What a joy it is to see those you have ministered to begin to minister to others! I count it a privilege to minister to people. It is a job I do not deserve, a duty that is a gift. I am starting to experience an even deeper joy. The people I have ministered to in the name of the Risen Savior are ministering to others in the name of Christ.
Our little church has a lot of ministers. There are people reaching out and loving others, sharing the love of Jesus, and having a faith that is alive with works.
I visited Marie in the hospital during her dark times. She now visits the hospital, loving the infirm with a depth impossible before her own trials.
Jeff came to Dayspring seeking what Dan had, and now brings others to share what he found.
Bob had a grudge against preachers, [ understandable] and now is every Pastor’s dream, an elder who can teach, preach and pray.
Melinda was a youth in Praise team, now leads a praise team and ministers to youth.
Mike was an agnostic alcoholic, and now shares the Truth with the struggling as only someone who has been there could do.
Young Michael, who at one time had no communion with the Lord, now prepares His Table in true worshipful service.
Little Jessica, [2 years old] , the one for whose life we prayed, now hands out bulletins . [You should see this, she takes her job seriously!]
G and P ,who once received economic help from the church, now bless the church with what God has given.
The Holy Spirit is working on us all to make us usable for the Kingdom. can anyone ask more?
Filed under: Church wrongs | Tags: depression, Evangelism, Pastors, preacher, sermon
National Publishing and Jones Brothers, 187[?] Willohroots family bible from my ‘s dad’s side.Monday started off with rank disappointment, so instead of getting all down and blue, I thought I would listen to Jeofurry sermon. I like to hear Jeff preach, and thought that would be uplifting. Just to continue the downward spiral of the day, I could not get any of his sermons to load. At least the day was consistent.
I popped over to the church site of a friend of mine, someone I had not checked in on in a long time. I found an eight part series on The Beatitudes, at least that was the title, but they really weren’t. A little googling and I found out that they were Rick Warren sermons, from one of Rick Warren’s sermon series. I listened to most of them. Now I was really depressed.
I heard a good man, a man with a loving servant’s heart become a shadow. His sermon illustrations were not from his own life, they were from Rick Warrens life, and so the message I was getting was like a fax of a fax, a bit blurry, lacking the crisp detail needed to bring a message. Seeing some one attempting to imitate anyone but Christ, well it just isn’t Christian.
Armed with a cynical attitude and already filled with negatives, by the power granted to me by Google, I set out to check out other web sermons. I found way too many cheap imitations of the same thing. Now I imitated Warren at a fancy dress party, but never in the pulpit. There are so many people going to Hell, so many of the saved that need the guidance of Holy Writ, and the exhorting that comes only from the Word, that I take my post very seriously. I can imitate no one. I do not need to. My God has worked in my life, He continues to do so, He does this so that I may share His Glory and point to Him.
To fight the Great War we are given the words of Moses and the Prophets, the Apostles, and even the words of the Messiah Yeshua! These words have Power!
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edgedsword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
I am afraid some of my brothers are using imperfect swords. The power is not there, because instead of reaching up to God for power in preaching, they are reaching out laterally to other preachers who have had success in their area. They must forget that the success they are viewing came from God, not from the preacher whose church they are observing. Instead of getting the message from the source, they are sitting in the shadow of a man, not the light of the Son. If you attempt to copy Warren, or Piper, or Keller, or MacArthur you will be such a shadow, wielding a shadow sword. Reach High! Attempt the unattainable, and seek to copy Christ, as did James, and Peter, and Paul, and all the rest. You will fail, as I am sure they did, but it is a glorious failure, as the attempt is a victory, and fail to reach that hight the highest worship that we have. The sword from this armory will have little effect in real war.
I am not condemning Rich Warren, there are plenty of blogs for that, but I am pleading for us all to use the great weapon we were given, the Sword of the Word. Jeff , get First Baptist Langdon, North Dakota site fixed, and encourage your pastors to be themselves, as God has molded them. My wife has taught me much, but most of all to be me in the pulpit, just me. If God put me there, [and He did] , why try to be someone else? It is best to be a real little guy, standing in the Light of Jesus , wielding the true Sword, than the shadow of a giant, holding a Nerf blade against the Devil. The bible has many stories of God using men and women, but I can only think of one where He used a Shadow.
Filed under: Bible study, Church wrongs, Uncategorized, What would you do? | Tags: bible, churches, Pastors, Sunday School
The stories of the Bible are a gift from God to mankind. The inspired prophets penned tales that illustrate the condition of man, his relationship to God, and God’s great Love for us all. It is annoying and horribly upsetting when well meaning people take these wonderful tales and present them in a way that renders belief in them almost impossible, and actually misrepresents what I would consider the main points and message. The story that most offends me today is the story of Will, pardon me, Jonah. I relate to this story as it seems to be the story of my life. To have it reduced to the story of Pinocchio is really upsetting.
The case in point that chafes my chaps today is the tale of Jonah. I love this story! I relate to this story! I think every word in this story is true. I do not believe that the picture above is indicative in any way of what occurred. The flannelgram pictures I was shown as a child that threw me into rebellion [ ok, I was already in rebellion, but this stuff helped], are still out there. The testimony of Christ himself should confirm my point.
I was in a study group one time and the leader told me, “It is OK if you do not have the faith to believe that Jonah lived in the whale three days.” I do not think it is ok to believe that Jonah lived in the whale, as I do not believe that to be an example of faith, I believe it to be an example of poor hermeneutics. Look at what happened in the tale as Jonah was pitched overboard.
Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights
Fish. Not whale. The Willohroots concordance defines the word used there, Keetos, as ‘giant swimming thing you would be scared of if it swam by you.
Here is a picture of Keetos from the willohroots concordance.
It looks very capable of swallowing Jonah, or anybody it wants to, or is ordered to by God.
So this is probably a better representation,
Than is this,
The verbiage involved in the story seems to agree with me. The King James’ says:
When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.
Now I am not really sure about what that means, but I doubt I will be doing very much blogging after my soul faints. The ESV makes it a bit clearer:
When my life was fainting away,
I remembered the LORD,
and my prayer came to you,
into your holy temple.
Seems like Jonah died. I am not making a point to be argumentative, I feel this is very important. When we teach the New Testament , the Old Testament stories are often critical to a complete understanding. When Jesus, Yeshua, the Son of God and Messiah said, “This is a wicked generation. It asks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. 30For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation. 31The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now one[i] greater than Solomon is here. 32The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here.”
So when we teach the sign of Jonah, does this make sense?
Or should we be teaching this?
How could the Savior have said to people,” I will live inside a fish, or more believable[ or no more believable than that] a giant whale, for three days, this is the sign I give to you.” Is that what He said? Or did He say, ” As Jonah was dead for three days in a fish, so I will be dead three days in the tomb. That is the sign. ” What do you think was the lesson our Lord brought there? Is there any way to use Jonah living in a whale to illustrate Jesus?
The bible , my Savior, my God, taught that,
was a foreshadowing of
So tell me, am I being one of those weird preachers that goes through the nursery and gets rid of the stuff that reminds me of Pinocchio and fails to teach a Gospel message? I fear that putting falsehoods into the minds of children, even small ones give the Devil a foothold. I am not saying i am right all the time, or smarter than the average bear, I am saying I care and will do all I can to rightly interpret the word from the nursery onward.
What say you?
The Sign of Jonah
29As the crowds increased, Jesus said, “This is a wicked generation. It asks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. 30For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation. 31The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here. 32The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here.
May God richly bless the reading of His Word, and may the Holy Spirit who inspired it lead us to a useful and correct understanding of it.
Filed under: apostacy, Bible study, Christ, faith, Jesus | Tags: cults, denominationalism, factions, God, Pastors, revelation
It is human nature to explore, to search and to delve into depth and hight never visited before. This personality trait of mankind has motivated us to cover the globe with civilization, exploiting as many of the God given resources as we can find and put to use. Were we not made this way there would be no advancement, no exploration, no progress.In academic and philosophic circles there is a great desire to plow the virgin field, and to stake claim to new grounds as the inventor or discoverer or progenitor of a new theory or school of thought.
It may be this portion of our nature that cause so many people to search for a “deeper” or “hidden meaning” in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am personally convinced that the Holy Bible holds all the information needed to know and please God, though the Good News of Jesus, the Risen Messiah. The Bible has proven itself to me to be authoritative, complete, and truly Holy. There are many translations available to compare and contrast what is said to come to a personal understanding of the meaning presented. It is enjoyable and educational when people bring different translations to a small group study. comments like, “My Bible says,” or “It is said a little differently here” bring open discussion allow varying perspectives to be examined, giving participants the opportunity to voice the sentence in their own words, so as to bring the meaning home.
Finding “hidden” meaning in Scripture is quite another matter. There is a thriving industry, and has been as long as there has been scripture, in having some “enlightened soul” teach the secret meanings, and “unlock” they mysteries of Holy Writ. The new rash of Cabalists tell people that they are skilled at finding the meaning in the white spaces on the page, not in the inked portion. This obvious nonsense satisfies Madonna. Books and websites and cults that brag on finding treasures hidden for centuries in the most read of all books abound. There have been claims for everything from higher levels of awareness, to the location of Atlantis, all placed in the bible, usually KJ 1611, or the original Hebrew, or even in a painting of The Last Supper.
Re-reading some Gnostic literature has fanned the flames of my irritation. I take the words of Paul seriously, “This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God” , and I honestly do not believe that one can be a steward of the mysteries of god, without being a servant of Christ. The conjunctive is binding. Those who claim to have “mysteries” but are not serving Jesus, are quite possibly serving someone else all together. Those who use the very words of the Savior to weave a web of confusion deserve a special place on my list of irritants. Let me share this portion of poison.
Jesus’ Five Stage Model of Consciousness And How His Theory of Nature Provides the Key To Stage IV
Jesus’ parable of the sower (Mark 4:13-20) conveys how his teachings are received according to the stage of consciousness of the receiver. What the sower is sowing is the Word, meaning the logos/mind of God. As soon as those on the edge of the path (those in Stage I) hear about the word/logos, they let Satan [the personification of evil] come and carry it away. Similarly, those who receive the seed on patches of rock [those in Stage II] hear the Word [Jesus’ logos/logic teachings] and at first, welcome it with joy. But because they have no root in them, they do not last;.. When the first test or persecution on account of the word comes, they fall away at once. “For they have no moral conscience to persist. Then there are others, [those in Stage III], who receive the seed in thorns, [meaning in a judgmental environment]. They have heard the word, but the worries of this world, the lure of riches, and all other passions come in to choke the word, and so it produces nothing. And then, there are those who have received the seed in rich soil [those in Stage IV]. They hear the word and accept it and yield a harvest, 30 and 60 and a 100 fold.” [Mark 4:13-20]
The key concept, upon which Jesus anchored his knowledge teachings, is that each of us is meant to grow through five forms/states of consciousness and each form is initiated by a consciousness-raising idea.
This discussion of “levels of knowledge or awareness” is quite common among those who seek to find the secret in the open. Perhaps a better “unwrapping” of this parable was given by the author,” 10. And as soon as He was alone, His followers, along with the twelve, [began] asking Him [about] the parables. 11. And He was saying to them, “To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God; but those who are outside get everything in parables, 12. in order that while seeing, they may see and not perceive; and while hearing, they may hear and not understand lest they return and be forgiven.” 13. And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? And how will you understand all the parables? 14. “The sower sows the word. 15. “And these are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them. 16. “And in a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky [places], who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; 17. and they have no [firm] root in themselves, but are [only] temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away. 18. “And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, 19. and the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 20. “And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it, and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”
Nothing of levels, but of different reactions differing people have to the gospel, a reaction we have all seen take place. The 8th chapter of Romans is also given a treatment of being divided into levels. It seems anything is used to promote the idea that some people know some facts that others have missed.
Could it be the truth is plainly laid out for us? Hebrews 1
1. God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2. in these last days has spoken to us in [His] Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 3. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high;
. Joh 1:14
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Deuteronomy 30:11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, IT IS NOT HIDDEN FROM THEE, neither is it far off.
Col. 2: 2. That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; 3. In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4. And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. 5. For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. 6. As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, [so] walk ye in him: 7. Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 8. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 9. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
Before delving in to supposed mysteries and hidden revelation, we should encourage seekers to contemplate the ultimate Mystery. 1Jo 4:19
We love Him, because He first loved us.
Filed under: Crazed Thought, Reaction | Tags: church, culture war, God, Heroes, Jesus, Pastors, SBC
I have been told by preachers , politicians, and many Christian Bloggers, that the culture wars are over and WE LOST. In every war I have read about there are a few hold outs who refuse to drop their arms and submit. I join the ranks of those who become resistance fighters in hope, however slim of a turn around in fortune and an eventual victory. Even if victory is impossible I will still continue to fight until my commander and chief calls me home.
I think the reason so many feel the war is lost is that our leadership has been so horrible. We did not choose our battles well. Large formations of well meaning Christian soldiers fought in vain over issues that were a diversion from the real battle. The issue was never Democrat or Republican, it was family values versus blatant filth. Instead of marshalling the troops and training them to attack only the worse most obvious examples of darkness and sin, we boxed at shadows and made great mountains out of ant hills, while the problems of our culture worsened. Did we really think ‘ Harry Potter’ was the worst thing that could happen to our children? Western civilization has had witch stories since before The Brother’s Grimm collected them. We can show kids movies about a talking cucumber, but stay away from magic! Friends, talking cucumbers are not of God!
Why were we so upset that Disney had Gay Day? If we were not going to attend that day what do we care? And what is the difference between Disney movies and Harry Potter? Big Blue Genies may look cute, but the dijin are fallen angels. The movie ‘Pocohantas’ shows my ancestors digging for gold teaching children that the Pilgrim fathers came here to despoil the land, the truth is they wanted a Puritan State. Is that what we were going for in the culture war? If I boycotted everything that did not think and act in a way that met my approval I would be a Robinson Crusoe on an island of my own isolation. How does that move the war ahead?
Our generals missed the main camps of the enemy. Drugs have been and still are ripping our culture apart. How many can name the great Christian battle against them? Did we offer prevention programs in schools? Pizza parties for youth groups were designed more to boost our numbers, however well that worked, than to broadcast the dangers of drug use and provide coping behavior for an entire generation. Alcohol destroys families, kills youth and wastes life, yet few churches joined the battle even as far as hosting an AA group. Marriage success runs fifty- fifty even among the church, so while we have talked about the problem we do not seem to have had much impact, even in our own ranks. We seem to be better at uniting against an issue than forming a coalition for anything.
One great problem we have suffered in the war is fratricide. The other day I was on a site that just loves to pick on Mark Driscol. You may not like him or want him for your Pastor, that is your choice, but if your biggest enemy is Mark Driscol, you need to look around a bit more. People who love Jesus pick on Billy Graham, John MacArthur, the Internet Monk, and you and I when they get a chance. After the name of Jesus, all those mentioned are fallible. Are you surprised? only the Savior is without fault, and if we dig enough we will find something to complain about in all our brothers and sisters. Hold your fire! Our ranks are thin enough.
So as a surviving warrior I make my stand in the jungle of America. I love the values with which I was raised. My elementary school dismissed for Wednesday morning church school in good weather. We would go to the closest Protestant or Catholic Church for Bible study or CCD according to our denomination. Some students stayed behind and played ball, nobody judged. We began the day with The Pledge of Allegiance. Why not pledge allegiance to the Government in a government school? We had a moment of silent prayer. I have visited schools over the last thirty years. There is no silence, ever. I am not a barbarian for valuing this.
I still think taxes higher than a tithe are wrong, that abortion is awful and all too much turned to in our country. Using abortion as birth control is abhorrent to me, but signs in churches, “Unwed Pregnant Women Welcomed and Supported” are not to be found. Legislation is not an answer, propagation of a culture of life is. I find most songs on some radio channels offensive, and no Britney, I could care less where Amy is. I do not like Gay Pride Parades, but what adults do in private is of no concern or interest to me. Forbidding someones closest friend and partner full access in medical emergencies seems barbaric. Anyone who pays rent and maintains a property has a right to live in it. Christians do not need to accept sinners behavior, but we do need to be understanding, as we know we too have fallen short of the Glory of God .
I do not wish to turn the clock back to the fifties or the sixties, I seek only to have my point of view accepted, as I accept the point of view of others. So quit if you want but for me the struggle goes on. My role model will be Hiroo Onada. He was sent to war in 1944 and continued his struggle until 1974, until his commanding officer told him to stand down.
Can I do less? Do I have less faith and desire to obey my maker than this good soldier had to obey his superiors? I was told to ‘Fight the Good Fight’ and I will do so till ordered differently.
If Hiroo can hold out in the jungles of Guam for 30 years I can fight a bit longer here in Pennsylvania .
It would be easy to call Hiroo a fool, to ridicule him for being overly zealous, but he earned my respect, and although I think he was on the wrong side supporting a racist Imperialistic government that am thankful was defeated, he did his job, and then some.
Hiroo’s commanding officer assists his surrender after 30 years.
Will my commander be as proud of me? Put me down as an armed belligerent, a guerrilla fighter. I will use my voice and my vote to the best of my ability in the hopes of someday hearing” Well done, my good and Faithful servant.” I will continue to shine the Light of the Cross that I love on the Flag of the country that I love, and pray that the pendulum will swing back to a more moderate, less secular state of affairs in the United States. Call me an optimist or a fool, but surrender is not an option.
photo from http://www.mvmc.org.uk/testimonies.html[ I love it!]
Most of you know I never volunteered for this job. I came by the way of Jonah . I fought the call for 30 years, but ended up right where God wanted me, when He wanted me, and where he used me. As we changed from a failed 25 year old mess to a vibrant new church start, I changed from a 47 year old supposed escapee of God’s plan, to a living, new, church Pastor. The church is new, I am too. The church went through two floods, death of the head deacon, an exodus of the old school and a name change. I have experienced change on the same order. There is a joy in watching God do a complete make-over, almost as much joy as being the object His remodeling.
My ideas of what a pastor is, what he does, how he interacts with the people God has given him to love, have always been nebulous. I had no model, no education, no human mentor, no clue. I wish I could point to a pastor who made a difference in my life, but although I searched for such an experience, it was not to be. My years as a lay preacher certainly helped to prepare me, to a degree, with bible study and sermon presentation, but were of no help , and perhaps were a distraction or at best a false start for the role I have today.
I am convicted that “Feed My Sheep” is my main task. Jesus’s commandments to “Love God and Love thy neighbor” are my objectives. I have learned that without the Holy Spirit I can do none of it. There is a lot less of me in me, and praise God a lot more of Him.
What do you think the job entails? What does it exclude? I have learned a lot from the comments of the readers here, but I have much more to learn. Perhaps it is an oversimplification, but so far being a friend to the people in the pews seems to take priority and also be amazingly rewarding.
Tell me, I might not follow your advice, but I will listen.
Did you hear the one about the guy who tried to start a church? Some times I feel like a punchline. I am setting up this blog to find kindred spirits or at least kind read spirits with whom to share the joys and woes of working for God. It would be nice to get advice and encouragement from afar. Or aclose. I’ll take it any way I can get it. Here’s the sit rep.
God called me into the ministry in 1977. Being the fool sinner I am, I told Him No way. This was not my brightest moment. The Creator of all communicated with me in a real way and I got in a fight with Him. I told Him I did not like churches, could not stand preachers, thought church members were hypocrites and lame brains. There I was at Wilkes College down by the river bank, watching the Susquehanna go by, yelling at God. I am not even Pentecostal. Yep I won that fight, Showed Him who the captain of this ship is. I’ll sing for you, I’ll preach here and there, but shepherd that flock of yours? No way. Did I say I am a pastor? I still find fault with churches, in fact they rally tick me off [mine included]. I get along with a couple of preachers, but the line up on TBN mostly bring out the worst of my thoughts. I still think churches are full of hypocrites and lame brains but now that they have made me head lame brain I feel better. We are working on the whole hypocrisy thing. We are full of them, but have room for a few more.
The bigest difference between then and now is that i love these people. So varied, so diverse in age, race, back ground, education, at various levels with their walk with God, I love these people.
So here I am. That’s me, next post is the church.