God's Truth In Love

Archive for February, 2019|Monthly archive page

Why My Church is NOT Growing – Part 20 – Exclusivity

In Chrisitan Lifestyle, Church Growth, Compassion, Disunity, Exclusivity, Renewal, Repentance, Revival, Rhema Words, Righteousness, Truth, Uncategorized, Wisdom on February 28, 2019 at 9:00 am

At the beginning of 2019 we took on a different approach to finishing both our series on Church Growth, or lack thereof, and the Study of the Book of Proverbs. Instead of alternating weekly between two subjects, as we have in the past, we are proceeding this year by carrying one subject to completion and then next to completion. Please be assured we will finish each subject, Church Growth and Proverbs. We will wrap up the series, “Why My Church is NOT Growing” with the last three postings focused on exclusivity and disunity (disunity will be published in two parts).

Why My Church is NOT Growing – Part 20 – Exclusivity

The church congregation should be a place characterized by love, acceptance, and inclusiveness. Yet sadly, so many congregations are found to be characterized by “clicks” which creates an environment of exclusivity.

Exclusivity in the Merriam-Webster’s dictionary is defined as:

1 : the quality or state of being exclusive

2 : exclusive rights or services

Exclusive in the Webster’s dictionary is defined as:

1 : reserved for particular persons

2 : snobbishly aloof; also :

Take a few moments an honestly discern what is taking place in your own congregation. Do you find yourself or your group choosing to allow only yourself certain rights, services, or advantages in which other people in the congregation are not allowed to partake? Have you found ways to justify cutting people out of certain events? If you have partaken in this type of behavior then let me ask you a question, “Who made you god?”

Here are more subtle forms of exclusivity that you might find in a church congregation. Making your bible study just for your group. Your small group does not have room for anyone else because you have become comfortable with who is in it and do not want to add anyone else. Your group of friends all work for the same company so you have that in common and accepting someone new that perhaps works for another company is uncomfortable. Our couples group consists of people who all like the same things, we at the same level of incomes, we all have children, and come from the same type of culture; someone from their economic class and without children would not feel comfortable in our group. Lastly, the mother of all justifications regarding exclusivity, we are all the leaders of the church and therefore must remain to ourselves.

How it must grieve the Spirit of God among us when we choose exclusivity over inclusiveness. When we vex the Spirit of God, either as individuals, a group, or the Body we diminish our effectiveness greatly, if not lose it all together. The very act of exclusivity is contrary to a variety of ways Scripture instructs us to deal with one another as members of the same Body of Christ.

Ephesians 4:25–32 (NKJV)

Do Not Grieve the Spirit

25 Therefore, putting away lying, Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. 26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil. 28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. 29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

Throughout this study if you need the wisdom of God on a matter, and you wish to receive the counsel of another Believer in Christ, please use the “comments” link to send your question to me.

Spiritual/Political Disclaimer:

This blog will not be for the faint of heart or the easily offended. It will not be in any way politically correct. It will make every effort to share the truth in love, [Ephesians 4:11-16], to a decaying and dying society and church. I share what I share not to hurt, harm, or offend any person[s] or group; I do it because Christ’s Standard and Truth is not being represented by enough of His Followers, and I do it out of love. I love enough to tell His Truth.

Ephesians 4:11-16 NKJV

11And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

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Why My Church is NOT Growing – Part 19 – What is our problem with authority?

In Abuse, Advice, Authority, Biblical Principles, Chrisitan Lifestyle, Christian Living, Church Growth, Religious Freedom, Remnant, Renewal, Repentance, Revival, Trust, Truth, Uncategorized, Wisdom on February 21, 2019 at 8:51 am

At the beginning of 2019 we took on a different approach to finishing both our series on Church Growth, or lack thereof, and the Study of the Book of Proverbs. Instead of alternating weekly between two subjects, as we have in the past, we will proceed this year by carrying one subject to completion and then next to completion. Please be assured we will finish each subject, Church Growth and Proverbs. We will begin by finishing the series, “Why My Church is NOT Growing” with the focus for the next several weeks placed upon the issue of how “authority” affects church growth.

Why My Church is NOT Growing – Part 19 – What is our problem with authority?

There are so many people in the world who have a real problem with authority. These individuals more often than not have been wounded by people who abused their authority and position in the individual life. This is the heart of our problem with authority as a group and as a society. The abuse and misuse of authority by those who were once trusted.

The bosses did mistreat and overwork the employees. They stole their ideas and called them their own. The mothers did abuse, beat, verbally assault, and neglect their children. Their children in turn grew up and did likewise to their own children, albeit not as severely. The daddies did molest their daughters and break their trust of all men in the process. The Christian spiritual leaders did use their flock for money, power, and prestige leaving some among them in great need and grossly disappointed. Spiritual leaders attempted to control their people to the degree they misused the women for their personal sexual pleasure and left an entire group wounded and spiritually broken. The husband did beat, lie to, verbally abuse, cheat on, and mistreat his wife and call on her to submit and endure such as part of her duty to him. This left the women confused, emotionally abandoned, and alone. On and on I could go with all the reasons we could mistrust authority or do mistrust authority. These examples certainly show what our problem with authority actual looks like and why. With all that laid bare, I still call us to repentance.

If we have misused our authority, we must repent. If we are refusing proper authority a chance in our lives because of the sins of past authority, we must repent. We must as a group, as The Church, begin to live with one another using our authority in a godly manner and submitting to our godly authority appropriately and willingly. It is only through those right relationships that God can work in an ideal fashion.

This concludes the writings on “authority” and its factor in church growth or lack thereof. The next couple of sections, “disunity” and “exclusivity,” will wrap up “Why My Church is NOT Growing.” I pray these writings have been a blessing to you and will be used of God to aid your healthy godly church growth.

Throughout this study if you need the wisdom of God on a matter, and you wish to receive the counsel of another Believer in Christ, please use the “comments” link to send your question to me.

Spiritual/Political Disclaimer:

This blog will not be for the faint of heart or the easily offended. It will not be in any way politically correct. It will make every effort to share the truth in love, [Ephesians 4:11-16], to a decaying and dying society and church. I share what I share not to hurt, harm, or offend any person[s] or group; I do it because Christ’s Standard and Truth is not being represented by enough of His Followers, and I do it out of love. I love enough to tell His Truth.

Ephesians 4:11-16 NKJV

11And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

Why My Church is NOT Growing – Part 18 – Can authority be trusted?

In Abuse, Authority, Biblical Principles, Chrisitan Lifestyle, Christian Living, Church Growth, Decision Making, Godly Counsel, Prudence, Renewal, Repentance, Revival, Trust, Truth, Uncategorized, Wisdom on February 13, 2019 at 4:37 pm

At the beginning of 2019 we took on a different approach to finishing both our series on Church Growth, or lack thereof, and the Study of the Book of Proverbs. Instead of alternating weekly between two subjects, as we have in the past, we will proceed this year by carrying one subject to completion and then next to completion. Please be assured we will finish each subject, Church Growth and Proverbs. We will begin by finishing the series, “Why My Church is NOT Growing” with the focus for the next several weeks placed upon the issue of how “authority” affects church growth.

Why My Church is NOT Growing – Part 18 – Can authority be trusted?

An honest appraisal and answer to the question of whether authority can be trusted or not is simply, not always. Authority is not always godly in nature and therefore, not always worthy of our trust. This is where our need for discernment comes into play.

God has granted His people the ability to discern the spiritual nature of those we are dealing with on a daily basis. That said we must always keep in mind that our ability to discern properly would depend upon our spiritual condition at any given moment. Let us presume that a person’s spiritual condition is godly, and they are submitted to the authority of God. In those conditions, one must use their discernment to determine whether a person in a position of authority is using that authority to point people to a greater understanding of Christ and to godliness or if they are using their authority for personal gain and worldly ambition.

2 Corinthians 10:8 King James (AV)

8 For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed:

1 Peter 5:2–3 (NKJV)

2 Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; 3 nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;

We find within the DNA of godly leadership a desire to build up, not destroy. A desire to teach truths not simply command conformity. There should be a desire within these leaders to care for those in their charge, not a sense of mere obligation to do so. If money is the motivator for a leader with authority, then they shall surely be affected by their greed to the point of being untrustworthy.

You can like a pastor without ignoring his obvious character flaws and emulating them, which only leads to your own personal struggles with self. You can love a husband without submitting to his ungodly leadership, which will only lead to the deterioration of your own life and character. You can respect a politician’s views and public service without covering your eyes to his or her compromise, which can place you in a position of supporting governmental changes that are ungodly through your support of the person. In all things, examine these people for godly character and character you deem worthy of emulating.

Throughout this study if you need the wisdom of God on a matter, and you wish to receive the counsel of another Believer in Christ, please use the “comments” link to send your question to me.

Spiritual/Political Disclaimer:

This blog will not be for the faint of heart or the easily offended. It will not be in any way politically correct. It will make every effort to share the truth in love, [Ephesians 4:11-16], to a decaying and dying society and church. I share what I share not to hurt, harm, or offend any person[s] or group; I do it because Christ’s Standard and Truth is not being represented by enough of His Followers, and I do it out of love. I love enough to tell His Truth.

Ephesians 4:11-16 NKJV

11And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

Why My Church is NOT Growing – Part 17 – How should we respond and interact with authority?

In Abuse, Advice, Authority, Chrisitan Lifestyle, Christian Living, Church Growth, Confusion, Godliness, Godly Counsel, Remnant, Renewal, Revival, Truth, Uncategorized, Wisdom on February 13, 2019 at 4:35 pm

At the beginning of 2019 we took on a different approach to finishing both our series on Church Growth, or lack thereof, and the Study of the Book of Proverbs. Instead of alternating weekly between two subjects, as we have in the past, we will proceed this year by carrying one subject to completion and then next to completion. However, please be assured we will finish each subject, Church Growth and Proverbs. We will begin by finishing the series, “Why My Church is NOT Growing” with the focus for the next several weeks placed upon the issue of how “authority” affects church growth.

Why My Church is NOT Growing – Part 17 – How should we respond and interact with authority?

As we examine these questions about Christian Spiritual Authority and Societal Authority it is imperative to keep in mind that you do not want to allow your reflection on this matter to cause you to act inappropriately with said authority. In a healthy relationship or congregational setting there is a balance to be found in both the proper administration of authority and the proper response to and respect for authority, this must always be kept in mind as the goal of these writings, and I pray it is your goal as well.

It is extremely important to be balanced in our approach regarding submission to authority. If we fall to one extreme, we will become nonconformist, in a negative way, insolent and isolated without purpose. If however, we fall to the other extreme we will open ourselves up for spiritual, physical, financial, mental, and emotional abuse and mistreatment. There is a balance to be found in the proper discernment of what is going on around us and happening to us at any given time within our relationships and as we relate to the society around us.

God’s ultimate purpose is being played out around us and in our society. Please note that I stated His “ultimate purpose” not His day-to-day Perfect Will. There is a difference. The primary difference being God’s ideal and God’s awareness. God knows all that is going to happen and all that has happened, but He does not usurp freewill in order to make His Will come to pass. That said, He also does not allow anyone to rise to or fall from a position of power and authority without His awareness and choice not to intervene. The people in certain positions within our society and within the Body of Christ are there for a reason that perhaps only God know, but for a reason, nevertheless.

Romans 13:1 (NKJV) – Note: Read all of chapter 13 for complete understanding and context.

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.

2 Timothy 2:20 (NKJV)

20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor.

Are the previous statements contradictions? No, they are the manner in which God has chosen to interact with His creation since the being of time. Examine the interactions within the Bible from Genesis to Revelation and see God at work in just this way. Did He stop Judas from betrayal, extortion, conspiracy to commit murder, and suicide, all of which are sins? No, He allowed Judas, even used, or allowed Judas to be used, so that His ultimate plan might be fulfilled for mankind’s redemption.

Once again, I want to reiterate that we as Christian’s and personal followers of the Lord Jesus, the Christ, obey God and God’s Word over any authority whether governmental, relational, or spiritual in nature.

Acts 5:29 (NKJV)

29 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.

Quite naturally, man is going to benefit from godly leadership and suffer under the rule of wicked (ungodly or godless) leadership, whether in a church setting, a society, governmental setting, group setting, or family setting – bad, sinful, unwise leadership produces fruitlessness – death instead of life, destruction instead of growth, strife instead of peace, and the like.

Proverbs 29:2 (NKJV)

When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice;

But when a wicked man rules, the people groan.

This is why God’s people must continue to be active in the selection and placement of their governmental and Christian spiritual leaders, and women extremely careful about the men they choose to marry. Without attempting to play your part in the selection and election process of these leaders, one cannot expect to have a say before man or God about the outcome. Involvement that is directed by and ordered under the direction of God is vital to the godly health of our nation, local church congregations, families, and ministries.

Throughout this study if you need the wisdom of God on a matter, and you wish to receive the counsel of another Believer in Christ, please use the “comments” link to send your question to me.

Spiritual/Political Disclaimer:

This blog will not be for the faint of heart or the easily offended. It will not be in any way politically correct. It will make every effort to share the truth in love, [Ephesians 4:11-16], to a decaying and dying society and church. I share what I share not to hurt, harm, or offend any person[s] or group; I do it because Christ’s Standard and Truth is not being represented by enough of His Followers, and I do it out of love. I love enough to tell His Truth.

Ephesians 4:11-16 NKJV

11And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.