HOW TO LEAD IN TIMES OF CRISIS
These are my notes for teaching at the Cornerstone on Sunday, March 22, 2020.
HOW TO LEAD IN A CRISIS
A Christ-Centered Response to Coronavirus.
UNCERTAIN TIMES ARE OPPORTUNITIES TO LEAD
Good leadership is always important, but during a crisis it is more needed than ever. All of us can step up to help because the doors are wide open. People are feeling stressed and confused. Your friends and neighbors are looking for help and answers. And you have what they need.
If you have a Bible handy, please turn to Isaiah chapter 9. This passage was written for people in a crisis. The king was dead, the government was corrupt, and invaders were approaching the border.
(Times were uncertain. The ruling elite were corrupt and using their power to oppress the poor and vulnerable. And the nations of Assyria and Babylon to their north-east were rising in power and moving out to conquer the world. Israel stood between them and Egypt and it looked like Israel was about to be crushed. Talk about a crisis.)
ISAIAH 9: GOD'S MESSAGE IN TIMES OF CRISIS
God's message in Isaiah 9 tells us what to share with friends and family when times are bad. Let's read it:
(Isaiah 9:1-8) Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
IN TOUGH TIMES, POINT PEOPLE TO JESUS
Isaiah 9 reminds us that God cares about what we're going through. He hasn't abandoned us. He hasn't forgotten us. He hasn't stuck his head in the sand. He's present and active to help us. Look at God's solution: He was going to step into the world to help. The passage points, ultimately, to Jesus Christ. God sent him into the world for us.
At times like this we should point everyone to Jesus. He is present and active in the world today by his Spirit in and through all of his followers.
THREE LEADERSHIP ASSIGNMENTS IN DAYS OF CRISIS
There are three leadership assignments in days of crisis. Rely on the Holy Spirit and step up to help:
1. LEAD PEOPLE TO HOPE - verses 1-2.
(Isaiah 9:2) The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
When the world feels dark, God sends light. Jesus, is the light of God present in the world. His love and care gave hurting people the hope they needed. Jesus knew he was the light:
(John 8:12) When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
(John 12:46) "I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark." (NLT)
You can give people hope by pointing them to Jesus. His love, his wisdom, his entire life and ministry lift people out of discouragement and fear. Jesus is our strength to keep going.
The second way we can step up to lead is ...
2. LEAD PEOPLE TO REASSURANCE - verses 6-7.
Lately, I've spent way too much time reading and listening to the news. And, to be honest, it hasn't been good for me. It's made me anxious. And I'm not alone; everyone is on edge and looking for re-assurance. And we can give it to them.
Tell people that the world is not out of control:
6 ... and the government will be on his shoulders ... 7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign ... from that time on and forever.
Jesus is in charge of the world. The virus is not. After he died and rose from the dead, Jesus ascended into heaven and he rules over everything from there:
(Ephesians 1:20-22) [God] seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church
(Revelation 11:15) “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.”
You can help people move from fear to faith in Jesus who is the Wonderful Counselor and the Mighty God (verse 6). Jesus knows what he's doing. There is a third leadership opportunity at times like these ...
3. LEAD PEOPLE TO PEACE - verse 7.
Jesus is the source of our peace:
(Isaiah 9:6-7) And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.
Jesus brings us peace with God. We were running away from God, but Jesus caught up with us and brought us home. The Bible tells us in Romans 5:1:
(Romans 5:1) Since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. (NLT)
Jesus also brings us the peace of God:
(Philippians 4:6-7) Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (NLT)
Peace from Jesus is like a fortress surrounding us. Nothing can tear it down or take it away. It's not changed by circumstances. It's supernatural peace.
When you are full of peace and calm, your family and friends will want to know why. Then you can point them to Jesus.
CONCLUSION: DECIDE TO LEAD
When things get darkest, Jesus shines brightest. And he shines through us as we step up to love and care for people. These days are a great opportunity to talk about the reality of Jesus who is present and active in our lives. That's the leadership we can all show. Let's take a moment and pray about that.