Author Archives: Otis McMillan

Engaging with Today Like Jesus by Otis T. McMillan

Listen to the Spirit and Work with Your Hands

What does this day hold for you—work, play, meetings, ministry, chores? Start by looking up and committing today to God. Then attend those meetings with God. Listen to his Spirit’s whispers and wisdom. Work with your hands like Jesus did. Minister to others in the same way that Jesus ministers to you. Love the people around you. And do it all with a grateful heart, thanking God for the blessings of life and his presence and guidance. Trust God’s love for you. Commit your day to leading like Jesus and commit yourself to his care as you lay down to rest.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” —Matthew 6:33

Pray with me, God, as I move through this day, remind me to look up from the world around me and refresh my perspective so I can live, love, and lead in Your name, amen.

Give the Gift of Patience

Today, patience is one of the greatest gifts we can give others. Too often we want people to hurry up and get with it—the “it” often is aligning with our perspective. We think we know what (and when and how) people should act and speak. “If they would just follow my advice,” we think (and often say), “everything would work out.”

The truth is that God is the only one who knows their entire situation and story. God alone knows the best what and when and how for them. Our impatient demands only add more stress and get in the way of God’s work.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” — Colossians 3:12

Will you pray with me? Lord, today, when I am tempted to be impatient, remind me that my impatience does not accomplish your purpose. Let me reflect your patience today. In your name I pray, amen.

Trust Jesus Is Reaching Out to Your Pain

Jesus’ hands bear the marks of his incarnation and sacrifice. His hands worked with construction tools, scooped up mud to heal a blind man, and were pierced by an executioner’s nails. Jesus experienced the worst that evil could imagine and enters into our everyday experiences and pain. Because Jesus willingly stepped into human life and experience, you can trust him to understand what it is you face. Where do you need to trust Jesus to reach out his hands to you and through you today?

“After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. ‘Go,’ he told him, ‘wash in the Pool of Siloam’ (this word means ‘Sent’). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.” — John 9:6-7

Will you pray with me? Jesus, I am reaching out to take your hand and walk with you into this day. Open my eyes to see where you are sending me and teach me to lead like you. In your name I pray, amen.

Jesus Can Redefine Your Life Today by Otis T. McMillan

Jesus can redefine your normal

“On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for 18 years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.” (Luke 13:13)

In a moment, God can change your situation: how long you have been waiting does not matter to God.

A woman suffered 18 years with an infirmity. When Jesus saw her, he declared that she was set free from her infirmity. He then laid hands upon her, and she was totally made whole. It did not matter to the Lord how long she had suffered; she was immediately healed.

Jesus is not limited by the length of time you have been in your condition nor by the severity of the situation you face. He has the power to bring immediate deliverance. Once he puts his hand upon you, you will be set free.

Jesus can redefine your shame

“Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.'” (Luke 8:47-48)

She had a chronic illness that the doctors couldn’t figure out, one that made her unclean in others’ eyes. To get close enough to Jesus to see if he could heal her required her to risk additional shame and scorn. Her desperation overrode her pride, and in humility she grabbed at his robe. Jesus, concerned with her whole person, restored her and lifted her up as an example of faith and humility.

Today, you can pray, “Jesus, You know the places in my life where I feel hopeless and helpless. As I reach out to You, lift my eyes to Your face and restore me so that I can serve You in the company of my family and friends. In Your name I pray, amen.”

Jesus can redefine your storm

“And it shall turn to you for a testimony.” ( Luke 21:13, King James Version)

Your storm will result in your testimony: be assured God is in control.

Jesus, in his instructions to his disciples, informed them of the difficulties they would face. They would be many and challenging. In all that they would go through, they must remain confident knowing God remains in control of all. Their storm will result in their testimony.

While one is in a storm, it is understandable that fear and doubt attacks. Your key is staying focused on the fact that God is in control at all times. Regardless of how the enemy fights, the Lord has already planned your victory. Prepare yourself: you have a testimony coming.


Navigating Challenges: Trust, Act, and Expect by Otis T. McMillan

Be God-conscious at all times: with confidence, seek the Lord’s direction

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

Solomon speaks of complete trust in the Lord. He is helping us to understand that there is safety in being God-conscious at all times. Every decision made should be made with complete consideration of God. As we do, he will direct our path in the proper direction.

Before decisions are made, seek the mind of God. As you acknowledge the Lord, you can be assured that he will direct you in the right direction. With complete trust, remain God-conscious at all times. Your trust will lead to the right decision.

Faith is not always waiting; it may demand action. You are a part of the plan.

 “And when she could no longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river’s brink.” – Exodus 2:3

Knowing that her newborn son was to be sacrificed, Jochebed, with boldness and creativity, developed a plan to save him. After hiding the child for three months, she built a small “ark” for him and placed him into the water. Miriam, the infant’s older sister, was sent to observe what would happen. By the providence of God, the daughter of Pharaoh was there to take the child to safety. God’s plan was fulfilled.

You are a part of God’s plan. There will be times you will be called upon to act in boldness, with creativity. Your actions will be coupled with the providence of God, resulting in God’s will being accomplished.

Don’t put a limit on the blessings God intends for your life: expect more. You will not be disappointed.

“Then he said, ‘Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbors, even empty vessels; borrow not a few.’” – 2 Kings 4:3

Being left with nothing but a small amount of oil, a widow seeks the help of Elijah. She reminds him that her husband was a faithful servant of the prophet and that his death has left her and her two sons with practically nothing. Elijah commands her to gather from her neighbors empty jars, emphasizing “not a few.” What they gather will determine the extent of the blessing they receive. They are not to limit God.

As the Lord directs your steps, do not limit what he intends for your life. With faith leading you, extend your efforts beyond what appears possible. God, having no limits, has a level of victory that goes beyond your ability to conceive. Expect more, you will not be disappointed.

Otis T. McMillan ~ What Defines You This Year?

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” – Matthew 5:6

The proper appetite is required to be filled: am I hungry enough?

With the disciples sitting at the feet of Jesus, he shared with them key points of his teachings. In this verse, Jesus declares that those that hunger and thirst for righteousness shall be filled. It brings to mind two questions. First, how large is my appetite? And second, what am I hungry for? Wholeness comes to those who have the proper diet and are not satisfied with just a portion of the meal.

What are you hungry for, what drives you? Your appetite will determine your behavior. If you are seeking to use God to obtain what you want in life apart from his will, you will be left empty. As you commit yourself to pleasing the Lord and give yourself to growth, the end will leave you full. “He that hungers and thirst after righteousness shall be filled.”

What a change occurred in Saul’s perspective after he met Jesus on the road to Damascus! Leaving on his journey, he was sure that what he believed was right. When Jesus’ voice pierced Saul’s heart, his whole worldview turned upside-down. Everything Saul thought he knew had to be rethought: his understanding of truth, his worldview, his life mission. This encounter was just the beginning of his transformation from Saul the persecutor to Paul the apostle to the Gentiles. What difference has encountering Jesus made in how you live and lead?

Jesus called his disciples into a life of community. He did that with his first disciples, and he continues to do that today. Following Jesus as our leader is not merely an individual exercise. He calls us into his body, his family. He knows that we will need traveling companions—brothers, sisters, people to encourage us, people to challenge us, people to walk alongside us. Who are you walking alongside today? Who encourages you as you learn to lead like Jesus? Who are you strengthening by your presence?

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” — Hebrews 10:24-25

Prayer: Lord, open my mind to see the world from your perspective. Let the reality of your presence reshape my leadership and purpose in life. In your name I pray, amen.

Note: Featured image is an unidentified painting by Piet Mondrian, 1908.

Otis T. McMillan ~ Deciding, Timing, and Leading

“Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” – Proverbs 11:14

Seek godly counsel; it will provide safety. The wisdom of others can keep you from falling.

Decisions made today have the potential to impact many tomorrows. Wisdom instructs us to seek the godly counsel of others. Their insight can provide the direction that results in safety. Moving quickly without the aid of others can lead to a fall.

Have you ever regretted making a quick decision, finding yourself suffering the consequences? Before taking action, demonstrate patience and wisdom, and seek the counsel of others. Their words will leave you in a place of safety, avoiding an unnecessary fall. “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” – Proverbs 3:6

We live in a world set in time and space and we are often limited in our discernment and perspective. We perceive a need and want it handled right away. The Lord’s timing is often not our own. Jesus sees and knows our needs. He knows far more than we do about how best to care for the world he created. He asks us to keep our eyes on him, bringing him our needs, and asking him to fulfill his purpose—in and for us, others, and the world—as we wait for him.

“For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” —Colossians 1:16-17

Jesus, we trust you to care for us and the things that concern us. Accomplish your purpose as we wait on you and pray in your name, amen.

Leading like Jesus isn’t meant to be a catchy slogan or an abstract philosophy. The focus of leading like Jesus is Jesus—the Servant of the Lord, the Son of God, our teacher and master. Like the first disciples, we have a living teacher, role model, and mentor. As we live in relationship with Jesus, he transforms us to be more like him. Where do you need to focus on Jesus so that you can be more like him in all you do?

“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”—John 13:13-15

Jesus, keep our eyes on you—alive and well, working in and through us—as we move into this day. Make us more like you, in your name, amen.

Otis T. McMillan ~ You Matter to God: God’s Goodness, Power, & Presence

What challenges are you facing today? What circumstances cause you to question God’s goodness, power, and presence? Take time to bring these to God. Lay them at his feet. Become aware of his presence. Let God minister to you. Let his nearness encourage your heart. Allow his Spirit and Word to speak to your need. Receive his correction and guidance. Commit yourself to his care as you rise to begin this day. Return to him as often as needed to be refreshed and renewed throughout the day.

In Philippians 4:4-5 we read, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”

Lord, the temptation is to think that I am on my own in facing challenges. Nothing could be further from the truth. You are near. You designed me to depend on You in all circumstances. Empower me to lead like You today, I pray in Your name, Jesus, amen.

In Romans 8:28 we read, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

Knowledge eliminates “maybe”: stay positive, God knows what he is doing. If we look only at today’s events, discouragement can easily overwhelm us. In challenging times it is essential that our trust in God remains strong. Allowing our faith to focus on the Word of God and not our circumstances is vital. The Word tells us that all things work together for good. Stay positive; God knows what he is doing.

Doubt is your enemy. It will seize upon any occurrence that appears to work against you. Reminding yourself that God is in control of all things is a must. It provides the needed information that helps you remain encouraged. Because God knows what he is doing, you can be assured that all that you face is working together for your good.

You matter to God. He knows who you long to be and how you want to honor him. He is at work in you. God knows what it costs you to follow him. He is committed to helping you do what he has called you to do. God is pleased with your efforts to serve others in Jesus’ name. He wants to have even more access to your heart and head. God wants to use your hands to minister to others. He wants his love to overflow through you to others. God wants you to let his Spirit lead through you. Will you?

God, let me find my significance, identity, and security in my relationship with You, so that I live and lead as You designed me to. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Otis T. McMillan ~ Lead Like Jesus


Note from the Editor: This week at Wesleyan Accent, as we scan, with grief, ongoing news from seeker-sensitive Protestant megachurches and Roman Catholic dioceses, we are reaching into our treasure trove of archives to reexamine different aspects of leadership. Our contributors over the years have written thoughtful, challenging reflections on leadership from a variety of perspectives. 

Have you ever faced a challenge so big that you were tempted to run from it? Fear invaded your thoughts when you looked at it, and you found yourself saying “there is no way I can do this”? If so, you are not alone. Moses and Gideon are just two of God’s leaders who wrestled with fear, and Abraham and Elijah wrestled with discouragement. If you struggle with either fear or discouragement, go ahead and run; just make sure you run in the right direction. If you run, run to the Father. Go quickly, fall on your knees, cast yourself on him, and call out to him for help. He is waiting for you.

“I call on the Lord in my distress, and he answers me.” (Psalm 120:1)

Are you content to have unfulfilled needs in your life? Most of us aren’t. We want enough for today, plus extra stored away for the future. Yet our longing for more than enough is often limited to what we can see and touch. Jesus told us that these things would never satisfy. He taught that only God can fulfill our most important needs, giving us a sense of security, identity, significance, and purpose.

These are essential needs for leaders. Only when we let God fill these core needs can we turn from our self-centered ways to lead like Jesus.

Consider the words of the Psalmist: “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.” (Psalm 63:1)

What do you need in order to lead like Jesus today? Do you need strength? He sustains the universe. Do you need courage? His Spirit emboldens us to witness to him in word and action. Do you need confidence? Jesus triumphed over death. He is for you. He longs to empower you to live and lead like him. Receive his strength, courage, and confidence. Surrender to his Spirit. With open hands, receive the wisdom and guidance you need to lead like Jesus today.

Paul wrote, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” (Ephesians 1:18-19)

Lord Jesus, open our hearts and minds to understand who You are and who we are in You. May we turn to You for the insight and power we need to lead like You. In Your name we pray – Amen.

Read more from Dr. Otis T. McMillan here.

Otis T. McMillan ~ Faith, Defeat, & Expectation

True faith is demonstrated with obedience: what you cannot see, God does.

“And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.” – `Luke 17:12-141

Ten lepers sought the Lord for healing. He directed them, while lepers, to show themselves to the priest. His response seemed illogical, but they obeyed. Their act of faith resulted in their healing. What they could not see, God did.

There will be times in your walk that the Lord will direct you to take steps that appear illogical. You will not be able to imagine how your behavior will result in a positive manner. Recognizing that God sees what you cannot, demonstrate your faith with obedience.  

Even when defeat seems certain, pray: through prayer you can make a difference.

“In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came unto him, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live. Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed unto the Lord.” – Isaiah 38:1-2

Hezekiah was told by the prophet Isaiah that he was going to die. In spite of the fact that the source of the message was the Lord, the King refused to accept it. He chose rather to pray and through his prayers the outcome was altered. Fifteen years were added to his life.

Each of us faces negative circumstances that seem to be final. When you face this type of situation you have two choices; you can accept defeat or you can pray. With the understanding that you have and the opportunity to impact the outcome, pray. Your prayers can make a difference.

Don’t limit what God has in store for you: let your faith display your expectation.

“Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours, even empty vessels; borrow not a few.” – 2 Kings 4:3

Elisha responded to the cries of a widow whose husband left her with their two sons and a mountain of debt. After inquiring of what she had in the house, finding out she had a small pot of oil, the prophet instructed her to borrow other jars; emphasizing, not a few. She obeyed. Every pot that was borrowed was filled with the oil from the small jar.

Your faith should be displayed with expectation. As God directs you, respond with action that will bring forth abundance. Do not limit what God has in store for you.

Otis T. McMillan ~ When You’re Tired, Afraid, and Uncertain

In Moments of Exhaustion

David often “refreshed himself in the Lord,” as did the prophets, and as did Jesus himself.

Christians throughout the ages who faced ongoing social rejection and persecution did the same. All of them called upon God to renew their spirits and show himself strong on their behalf.

Where do you need God to renew you and show himself strong on behalf of you and others?

Remember, “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” —Isaiah 40:30-31

God, when we grow tired and weary, when we stumble and fall, lift our eyes to heaven and remind us to find our hope and strength in You. Refresh us so that we can hope in You. Renew our strength so that we can lead like Jesus and lead others in light of who You are. 

In Moments When Courage Is Needed

Have you ever stopped to consider the importance of encouragement, the act of coming alongside another person?

This is what the Spirit does for us as he breathes new life, hope, comfort, and guidance into our lives. This is who we are called to be, leaders who serve people by coming alongside them to help them according to their needs. Sometimes our encouragement is tangible and practical, other times it comes through words and presence. Everyone everywhere needs encouragement.

Where do you need God’s encouragement? Who will you come alongside today in Jesus’ name?

Look to this man for inspiration: “Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.” —Acts 4:36-37

Father, thank You for sending the Spirit to come alongside me and breathe life and hope into me. Use me to encourage those I come into contact with today.

In Moments of Uncertainty

“What’s next?”

It’s a question we’re all familiar with. We often ask it in pursuit of achieving a goal or with a sense of accomplishment in completing a task. Conversely, it may come from a sense of confusion, failure or hopelessness. The answer may be readily apparent, or it may require reflection and critical thinking.

As you pursue the answer to your “what’s next” question, seek God’s perspective so that you can move forward with confidence.

Where are you asking God for direction? 

Take heart from Jesus’ example: “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” —Mark 1:35

Lord, clarify my thinking. Show me how to move forward with what You have for me and show me the habits I need to practice so that I can catch the wind of Your Spirit. In the name of Jesus, who humbly and confidently sought out and followed Your agenda for his life, Amen.


Otis T. McMillan ~ Work, Strength, and Faith

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” — Colossians 3:17 

Work – the God-given ability to use our strength and energy to sustain and enhance life for ourselves and others – is a gift of God. God himself is a God who works. God worked to create the universe, he worked to create a people for himself, and he is at work to establish his kingdom among us. He is at work in you and me, gifting, equipping, empowering, and shaping us to work alongside him in accomplishing the work he is doing. Let this perspective turn your work into worship, today and every day.

Yet your strength is derived from your obedience: learning to say yes is essential. 

We read in John 4:34, “Jesus said to them, ‘My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.’” The disciples of Jesus wanted the Master to eat. They had been sent into the town to purchase food and had now returned. Jesus rejected their offer, explaining that his meat was to “do the will of him that sent me.” His strength was derived from his obedience. 

Where does your spiritual strength come from? As you walk in obedience to the will of God you will discover a true sense of wholeness. It is when you follow, not God’s will, but your own, that you will find spiritual weakness gradually overcoming you. Your willingness to say yes to the Lord is essential.

After all, faith is not controlled by opinion nor logic: with faith, all things are possible. 

“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.” – Hebrews 11:8  

When God spoke to Abram, he instructed him to leave his home and family to travel to a place he knew not where it was. There was no logic to the request, but yet, because it was God, he obeyed. Abram was not disappointed; his faith was honored. All of the Lord’s promises were fulfilled.  

As the Lord directs your steps, you need not fear. There may not be the logic you desire, the opinions of others may speak negatively about your plans, but if it’s God speaking, your faith will be honored. With faith, all things are possible.