Monday, April 25, 2011

The Shopping Spirit

We live in a day of church consumerism. Consumerism is a term we’re all familiar with because we deal with it on a daily basis. It shapes how we purchase, how we relate and how we shape our identities.

Consumerism can even effect our spirituality. Basically, it creates an exchange where we expect instant returns for our investments.

In my studies and personal experience of why people leave a church after spending years volunteering their time, I’ve discovered that the themes that stand out the most to me are:
  • They feel ripped off.
  • That they have given and gotten nothing back.
  • They view discipleship not as self-sacrificing service but rather a consumer exchange, in which instant gratification is sought.
In those conversations, It seemed to me that they were happy to follow Christ as long as He delivered a kind of consumerist heaven on earth. However, when this kind of heaven did not arrive, they became disillusioned. Of course, the advertising industry did not get the blame, God did, and active faith was thrown out the window.

When we follow God because we are expecting a kind of consumer pay off; we have invested in a faith that cannot last, you can only church shop for so long. When we worship a God who we believe will make our dreams come true we are not following the God of the Bible. Believers who live out their faith through the pattern of consumerism will end up almost definitely outside of the church and very disappointed.

I’ve been in the church all of my life. I was raised in a pastor’s home and have been surround by ministry all my life. One thing that I specifically remember about my parents is the amount of time they invested in the church. They would clean the church, shovel the snow, mow the yard, pray for our pastors, teach classes, drive buses, attend meetings, support leadership, give financially, participate in activities, attend every service possible, serve wherever needed – day or night, and make meals. There were many times that my dad would be called out at night to pray for the sick or visit someone at the request of our pastorHe did all of that and he worked a full time job in the factory.

They did all of it without complaining or asking for anything in return. In our home, there wasn’t an expectation of “receiving something” for our service unto the Lord. I never heard my parents say anything about “being owed” something. They viewed their service as UNTO the Lord. Of course, they served their leaders as they served the Lord and for that service I believe the Lord honored and blessed them for their commitment. In fact, I believe I’m serving where I am today because of my parent’s “serving” anointing.

None of us will ever be able to lead our “own” ministry if we cannot first serve in someone else’s…and for that matter...serve with integrity, honor, character and distinction. Knowing this has kept my feet on the narrow path and my heart content to be happy where I am and serve wherever and whenever for however long.

Who are you going to follow? Are you going to follow someone with a proven track record or someone who’s character is questionable and motives uncertain? Your advice is only as good as your advisor. Who you follow will determine where you end up.

How are you going to follow? How you follow will determine what you get. How you see your leader will determine what you receive from your leader. How you perceive is how you receive. In my own life, If I’ve wanted something from my pastor/leader (not in a greedy way) I made myself available to them and became their shadow. It’s the squeaky wheel that get’s the oil. You have to position yourself to receive from your leader.  If you're a "no show" or following from a distance than your leader will not be able to lean on you when they're tired, frustrated or need encouragement.

How long will you follow? If you view your place of service as a “stepping stone” till something better comes along or until you are the one who is eventually calling the shots…then you’ll never fully learn what you need to learn where you’re at because your mind will be somewhere else instead of focused on your God given assignment.

Elisha served Elijah for ten years – and would have continued doing that no matter what…until Elijah told Elisha that he was leaving and was going to entrust him with his anointing to fill his shoes. Elisha was hungry to receive everything he could from his leader but he was content to stay where he was planted…for “there” was where his anointing accumulated.

One thing I admire about Elisha is that he didn’t TAKE ministry…he INHERITED it.

Elisha was content where he was until his leader called him out and sent him forth. Another thing I like about Elisha is that he didn’t start getting goofy by withdrawing from his leader or getting himself in a bunch of mess. Had he done that…how on earth would Elijah have been able to promote him? The bottom line is…learn what you need to learn and do it over and over and over and over without losing your testimony in the process. THEN…you’ll be blessed and sent forth.

Ask yourself this:
  1. Do I have a servant’s heart?
  2. Am I willing and able to stand the test of time?
  3. Am I committed to the development process that will be required of me?
  4. Are my priorities in alignment to the Lord’s authority over me?
  5. Am I faithful and fruitful where I’m presently serving?
  6. How close am I following my leaders? (Near or far?)
  7. Will I follow to the end? (When the dust settles, will I still be there?)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Pastor...don't give up!

Navigating a church through the rigorous terrain of today's cultural climate can be challenging to say the least.  It seems I'm constantly on the phone with pastor's and church leaders exchanging ideas and sharing principles.

Sometimes I sense that the conversation doesn't end on a high note because I wasn't able to share a "magic formula" or a three step infallible program.

In my humble opinion...if you're going to build a church, impact a community and raise up leaders...IT'S GOING TO TAKE WORK!

More and more pastors are quitting the ministry at an unprecedented rate.  According to H.B. London in his book, Pastors At Greater Risk, he states that  "Members of the clergy now suffer from obesity, hypertension and depression at rates higher than most Americans. In the last decade, their use of antidepressants has risen, while their life expectancy has fallen. Many would change jobs if they could."
  • 13% of active pastors are divorced.
    • Those in ministry are equally likely to have their marriage end in divorce as general church members.
    • The clergy has the second highest divorce rate among all professions.
  • 23% have been fired or pressured to resign at least once in their careers.
  • 25% don't know where to turn when they have a family or personal conflict or issue.
  • 25% of pastors' wives see their husband's work schedule as a source of conflict.
  • 33% felt burned out within their first five years of ministry.
  • 33% say that being in ministry is an outright hazard to their family.
I've asked myself the question, "Why am I doing this?"  In all honesty, and I hope those of you reading this will allow me to be human, sometimes I've thought about dropping the whole "kit and caboodle" in someone else's lap and saying, "ENJOY!"
  • When you think about the overwhelming demands of ministry today...
  • The fickleness of personalities...
  • The unnecessary junk you go through...
  • The refereeing of needless squabbles...
  • The media's downplay of the church...
  • The constant personal attacks...
  • The immaturity of people who "should" know better by now but won't do better...
  • The traveling mindset of folks you have continually helped over and over who jump ship thinking a new environment will cure what ails them...truth is if they can't be stable here...they won't be stable there.
  • The spirit of consumerism amongst casual Christians who are just looking for a place to attend without any accountability concerning their discipleship, attendance or lifestyle.
  • The lost art of loyalty...
  • The lack of ministerial etiquette...
  • The lack of protocol coupled with a "don't tell me what to do" attitude...
  • Broken promises and covenants...
  • Health issues...
Those things alone are enough to keep you distracted from your vision and make you want to run towards Elijah's cave & juniper tree.

But the reason I haven't quit is because I know that God has called me to do what I'm doing and He's given me a special GRACE to do it.  Without His grace and His assurance...I would have yielded to the flesh long ago.

Ministry today TAKES WORK!
EFFECTIVE ministry requires longevity!
Ministry requires THICK SKIN and a "made up" mind.

Ministry takes EFFORT!  It takes prayer, planning and preparation...and either you will do it or you won't.  It really is that simple.'ll never be able to please EVERYONE.  Don't you dare think about quitting today!  It is WORTH it!

I'm not saying this because I'm just looking for a Comforting Christian Cliché to encourage you with.  I'm speaking this from experience!  There are days when I feel like I can conquer the world...and then there are others where I feel the world has conquered me.

I've been there!
  • You feel like your sermon stunk...
  • A member of your team bails on you or does something crazy...
  • You can't sleep at night cause you're bombarded with decisions and concerns...
  • People lie about you (or tell half truths, same thing really!)...
  • The critics take shots at you...
  • Increased spiritual warfare...
  • You wrestle with your own inadequacies...
  • Only a few people understand the levels of loneliness you experience...
  • Etc...
In the past 12 years as pastor of BFWC I've experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.  I've asked the question, "Is it really worth all of this?"

And I hear a "YES" in my spirit!  Pastor...if God CALLED you...He will SUSTAIN you!  He is with you and will never leave you!  HE IS WORTH IT!

I've had rough days, weeks & months!  And yet, God always gives me what I need JUST when I need it.  Perhaps you're reading this today and you feel overwhelmed...let me remind you that FOLLOWING JESUS is worth it!  Yes, there is a price to pay in ministry...but it is NOWHERE near the price He paid for us!

Last Sunday night when we were on the streets of Indianapolis serving, we connected with over 2000 people in one hour!  Eight people prayed to receive Christ and we ministered Christ's love in an impactful way.  During the praise rally following, I was thinking to myself, "I am SO GLAD that I haven't quit or given up on the vision God gave me in 1999 when I came to BFWC...following Him has not been easy, but is SO worth it!"

Pastor, God did not call you so that you would have to run around like a chicken with your head cut off trying to PROVE yourself to Him or anyone else for that matter.  He called you to PROVE His Son to the world!  Just be yourself and be true to the freedoms He has given you!  Heaven is cheering you on!

It's worth it!  Don't give up!  Stay in the game!  Focus on Jesus!  Keep your vision before you!  Listen to His voice and not the naysayers!

God has not given up on you!

  • I pray this weekend will be INCREDIBLE for you! 
  • I pray you'll PREACH YOUR GUTS OUT!  
  • I pray you'll see RESULTS! 
  • I pray you'll IMPACT your community! 
  • I pray you'll get your SECOND wind!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Does Anyone Keep Their Word?

  • Are we responsible for promises made? 
  • What about honesty & integrity? 
  • Is there a double standard for pastors, politicians, world leaders and everyone else?
  • How do you feel when someone makes a promise to you and doesn't keep their word or makes excuses to get out of it?
  • If a "vow" is not faithfully honored then how can the person ever be trusted?
  • Is keeping one's word really important and will God hold people accountable for what they promise?
  • How can people believe a person who doesn't keep their promised word?
  • What does God think when people make up excuses in order to get out of keeping their word?
God spoke the world into existence and promised to save us from our sins by sending us His Son to die on the cross. If we repent asking Jesus to come into our heart, God will keep His word to save us!

  • God keeps His word. Does He expect us to keep ours?
  • Does God hear every word said and every promise made?
  • Will He hold Pastors, Politicians, and World leaders more accountable than the rest of the world for what they speak and promise to do?
  • Why?
Keeping promises demonstrates our “True Inner Self.” It shows whether or not we have corruptible or incorruptible morals (fruitful seed) inside of us. Integrity, Honor, Self-respect and Honesty means everything to man and to the Lord! What kind of Christian walk does the Lord desire us to have? Is keeping one's word really important or do we have the right to alter and change it? Does the world respect people who break their promises? A broken promise means a broken trust and relationship. Trust and respect as well as one's honor is the basis of our relationship with our Lord. He expects us to keep our word, (vow, oath) to others as well!

God doesn't accept altering promises!

Leviticus 27:9-10 And if it be a beast, whereof men bring an offering unto the LORD, all that any man giveth of such unto the LORD shall be holy. He shall not alter it, nor change it, a good for a bad, or a bad for a good

When you give your word to someone you are also giving it unto the Lord. The Lord teaches us in the Bible that we must not go back on our promises even if we have to pay a higher price to keep them. Our promises are taken seriously and we will be held accountable for them. Changing our minds is not acceptable to the Lord!

Pastors, as keepers of the flock, must have a high standard of morals because they answer directly to God. A Pillar of society!

1 Timothy 3:14-15 These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

The local congregation belongs to the Lord and the responsibility of them is a serious matter. Pastors must be blameless and morally pure. Promises must be taken seriously! God holds them accountable because where Pastors lead the flock (congregation) will follow. To be like Jesus is to keep your promise!

A man shall NOT break his word, the Bible says.

Numbers 30:2 If a man vow a vow unto the LORD, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth.

Moses being directed of God told people that they must keep their promises. A person's word is just the same as a written legal contract in the eyes of God. People who by their own free will have given a vow to do something must keep their word! Only a child's broken promises can be overruled by a parent, but even then correction must be made by the parent to teach the child about keeping one's word. (Numbers 30:3-8)

The importance of keeping one's word is a matter of Integrity!

Psalms 25:20-21 O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee.

Integrity and righteousness are the two most important things for a Christian to have. Uprightness and Integrity demonstrate what we believe, and how consistent of a walk we have with Jesus. Pray to the Lord to help you keep your promises and strive to be pure before the Lord. A man has real dignity of character when he has high integrity!

A broken promise is a sin and will be judged by the Lord. God punishes the wicked!

Leviticus 5:4-5 Or if a soul swear, pronouncing with his lips to do evil, or to do good, whatsoever it be that a man shall pronounce with an oath, and it be hid from him; when he knoweth of it, then he shall be guilty in one of these. And it shall be, when he shall be guilty in one of these things, that he shall confess that he hath sinned in that thing:

God requires Christians to keep their word no matter how uncomfortable or unpleasant it may become. Our "yea," is enough to bind us before God as a promise to someone. The only promises that we should not keep are sinful ones. Many times promises involve sacrifices out of our comfort zones. If you promised something just by saying you would do it then God expects you to do it to the "best of your ability" as if you were doing it for the Lord Himself.

We can't just confess the sin of breaking a promise and think we can go our merry way thinking that we no longer are accountable. As long as you are still able to fulfill your word (even if it's uncomfortable and you don't want to) you need to go to that person, repent of your sin and make amends by keeping your promise. Can you really come into the presence of God knowing that you refuse to keep your word? What kind of relationship can you have with the Lord if your are able to keep your word and don't?

Integrity means Honor with Respect.

Proverbs 19:1 Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.

God classes Integrity more valuable than the riches of this world. He classes Integrity more valuable than anything that we could ever own. Cheating, stealing, lying, breaking one's promises, withholding tithe money out of greed or spite is the world's way but not what the Lord desires a Christian to be. We are required to live a higher standard of living by holding our integrity dear to ourselves. When people of the world look at you as a Christian do they say you are no different than them or do they say they really respect you? Poverty if far better if a person has integrity and honor than all the riches that every existed throughout time. What is your life worth? Can you take any material thing with you when you die? We all need to get our priorities straight and realize that keeping our word is important to our self-respect as well as our integrity.

A Pastor should never Compromise his Integrity no matter what!

Proverbs 12:3 A man shall not be established by wickedness: but the root of the righteous shall not be moved.

Solomon knew that our word is our bond (promise,) and following the Lords word is important as a Christian because His word is our bond to us. Our character is reflected by the words that we speak and the vows that we make. Broken promises cause a great deal of hurt and is the same sin of lying. Personal Integrity as a Christian is held valuable by God when we honor our commitments. People can't sin and get away with it because the Lord sees everything we say and do. No one can get away from their responsibilities (the promises that they make) and not answer to God for them. What kinds of rewards do you want in Heaven? When you see the face of Jesus, will He say, "Well done good and faithful servant," or will He have tears in His eyes over the hurts caused by broken promises?

Half truths are deceptive…

Genesis 12:11-13 And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon: Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive. Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.

Sarai was Abraham's wife as well as his half sister but it was immorally deceptive and caused hurt as well as shame. Sarai was wealthy and beautiful and Abraham believed that she would be taken from him. He was also afraid that he would be killed too. Did Abraham trust God to keep His word to protect them? Abraham forgot that what God says He will do, He will do! His word is valuable and the Lord has integrity! Can we do no less than to faithfully follow God's example by keeping our word? If we trust the Lord to keep His word can people trust us to keep ours?

Once given our word we should never go back or alter it!

Leviticus 27:9-10 And if it be a beast, whereof men bring an offering unto the LORD, all that any man giveth of such unto the LORD shall be holy. He shall not alter it, nor change it, a good for a bad, or a bad for a good: and if he shall at all change beast for beast, then it and the exchange thereof shall be holy.

God expects us to keep our word even if it costs us dearly. He wants us to take and keep our promises and not alter or change our word to suit our selfishness. No matter how difficult, embarrassing, hard, or burdensome it may be, we still need to keep our word to the best of our ability. That doesn't mean that we have a right to grudgingly do it in a spiritual manner but as pleasing unto the Lord.

Be responsible with your words and vows!

Titus 2:7-8 In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.

God desires us to be moral witness in our daily walk and that includes our morals. The words that we speak and the promises that we make demonstrate our Christian values. This is because of the people around us watching. We must value our words as if they were gold. People might see Jesus through our eyes if we are honest with our words. Avoid criticism and hurt by listening before you speak and honoring what you commit to when you do. Be sound of speech and honest in your promises!

Words reveal to the world and to God how honest we are.

James 3:9-10 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.

Speak words that are pleasing to God and act with honor upon the promises made. If you have promised something and back out of it, deep hurt can be left behind. This grieves the Holy Spirit and can cause a wound that may last a lifetime. We are never to hurt anyone of the Lord's children and when we do than there is a price to be paid. Can anyone truly stand before Jesus knowing that they hurt someone and not feel convicted? I can't, can you?

God never breaks His word nor does He give us the right to break ours.

2 Chronicle 21:7 Howbeit the LORD would not destroy the house of David, because of the covenant that he had made with David, and as he promised to give a light to him and to his sons forever.

The light mentioned in this verse was the light of Jesus Christ God's very own son. Jesus the Messiah of the world sits upon the throne of David and will rule forever. He paid the price for our sins upon the cross. God kept His word by giving us His only begotten Son to take away the sins of the world. The Lord's word is valuable to us because by that promise being kept and fulfilled we might be saved. Words have value and we too must keep our promises like He did for us.

God's delights in people who keep their promises.

Proverbs 12:22 Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.
Proverbs 12:25 Heaviness in the heart maketh it stoop: (is heavy and hurts) but a word maketh it glad.

Words are important and have a great deal of value when used in the right way for Godly purposes. Have you ever seen someone who just had a promise broken to them or maybe you had a promise broken to you? What did it feel like? Think of something that really matters to you that someone has promised to do. Maybe they kept you waiting for it a long, long time and it really mattered to you. Now consider how you would feel if it were broken. Try stepping into someone else's shoes when you break your word to them. Feel terrible doesn't it? Is this the will of the Father to cause this kind of hurt? Is there a promise that you made to someone that you can still keep? What does God want you to do? What are you waiting for, honor your word and go do it!

The Vows we say must be said in truth and honesty. (Be careful for what you promise because God will hold you responsible!)

Ephesians 4:24-25 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

When we act like Godly people full of honor and self-respect than we are pleasing to the Lord. Our Christian walk should be seen by everyone we meet. We should daily strive to leave our sins behind taking up our cross and following the Lord's example. We should daily work at changing our attitudes and bring our words into line with the Word of God.

Lying by not keeping one's word causes hurts, disappointments, disruptions and disharmony to the body of Christ. It makes people loose respect as well as creates conflicts and destroys relationships. Don't let the devil deceive you into breaking your word or make you think that you can justify altering your word to suit you. That is being deceptive and God sees right through it. This kind of pain can become bottled up inside a person's heart for years to come.

We shouldn't allow the devil to divide us when the best thing we could do would be to honor our word in the first place. Integrity, honesty, decency, truthfulness and virtue are all required to show people that we love them. This is the will of the Father!

Just by saying you “will” do something, you have “given your word!”

Matthew 5:37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

What does God want you to do but let your word be yes, yes or no, no when you are speaking?  People will come to respect you and follow your lead if you are honest. Always be truthful saying what you mean and meaning what you say! Honor your word so that it will be right before the Lord. Integrity, honor and respect is the reward for keeping one's word. Let's all remember to live up to the high standards that the Lord has set before us.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Your Committed Pastor

Dear BFWC Family,

From time to time I’m asked “how do you stay so committed to Christ?” Honestly, I’ve never lost my fire for God…however, at times the flame has flickered due to stress, pressure, problems, people, personalities and just plain junk (that is energy zapping)!

But I guess what keeps me going is knowing the Lord’s hand pulled me out of the pit of sin and kept me from losing my mind when I could have been very easily overcome by the enemies attack against me while in my youth.

  • Hell didn’t want me to answer the call of the Lord.
  • Hell didn’t want me to live in peace and sanity.
  • Hell tried to stop me from falling in love with Jesus.
  • Hell tried to kill me off before I ever got started.

  • I didn’t ask to be born into the home of a preacher.
  • I didn’t ask to be raised in church.
  • I didn’t ask to go to church almost every night of the week.
  • I didn’t ask to be raised so strict.

But I’m so glad I was!

  • God has kept my mind and He’s kept my soul!
  • He found me when I was 8 years old and I surrendered my life to Him!
  • At age 15 He called me to the ministry.
  • At age 16 He filled me with the Holy Ghost and fire!
  • TODAY…I’m still running after HIM with my whole heart.

  • I can’t get enough of Jesus! He’s my all in all. He’s my everything.
  • I’ve seen too much to lose out with God at this point.
  • I’ve got nothing to go back to.
  • I’ve killed my oxen and burned up my plow share. (Elisha)

  • Drugs won’t satisfy me.
  • Liquor won’t satisfy me.
  • Promiscuity won’t satisfy me.
  • Worldly pleasures won’t satisfy me.

  • I’m committed to raising my daughter to be passionate about God and His work!
  • I’m committed to my marriage and my wonderful wife!
  • I’m committed to Church that Jesus gave His life for.
  • I’m committed to seeing people born again and live SANCTIFIED lives that are God honoring.
  • I’m committed to making a generational impact.
  • I’m committed to birth sons.
  • I’m committed to discipleship.
  • I’m committed to growing the Kingdom of God here in Indianapolis.
  • I’m committed to raising & training leaders.
  • I’m committed to staying SAVED!
  • I’m committed to doing the right thing even if the right thing isn’t happening to me.
  • I’m committed to walking in integrity.
  • I’m committed to living peaceably with all men.
  • I’m committed to letting my good not to be evil spoken of.
  • I’m committed to being faithful and fruitful.
  • I’m committed to honoring my leaders.
  • I’m committed to keeping my testimony in tact till Jesus returns or I die.
  • I’m committed to loving God and His people.
  • I’m committed to treating people the way I would like to be treated.
  • I’m committed to repenting quickly and asking forgiveness when necessary.
  • I’m committed to walk humbly and not think more of myself than I should.
  • I’m committed to manifestation without weirdness.
  • I’m committed to punctuality.
  • I’m committed to increase with integrity.
  • I’m committed to balance.
  • I’m committed to applauding that which is good and abstaining from that which is rotten.
  • I’m committed to eating better.
  • I’m committed to laugh more and stress less.
  • I’m committed to enjoy each moment of life.
  • I’m committed to keep my heart free from bitterness and hardness.
  • I’m committed to Shepherding God’s people.
  • I’m committed to looking for ways to improve myself and the tasks I’m responsible for.
  • I’m committed to keep my vows and covenants.
  • I’m committed to serve my leaders.
  • I’m committed to take care of the material possessions God has blessed me with.
  • I’m committed to use all my talents for God’s glory and not for my gain.
  • I’m committed to give sacrificially and often when called upon.
  • I’m committed to not being moody and making everyone around me miserable.
  • I’m committed to being stable and solid in my walk with God and my testimony with others.
  • I’m committed to show up on time and perform my best.
  • I’m committed to love people.
  • I’m committed to believe the best in people.

All I can say is….BUT GOD!

Had the Lord not kept me…I would probably be somewhere out of my mind right now. BUT GOD! He kept me!
  • Who am I to think that I’ve got it all figured out?
  • Who am I to think I can come and go with God at my will?

I am dust.

  • God is so good to me.
  • I love Him today!
  • I love my wife and daughter!
  • I love my family!
  • I love the church I am allowed to shepherd! (BFWC – you are my beloved family!)
  • I love our staff!
  • I love our leaders!
  • I love our city!
  • I love my fathers!

I haven’t lost my passion! My passion has increased since I’ve come to Jesus!

I believe every Sunday & Wednesday is going to be “The Super Bowl!” Let’s do this!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Fully Committed or Half Committed?

We all make commitments. They may be on a lease or contract, but we all make them and we must not take them lightly.

Listen to what God says about our commitments: “If a man vows a vow unto the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by some agreement, he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth." (Numbers 30:2).

“When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to ;pay it, for He hath no pleasure in fools.” (Ecclesiastes 5:4).

Commitments are serious business.  Check out the ABC's of Commitment:

I Commit to:

A -- Attend church faithfully and regularly.
B -- Build up the church.
C -- Communion.
D -- Do my part to further God’s mission in this area of His vineyard.
E -- Exercise faith.
F -- Fast often.
G -- Greet and welcome our guests warmly and amicably.
H -- Help and serve others willingly.
I -- Invite friends to church regularly.
J -- Joyfulness and bringing sunshine to others.
K -- Keep away from disgruntled, loud and moody members.
L -- Live a pure and holy life for God and before mankind.
M -- Maintain the right kind of attitude.
N -- Not to sow seeds of discord or discouragement among the flock.
O -- On time for church services and to make time to do my part.
P -- Pray continually.
Q -- Quit complaining and strive to quench rumors.
R -- Read, study, memorize and meditate on the Scriptures daily.
S -- Serve with love whether or not I’m seen or rewarded.
T -- Tithe regularly and give a generous offering.
U -- Use my time, talents, treasures, testimony and temple for God’s service.
V -- Vanguard the shepherd, the leader of the flock, and God’s church.
W -- Witness to the unchurched and unsaved.
X -- Xalting and magnifying the LORD more and more each day.
Y -- Yearn always to be like Jesus, the Christ.
Z -- Zap at no one, it turns off people from me and from the church. Above all, Zoom on Zion my heavenly home.

Cultivating My Service

With any ministry, gift or talent God has entrusted us to use, we must develop it to reach its fullest potential.  When we consider serving others, especially our leaders, we must consider the following:

1. Build Relationship
Getting to know whom you're serving is essential.  Relationship will guard you.  One example of this is in the area of "offenses."  Satan has laid a trap against each of us.  However, relationship will guard us from his attempts.  When the enemy comes to distort the truth about your authority, you can say, "I know this person and there must be a reason for this."  Your leader may do the same for you through relationship. 

2. Personalize your Service
Every leader is different and what they desire may differ from another.  Each pastor or leader has a different set of gifts and needs of service than another  Learn what your leader's are and personalize your service.  Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you.  Be attentive to His promptings.  He will teach you what works best for your authority.

3. Be Pure in your Service
Make sure your service is to your leader's benefit.  For example, do not view your time with your leader as an opportunity to get your needs met.  If you desire to assist your leader in their travels, speaking engagements, etc., then be cautious not to bombard them with all your personal problems and issues before they reach the pulpit.  Remember there is a time and place for everything.  Allow your concerns and needs to take a backseat to discerning your leader's need.  God is faithful; as you plant seeds of excellent service in your leader's life, He will remember to take care of you.

4. Wear Godly Garments
What attitude are you wearing when you serve your leader?  Whether you intend to or not, your attitude is transferable.  Our leaders shouldn't have to GUARD against receiving a bad attitude from us.  If we strive to wear a garment of humility, kindness and congeniality, our leaders may safely trust themselves to us.

5. Develop Loyalty in your Ministry
Decide to be where your assigned leader is.  Have you considered where Joshua was when Moses went up the mountain to receive the law of God?  We can only assume he was somewhere close by because he was right there with him when he came off the mountain forty days later.  Remember, how can your ministry to him or her be developed if you are not in place?

6. Develop a Watchful Spirit
Jesus said to His assistants on the first night of His trial, "watch and pray..." yet, they were unable to stay awake to watch.  He then gave us the key to a watchful spirit in His last words to them saying, "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak."  If it is your hour of trial or your leader's hour of trial, determine to build your spirit so that you may remain alert and prayerful.

When I'm looking for help, I'm looking for someone who will commit to the long-term.  There are pastors and leaders who are weary in the fight because they do not have anyone to hold up their arms.  We must take our place as God appointed armorbearers, assistants and helpers in His army.