Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Eli Generation

In mfc we were taught that the anointing to be in ministry ran in the family. In other words if a man was a pastor, his children were automatically anointed to be in the ministry. In mfc this seemed to be the case whether you had had any formal bible training or not. It also seemed to be the case regardless of how much sin was in your life. Of course you didn't have to be born into the family to qualify for this anointing, you could marry into it.

In this day and time I have seen too many similarities in the priesthood era of the Old Testament and the pastor and brother era of the New Testament. (Matthew 23:8)

I have realized that there is no place in the New Testament that supports this view. A person in ministry must have a true, God given desire in their heart to be a servant and to be a servant at all times. That is the example set forth in the New Testament for people in ministry. I also read that the Paul wanted the people who helped in ministry to be "of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom" (Acts 6:3)

If someone is full of the Holy Ghost, then the characteristics of the nature and person of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost are evident in their constant, daily lives and actions. Someone full of the Holy Ghost doesn't have to tell people that he is ..... it is evident. If someone is honest, they don't lie and cover up sin, if someone is full of wisdom they don't twist the Bible to fit their agenda. NOT the case with the leadership in mfc.

In the Old Testament, if you were a priest, it was because you were born into the tribe of the Levites. All the Levites were priests. This was s substandard system compared to the New Testament system where we are all equal as brothers and can all have a one on one relationship with God the father, made possible by the cross, as the system of the law was to grace.

In reading the story of Eli and his sons, Hophni and Phinehas this is evident. Eli's sons didn't feel a god given desire to be priests.... they were just born into it. (1 Samuel 2) The Bible says that they were evil men.

It seems today that there are many men in positions of ministry that were just born into it, or married into it who have no real desire to be a servant of the Lord or truly minister to His people. There are also those who are just in ministry because of what they can have or get by being in ministry.

In looking for a place to be an asset to the kingdom of God, we should look for a church where the pastor and his family have the attributes of Paul and Stephen of the New Testament and not the attributes is Eli and his sons of the Old Testament. Lets leave the Eli generation and move on to the generation of the servant.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Is Your Church Promoting Jesus or the Pastor

I have noticed in the last few years how in many charismatic churches the pastors, guest speakers and "prophets" spend more time promoting themselves than they do promoting the gospel of Jesus Christ and the work of His ministry.

I heard so many sermons in my former church by the pastor tooting his own horn that it was almost an inconsistency for part of the sermon or the majority of the sermon to be about anything other than him. These messages entailed his achievements, his great anointing, his great wisdom, how he was always right, how he was to be respected, how he was to be honored, how the world needed to hear what HE had to say and nothing or no one else compared to HIS interpretation and delivery of the Bible, how we needed HIM to speak into our lives, and much more.

When guest speakers came in, whether they were billed as pastors, evangelists or "prophets", they preached on pretty much the same things. The only difference was they had to toot their own horn too. They also had to make it clear, along with the respect, honor, and devotion that was due to the home pastor, what was due to them.

Now of course, all these men managed to find scriptures to interpret for us to somehow substantiate all of this propaganda they were spewing forth. They also managed to spend enormous amounts of time convincing the congregation to GIVE, GIVE, GIVE.

In retrospect, I began to realize how the sermons I had heard for several years actually had nothing to do with the message Jesus taught or the messages Paul taught.

I also began to realize how warped the tone of the congregation was when congregants that never displayed stickers proclaiming Jesus on their vehicles began sporting stickers promoting the pastor on their cars.

Of all the sermons I have heard since leaving my former church, no matter what church I heard them at, NONE was about the pastor of that church. Not one man promoted himself or even mentioned his accomplishments or attributes. Of all the sermons I have heard they have been about Jesus, His love, His grace, the work of His ministry. No one has tried to manipulate $$$ out of congregants pockets.

Once, as I was helping clean up after a service and I heard a congregant say, "Wow! Now that's something I haven't seen in a long time, a pastor who will take out the garbage!!" As I heard this I thought, you know, neither have I.

I so deeply regret all the years that I spent buying into this false "doctrine of the pastor" and convincing myself that I was doing something for God when I could see that there was no work of the ministry of Jesus in the church.

I encourage you, find a church where the pastor is more interested in Jesus than he is in himself. Find a church where the pastor would be appalled of someone put a sticker promoting him on their car. Find a church where the pastor is interested in being a servant and not a diva. Riding to visit those in the hospital and not riding in a limo. Flying to the side of those in need and not flying in his own plane. More interested in the size of the peoples' need than the size of their wallet. Believes you are worthy of his time because you are a person Jesus died for not because you are a regular tither. A pastor who, in times of trouble, asks you,"What can I do to help?" and not "Are you a tither?"

It is time for all of us to examine what we associate ourselves with and what and who we support. It is not acceptable to stick our heads in the sand and say, "Well, God called me here and there is nothing I can do about how things are handled." That is nothing but an excuse not to spend the time and effort or have the backbone to be a good steward.

We have been called to be good stewards of what God has given us. That includes our time, our money, our endorsement and our service. Let's make sure that we are involved in things that will stand the test of fire as gold and not burn up as wood, hay and stubble.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Welcome to the New World

In the past several months I have felt as if I have been on a journey. A journey searching for a new church home. After leaving a very controlling church, I wondered if I would ever find a church that I felt that was mine and a pastor that I could trust. I wondered if I would ever find a place where I felt the pastor was actually a shepherd. A pastor that did not view himself above his flock. A church whose main purpose was to be there to serve the community and help those in need of help. I truly believe that I have found my new church home.

Although I know that no church is or can be perfect, I am so looking forward to serving in this church and having a chance to affect lives for the kingdom of God. I have already seen many wonderful and drastic differences in my new church and my former controlling church and I feel I will continue to see more.

Here are some of the differences that I have seen so far and some I trust I will be seeing as time goes on and the church grows.

A pastor who is the leader of a democratic church and not a dictator.

A pastor who views himself as a servant and not someone to be served.

A pastor who expects me to work with him and not for him.

A church who sees the lost, the poor and the needy as good ground not as undesirables.

A church who measures the worth of the people by the fact that Jesus died of them and not by the size of their wallet.

A pastor who desires to preach and live the Word of God not to twist it to benefit his own personal agenda.

I feel as if I have been on a long journey across a vast ocean. An ocean of searching for a real church, searching for a man with character as a pastor, and searching for a church with a vision to be the hands and feet of Jesus. An ocean of wondering if I will ever feel at home in a church again, wondering if I could find a place where I can fully enter into praise and worship again, wondering if there will ever be a pastor that lives what he preaches, and a pastor that I can trust.

I feel as if I have set foot on the land of the new world. A world where I am excited about serving God alongside others. A world that will make a difference in peoples' lives for the kingdom of God. A world that views souls for the kingdom of God as profit and not dollars racked up and raked in for the pastor and his family as profit. A world where the pastor's vision is to help people in need pay their bills and not to pay for his own personal plane.

I humbly fall to my knees and thank God for bringing me to this new world, for rekindling the flame of love for Him in my heart and for allowing me the chance to serve in a place that will certainly make a difference in this community for the Lord Jesus Christ.