Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Churches, Working Together or Dividing

In the church that I was a member for over a decade there was put forth and taught a mindset that I have never seen or heard of in any other church that I attended or visited. Members of this church were never to visit other churches unless they were out of town or attending something special with a family member at another church. If a member of my former church visited other churches because they wanted to and it was found out then they were looked upon as traitors. We were taught to look down on other churches because they were not as enlightened as our church and were not as excellent. The pastor professed to know all the truth and, according to him, was always right. Many times he pompously declared from the pulpit that he could wait till we all get to heaven so that Jesus could inform us all that he (the pastor) was right.

This church never joined itself with any other church in our area or city to help anyone or reach out to the community. At one time we had a luncheon with a speaker who was a self made multi-millionaire. The purpose of this guest speaker coming in was to help raise the vision of the people in the church so that they would all become more prosperous and hopefully rich. When a pastor of a neighboring church was invited to the luncheon by a church member the pastor of my former church wanted to know why this neighboring pastor had been invited because we were trying to build our church, not theirs. The pastor never had one good or encouraging thing to say about any other church in our city, on the contrary he constantly criticized other churches and pastors from the pulpit.

Recently, I was totally surprised at something that happened in the church that I have been attending lately. The regular drummer had to be out of town on Sunday morning. The drummer who usually fills in for him had to work. Sunday morning, as I sat in my seat, I recognized someone in the sanctuary that I know personally and I know is a regular attender of a church other than this church. As it became time for the service to begin this individual sat down behind the drums. He proceeded to play with the band and did an excellent job. When the music was over, he quietly made his way to the back of the church toward the door. The pastor stood up and recognized him for being such a blessing by filling in and playing the drums for us, thanked him for his willingness to help and wished him on his way as he went to attend the service at the church where he chooses to worship.

Who would have ever thought that this could happen! Members of the body of Christ, from two different churches in the same area, working together and helping each other with no jealousy, criticism or envy. What a blessing it was! Christians from different churches working together to further the cause of Christ and not their own importance or agenda.

The spirit of separation and division is not of God. He desires His children to work together and help each other. Not separate themselves from other Christians because they don't go to the same church.

A pastor who seeks to divide his congregation from the rest of the body of Christ is operating out of a spirit of fear, pride and selfishness. Fear is the opposite of faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God. God hates pride. A true christian is not selfish.

If you are in a church where the pastor promotes division from the members of the body of Christ who do not attend your church and not unity he is in direct contradiction of the Bible. Find a church where the pastor operates out of a heart of love and not selfishness. Find a true pastor after God's own heart, and quit listening to one who pulls you away from the heart of your Heavenly Father.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Drunkard and the Glutton

In the King James version of the Bible the term "drunkard" is used 5 times. Twice it is used in the same sentence with the term "glutton" and once it is used in the same sentence with the term "fornicator". In all 3 of these sentences the glutton and the fornicator are equal to the drunkard.

In these verses that I mentioned, Deut. 21:20, Prov. 23:21, and1Cor. 5:11, the drunkard, the glutton and the fornicator are pointed to as someone who will come to poverty, should be stoned to death as a rebellious son, or someone believers should not even eat with.

In reading these verses the twisted mentality of the leadership of my former church appalls me.

I remember at one time when I was a youth worker a young adult was disqualified from participating in the youth band because he had been seen in a restaurant ordering an alcoholic drink with his dinner. He was not drunk nor was he a drunkard. Just because he was seen ordering and drinking this one drink he was instantly "unfit" for the "excellence" we put forth in ministry. Yet people who were extremely fat to the point of being obese were brought in to minister from the pulpit. There were extremely fat people who led praise and worship and who were youth workers and children's church workers. A man involved in fornication was left on staff until he left town and was still endorsed by the pastor of the church to minister to youth at a youth camp.

How can the leadership of a church pull out the sections of the Bible he wants to use and completely ignore the rest. He can do it when his church is a business to him. He can do it when he is not a pastor after God's own heart. He can do it when his parishioners represent dollar signs instead of the body of Christ. He can do it when he and his family are his number one priority and not the work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In this instance a person who loved God was denied the use of his gift to serve God because the church leadership was more interested in an image that what was right. The Bible does not say there is anything wrong with a drink, it says it is wrong to be drunk.

In the other instance a man who was known to be involved in sexual sin was left in a ministry position and on staff. The Bible says not to even eat with a fornicator, much less leave him in ministry.

I'm not saying that I would never eat with a glutton, drunkard or a fornicator. I know that we live under grace and there is forgiveness and restoration for the repentant. The fact is that the qualification to be involved in any ministry area at my former church was that you support the pastor and his family one hundred percent. Right or wrong, whether you agreed with them or not, your total support was mandatory or they found a way to keep you in the rejected group till they found a way to get rid of you.

Beware of the red flags. Don't make excused for a pastor who is ignoring and twisting things in the Bible because he is a good speaker, supposedly "anointed", puts on a good image, or seems to have it all. If it seems too good to be true...... IT IS.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Never Leave Your Man of God

In my former church we were constantly taught that one of the most important things about our christian walk was to have a "man of God" to sit under and to "speak into our lives". Now it was very important also NEVER to LEAVE your "man of God" if you wanted to experience God's richest and best in your life.

In the New Testament, the phrase "man of God" is only mentioned two times. In second Timothy 3:16 the term "man of God" is referring to believers being equipped for every good work. In first Timothy 6:11, Paul is telling Timothy that as a man of God he should flee the things of the world and pursue righteousness.

Not one place in the New Testament is the church taught that they are to focus on ONE "man of God" to lead and guide them and speak into their lives. We have the Holy Spirit on the inside of us to lead and guide us into all truth. We are Jesus' sheep and we follow His voice.

This man made doctrine on "needing" a "man of God" to pledge our allegiance and support and financial gifts to has been put together by men who call themselves pastors and prophets in order to gain financial wealth, material gifts and keep their supporters under their control.

The body of Christ needs to wake up and realize who they are in Christ and realize that God speaks to each and every on of us. He is perfectly capable of leading, guiding, protecting and blessing us without a go-between to tell us what He wants or is saying.

We need to get out from under the control of these manipulative, greedy, materialistic imitations of pastors and find some true pastors with a pastor's heart to hook up with and DO the work of the ministry.