Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas 
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Inside-Out Leadership
by Tom Goodman
January 21, 2015

Influence flows from the inside out.  This is an important lesson if you're a parent, a church leader, a coach, or anyone else who wants to make an impact on others.  Advise others to do what you're already practicing yourself.

In Judges 6, God raised up Gideon to push back the Midianite enemies who were making Israel so miserable.  But the process started with personal renewal, and only then could Gideon call for national renewal.

You see, in Gideon's own backyard there stood an altar to the pagan god Baal and his goddess consort Asherah.  At this point in Israelite history, the people had adopted the Canaanite myths of their pagan neighbors.  In fact, this is why God had withdrawn himself from Israel, allowing the Midianite invaders to have free reign.  Gideon's clan had a leading role in this spiritual compromise:  The people in the surrounding area looked to the Baal altar of Gideon's household as the regional center for this pagan worship.

On God's command, Gideon used a bull to dismantle the pagan site.  Then he built an altar to the Lord and used the wood that he had pulled down to light a fire and sacrifice the bull.

His personal renewal gave him the moral authority to call others to change.  When the Midianites invaded Israel at harvest time for the eighth straight year, they expected the Israelites to flee to their caves as they had done every previous year.  But things were different this time.  Endued with spiritual power, Gideon put the trumpet to his lips and summoned the people to join him in a resistance movement.  The people were ready for this kind of leadership, and they rallied to his side.

Most of us are in positions where we hope to influence others.  We're parents or coaches or bosses or church leaders.  But before anyone can accept our influence in their lives, are there changes we need to make in our own backyard?

Let's give this a deeper look this Sunday as we continue our sermon series called Step Up: Finding the Courage You Need.  You can catch up with the previous sermon at our website.  See you at 10 this Sunday!


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