Customers or Members?

When my grandmother was alive she was a “member” of her church for over 45 years. My mother for 33 years was a “member” of St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church. She is now a “member” of the church where I serve.  My grandmother and my mother viewed their connection to the local church as a commitment and charge. They were “members”.

“Members” were the ones who saw themselves called and assigned to their local church. They were members because of some divine reason. When church dysfunction showed up, as it would, in the leadership or among the membership of the church I never knew my grandmother or my mother to discuss leaving their churches. Where would they go?  They were members!

They considered their pastors to be spiritual leaders of a spiritual family. Their pastors were not their executives, promoters, entertainers, counselors or social workers. They viewed their pastors as men of God. They looked forward to the sermons and prayers of their pastors. They knew if they ever needed him he would be there with the Word and prayer. They supported the pastor’s vision and contributed to the mission of the church. They served where they were asked to serve. They lead when they were asked to lead. They gave what they were asked to give. They were members!

We now have something different being raised and shaped in the local church. We have an ever-diminishing minority of “members”. We seem to have called into our congregations a crowd of consumers. This group that now gathers in our churches and into our ministries is a group that arrives for self-fulfillment. They enter ministry in order to serve their own needs instead of the needs of others. They are customers!

“Present your bodies a living sacrifice” is not language they can even bear. These are not people that will climb up on an altar and give their lives to God. This is a group that will climb up on an altar and demand that God give them a bigger sacrifice. There are a people that have created a culture in the church that demand that modern ministers operate like customer service agents or a concierge in a luxury hotel. They come into ministry rating and grading how well people served them. If they don’t feel properly served, they complain. They are customers!

They will purchase books, compact discs and digital video discs. They will rush to take advantage of a sale on spiritual resources. They want added value to their purchases. They have no problem making an exchange as long as it’s a good deal for themselves. They would rather buy than to sow, sale than to give. They want bang for their buck, not blessing for their obedience. They are customers!

We need “members” again. We need God to raise up a remnant in the earth that will be “members of the Body of Christ”. Members are the parts of the Body that enable the Body to function as it was created. I call for the parts to become members. God will have a Body in the earth that will live out the meaning of membership.

 

 

 

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Uncovering Cult Leaders

The foundation of Christ 1 Corinthians 3:11; p...

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Jude verse eight (8) teaches no less than four characteristics of end-time cult leaders. Understanding the function and motivation of cult leaders is essential in order to “contend for the faith” (Jude 3). The Body of Christ must be awakened to and alarmed by the false teachers and false doctrines that are in too many modern pulpits.

According to the Epistle of Jude you will find the four (4) following character traits in cult leaders:

1) “Filthy dreamers” – The actual phrase in its original Greek text means, “defiled daydreamers”. It gives the picture of a person who lives in a distorted fictional fantasy.  Cult leaders conceive ideas, imaginations and interpretations that have no basis in truth or reality. They believe that their dreams and visions are equal to or above the Bible.  How many cults have started because one man or woman claimed some dream, prophecy or vision as a divine call of God?  They all have!

2) “Defile flesh” – This phrase refers to sexual deviance.  Sexual immorality will be practiced, permitted and promoted by cult leaders. Spiritual incest is routinely committed with “spiritual sons and daughters”. Sexual immorality is used as a means of soul control. Sexual relations among the leaders and followers creates ungodly soul ties (See I Corinthians 6:16).  All ancient pagan religions used “temple prostitutes” in their worship of false gods. How many cults that have been exposed had leaders involved in some form of sexual perversion?  They all have!

3) “Despise dominion” – This speaks to the rejection and refusal to acknowledge any authority but their own. They are a law unto themselves. They disregard all established leadership and prescribed authority. They will not be covered, corrected, shepherded, or pastored. They believe that they are above natural laws, governmental laws and spiritual laws. How many cults have claimed to have been victimized or persecuted by the government or some other entity of authority?  They all have!

4) “Speak evil of dignities” – These “dignities” are people with heavenly (kingdom) authority. This would refer specifically to spiritual leaders. Cult leaders are always on the attack against true men and women of God.  They slander people who are known for honor, respectability and excellence. They have nothing good to say about good people.  They use defamation of character and lies to destroy the influence of righteous people. How many cult leaders have been against Bible-teaching preachers and Spirit-filled leaders?  They all have!

Please join me on the National Prayer Call as I continue to conduct a verse by verse exposition of the Epistle of Jude. (218) 237-3840. PIN: 118129#. We gather daily at 6:33am (EST) and 6:33am (PST).

Uncovering Cult Leaders

The foundation of Christ 1 Corinthians 3:11; p...

Image via Wikipedia

Jude verse eight (8) teaches no less than four characteristics of end-time cult leaders. Understanding the function and motivation of cult leaders is essential in order to “contend for the faith” (Jude 3). The Body of Christ must be awakened to and alarmed by the false teachers and false doctrines that are in too many modern pulpits.

According to the Epistle of Jude you will find the four (4) following character traits in cult leaders:

1) “Filthy dreamers” – The actual phrase in its original Greet text means, “defiled daydreamers”. It gives the picture of a person who lives in a distorted fictional fantasy.  Cult leaders conceive ideas, imaginations and interpretations that have no basis in truth or reality. They believe that their dreams and visions are equal to or above the Bible.  How many cults have started because one man or woman claimed some dream, prophecy or vision as a divine call of God?  They all have!

2) “Defile flesh” – This phrase refers to sexual deviance.  Sexual immorality will be practiced, permitted and promoted by cult leaders. Spiritual incest is routinely committed with “spiritual sons and daughters”. Sexual immorality is used as a means of soul control. Sexual relations among the leaders and followers creates ungodly soul ties (See I Corinthians 6:16).  All ancient pagan religions used “temple prostitutes” in their worship of false gods. How many cults that have been exposed had leaders involved in some form of sexual perversion?  They all have!

3) “Despise dominion” – This speaks to the rejection and refusal to acknowledge any authority but their own. They are a law unto themselves. They disregard all established leadership and prescribed authority. They will not be covered, corrected, shepherded, or pastored. They believe that they are above natural laws, governmental laws and spiritual laws. How many cults have claimed to have been victimized or persecuted by the government or some other entity of authority?  They all have!

4) “Speak evil of dignities” – These “dignities” are people with heavenly (kingdom) authority. This would refer specifically to spiritual leaders. Cult leaders are always on the attack against true men and women of God.  They slander people who are known for honor, respectability and excellence. They have nothing good to say about good people.  They use defamation of character and lies to destroy the influence of righteous people. How many cult leaders have been against Bible-teaching preachers and Spirit-filled leaders?  They all have!

Please join me on the National Prayer Call as I continue to conduct a verse by verse exposition of the Epistle of Jude. (218) 237-3840. PIN: 118129#. We gather daily at 6:33am (EST) and 6:33am (PST).

National Prayer Call Partners

The Lord has set me in remembrance of His word spoken over the National Prayer Call during the first twenty-one days of 2011 while we were in prayers and fasting both day and night. The desire of the Father is to have a people upon whom He can place His honor in these end-times.

As the world gets worse, and it is and it will, the Father will display His wisdom and grace at the end of the ages. The wisdom and grace of God will be seen in His people. He is raising up a people that will be fully distinct, distinguished and different from the world. His honor this hour on His people will be to the praise of His glory.

The Lord reminded me of why it is so imperative that the National Prayer Call be lead by “servants”. There is an honor only bestowed upon servants. “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matthew 25:21). “Before honor, humility…” (Proverbs 22:4). “Serving the Lord will all humility of mind…” (Acts 20:19). When we serve with humility we are promised honor from God.  God’s honor should be our most coveted affirmation.

Humility and holiness are essential to any spiritual awakening.  See II Chronicles 7:14. “Humble themselves” and “turn from their wicked ways” has to happen if God will honor the people who are praying. Humility and holiness must mark all we do on the National Prayer Call.  Where there is humility and holiness unto God, there the honor of God will rest upon that person or those people.

We must continue to build a culture of servants who lead. When we speak upon one another the honor of “Servant” we are acknowledging our call as the end-time bond slaves of Jesus Christ. We want to call the best out of one another. We are at our best when we are praying and serving.

There is an honor that is being released in these end-times. The honor of God will be entrusted to those who have, as it was said of King David, “..Served his own generation by the will of God..” (Acts 13:36). Your service is not in vain. You have been connected to the honor of God. The  honor of God is influence, prosperity and recognition.

Why does God want to honor us?  We are called to wield the influence of intercession like a sword against the enemy. We are called to prosper and provide for the purpose of prayer. We are called to the recognition of God’s favor and anointing upon us.

This world  will have to take notice of this army of prayer warriors arising with banners flying, declaring that we come in the name of the King of Kings!  I have heard the blowing of the shofar and this is the time to gather the army for strategy. If you have not yet made a commitment to come to the Prayer Everywhere Gathering , October 20-23, 2011 you must act today, NOW! Register on line. Don’t miss your hour or your honor.

National Prayer Call Partners

The Lord has set me in remembrance of His word spoken over the National Prayer Call during the first twenty-one days of 2011 while we were in prayers and fasting both day and night. The desire of the Father is to have a people upon whom He can place His honor in these end-times.

As the world gets worse, and it is and it will, the Father will display His wisdom and grace at the end of the ages. The wisdom and grace of God will be seen in His people. He is raising up a people that will be fully distinct, distinguished and different from the world. His honor this hour on His people will be to the praise of His glory.

The Lord reminded me of why it is so imperative that the National Prayer Call be lead by “servants”. There is an honor only bestowed upon servants. “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matthew 25:21). “Before honor, humility…” (Proverbs 22:4). “Serving the Lord will all humility of mind…” (Acts 20:19). When we serve with humility we are promised honor from God.  God’s honor should be our most coveted affirmation.

Humility and holiness are essential to any spiritual awakening.  See II Chronicles 7:14. “Humble themselves” and “turn from their wicked ways” has to happen if God will honor the people who are praying. Humility and holiness must mark all we do on the National Prayer Call.  Where there is humility and holiness unto God, there the honor of God will rest upon that person or those people.

We must continue to build a culture of servants who lead. When we speak upon one another the honor of “Servant” we are acknowledging our call as the end-time bond slaves of Jesus Christ. We want to call the best out of one another. We are at our best when we are praying and serving.

There is an honor that is being released in these end-times. The honor 0f God will be entrusted to those who have, as it was said of King David, “..Served his own generation by the will of God..” (Acts 13:36). Your service is not in vain. You have been connected to the honor of God. The  honor of God is influence, prosperity and recognition.

Why does God want to honor us?  We are called to wield the influence of intercession like a sword against the enemy. We are called to prosper and provide for the purpose of prayer. We are called to the recognition of God’s favor and anointing upon us.

This world  will have to take notice of this army of prayer warriors arising with banners flying, declaring that we come in the name of the King of Kings!  I have heard the blowing of the shofar and this is the time to gather the army for strategy. If you have not yet made a commitment to come to the Prayer Everywhere Gathering , October 20-23, 2011 you must act today, NOW! Register on line. Don’t miss your hour or your honor.

Put All Your Eggs In One Basket

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We’ve all got eggs! “Eggs in a basket” represent the sum total of our resources, energies and focus. We all have potential stored, ready and waiting to be unleashed. If you want your gifts, your talents and your calling to hatch I advise you to put all your eggs in one basket.

The wisdom of any financial advisor or stock investor is to diversify. The Bible teaches diversification of financial investments. “Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth” (Ecclesiastes 11:2). I recommend a reading and study of Ecclesiastes chapter 11 to any person seeking financial wisdom for investing. It is an investor’s guide to success.

Back to the eggs. Diversification may be great counsel for your finances, however it is deadly advice for your focus. When it concerns your spiritual resources, energies, and your focus you need all your eggs in one basket. You need to go all out with your vision. This is the time to pursue your passion and declare your freedom from frustration.

The power of vision mixed with passion must not be underestimated. What you focus on is where you’re headed. Have you ever been driving and found yourself looking over to the side of the road and the next thing you know you are coming close to the curb? Vision determines direction. Passion determines completion.

Successful people have a maximized major, a primary priority, a first-focus. Having many interests is great, but you can only have one identity. What you live as your priority will determine what you are known for in this life. Think about all the modern cultural personalities and why they are known. They are known for all the eggs they have in their one basket.

Bishop T.D. Jakes (preaching), Oprah Winfrey (daytime television), Colonel Sanders (fried chicken), Dave Thomas (hamburgers), Mary Kay (cosmetics), Donald Trump (real estate), Denzel Washington (acting), Michael Jordan (basketball), Bill Gates (personal computers), Sam Walton (retail sales), Derek Jeter (baseball), and Steve Jobs (technology) are all known for one thing. The eggs in their baskets have built corporate empires, created international brands and global philanthropic foundations. None of them diversified their passions. Their passions diversified their opportunities. Don’t miss that!

King David says, “One thing have I desired of the Lord and that will I seek after..” (Psalm 27:4). The Apostle Paul says, “This one thing I do..” (Philippians 3:13). Jesus said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God..”(Matthew 6:33). They all gave their resources, energies and focus to the “one thing”. All your eggs in one basket seems to be the key to fulfillment in life and purpose.

Jesus put all his eggs into the basket of redemption. He didn’t have a back up plan. He didn’t have a degree to fall back on. He was Cross-focused. He had no greater call or mission than the salvation of souls. This is why we call it the “Passion of Christ”. He brought his all to every moment of his life and ministry.

Let others spend their time running from one short-term scheme to the next. Let others chase fleeting pursuits. You better stick with your passion. Your vision needs your passion. Your passion will get you to your purpose. So go get your basket! You’ve got some eggs that need to be replaced.

This message was originally spoken at the graduation ceremony of the 2011 Class of the E.W. Professional and Dental Training Center at the Chattanooga Choo-Choo Hotel.

The Cure For Contention

“Only by pride comes contention: but with the well advised is wisdom” (Proverbs 13:10). This is a note to all the good, born again, Spirit-filled, ministry leaders and church members who seem to have so many problems working and worshipping with other believers. Let’s get to the root of the problem and the root of the solution.

The problem is pride. You will never have a strained fellowship or relationship between saints, unless one or both of them has a pride problem. Think of what the Bible says, “Only by pride…”.

Pride won’t let you submit. Pride won’t let you cooperate. Pride won’t let you admit you were wrong. Pride won’t let you be in second place. Pride won’t let you know more and speak less. Pride won’t let you esteem others. Pride won’t let you forgive. Pride won’t let you change.

Contention comes from competition. We want to win! We work to be affirmed, promoted, and better positioned and resent anyone who seems to deny us of what we have worked for. Contention is rooted in discontentment. We are mad at somebody because we are unhappy with our lot in life.

Contention doesn’t just happen; the Bible says it “cometh”. It comes from missed opportunities to apologize or appreciate. It comes from the willingness to ignore the angst in the atmosphere. It comes when we choose to suffer frustrations instead of suffering conversations. It comes from failing to see the greater good and God’s glory.

You don’t have to let it come. Stop the contention by dealing with the pride. How should you deal with pride? Immediately submit yourself to someone who can speak wisdom into your life. “But with well advised is wisdom.” When there are contentions with you and another brother or sister administer wisdom.

Wisdom is humility. Humility is love. Love is God. Humility is the key to every victory. Jesus won over death, hell and the grave because he humbled himself. Show love and humility and see what the Lord will do.