Tag Archives: 1 Corinthians

Dear Critic: You are not the Captain of the Gospel Ship

In 21 years of salvation, I’ve never once considered walking away from Christ and back out into the world. There’s nothing there I want. After knowing Christ, His love, forgiveness, grace and mercy how could I even consider turning away from the peace that affords. Craziness! But the ministry for which I’ve been called, I can say in the 7 years since then, that I’ve pondered the notion of stepping out of it on a few occasions. It’s not easy being on God’s staff. I hadn’t really thought of it in that capacity until a few weeks ago, but that’s what being called is and it bears a pressure that is unseen to most. I’m not complaining, nor God forbid, am I seeking accolades. Stick with me as I get to where I am going.

This morning as I often do, I scrolled Facebook before getting out of bed just to see if anything happened whilst I slept upon my pillow. I know. That shouldn’t be the first thing on my mind when I get up, but it often is, because it’s handy. But as I scrolled I noticed a post on a pretty popular preacher and one I happen to listen to each week online. The post was one with a headline intended to entice the reader to click the link for more to the story and upon so doing I discovered an outright lie, meant as satire against the preacher. I didn’t know the person who shared the post, it was on a page for Christian bloggers, not on a “friends” page. The post sickened me because I’ve seen God’s people torn down so much lately.

Please don’t misunderstand, no one has been mean to me or critical; but there is an ever increasing awareness that everything I do is under scrutiny by the world because to the unsaved and to many saved people, ministry is a performance.

I was listening this week to the same preacher mentioned on the Facebook post, who had encouraged my soul on the matter of where God has me at in life and he spoke these words, “God didn’t call me to be a performer, and that takes the pressure off of me.” I found great truth in that statement. Too often I look at my ministry, be it singing or speaking, as a performance. It is in that capacity I’ve set myself up to be rated as a performer and critiqued by the world who has no spiritual foundation to do so.

There is one judge, and that is Christ Jesus.

But I live in a fallen world who feels they’re entitled to put every minister of God on trial, be they super star, local pastor, Sunday School Teacher or serving saint.

We’ve not progressed a whole lot in 2000 years in regards to that matter. Apostle Paul said in his day in 1 Corinthians 4:1-5

Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

There’s a manner of judging ministers that’s acceptable. Do they line up with the Word of God? That’s not judging, that good sense. But when it comes to a minister’s heart, there is no place for that in God’s word. I’m not so much concerned with a minister who’s suddenly become rock star status, because usually, the minister didn’t do it. It was the people that launched them there. That too happened in bible days. Paul said in Chapter 3 of 1 Corinthians that they were doing that very thing with him and Apollos. But what happens when they achieve that status is it opens the door for Satan to have greater access as well and more damage to the Kingdom of God.

The danger lies not so much in what the world thinks but what Christians say. A Christian judging a pastor or other servant of God gives a validity to doubt the authenticity of the word of God. That’s what stirred my dander this morning when I saw that post. The fact that a Christian was spreading a non-fact as truth without researching the matter cast a doubt upon a man of God who’s sharing the gospel. That is dangerous ground to tread on.

So before we utter the first word of “critique” on a minister of the gospel or a child of God, we need to understand that they’re not performing, they’re relaying a God given message or ability for the purpose of edifying the Kingdom. Those who cast doubt will one day stand before the Almighty God and give account for that.

They’re style or delivery of the message may not float your boat, but you are not Captain of the Gospel Ship.

Post positive things for the cause of Christ. There’s enough negative Nancy’s out there in cyberspace.

The Rules Haven’t Changed Since the Cross

1 Corinthians 12:20 – Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular

Members in Particular

For 21 years I’ve been a card carrying member of the body of Christ. And although the rules haven’t changed since Jesus was on the cross, there are days that I feel that there have been some man made addendums to the rule book. Rules such as “Thou must look like this, talk like this, participate like this.” And yet, I’m not so sure that all those “this’s” are particularly addressed in the bible as they are written in man’s book of church ideology.

When I say I’m a card carrying member, I really don’t have a card, because (at least at our church) there are no cards. But what I mean by that is I am proud to be a member of the body of Christ at Victory Baptist Church in Grantsville, WV. I am there because I agree with the doctrines and bylaws of the church. There’s not one that I disagree with. So that is not the rule book to which I refer to. I refer to the rule books on the inside of man’s head. Or women’s heads, as the case may be. Maybe members of my own church or of another. But all members of those whom I consider fellow Christians and fellow laborers in Christ. I gave two fellows, because not all fellows labor for Christ… some just sit. So in my own mind I put them in another category, because they scare me. They tell me they’re saved, but they give me no evidence. So I’ll not say they’re lying… but if not serving Christ got you kicked out of the club… they’d be gone. However, it does not.

I’m usually referring to a “fellow laborer” as those who stipulate what a servant of God should look and act like outside the parameters of the bible and outside their particular church. Because pew sitters usually don’t say anything for fear someone will call them out. But those who are active in churches often wear me out with regards to the rules of worship. Worship is very personal.  Which is why I believe that you should worship with people of a like mind, else there is contention and confusion and we all know who loves to stir that. But, can we not come together outside of the sanctuary of our own church and worship and agree that we serve Jesus without having to agree on what color our hair is, if the music is too bouncy, or whether or not pants are an appropriate attire for women of God.

I once spoke at a church (in a larger city) for which their biggest claim to fame in the community was, they were known as the “church on the hill, where women don’t wear pants.” Hellllloooooo. That’s not what a church should be known for. How about the “church that loves people.” So when I read “members in particular this morning, I thought perhaps we’ve taken Paul’s word too far.

“Members in particular” means that you have a particular job in the church not that you are someone in particular in the church. Now… back to those people sitting on the pew and those who serve and feel that they’ve got a right to complain because they do.

I’m relatively sure that there is no “member in particular” that Christ assigned the position of fashionista judge or worship police or even, pew warmer.

If Christ’s people spent more time doing their particular job, that Christ has called them to do, rather than policing the jobs of others, perhaps more people would feel the “freedom” to attend our churches.

The Rules really haven’t changed since the cross… Jesus said go. An invitation to our church would be an awesome place to start! Forget what anyone looks like or acts like, just go…

Our Steadfast God

I have always been a fly by the seat of your pants kinda gal. Which works great for me, until it doesn’t. There are so many good ideas and so little time! But in celebrating my 20th year as a child of God, I’m so glad God doesn’t think like me! I change my mind more than a chameleon changes color, but God does not. He is steadfastly steadfast. Written twice for emphasis.  And in this wishy washy world where nothing seems certain and the backbone of most churches is as weak as a spaghetti noodle how wonderful it is to have the assurance that God’s the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is steadfast.

Whether or not they’ll admit it, even to the unsaved, He is steadfast. It frustrates many that God doesn’t change because then they could find fault in Him. Men change. Churches change. But not God. There are no business meetings in Heaven! In Daniel 6:9 King Darius had signed a decree that no one should pray, but Daniel didn’t change. He’d always prayed to the God of Glory and even the threat of death would not stop him. So when Daniel’s blatant noncompliance to the King’s law was brought to his attention, the King attempted to change his mind but the world wouldn’t have it because Daniel represented what they loathed, which was righteous living.

The King had observed the steadfastness of Daniel and knew there was a difference, but he was bound by his own law to carry out the punishment of throwing Daniel into the lion’s den. But before he sent him in he said to Daniel “Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.” Yes, even the unsaved know. And He did deliver Daniel! To the amazement of the King and I’m sure to the sore losers who thought they were finally shed of the guilt Daniel made them feel. So the King made a new decree in Daniel 6:26

I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end.

Whether or not our leadership repents and turns back to God doesn’t change the fact that God is still steadfast. Our lions may look more like unemployment, heartache or disease but we like Daniel will be delivered in God’s time and in God’s way.

I don’t think Daniel went arrogantly up to the lion, thumped him on the nose and said “You want a piece of this?” No, lest the lion took a piece of that. I think he faced the lion with humility and belief that “come what may” God had him covered. And I believe that in the arrogance of our political climate we need to bow our heads and wait for the Lion of Judah to silence the arrogant kings of this world. And He will, because my God is steadfast.

Acts 1:10-11

And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

He’s coming back! Be steadfast in your looking toward Heaven.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

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From Fear to Faith with Apostle Paul

chick scaredy pants

Faith… We study it, share it, preach it and proclaim it over the hurdles we must jump, but every new predicament in life brings us back to the beginning of striving again to obtain that mustard seed of faith that will bring us through. After almost twenty years of salvation, one would think that I have would have obtained great faith… after all, I’m the Jesus Chick right? And yet it takes so little to get my knees knocking and heart trembling. But as He always does, God shows me that I’m in the good company of Apostle Paul who boldly preached in the face of death, yet he had his knee knocking moments as well. So this morning I’m looking to shore up my faith in the Word of God. If you’re needing a prop or two in your life I hope you’ll come along with me as I unpack  1 Corinthians 2:1-5

And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

Mr. & Mrs. Smarty Pants

I am forever trying to plot out life in my own wisdom. In comparison to the wisdom of Paul I would still be in pre-school, and yet the Apostle Paul said that he was determined to know nothing but Christ. Regardless of the level of your intelligence, the letters behind your name or in front of your name, if you seek to know anything outside of the wisdom and will of God you’re in trouble. The first step to living in faith is stop thinking on your own and remember the price that God paid for you.

If God. The Creator and Knower of all designed you and your life, and then sent His Son to the cross of Calvary to pay for your life, will He not continue to care for it and put everything in your path to take you where He wants you to go. You and I are precious commodities in the Kingdom of God. We are the vessels that He pours Himself into and then places people and events in our path to bring glory to His Kingdom. Sometimes the paths are hard, but how much easier would it be if we just rode the wave rather than constantly fighting the current of the high waters about our neck. God’s got this.

Scaredy Pants

But I’m afraid! Paul was too! He said he was weak, afraid and trembling. That sounds pretty serious to me. Now granted… Paul was facing people who wanted him dead… What you and I usually face is far less, but God understands our fear. Paul, a learned scholar, didn’t rely on the wisdom that he had acquired through men, but allowed the Spirit of God to take over his faculties and bring the message to the people.

It’s hard to let loose of fear, because actually it’s the other way around, fear has a hold on us.  What bothers me this morning was lying in bed beside of me. (No, it wasn’t David) It was this ever present feeling of uncertainty. It was on my mind when I laid down and occupied my pillow throughout the night. So this morning I allowed God to lay hands on it. I don’t have that power! It is only through the Holy Spirit that I can be brave for today.

That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

If we are to stand in faith we cannot stand in the wisdom of man, because man just doesn’t get it. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen ~ Hebrews 11:1

Stop! in the name of Love

chick stop

Last night I taught our teens from the Francis Chan study on Crazy Love and managed to heap huge conviction upon myself. I hate that! But it’s necessary in your walk with Christ to look at life through the eyes of God, not the eyes of self. I measure up pretty good next to me… as a matter of fact we’re dead even. But line me up next the disciples, or Who we should be lining ourselves up to (Christ Himself) and I’m not so hot. I fall far short of who I should be. I don’t fall in to the completely lukewarm category but I have tendencies that no doubt make God’s stomach queasy.

Going through the motions:

Isaiah 29:13 says “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:”

Does that not describe the church of modern day to a tee? Everybody’s a Christian (just ask them) but their lives certainly don’t back it up. SMO’s. “Sunday morning only folk.” If you’re one of them, I’m about to get on your last nerve. If we feasted on food like we feast on the word of God you could count our ribs. It’s truth. How on earth do we expect to survive in perilous times, when the only thing that’s going to get you through is the promises of God? And we don’t’ have them. I’m so proud of my group of teens at our church. Wednesday night we’re packed out! But the truth is, we could do better. That’s why I’ve been doing this Crazy Love series with them. I don’t want lukewarm Christians in my class, I want crazy kids who are sold out for Jesus Christ and they don’t care who knows it. I want them to look at their friends and understand if they don’t tell them about Christ, there’s a good chance no one else will either; and the end result is their friend will go to Hell.

Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 7:2It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.” A funeral is better than a party? Yes, because a funeral brings the reality that our lives are like a vapor.

James 4:14

Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

If we lived what we say we believe we’d be telling someone about Christ. As a gospel singer I’ve sang at a great multitude of funerals. They’ve not all been for saved people. As a matter of fact the very first funeral I sang for was for a lost soul. His family asked me to sing “Hello in Heaven,” because it was too late for the one whose funeral was being held, but it was not too late for the rest of their friends and family. That was a real eye opener for me as a young convert. I’ve been blessed to be among a congregation of people who try to live for Christ. We all fail. Daily. But we’re trying.

I encourage you to live for Jesus today and tell someone about His saving grace before it’s too late. Live the crazy love that we’re taught the disciples lived.  God likely will not ask you to give up everything you own and serve Christ, but are you willing to use what He’s given you to serve Him? What friend or family are you willing to let go to Hell? You’ve likely said none… but what are you doing to stop it?

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