A Word of warning to the politicians–ON ALL SIDES–who whisper, lie, and cover up. Be warned you who think that you will never be held to account:
Psalm 2:10–12 (NIV)
10 Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. 11 Serve the Lord with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling. 12 Kiss his son, or he will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
Proverbs 17:13 (NIV)
13 Evil will never leave the house of one who pays back evil for good.
Proverbs 6:16–19 (NIV)
16 There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood [think here abortion & infanticide too], 18 a heart that devises wicked schemes [think cover-ups too], feet that are quick to rush into evil, 19 a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.
Proverbs 15:31 (NIV)
31 Whoever heeds life-giving correction will be at home among the wise.
Ecclesiastes 4:13 (NIV)
13 Better a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to heed a warning.
Be warned, the mouth of the Lord has spoken!
A pastor friend of mine from Nova Scotia shared his approach to preaching, teaching, and writing. He decided to not speak “against” anything. Instead he speaks and writes “for” what is biblical and good. This keeps him positive and lets people draw their own conclusions about how the positive message should inform their values and opinions (I think it keeps him out of the line of fire too, although he might disagree).
I’m beginning to think that I’ll adopt a version of that philosophy, but I’d like YOUR opinion. I shared with another friend in ministry and he said that Jesus often spoke out against things, especially injustice and sin. Who could do better than to follow the model of Jesus? Except that his approach led him to amass a huge crowd of enemies among the unrepentent and the religious heirarchy. Ultimately his values and worldview took him to the cross, where he absorbed their evil and took the penalty that their sins deserved. By the way, Jesus did this willingly. According to his own testimony, as the Son of God, he had at his disposal tens of thousands of powerful spiritual beings (angels, Cherubim, Seraphim, etc) who could have wiped out everyone around him and rescued him, but he surrendered willingly. Ponder that sometime.
I’m not sure, if Jesus walked today, that anyone would even listen to him. Well, they might listen, but I KNOW they wouldn’t HEAR. I’m certain, beyond a shadow of doubt, that he would be labeled a bigot, intolerant, noninclusive (he called the Syrophonecian woman a “dog”–meaning Gentile), he could get physical at times (as in the temple courts when he overturned the seller’s tables). No, he would not really be taken seriously. He would be viewed as unruly and narrow-minded, judgmental, holier-than-thou.
Perhaps that’s why we–as true disciples of Jesus–were invited to “go outside the city” and take our stand there, with Him. We are not taken seriously in this culture. No one’s listening to the warnings of implosion. No one, including the church, wants to hear messages or writings that confront our sin, hypocrisy (pretending to have virtues but acting opposite to them), or waywardness. We want positive, feel-good, affirm-my-sin-and-opinion, messages.
So . . . that leads me to my new approach. I’m not settled upon it yet. I know I’m called to write and speak plainly so that people can take warning, turn and be saved. But what do I do in an evil culture that’s not really listening? I think I should do what God does . . . I will speak ONLY to those who are really listening–that would be believers who want to grow and know intimate fellowship with Jesus. I will also speak to genuine seekers. And I will speak only what the Lord gives me to speak. That would be values aligned to his Word, the Bible. If people want to argue, they can argue with God. He who has ears to hear, let him/her hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.
2 Timothy 4:3 (ESV)
3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,
QUESTIONS: What do you think?
The following list is what our weekly pastor’s prayer group felt the Lord was saying to us and our churches. We wonder if He’s saying anything like this for any other pastors or leadership groups.
For me, the Lord confirmed several words he had given me years ago. I was greatly encouraged to see that we were hearing similar things. I thought, this is the list I read and will reflect on this week. It wouldn’t hurt to make it a point to discuss some of these points with others a get confirmation. After all, we come from very different theological backgrounds, and can hear what we want to hear if we’re not careful.
True, but, we also might be stretched and learn from one another–iron sharpens iron. Discussing what specifically the Father might mean by the separate words of “Freedom” and “Simplicity” that MANY leaders are hearing could be helpful and give direction to the body as a whole.
Below find the summary points from all that I heard as we prayed and spoke together at the pastors meeting:
- The words “Freedom” and “Simplicity” or “Basics” came from several. What comes to mind is Galatians 5.1ff.
- Don’t lose compassion in the crush of ministry.
- Renew Joy! Body language means something to God. [Hands raised, bowing in prayer as led by the Spirit. Various texts talk about posture in worship and praise.]
- Some people just won’t “get it.” They won’t follow where God is leading [of course, I have to make sure it’s God’s journey, not MINE we’re on].
- Revelation trumps scholarship.
- “Stand in the authority of your calling” (Rom. 11.29; 2 Cor. 15.58).
- We’ve also all agreed that there seems to be a strong sense of something very bad approaching, but also something wonderful. Maranatha!
- With Jesus in Vermont (mcacc.net)