“Humility, Hope, Faith & Excellence”, Quotes on Discipleship from Tom Holliday (Spiritual Leadership)

In 2019 I had the honor of listening to Pastor Tom Holliday, of Alexandria Presbyterian Church teach in a small fellowship group at his home in Alexandria, VA. I am so glad that I took notes to look back on and share! The theme was spiritual leadership and discipleship.

He spoke for about an hour listening for questions and comments focusing on the nature of the heart of a disciple. In this session, he focused on Humility, Hope, Faith, and Excellence.


We looked at Matthew 16:24-25 “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it”. Pastor Tom described that we are examining our character, the very core of our hearts, and how we live out our lives.

The heart of the learner is humble, he is not above his master, he must learn to follow. We ask ourselves to examine our hearts for all things within our own nature and in our lives that may be in opposition to God. The one that follows after Christ, in discipleship must constantly be denying and dying to himself so that he or she finds the Spirit of The Lord and walks in the Light.— Tom Holliday

Galatians 2:20-21 –I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”

He continued, saying that none of us could ever be as trained as Jesus. Paul said, “Follow me, as I follow Christ”. (1 Corinthians 1:11)

Lord let me live an indwelled Christian Life. Teach us. We want to be as fully trained as possible as we can be in this life.” –Tom Holliday

Notes: The humility that is spoken of has a deep purpose. Humility as it alters the heart from the very core equips the disciple to

  • Follow Christ.
  • Examine one’s heart for all that is our nature that is in opposition to God.
  • In the Spirit of Christ, to die to self and walk in the light.

Live by faith in Christ whose death paid the price of our sin. We die in Him and He begins to live in us.


“There is no hope without effort. Hope in Christ he said- must be grown. We cannot remain passive. Many live with no hope at all.” –Tom Holliday

1 John 3:3 –And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

“Is your hope in the right thing? If you love if you hope, do you know that your hope is in Christ? Are you sure that you know what your hope is in? Is it in anything but Christ? What else might it be in? Is it in a perfect wife, a perfect husband, in being right?”–Tom Holliday

“If you don’t have a growing hope in all that He purchased for you by dying on the cross, in that you will see Him, and that you will become Like Him, and be changed instantaneously, then you need this HOPE.  You need that HOPE. This is what we anticipate. Also, in this life, today wants to be more like HIM.” –Tom Holliday

“You offer yourself to Him. We do that to the Power to make ourselves Holy. Without Effort. It is His Effort. Not our own. It is Divine Power.” –Tom Holliday


“Faith. It starts with faith- but don’t put your faith in faith. Your faith can’t be your hope”. –Tom Holliday

2 Peter 5:5 -For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge.

“The word, Virtue. The Greek word “arete”, means excellence. It implies the ‘property’ of something. Example: what you were made to be. The excellence of a horse is to run fast. The excellence of a knife is made to cut well… The excellence of a disciple is to be like Jesus.” –Tom Holliday

“Faith can default to being only knowledgeable. It can lead to being “puffed up”, and stuffed with information.  What end does that lead to? Puffed-up knowledge can lead to the Three C’s getting mixed up- confidence preceding competency, competency preceding character, and so on.” –Tom Holliday

“Virtue is not what I do. It is not who I am. It is my life in family, school, community, church, and outward.” –Tom Holliday

Galatians 5:6 –For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.

“Faith expressing through love. Love is the crowning Jewel.”–Tom Holliday

Notes: Faith working by love is the same as a new Christian being baptized into Christ in order to become new. Faith alone is not enough. That Love, Who is the crowing jewel of The Kingdom is Christ.

A quote from Huxley adds that “”Faith operative through love” must be identical with, or involve “the keeping of God’s commandments,” and “a new creature.” And Tyndale said, “faith, which by love is mighty in operation.”

Romans 1:4 -in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.


Pastor Tom continued, “What would you call your Spiritual Ceiling? Is it this high? (above the forehead), this high (above the head?) Do you think that you have grown all that you can? Does this make God sad? I believe that the ceiling is higher!”

“C.S. Lewis said that life is miraculous. That it was not like teaching a horse to jump, but that it was like teaching a horse to FLY. Can prayer teach a horse to fly? How are you limiting God in your life? Look to Jesus. What do you want His Spirit to do?”–Tom Holliday

“The Temptation is to see this life in terms of what “I” have done. Stop measuring experiences. Go to scripture. Jesus is doing the work.”–Tom Holliday

“We may not give grandeur or glorification, ‘apostification’ to ourselves. It is sin, it is attempting to do the work of Jesus, ourselves.” –Tom Holliday

As we begin to close in prayer, Pastor Tom reminds us, “Jesus gives you The Wanting. You can ask for it. Ask.”

Notes: The root of excellent is excel, meaning to raise, to raise oneself, surpass, literally—to rise out of, project. Excellent, therefore, is reserved for a thing unusually good for its kind, of exceptional merit and virtue. We strive for excellence because it is part of our nature. We are made in God’s Image and His excellence pours into everything that He does. Deuteronomy 32:4

Phillippians 1:9-10 —And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,

Tom Holliday – Alexandria Presbyterian Church

A study on Spiritual Leadership taught by Tom Holliday begins on September 18, 2022, at APC, Alexandria VA.

“Quotes and Teaching on Spiritual Leadership”, Pastor Tom Holliday (Integrity, Humility, Character)

Quotes and Teaching on Spiritual Leadership from Pastor Tom Holliday

~these notes were taken from a gathering with Pastor Tom Holliday as he spoke/taught about Spiritual Leadership from his home to a small group.

“No moment is stagnant. The potency of life is seeded by God within us by His Spirit. Knowing this, can we afford to be wasteful? How can we not realize our potential to be good and effective spiritual leaders? Each person has a role. We can all act and be potent in our lives. Each ethical-decision is ours to make. We are all leaders. Let us Pray boldly as a part of leadership.”

“Our work is not just for ourselves. Imagine that you were a potter fashioning a work to be sent out, know that everything that you ‘make’ matters. It is useful. Each decision that we make has an effect on all of the lives around us.”

“In order to be a good leader, you need to be a good follower.”

 The hardest person that you will ever lead is yourself”.

“What if my Leadership had all to do with my ability to follow whose voice I am hearing? What if it had to do with who I was following? We are following more than we realize from inside of our heads. Some are following our mothers, our fathers, our teachers. Who has our ear?

 “C.S. Lewis said that life is miraculous. That it was not like teaching a horse to jump, but that it was like teaching a horse to FLY. Can prayer teach a horse to fly? How are you limiting God in your life? Look to Jesus. What do you want His Spirit to do?”

“The Temptation is to see this life in terms of what “I” have done. Stop measuring experiences. Go to scripture. Jesus is doing the work.”

The attributes of a good leader are:

Humility: (as exemplified by Christ)

Integrity:  not a perfect life, we cannot achieve perfection (but, example not a life of words that aren’t backed up by actions)

Listening: It includes humility, it includes the other lovingly with examples from the ministry of Christ. (teaching without directing, leading without revealing all that he could see at the time, more, more)

1.  It does not direct others. That is not leadership.

2.  Counselors go in asking. The journey of self-discovery is what is so powerful. We need to go in prayerfully patient.

3.  We learn from self-discovery. When we find the time to listen we say to the person, “You are made in God’s image. You matter.”

The Three C’s of Character of Spiritual Leadership

Is a man (is she?) growing in grace? In kindness, self-control and patience or is saying to himself, “I want to wow people”. It is about being Christlike.

  1. Character.
  2. Competency.
  3. Confidence. 

Don’t lead by confidence (expertise). The person that God uses the most is the one that asks, “God, can You use me? God says, “Of course!”

When one leads by confidence their competency is going to be exposed.


  • Above reproach. Able to have others ‘looking over their shoulder’. The Greek word, The Greek word is anegklētos.
  • Faithfulness.
  • Sober Minded and Self-Controlled. Not-Chaotic. His life is well-ordered, there is a sense of control.
  • Respectable- Hospitable. Hospitality is reaching out to share, that is radical Gospel Love. That is how Christ loved. He loved me when I had nothing to give back.

Where am I? Does my life reflect these qualities more and more, is my life about character or am I lead by competency, or by confidence? God will you bless us? Bless the leaders to be lead by character. Pray that God increases our desire to grow in character.

Tom Holliday, Pastor, Alexandria Presbyterian Church, Alexandria VA USA

“Christian Character, The Lord Tests Our Hearts”, Gospel Study with Christian Quotes (Sanctification, Spirit of God, Transformed Hearts)

We long to be defined as people of Character. In a world that is fraught with perplexing challenges, the heart needs to be reminded that in the Bible character is an unchanging excellence that God defines not one of the world nor our circumstances. Surely we strive and fall short, we fall and rise back up. But in keeping our gaze upon the Lord, we walk in His Promises and commit to obey them.

Character is defined as strength of moral fiber. A.W. Tozer described character as “the excellence of moral beings.” As the excellence of gold is its purity and the excellence of art is its beauty, so the excellence of man is his character. Persons of character are noted for their honesty, ethics, and charity. Descriptions such as “man of principle” and “woman of integrity” are assertions of character. A lack of character is moral deficiency, and persons lacking character tend to behave dishonestly, unethically, and uncharitably.

A person’s character is the sum of his or her disposition, thoughts, intentions, desires, and actions. It is good to remember that character is gauged by general tendencies, not on the basis of a few isolated actions. We must look at the whole life. For example, King David was a man of good character (1 Samuel 13:14) although he sinned on occasion (2 Samuel 11). And although King Ahab may have acted nobly once (1 Kings 22:35), he was still a man of overall bad character (1 Kings 16:33). Several people in the Bible are described as having noble character: Ruth (Ruth 3:11), Hanani (Nehemiah 7:2), David (Psalm 78:72), and Job (Job 2:3). These individuals’ lives were distinguished by persistent moral virtue.

Character is influenced and developed by our choices. Daniel “resolved not to defile himself” in Babylon (Daniel 1:8), and that godly choice was an important step in formulating an unassailable integrity in the young man’s life. Character, in turn, influences our choices. “The integrity of the upright guides them” (Proverbs 11:3a). Character will help us weather the storms of life and keep us from sin (Proverbs 10:9a).

It is the Lord’s purpose to develop character within us. “The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the heart” (Proverbs 17:3). Godly character is the result of the Holy Spirit’s work of sanctification. The Lord is pleased when His children grow in character. “You test the heart and are pleased with integrity” (1 Chronicles 29:17; see also Psalm 15:1-2).

We can develop character by controlling our thoughts (Philippians 4:8), practicing Christian virtues (2 Peter 1:5-6), guarding our hearts (Proverbs 4:23Matthew 15:18-20), and keeping good company (1 Corinthians 15:33). Men and women of character will set a good example for others to follow, and their godly reputation will be evident to all (Titus 2:7-8). (Source: http://www.Got Questions.org)

Christian Quotes on Character:

  • Nothing so clearly discovers a spiritual man as his treatment of an erring brother. —Augustine
  • The expression of Christian character is not good doing, but God-likeness. If the Spirit of God has transformed you within, you will exhibit Divine characteristics in your life, not good human characteristics . God’s life in us expresses itself as God’s life, not as human life trying to be godly.Oswald Chambers

  • What you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing; it also depends on what kind of a person you are. —-C.S. Lewis
  • The test of Christian character should be that a man is a joy-bearing agent to the world. —Henry Ward Beecher
  • Meekness is one of the brightest graces which can adorn the Christian character. —J.C. Ryle
  • Greatness lies, not in being strong, but in the right using of strength; and strength is not used rightly when it serves only to carry a man above his fellows for his own solitary glory. He is the greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts by the attraction of his own. —Henry Ward Beecher
  •  The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. —Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Doctrine is useless if it is not accompanied by a holy life. It is worse than useless; it does positive harm. Something of ‘the image of Christ’ must be seen and observed by others in our private life, and habits, and character, and doings. —J.C. Ryle