Recently I talked to a pastor friend, and shared with him about the realization that God was calling me back to serve Him. His response was wondering if I had ever thought about going to Seminary. I have been asked that question many times, and again it made me think about where we are in Christian History.
How did we come to a place where it is the norm to need to go to school for 2-10 years, pay large sums of money and sit in a class room for hours, so I can go and be a Christian?
How have we come to a place where books, radio programs, and introductions at church focus more on a person’s credentials than their righteousness?
If a person has a degree, and especially an advanced degree, somehow that makes them an expert, even if there is little or no good fruit in their life. We have seen numerous cases of this lately with Mark Driscoll and other high profile leaders that are worshipped by the masses. The whole time their life is filled with darkness. However, because they are The Great _________ no one will question them.
This whole thinking process is contrary to Scripture, and is a part of why the Church is in the position it is. We have lost the power to change the culture… I shouldn’t say we have lost it as much as we have given it away!
The beauty is that anything that has been given away can be taken BACK! However, it will require doing things a different way. So I hope that you will continue to listen as I share what I have learned, and firmly believe is bringing the power and light of Jesus Christ, back into my life and countless others.
It is really simple… LET GO!!!
It looks something like this. Stop listening and believing things that are unscriptural, and do not line up with the teachings of the Bible. Here is the one I would like to focus on for today.
In Mark 6:7-12, Matthew 10:1-15 and Luke 9:1-6 we see the story of Jesus sending out the 12 disciples on their first journey without Him. He gave them authority to do amazing things like; healing the sick, raising the dead, curing those with leprosy and casting out demons! That is authority and power.
However, as always there were some stipulations that Jesus also said;
Give as freely as you have received!
He also instructed them in some things that they were not supposed to do.
Don’t take any money—no gold, silver, or even a copper coin. Don’t carry a bag with a change of clothes and sandals or even a walking stick.
So let’s look at today, and compare that to the example we see in Scripture in the way that people are sent out into Christian ministry.
The first expectation of today is that you must spend time in formal education. I am not in any way saying that education is bad. However, the reliance on education and paper degrees is!
A person must be fully funded by American standards before they are allowed to be sent out to the mission field. Pastors often expect a salary package and benefit that is comparable to other pastors or other occupations in the world. Seems to go against the idea of, “Freely give away what you have been given.”
I am in no way saying that people in ministry should not be paid… However, the way they are paid is ultimately important. I will address this in another post.
They must go through an interview process and be approved by a board for giving the right answers.
This unfortunately has led to many problems. We have many people who are called to the field who never go, because it is too hard to even get there. We have many that have to come home because their funding doesn’t meet the criteria set by someone else. We have many that just get burned out because they aren’t following the Biblical way of doing missions and being sent out, so they never receive the power or authority that Jesus gives when we do things His way.
In these examples of Scripture there are some really key things that I have learned in my own life are the most important things.
Faith—Jesus put the 12 Disciples in a position where they could rely on Him. Of course they could have cheated and taken money, or stopped by a friend’s house and gotten some of the items they were told not to take. However, they would not have received the authority to complete the work Jesus sent them to do.
Faith—Jesus instructed them to place faith in others. He told them to stay in homes, to accept hospitality and to rely on others for what they needed. Ultimately, this is because Jesus often times provides for His work through the generosity and hospitality of others.
Faith—that Jesus had the authority to give to them the power to complete the work they had before them. I also believe that the Disciples had seen so many miracles at this point that they were able to accept that this unnatural occurrence was actually the natural way with Jesus.
The Biblical teaching of faith always has a pattern. God spoke, the person responded, and God honored their response with giving them more faith, power, and authority.
This is not always an instant, “microwave” type of transaction. We have been learning to walk in faith now for years. However, it has just been in the last couple of years that we have really understood what it means and are learning how to apply it to life.
Some lessons I have learned along the way are; faith does not always mean things will work out or I will be successful by my standards.
We have learned that failure by the worlds standards are an opportunity, to build faith and trust in Jesus as we choose to trust in Him instead of the results we see.
Jesus shared this with the 12 when He talked about entering a home and giving it their blessings. However, if the home or city rejects the message then they are to take back the blessing, and leave the place to its own desires.
So here is what I believe… If we want to see power again, if we want to see the Holy Spirit move again in our country, our families, and our churches, then we had better stop doing things the way men tell us to do them.(Matthew15:1-9) We have to begin to look at people, and see the fruit that their life is producing and quite giving more credence to their titles and degrees.
Jesus was a poor carpenter’s son; the disciples He chose were men who were average working men, and men that the culture despised. No degrees, formal education, or notoriety.
Again I want to stress that I don’t have a problem with education or degrees. I have a problem when we put more emphasis on them, than we do on fruit and faith.
The biggest problem that I see today is that we are shown and taught that we don’t have to be put into uncomfortable or risky situations to learn how to walk in faith. This is completely contrary to what Scripture teaches, and the amount of power we see today in the Christian faith is the fruit of it.
If we want to see revival, if we want to see the Church of Jesus Christ again be what He desired and taught it should be. Then we have to stop making excuses, living by man-made rules, and operating as the world does, while expecting the unnatural way that Jesus taught and lived to become the natural life we lead.
My word for 2016 is “confidence”. Not confidence in myself or what others think of me, but confidence (faith) that Jesus can and will do the things He promises in His word as long as I believe!
So who will join us? Who of you out there are ready to step out of the natural world that we are told is the way it is, and begin to make normal the unnatural way of the Kingdom of God.
My desire is to see a generation, a Church that trusts in Jesus more than rules. A group of people, a culture that is so contrary to the world that they are forced to hate us or follow us. A Church that people again come to for help and not just a hand-out, and a Church that loves. Each other first and their neighbors, a Church that is so full of faith and looks so different than the American Dream mentality, that people don’t have to ask what you believe because they see it in your every action.
This is the Church of Jesus Christ… This is the Church that will transform our homes, country, and world into the world that Jesus desires! He is building His Church, yes. However, He left us here to steward it, and from what I see we are not going to get a lot of praise for how it is going.
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