Baptism at Singles Retreat - 147 Baptized!!!

*******************Baptism at Singles Retreat 147 Baptized!!! ***********************

* Sharing times in the Word and looking for growth. Let's Commune Together!

Friday, February 24, 2012

The two edged sword of leadership

Scripture Read: 1 Tim 5:19-20 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses. Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning.

Application: It is very significant that Paul, after giving a very clear warning concerning how careful we are to be when confronting someone who holds the office of an Elder, he gives just as strong a statement of what to do if the Elder is in sin and refuses to repent. This is where Your Word reveals the double edged sword involved in leadership. Leader's are to be treated with respect due to their position, that is why even when confronting an Elder we are to have witnesses to establish words and guarantee that respect is shown. However, that sword cuts both ways! Because of his position as an Elder, a leader must understand that, just as that position carries with it respect given, it also brings open accountability. Paul shows us how open that accountability is. If the leader refuses to repent, than his sin will be exposed. There cannot be any private, hidden dealing with it. The position demands dealing with rebellion in front of others, why? In order to assure that the Body of Christ will see that eldership is expected to keep a standard, also to be a warning to all other leaders. 

We need to live honestly for God. When He gives us much, He also requires much. When this is not the standard, the outcome will be disastrous. If we examine the Church worldwide today there can be no argument. Too many times our leaders fall into sin and magically just disappear off the radar scope, only many times to resurface in another ministry. No accountability, no clear example to the flock that the sin was dealt with, fully repented of and the proper restoration discipleship took place. Is it a wonder why there is a rebellion against the authority of the eldership in the Church today? God desires the Elders to rule the Body of Christ, true, but that should be modeled by them in everything, including sins and failures. When leaders demand respect, but then refuse to be held accountable, the entire Body is discouraged and left with no one in the flesh to imitate.

Meditation Questions: Have you ever seen a leader fall into sin? What did he do after that? How did his action effect you? Do you think there is a double standard for leaders? If so how do you feel about that? Should leaders be held to a higher standard? Why? Why Not? How much responsibility does the Body of Christ have to confront sinful leaders? Describe how that should work? When a leader sins and is confronted, what should the goal of the confrontation be? Explain how your answer should be carried out.  

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Confronting the anointed.

Scripture Read: 1 Tim 5:19 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses.

Application: This passages brings two truths that we would benefit to learn from. The first deals with a very unhealthy atmosphere that plagues the "clergy" even to this day.  "Thou shalt not attack the Lord's anointed"! This has been said by so many in the Pastorate when criticism is being given to them. Whether the criticism is valid or not, this response is usually motivated by self defense. This response has had very detrimental consequences. First, it exposes a extremely bad hermeneutic.  This quote comes from a verse that explains why David was refusing to raise his hand against King Saul, it is not about a believer criticizing or even attacking a Pastor. The scripture has plenty of teaching how to make an appeal to a person in an authority position, and how that person should respond. Pastors are not Kings and should be approachable by anyone. Second, it creates a thought that Pastors are the Lord's anointed and others are not! That is not scriptural, all that belong to Him are the anointed. Thirdly, this concept has communicated that Pastors are above criticism, even when it is true and needed. Again, this is not scriptural. 

All believers are to be open for growth, which includes constructive criticism. This includes Pastors. Of all believers, leaders should be open to rethinking who they are and what they are doing. This is modeling to the Body of Christ. The other truth that is communicated is the "balance" the Lord requires. Words must be established, especially when confronting leaders. It can not be a " he said" "she said" situation. There should be several together when a leader needs to be confronted. One or two individuals, that take neither side, that listen to each person during the confrontation, then the truth can be established. This protects the confronter, and the leader that is being confronted, AND most important it protects the truth. With witnesses to the confrontation the truth is established and that opens the door for a proper restoration. That is the desired end for any confrontation. If restoration is not the goal the Holy Spirit is not the leader of the confrontation.

Meditation Questions: Have you ever confronted someone? How did that feel? Has a leader ever made you feel like you were sinning by confronting him? What did you think of that? What do you think of when you hear the word “anointed” ? Why do you define it that way? What does the Bible say anointed means? What should the commitment be to each other as believers no matter our position or title? Explain your answer.   

Monday, February 20, 2012

Show me the money!

Scripture Read: 1 Timothy 5:16-18 If any woman who is a believer has dependent widows, she must assist them and the church must not be burdened, so that it may assist those who are widows indeed. 17 The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages.

Application: Paul now shifts his focus to the support of the elders. Scripture makes clear that not all elders are vocational ones, but here Paul wants it understood that the ones that are should be taken care of by the flock they watch over. The vow of poverty that some believe is part of the calling for those that are vocational elders is not in the Bible. It was a vow taken by some men in history and over time has proven to be unprofitable for the Body of Christ and to those trying to shepherd under such conditions. The Body of Christ does not learn its responsibility to care for the person God has led to shepherd them when they are purposefully poor. The elders may become resentful or find other ways to gain money, (i.e. charge for services including birthday parties and funerals, as has been noted by some in that situation and I have witnessed personally where I am ministering. Quite a few times after I had been invited to say a prayer at some function, the host would ask me how much he owed me. He was pleasantly surprised when I made it clear that what I did was unto the Lord and that it was a privilege to be invited to do so. God never intended anyone to be charged for a prayer! The other end of this pendulum is also very unbiblical, that is of the rich superstar Televangelist or Speaker. An Elder is not to be a lover of money. If someone wants to be a rich author or entertainer, God has no problem with that, but the office of Elder is a particular gift to the Church and God Himself gave the qualifications. It was neither to be rich or poor. God expects Elders to live in a respectful way in their society and He expects the flock to support the Elder to live that way. The important universal principle here, that we do need to consider, is the issue of workers being treated or compensated properly or fairly for their work. Too many Christian employers seem to have a disconnect with their Scriptural teaching and principles  that lead to Christian values when it comes to how they treat or pay their employees.

Matthew 25:44 “Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’

Acts 20:34 “You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my own needs and to the men who were with me.

2 Corinthians 8:14 at this present time your abundance being a supply for their need, so that their abundance also may become a supply for your need, that there may be equality;

It is unclear to me why so many seem to think there are two different standards. One when we are at Church they are committed to supporting the Body and even very generous at times, but a different standard when it comes to their business. Dont be confused, God expects the strong that includes financially should watch over the weak. The scriptures have many references to being fair to our workers, charging fair prices for our goods, etc. One of the most surprising passages concerning this has to do with Sodom. When any of us think abut Sodom we only think about the perversion of sex that took place, and that it did. Yet, in Ezekiel God points out another terrible sin that brought about her destruction:

 Ez 16:48–49 “As I live,” declares the Lord God, “Sodom, your sister and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done.  “Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease,
but she did not help the poor and needy.

God takes this issue very serious. We may memorize verses, know all kinds of theology, put up great buildings, be at the top of our industry and known for our generosity by those in power, but if we are not known for our charity to the least, which includes our employees, God does not recognize that as Christian!    

Meditation Questions: When you work for someone, do you want to be paid a fair wage? When someone works for you do you want it as cheap as possible, even free if you can get it? How honest is that? Is there a difference between proper stewardship and being cheap or tight? Describe the difference? When people work for us how do they know we are Christian? By our talk only? Would wages count as part of our walk? Many restaurants have workers that do not want to serve believers because they complain the most and tip the least, what do you think of that and why? Does your Pastor live way above you? Below you? About the same? How do you think he ought to live? Why? How do you live in comparison to most people around you? What does that say?