Who is Greater in your Church?

 John 13 15-17

 

I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.  Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” John 13:15-17

 

 

Jesus clearly tells us what a leader is and how one should act and work.

Have you ever seen problems in a church because leaders’ even pastors make mistakes at the expense of their congregation because they did not undergo enough training beforehand?

How would you feel if Jesus stole your presumptions and false ideas, and replaced it with His Truth and the real intention that God has for you? Consider comfort and compliancy versus Ephesians 5:14 and the call to wake up.

How can we make sure that our ministry is not about what we want, but rather about following Christ as a showcase for others to see and follow? What can you do to make this happen?

The word “Servants” referred to slaves or hired workers. They were much like the butlers and maids we have today, except they were usually “owned” by another person. The point here is that even though there were different types of slaves and servants, Jesus is referring to where the authority lies, which is always with the master; the servant exercises his authority through the master’s authority as a representative and thus servants are subordinate to him. In context, this is a reminder to never forget who you are, a child bought and redeemed by Christ. Do not take yourself so seriously; instead, take Him seriously (1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:28; Eph. 6:9; Phil. 2:7-8; Col. 3:11; 4:1).

 

Jesus clearly tells us what a leader is and how one should act and work. It is not about pride or power or control; it is about being a servant.

A pastor or a Christian leader must not be in leadership just to command or be in charge for any reason beside how do I teach and exhibit Christ and what is the best way for me to do this? Leadership must not be to satisfy one’s pride or desires, or for personal gain. Rather, we are to point others in His direction by our example. If pointing to Christ is not our goal or purpose, then we are in the wrong position. We must exit the church as fast as possible, drop to our knees, repent, and get right before God before reentering.

 

Leadership is all about Christ, not us or even our vision; it is purely and plainly how do I glorify and serve.

Just look how our LORD God, the Creator and Sustainer did. Jesus took a towel and washed His disciples’ feet. This can be an act we can simply use for a “Maundy Thursday” service (a “foot washing” reflection before Easter) and never give it much more thought. It is something where we may act more like Judas or Peter, missing its significance and refusing to apply it to our hearts, minds, and mission. If God, Creator of the universe, performed the lowest job in that culture-washing feet-then who am I to think I am better? Jesus is our example; we are never to think too highly of ourselves or buy into our own propaganda to perform tasks we are called and made for. 

Church leadership is not about a mission; rather, it is who the Mission is for and how He has called us to be within it. Our servant attitude is imperative!

 God desires to bestow upon us a significant favor and grace! The stipulation to this is we must be faithful to His Lordship! We do serve “the God who blesses us”-to be deeply happy and content because we are enjoying God and His special favor. There is a direct correlation between following Christ and receiving His blessedness and contentment, and following ourselves, pride, and evil to be self-destructive and miserable (Deut. 27:11-28:6; Jer. 1:11-12; Ezek. 36:24-27; Mic. 1:10-15; Matt. 5:3-11; John 3; 7:37-39; 1 Peter 1: 3-12).

 

Be blessed!

 

The Book of Revelation and Church Leadership, PIII

Why do you suppose most people see Revelation as an ominous apocalypse of chaos and catastrophe and not what it is really about? How do you see it?

Revelation 1: 4-5,  “To the seven churches in the province of Asia…”

One of the main themes of Revelation is the call for us to stand firm and grow further in our collective faith as the Body of Christ. This is also the best, most effectual church growth plan. Why and how, God wants to grow the church under His stewardship and what God does not want to happen, stagnate with apathy and comfort! Does this surprise you? What did you expect to find from Revelation? It is a letter to churches to in peril to wake up and get it right! It is a Book not about end times, rather how we are to lead and mange His Church. Think not? Perhaps you should actually read it and presume. 

John is proclaiming an important fact we must all agree upon-that God is Sovereign and in control!

Jesus Chris is LORD and He gave us grace that we did not deserve and a precious plan that will unfold. We have hope both now and in the future. So then, this is the fuel and material in which we grow and lead our churches. This is an essential message God gives to us that we must have been transformed and renewed by Christ. Then, we live it out. Then, we proclaim it as our message to our people. Then we build our churches by these means. Not by pride and trends; rather, by being in Him as LORD.

Thus, as a church leader, minister or pastor, what we are doing? Point to the Glory of Christ, His Sovereignty and Lordship.

Let’s see what the Word has to say with these key words:

“Grace and peace” is an ancient greeting, as John sends his blessings. To know that we are blessed and have the duty to then bless others, blessed to be a blessing, not look to ‘me’ and be a ‘meme’ leaders; rather, a heart after Christ that humbles us the leader (Gen. 12:1-3; Rom. 12:1-2)

Seven churches.” The principle theme of the Book of Revelation is that it is a letter to real people, real churches with real issues, tough challenges, limited opportunity’s and vacant problems that God want to be there for it! Most people get Revelation wrong, by seeing this as all about the end times and miss the main point. The seven churches were real, just like our churches with our actual problems. These are not allegories; rather, they are relevant to your church now and symbolize the various ages of the Church in history and also represent how each individual church is, through all times and places, in its operation and faith. In fact, after over 25 years of church consultation and research all over the world, every church I have even encountered was like one of these seven, no exceptions (Phil. 2:15; Matt. 5:14-16; Rev. 1:1-3; 2:1-3:22; 22:7-21)!

“Him who is, and who was, and who is to come.” The Lord’s Supremacy echoes the words of God given to Moses in the burning bush. This is a Divine Name of Christ, meaning Eternal Deity and Authority. Thus we are called and empowered to take this seriously (Ex. 3:14-16).

“Seven spirits.” The word, seven, means its importance is compounded. This is a name for the Holy Spirit, referring to His Fullness, not a split personality. Some believe this is referring to the seven celestial beings (Rev. 8:2). However, context and word meaning attest of the Holy Spirit and His various roles as Counselor, Bearer of Wisdom, Fruit… (Isa. 11:2) etc., just as this passage gives several titles for Christ. It also testifies to the profundity (depth and reality) of the Trinity (Zech. 4:2-6; 2 Cor. 13:14; 1 Pet. 1:1-2; Rev. 4:5; 5:14).

Faithful witness, the firstborn… ruler means reliable.” What is this about? It sets Jesus as Divine and Lord over all the living and the dead.

That means he is LORD over your ministry and church! 

This also refers to the roles of Christ in His Church. As He is faithful to us, we are called to be faithful to Him, too (Psalm 2:7; 89:27; Prov. 14:5, 25; Isa. 8:2; Acts 13:33; Rom. 8:29; 1 Cor. 15:20-23; Col. 1:15-18; 1 Tim. 6:13; Rev. 2:10-13; 3:14).

“Him be glory…To him.” Christ is the quintessential subject and prominent theme of Revelation. This is a doxology of praise, used to wholeheartedly worship and praise Christ as exalted and worthy because of His Sovereignty and the redemption He gives us. Praise is also our frontline weapon against spiritual warfare (Rev. 4:8, 11; 5:9-14; 7:12; 11:15-17; 12:10-12; 15:3-4; 19:1-8).

What does this come down to? Our call is to be blessed so the character qualities we receive from the Holy Spirit come from the inward love we have for our Lord and we will desire to spill them upon others around us as leaders for Christ as we plant, lead, manage His Church (Psalm 1).

Loyal to Christ?

Thus, this Revelation 17-18 passage is about the marriage of the Lamb to the Church, His dowry being the pain and suffering, His spilt blood that He endured on the cross, something that no one else could pay, so we can be redeemed. Jesus is giving the call to the Bride, His Church, to be pure and faithful and to rejoice in Him.

The theme of a marriage feast shows the joy and celebration we should have in Christ and in His Church. So, Church, your church is to be a celebration of the Majesty, Presence, and Goodness of God.

We respond by solid Biblical teaching, heartfelt worship and discipleship with celebration and devotion.

The themes of the world and things to come are on evil, sin, its judgments, and those who miss it and their mourning; for we who believe, it is about celebration for those who are faithful and loyal while living and practicing the Christian life point to Him. Those of us called to lead and teach must rejoice in God’s faithfulness and their vindication, which points to Him. Sin has been judged and God is glorified; He rewards those who are true to Him.

 

Give them a Break!

How to grow a vibrant God glorifying church idea…..

 

To all those who are planning on gracing the Bride of Christ this Sunday… And … Who like to or are planning on gossiping or spreading falsehoods or treating others by the “fruit of the flesh” and not the “Fruit of the Spirit.”

 

I have good news for you! 

 

You can turn your clocks backs 2 hours Saturday night. And for 24 hrs, you can rest, rewind, refresh, perhaps read Galatians chapter 5. Then, Sunday pm, return your clocks to the correct chronometer reading. And, in so doing, you will give your pastor and the faithful a break! 

 

 

How come none of the other church growth gurus ever thought of this?!~

give a break

Is your Church pointing to Christ or to something else?

We got trouble in our churches–a lack of loyalty. A tough question needs to be asked of ourselves, are we being “harlots” with His Church? 

Read Revelation 17-18

Yes, there are far better ways to make a point than to use the “harlot’. However, this is the word God uses, and it may wake us up to our dysfunction and the predicament we have in how we lead and manage churches these days.

God is calling you and me–those who lead and pastor churches, who influence people in the church, who sit on committees, teach, or the like to flee from manipulating and gossiping behind the scenes-to wake up and SEEK HIM, not ourselves or ideas or plans or trends! The problem is, many of us are doing the opposite!

The main prostitution we should worry about as Christians is Church Leadership falling to pride, apostasy, and the ways of the world versus faithfulness to Christ! 

So, how is your loyalty to Christ?  

Here is a simple test to see if you or the pastor is loyal is this.  Does the teaching and character point to Christ or point to themselves or something else?  Does the first response and vision showcase the Lordship of Christ or the way I want things? What does Christ call us to do and what betrays Him?

  • Is our church about a personality or a Person?
  • This is about who you pledge your life to.  Is it to your own pride? Or, is it to His Church and the glorification of Christ?
  • Or, do you chase bad trends, sins, and the ways of the world?
  • Are you so concerned with your way of doing things that His Way is pushed aside or skewed? 

The bad pastor and church leader is into themselves, and they lead their people away from God’s path, becoming disloyal to God and His true Truths to the point they blaspheme God.  They focus their people to trust in materialism and trends that neuter the Bible, water down His Word and replace discipleship with entertainment and lead others to do so, too.  In so doing, she is not ashamed, but rather boisterous and proud of sin. 

Why is this so important?  

Our loyalty helps us lead the life that bears the life of Jesus, the character of Jesus and the theme of what it means to be a real authentic effectual Christ like Christian. This is the essential mark, the most important thing we can accomplish in our life, to be Fruitful, to be faithful and be His and act like it. This means to allow the Holy Spirit to nourish and energize us, to speak to us and work in and through us.  

Do you want to be safe and adequate or powerful and used in ministry and life?   Really think about this.  We do not have to lead the Christian life as a Christian.  We can peach merely feel good messages do not instruct or edify.  

We can be bullies in the boardroom or apathetic and uncaring and even obtuse to our families–frankly, most of us are.  We don’t live with Fruits of the Spirit. As a pastor, may I say honestly, very few Christians do.  Few pastors do. I met very few real Christ-like fruitful pastors in my thirty plus years in ministry. This is sad.  Most of us just do not get it.  We live our lives to ourselves.  It may not be outright sin, but it is placing our desires first, and we do not want to learn and grow. We do not what to be convicted and grow beyond where we are.  

Most pastors do very little time to build their spiritual life. That is why the cheap messages that tickle our ears and move our emotions are so popular—more popular than the meat of the Word of God.  It is why so many of us stopped growing so we stopped teaching.  We created congregations who want to be told, we are OK, we want to hear encouragements and feel good stories, and we do not want to be taught the true Truth of Scripture so we can be used to further renew and transform the people in our care by the example and flow the Fruit of the Spirit.  

The main call for us is to heed Christ’s love, grace, and call, and that any evil power–past, present, or future–is not to be feared by us Christians!

The phrase, God has put it in their hearts, refers that He is still in control.  Even when the world seems to be in chaos and discord, He is there with us, ever faithful and still in charge.  Our duty and call is to fix our eyes on Christ, not on the troubles.  This is the key to dealing with suffering and when life does not seem to make sense. The answer is not making up our own Gospel or changing His Message to our own (2 Cor. 4:18; Heb. 12:1-3). 

Do not refuse God.  Teach, preach, be loyal, be fruitful, be faithful, be real for Christ and live it out.  By our example, we are used for His glory, giving people known and unknown to us a chance to repent and be saved. 

Are we being “harlots” with His Church?  If so, stop, pray, and get right with God. If you can’t, then get out of leadership until you are right with God and His call and His precepts! 

More here: http://www.churchleadership.org/apps/articles/?articleid=84331&columnid=4544

 

Be caught up with Christ!

Christ bears our stupidities. What are those for you and your church? 

How can you and your church do a better job at bringing out the best in your people, be a blessing, and not to seek self-gratification at the expense of others? 

The bottom line is this: God is in control of your church. His hand is intervening—in us, in time, in the situation—and in His timing. We will have the bad, and we will have our setbacks, trials, and our human frailties; but most important of all, we have the ultimate Good—we have Christ when we are in Christ! The application for us is what He seeks in us—the distinction of real, effectual faith that makes us able to lead and teach (if one is a Bible teacher). For a leader, it is discernment between good and false teaching, and/or good versus bad love, Fruit, and character, and/or a good versus a failing church.  

What do you think the honest reputation of your church and leadership in the pews and in your neighborhood is? 

One of the deficiencies and fickleness of character that we humans possess is the propensity of being shallow. We are like a charismatic speaker over being told the truth, a flashy dresser over something practical, and a celebrity over an intellectual or even a friend. We want a religion that does not convict or teach because we want to indulge ourselves with our desires and a pat on the back. We want our ears tickled and our problems solved; we want to feel good but we do not want to grow in faith or learn from adversity. We want comfort and not have to bother with the time and work that true spiritual formation takes. In the Gospels, Jesus walked away from the people who were flocking to Him to go after the pious, fraud leaders. 

The question we must ask, is how shallow am I? What about the people in my church? Where do I need conviction; in what areas do I need to grow? Then, we need to get up and follow Christ comforts us and assists us to do the same, to lead others out of their shallowness into the depths of His presence and Word. Jesus knows our thinking, motivations, will, and heart; this is something only God can know. Jesus has supernatural knowledge and will see through any pretentiousness and shallowness; He is not concerned with the fad and excitement, but rather how we are leading others in growing their faith. Jesus did not trust the people who were so eager because He knew they would be just as fleeting (1 Sam 16:7; Psalm 139; John 2:13-25; 4:29; Acts 1:24). 

What can be done to deepen one’s faith and life?  

What are the challenges indicated in this passage for us today? What is our true priority in how we do our church? Where is our focus, rational, and purpose? Is it all about God’s glory—or ours? Is it about what we want—or what He requires? What is the purpose of your church? 

Do not be caught up with the stimulation of trends, hype, and speculations; rather, be caught up with Christ. Do not ignore the veracity of God’s Word. His Word is explicit; He tells us what we need to know and that is that. It is a tragedy to chase what is meaningless and fleeting then miss His wonders and Truth! We have nothing to add to His Word and nothing about which to improve it; rather, it is we who need to be approved.

How does your church glorify God?

Why is it impossible to glorify God in the midst of envy and strife, or in anger and bitterness? 

We, as Christian leaders have a debt to pay out of our gratitude for what Christ has done. We must consider reaching others in our care as well as the lost as an opportunity to obey our call. The whole purpose of the Jewish nation was to model God’s redemptive plan to all of humanity. Now the baton has been passed to Christians—both as individuals and collectively as the Church (Gen. 12). 

Keep in mind this imperative from God’s Word. We are to be rooted in Christ and to display humility, as our Lord exemplified. This means mutual acceptance of others, even those whose culture and beliefs are different. Yet, it is amazing how we Christians exclude one another over trivial matters, causing many church splits and schisms. This is what causes a lot of our problems in the world; we have created a poor reputation in the world. We often are the butt of jokes that we have well earned. It is not always satan or worldliness; sometimes we can be our own worst enemies (Matt. 23; Mark 10:45; 2 Cor. 5:20)! 

How do we as Christians cause church splits and schisms when we exclude one another over trivial items? 

God accepted you. You, in turn, must accept others! He did not save us to be self-centered; He saved us to be His ambassadors wherever we are, whatever we are, and whenever we can! 

What have you or your church done in the past six months to promote or model peace and unity? 

Consider that a bad leader is like a wild animal that will tear at another animal’s weakness and frailty. Do we do the same with others, and still praise the Lord? Yes, Christ bears our weakness and our stupidities, and He has patience with us when we are totally undeserving. But; what about our responsibilities? What about our call to be better? We need to make sure that when we lead, we are pointing others to Christ. We are to seek and bring out the good in others, as our Lord did with us, and be a blessing to others. We are not to seek self-gratification at the expense of others. Did you know that it is as impossible to be a Christian hypocrite as it is impossible to be half pregnant? Either you are—or you are not. The Fruit will show our true colors. We indeed have hope and purpose, as hope is the effect of obedience and trust in our Lord (Heb. 6:18). If you have no hope, then you have no vision and purpose, and no trust in the One who loves you ( Gen. 12:1-3; 17:7; 26:2-4; 28:14; 46:3; Ex. 29:45-46; 2 Sam. 7:9; Isa. 40:10; Mal. 3:1; John 1:14; 4:22; Gal. 3:8-16; 26-29; Phil. 2:9-11; Heb. 7-10; 13:20; Rev. 7:9; 21:1-3).