Deceptive Storms (excerpt 2)

deceptive storm“I just got a call from the high school and it appears that more and more kids are involved in drug use.  They’re trying to pinpoint the distribution, but you know how difficult that can be.  This is especially true since they do not control the flow of traffic in and out of the building.  I suggested they put up security cameras in lieu of having someone man the doors.  At any rate, they said they would take my suggestion to the next board meeting.  I’d hate the thought that some of our kids are involved, but one never knows what kids will do when they are out of sight of authority.”

“Yes, I do know.  I’ve actually been a little concerned about Vernon Jenkins, lately.  He seems to be more resistant to the teachings at the church.  I’m not sure if it is just teen-age angst or if there is another problem.  I’ve tried to talk to him, but he always leaves as soon as church is over and I think he only attends the youth meetings because his dad makes him.”

“Both he and his dad are having a bad time.  I’ve offered to counsel him, but his father insists he can handle it.  I’m just not sure if he’s trying to handle things as his dad or as a minister.  Sometimes those lines can be blurred.  I hope that’s not the case here.”

“Pastor Cal…I …uh.  I was trying not to say anything until I could prove my suspicions but I think Vernon is using.  He’s distant and his eyes are always glassy-looking.  I know the symptoms.  The pulling away from people who know you well, trying to fit in with all the wrong folks.  I hope he’s not, but all the signs are there.”

“Before you draw any conclusions, see if you can get him to open up and talk to you.  I’m sure if we can get him to talk, we’ll be able to help him, but if he’s not willing, the only thing we can do is to alert his dad.  You want me to do it?”

“No sir.  At least, not yet.  Let me try talking to him.  His dad has quite a temper and I would not want to be responsible for anything that happens to Vernon because of his dad’s uncontrolled anger.  I’ll make it my business to talk to him tonight and let you know what happened.  Was there anything else?”

“No, not at all.  I’m sure you have things to prepare for your meeting.  Call me tomorrow when you get a chance.  And…by the way, Pastor Dee and I are expecting a new baby…”

“Congratulations!” Reverend Anderson interrupted, surprised by the news.

“Thanks, but we want to keep this quiet for a while.  Because this pregnancy puts her at risk, she’s not going to be around the church much and I’m going to need every minister on board to fill in the gap.  Can I count on you?”

“Absolutely.  And please let Pastor Dee I’m praying for her and the baby.”

“I’m sure she’ll appreciate your prayers.  I’ll talk to you later.”

After Reverend Anderson hung up the phone, he smiled to himself.  He knew that Pastor Dee and Pastor Cal were relatively newlyweds, but he didn’t think that a baby would ever be part of the equation.  “How about that?” he thought.  “They still got it going on.” He pulled out his bible and began writing some notes for the youth meeting.  Before long, stumped as to how to approach the subjects he wanted to discuss, he got on the Internet to see if there any websites with good suggestions. As he searched, he remembered.  He remembered his own involvement with drugs and how it could have cost him his life.

Paul Anderson, the greatest athlete known at Community High School, had many offers from various colleges and had been awarded all sorts of scholarships.  It was the spring just before he graduated high school that things fell apart.  He and some of his buddies had been out celebrating their impending graduation and all of their accomplishments in high school.  When someone had pulled out a joint, at first Paul refused—thinking about all he had ahead of him—he didn’t want to ruin his chances to be successful.  After a while, someone dared him to take a drag.  Never one to resist a dare, he accepted the joint and inhaled deeply, sputtering like crazy as he coughed violently.  The other guys laughed at him, but since his eyes were smarting and his lungs burning, he didn’t see anything funny.  The longer he sat, watching them pass the joint, the calmer he became until he finally took another hit.  This time, he didn’t sputter or cough; he just sat back and grinned stupidly.  By the time he got ready to go home, he couldn’t focus.  The world seemed to be moving faster than he was and he was trying to catch up.  He heard laughter faintly as though it was far away, but he couldn’t see who was laughing.  His buddies all appeared to be far away. Finally, he heard someone say, “we gotta take him home.  He can’t drive like that.”

Unfortunately, they didn’t move fast enough. By the time someone thought about getting his car keys from him, Paul had walked out the door, keys in-hand.  He struggled trying to open the door when he couldn’t get the keys to slide into the lock and then almost fell getting into the car, but he finally got the keys into the ignition and started the car to head home.  That was the last thing he remembered of that fateful night.

Deceptive Storm available on amazon.com and smashwords.com Enjoy!

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!

Who Called You?

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 NIV).

“Johnny, take out the garbage!”

“Carlos, go find your brother!”

Remember when you heard someone calling you; especially your mother? You could tell by her tone what mood she was in. And God help us if we were called by our ‘full names’. We knew we were in trouble. But mothers are not the only ones who call us to do something.

God calls us to do specific things in life and when we do what He wants us to do, He honors our efforts and good things happen. What has He called us to do? That depends. Every believer is called to promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but some have been gifted to operate in specific offices of ministry. “He gave gifts for some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and some teachers (of The Word)” (Ephesians 4:11). Here’s something to think about God’s gifts–they are without repentance. In other words, whether we live right or not, the gifts He has given, will not be taken from us; they simply won’t be as effective as they could be.

When God “has called us” into a ministry office, it does not matter what others think since we should only be concerned about pleasing God. If God is pleased, nothing and no one else matters.

The real problem with ministry in the church is when “other people call someone” into an office. Some fathers call their sons into ministry; some mothers call their sons into ministry; some pastors call their children into ministry; some showing favoritism call people into ministry that God has never even considered. When this happens, the gifts are counterfeit and the anointing is manipulated to make it appear as though God had a hand in it. How do we know?

Listen to those with “counterfeit gifts” and see if what they say aligns with The Word. Can we find anywhere in The Word of God, preachers condemning people for how they dress or other such nonsense? Can we find the preachers of the bible, lining people up to give an offering based on the amount for which “they” are asking and then belittling those who have nothing to give? Can we find preachers in the Bible who promote dancing and shouting over hearing The Word, so by the time they stop dancing and shouting, they are too  tired to hear The Word? Can we find preachers in the Bible who promote worldliness over godliness? Can we find preachers in the Bible who always “have a word of wisdom” for the people they know, but never have anything to say about those they don’t know? This list could go on and on, but there is not enough space or time to continue. Do you get the point?

God knows those He has called–He knows what gifts they have been anointed with to help move the body of Christ forward; not backwards. Those who God has called may not pastor a mega-church, but they have mega-influence over all who know them. Those who God has called, always give God credit for everything they accomplish in life. Those who God has called, understand the importance of only saying or teaching what God has already said. Those who God has called, “Study the Word so they can rightly divide (explain) it to others”. This is how we recognize the difference between those who God has called, from those who others have called.

Who called you? Or better yet, who called the person to whom you’re listening and following?

Father, grant us all the gift of discernment this day so we will not make a mockery of the gifts You have given us, to promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

“Preach, Preacher!”

Excerpt from newest book:  “Preach, Preacher!”

True believers understand a couple of things about the Bible. One—we understand how to distinguish meaning by knowing who was talking, to what they were referring, and what was going on at the time they said what they said. Two—we know that God is not a man that He should lie, but we also understand that He used (inspired flawed men) to write what we consider to be—His Word (notice how the choice between “Word” and not Words is used). Three—we know—that if we lined up scripture—line-upon-line, precept (principle) upon precept that there is no way we can legitimately refute God’s purpose in and through His Word. Notice that the beginning of this paragraph started with, what? True believers. Those of us who know the truth cannot be easily swayed by those who counterfeit truth for their purposes. Who are the counterfeits? Anyone not saying what God says, within the context of God saying it, and by their words—leading people away from The Word and God’s love! Know any of these people? Let’s find out!

 

In this book, I explore the who’s who of some televangelists and what some have done to discredit them, discuss how to determine who to listen to in churches, and list who I enjoy in The Word. Available, later this week. You might be surprised with the list of people mentioned by name.

In Times Like These

In times like these, we need a Savior!

If we look around at all the stuff going on in the world, most of us would end up shaking our heads–wondering what is going on?

Life–a very precious commodity–is not respected on so many levels that there is not space enough on this blog to tell it all.  People are being killed because of jealousy, hatred, and in some cases–just because–they were at the wrong place at the wrong time–because someone hated themselves enough to disrespect the lives of others.

We tolerate people making fun of Christians, belittling their beliefs and then we parade–highly profile–what God has said is sin.  How crazy is that.  On one hand–men say, “don’t share your religious beliefs, that’s your personal business” and on the other hand, “please share your sexual exploitations–the world needs to know” and then we celebrate the openness and courage of “sin”!  Have we got this twisted or what?

Parents do not parent–they would rather be buddies with their children than their parents.

Children do not respect any adults because they have no respect for their parents.

Preachers disrespect their calling and in the office in which they have–they say one thing and do everything else.  Hypocrites, is what Jesus called.

Criminals have more rights than law-abiding citizens and the only justice available is left up to those sitting on a bench who have political agendas to promote.  And then we wonder why people take matters into their own hands?

Legislators legislate laws that only benefit the wealthy–forget about the poor and the needy, the vulnerable–the very people  Christians have been mandated to care about in defending their rights.

Oh Yes!  In times like these, we need a Risen Savior and I am very sure, my anchor will hold against the tide that rises up against those who believe and confess–that Jesus Christ is Lord!

Psalm 23 v 2

“He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters”

            In order to get a better understanding of this verse, one needs to understand the symbolic representation as well as the concrete.

“He” is referencing the Great Shepherd as continued from verse 1.

“Makes me lie down in green pastures” can be misleading to some if we attempt to take the word makes literally.  He provides us with opportunities—whether we take them or not, that’s on us—in rich environments, environments that are ripe with possibilities.  Are you dwelling in a rich environment, ripe with opportunities, just waiting for your unique touch?  We do when we follow His lead.  Like the old adage says, “you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink it.” I can imagine that God feels the same way about us when we do not follow His directions in leading us.  We complain and wonder what happened, but we seldom look to self as the culprit.

Then after He leads us to the opportunity, He “leads us beside quiet waters,” provides us with the space (learning patience) we need to maintain peace—in our homes, in our neighborhoods, and in our country.  Before we can attempt to create peace outside of ourselves, we must know the peace of God and that peace should dwell within us.  We should not be so easily moved by every trial and tribulation that confronts with emotional irrationality. Emotional reactions to any situation will generally lead to miscalculations about what should be done and when.  When peace resides, calm, rational thinking can reign and the end results will be more harmonious and resemble godliness than without it.

Allow Him to bring you into the place where opportunities abound and peace resides richly wherever you go!

Psalm 23:1

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want!”

            What is the role of a shepherd?  A good shepherd makes sure they know where to lead the sheep so they will be able to eat and be nourished and be safe.  A good shepherd is watchful, always alert to situations that would endanger their flock. A good shepherd knows his flock—every one of them and knows when one is missing in action or is hurting or disheartened.  A good shepherd provides for the flock that they are leading; not expecting the flock to provide for them.  A good shepherd stands guard to ward off the enemy from attacking their flock.

A shepherd’s role is not always a glorious one.  The shepherd usually ends up smelling like the sheep dung the flock leaves behind.  A shepherd must sometimes put themselves in dangerous situation in order to protect the flock or to rescue them.  A shepherd is not always considered a role of value, but of necessity.

The leaders of the church today are supposed to be good shepherds.  They are supposed to care for the flock, not fleece the flock (not withstanding a good shepherd in this role should be compensated for their leadership and care of the flock). They are supposed to “feed” the sheep good food based on The Word (not junk food-based on current events or trends).  They are supposed to be mindful of dangers that will entrap their flock.  They are supposed to know the enemy’s influence when they see it and eradicate it. They are supposed to love their flock enough to know each one and care about what happens to them.

What kind of shepherd are you?  What type of shepherd are you following?

I know the Good Shepherd, who will provide everything we need and we will not lack anything we need.  I know the Good Shepherd who warns us of dangerous situations and makes sure we know that we are never alone. Do you know Him? Get to know the Good Shepherd and watch Him work in your life!  Hallelujah for our Risen Savior!

 

Will a Title Get You into Heaven?

Forgive my momentary angst about church leaders who are only interested in amassing titles here on earth, but do they think their titles will get them a reservation in heaven?

Let’s face it.  There are more people bearing the title bishop, apostle, overseer, Your Imminence, prophet, pastor and evangelist.  Some have confused the roles of ministry that are established for the benefit of the people (they think the people should benefit them).  The true spokespersons can hardly get an invite to speak any where because their name won’t draw a million-dollar crowd.  What has happened to the church today?  Are we addicted to the sensationalism and nonsense that goes on in churches everywhere?  (I did not say in every church.)  The call to ministry for all believers is to promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We do not need titles to do that.  And many of those bearing titles, do not promote the Gospel; they promote themselves as a 15 minute wonder–all talk and no action.  I mean, how can you get up in front of people and say, “I hear God saying that there are people here who can give a $1,000 dollars.”  When no one gives that amount, God changes His mind about He said (according to those professing the lie).  Now, they’re asking for a lesser amount, still proclaiming that God is the motivator.

Get real folks!  God doesn’t change His mind or lie!  That’s man/woman doing so!  And since they are misrepresenting God, they apparently have no hope of getting into heaven or they would surely know–God is not mocked and is not fooled by the foolish!  If you were not called by God to do what you’re doing, then you will answer to Him, on That Day!

I’m willing to proclaim that no one who misleads God’s people into believing a lie or causing them to promote a lie will have a place in heaven.  Will I see you there?

Our Greatest Gifts

Our greatest gifts are the people God places in our lives.  My Father’s Gift, available on amazon.com is a riveting portrayal of the power of love.

pics of books 001Get ready to cry, laugh, rage, and love!