Why Patience Is Needed!

You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.  Titus 1:1-5 NIV

Patience is mentioned 34 times in the New Testament and patient mentioned 9 times in the Bible (once in Old Testament in Ecclesiastes). I’ve concluded–speculatively–that patience was not a strong character trait in many before Christ made an appearance. I base this speculation on the fact that the Children of Israel were so impatient with God, that they moved away from His guidance in an effort to more like other nations (needing a king,etc).

Here–in Paul’s instructions to Titus--we see a reason for patience and that reason is to teach others how to walk in the light of God’s love. If we really want to others to learn something well, we must be willing to patiently teach them–expecting them to make mistakes, but will be quick to hear correction.

This then may explain why some people are not good teachers–spiritually or naturally. If we get angry or frustrated with those we attempt to teach–we actually inhibit their desire to learn. One of the reasons we tend to get impatient with people is because we forget the road we traveled to get where we are. Someone had to have patience with us in order for us to know what we know. Even if much of what we know was through an inquisitive nature where we sought information on our own, we still had to exercise patience with ourselves.

Not to long ago, a person who observed my teaching a class told me that I had the patience of job with my students. I was amazed at her assessment because I do not always think I’m very patient with students when I’ve repeated myself–ad nauseum. At any rate, I realized that she was referring to my ability to give them time to think about a question before providing them with an answer. In fact, I seldom provide answers to questions when reviewing information–I simply wait until someone comes up with the right answer and I confirm. Teaching is not about trying to pour information into someone’s head, but about giving them the tools they can use to draw conclusions on their own.

Think about it! How long did it take us to realize that the answers we needed were found in Jesus Christ.  Questions about life and direction–found in Jesus. The voids we felt in our lives–filled with Jesus. And with me–He was very patient until I honed in what life really meant.

So, with patience–with self and others–will we move forward in teaching others about how to live the life God wants for us.

 

Anointed Truth!

“But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth.” (I John 2:20,21 NIV)

One of the reasons that I love John’s passages to us is because they are so personal. In the Gospel of John, he reveals to us the person of Christ and all of attributes. In his continued letters, he constantly reminds us that we are loved and because of His love towards us, we walk in His anointing and in Truth.

If we are filled with Holy Spirit–the Spirit of Jesus Christ–then we walk in Truth since He is Truth. When we allow Holy Spirit to guide us in all things, we speak only what He speaks and do only what He wants us to do.

Are we perfect people? Not hardly! We are people who love the Lord and want to please Him, so we are growing in grace and in the confidence of His Word in our ability to know when Holy Spirit speaks beyond what we understand and are open to the revelation!

This is why John tells us, we know the truth and there is no lie in truth. Now, this is where some people miss this. There is no lie in truth. A half-truth is a whole lie. There are no white lies, red lies, black lies are any other kind of lies that have any kind of relationship with Truth. Paul tells us to speak the truth, in love. Love the person to whom you’re telling the truth,, but tell the truth, confidently, not harshly.

One of the reasons the Body of Christ is in the shape it is in is because no one really wants to hear truth from the pulpit so preachers–sugarcoat truth–to maintain a congregation. I’d rather hear Truth, according to God’s Word (not man) and be convicted of wrong doing than to hear a sugar-coated message that makes allowances for sin. Yes, God forgives our sin, but repentance means we have turned away from doing those things that sever a relationship with God.

God is not mocked! He is not fooled by the preachings, dripping with syrupy meanings and rhyming rhythms that do nothing but entertain the flesh. The only person who is fooled by this is the one who does not know the Word.

I encourage every Believer to walk in the anointing of Truth and tell no lies–even if it means no other mortal walks with you, you are never alone!

Stand Firm! (Part Two)

(Still in Ephesians 6)

In spite of what most believe—where there is documentation that supports the foundational belief of a church (statements of faith) those foundational principles trump the opinions of those who know nothing about the bible.

Let’s deal with some facts about “church foundations.” Within the church’s constitution, a plan of action or procedures should be established. Within that plan—the role of the pastor, deacons, trustees, and whoever else is listed should be outlined. If a church “chooses” to make an exception—they are within their rights. And speaking of rights—every church has a right—a spiritual and moral obligation—to exercise biblical principles (unless they are a cult) without being influenced by those who think “being politically correct” is a mandate from God.

The same people who protest church beliefs about “just about anything” and claim justification for their beliefs because “certain words don’t appear” in the bible should be just as prone to censure about “political correctness” since it is a recent phrase used to justify sin and living ungodly by those who want to live ungodly lives.

As much as I’d like to see everyone saved and have the hope of eternal life—I cannot force anyone to believe Jesus is the best thing that ever happened to the world. People can and do believe what they want, but please, please, please—stop trying to get those who do believe to swallow the lies—which we know are influenced by Satan.

Getting back to churches—with membership—like anywhere else—there are privileges. Most churches have established protocols to handle weddings, funerals, baptisms, child dedications, counselling, and just about everything else. For people who are not members of a church—why are they expecting any privileges from the church? Attending a church is not the same as being an active, participating member of the church.

 

Part Three posted tomorrow!

What Are We Sowing? (Reblogged)

“Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.” When he said this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear” (Luke 8:8 NIV)

Jesus said, when seed (The Word of God) falls onto good ground, it will yield a crop (growth) a hundred times more than there once was. He also goes on to say, “he who has an ear to hear, let him hear.” So why does Jesus relate this parable to his disciples and how does it apply to us today? The point being made here is two-fold; both on a spiritual level, but one pertaining to the wealth that God has entrusted us with and the other, the wealth of souls that God has entrusted to us. If we misunderstand God’s intent, we sow discord and doubt into the midst of the congregations and fuel the unbelievers’ attempts to thwart the Word of God.

First, we must understand that the resources (money) that God provides to us are to be used as seed to be sown in good ground. If we are sowing seed (giving money) to churches in which there is no growth and in fact is being used to promote man’s kingdom instead of the kingdom of God, we do God a disservice. We are to be good stewards—weighing carefully how we use the resources God gives us and making sure that our use—will eventually bring glory to God.

We need to make sure that we are wise teachers (sowers) of the Word and our only agenda is to win souls to Christ; not to us. We must make every attempt to fulfill the commission given to us to go out into all the world, teaching the Word, baptizing in Jesus’ name so that all can come into the knowledge of the Truth (God’s truth, not ours).

The flip side of seeing growth and maturity is to see stagnation of both money and people. Misusing the resources will eventually feel like money placed in pockets with holes—steadily being lost along the way. Manipulating the Word for selfish gains will eventually see more space and vacant seats in churches as people leave. For those who have an ear to hear, let them hear.

We must be good stewards of what God has given us. Are we promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ (salvation, forgiveness, and love) or are we just having church? Are we utilizing the monetary resources to assist the poor and the needy, to promote the Gospel, or are we just having church fundraisers? Church leaders must be accountable to the Word. Church members must be accountable to the Word by studying for themselves. Remember, he/she who wins souls must be wise. They who anticipate seeing growth/increase must make sure they are sowing (or watering) in good ground. We must be willing to do deep soul searching and introspection to make sure we are doing everything we can to glory God. He that has an ear to hear, let him hear.

What are you sowing? Are you sowing in good ground?

(Revised and re-blogged from 12/13/12)

Pulpit Idiocy!

One of the reasons our society at-large is in the shape that it is in is because of some of  those in leadership in churches. When leadership fails to live up to standards of integrity and virtue, then the whole house (for which it leads) is subject to failure!

This didactic is not about casting judgment upon those who have exercised no wisdom in the things they do, but it is an attempt to bring to the forefront–awareness–so that all of the idiocy that begins in a pulpit–regardless of denomination–is exposed and those who perpetrate it have room to repent and desist.

First of all, if a person has never been taught The Word in a structured, educational environment that provides guidance in extrapolating, dissecting and “rightly dividing the word,” they should never be allowed to present information to others that they do not understand.  Why does this happen? When the leadership is not led by God, but by emotions or familial connection, we end up with idiots in a pulpit.

Does that mean that everyone with a degree in theology or Christian Education belongs in a pulpit? No, it does not.  We have all seen the messes created with some who hold degrees and titles who–because of their lack of relationship with God–have  made a mockery of the church, Christianity and all that it involves.

Who’s left? For those who “hire” the pastor or church leader by any other name, accountability lies with them.  If their relationship is not right with God, they may end up making a decision that will prove detrimental to the whole body. Congregations need to know–if the leadership is not living a godly life–they are under no obligation to support idiocy and should not support idiocy.  Unfortunately, many people in the congregation of a church are cajoled “to forgive” those who commit transgressions and move on, but few have actually forced the guilty leadership to repent and rethink what they’re doing.  As a result, wrong-thinking people continue to lead entire congregations astray and many have bullied the congregation into allowing them to keep their position. If the people–in the congregation–understood The Word–this could never happen. There are far too many wolves in our society, pretending to be something they are not and far, far too many sheep who fall into their clutches.

How do we get rid of the idiocy in the pulpit? Every born-again believer needs to understand The Word for themselves and when they hear and see conduct that is not of God in the leadership, they should act to rid themselves of that person. If more people did this, we would have fewer people in leadership positions, conning the people.

How do we know when there is idiocy in the pulpit? When the leadership (male or female) is abusing/misusing their position with members of the congregation. No one in a church should be subjected to sexual advances from any church leadership for any reason. That is not God speaking to them, but the devil himself.  No one should be subjected to listening to a preacher who has proven themselves to be less than honest, never really teaches The Word, but is always fussing and negative about those in the church. No church should be subjected to those who steal from the church in an effort to make themselves look good. No one should ever have to feel that they have to support idiocy when they see it–when the pastor wants more for a salary than the church can support. That is total idiocy! And then we have the church leaders who want to “build unto themselves a mini-kingdom” and expect the congregation to foot the bill, whether building is needed or not–idiocy!

How do we avoid the pulpit idiocy? The Word tells us that we ought to always pray. We should pray about where we worship, asking God to reveal everything we need to know about a situation before we settle there. We should pray for the leaders–all over the land–in every church–that they will hear and obey the voice of God. We should know The Word for ourselves so when we hear error being taught, we know it and can do something about it. We should pray for ourselves and our families, and church congregations that they would understand the legal ramifications for the role and duties of a church. Every person attending a church as a member and supporting it has a right to know how decisions are made and how money is spent. When leadership is found not living according to the Word, the congregants should make it known and with discussion–provide an avenue for the leadership to get it together or leave. These should be the only two options.  If the leadership won’t listen to the congregants, then the congregants should leave and find a place of worship where the leadership hears God.

One of the biggest problems we have with church leadership today is the practice of nepotism. Every son thinks that if their father is a pastor, they should be next in line. Churches should never be treated like a family business; especially if no training has been afforded to those being put in leadershipFathers and mothers need to stop “calling” their sons into ministry and allow God to be God in the lives of their children. Not every offspring of a preacher was intended by God to preach, but in our society that seems to be the rule rather than the exception. When we do not do things God’s way, we mess up and end up with idiocy in the pulpit.

Father, in the name of Jesus, help us to be more sensitive to You in hearing and obeying Your voice and not the one of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Remind us to pray about everything we do–where we worship, how we support that place and who we should “hear” as a leader. And when we find idiocy, help us to be bold enough to expose it for the benefit of all. Amen!