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Monday
May092011

The Trophies In The Church

Observation:  It was the early 90's when the strong emphasis in the church began to incorporate more business practices, and marketplace principles. It made sense at the time to get heads of business into ministry work, to bring their expertise and money into the church.  Now, I think there was some wisdom in doing this, but was there collateral damage to the way the church operates?  It's a debatable issue, but my observation is that the balance between ministry and business is a fine line to walk, and in some cases business practices won out.  This meant that ministry outlets, churches and para-church organizations were finding their strength in the techniques of consultants and business plans. This created a filter to which faith was subject to a business grid, rather than a Biblical grid. Now on the other hand, one of the reasons business controls were needed in the church was because some church leaders who by faith would hurl the ministries into debt, without restraints.  There must be a balance, between the practical raising and application of money, and the faith in God that it takes to run the ministry spiritually. The same is true when it comes to bringing in people who we hold up as a trophy of the faith. It has been my experience we are so quick to run to the newest sensation in the church, whether it be the new young preacher with with a new idea, or a celebrity who has found Christ. Like the business/faith dilemma, we rush to judgment before we allow time to verify the reality of the transformation.  We have seen people use their Christian testimony for the wrong reasons such as manipulation for a political agenda, or a social justice cause.  We saw this happen following Mel Gibson's movie "Passion of the Christ" and many Christians concluded that Mel Gibson had some kind of conversion because of the film.  Since then Mel has imploded with divorce, drunken disorderly conduct, and violent domestic charges. Recently there was an article about the son of Hamas, Mosab Hassan Yousef, who reportedly converted to Christianity, wrote a book and was on the speaking circuit in churches.  There are reports out that this person, was not who he said we was, but converted to Christianity with an agenda.  Once again, if this is true, the Christian community was taken in hook line and sinker because they wanted this trophy from the Arab/Muslim world. You can read more about Mosab Hassan Yousef for yourself through this provided link. 

http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/the-mosab-yousef-saga-did-hamas-%E2%80%98defector%E2%80%99-dupe-all-of-us/

 Jesus told us to do works that represent the fact we have repented, we have been transformed, and are living according to His Word.  That means, it becomes about Him, our Savior/Messiah, and not about my ethnicity, my political views, my ministry agenda, my reputation, my denomination, my doctrinal views, or anything else associated with me. 

Luke 3:8 Bear fruits in keeping with repentance
 

So what's my point?  God will not share His glory with anyone. In other words, He is the only one to be worshipped, not the instruments by which He uses to proclaim His name.  We are too quick to seek a trophy to prove the existence of an almighty God and in our well meaning ways, we become  stumbling blocks for the cause of Christ. Let someone live out his or her testimony for a few years to see whose agenda they are really trying to accomplish. Rushing to print in order to tell someone's story because it makes good business sense, is not wise, and we, the Church, are the only ones to blame, because we love our trophies. 

Keeping it honest and truthful....K

Friday
May062011

How Come I Don't Know These Things?

With the internet at our finger tips we can find out just about anything, making any one of us an expert these days. Yet, if you don't know where to look, your information may not be incorrect, or at best be incomplete. 

For example: When I was in school preparing to go into the ministry I studied  the Church Fathers on how they formulated their doctrine and how it influenced the church. However I never studied the anti-semitic attitudes of these leaders, in fact until recently it was not information I really cared about.  Check it out for yourself, and see how uninformed you might be. 

http://www.yashanet.com/library/fathers.htm

I just didn't know, but that shouldn't be an excuse.

I never realized that even Martin Luther had an axe to grind with the Jews. Check out this link and see for yourself how this kind of  information can bring insight into why the Jews are hated and blamed for the death of Christ. 

http://www.nobeliefs.com/luther.htm

I just didn't know, but that shouldn't be an excuse.

Theologically I didn't know:

I didn't know that the New Covenant was given to Israel, in keeping with all God's promises to the Jews. This covenant is another reason why the world hates the Jews.  I thought people hated the Jews because the Jews controlled so many industries, and have an influence in the world more than any other people group. Not true. The reason there is so much anti-semitism, is because the Jews have being given the covenant that brings the Messiah and salvation to the world. Check out Revelation 12, and the women that is referenced here is Israel:

 17Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.

Here is why this hatred is so intense, and you can see it has nothing to do with financial or political influence,  it has to do with a spiritual hatred of God by Satan because God created a way out of Satan's control.  

Jeremiah 31:31-34

The New Covenant

31“Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah,  32not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD.  33But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  34And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ or they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

 I didn't know that God was fulfilling His promises to Israel first before it developed into full redemption for the whole world.  That's why Paul said in Romans 1:16 that the gospel is first to the Jew first, and then the Gentiles.

Information can be incomplete.  But why?  Because the information I received did not point me in the right direction. This is a critical point, leaders are called to lead, guide and direct people to the truth, not their truth, but God's truth. 

The information that I received from my former pastors, and my seminary professors never pointed me in the direction proving that the Jews played a huge role in the world getting the gospel of salvation.  To my shame for not getting the right information, and to their shame, because they didn't provide it. 

Its no wonder the world hates the Jews,  but it's surprising when the Church does, by not providing the truth about the Jewish people and the salvation that has come through them to us all.  

Keeping it honest and truthful....K

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday
May052011

I Am Lead of The Lord

This phrase is often used in Christian circles to justify or identify a direction a person is heading. It can have both a positive and negative result depending on how true the statement is to begin with.  There is always an element of error that can enter into wishful thinking when one is operating by faith, but if it  gets translated into "God's Leading" it becomes a statement that you must verify as being from God.  I believe God does lead us, it was one of the promises that Jesus said would happen when the Holy Spirit came in His absence. Note these words from John 16:

13When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.  14He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.


Notice the job description of the Holy Spirit among us:

1. He will guide you into all truth

2. His emphasis will be on what God says

3. He will show you things to come 

4. He will glorify or place Jesus at the center of worship

Fairly straight forward isn't it?  This is how the Holy Spirit leads and it should be the criteria for how we judge if God is leading or not. The end result of this grid is still very simple, "Is God's word followed/obeyed, and is Jesus Christ kept first in all we do?"

You might say, well, what about the Rehma word, or a word spoken directly to my heart?  God's leading can be with a voice, a prompting, a supernatural infusion of Himself, the use of confirmation of others, but the end of the day still brings us back to the criteria Jesus described as to how the Holy Spirit will lead us.

The positive aspect of "I am lead of the Lord"  is an exciting life of expectancy, creativity, and fulfillment of seeing God's plan worked out through your life.  It helps to create a conviction, a passion, and an understanding of what God wants to do through you to fulfill His will in the earth.

The negative part of "I am lead of the Lord" is when emotions and narcissism enter into the equation. I have been manipulated by many religious spirits that sound like God, but were not. Narcissism is one of the characteristics of a false prophet, where the words may sound like God, but spirit behind those words is the spirit of a manipulator. In 2 Corinthians 11:14-15 we read:

4And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.  15So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

 

Today's World
We live in a highly charged deceptive world, and following the right path can be extremely tricky. Make sure you take time to process the direction you feel being lead to follow. Spend time in God's Word, prayerfully consider that you are hearing God's voice. Put it on the altar of sacrifice before the Lord to see if you have a healthy hold on it, or if it has an unhealthy hold on you. 


How God Works
God works through free will, He does not use manipulation. Be careful of any prophet, or soothsayer, who wants to give you a word of, "I am lead of the Lord." Let the Holy Spirit bring you His Word, and if He is leading you, He will verify through the confirmation of other godly people. I have link a website that has news articles on a wide variety of topics, but note how many of them have this spirit of manipulation behind them.

Keeping it honest and truthful...K

 

http://slaughteringthesheep.wordpress.com/author/chrystalwuzhere/

 

 

Wednesday
May042011

Beyond Stupidity and Fulfilling the Call

I had a conversation recently with a friend who works alongside physically challenged people in Florida. He told me about one man who had cerebral palsy, and when asked if he prayed, he responded, "you mean God talk?"

Yes, my friend responded, "do you ever pray?" "Yes" the man said, "all the time."  My friend was curious about what he prayed about, and asked him.  The reply, "I complain a lot."  After a short laughter from the two of them, my friend asked him, "does God ever answer you?"  The man said "yes all the time, He tells me not to complain so much." 

Great story that illustrates the need to go beyond what the circumstances may be at the present time and get to the place where we can allow God to do the work in our lives.  In some way we all have a type of spiritual cerebral palsy, where we face some great challenges. Those challenges can keep us in paths of being judgmental, prideful, unforgiving, and bitter.  I battle with disappointment all the time.  First in my own life as a Christian, and then with Christians who have no tolerance for anyone else but themselves.  Recently, I had an angry flare up because of the arrogance of a fellowship kingdom person and I was complaining to another friend.  His response, "you knew that before you signed up."  (it was his version of, 'don't complain so much) But he is right, going beyond the stupidity to the call is not just about doing the work of the Lord, it's dealing with other laborers in the same field. A huge part of this process of doing God's work and crossing the finish line for the trophy of, "well done thou good and faithful servant," has to do with dealing with the stupidity of others.  Too blunt for you?  I have been told the two reasons missionaries come home from the field is money, and the inability to get along with other Christians.  

Too often the pastorate draws people who feel the call of God, and within the first several years they are out of the ministry. Take note of the following:

  • Fifteen hundred pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout or contention in their churches.

  • Fifty percent of pastors' marriages will end in divorce.

  • Eighty percent of pastors and eighty-four percent of their spouses feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastors.

  • Fifty percent of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.

  • Eighty percent of seminary and Bible school graduates who enter the ministry will leave the ministry within the first five years. Ninety percent of pastors said their seminary or Bible school training did only a fair to poor job preparing them for ministry.

  • Eighty-five percent of pastors said their greatest problem is they are sick and tired of dealing with problem people, such as disgruntled elders, deacons, worship leaders, worship teams, board members, and associate pastors. Ninety percent said the hardest thing about ministry is dealing with uncooperative people.

  • Ninety percent said the ministry was completely different than what they thought it would be before they entered the ministry.

  • Seventy percent felt God called them to pastoral ministry before their ministry began, but after three years of ministry, only fifty percent still felt called.

So what's my point? The call is tough, but we must stop complaining about the stupidity of people, and get on with the call. Every pastor/Christian leader, parishioner has to learn how to protect themselves against the issues that drive them away from doing what God has called them to do. Stop being that person everyone loves and likes, and starting being the person God has called you to be, "a person who speaks God's word, and does God's work in a field of stupidity."   

My friends story from my opening remarks is so true..............

Just keeping it honest and truthful.....K

Tuesday
May032011

Can We Be Honest For Once? 

Recently a radio client of mine sent this website link and asked me for a comment. Here is the site, first look at it, and then come back and read the rest of the blog post. http://www.circleofprotection.us/

Now who could argue against a group of Christian leaders wanting to help the government keep the poor in their budgets?  Let's face it, if you would say anything against this idealism to protect the poor you would be seen as hypocrite. I have already admitted to my hypocrisy in past blogs, so I have nothing to lose or protect. My observation is that it is easier to bind together around issues that most people would not question. Right? Who would not want to feed the poor, and drive a cause against eliminating poverty?  Come on, that's a no brainer.

The Circle of Protection website makes poverty a moral issue for Christians, and I would agree with that, but what about other moral issues? Here is a great quote from the website: "As Christians, we believe the moral measure of the debate is how the most poor and vulnerable people fare. We look at every budget proposal from the bottom up—how it treats those Jesus called "the least of these" (Matthew 25:45). They do not have powerful lobbies, but they have the most compelling claim on our consciences and common resources. The Christian community has an obligation to help them be heard, to join with others to insist that programs that serve the most vulnerable in our nation and around the world are protected."  In light of this quote, I have not heard anything on this website about the poverty of the unborn, why aren't they been included?  They are the most vulnerable, they are the "least of these" that Jesus spoke about, and they don't have powerful lobbies. So why can't the unborn be included in being protected? Could it be that the most vulnerable on the poverty chain aren't really people, so why worry about it?  Or do the signers on this website have a different theological view about abortion?  I suppose if you support abortion rights, then you certainly wouldn't include the unborn in your protection circle. Now isn't that convenient!  I will create God in my image, and make Him useful in making a case for what I would support in world.  The Bible is clear about many moral issues, and killing is one of them.  

Now, heres my point. How can we be so moral about one issue in our Christian circle, and at the same time be against other moral issues like protecting the unborn from abortion?   I would think the unborn are the poorest of the poor, they have no assets, and they are abused to the point of death. I would say they are in need of protection....don't you?

After reading the issues posted on the Circle of Protection site, what caught my eye was the signature of a prominent evangelical. I know in the past, he has been a prolific writer and speaker on behalf of evangelicals, and their evangelical issues. It appears that today however, he chooses to associate with a politically correct cause on behalf of placing the evangelical name on the bottom line among those in favor of protecting the poor.  I have often wondered if he would  sign his name to a pro life website in support of the unborn? Good question. I also wonder how many of those listed on the the Circle of Protection website would sign their names to anything that would make a difference for the poorest of poor, the unborn? 

Honesty and truthfulness in liberal Christianity is an oxymoron!  I personally don't think you can protect the poor without protecting the poorest of the poor.  How can any Christian cause be in favor of protecting the poor, and be in support of killing babies?  Go figure. 

Keeping it honest and truthful....K

 

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