Do you have the Attitude of Christ! P2

What does it mean to exemplify the attitude and conduct of Christ? What would that look like in your life?

We Are To Have the Attitude of Christ! Read 1 Peter 4: 1-11

This passage also gives us comfort in suffering because Christ Himself suffered. He, who is God incarnate, who totally did not deserve to suffer, suffered on our behalf. He endured great physical, mental, and spiritual pain on our behalf, and exemplified the attitude and conduct we are to have when we go through the tough stuff of life.

Thus the call for us in church leadership is to be focused upon Christ as LORD so to be prepared and equip ourselves for what lies ahead in life. We must have our expectations based on reality and in faith, so when something comes our way-whether it is a blessing or a problem-we can take it, handle it with excellence, learn, and grow from it. Then, in turn, we can pass it on as we lead and pastor His people. In this way you can be a blessing to others because of it.

Consider these key words:

Christ suffered.” Our Lord withstood the full brunt of all human temptations needlessly, yet purposely (Mark 1:12-13, Heb. 2:12; 4:15). He was a man, subject to the power and enticement of sin. He did not need to do this, but for our sake He did. He was fully man and identified with us. He remained sinless and took our sins upon Himself. Now, sin has no power over Him or us other than what we allow on ourselves (Rom. 6:1-10; 8:3; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 5:14; 1 Pet. 2:22)!

Regard to the Spirit.” We now have spiritual renewal and assurance because Christ has obtained for us victory and triumph over death and sin (Rom. 6:5-9; 1 Cor. 15:25-26).

 This applies to leadership as we are in union with other Christians as we are all bonded to Christ and we may suffer unfairly when we do good. Suffering also bonds and helps form us deeper in Him. It is not to be seen as shame. Rather, it is an honor to serve our King (Rom. 6:1-14; Phil. 2:5-11; 1 Pet. 3:21).

The challenge of leadership from 1 Peter is sin that calls us to the world’s ways. From lust and seduction to chasing a mindless trend so the focus is on what is new and not upon Who and what Christ has done. A Good leader needs to be aware that sin is so enticing we can easily slip anyone off God’s path. Thus, we need to be willing to suffer so sin does not entice us and lead our church off God’s purpose and plan. So, as a leader, we must set the tone and become more guarded against sin because a bigger picture is in our sight-Christ, His example, and our willingness and commitment to lead so others can follow. When we see Christ as LORD and not our personal viewpoints, pride and desires, we will grow, mature, and be prepared for anything! Then our church will grow healthy and secure in Christ.

When something comes your way, whether it is a blessing or a problem, how can you take it, handle it with excellence, and learn and grow from it? What would that do for your congregation?

 How would your walk with Christ grow and in turn be a blessing to your church if you did this?

 

Do you have the Attitude of Christ! P1

Are you chasing your desires or our Lord? How can the answer to this question help determine what direction you take in life?

We Are To Have the Attitude of Christ! Read 1 Peter 4: 1-11

This is essential in church leadership to remember who we are leading and to Whom we are leading them to! So, we must ask the question earnestly and honestly: Are you chasing your desires or our Lord?

The answer to this question will determine what direction your church goes. This will actually determine what direction in life you go as well. Consider the context of the 1 Peter passage in leadership and life, sin. When we fail to lead people to Christ as LORD, we sin, this, as if, when, and how sin will entice you to fall!

Consider these key words:

“Arm yourselves” refers to as soldiers train and prepare for battle, we are to be trained and are to be prepared with Christ’s attitude, outlook, knowledge, and experience. We are to prepare for injustice and suffering!

God’s will” is the determining factor in life! It all comes down to this; will you follow His will, or yours and the world’s? Which one do you think brings the most blessings and contentment to your family and the church you lead?

Debauchery” means unrestrained indulgence, seeking sinful, physical gratification, or giving into one’s desires. This leads to being merciless and unscrupulous in one’s dealings with others! When we fight against one another, especially in the church, it is hurtful and even pathetic in God’s eyes (Gen. 4:8; Duet. 25:17-19; Joshua 7; Matt. 21: 1-17; Luke 9:54; Rom. 13:13; 2 Cor. 12:21; Eph. 4:19).

Lust” refers to sexual immorality, meaning evil desires that trap us and bring down others who are around us-the very opposite of God’s call for us.

We must be always aware that sin is coming. And our biggest problem is pride. As we lead; we can either draw near to God to stay clear, or draw near to sin and our pride and thus away from God and His best for us and the direction He wants His church to grow and go.

The great news is that Christ gives us the ability to stand firm in Him. The key is, we need to want to! Peter’s people were being slandered and taken advantage of, and they were becoming disillusioned. Peter’s call was to stand firm in faith and not worry what others do as long as we look to Christ wholeheartedly. Just as we are to do in our churches today. Thus, the best defense to sin, pride, wayward trends, past mistakes is the offense of righteousness and demonstrating the good life in Christ (1 Pet. 2:12,15, 23; 3:9, 16; 4:4,14)!

Sin has and unbelievable power to weigh us down so it defines who we are and traps us in the past. We all have past mistakes and wrong choices, but Christ freed us so we no longer need to be weighed down by them! Peter’s congregation had a pagan background that was very alluring; he is telling them (and us) not to let it draw them or become a part of their new life.

Be the leader who leads people to the Wonder of our Lord, not to sin, not to your pride and not to faulty trends (Rom. 1:12:13; 6:1-14, 19; Gal. 5:19-21)!

 

Do you have the Attitude of Christ!

Attitude of Christ

When we are leading His Church, consider that we are called to have the “Attitude of Christ!”

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death-even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:5 – 8)

However, we cannot do that if we are not following Christ and taking heed to His example, His grace, and His love so we want to respond. That means we can be living in sin, pointing to ourselves, leading by power and control or by pride. Otherwise, our desires will fill that gap and will get the best of us. The sins of others and the sins of our heart will break us down and take us over and destroy the church you serve, unless we focus on Christ, His ways, and His path.

What does it mean to wholeheartedly look to Christ?

How can you better implement this in your life? What would your church look like with this mindset at full blast?

Why are Christians so interested in chasing fads? PII

 

Read Revelation 17-18

Here in this passage, being a “harlot” does not just mean standing on a street corner soliciting for unlawful relations; rather, it means for church leaders that we are engaged in and promoting apostasy!

Thus, betraying our Lord as in being a harlot to Christ. And this gives us a vital depiction on how God feels when we false teach, become prideful, lead His children astray, we are in fact betraying Him, insulting His Lordship; thus, being a prostitute with His Most precious Word!

What does this look like? 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 in so doing replace discipleship with mere entertainment and lead others to do so, too. In so doing, a harlot, just as Scripture shows us, is not ashamed, but rather boisterous and proud of sin.

What about factions, gossip, and pride? These are the things that God hates the most and cause the greatest destruction to any given church, something even Satan himself could never do.

Point? We are the real enemy, our sin building and conniving and converging upon one another, while we ignore Christ and His supremacy, precepts, and call!

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!

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!

Keep in mind in this passage–it is a stern warning that sin will cause ruin. Their sins are piled high, and God wants to remove the sin. Instead of seeking God’s grace and mercy, they pile on more sin and seek the evils of pleasure without responsibility, which will bring them torment, sorrow, and extreme helplessness. Those who sought favor and wealth from sin will mourn, but those who are righteous will be joyful and jubilant. Those who trusted in luxury and splendor will mourn; those whose trust was/is in Christ will praise God. In a single moment, what they thought was important will be gone.

What really is important will remain and increase. God’s glory and eminence is steadfast and proclaimed; the hope of the faithful comes to its fruition!

 

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

 

The Essentials of real Worship

The changes over the centuries have been momentous, but the basics have remained the same:

1. Honor God by reverence and awe as respecting and honoring His Lordship and sovereignty. As a community of believers, we are to gatherer weekly to mentally focus on God, and pour our hearts out to Him (1 Samuel 15:22: Matthew 15:9: Luke. 11:41-42; John 4:23; Acts 20:27; Galatians 2:20-21; Hebrews 10:24-25; 12:28-29; Revelation 1:10). Ecclesiastes 5:1 says, Guard your steps when you go to the house of God.

2. Praise His Name by singing of hymns/praise songs, prayer and/or liturgy/ Psalter (reading or singing the Psalms)–(Isaiah 6:1-5; Luke 11:41-42; Psalm 19; 29:2; 95:6-7; 150; Ephesians 5:19). The type and style of songs are not as important as the heart and intention of the leader and congregation. The words need to be Biblical and point to the Glory of Christ. The focus is glory and honor; it is never to be entertainment to the congregation. God is the audience and we are the performers to honor Him. It is OK to be creaawtive in worship, such has skits, plays, and various expressions, but not for the sake of entertainment. The question to ask is, does it distract people from the reverence and glory of Christ? If not, it probably is OK. If it does, or could, then save the entertainment for the social times.

3. Confession of sin: We are to acknowledge our sin, and also offer our sincere repentance (Lev 4; 6:24-f.; 7:1-f.; 16:1-f; 1 Kings 17:18; Ps 51:4-6; Isa 6; 53:10, 12; Matt 12:24, 31; Mark 7:20-23; John 1:5; 3:19-21; 8:31-34; 16:8-9; 15:22; Rom. 3:20; 5:12-20; 6:15-23; 7:7-20; 2 Cor. 11:3; Gal. 3:19-24; 1 Tim 2:14). We have to realize the impacting nature of sin, how it destroys, and how Christ paid our penalty for it! If you have any doubt, remember, the outward life is determined by the inner (Matt 5:17; 7:15-17).

4. Prayer must be the focus of the church, with intercession, and thanksgiving, as well as supplication (Acts 2:42).

5. Reading of the Word: We are to never forsake the reading of the Bible; if you do, you have a club and not a church (Acts 2:42; 1 Tim. 4:13; 2 Tim. 3:17).

6. Commentary: The applying of the Word by the worship leader/ pastor is the sermon or homily. In the Reformed perspective, the whole church service should revolve around the ministry of the Word. The sermon is central to the worship services. Everything else is either preparatory to, or a response to, the message from Scripture (Acts 2:47; 20:7-8; Col. 1:25; Philippians 3:3; 1 Tim. 3:2; 2 Tim. 2:24; Tit. 1:9).

7. Fellowship is to build up and honor one another in order to strengthen the church, the people of God (Eph. 4:12; cf. 1 Cor. 14:12).

 

The Slippery Slope P XIII

 

Is Jesus Lord or are Culture and Trends “Lord?” 

This indicates the replacing of biblical thinking and teaching with the latest trends in church growth, or ministry models that are not Christ-centered. This can come from outright rejection of His Lordship to a weakening of it, such as liberalism. And, it usually comes in to the Conservative Evangelical and Reformed churches as embarrassment to proclaim Him boldly, or as the embracing of weak ministry models. Perhaps, we fear reprisal from liberal-minded people, or even misguided fellow Christians, if we are fundamental (as in from convictions with his Truth) in our approach. So, we keep to ourselves and no one knows who we are either at work or in our own families. His Way is not being lived out. This also comes to us by our thinking that we are being relevant and accepting, when we are actually betraying his Lordship. 

Yes, we can be relevant and not compromise! We are to be real and accepting but not compromising; a line must be drawn to which we must be held.

If this is not so in the leadership, they must be stepped down, then trained and discipled. The leadership must set the example to model His Way in humility, servant hood, and in the boldness to exercise discipline when necessary. There is never a call to be offensive to others; rather, we are to be bold in His Fruit. Make sure, if you follow any models or trends, that they are biblical and not compromising or you will have a Church of Perfidy!

The Slippery Slope P XII

Does Your Church Buy into the Relativism of Your Culture?  

Does your church teaching or ministry model consider that Jesus is just a way but not the Way? He is to be THE Way, THE Truth and THE Life (John 14-15; Acts 4:12). What about teaching that there are no right or wrong absolutes, therefore neglecting morals and virtue? What about trying to be so careful not to offend anyone that we do not say anything to convict or to instruct?

How can a person be challenged to grow if we do not redirect his or her path in love, and, when needed, call a spade a spade? What about the embracing of sin, saying it is OK in an attempt to show love and acceptance?

This might include embracing homosexuality and saying it is OK. We are called to reach out to all those who are in any kind of sin, including homosexuals, but at the same time, we are not to accept the sin. We are to care and love and show them Christ without compromising morality or His precepts. What about failing to confront people in sin or to condemn the sins of our culture? We must live by example as well as point out errors—not only in our church but also in our society (Exodus 20:1-17; Rom. 1:16-32; 1 Cor. 6:9). We must be careful here, as we can easily slip off His Cornerstone and become a Church of Perfidy!

Other Significant Growth Factors that come from these top Seven

That God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5: 19

8. Healthy churches that are growing in Christ have leaders who focus on Christ and serve Him. Their leadership style is not by will; it is by being a servant. “Servant Leadership” is modeled and practiced.

9. Healthy churches that are growing in Christ have people that are disciplined and growing in Christ. This is the reason they are loving and caring, practicing the “one another” passages. They are enamored by God’s presence in their church and life, and thus place Christ first, acting on His character and call! They are not selfish or inwardly focused, but care for others and focus on their community and world.

10. Healthy churches that are growing in Christ have a system of pastoral care. They train their staff and leaders to immediately respond when they hear of a church member in need. They hire licensed, qualified people and/or train and assign trained deacons or care workers; also, a key person is in charge.

11. Healthy churches that are growing in Christ have effective evangelism, stewardship, and discipleship. These programs come from those top seven factors! As people are transformed, they can be taught and motivated. They also tend to spend at least one-third of their resources of budget and talent in outreach and missions.

12. Healthy churches that are growing in Christ have a well thought out, biblically empowered vision and mission statement. This is clearly defined by a purpose that points to Christ, and strategies on what God has called them to do and be. In addition, the people know this and are willing to act on it. It is one thing to write it out, but another thing to act it out. The vision does not lead the church; rather, it s a motto that encapsulates the work of the Spirit and the precepts of Scripture that calls, empowers, and employs the church. A vision is a sign to show what is happening and help others see the direction of the church so they know where to go. A vision will not motivate or lead, just as placing a label for soda on a can of water does not make it a soda.

13. Healthy churches that are growing in Christ tend to organize and mobilize their people according to their Spiritual Gifts! The people are more content and motivated so serve in a team manner when they serve in their area of their giftedness. The quarrels and apathy will dry up as the energies are redirected and channeled in a godly way. People will function less in their own strength and more in the power of the Holy Spirit.

14. Healthy churches that are growing in Christ empower the people in their care. They are training, discipling, recognizing, and encouraging their people, especially those in critical roles. They do not see or use volunteers just as helpers or as people to control and manipulate, but as the essential tools and prime resources with which to glorify God, enablers of the goals of missions and needs to be reached. These churches see the pastor as the trainer for the congregation. If the senior pastor feels they do not have the gifts and abilities to equip and train others to do ministry (what the biblical principle of a “pastor” is), the church hires or build teams around them that do! If the training is not done, the church will fail! Some pastors are great teachers, but cannot do anything else. A pastor must operate in his gifted area, and encourage others who will compensate for him in the areas where he is weak or does not have the time.

15. Healthy churches that are growing in Christ are willing to and do confront sin, evil, gossip, slander, manipulators, and heresy in the church—immediately! The leadership puts down gossip and solves conflict quickly. Healthy churches move ahead in purpose and unity.

16. Healthy churches that are growing in Christ have pastors who are real, joyful, and authentic, and lead healthy, disciplined lives. Their leaders are learning and growing in community with one another, willing to go beyond their prejudices and fears and embrace Christ. They are willing to publicly repent, apologize for past mistakes, make improvements, and change. They do not have thick skin as much as loving hearts, and they give people grace and room to grow. They are not afraid to step on the toes of others, but remain loving, listening, and firmly uncompromising to the Word.