Ministry

Here you will find articles and posts helpful to those in the ministry.

 

Becoming a Jesus Church

Becoming a Jesus Church requires much. It requires a man to lead like Jesus. It requires a church to be consumed with Jesus; loving and living like Him as we journey on this earth. It requires a steadfast obedience and single-minded determination to keep Jesus at the front of all that we do.
Being a Jesus Man, Choosing a Jesus ManChoose well my brethren, be well my brothers… there is no moreimportant decision a church can make than who will be their pastor. This decision more than anything else will determine the character and direction of a church. Property, music, translations, creeds, statements of faith all pale in comparison to the man in and out of the pulpit. “If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work… he then must be…”So here I am standing at my desk in my study, and I’m thinking about what the Lord has led me through for the past 37 years of my Christian growth. I’m thinking about my beginning at Emmanuel and about the years prior to that in my childhood churches. I’m thinking about what God desires for His church and where He is leading us. I’m thinking about what kind of man I need to be as I shepherd this flock. I’m thinking about the dangerous waters churches navigate when choosing a pastor.

Fathers Day Email ImageI remember a few pastors from way back when… Rev. Crandall, Rev. Alexander, Rev. Noftle, Rev. Hastey, and maybe a few others. Rev. Alexander stands out as a Jesus man to me for some reason, though I don’t really recall much of his sermons; I recall his nature. I was young. Church was boring. Then there was Rev. Alexander and I remember this older gentleman took us teens, or preteens to Squam Lake Science Center. I remember what I could only define as love, or Jesus in him… I remember a warmness and a compassion and though he was an elderly man, a true love for life and laughter. When I look back, there are really two men of God that have left the mark of Jesus upon me more than any other men. Reverend Alexander and Reverend Zimmerman. Why? Because of who they were in and out of the pulpit. They were strong men. They were not effeminate nor were they bullies. There were, Jesus men. Faith filled men. Gentlemen. Imperfect to be sure, but more than willing to share that imperfection as they pointed to the Perfect One. They seemed to exude a grateful spirit and lived in awe of their savior.

When I think of pastoring, this is what a pastor should be. The kind of man, that when the children grow older and think back about their pastor, they realize that although they may not remember many sermons, they remember fondly the sermons of his life. This is what I long to be, a Jesus man. There seem to be a lot of “men of god” but far too few Jesus men. I once spoke with a pastor that told me that I needed to remember that I was man of God and that I needed to hold myself apart and make an effort to show that I was a man of God. My problem with that is, if you are a man of God, you shouldn’t need to try so hard to prove it… just be it. He did have some good advice however, concerning the weight that people will put on your words, this is sound advice to anyone in any type of leadership. As I ponder the direction of this church, I realize once again, that the direction will greatly depend on the kind of leader and leaders are at the head. If we are going to be a Jesus Church, we need Jesus to lead us and we need to be Jesus leaders. Our lives need to bear the prints of His hands.

The Lord has given us so many places to look in His WORD when we choose a man. He has shown us just what to look for. He has shown those of us that lead, exactly what we CAN and SHOULD be. He has given us the four gospel accounts of His life. He has left a record for us to lead us as we lead others. This record shows several things to those of us that would be leaders of men.

Luke 2:49 (NKJV)
“And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”

The book of Luke gives us a glimpse of Jesus in his childhood. What do we see from the earliest of his years? We see him following His heavenly Father. We see Him consumed with His Father’s house and His Father’s business. All through the four gospels we see this action, this behavior repeated time and time again. When arguing with the Scribes and Pharisees and Lawyers and whomever else we see a simple pattern. I must be about my Fathers business. So should we be, so should our pastors be.
John 14:10 (NKJV)
“Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.”

Matthew 3:15 (NKJV)
“But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him.”

The book of Matthew opens with the first record of the actions of an adult Jesus. He left home and made his way to the Jordan River. At this river, he humbled himself to the baptism of John. There may be many theological implications to this act, identifying with the Jews and men as a whole, the symbol of His coming death, burial and resurrection etc. However, sometimes, in reading deeply we miss the forest for the trees. He was obeying His Father in humility. The greatest man to ever walk the earth humbled Himself to be baptized by a man that by his own admission was not worthy to tie the laces on His sandals.
Philippians 2:5–8 (NKJV)
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

John 8:10–11 (NKJV)
“When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

Jesus understood that he held authority, but used it wisely and mercifully. We tend to forget, that when Jesus allowed this woman to walk away, he was pouring out mercy on her that heretofore had not been seen in many years, if ever, in this nation. We may also forget that it was in His authority to condemn her, to have her stoned. He chose mercy. One of my favorite tales of Jesus is found in Matthew 9 and Mark 2. I have written a sermon from this text called One man Born by Four… using a play on words, because the bore their friend to Jesus over many obstacles and when Jesus sees the men and the man he says “Son be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.” They bore him to Jesus and he was born again! Be of good cheer. He forgave the man of his sins before he healed him. He showed us that cheer comes from forgiveness. He showed us the power of mercy. Then because of the unbelief of those legalists that were forever surrounding Him, Jesus healed the man, so that they would be able to observe His authority to forgive.
Matthew 9:1–2 (NKJV)
“So He got into a boat, crossed over, and came to His own city. Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.”

There are so very many more attributes of Christ to observe and pray for. Churches, I would recommend that you lift your pastor up in prayer that he might begin to demonstrate these characteristics sincerely, without the need to put on an act. Pastors, let us come to Christ and spend much time with Him seeking his nature by His exceeding and precious promises.



Five Things

This is from Missionary Rudy Johnson. He is the real deal and was with us this past weekend. He invested in me from Thursday through Sunday just to be a blessing. It’s entitled Five Things that Cause Men to Fail in the Ministry… it could be called Five That Cause Anyone to Fail at Anything.

1. Their Message – The day that you use the Bible to move your methods or preferences or to control people. The Bible isn’t a club to beat people or whip people to get them in line.
2. Their Motives – Why am I teaching this? Because Jesus has told us to teach them all things whatsoever I have commanded you. (Not what you command them). Don’t seek a blessing for yourself, but for your people.
3. Their Methods – These can change, so don’t be dogmatic. Don’t criticize the guy down the street, or compete against him. Follow him if he is doing something great.
4. Their Money – You must be completely up front and honest about money. Don’t use people for their money. Your care for your people must be more than their care for you.
5. Their Morals – we need to be righteous preachers not just preachers of righteousness. Seek your pleasure from above, not from the earth. Not from the internet. Not from the bar. Not from being a liar. Not from the church credit card.



Vision?

I’ve been thinking about vision lately.  Maybe it’s because our year end is rapidly approaching, maybe it’s because God is impressing me with the need to give some direction to His people in His church.  As I have been thinking and praying on these things, I can’t help but consider some of the thoughts that I have heard and some of the stories as well.  Stories of a pastor getting up in front of his congregation and laying out this bodacious plan for the future, so BIG that only God could do it.  Then I think of how many times we are challenged to do the same in our congregations.  How we judge one another by the vision that we all set forth and how this supposedly reflects on our faith in an awesome God.  But maybe it should be written like this OUR AWESOME FAITH in our God.  Which is it?  Our awesome faith or our simple obedience to an AWESOME GOD?  I have come to the conclusion that there are some really amazing Godless churches out there;  that if you were to use that dream something so BIG that only God could do it, you would have to assume that God has stamped His approval on these “churches”.  The nation of Islam comes to mind.  Scientology comes to mind.  Disney Land comes to mind…

So then what should we be telling our young bright eyed pastors or seminary students?  Don’t have vision?  Don’t have dreams and goals and ideas?  I don’t think that’s the answer either.  I think that the answer lies somewhere between the two.  Get with God.  Don’t worry about whether He says do something so small people will have to listen and look to see it, or do something so big they can’t help but wonder.  However the ultimate vision that our churches need is the Word of God and more of it.  Preachers love to quote Proverbs concerning vision.  “Where there is no vision the people perish”.  In my study of that Scripture, I have found that the vision that the author is writing about is the Word of GOD. Proverbs 29:18 “Where there is no vision, the people perish: But he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”  The context gives it away if the word study doesn’t.

I recently heard a pastor say something along the lines of Jesus is all about resurrecting dead things.  He said bring your dead things to Jesus.  Relationships, finances, jobs etc… this was popcorn Christianity, a thin veneer of what being a Christian is, relegating God to a Santa Clause.  When we promise things that God has not, we set Christianity up to look no different that the rest of the bull out there.  Sometimes it is God’s will, and even His calling, for us to suffer.  Don’t believe it?  Read the account of Paul’s life,or look closer to home at some suffering faithful and faithfilled saints.  Sometimes God isn’t about impressing anyone with anything; He is found in the small things.  So preacher, when you are considering direction or vision, resist the urge to force something God hasn’t led you to, resist the urge to impress, rest in the Lord’s direction and leading.  If God is in it, it will come to pass, just keep moving on one step at a time. That said, what should we do?  Well I do believe that God gives direction to His pastors for His churches.  We should seek His and not our own, we should be satisfied with what He says to us and we should always remember that it is HIS church and not OUR church.  Lastly we should always anchor the vision in the Word of God.  We should be careful to take our directions from the Vision that He has left us in His Word.

To sum it up in a simple statement, let God lead.  That’s it, just let God lead.  We aren’t a business, we are a body, His body.  Let God lead.



Someone Else III

I have a few more thoughts on someone else that I  thought I should share with whomever may be reading.  In my last post I mentioned being a blessing to someone else in your church.  That church shouldn’t be all about what you receive but also what you give.

That said there is someone else that needs, desperately needs your attention.  He or she isn’t in your church, meeting under your steeple.  He is someone else.  He or she is  the waitress at the restaurant, the co-worker or classmate.  Someone else needs you because they need HIM.  Like it or not, folks, if you name Jesus as your savior, you are responsible to Him to witness of Him to someone else.  Someone else may be your enemy or they may be your friend; that you are afraid will ditch you if you tell them about Jesus.  Someone else may be someone that is at the end of their rope and they are barely hanging on.  Someone else is divorced, is a single parent, has never been to church or was hurt by a church, someone else is addicted to drugs alcohol or sex.  Someone else is harsh and hard, or soft and kind.  Someone else without Christ is someone else that will spend eternity in hell.  I’ve never read “Just Walk Across the Room” by Bill Hybles, but the phrase seems to be just about right to me.  There is someone else that needs Jesus and Jesus has given us the charge to be as He is in this world, so as the Spirit leads, we should just walk across the room and speak of Jesus to someone else.  Oh yeah and when you have done this for a while and you have seen people come to Christ and follow Him… don’t ever stop.

This leads me to one last thing, it really is someone else that this is all about.  It’s all about HIM.  It isn’t about me being a successful pastor or even a successful Christian, it’s about Jesus.  He directs, and empowers and brings circumstances about to challenge us to lean into HIM.  Our church is about Jesus.  Evangelism is about Jesus.  Caring for someone else does two things, it displays Jesus to those looking on or being cared for and as Christ said; when you care for one of the least of the these… you care for Him.  For all of us that find that first step of witnessing of Jesus difficult; remember this, you have someone else in you that will do it through you.  It might be time to read up on the “fear nots” of Jesus.

We live in a what about me culture.  We live in a consumer culture.  What if we all started to think of someone else.  What if we invited THE someone else to LIVE and LOVE through US?  In studying Colossians it seems to me that Jesus is just waiting for us to let Him in and He will change you and then… you will look like someone else:-)



Someone Else II

Been thinking that the last post was just the beginning.  We have many in churches that are focused on themselves and not on someone else.  Today I was speaking with someone else about ministry and relationships and in our conversation I was reminded of my time as a teen in our church. I had been in teens for almost 2 years, Trisha had moved on from our Youth Group and I was bored.  I didn’t like the way the group was being run and being all of 17 or so, I knew better how  to run it.  That was when Ken Bournival my future father-in-law made an observation that maybe I shouldn’t be going to Youth Group for what I could get out of it but for what I could give into it.  I then began to look at my teen leader in a different light.  I saw a man and his wife that were sacrificing their time every Saturday to minister to a bunch of cranky and crabby teenagers.  I determined that night that this ministry would no longer be about me; it would be about someone else.  Even though Rick was my leader, and I was his responsibility, I determined through God’s help that I would be a blessing to him and that when he looked back on his time with me he would have no regrets.

Churches today (even in my church:-0) have developed a me first and consumer mentality.  There are business models for churches and management models for churches and programs for churches and you name it for churches that leave out the fact that we are here for someone else.  A church isn’t a business.  It has business aspects, but it isn’t a business.  Church isn’t the military.  It has aspects of the military, we are a war against the devil and his agenda, but we aren’t the military.  A church is a sheepfold.  A church is a body.  A church is a family.  If you are a Christian, you should be a part of a local church.  You can toss your excuse as to why you aren’t, God established the local church for you and for His glory.  Usually when I have spoken with a person out of church they blame someone else.  The pastor changed the dress standard, the children’s ministry isn’t being run effectively or someone else hurt their feelings.

It’s time for church to be about someone else.  It’s time to look out at the congregation and ministry that God has called you to, and be a blessing to someone else.  Find that frazzled leader and be a blessing to him.  When I determined to bless Rick, I didn’t ask his permission, I didn’t even tell him I was doing anything (I might have been afraid of his mustache at that point) I just did things to ease his burden for.  I showed up, was friendly to new kids, helped clean up and set up and above all I tried to follow Jesus.  Jesus said that we should do the things that he said.  The fact is that we need to be here to bless someone else and that we ought to bear someone else’s burdens, that we that are spiritual ought to restore those that have fallen in meekness and care and gentleness (not seeing a lot of that these days in churches).

So how about it?  Is church and ministry about you?  Or just maybe, is it about someone else?



Someone Else

Just spitballin’ here, but it’s something that I think may help someone out there today, I know it does me. Someone else can be really, really good. Having someone else to blame for my mistakes, or having someone else take my responsibility makes my life so much easier.  It’s so nice to be able to point my finger at someone else and let go of all of my pent up frustration that is spilling over.  Having someone else to handle the burden of all of my past hurts and mistakes, someone else to take the fall or the pain.  I love to have someone else close by that I can just yell at and abuse with my temper and blow off a little steam on.  It really is quite nice… for me… Then again, maybe that isn’t the right use of someone else. Maybe God put someone else in my life for me to bless, and to help me to see from someone else’s perspective.

Someone else can really help me to see clearly when I am emotionally involved.  Someone else can help me to keep a proper perspective.  True that someone else can help me bear my burdens and responsibilities but they can’t have them completely.  My experience has taught me that one of our biggest faults is our inability to see or admit to… our faults, weakness, you name it.  Someone else can help us with that.  But we need to let them in and let them speak.  You see we can all become volatile at times, and lose our ability to reason.  This is where we really, truly need someone else.

Who is your someone else?  How have you treated them?  Are they simply the kind of person that will join you in your delusions or do you have someone else to balance your pain filled opinions?  See, who the someone else is really matters.  We need someone else to tell us like it is, where the dog died so to speak.  We all need someone else to listen to our heartaches without judging, but ready to lend a hand.

One last thought… if you continue to treat someone else like excrement, or continue to blame someone else, or load on someone else your responsibilities, don’t be too surprised to find that you have no one else.

Just Sayin’



Children in Church

A boy was watching his father, a pastor, write a sermon.

“How do you know what to say?” he asked. 

“Why, God tells me,” the father answered.

The boy replied, “Oh, then why do you keep crossing things out?”

Malachi 4:6 ( KJV )
And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, ImageMatthew 19:13-15 ( KJV ) 13Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.  14But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.  15And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.
Mark 9:36-37 ( KJV ) 36And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them,  37Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me. 

As we look at our three texts, one theme that I believe we should take from them is the fact that children and our treatment of them is important to the Lord.  We see that Jesus was at home with children.  I believe that we can also see that children loved Jesus.

We need to be a catalyst for the community at large for the support and restoration of families.  We need to lead families to Jesus and give them a place to belong.  We need to the kind of church that is relevant to moms and dads and children.  We need to foster an environment of joy and peace for kids and adults together.  We cannot just be a church of adults.  We need both. 

  1. I remember talking with a Junior High kid maybe 20 years ago… I was giving him saxophone lessons.  I asked him what he thought about church.  His response wasn’t what I had expected.  At the time we had a playground at our church.   Anytime he or the other Junior High kids went to swing on the swings or generally be around the playground they were chased away be “well meaning” adults.  This child felt like he did not belong.  Now, listen, that does not mean that he was right.  This was, however, telling of the perception that he had…
  2. Being a family friendly church doesn’t mean that should be the church of “everything goes”.  It does mean that we discipline with love and compassion.  We just need to be sure that what doesn’t “go” is reasonable and not stifling. 
  3. From our texts today we can also see the regard that Jesus has toward little children.  HE loves them.  This hasn’t changed.  My disabled daughter Kierstin once asked me the question; do you think that Jesus will play with me in heaven?  I believe he will.
  4. Finally we see that when we receive just one of these little children, in Jesus name, we receive him.

To this end I would like to lay out what I believe the Lord is reminding us as churches and pastors.  We need… NEED to take our cue from Jesus.  We need to love the children in our churches in deed not just in word.  We cannot leave it up to another person to love them for us.  We are the emissary of God to our churches.

ImageLoving children practically speaking will manifest itself in several ways in each church, and it may be different for all of us.  Playgrounds, clubs and schools are wonderful ministries to children, these things show them and our Savior that we care.  However… Pastor, you and I need to be careful to show our love to our churches children.  We need to give them attention, we need them to see that they are not, NOT a bother to us.  They must see Jesus in us.  Do they?



Song Leader or Worship Pastor?

In my church, we have had a history of Song Directors.  I was the Song Director or Music Minister for about 9 years.  As many of you may know from reading my blog or attending the church that I have been privileged to pastor, I have been going through many paradigm shifts.  As matter of fact the title of this blog reflects these shifts, hopefully from man’s way to God’s way.  Image

When I became a senior pastor I began to instruct the leadership concerning my ministry or leadership philosophy, which encapsulated, is unleash the leadership. This doesn’t mean that I let the leadership run in every direction without guidance and vision, but that as God calls and equips people I need to recognize that calling and gifting and give them room to roam.

This philosophy is something that has served me well over the six years that I have pastored.  This leads me to the next level, where you must not only tell the leadership that they are free to lead in their areas but you must convince them.  That said, when things need to change and you as the undershepherd see it, you need to persuade your leaders to that shift. Concerning the music and worship, guidance is necessary due to the volatile and important nature of such a personal ministry. Dictation only works so well for so long.  One of the changes that I have been trying to incorporate is a shift from Song Director to Worship Pastor.  A pastor teaches and preaches and cares.  In our worship we need these things to flow out of our “song director”.  We must choose someone that we can trust and let him lead.  We must encourage him to study worship and praise and then to guide the church to worship the God of the Universe. 

Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: And the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”

This mention of understanding is so critical, it cannot be dismissed.  In the past month I have reversed our order of service a few times to have our corporate worship at the ending rather than the beginning.  This week we opened up Isaiah 6 and Revelation and read and taught and preached on the holiness of God.  Then as we were closing the service, we sang together “Holy, Holy, Holy”, with a better appreciation for the holiness of God.  What a time of worship it was.  Now imagine a Worship Pastor unfettered and given the reigns of worship in the church; not preaching a 3 point sermon, rather instructing the people in the majesty of God, guiding their minds and hearts with instruction between songs and verses.  I was speaking with my friend Erik about just this thing and he hit the nail on the head, things that I have been trying to encourage in our leadership and worship, require a shift in paradigm, yes and a move away from a model that seemed to have served well in the past.  This may have to do with the fact that we have a nation of unchurched and underdeveloped believers today.  Our nation in the past seemed to have better understood God, and we have taken for granted that it still does.  We see it in our pulpits when we assume guests understand our language, we see it in our worship when we assume that everyone has set their hearts and minds on God.

So my challenge to pastors out there is to guide their Song Directors into becoming Worship Pastors, leading more than a group of people in song, rather leading them in true worship.



Viciously Contend for the Faith?

Jude verse 3

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”

I was just listening to a KJO, IFB “preacher”.  This man was “preaching” from Jude that we are to “viciously” contend for the faith… It seemed to me that earnestly was not a strong enough word to this “preacher”.  This is particularly disturbing as over the years I have begun to notice just that exact thing in the IFB movement;  a viciousness toward those of the SAME FAITH but different persuasions.  To this end I thought that I would share my thoughts on Jude…

In the book of Jude God gives several warnings.  We are told that Jude had at first desired to simply write of the wonderful doctrine of Salvation in Christ alone.  Then as he sat down to write, it seemed as though his heart and hand were moved to write something different. We should all know that was the moving of the Holy Spirit.  He was to write and epistle of warning. A warning against false teachers.  He goes onto give a vivid description of said teachers. The first thing he says is that they have crept in unawares.  Unaware to the church but certainly not to God.  God knew that they would come and it even says that he ordained them to condemnation or ultimate judgement.

The first definition that we have in this passage is that the men are ungodly.  They have taken the doctrine of grace and have used it for an occasion of the flesh.  By the way, it isn’t that they misunderstood the doctrine, but that they purposefully twisted it.  They are fleshly, sensual and flat out evil in their hearts.  They are not simply deceived people, or mistaken people; they are the deceivers, purposefully excusing their actions and claiming grace encourages  or excuses such behavior.  They are anti-Christ in nature and action.  These evil ones turn the Word of God on its head for their own benefit.  They do not have the spirit of Christ within… Grace truly defined saves from the penalty and power of sin and day by day, month by month, year by year transforms the believer into the likeness of Jesus.  Grace never excuses and encourages sin, but it covers sin and empowers us against sin’s influence in our lives.

The Lord goes onto to explain that such teachers have existed for thousands of years and that God will have the  ultimate victory!  From the Wanders to the fallen angels to Balaam to Sodom and Gomorrah, to Cain and to Korah we are assured that these false ones will not escape the judgment coming their way.  In the middle body of the letter we are also exposed to more specific characteristics of these false teachers.

  • They deny the Deity of Christ.
  • They are lustful and sensual without regret or restraint (they excuse their behavior twisting grace).
  • They are filthy dreamers who defile the flesh.
  • They despise authority other than their own; particularly spiritual authority (an example here is that even Michael the Archangel didn’t rebuke the devil on his own authority, but relied on the authority of God. In Colossians 2 we see the same behavior in false teachers that forget the HEAD of the church is Christ.)  These men revel in their own supposed authority.  A true man of God understands that his authority is limited by God and His Word and that his authority indeed comes from God and should NEVER be abused.
  • They speak evil of things that they don’t understand.
  • They rely on their own natural understanding to guide them and they corrupt themselves by this worldly wisdom.
  • They are rebellious against the Word of God as was Korah (though remember they masquerade as religious teachers).
  • They are greedy for filthy lucre just as Balaam.
  • They have no fear of God and they should.
  • They are without substance.  Clouds without water, they look impressive and may sound impressive, but they lack that which brings life – water (the Spirit does not flow from them).
  • They are without fruit – which I believe does not indicate the fruit of another believer, but the fruit of the Spirit!  Without LOVE, and all that comes with it!
  • They foam out their OWN shame.
  • They have HARD speeches against the godly and against Christ (how many pastors would invite Christ into their pulpits?).
  • Murmuring and complaining define their character!
  • They are all about SELF promotion and glory!
  • They are adept at mocking and character assassination.
  • The SEPARATE themselves and do not have the SPIRIT.  (How many of the separatists sight this verse for their “holy” separation?) These men create divisions in the Body of Christ!
From here on God through Jude displays what we should be and look for in our teachers and ourselves!
  • Earnestly (NOT VICIOUSLY) contend for the Faith
  • Build yourself up in the most holy Faith!  Dig in the Word and learn of CHRIST for He is meek and lowly.
  • Pray in the Holy Spirit.
  • KEEP yourselves in the LOVE of God.
  • LOOK for the mercy of Christ (not for ways in which to show no mercy) live in anticipation for the coming of the Lord.
  • HAVE compassion on those that need it, that are confused and doubting.
  • For others, reach out with the fear the Lord, being careful not to be pulled into sin as you reach these lost people.
  • Loathe sin.
These are the warnings and admonishments from the book of Jude.  Preacher how do you and I measure up?  How do the the men you are listening to and reading measure up to these things?  The closing of the letter really sums up what it’s all about.  JESUS.  His life for mine. No excuses, no rationalizations, simply Christ alone is sufficient to save and to keep all those that come to Him.  He is GOD, He is majestic, He is worthy of worship and praise and He is worthy to follow.  HE is POWER and DOMINION and He will ultimately judge even those that claim to speak in His name.
Now for the tie in with the “preacher” that I mentioned in the beginning.   It is noteworthy that these type of “preachers” cling to the KJV as the “inspired, preserved Word of God for English speaking people” they use the “inspired, preserved (tongue firmly in cheek)” Websters 1828 Dictionary.  Said dictionary defines the KJV word “earnestly” this way “with fixed attention; with eagerness.” Vicious is defined this way “Corruptly; in a manner contrary to rectitude, moral principles, propriety or purity…” This “preacher”  then went onto use Proverbs 22:28 and 23:10 stating that these verses  refer to the Faith.  I can abide by that, but then he goes onto ridicule (mock) people (whom he calls liberals) that like that “contemporary” stuff, insinuating that they are abandoning or moving the landmark of the Faith because they like this new contemporary stuff.  The problem is, either the landmarks and old paths he refers to are examples of the Faith or they are examples of the culture.   He calls out several amen lines against such things that are not clearly defined only called contemporary, using Jeremiah now to call us back to the “old paths” of traditionalism.  I have to admit that this is disturbing.  If we follow his logic, we should only be using Hebrew music from that century, and we should also only be using the very first, oldest English translation (not that modern KJV) or else all learn Greek and Hebrew.  We should also be wearing robes and sandals and such. To be clear, it’s this silly type of preaching that is driving me from the IFB movement.  In this message the “preacher”…
  • Changes the Word of God that he claims to revere from earnest to vicious.  In this very message he has the audacity to accuse “contemporary” preachers of changing the Bible.
  • Calls anything new to be evil… calling out conferences that do not mimic his.  Uses Sunday School as an example of an old fashioned unmovable thing, even though in contrast to the 2000 year history of Christianity it is fairly new.
  • Mocks and ridicules those of other preferences and encourages others to do the same.
  • Instructs a bunch of young men to hold tightly to their OPINIONS and not to change from them.
  • Changes the FAITH to OPINIONS and to a passed and dead CULTURE instead of what it is.
  • Represents Jude’s Epistle as something it is not.
  • Relies on his own understanding of contemporary “stuff”.
  • Is mean-spirited in his delivery.
  • Considers being unmovable from unbiblical things a good thing.
  • Exalts himself, “you may not see it but trust me”.
  • etc…
Food for thought to those of you still in this movement.  I wish it would change and I have tried to stay within it to help it recover from such men.  However, I am coming to the conclusion that such a recovery may be too late.

This idea that the FAITH is anything more than the Doctrine of Salvation through Christ alone and those other things found in the BIBLE is false. To mock and marginalize men that disagree with your music, dress, translation and other man-made “standards” seems to me to follow fairly close to Jude’s description of false teachers.



Praying for Your Charge

The book Colossians is becoming one of my favorite books of the Bible.  This first chapter speaks to me as a minister and pastor. Within these verses I find a challenge not only to pray for the flock under my care, but HOW to pray for them. Included in this chapter is so much more than this challenge, there is instruction and information concerning our salvation and who we are in Christ. It is as though there were layers laid up for the student of Scripture to revel in.

Colossians 1:3 
?”We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you…”

Here are the instructions to the shepherd that have struck me in this first chapter.
• I should thank God for my charge, my church.
• That I should pray consistently for my church.
• That I shouldn’t give up on them! It is my duty and honor to preach and pray them to maturity!
• That they may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will.
• That they may be filled with all wisdom and spiritual understanding.
• These points lead me to another one which I think is a problem with some pastors. That is filling the flock with as much wisdom and understanding as the shepherd. It may seem odd to say this since so much that is written concerning a pastor indicates this is his part in the maturation of the sheep, however, some seem to like the sheep to remain in a dependent and ignorant state. Lord, may I never be like that! May I not be like that now!
• This knowledge and wisdom is to be used correctly; that they may through this knowledge of His will, wisdom, and spiritual understanding WALK WORTHY of the LORD.