you. Therefore be on your guard in the morning. Stay in a secret place and hide yourself. (ESV)

Now Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men who were with him. Saul was sitting at Gibeah under the tamarisk tree on the height with his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing about him. And Saul said to his servants who stood about him, “Hear now, people of Benjamin; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, will he make you all commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, that all of you have conspired against me? No one discloses to me when my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse. None of you is sorry for me or discloses to me that my son has stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day.” Then answered Doeg the Edomite, who stood by the servants of Saul, “I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, (ESV)

Now Samuel had died, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in Ramah, his own city. And Saul had put the mediums and the necromancers out of the land. The Philistines assembled and came and encamped at Shunem. And Saul gathered all Israel, and they encamped at Gilboa. When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly. And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams, or by Urim, or by prophets. Then Saul said to his servants, “Seek out for me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.” And his servants said to him, “Behold, there is a medium at En-dor.” (ESV)