Saturday, February 24, 2007

I Always Thought the Anti-Christ Would be Younger than THIS

There is some nutcase in Florida who has declared himself the Antichrist. Lots of people do this except this particular nutcase has thousands of followers.

I don't know how long he will BE the anti-Christ. He has claimed at various times to be the reincarnation of Paul the Apostle, and he more recently claimed to be JESUS.

Now he claims he's the Antichrist.

I just thought the Antichrist would be a lot younger.

The Anti-Christ Spirit is Alive and Well

If you want to take a good look at the face of nominal quasi Christianity in America you must go to this website.

The problem in America is we have people like this who believe they are good Christians headed for heaven. They are as hellbound as the unrepentant crack whore who aborts her baby on the street corner.

When persecution comes, and it will come, it will not come from the satanists. It will come from these Christ denying "Quasi-Christians".

Look out for them.

They are evil.

Untargeted and Underserved Audiences

Friday's Chicago Sun Times had this article.

Chicago takes Pride in gay radio format

February 23, 2007

BY ROBERT FEDER Sun-Times Columnist

Since its fairly modest debut in Chicago last spring, Clear Channel Radio's full-time format geared to gay and lesbian listeners has become a national phenomenon. Pride Radio, which began on an HD Radio side channel of Top 40 WKSC-FM (103.5), has spread to FM stations and dozens of Web sites and other HD channels from coast to coast.

The format consists of upbeat, dance-oriented music, entertainment news, celebrity gossip from Perez Hilton, fashion tips from stylist Phillip Bloch and "Guest of the Hour" appearances by such personalities as Janice Dickerson and Joan Collins.

The breakout hit is "Pride With Ryan & Caroline," a two-hour weekly talk show about entertainment. It recently was picked up in Denver; Las Vegas; Hartford, Conn.; Tucson, Ariz., and West Palm Beach, Fla.

"There's a whole untargeted, underserved gay audience out there that radio is missing," said Darren Davis, vice president of programming and operations for Clear Channel Chicago. "This show captures it."

Clear Channel is missing it. There are whole cadre's of untargeted and underserved audiences out there.

Since the argument is about, "Homosexuals are born that way and need to be "Served", what about:

Pedophile Radio, They are born wanting to molest and have sex with little children. They can't help it. Let's have a radio station with giggling little kids for them. It'll be such a turn on.

Adulterers, wife swapping radio, Moans set to music. I can hear it now. It's as natural as walking for men to want to have random sex with other men's wives. We were born that way. We can't help it.

Bestiality Radio, Radio for people who were born longing to have sex with animals. Some people just have natural proclivity for a good looking dog or sheep. Programming sexy barks and baaas. It'll be big.

By now you are sick to your stomach. "Redlin, you are one weird sick puppy" you are saying.

How is my underserved and untargeted audience any less valid or valuable than the Gay and Lesbian radio station?

Wait, I just screwed up. Right now as we speak some suit at Clear Channel is saying, "Hey this crackpot has a great idea. Where can we line up some sexy sheep?"

Tip o the Hat to BK. I think in this case that's all I'll say. He's too nice to say what I can.

Martin Luther on the Koran

Martin Luther was not much impressed with the Koran. He read it. He studied it. He understood what it meant in light of the Gospel of Jesus.

His conclusion: It's a text filled with half truths and false doctrine. I agree with Luther. Islam will in my opinion will be the fount of the last Anti-Christ. Luther expounded on this. You can read a much more comprehensive review of his writing and some comments on this at a European blogsite I read: Gates of Vienna.

Take special note of the last paragraph of the excerpt I pasted below. It tells of the miracle DENYING facet of Islam. "We don't need the supernatural. We have the sword".

That is part of the problem of the Church in America and Europe. They no longer believe (for the most part) in the miracle power of God. Luther did. I do. You should.

Here are some excerpts from what Luther had to say about Islam, and the necessity for a robust military defense of Christendom, from
Vom Kriege wider die Türken
(On War Against the Turk):

......every man may see what a foul and shameful book it is. In the first place, he praises Christ and Mary very much as those who alone were without sin, and yet he believes nothing more of Christ than that he is a holy prophet, like Jeremiah or Jonah, and denies that he is God’s Son and true God. Besides, he does not believe that Christ is the Savior of the world, Who died for our sins, but that He preached to His own time, and completed His work before His death, just like any other prophet.

On the other hand, he praises and exalts himself highly and boasts that he has talked with God and the angels, and that since Christ’s office of prophet is now complete, it has been commanded to him to bring the world to his faith and if the world is not willing, to compel it or punish it with the sword; and there is much glorification of the sword in it. Therefore, the Turks think their Mohammed much higher and greater than Christ, for the office of Christ has ended and Mohammed’s office is still in force.

From this anyone can easily observe that Mohammed is a destroyer of our Lord Christ and His kingdom, and if anyone denies concerning Christ, that He is God’s Son and has died for us, and still lives and reigns at the right hand of God, what has he left of Christ? Father, Son, Holy Ghost, Baptism, the Sacrament, Gospel, Faith and all Christian doctrine and life are gone, and there is left, instead of Christ, nothing more than Mohammed with his doctrine of works and especially of the sword. That is the chief doctrine of the Turkish faith in which all abominations, all errors, all devils are piled up in one heap.

Mohammed treats the Gospel lightly; he declares that it is indeed true, but has long since served its purpose; also that it is too hard to keep, especially on the points where Christ says that one is to leave all for His sake, love God with the whole heart, and the like.

Therefore God has had to give another new law, one that is not so hard and that the world can keep, and this law is the Koran. But if anyone asks why he does no miracles to confirm this new law, he says that that is unnecessary and of no use, for people had many miracles before, when Moses’ law and the Gospel arose, and did not believe. Therefore his Koran did not need to be confirmed by wasted miracles, but by the sword, which is more effective than miracles. Thus it has been, and still is the case among the Turks, that everything is done with the sword, instead of with miracles.

Last, a comment you will see at the bottom of the Blog, Gates of Vienna. I wish ol Martin could come back for a few years and redeem his namesake Church. Much of the fruit of the reformation has fallen very far from the tree.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Hang on to your Hats - the Wind of Heresy Strikes Again

Heresies blow across the landscape like a nor'easter every so often. DaVinci Code was one such.

Now there is a new one.


James Cameron (of Titanic Fame) has lent himself to this.

All this according to THIS article. Now, in warning, it could be a bad joke, this is Purim and Jews love a good practical joke during Purim. Or, like DaVinci it could be another attempt to discredit the Claims of Christ.

No matter which it's out there. Don't buy it. Don't believe it. That's why the Bible says, That we are to no longer be children tossed about by every wind of doctrine. Most Christians who live far below their spiritual potential by choice are suckers for this kind of thing. Without the Holy Spirit alive and overflowing in them they fall prey to every breeze that blows. The restrainer doesn't reside in them.

It's time to grow up Church. Ephesians 4:13-15 says:

..until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ

Sorry my friends who don't yet walk in the fullness of the Holy Ghost. That's what pulled punches Christianity will get you. Tossed around, blown here and there, and deceived. If you are a Pastor, you will have your flock blown this way and that without the fullness of the Spirit.

The Fullness means the Fullness. All NINE spiritual gifts. One of which is Discernment. Without it you and your congregation are sitting ducks in a shooting gallery for the devil.

Space Aliens Seek Answers

There are four great questions that every sentient being asks themselves.

  1. Who am I?
  2. Where did I come from?
  3. What Should I do?
  4. Where am I going?

These questions are at the edge of self awareness (sentience) and must be pursued for answers for
life to have meaning and purpose. That's why IF there are spacemen flying around our planet that people seem to see from time to time, they are exploring these four great questions.

I have been asked, "What would it mean to Christendom if a spaceship with the little green men were to land in full view on the earth. Wouldn't that prove that what we believe is suspect?"

The answer is NO!

Like scientists from earth they would be exploring to try to prove or disprove theories at the core of which is an attempt to answer with finality the four great questions.

  1. Who am I?
  2. Where did I come from?
  3. What Should I do?
  4. Where am I going?

They would be on a quest looking for answers. Answers only found in the creator of the universe they travel. No matter where they look the answer is infinitely simple and infinitely complex.

If (and I
actually hope when) a spaceship lands on earth I want to be there to help those aliens find the answer to the questions that drove them across the galaxies. I know his name. Just because they have come to the place where they can traverse light years with aplomb doesn't answer the questions of sentience. Many good sincere people in our science labs and exploration teams seek the same answers. They discount for a while the answers that are presented by the Spirit. Eventually either here or on the other side they will discover the answer.

I have known aliens who I helped find the answers for and it changed their lives as it did mine:

  1. Who am I?
  2. Where did I come from?
  3. What Should I do?
  4. Where am I going?

We can know for certain and when we do we will walk in absolute confidence and purpose for the rest of our lives.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Even if you could, Would YOU?

Late the other night I was watching some movie on TV; It starred Ashton Kucher.
I don't know him except he is married to someone famous. I think he is mostly famous
for that . It's not his acting.

The movie was about "The Butterfly Effect". I couldn't stay awake to watch the whole thing so I rented the DVD. I needed to see how it ended up. Yikes.

The idea was that if you could go back and change something bad that happened in the past would you and if you did what would that change today? If you rent the movie as I did, be aware, it is not a moral movie, it is laced with the F word. It is violent and disturbing to say the least.

It also made me reflect. IF I had the power to go back and undo some
single action from my past what would it be and how would it change my present reality.

For instance, IF I could go back in time to 1959 and stop my parents from taking the Truck Trip to Duluth that resulted in their death, would I? If I did what difference would it make today? I probably wouldn't be married to Peggy, None of the Children I have today would be there. Others would. You see, we were supposed to be moving to Florida (according to my Aunt Ruth).

My life would have been radically and permanently different.

Then there are regrets for really dumb things I did to others in the past. If I went back and changed those single events I might not have the regrets but perhaps the spiritual renewal I have experienced wouldn't be so profound. Maybe their lives would take a change for the worse because of that. Or the better. No one knows.

Like the song Amazing Grace, "That saved a Wretch like ME" really fits some of my life.

So, in permanent reflection I have to say my life is what it is for better or worse. If I have regrets there's repentance and forgiveness. If my actions changed other people's lives they are who they are. We all work out our situation the best we can.

I am thankful for the capacity to
look forward , forgetting what lies behind. There is NO OTHER OPTION. Regret is a tool of the Devil to bring up forgiven sin.

I once was lost, but now I'm found, was blind but now I see.

The Kicker is on Ice

I have the conclusion to the essay on Leadership in the Church on ice. I want to be absolutely certain that it is scholarly and accurate so the readers will understand I didn't make any of this up or that it is "just my opinon".

While I use statements in scripture to draw some conclusions that can be drawn, the idea of who is and who is not
qualified to be a leader of a ministry or church according to the standards set in the first 100 years after Jesus is a difficult and painful issue. I am shocked by the reality of how far we've drifted from the Biblical mandate for how leadership should be selected and put in place. We are far too casual and accepting of unqualified leadership.

I'll finish the essay carefully. Only Then will I'll publish. If toes get stepped on based on what I quote from scripture I want people to be certain who actually stepped on those toes.

It won't have been me.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Qualified to Lead? - Part 4 - Proto-leadership

Up to this point we have looked at the qualifiers of leaders we should be, the kind of leaders we should avoid now from the Word of God lets see if we can take some hints for the kinds of leaders we must seek out to help, lead, direct, plan, organize, coordinate and keep on track the church or ministry God has placed us in charge of. While the characteristics of the men and women I will cite below can have crossover from one to another, there are consistencies and evidences of the overall kinds of people you and I want to surround ourselves with. I call them Proto-Leaders.

When we are going to build a new machine to do a specific job we will create a prototype. A first off example of what we hope to replicate. That is what we can do by examining those people who were effective at leadership in the early church. Prototype Leadership.

If we find our leadership team lacking or weak it’s best to do what manufacturers do, go back to the prototype and see what the original intent was. I have found 12.

Let’s see what examples for excellence in spiritual leadership looks like:

Barnabas - Encouraging Builder and Defender.
Barnabas was generous, perhaps a person of wealth, he was able to move in social circles. He supported Saul before the Apostles. He traveled with Paul after commissioning. He defended John Mark before Paul. He was always there for people. Faithful, loyal and encouraging. Willing to go out on a limb for others.

A Barnabas is always trying to introduce you to others and others to others. He is running interference. He doesn't take lightly the place he holds as building up the body of Christ in encouragement. Look for the gifted edifiers in your midst. You need them as part of the team.

Silas. Got your back and not looking for position.
Silas was a Roman. Silvanus. But when he became a Christian he suffered chains with Paul. He worshipped in spite of the chains. Not complaining. Not trying for first position. He had laid down much to be part of the team. Faithful and steady and loyal to the cause.

You have such men, they just want to be able to help bring things along. They are faithful even when it gets tough. The Silvanus' in your life will labor along side you taking the same beatings, worship anyway and never complain.

Stephan - Full of Faith and Power with a servants heart.
When put into a place of waiting tables he worked hard at it and became the target of the persecutors of the early church. Martyred. What makes Stephan's story and character interesting is even though his job was the table, he exuded truths of the kingdom. He couldn't keep silent. That powerful testimony eventually cost his life.

He died with his eyes on Jesus. The faith and power in his life served as a template for others to meet persecution with joy and confidence.

Men and women among you who are full of this faith, power and confidence who are willing to serve are to be examples in the body of Christ of what it means to really be sold out for Jesus. Some will criticize them. That doesn’t' mean they are wrong. It just means they are different. Consider such for leadership roles. You need this positive leaven.

Crispus and Titius Judas - Converts willing to take the heat.
Probably not household words but good examples in any case of the type of Leaders of to look for. These were leaders in the synagogue in Corinth. Titius Judas was a Jew. Perhaps the leader of the synagogue. Crispus was a Gentile who was a follower of God in the Jewish tradition. There is no information how either of them came into the faith in Jesus, who first or who second. But they were certainly leaders of the church at Corinth. The local Pharisee community gave them a lot of trouble. And the church they led was difficult to lead. They knew how to take heat. They were willing to suffer the humiliation of affiliation with the "Way" and not to worry about it. The former things were former.

If you have people who come from a different religious tradition, they have depth. They understand that some from the tradition of their past will see them as wrong and reject them. If they are able to stand the heat they are good candidates for leadership.

Apollos - Effective Charismatic and Teachable Powerhouse
The Apollos in your life is going to always be great to have around, he holds lots of promise, he is a great teacher, he is influential. Sometimes these good men and women are somewhat misdirected or unable to go deeper. But if they are teachable and will take direction they can carry out the mission of God in your Church for a long way. Never see him as a threat. He is a workhorse and well equipped.

John Mark – Imperfect but redeemed
John Mark was there with Jesus. He wrote the book of Acts. He was present at Pentecost. He traveled with Paul, Barnabas and others. His lack of courage to continue with Paul became a point of contention between Barnabas and Paul. Mark was not welcomed to work with Paul for a while. The day came however when he was welcomed and Mark did work to redeem himself.

Some leaders fumble the ball. The tendency is to write them off. They can’t be trusted. That was the case with Mark. The fact is a second chance when they are ready will be not only worthwhile but you might find the Marks in your midst solid and loyal when they pick up the baton again.

Don’t write the Marks in your midst off. Wait, train, stay steady. That slightly timid or shaky one might turn out to be a trusted associate someday in the future.

Priscilla and Aquilla – Hospitable Business Partners
This couple had a tent factory. They supported Paul, Led Apollos into the Baptism of Jesus and of the Holy Ghost, traveled with Paul and in general used their skill to build the kingdom at that time.
They didn’t do it from worldly skill as much as from the anointing that was on their business and ministry. They had a ministry of helping other ministers.

You will have well trained, experience, savvy people in your midst with deep spiritual discernment. They are a source of hospitality, opening their home, offering a safe port in the storm of ministry, encouraging, sometimes correcting and always supportive. The tendency is to overlook the gift they bring in themselves. How can they run a business, having never led a church, been to seminary and still help develop spiritual depth in others who are active in the pulpit. That is the ministry of these people in your midst. You disengage them at your risk.

The Apostle Paul – Bold and Able
It’s easy to overlook the humanity of Paul. There is so much to admire about him, his work, his influence, his call, his apostleship. We over-admire him. He struggled with the same issues we all do; Anger, pride, resentment, bullheadedness, regret and a hundred other human characteristics.

If you have a Paul (Apostle or not) in your midst you know he will call you out. He won’t let you get away with things. He’ll be there for you but you also know he will sometimes come off harshly. If you take offense he won’t feel sorry for you. The kingdom is more important to him than your feelings. Hear him. He may not be good on your board. He will be good to hear. You certainly will want him to preach and teach. To have such a man in your midst and not use him to his full capacity robs the house of God. His spiritual gifts are many and rich. But they aren’t for him to keep hidden. He has shaken the dust off his feet before and if set aside will again. His call is the kingdom of God and taking back ground from the Devil. Value him, hear him, and let him do what he does as long as he is among you.

Bluntly, most ministry leaders couldn’t deal with an apostle Paul in their midst very long. Either they would defer to him and forfeit their leadership completely or they would put him aside or even out and never get the benefit of this great gift. There is balance. Find it.

Phillip – Obedient to the Spirit in Revival
I know Phillip is called an evangelist. He is. But I think in today’s terms he’s a revivalist. He loved being in the middle of a move of God. He wanted to see God causing people to ask “What hindereth me to be baptized?”

You have people in your midst who are hungry and passionate to see God move. They talk about it, they think about it, they go where revival is going on. They never quit. Poke them at 3AM and they can rehearse what God is doing or about to do.

They will fire the flame of revival in your heart and in the hearts of others. This is not an empty hope; this is a passion that ignites long dead coals. They stir up the Spirit. If you have this person in your midst you do yourself a favor by having them in leadership to hold the promise and vision of the move of God in your midst. You need to hear this more than anyone.

Timothy – A Workman Unashamed
Much has been written about and to Timothy. Many pages of instructions on who and what criteria to put in the church for leadership were written to him. He was well trained. Spiritual Son of Paul the apostle. What isn’t noted as much is the workman, steady, faithful character of this young man. From a youth he left his Grandmother and Mother and traveled with Paul. Paul put him in charge of different churches.

Sometimes we have Timothys in our churches. Hard loyal workers. Willing and able to do what needs to be done. The good news is if you have such a one you can depend on him. The bad news is you might overburden him. Keep the Timothys in your church in place working. He will evolve into a mature leader you can trust. His payoff is being there and carrying the load. Encourage him to become able in teaching and the word. Sometimes the Timothy leaders depend on deeds more than doctrine.

But if the Timothys have a theme song its, “Lean on Me”.

You can.

The 12 Disciples at Ephesus – Building Blocks in Ministry
In a previous post I talked about what could have happened if these men had rejected Paul’s visit. But they didn’t. They went into training and if Ephesians 4 is any evidence they matured into a team of ministry gifted men developing others for the ministry. Paul taught them and they taught others. Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers.

I mention this as a group because you have in your midst men and women who have potential, who need development, release, prophetic identification, and instruction. From them will come the 5 fold ministry gifts your church needs. They are leaders in that they carry the Gift of God in them. They are a gift to the Body.

Don’t ignore them, don’t wait for them to step up, identify them, ask the prophet to help, and then as they blossom engage them in the gift God put in them.

You can build a powerful work of God in this way.

Tomorrow, the common essentials in All 12 of these prototypical gifted leaders you must find in your fellowship.

The Hound Dog Named Publicity

Brittany Spears shaves her head. The press goes ga ga over it. Lots of footage. Lots of speculation about her mental condition.

I could use a little free press. So, maybe I'll shave my head. Maybe!
It all depends on the press. If they show up with enough cameras


OK I won't. But I think it's sad, even pitiful what Ms Spears is doing for attention. Fame is fleeting and deceitful. I think about her, Anna Nicole Smith, Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and hundreds of other young women selling their soul for acceptance and attention.

And we are the buyers.

Shame on us!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Are You Qualified to Lead? – Toxic Leaders - Part 3 (Updated)

If you are a pastor or a ministry leader you have heard tales of someone who will “Steal Your Church”. Or those who will destroy the work of God you are in charge of doing.

So, you try hard to discern who you can trust, who you can put in leadership positions and who might be dangerous if they were in leadership.

Some Pastors put people in leadership without thinking about what the Bible has to say about who NOT to install.

Using the admonition of Paul to Timothy, lay hands on no man suddenly. Wait, watch, see, measure, and then by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit install.

Here are 10 different toxic people who could destroy your ministry if they were in leadership. Again all of these are from the word of God but like me as I review them again names and faces from the past come up before me:

1. Pretending Parroters
These are people who say the right words, who have watched TV or read a book and say what they heard or read. They may have heard others say what they say and they sound pretty good. But it’s all hollow. With a tip of the hat to Steve Scott these are empty headed men and women without an original idea that think by parroting what others say they will advance their cause. The worst are those who are basically rubber stamp yes men without the ability to ask a hard question, pose an unique perspective or cast a fresh vision unless they heard someone else say it. Worse yet if they just say what the chief leader says in order to curry favor. Pretenders.

That was the case with the seven sons of Sceva in Acts 19:13-16. They were out parroting Paul in the ministry of exorcism. Except they weren’t qualified. And they were beaten badly. Now, most of the time when this story is told it’s as a warning to people not to enter into something they are not qualified for. There is a deeper problem uncovered here. Whoever had the demon or the people caring for them had brought that person to these boys. They had already established by words the idea that they carried authority they didn’t. If they hadn’t been set back by the devil many would have been carried away by pretenders. Look out for the reader of a book who doesn’t minister in authenticity.

2. Thin Skinned People taking Offense at Everything
Jesus said that in the last days people would be offended at him. Some people just are ticked off by anything. If I see someone who takes offense at too many things too often they are stricken from the list of possibles. The opposite of this is the confrontation of Paul and Peter regarding circumcision. It was a knock down drag out battle. Paul describes the nature of it in Galatians 2:11-21.

If Peter read this after Paul wrote it and was a thin skinned person he would have cut Peter off. But the leadership in the Church in the early days were bound in unity by the Holy Spirit and love for Jesus. There was no offense to equal the offense of the Cross for the perfect man. Nothing was that big a deal to cause people to get all uptight about.

So, if you have a person who might be a good leader potential but they keep being offended over things big or small they are dangerous and should be kept out of leadership.

3. Teachers of Strange Doctrine
This is a two headed beast. There are some who aspire to leadership who teach things without understanding and with confident assertions that are just weird. Sometimes they are actually interesting. Sometimes they are titillating. The whole Mary Magdalene thing of last year with DaVinci code or the Gospel of Judas. Or some of the Mormon teachings about Jesus and the Aztecs in the new world. Or some of the alien spacecraft teachings that actually goes on in the Church. All strange, all fun, but all dangerous to have going on with a leader. You can hear much of this kind of thing on overnight radio on Coast to Coast with George Nory or Art Bell. It causes confusion. 1 Timothy 1:3-7

The other strange doctrine head is in 1 Timothy 1:9-10. Sometimes strange doctrine comes in the form of compromise of the world system and the word of God. This caused me to leave a denominational church 30 years ago when I heard them DEBATING issues like are these things right or wrong: Why should we allow censorship of movies and TV in the light of free speech?, Is abortion always wrong?, When is Euthanasia ok?, Is it OK to have an affair if the person I'm sleeping with is more spiritual than my spouse, I mean we even pray together?, Why can’t Homosexuals be Ministers?, Shouldn’t the state have the power to teach evolution rather than Creation in Public Schools?, Is the Media really liberal or is that just what Conservatives think?, The ACLU is good for Christianity or not?

If you think I’m kidding, look at this reference and read it, I have defined all the compromise doctrines this church taught or debated in order in the verse as it appears in the New American Standard Bible. Look out for those who want to debate compromise. They appear intellectual and wise but they are snakes in the grass.

4. Church Splitters
Paul instructs in 1 Timothy 6:3-5 to look out for those who are mixers, stirring up divisions. There will be divisions even among those seeking God, but there will be people who will exploit and fuel the fire by stirring them up. They look for controversy, disputes. They take half-truths and spread them. Sometimes they are doing it because they want to split the church and become Pastor (with a salary) at “NEWCHURCH”. I wish these folks would wear a Tee Shirt saying, “I’m here to split your church”. They don’t. Sometimes what’s worse is they come from your leaders. This person doesn’t get this level of influence unless you allowed it. When the fire starts you must put it out at once. Take control. If you have a person who looks to mix it up, stir people up, exploiting the divisions in any church that is a danger sign.

5. Impostors
2 Timothy 3:2-9.
These are easy to spot and hard to handle. They are arrogant, religious types. The mantra they have is , “I was raised in the church, I was born a Christian”. They talk a good game but are sinful at the core. You know it after spending a little time with them. They don’t love the brethren, they love worldly pleasure. They usually come from a traditional Christian church background. Historical Christianity. Born saved. No real conversion from anything. Hard to tell if they ever were really saved at all. They love all the trappings of religion but they deny and eschew any potential for life changes or effect by the blood of Jesus. They are the classical people who “having form of religion but denying the power thereof” Christians. Many times they are easiest to spot with the mean spirited way they deal with other Christians. Not leadership material.

6. Big Talkers
The letter to Titus has a warning about Big Talkers. You know these people. Non-Stopping Radio Mouths. Try to get a word in edgewise. They are full of half-truths. Never blatant lies. Half truths. They stir up factions. They call other people names, even have demeaning nicknames for others rather than respectful. The core of their being is rebellion. They look for ways to use the tongue God gave them to build fires. James chapters 3 and 4 talks much about this Spirit. If you have someone who is constantly overrunning their headlights in action or conversation that is a danger signal.

7. Prophets who Aren’t
The anointing breaks the yoke. Anything less is annoying not anointed. 2 Peter 1:21 and 2:1-3 have clear warnings and measurements about people who claim a gifting but have no fruit. The issue is harmony with the revealed word of God. A false prophet without the Spirit of the Living God in him or her will drift into introduction of heresies that will eventually lead to denying the truth of who Jesus is. We are instructed not to despise or suppress the prophetic but we are to judge and watch for the warnings in 2 Peter. This is an area it’s easy to throw out babies with the bath water. We must have the prophetic voice in a church or it will die. But it must be a genuine prophetic voice. Watch for heresies. Watch for what the prophets say about Jesus. There’s the clue.

8. Dependant on Worldly Wisdom
Here is one of the most pernicious traps churches and Pastors fall into. The banker who is clever in financing is put in charge of the building program. The lawyer who has done some cute deals is put on the executive committee. The contractor who knows how to find bargain building materials gets the roofing done for half. The accountant who is a senior partner in a big firm is put in charge of the Budget of the Church. The danger is those who are wise in the ways of the world are put into authority and depend on their worldly wisdom for solving problems rather than the power and wisdom of God. This has the potential to evolve into an anti-Christ Spirit. 1 John 2:15-20 warns of this. It usually starts in the Church and comes out from among them. Some of the great church movements of the past were put to death by professionals that brought the wisdom of the world in and put out the wisdom formerly found in the Holy Ghost.

Now for all you pastors screaming at me at this point, IF you have someone able to set aside his or her worldly problem solving ability and seek God openly in the Holy Ghost I would say, keep that person. But if you are solving problems, dealing with issues because of worldly education and profession you run the risk of an Anti-Christ spirit rising up.

It looks like this in the end, “Why do we need Jesus, we have enough smart and clever men in leadership we can do anything”.

That is the peak of hubris and will be the beginning of downfall.

9. Control Freaks
3 John 9-11 talks openly about leaders who love to be the top dog. They love big titles. They love being in charge. Everyone else is wrong and he is right according to him. He doesn’t receive newcomers and new ideas well. He accuses others particularly in leadership of having a bad or evil spirit. He tries to get others expelled or set aside who disagrees with his controlling efforts.

This guy is real danger and if you have such a one on your board or even as a pastor, fire him today. He is a cork in the level of anointing for your church.

10. Those Without the Holy Spirit
Jude 4 talks of those who give license to immorality. They make stupid mocking fun of things with a coarseness that embarrasses. They are lust filled. Comments about others indicate the lust the feel. They pick fights with others. These are men who do NOT have any measure of the Holy Spirit restraining them. They are wild dogs on the loose in your Church. While it may be obvious not to put them in leadership, be careful that someone already in leadership doesn’t start developing this caviler attitude or demeanor. It a danger sign and worse it can be contagious.

Tomorrow now that we have dealt with who Should NOT be in leadership, we will look at some GOOD examples of proper leadership from the Acts and beyond. There are plenty. We shouldn’t have to struggle with this issue.

Then on Wednesday. The Single greatest factor that qualifies or disqualifies anyone for leadership. ONE attribute that if it’s missing probably makes your or anyone’s leadership illegitimate.

I’m sorry in advance for toes I am stepping on. This is a general publication intended for a broad range of church leaders who will read this. Certainly as I write I see faces and names before me from time to time. But trying hard to stick to the word of God I believe with all my heart that what I am saying is scriptural and accurate. I hope you will have open ears to hear what the Spirit of God is saying.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Tokyo Rose Lives

Last summer the newspapers reported that Tokyo Rose had died. She lived in Chicago.

Her messages to demoralize the troops were pretty straightforward and simple.

There were only three main themes:
  1. You will lose this war
  2. Your Government is Lying to you
  3. Your Family wants you to come home
Doesn't that sound familiar. I thought she died. NO, wait, that's the liberals in congress and the press who say that now.

And you thought I didn't believe in reincarnation.

Are You Qualified? – Pt 2

In yesterday’s discussion we talked of qualifiers for spiritual leadership, Servants Heart, without public sin, and a redeemed soul.

Today we are going to look at some rejoinders from scripture on what NOT to do. What makes any spiritual leader unqualified? What are the characteristics that have the potential to trip up a church board or a Pastor when he is considering whom he wants on his leadership team?

I could give several personal life examples of the wrongheaded installation of leaders who were unqualified. Worse than that I have examples of where a Pastor or Leader put in place a person who was unqualified but did it anyway. I have one example that actually killed off a whole church. This is serious business and should be taken seriously. I will restrain myself to describe these unqualifiers from Biblical examples alone.

The principle is; many churches, pastors and denominations are too quick to lay hands on someone without first measuring well whether or if they fit according to the word of God. Paul instructed Timothy as he was leading the churches he Pastored NOT to lay hands on anyone quickly. Test them, watch them.

After you read this list of disqualifiers you might ask, “who is qualified”? That will have to wait until tomorrow. There are some core qualifications. They are NOT what you think. In fact most of what the world of denominational doctrinal decision making in this area is completely at odds with God’s word. To put it bluntly, if a denomination puts someone in leadership by a vote or thru some program question it twice and then once more. Sometimes a blind sow does find an acorn. They might be qualified, but it’s usually an accident.

The early church struggled with all kinds of messy things and it seems that much writing back and forth had to do with what made up a good versus bad leader. In reviewing carefully the writings of various authors in the New Testament I have come to the conclusion that most of the warnings were NOT about Church Members but were about leaders. The warnings are too specific and besides if it simply were a Church member it would be about how to get them back to the mercy and grace of Christ. Paul wrote about some of those in First Corinthians. These warnings are more specific and more direct. It’s about bad leaders.

Here are warnings about unqualified kinds of people NEVER to put in leadership:

1. Good Givers simply because they are good givers. This in my opinion is the single biggest reason churches struggle. It’s about the money. When I was a pastor I never wanted to know what anyone gave. I wanted to assume everyone gave everything. I wanted to create leadership based on more biblical evidence than the balance sheet on their giving statement. Yet, MOST churches elder boards and leadership are comprised of the biggest givers or potential givers. In Acts Chapter 4:36-37 is the story of Barnabas who sold his land and laid all the proceeds at the foot of the disciples. Apocryphally the story is told that Barnabas was in fact the Rich Young Ruler in Luke 18:18-23. That he repented after the crucifixion and resurrection and was in the upper room at Pentecost. There is no evidence for that but I hope it’s true. It makes the story so much better. That big gift of sacrifice didn’t automatically elevate Barnabas church leadership. It did reveal his heart. He later did become a church leader but more about that later and why it happened.

Watching this were Annanias and Sapphirah, People of some means
evidently. They too sold land as Barnabas had; they brought money and laid it at the disciple’s feet. They told the Disciples it was everything they had come into. It wasn’t. They died because of the lie. This happened at the beginning of Acts 5.

What was the motivation? Status, leadership, elevation, position. Their ambition killed them.

When someone touts what they give, how they give, when they give I get suspicious. I like the old Black Baptist idea of giving with the right hand and keeping the left hand behind your back. The idea being, don’t let your right hand know what your left hand is doing. Sure, it’s silly in the natural but the idea it conveys is valid.

A person who is a big giver should never be put in a position of leadership unless they qualify in other ways and even better. Money can be a deciever. Look at Barnabas; Big giver but better qualified otherwise as time bore out.

I wouldn’t also place into leadership someone who has the means to give but thru selfishness or lack of understanding doesn’t give.

They have to work together. Money does not make one qualified and it can lead to being Unqualified.

2. An unteachable person who is talented but wrongheaded. Apollos could have been such a man. A really good man: Eloquent, mighty in knowledge of the scripture, fervent, well taught in the basics, what he taught was accurate, he was bold when in the Synagogue but he was short of the mark. He needed to be taught a more excellent way. This story ends well. You can read about it in Acts 18:24-28. If you have led ministries very long you have met some Apollos people. They are charming, charismatic and effective. They are also shallow and lacking in understanding. It would have been a shipwreck to put Apollos in leadership of a ministry. It would have been terrible to put Apollos on the church board. He would have been leading and contesting the whole board with great persuasion based on inch deep understanding.

The person you have in your midst with great talent but short in understanding has potential if he or she is teachable. That doesn’t mean they have to agree with you all the time. It does mean that they hear you, will wrestle with you, will prove out what they teach so you can deal with it. Sometimes the Apollos comes to bring a new level of what God has for you. Many times the young and fired up Apollos is exactly what the church needs to get you off dead center. But an unteachable Apollos no matter how talented he or she is: unqualified.

3. Tradition Bound Leaders: The board that was there when you came to Pastor the Church or take over the ministry. There is a comfort in leaving in place all the board members, elders or staff, leaders that were there when you came. It is less disruptive. It is far less painful. Besides you might lose some and some may even be good tithers.

If you do you will be leading with a mindset that says, “I was here before you came, I put you in, I can take you out”.

Paul the Apostle came to Ephesus in what is today Turkey. There was a “Church” of sorts in place. They were disciples of John the Baptist; They had been baptized by John. They had all his books and tapes. You can read about this in Chapter 19 of the book of Acts. They met together for training in the doctrines they had. Paul meets up with them.

Now the story could have gone either way; In many traditional churches the story would go as follows:
  • Paul: How’s it going? How's the Church doing? What do you believe?
  • Disciples: We are disciples of John here. We're doing great.
  • Paul: What about Jesus?
  • Disciples: Heard of him. Think he’s good but we have been a John Church, we've got all the John Tapes. My daddy was a John Church member. I was born into the John Church. We think it’s OK if others want to believe in the Jesus Church and all that. But we are John People. We were born John Church, Baptised John Church, will live and die as John Church Members.
  • Paul: But, Have you received the Holy Ghost since you believed?
  • Disciples: We don’t know about that and we don’t want to. We are happy the way things are. You must think we are all supposed to speak in tongues or get the Holy Ghost or something. We have the Baptism of John and that’s enough for us. We’re just fine.
  • Paul: OK, then, Bye
  • Disciples: Glad that guy’s gone, he might have caused division among us.
Unity in falsehood will ultimately lead to disunity without the Spirit of God in His fullness.

And then there would be no letter to the Church at Ephesus (Ephesians) or a letter to them by Jesus in Revelation. They would have died in whatever religious tradition they had stagnated in. The good news is it didn’t happen that way. The church at Ephesus became a powerful church. In fact the whole chapter of Ephesians Chapter 4 addresses the very leaders he encounters in Acts 19 and who Paul leaves in charge of the Ephesian Church in Acts 20:1.

Pastors who come into a church of religious people who were there before he came and plan to be there after he leaves MUST start over. Must evaluate those elders and leaders based on a theologically sound basis and not on the fact that they have long history in leadership. Simply having historical placement as a leader can mean they are
still Unqualified.

Tomorrow: Warnings against the kinds of toxic people who clamor for leadership and who destroy ministries and churches. They were all over the place in the first hundred years. They still are!