Years ago, I would make reference about Ananias and Sapphira. As some of you may recall the story in Acts 5, they conspired to lie to the Holy Spirit. There were wealthy people in the church and they sold land to give money to the church.
It appears that everyone of them gave all of the proceeds of what was sold to the church.
Ananias and Sapphira did the same.
Except, they kept back part of the proceeds.
At any time, they could have told the apostles.
“We sold the property but we decided only to give you a portion.”
That would have saved their lives.
They intentionally conspired to tell a lie and it cost them their lives.
Death came for both of them because they lie about how much money they gave.
In the Bible, we do see that consequential judgment is serious.
However, we know that God is a God of mercy and endless compassion.
The end result of this incidence was that the fear of the Lord came upon them all.
In fact, verse 11 said,
“So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these sayings.”
The NIV said,
“Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.”
The Amplified Bible said,
“And the whole church and all others who heard of these things were appalled [great awe and strange terror and dread seized them].”
Today, we are not as fearful to walk into the house dedicated for the service of the Lord. I was in sin myself and I had no fear of dying. I thought that I could quickly “repent,” sort of mean it, and thought that God was pleased that I quickly got right with God.
It was like playing chicken with a train on the railroad tracks. It was like truth or dare.
Almost four years ago, the gig was up.
Not that God tolerated my stupidity, but He had mercy on me. Mercy prevents that which you rightfully deserve. And God had every right to fire me by way of death.
Every week, I brought my perverted self to the house of the Lord. Stood before the people to “preach.” Before Sunday, Monday through Saturday would be my time to occasionally watch porn (from 1998 to 2008), masturbate and then ask for forgiveness.
But it was more than that.
I would fill my mind with watching women lustfully. Committing adultery with my heart by watching flesh as I strolled the streets or ride in the car (see Proverbs 27:20, Matthew 5:28, and Job 31:1). I would get up Sunday morning, pray and preach, and return to business as usual.
1 John 1:9 meant little more to me than a “get out of sin and judgment” verse.
I deceived myself into thinking that God was pleased when I “confessed” my sin. All I was doing was lying to Him because I never really meant it. I loved my sin more than I loved my God and His Word.
Those promises. Empty promises to quit became the epitaph of my dead life. The calculated coldness of how I treated God with utter contempt didn’t mean nothing to me. And the complete disdain for my wife who faithfully prayed for my deliverance every night.
A sex addict is one that cannot control, stop, or manage his sexual urges and impulses.
In my one bedroom apartment, while my wife would be praying, I would gratify myself.
Such perversion was a regular thing in my life prior to God’s deliverance.
The utter disrespect of women and my daughter was nothing to me.
One night while watch porn and masturbating, the Lord said to me, “You know, you could be watching your daughter?”
I ignored Him, suppressed His warning and continued. Talk about running a red light.
At age 14, my daughter checked the history on my Directv receiver and discovered my porn addiction. The year was 1999. A year after I first started watching porn.
At any time, my greatest fear would destroy me. Thankfully, the Lord did my wife a favor because when you are in sin, your prayers are not heard according to Psalm 66:18.
I’m sharing this because all over the church world, we know that there are many pastors, music ministers, singers, preachers, bishops, and deacons, elders, apostles. You name it. We blatantly sin and bring our morally corrupt attitude with us before the presence of the Lord as if God didn’t mind at all.
We bring our Secret Sexual Sins as idols right into the temple. We bow down in obeisant worship to our Secret Sexual Sins and we disrespect God.
It would be a matter of time before the last measure of warning would come.
God said this to me.
“Come Clean or be exposed.”
That was no imagination. He was the voice of the Lord.
As a result, the Lord set me on a path towards the intersection of destiny.
Either come clean or you will not come this way alive again.
While I will never know what would have happened if I persisted, it is clear to me that I know that something dramatic would have happened.
Looking back at those days about four years ago, I should have resigned the ministry. At that time, I wasn’t thinking about resigning. But it would have been good if I would have taken time away to get my bearing straight.
However, a friend of mine, Pastor Roger Jamson, after I came clean about sexual sins, he recommended several places on the Internet to delve into to fortify my walk of sanctification in the Lord.
These last few years were very challenging to say the least but well worth the effort to be free forever. And like all men, we have our moments where relapse occurs. No, not into porn. No relapse there, I praise God to report. You really do not need porn to do masturbate. Just imagination.
But the Lord warned me again.
If you ever know what it is like to clearly hear God’s voice in sin, and to hear His voice after you come out, the difference in His sternness and volume is incredible. The grieving of the Holy Spirit is more intense. The holy attitude of God is more pronounced. The failure you experience, overwhelming. But His love is incredible. He doesn’t want to condemn us with the world and that’s why His consequential judgment varies.
And after all that, when you disappoint God, it’s kills you.
You begin to weigh the fact that you crossed God and He never tolerated it. Then He began to teach me all over again.
“Son, what are you doing with your moments.”
So that became uncoded. There was something that God was doing in me.
Do you want to be the same or do you want to be changed forever?
Several weeks ago the Lord shared this song with me. A song that led me to a song that set the pace for the next level was “Give Me You.”
Then the Lord shared this song…..
“I’ll Never Be The Same.” From the album “I Love You (Live),” by Shana Wilson.
It became the new level of challenge in my life. I no longer want to be the same.
Another song, prior to this one was…
“I Won’t Go Back” From the album “Arise,” by William McDowell.
Then the Lord brought something else that changed my life.
“Do you desire to sin?
You see, you cannot be for something that God is against.
So I had to decide that I no longer desire to sin against God. That meant controlling my urges and impulses to the degree that I no longer desire to cross God. To love the world is to be an enemy of God according to James 4:4.
There was something that the Lord was doing within me. Hence the next level.
Check sin at the door of the facility of Prevailing Word Ministries.
As I am led by the Spirit of God, those that serve with me will be challenged and confronted. Not to do them harm by embarrassment but to show the seriousness of approaching the things of the Lord with the level of holiness required to serve Him. It is not just to sit them down, but to get them help. The Lord was gracious to me and in that same graciousness, I desire to help as many as need His help (see Hebrews 4:12-16).
We’ve been playing church too long.
It starts with me, the pastor.
If I ever go down the path of porn and masturbation, I will resign the ministry on the spot.
The worst kind of preacher is a hypocrite (see Matthew 23).
It is not fair to God, His Word, and the people God entrusts in our care. We are a small congregation. Only 16 persons.
Been that size for the last 18 years. But it is still the work of the Lord. It is that serious. God and His people expect their pastor to be an example in word (speech), conduct, love, faith, and purity. If we can’t live right, we cannot expect people to live right.
This is not an “incentive” to keep me holy because it’s not about that. To please the Lord overrides any wild pomposity edict.
It’s about approaching the holy things of the Lord with the level of gravity required for the service that God deserves. If we are not prepared to do this church service on the same level, we are lying and we do not the truth, as John, the eyewitness apostle of the Lamb said.
The reason why LGBT don’t believe some of what we say is because we are great liars when we want to keep on sinning.
The time for lying and Secret Sexual Sins ceased with me.
WIll you choose to cease and desist in your operations to sin against God?
In Isaiah 52:11, the captivity prophet Isaiah said,
“Depart! Depart! Go out from there, touch no unclean thing; go out from the midst of her, be clean, you who bear the vessels of the Lord.”
I mentioned Ananias and Sapphira, because we will see this. When you take communion in sin, many are sickly among you and some fall asleep.
Whenever you take the next communion, in mockery to God, it might be your last.
Judgment is already in the house of the Lord but the degree and severity of the judgment of the Lord all depends on where you stand in your relationship with the Lord.
People will come to church a lie to the Holy Spirit about their sins. The Lord was warning me and because I know, first hand, what His warning to me is like, there is no question that pastors need to be put on notice.
Will you join me in checking sin in your heart first?
There is a difference between making a mistake and intentionally sinning against the Lord.
You can stop sinning because Jesus told that to the man at the pool of Bethesda and to the woman caught in adultery.
You can stop sinning.
If you dare to serve the Lord while habitually sinning, I admonish you to stop and think about what you are doing. If you are falling into temptation, it’s because, according to the parable of the sower in Luke 8, that you are not giving the Word place in your heart. You are on stony ground and the Word cannot penetrate a stony heart.
You need to change the texture of your heart from stoney to good ground where the Word could penetrate and produce fruit.
Oh. By the way. You will notice that AF followed LGBT.
The AF is for adulterers and fornicators.
You’ve read this correctly. I admit. I am not the first to break this but others have been voicing this. It is inconceivable and unfathomable to think that anyone that support the sin of homosexuality is not involved in the sin of homosexuality themselves. Perverseness knows no boundaries. We must understand that sin is the Global Initiative of satan. The moment you understand this is the moment you will either turn from wickedness and turn to the Lord or go deeper into the abyss of immorality, leading all participants to the pit of hell itself.
We have never seen a sitting president advocate for gay rights as this president. 3% of the American population is homosexual. Yet, we are seeing the very seat of Executive Power flaunt homosexuality as if he was a practicing homosexual himself.
Just like the press, when they do not ask certain questions, yet, we see unparalleled support of LGBT initiatives, there is no question that someone need to muster up the courage to ask…..
“Mr. President, you have done more for gay rights than any other sitting president in history. Your support for gay marriage is on the record. My question to you is, ‘Are you a homosexual or bisexual person?”
The ladies on The View won’t ask. No courage there. CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC. Forget it.
Many will say….
That’s none of your business. Or. When he is ready he will tell the world. Or. So what if he is, I’ll still vote for him. Or. He’s a married man, to a woman. What evidence do you have that the president is gay?
So far, the trail of evidence apart from other sources, leads us to preponderance so far, but we shouldn’t be surprised. I’m not a prophet. A pastor/teacher, that’s my limitation in ministry. However…..
An admission? A picture? How about….
I shudder to think about the president and….. making that walk on that long walkway on the red carpet that leads to the East Room.
There is no question in our minds that there are other issues on the table that need a president’s attention but when you see this timeline, and it is a record of accomplishments that gives this timeline a powerful argument that there is an agenda behind an agenda, we need to pay more attention to what is happening.
As I have said before, White presidents were never confronted with LGBT issues except President Clinton.
They now get an African American President. The first one and it’s almost like the switch came on. We can use this Black man to further our causes.
But not just any Black man. One that purports his “faith.” So on the back of a Black Man and at the expense of the church, LGBT has successfully found a way to influence the nation to accept the sin of homosexuality.
Gay Christian Movement Watch has been on this for quite some time. The Lord uses people in places that we shy away from not realizing that the Lord was warning us all along but we have failed to take heed because we have no prominent voices that are zealous for the Lord. We are too busy personal pimping people in the church for kingdom of man building.
All of a sudden, we have a chance to attack sin and we are the number one supporter of sin, and that of the sin of homosexuality. And inside the church, with gay musicians, bisexual music ministers and singers, porn and masturbation operating all in the pulpit and choir lofts, sexual immorality is alive and well.
Perverseness is increasing and the church leaders have not garnered the courage to stop this mess in the church. When African American pastors are called upon to be standard-bearers, we become standard bearers all right.
For sexual immorality of every type.
We don’t know how to control ourselves so, in rebellion, we refuse to preach with such conviction that the Holy Spirit brings the fear of the Lord in the house.
“I ain’t scared of no God!”
It’s the land of Canaan all over again.
Some of us are so gullible that we will ignore what the prophets are saying and vote for a president that supports the sin of homosexuality.
How would God look at you when He poured His wrath out on Sodom and Gomorrah and you support the sin of homosexuality today?
You better check yourself!
3% of the American population is homosexual and they have a place in the White House to push America towards its darkest days yet.
The late John Osteen, the father of Joel Osteen said, “We need the power of the Holy Spirit for the dark days that lie ahead.”
My God, he saw, perhaps, the spiritual and moral decay that would face this nation and warned us.
I’ve come to realize that sometimes it’s more than gaining support to keep you in office. There is more issues that are more important than gay issues.
On the contrary.
When it comes to sexual immorality, the downfall of every nation or the dark places of a nation is determined by morality or immorality. The darker a nation, the more heinous its morals.
As a side note, I witnessed a fascinating video of Sodom and Gomorrah (courtesy of a YouTube link provided by Pastor DL Foster http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwTVFk1HK3Y).
The explorers discovered that the Sodium Bicarbonate was it’s purest form as they walked in the cities where Sodom was destroyed by the Lord. Literally the Lord melted the cities that operated in perverseness. The video also noted that the area surrounding the overthrown cities differentiated in color. The white substance was brimstone and the areas not touched were naturally normal and consistent with the environment.
Secondly, the substance of Sodium Bicarbonate had no earthly mixture, in that the sodium had no byproducts to point to the fact that earth produced the sodium bicarbonate. It was poured out as the Scriptures pointed out in Genesis 19.
The Lord intended to never let these cities be rebuilt so that it once again be known as a place to go to for sexual perverseness. If they would have been able to rebuild, only the Lord knew to what levels of perverseness they would have descended to.
Yet, today, we are seeing perverseness on unprecedented scales.
Pure sin warranted pure destruction.
Having said this, please check this timeline, courtesy of Gay Christian Movement Watch.
You cannot read this, huff and puff and have a hissy fit to disprove the fact that LGBT has the White House on a clear agenda that is a present danger to the spiritual climate of this nation.
And now, please view the timeline.
I was never in combat situation while I was in the Navy. However, while I was on the USS Savannah AOR4, in 1983, we were ordered on a contingency operation to Beruit, Lebanon in support of Marines on the beach for peacekeeping purposes. Washington tasked us to deliver whatever supplies we had left by Commander, 6th Fleet to the amphibious forces. For the first time, I saw and participated in combat operations but from sea. We anchored just off the coast and delivered our dry goods and other supplies. Then we received orders to transit out the next day to proceed on duties assigned.
However, just before we transited, we heard shooting and bombings. The pounding from both sides were incredible. This was my only brush with observing combat while serving my country. We got word after we departed the area that the fighting turned towards the peacekeepers and the ships anchored at sea. The task force commander ordered all US vessels to aweigh anchor and get their ships out of range. Just a few months later, 241 marines, sailors, and other military personnel were killed in a car bomb.
The reason why I shared this story is because in many battles, brushes with death can and will occur. When you are sent to fight, death is imminent. The sad thing is that it’s one thing to be shot at by the enemy. But when you get shot at by friendly fire, it’s another thing.
Sometimes these incidents occur because of miscommunication. Wrong coordinates. Malfunction of weapons systems. Human error or all of the above. However, there is also intentional firing upon another person by a person that claims to be on the same side. Much of that is happening in Afghanistan.
When there is a clear objective, the intent is to pull your resources together and deal with the objective. In spiritual battle, at times, there will be dissenters. People who, for whatever reason, decide no longer to fight against sin, when they fire off at the preacher, it is a clear indication that rebellion is before you.
Pastors and preachers are expending enormous amounts of energy fighting against the world and their insistence of infiltrating sexual immorality in the church. The church is over run and the enemy is inside the camp at will. At the same time we are fighting against “well intentioned” believers that insist on living their lives of Secret Sexual Sins, and when their sins are exposed they are blasting away at pastors.
Pastors are shooting at the devil and then have to turn around and shoot at rogue preachers and believers.
The devil has us in a crossfire.
The world has season tickets to the great joke on earth.
Ringling Brothers can’t top the show in the church. The ratings are off the charts and they are laughing at some of us with disdain.
It is a shame when people that called themselves preachers are sympathetic towards sin. Here you have two persons in an interview and you can’t discern the difference. You expect a stand, a solid stand on the Word of God and you expect a solid stand on sexual immorality. The position of sin was clear but the rebuttal was….inept, at best.
Preachers must state their position and back it up with Scripture. Not with politically safe rhetoric that cause one to scratch their head in bewilderment. God never minced words. He said what He meant and that’s what we need in this hour. Preachers with backbone. Preachers that will not wear collars and apologize for being a messenger of God.
The fear of God must return to the preacher in order for the fear of God to return to the church. Otherwise, our impotent performance is another charade.
When a believer becomes sympathetic of sin, that’s when they have turned into a pillar of salt. There they stand, callous, cold, and unresponsive.
God is against all sin.
If you cannot agree with this objective of hating all sin, you are an enemy of God.
If you practice sin, you hate God. If you practice righteousness, you hate the devil.
You can’t do both.
Sometimes people that claim to know Jesus forget that Jesus was sent to the earth to die for the sins of the whole world. God hates sin and He condemned sin in the flesh of Jesus.
So if God hates sin, and you claim to know God, it’s a no brainer.
You too must hate sin.
So when you love sin, you hate God.
And don’t you dare say that you love God but you love sin too.
It’s a contradiction.
Then when it comes to leaders expressing that other leaders should support the president in same sex unions, I STRONGLY CONDEMN AND REBUKE THAT!
Leviticus 18:22 is the grounds for issuing the rebuke.
I will stand on the authority of the Word of God and rebuke what people say that is against the Word of God and those that choose the side of sin.
If you cannot come up with Scripture to support God permitting you to commit sin, do not tell preachers to stop preaching against sin.
And when a person insists on committing sin and we rebuke them, it is for the purpose of getting their attention to repent.
If a person genuinely repents, we forgive them, pray for them, and admonish, and help them to live for Jesus.
Do we continue to rebuke them? NO!
Unless they rebuke you for rebuking them.
You want to help them stay from the curse of sin. You want to help them live clean lives for Jesus.
Pastors must be sensitive to the degree that abrasive, harsh words, and un-Scriptural action is not a part of their pastoral responsibility.
But when others insist in committing sin, when carnal Christians teach others that sin is permitted, when they turn on a preacher, and then blaspheme the name of the Lord, like Hymenaeus, Alexander, and Philetus, that’s when the rebuke is to be issued.
Where is Phinehas when you need him? Cozbi and Zimri, a leader of Israel walked right past God, the Tent of Moses, Moses, Aaron and Phinehas. While the plague was in full swing in the camp. Phinehas said, “Oh, no y’all don’t!”
He took a javelin and thrust them through.
It appears that they were in a compromising sexual position because all Phinehas needed was one thrust to kill them both and the plague ceased in the camp.
Zimri made it by God and Zimri thought he was safe. He thought that God permitted his sin. Zimri made it by the Tent of Meeting. Totally disregarded the worship place of God. It’s called desecration. Zimri made it past Moses and Aaron. Certainly, they approve. But Phinehas wasn’t having it.
The zeal of the Lord rose up within him and he took care of business.
By the way, Cozbi was a woman of Moab that was part of the Moabite leadership.
Which is consistent. Whenever leaders desire sin above God, you can be sure that their punishment will be worse. Hence, Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson, and any other sinful preachers or pastors that fails to uphold the standard of the Word of God.
You can’t be sympathetic for sin and call yourself a preacher.
Paul said, “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid!”
Many carnal believers want to have it both ways.
You cannot walk down both sides of the street at the same time.
You cannot live in two houses at the same time.
You cannot be a sinner and a saint at the same time.
You cannot live for God and live for the devil at the same time.
You cannot be good fruit and bad fruit at the same time.
You cannot speak righteousness and speak evil at the same time.
There are too many “believers” that claim to know God but when you bring the truth about the Word regarding sin, they can’t stand the truth.
And then they speak against you to try to condemn you.
All we preachers are doing is agreeing with what God said and repeating what God said.
In the name of Jesus, I rebuke you!
Paul said to Timothy about leaders, preachers that sin, “Those that sin, rebuke before all.”
Believers are shooting pastors and preachers that live the truth and preach the truth in love. If we didn’t love you, we would let you be judged and that would be the end of it.
We see the car that is about to hit you. It would be wrong for us not to warn you, wouldn’t it?
But before God brings judgment, we are tasked to warn you.
Sadly, people pull out their weapons that they are supposed to use against the devil and shoot the preacher that is living and telling the truth. These people do not realize that they are in a combat situation and they do not know who to fight, much less know how to fight.
People in the church are so confused that they sit too comfortably in church.
So comfortable that when you tell them to pray and fight, they roll over and look at you like you are mad crazy. We are in the fight for the church and the devil has us fighting and shooting at each other.
You fell for the devil’s trick to deflect responsibility and place the blame all on the preacher.
It’s the pastor’s fault.
It sure is if he or she is living in sin.
But woe to you if they are living what they are preaching and you are caught in sin.
Just be warned. Your day of exposure is coming.
Preachers are shooting against the enemy with the truth of the Word and then they have to shoot at their own people because the preacher has discerned that there are people that claim to know Jesus that turned against God, and they have become enemies of the cross of Christ.
This is expected.
Enemies of the cross.
Jesus met heavy resistance because He lived and preached the truth. The spiritual leadership of His day changed the commandment of God and replaced God’s Word with their traditions.
They were money grabbers and spiritually inept to help people get it right with God. The church is asleep and drunk with the world. It’s no wonder that the world is playing us against each other because they want to live in their world of sin. And they want to drag the whole church into sin so they can live comfortably without confrontation and conviction.
It is our job to confront sin in the house of God. If you do not want to hear about sin, stay away from the church. Don’t read our blogs. Just avoid everything that has to do with God and His Word. But we know that can’t be possible because the Holy Spirit lures you back to where truth can be found in God’s Word and you have to make a choice to receive truth in the inward parts or reject truth and be judged.
Some of you do not realize it that preacher must now turn up the intensity of the fire of the Scriptures because the world is trying to tell us what the Bible says. Sinners have no right telling the righteous what the Word says.
They are not in the kingdom until they are born again.
Carnal Christians do not have any right to tell a preacher that is living by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God what the Word says.
We are called to be an example in “in word, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.”
It is out of being that example that gives us the right to rebuke people that is in sin. The worst thing in the world that carnal believers can do is live in such deception that when they are caught living in sin that they lose their minds and try to go up against the Word of the Lord that comes from the preacher whom God sent to straighten you out.
You try to get us to back off.
You do not realize that the Lord was speaking through that preacher and you use everything to curse, condemn, ridicule, slander, abuse, and berate a pastor that is living by the Word of God.
I command you to repent, in Jesus name, and command you to back off.
You do not know what you are getting yourself into. You got a right to say anything you want but we will, by the authority of the Head of the Church to rebuke you.
I was told that I could quote Scripture all day long but it doesn’t make me right.
I know that I am right just by this statement.
When a person says, that I could quote Scripture all day long but it doesn’t make me right, I was waiting for “because the Bible said……”
And that’s where you rebuke people because there is no excuse for sin.
And if we are to know where a person stands, it must be done by examining them through the Scriptures. So far, some misinformed people still do not know their Bibles and that is a travesty.
You expect believers to uphold the Word of God at all times but I find that people uphold the Word when it’s convenient.
I rebuke you in Jesus’ name for that!
Babes in Christ, that’s one thing. But people who claim to be in the faith has much left to be desired.
You can’t pick and choose when it’s convenient to follow the Word of God.
You must follow the Word at all times.
When it comes to rebuking our national leaders from every level of government, the reason why they get away with what they get away with is that pastors are not strongly condemning their actions. It’s a give in that the majority of the politicians will do it regardless of what pastors are charged to say, but they should know that pastors that supposed to have impeccable credentials and the highest credential…God’s ear, must never be lightly esteemed.
I do not think that this level of the fear of the Lord may return but God has a way of turning it around.
Pastors and preachers called by God do not work for politicians and it is abundantly certain that pastors and preachers do not work for people in the church.
Pastors and preachers have One Boss.
His name is Jesus.
He called us, and by His grace, He found us to be faithful to Him and His Word, and He placed us in the ministry.
The politicians and people in the church do not pay us. We work for the Head of the Church. Any pastor or preacher that fails to live according to the standards of God’s Word and teach others to do so must be strongly rebuked and their acts must be condemned.
When it comes to the president of the United States, do not let the office mesmerize you. Too often, pastors and preachers lose their bearing. God puts them in strategically to give them the Word of the Lord to these politicians and it is the responsibility of the preacher to uphold the standards of the Word of God at all times. They must never be allowed to intimidate a preacher.
We fear God not man.
When a preacher fears a man more than God, it is bad because your opportunity to minister the Word of Life must never be lost.
For the most part, why would a sitting president be in support of gay marriages? My first question, which I know I would never get an opportunity is to ask him if he is gay. It is rare that a person supports homosexual sin and not be homosexual themselves. Now we all know that there are many heterosexual couples that support gay marriages that is not homosexual but what is interesting is that there are many men that will admit to some bisexual activity.
In this day and age, we must never put it past people of the possibility of bisexuality unless there is conclusive evidence that they are not. Such questions must be asked so that we can have a clearer picture of the intent of our political leaders. Again, we are headed down a perilous path of judgment and if we do not get at the heart of the issues and deal with this and other spiritual issues, we will face what must be an inevitable series of consequential judgment upon the nation that will have implications until Jesus comes.
Friendly fire will continue to happen in the church. But it must come to a stop. Otherwise, the real enemy, the devil, will continue to ridicule us until Jesus comes.
As I have mentioned on FB, we are seeing a smoke in mirror situation. Why would the president come out and support gay marriage? He and those that are “steering” his presidency is avoiding the up coming issues that will face this nation. At this stage of the game, it looks like everything is mending but it’s not and we know it.
The economy is still in shambles. The Federal Reserve admits this. When you are looking for a job, your salary will not be able to pay for the basic necessities of life. Benefits are also cut. The price of the cost of living is no longer tenable. It is clear that something sinister is on the horizon.
That’s the price for thumbing your nose and turning your back on God.
The combination of immorality and the economy is a diseased umbilical cord and the death of a nation because of its refusal to repent is before this nation. When you have 3% of the American population crying out for marriage rights.
It’s the destruction of the economy stupid.
The gay issue is a big immorality issue but also what’s interesting is that the African American base is in shambles.
So in essence, it appears that the president is dependent upon a new minority.
The gay vote.
And with such a solid support from the gays, their 3% voting will trump the 12% African American vote. More like 10 or 11% with 1% or less of them gay African American.
But we all know that according to Proverbs 14:34, sin will never sustain a nation.
These are the end times.
Preachers that refuse to bring their congregations to the place of repentance for sin to seek the forgiveness of God are playing with men’s souls. And the price will be eternal retribution. Just as the Lord Himself came and rebuked the Sanhedrin in His day for not knowing the time of His visitation, so too, the church is oblivious to the seasons and times of our day.
We need to cry out before the Lord comes. Because when He does, no one will be spared.
It is time to get ready and stay ready. We do not know the day or the hour and we can ill afford to use Israel as the time piece to discern the Lord’s coming. When will He come? James tells us that the “Judge stands at the door.” We do not know when but now is not the time to walk away from the Lord.
Now is the time to get ready.
by Fred C. Rochester. The Fastest Way To Grow Your Church, Part Two. Copyright 2011. All Rights Reserved.
In Part One we covered two out of seven things that is essential for church growth.
1. Worship and
2. Prayer and Evangelism
Without these two important things, your church cannot grow.
Church growth begins when there is a pursuit to minister the gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost. True church growth is never a shift in numbers. Transfer growth is when people that are already believers stop going to one church just to attend another church.
That’s church hopping.
They are pursuing membership, not discipleship.
When church hopping happens, this is an indication of immaturity on the part of the believer unless they are arriving at churches that are faltering or failing to provide true stability. Granted, there are some churches that do not provide genuine discipleship but God never called His people to uproot at random based on feelings.
You must have a solid discipleship plan to bring them along and help stabilize them in their relationship with the Lord Jesus.
If you are only counting numbers of people in a chair and not ministering to them so they can grow in the Lord, you will have a church full of babies that will never reach their full potential in Christ. The Lord wants you to be fruitful and multiply, however, maturation is a long term investment process.
It is important for the pastor and the people working with the pastor to establish an atmosphere of worship, prayer and evangelism.
Too often, many pastors look for natural means to do a supernatural work. In other words, when they see that nothing is happening, they look to do natural means alone to get the job done without inquiring the Lord.
What kind of natural means?
Marketing. Mailings. Attraction gimmicks.
I am not saying that we are not to do these things (except gimmicks) but we are not to be totally reliant on these things.
I encourage you to do like David. Before you make a move, inquire of the Lord. Get God’s counsel on what you need to do. When you get God’s counsel, anointing, and grace, you must be prepared for twists and turns.
You cannot rush God.
As a side note, when you are with working with people, there will be some that will not agree with what the Lord placed in your heart.
There is two kinds of opposition in the church.
All opposition comes from the devil, however, the opposition originates in the realm of the spirit and enters into the heart of the unsuspecting.
Demonic opposition is when the devil is fighting everything you do in the realm of the spirit. This is where the “Daniel kind of praying” is warranted. You go into prayer and fasting against what is against you, or against what is preventing you from receiving what God has in store for the local church. And you take a stand until there is a definitive release from the Lord.
People opposition is Galatians 5:7-26 in operation in the local church.
When the people inside the church is fighting one another, it is a clear indication that the devil has found someone to work through to stop the momentum. When people intentionally become unwilling to do certain things to help you facilitate growth in the church, it is people opposition.
When people disappear at the right moment or quit when they are most needed, it is people opposition. I should point out that not all disappearances and quits is a person’s fault.
There are other factors that do occur that makes disappearances and quitting easy. Sometimes, difficult pastoral leadership or difficult leaders alleged to be working with the pastor can make doing the work of the ministry difficult.
When people willingly agree to disagree, and it is their right to do so, it is still people opposition. If they disagree just over trivial things, they are being difficult and they want to control the pastor.
As a pastor, you cannot make people agree with you. You cannot stop people from opposing you when they’ve made up their mind to stand against you. You cannot stop people from disappearing when you need what they have.
What you can do is pray for those that are in opposition to come into agreement with you. Or, pray for new people to come and replace them.
Pray, as Pastor Robyn Gool would say, “for the right kind of help.” Don’t just pray for help because the wrong kind of help will show up.
Pray that God would send people that is agreeable with the will of God, the vision, and mission for the local church. Pray that they can receive pastoral authority and Biblical leadership. Pray that they are teachable and have a humble spirit. Pray that they have the wisdom of God.
Pray that they can work with little to no supervision to get the task done. Pray that they can discern the will of God for the house and work with each other, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
And when the Lord sends them to you, you must teach them that they are necessary for the body to function according to 1 Corinthians 12:12-27. Teach them to operate in the fruit of the Spirit according to Galatians 5:22. Teach them that their measure is required of them according to Romans 12:1-13.
You teach them that they cannot hold the church back by withholding what God gave them. You teach them that they do not have the right to withhold the gift of God. God gave us life, health, and strength. He has blessed us and we feel that we have the right to tell God that we are not going to give Him what is His all along.
All of a sudden, we assume the right to tell God how we are going to be used.
“In Him we live and move and have our being.” Acts 17:28.
In the same way He gives us breath, in an instant, we can stop breathing. In an instant, because we were obedient, the abundant blessings of the Lord comes. In an instant, because of willful disobedience against the known will of God, the abundance could be dried up.
Sometimes, only a few people will grasp what you see and join in with you to get the job done. Sometimes people are not patient and will exhibit frustration and anger. This is not the time to join in their frustration and anger. It is the time to be patient and teach them what the Lord told you to do.
As a pastor, you must be faithful with what is in your hands.
by Fred C. Rochester, Pastor. Copyright 2011. All Rights Reserved.
The body of Pastor Zachary Tims was laid to rest. Such a sad thing. So young in life. Death has taken away the mighty at the prime of his youth.
It is not enough to say, “How the mighty have fallen.” We need to know and understand “Why The Mighty Have Fallen.” Saul didn’t fall from battle victorious. He fell from battle because of a life of disobedience to the Lord. Leaders must be obedient. As imperfect as we are, leaders must be obedient to the Lord and His Word.
As I was studying Solomon, there was a statement about him that stood out. The Scripture said that Solomon followed in the footsteps of his father, David. Except he burned incense on the high place (see 1 Kings 3:3).
It is clear that sometimes burning incense on the high place was unto the Lord, however, if you study the high place, it usually has a dual purpose. It is dedicated to sacrifice to the Lord but when the leadership of Israel operated in rebellion, the high place would be used to sacrifice to idols.
When I see the word “except,” that is a clear indication that a door is left opened that will eventually destroy a man if they do not cease and desist.
Many pastors must understand that if we leave backdoors wide open and do not close them, eventually the enemy will have a way into our lives to destroy it. “Give no place to the devil” is applicable for pastors too.
As we continue to mourn over the passing of Pastor Zachary Tims, it is important to reflect on the fact that pastors are the most targeted ministry gift in the fivefold ministry.
“I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered,” Matthew 26:31.
Of course, it is a prophetic Word about what the Lord God will do to the Lord Jesus from Zechariah 13:7-9, but the implications is the same.
If the sins of a leader remain unchecked, this verse of Scripture is not going to cease. The Lord desires to clean, prune, refine, and transform our lives, even in the midst of tragedy.
However, from a demonic standpoint, there is no question that the devil is looking to destroy every pastor. Or, let the pastor destroy himself. One of the things that we have to look very hard at is that it’s not just the personal sins of a pastor we are to pay attention to.
It is the very fact that the devil will either come at a pastor and directly destroy him or if there is unchecked sins in the life of a pastor, it makes the job of the devil very easy to destroy him.
“How the mighty have fallen” was part of a tribute from David when he was lamenting over the loss of Saul. David paid a tribute to the first king of Israel. However, Saul repeatedly disobeyed God.
Saul’s continued disobedience is How The Mighty Did Fall.
The outcome of the battle against the Philistines would have been different if Saul had obeyed God.
Anytime a leader is destroyed, the sheep is left in a vulnerable place. It all depends upon the heart of the people after a tragedy that will determine whether they will survive it, overcome it, or never rise again, and be scattered.
The ministry of a pastor is very complicated and complex. The dangers for a pastor range from bouts with loneliness to abrasive, pompous displays of pride and arrogance.
Pride and arrogance is not a reflection on Pastor Tims, but it is a reflection on my own life as a pastor.
It’s time to uncover the scandal before the scandal.
My life is the object lesson of any pastor that still desires Secret Sexual Sins. It is time to expose what we pastors do or have done in secret.
As I have preached before, the people only see a small part of the life of most ministers. That small life is the part that carries a high impact on the people. From the pulpit, he or she is able to communicate the Scriptures in the most dynamic way possible.
The goal is to change as many lives as possible so that they reflect the very life of Jesus from new birth to death. While a pastor is powerless to change a life, pastors certainly can impart into a life and, by the Holy Spirit, shape that person to reflect the very life of Jesus (see Romans 8:29-30).
This is what discipleship is all about.
Disciples are not just called upon to be taught. Disciples are called upon to take what is taught and implement it throughout the course of life. It is not enough to declare that you are a follower of Christ. Your life must now reflect your statement. Otherwise, you are operating under false pretenses.
With pastors, when it comes to living before God’s people, one statement comes to mind. One pastor told me as my wife and I were preparing to resume pastoral ministry is that, “You must have the smell of sheep on you.”
A pastor’s ministry is among the people of God. We are called upon to minister to the people as a shepherd ministers to His sheep.
This requires diligence, transparency, honest, integrity, holiness, and brokenness or humility.
Lives that reflect humility or humbleness of mind will always avoid humiliation.
This is important because when you are ministering to His people, if your life lack these basic ministerial ingredients, it makes living a life free of “contaminating influences” a serious problem for those in ministry (see James 3:1).
Getting back to “the most targeted ministry gift,” we are called upon, not just to minister the Word of God, we pastors are called upon to minister out of our lives. The devil hates any minister but in particular, the pastor that constantly points people to the rightly divided Word of truth and ultimately, towards Jesus.
Sometimes, the Lord calls us into ministry with busted, sin filled, broken lives. And we wonder “Why are you mindful of us? Why do you take the time to visit with us?” (see Psalm 8:4).
Usually, it’s because we should have found a way to overcome in our busted, sin filled, broken lives. He takes us and uses us as He pleases. Provided we do what He said in His Word and be faithful to Him.
God didn’t call us to try to be faithful. He called us to be faithful. He didn’t call us to try to live holy. He called us to be holy. He didn’t call us to try to have life and have it more abundantly. He called us to have life and have it more abundantly.
I’ll say it again. It’s not a reflection upon any pastor. It’s a reflection on my life as a pastor.
There is no question that pastors must live above the fray. We are called upon to live holy, honest, full of integrity kind of lives before God and the people. The Lord and the God of the Bible doesn’t give any exceptions. That’s why we must deal with issues that we may not want to deal with.
For many pastors living sinful lives, no matter how good our preaching game is, it is difficult to preach to people to live according to the word of God when we are not living the Word of God we preached for ourselves.
Such was my case.
Let’s try to understand the scandal behind the scandal. Not from Pastor Tims life, but from mine.
The worst sin a pastor could commit is the sin of hypocrisy.
Secret Sexual Sins is a scandal of hypocrisy.
WHY THE MIGHTY HAVE FALLEN?
1. Pride and Arrogance
When a pastor fails to walk in humility, the Lord has a way of dealing with you.
When I was in my life of Secret Sexual Sins, I was full of pride and arrogance.
Porn and self gratification, commonly called masturbation, was a mainstay in my life. One of the things that I knew was the Word of God but how to live the Word was a different story.
My personality and ability to project my persona was key to cloaking known sin in my life.
1 John 2:15-17 says, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and pride of life is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world will pass away and the lust thereof but he that does the will of the Father abides forever.”
In these three things, “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life,” was my secret world of sexual sins.
Lust or the desire for that which is forbidden, drove my every move. My eyes would be in search mode to “file” flesh in my mind to gratify my flesh at night. The pride part was my ability to assume that I would never get caught because I would overuse and abuse 1 John 1:8-9.
However, the Lord would be the Only One able to look past my eyes and know what was in my heart and mind. There are many pastors that is unwilling to deal with this area because it is a revelation that need not be exposed.
Why doesn’t a pastor want his Secret Sexual Sins to be exposed?
One person once said on Focus On The Family, “If God exposes it, I have no job. If I expose it, I keep my job.”
Committing sin makes it seem fun up to a point, but we do not understand that when we sin, we break the heart of the Father, and we must be disciplined by Him. Sin hurts God like a child that run away from home.
Besides, that’s what the prodigal son was partly about.
Freedom to sin or freedom to be “human” by running away from home.
When we are dealing with our own personal hurts, pains, wounds, loses, and successes, sexuality is the greatest “pick me” up or rewarder known to man.
Dr. Archibald Hart, who wrote the book, “The Sexual Man” said, (paraphrasing) “No matter what kind of success or failure you have in life, sex is used as a rewarder.”
There are four basic chemicals that take place in men. Testosterone, adrenaline, vasopressin, and dopamine. The male sex drive is a very powerful drive.
The mighty have fallen because there is a lack of control of these hormones.
When failure or low times after a “mountain top” event is experienced in the life of a pastor, he will seek sex to reward himself.
Such was the case in my life. When the reward chemical “dopamine” enters the blood stream, it is very difficult to abstain unless you operate in the discipline of Romans chapter 6 and 1 Corinthians 9:27. To abstain from sexual immorality and live a sanctified life according to 1 Thessalonians 4:1-5, you must understand what is going on with you. You must identify your “trigger mechanisms” or events that start you down the path to fulfill the need for satisfaction.
The “urges and impulses” of the body will not stop. They are there as part of your physical make up. However, we must learn the “sexual discipline” of Jesus according to Hebrews 4:12-16.
Sin is sin and there is no excuse for it because of what the Lord has done for us on the cross.
Along with this, when a pastor reaches a level of success, he feels he need to reward himself apart from Christ. And even though he may be married, it doesn’t make a difference. If he is single or divorced, it’s a different ballgame.
The temptations are even greater when you are single or divorced. The reward of sex and getting that dopamine fix will drive a man to get that reward over and over again. And in some cases, escalate from fantasy into reality very rapidly.
Patrick Carnes’ Cycle of Sexual Addiction is a classic explanation that powerfully depicts the sexual addict.
1. Thoughts and Fantasy.
3. Acting Out.
How do you know that you are a sex addict?
When you cannot stop or manage your sex life. When you cannot stop masturbating or thinking about sex. When the urge is permitted to exceed your ability to say no and keep your hands from touching yourself sexually.
Pride and arrogance will bring a man to the 4 “E’s” of pride and arrogance.
Briefly, when a person feels that they have made it in life, there is a sense of accomplishment apart from humility called “elitism.”
Elitism takes you to “entitlement.” You believe that you are entitled to certain things, including sex for yourself, whether it is self sex, prostitution, or affairs. That’s why certain promiscuous pastors have many women in the same church to choose from.
Or, they go to different speaking engagements and make arrangements. Such as the saying in the Navy that I served in 30 years ago. “A woman in every port,” a woman in every church is not that far off.
Entitlement takes you to “empowerment.” You go after your pursuit of your reward and you will not be denied. Mind you, while all of these things are going on, there is only one thing that is driving these “E’s.” The male sex drive. Testosterone, adrenaline, vasopressin, and dopamine.
Finally, empowerment takes you to “expediency.” You will violate every ethical or principle you lived by to satisfy yourself.
Why is this important?
When you are dealing with the church culture, there is a “seamless connection.”
The “seamless connection” is drug and alcohol dependency, and sexual immorality.
The use of drugs or alcohol heightens the escape experience. Drugs and alcohol is a part of the escape from reality. Sex is used to feel some measure of intimacy.
Even in the church, there are people that come to church high or they are coming down from that high. Just go back to the days of the jazz world in Harlem, Broadway, and lower Manhattan, and you will understand some of the history of the drug, alcohol, and sex culture.
They were interconnected to provide a false sense of peace and escape. The volatile activities of the pressures of life that pervade the soul; coupled with demonic suggestions to search for places where these destructive tools were available, is more prevalent than we are willing to discuss.
Many will try to sweep it all under rug in the church because we do not want to expose the reality that these things are happening more often than we are willing to admit. Partly because we want to protect the image of our leaders and the people that we minister to.
This is what is not supposed to happen. If we are the children of the King, we need to come to the King of kings to get healed, delivered, and set free. To hide the true dealings of what happens in the church is only setting our selves up to see another leader or believer’s life destroyed. Concealing what we do as sin only makes us a co-conspirator.
“Touch not mine anointed” and “Do not judge” is code for, “Do not judge my leader because if you expose his or her sins, it will force me to deal with my sins.”
These tools reveal a known fact that people that fail or succeed are hurting within and will look to commit sin to find rest. It is silly because the God of the universe is the only One that knows all about us and can fix anyone (see Matthew 11:25-30).
But we do not believe our own preaching.
So we retreat to the secret place of sin instead of the secret place of the Lord to heal our wounds in sin ourselves. All behind closed doors so that our facade is preserved.
This is the hidden world of pastors, music ministers, praise and worship leaders, and male dancers.
The desire to feel affirmed, loved, accepted, and accomplished.
Hence, male orgasm is the one way to accomplish something positive in life.
How stupid and deceived I was.
The devil has lied to us and we have fed these lies with our desire to heal ourselves.
This is the hidden world of Christian believers in almost every local church, denomination and non denomination.
We are intentionally blind to MOAB, the Mother Of All Battles called sexual immorality.
The mighty will continue to fall until we pull back the veil and uncover the secret world behind every scandal.
If we don’t, we have no one else to blame, and we will see another tragedy unfold before our eyes.
We will continue this subject in the next blog.
by Fred C. Rochester, Pastor. To Tithe Or Not To Tithe? Copyright 2011. All Rights Reserved
My point is simply not to manipulate you to tithe. Neither is it my objective to discourage any one from tithing.
My objective is to address extreme teaching and hopefully dispel the confusion by the Scriptures.
You have to decide whether or not you want to tithe.
According to Proverbs 3:9-10, when we give the Lord the first-fruits of our increase, we honor Him. While the word “tithe” is not used in these verses, it would be dangerous to draw a direct line and conclusively declare that these verses of Scripture specifically talks about tithing. It could be talking about tithing but it could be talking about any kind of giving as far as offerings is concerned.
Without question, first-fruit is about giving to the Lord your very best.
This Scripture talks about giving to the Lord the top and the best of what we produced as a result of our labor. We must remember, it is the Lord that gives us “physical strength” to get wealth (look up that word “power” in the Hebrew).
In the NT, we do not see a clear mandate as far as chapter and verse in the NT for believers to tithe.
When you read 2 Corinthians chapters 8 and 9, it is not about tithing. It is about giving. The circumstances surrounding the kind of giving that was to be done was about sending relief supplies to needy believers in the Lord.
Tithing wasn’t mentioned one time.
However, we have manipulated tithing and giving by including certain Scriptures in a failed attempt to bolster tithing. I called this “applying elasticity to the Scriptures.” In other words, people stretch the Scriptures beyond contextual boundaries to sell a false doctrine. Or at the very least, take a valid doctrine and use it manipulatively.
The economic times of our day is challenging many believers not to tithe.
Since the monetary crisis hit the world, the believer and the church is affected as well. It is estimated that giving is off by between 20% to 30%. All across the United States, believers are pulling back on paying tithes and giving offerings.
The obvious reasons is job losses, reduced salaries, personal debt, and high cost of living increases. Additionally, many of us have failed to take heed to beware of covetousness.
Many of us lived beyond our means and called it a “blessing.” Not realizing that a famine in “Egypt” was coming. A Joseph moment was in the atmosphere.
The Joseph principle (see Genesis 41) is clear.
In times of abundance, store up. Because times of leanness is coming.
Many of us didn’t pay attention and we “ate, drank, and were merry.”
Not realizing the the Lord was warning us, we went ahead and bought everything the world offered to us. Even pastoral empires bought more church than what they could reasonably pay for. This caused many pastors to be escorted off the property, or become very harsh toward people to give beyond their ability. Or, they become very crafty in their preaching about money. To command people to give when their personal bills were past due.
For many people, debt was a “blessing.”
Take out a loan and put it on a card.
Sarcastically, “It is God!”
Prominent preachers want you to buy their books and other paraphernalia. When they come to preach, they have their staff ready to accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express or other credit cards, putting you in debt for a product. Or when you know that you have a bill to pay, you write out a check or use your ATM card to buy some teaching. And sometimes people buy this stuff and they never apply any of its principles. Or it is so manipulative that you attempt to put it into operation but nothing happens. Just like the “no money down” real estate deals.
You use money to buy a book or DVD series instead of exercising wisdom to pay your tithes, utilities, rent, mortgage, groceries, etc.
Sadly, and pathetically, some preachers go home to their “mansions” while some of God’s people go back to their much coveted roach and rat infested, paint pealing, leaky ceiling apartments. Looking for that “hundredfold” return that seemingly escapes them every week.
Do not get me wrong.
There are many miracles out there when tithing and giving is done correctly and is not a result of manipulative means. There are many believers that have powerful testimonies because they’ve tithed and gave offerings. But with the right motive in mind from the pulpit to God’s precious people.
Some pastors have machines in the vestibule of most churches so you could pay your tithes and offerings by ATM.
The choice of payment and what you decide to give is totally up to you but we pastors should never be putting other believers into a system of debt to get them to purchase a product. A system of convenience is more costly than the old fashioned way of doing things. The wrong kind of convenience has long tentacles.
Jesus said, “Freely you have received, freely give.”
Sadly, some preachers do not believe in this any more.
While it is true that Paul said that the “Laborer is worthy of his hire,” we preachers should never be looking to “pull” on people to pay for every little thing. I still believe that God knows how to take care of His own.
I am convinced that when God stops paying for a ministry, it is time for its doors to close. It is time to transition into something else. What He calls for, He provides for, however, when the Lord stops the provision there is no longer a need for that vision. Pastors must draw the line and never place an unnecessary burden on the believer to take from them or to put them further into debt. When God speaks to a believer to give, it is always in accordance to what they have and never according to what they do not have.
Somehow, many preachers do not believe what Paul said, let alone what he meant by that.
It is the same at Prevailing Word. The moment the Lord stops providing for the vision is the moment Prevailing Word closes its doors forever. The work is His, not mine. Only God knows how to pay for it. And it makes no sense to try to make Him pay for something that He is discontinuing or never called for in the first place.
You give offerings, not because you want to be blessed but that the Lord blessed you with it to give. That blessing was enough to pay tithes, give offerings, pay bills, and to save some of it for another time of famine.
With credit, we were able to buy things now and pay later or pay the minimum over a long time. However, things got tight. Interest rates increased. We couldn’t resist the items advertised. We went and bought more than our paycheck could handle.
We all maxed out on all 200 of our credit and store cards. Like a boneheaded sucker, that “ten percent off” discount offer at the checkout counter was an attractive drag queen (I’m talking about the offer, not the checkout person at the register).
The discount offer looked like a lady but a closer look revealed masculine facial hair and a deeper voice than usual.
For the believer, it should have been a clear sign that something was about to happen to our financial system that would directly affect tithes and offerings.
Now there are many believers that question tithing.
When things weren’t tight, tithing was never a problem. Now that gasoline prices are beyond reason, buying food is beyond a normal bi-weekly salary. Financing a car is near impossible. Even with a great credit score of 780. Mortgages? Forget it. This is a system that is as dysfunctional as it gets.
Candy bars now are taxable in many states. Not that we need to eat them but the mere idea of taxing a food item is ludicrous. As it stands now, there is no relief in sight and the vultures are flying over head every day. Waiting to devour the next carcass.
As far as tithing is concerned, many believers are now walking away from tithing. The arguments for walking away from tithing are from the usual responses.
1. The preacher is taking the money and using it.
2. Tithing is OT not NT.
3. You won’t get cursed because we are not under the law but we are under grace.
4. Tithing is a manipulative way to finance a pastor’s church empire.
5. I can’t afford to tithe. I got bills to pay. I don’t want to lose my home.
In more cases than not, some of these arguments is valid.
However, you will never see God’s Word telling you that tithing was evil. That tithing was of the devil. That tithing is not the will of God. That there is absolutely no benefit in tithing.
You see the opposite.
Then there are those that do tithe that will argue that they tithe only the net, not the gross (see Proverbs 3:9-10).
They “shortchange” God.
There are clear Scriptures in the book of Genesis that declare that tithing occurred before the law of Moses. The argument that non tithing believers use is that tithing is under the Old Testament law.
It is true that in the New Testament, Jesus never mandated that believers in the church or assembly must tithe. However, we see Jesus instructing the Sanhedrin that they should be concerned with the weightier matters of the law while not leaving the other things (including tithing) undone (see Matthew 23:23-24). As a point, the four gospels is not the beginning of the NT. Remember, Jesus operated as the last OT Prophet. His death fulfilled the righteous requirement of the law (see John 19:28-30 and Romans 10:4).
Even the Lord Jesus told Paul, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35
Why didn’t the Lord Jesus mentioned that it is more blessed to tithe?
However, their argument continues…
I am a NT believer and I am not subject to tithing under the old covenant. The law was fulfilled in Christ and was done away with by His death, burial, and resurrection. Therefore, I am not under the curse of the law because Galatians 3:13 says, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us.” Therefore, the curse of Malachi 3:8-10 doesn’t apply to me.
This argument almost seemed plausible but let me point something out.
Remember, money is the issue.
Remember when Jesus was confronted by the Jews about whether it was right or not to pay taxes to Caesar (see Matthew 22:15-22)? They asked Him a very pointed question. But the Lord responded, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
If the inscription on the coin is Caesar and it is his money, what belongs to the Lord?
Where did the material that made up the coin come from? Who put the substance there so that somebody could make a symbol of value out of it?
Remember, it takes money to get things done. When the children of Israel returned from exile, they needed money to rebuild the wall and the Temple (see Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi).
So, how would this get done without money?
What happens when you do not give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar?
We all know what will happen. So what do you think should happen when we do not give to God what belongs to God?
Read Haggai chapter 1, Zechariah chapter 5:1-5, and Malachi 3:8-12.
You will note that the first incident of tithing occurred with Abram.
Well before the law.
It is clear that when a covenant is established before the law, it is out of a covenant relationship that we honor God. This is precisely what Abram did.
For argument’s sake, Genesis is one of five books of the law. However, the book, in and of itself, has no recording of the law. The recording of the law took place in the second book of the Pentateuch called Exodus. According to Nelson’s Bible Dictionary, Pentateuch is a Greek term meaning “five-volume”. In Leviticus and Deuteronomy, we see detailed instructions on how the nation of Israel is to tithe out of the law.
After Abram returned from the battle of the kings to rescue Lot, Melchizedek, king of Salem brought Abram bread and wine. Abram gave Melchizedek tithes or ten percent of the spoils of war (see Genesis 14).
Melchizedek gave Abram a test. “Give me the persons, and take the goods for yourself.” Abram answered wisely, “…I have raised my hand to the Lord, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth…that I will not take anything that is yours,”
Melchizedek served as the high priest. Abram recognized Melchizedek’s authority and right as high priest and rendered to God what was God’s to the high priest. When you fast forward to the book of Hebrews, you will see that the High Priest of the new covenant is the Lord Jesus and according to the writer of the book of Hebrews, it is declared that the High Priestly ministry of Jesus is like or patterned after the ministry of Melchizedek (see Hebrews 7).
In Hebrews chapter seven, the issue is not just about tithing. The main issue is about the High Priestly ministry of Jesus. I know that many well intentioned believers accuse pastors and preachers of using this Scripture in Hebrews manipulatively but there is no manipulation in the clearly stated fact that the Lord Jesus is our High Priest.
There is nothing manipulative if you choose to honor your High Priest by paying tithes to your High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ. If you believe you are in covenant with the Great High Priest, you choose to honor Him with 10% of all your earnings. By giving your High Priest what is His, you are rendering to God, what is God’s.
Some of you Bible scholars will note that there is a Biblical Hermeneutics Principle called “The First Mention Principle.” When a principle is mentioned for the first time, it becomes the standard all the way through the Bible.
Tithing was mentioned in Genesis 14. We see tithing again in Genesis 28:18-22.
These two incidences is the “Witness Principle.” When two persons say the same thing in two different places and at two different times, it becomes an unrehearsed corroborated witness, and it becomes an “established” word (see Deuteronomy 19:15 and 2 Corinthians 13:1).
It is impossible for Abram to get with Jacob to corroborate tithing.
So, you not only have two different witnesses, you also have the fact that tithing was clearly established before the Law of Moses.
The conclusion is simple.
Tithing is a matter of a man willfully entering into covenant with God to render to God what belongs to Him. Because Jesus is our Great High Priest, we honor Him with 10% of all our increase. We give offerings, not to be blessed but because God blessed us. This is called the law of reciprocity according to Ecclesiastes 11:1-6, Luke 6:38, and Acts 20:35. The rate of return is commensurate with how and what you give according to 2 Corinthians 9:6-9 and Galatians 6:7.
According to 2 Corinthians chapter 8 and 9, we give according to what we have and not what we do not have, and tithing is no where recorded or discussed in 2 Corinthians chapters 8 and 9. We operate in wisdom by giving to God what belongs to Him and then we exercise discretion in paying all our bills. Whatever is left, we store up for the season of famine that is to come and we do not overspend.
We do not look for the “hundredfold” on our return because there is no such return of 30, 60 or 100fold. We look only to be a blessing as a result of God blessing His people.
We must understand that if we fail to render to “Caesar” what belongs to him, we know what will happen. In the same manner, if we fail to render to God what belongs to Him, we know what will happen.
Now you have to decide what you want to do. I will not tell you what you must do.
In light of these Scriptures, you have the opportunity to tithe or not to tithe.
by Fred C. Rochester, Pastor. The Fastest Way To Grow Your Church. Copyright 2011. All Rights Reserved.
Over the last few decades, many pastors are looking for ways to grow his or her local church. The Lord gave the apostles a blueprint to do just that.
During the 1980’s and 90’s the churches that came about were more or less “TRANSFER” growth churches.
In other words, people heard about a particular church and what they were offering. People “shifted” their membership from one local church to another.
Transfer growth is a part of church life but abuses on both parts unnecessarily takes place. It is frustrating for pastors because when you are trying to build on the momentum, sometimes people act funny after they make a commitment. Sometimes pastors act funny too and abuse the people that truly desire to be a part of the local church.
Sometimes people are led of the Lord according to the divine plans and purposes of God to go to a local church. Sometimes people relocate to certain parts of the city, state, or nation. Sometimes a church closes for whatever reason and they look for another place to fellowship.
Sometimes people are spiritually restless and they are looking for another place to grow spiritually. Sometimes people do not want to come to church and go to channel surfing church or they check out live streaming as opposed to leaving their homes.
Then you have believers that roam from church to church, having multiple memberships. They say that they are “led” and they call everyone their “pastor.”
Whatever the case may be, it is important for people to have “a” church home. Why is it important? Coming to church is about honoring God and hearing from the Word of God from competent spiritual leadership. It is about joining a community of believers to fellowship with each other and to help one another grow spiritually.
It is about meeting the spiritual needs of the community that the local church is assigned to. It is about people participating in the greatest work on earth. Building the kingdom of God on the earth to manifest the will of God on earth as it is in heaven.
God cannot make everyone go to church. He’d rather have a willing heart than a heart that grudgingly serves Him. Either you love Him or you don’t.
I do not agree with pastors using “spiritual manipulation” to get people into church. I do not condone pastors using “strong arm” tactics to keep people in the pews. I don’t believe that the local church was designed to be socially agenda minded to the degree that the original intent of the church is overwhelmed and lost.
If the people come and stay in His local church, it’s because they love the Lord and they trust the leadership. As long as the leadership follow the Lord, and the Word of God. Trust, honesty, accountability, holiness, and singleness of purpose must be the benchmark of the minister.
The pulpit, the pew, and the musician must endeavor to live holy lives. Without holiness, no man may see the Lord (see Hebrews 12:14). Without holiness, no man is anointed.
The church belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ. The people belong to the Lord. According to Hebrews 10:25, no one should intentionally “…forsake the assembling…”
As a side note, if you study out the book of Hebrews, you will note that the Hebrew Christians were challenged by the followers of angel worshippers and the law of Moses to walk away from Jesus, and return to Judiasm.
The Hebrew Christians were terrorized and harshly persecuted. Even to the point of death. This kind of persecution caused many of them to walk away from the Lord and the church. While Saul wasn’t a part of this persecution, Saul was a terrorist until he met the Lord on the road to Damascus (see Acts 8:1-3, 9:1-9).
Today, many believers have walked away from the assembly (church). Not because of persecution but because of many other church “options” such as live streaming, cable, satellite, and the Internet. Another alarming thing is that many denominations are closing its doors because there is no replenishment of young people to pick up the torch.
Sometimes, when church leadership and people do not move to where the Spirit of the Lord is, that church, it’s leadership, and people will remain trapped in its traditional setting. In other words, when the church started 40 or 50 years ago, the same hymns, preaching, and praying is done today.
They cease to be a movement because they have monumentalized or crystalized what once was a fresh move of God.
Then you have people in the church that is afraid to take risks to evangelize. They leave evangelism up to the pastor that is already overwhelmed with prayer and the ministry of the Word according to Acts 6:4. They leave the shepherd to have sheep when sheep is supposed to produce sheep.
It is ultimately the responsibility of the pastor to train and equip the people to do the work of the ministry according to Ephesians 4:11-12. Not to train and equip the people to sit after they are trained. The pastors must motivate people to take partnership seriously according to Romans 12:1-13. Church life is more than just filling seats. The vibrant life of the church has its foundation in the worship service but the people come to life in its extracurricular activities.
Many were a part of the local church until they’ve experienced pastoral and parishioner “church hurt.” Many people will not darken the doorstep of a church because of hypocrisy in the pulpit and in the pews. Many will not come to church because of clergy sexual sins. Many will not come to church because of sins in their own lives.
While these reasons is not a valid reason for not finding a sincere church to be a part of, we that declare that we are “changed” should never give saints, sinners, and backsliders a reason for not coming to church.
The imperfect church is a place where we mature as believers in the Lord. We learn how to walk in love and grace towards one another. In being the church, we have to depart and refrain from iniquity while learning how to have forbearance towards one another.
When it comes to sin, light and darkness cannot fellowship, associate, or have anything in common. It means that sin must be dealt with by making a quality decision to obey the correct preaching and teaching of the Word of God.
Teaching people how to live lives free of sin and satan’s devices. It doesn’t mean we prevent people from coming to church with their sins unless they are not producing fruit in accordance with John chapter 15.
We give all believers the opportunity to grow and mature in the things of the Lord.
Having said this, the church must return to the true Biblical reason why it exists.
The church is an assembly of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. The intent of the church is to be a place of God’s holy habitation through the Spirit.
The church is centered around seven things.
2. Prayer and Evangelism
3. The Doctrine Of Christ/The Apostle’s Doctrine
4. Fellowship Among The Believers
5. Accountability And Stewardship Among The Believers
6. Company Of Believers Becoming One In The Temple
7. Meeting The Needs of the Needy
John 4:24 says, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth.”
The word “worship” according to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, comes from the Greek word, “proskuneo” and it is a compound word. “Pros” means “towards” and “kuneo” means “to kiss.”
Some of you will recall the Scripture in Psalm 2 and verses 11 and 12, “Serve the Lord with fear and rejoicing with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry and you be destroyed in your way.”
The Amplified Bible says, “Kiss the Son [pay homage to Him in purity],”
As an assembly of believers, our first intent is to provide an atmosphere of worship unto the true and living God. It’s not about the sound of music in the house. It is not about the praise and worship “experience” that makes a worship service.
In everything that we do, God is to be worshipped. However, the worship service is our weekly celebration of the true and living God through his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and to hear from the teaching and preaching of the Word of God by His appointed man or woman of God. In addition to paying homage or respect to God, we are loving Him. We love Him because He first loved us (see 1 John 4:7-11).
Matthew 22:37 says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”
Therefore, our total worship is an expression of our heartfelt, genuine love to the Lord.
Expressing our love to the Lord involves everything in us. Our heart, soul, mind and body according to Acts 17:28.
When people that do or do not know the Lord come to your church, do they see that you love the Lord? Is the atmosphere filled with a heartfelt genuine love for God? Can they perceive the love you have for God? If they cannot see that you love the Lord your God, then your worship service is not a real worship service.
Many will see something going on inside the facility but nothing that you do is drawing them to where you are because God doesn’t draw people to a place where He isn’t loved. The Lord will direct people to walk right past your church, walk across the street to the other church, and fill that place up.
If you come to church with a bad attitude towards God, they will see it. If you cannot live holy for God, they will see it. If you have hatred in your heart toward one another, they will see it. They will visit and never return because they cannot sense the love you have for God. God will not bring people into a house that hates and disrespects Him.
2. Prayer and Evangelism
THE PRAYER OF FAITH
Hebrews 11:1 says, Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Verse 6 tells us, “For without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him.”
Prayer is useless unless you come to Him with faith in Him and His Word. Even when it comes to worship. We must believe that He is God, the true and living God. The whole basis of faith involves our willingness to take God at His Word and believe that He is “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power (faith and His Word) that works within us.” Ephesians 3:20.
THE PRAYER OF PRAISE AND WORSHIP
The Book of Psalm is the Prayer book of the Bible. There are 150 Psalms. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words defines the word “Psalms” as “a striking or twitching with the fingers (on musical strings), then, “a sacred song, sung to musical accompaniment, a psalm.”
So the combination of singing and instruments is used as part of the prayer service of the local church.
While there are several kinds of prayers to pray in the Bible, primarily, part of the worship service involves the use of the Book of Psalms.
Isaiah 56:6-7 says, “Also the sons of the foreigner who join themselves to the LORD, to serve Him, And to love the name of the LORD, to be His servants— Everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and holds fast My covenant— even them I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.”
While the facility is the place where prayer is to be made, the house that the Lord is referring to is the believer. We are the ones that do the praying, not the building. It is important that you come prepared to pray.
We must always come to praise and worship the Lord for Who He is and not just for what He can do. The things in His hands come after we touch His heart. For He longs to be with His people, to love and fellowship with us. This is the ultimate purpose of why we were created.
The whole premise of worship centers on these two prayers that are primarily in use in the worship service of the church.
Praise and worship and believing that He is God.
We are to pray that the Lord send us (laborers) to work the fields that is ripe for harvest (see Matthew 9:35-38 and John 4:34-38). We are to pray that the Lord draw people to Himself and pray that the Lord would draw us to the sinner to be a witness for Christ.
True numerical growth will only happen when we commit ourselves to be a witness for Christ and lead people to the Lord. The moment we commit ourselves to preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to the lost and win them to the Lord, is the moment we will see the kingdom of God expand.
Proverbs 11:30 says, “The fruit of righteousness is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.”
When the Lord said, “The kingdom of heaven suffers violence, for the violent take it by force.” He didn’t mean faith to believe God for something. He meant that the people grasped the message of repentance to the degree that people violently entered in. They pressed into the kingdom viciously.
The message of repentance grabbed them so badly that they violently and relentlessly pressured the kingdom of heaven to let them in. They got to the gates and the gates couldn’t withstand the assault.
Or, the amount of people that were pressing into the kingdom was overwhelming.
One of the most fascinating things that I have come across in many church growth conferences, books, and blogs is the reduced or lack of believing God in prayer for opportunities to witness. A lack of believing God to draw sinners into the house of worship. The lack of prayer to ask God to draw people to Himself.
The praying is twofold. Pray to go out and get them or to pray that God send them in to the house of worship to get saved.
We trust more in demographics, marketing, and targeting specific people. We trust more in our human ability to put out a product than putting our trust in the living God.
Do not misunderstand what I am saying.
It is important to recognize that as a local church, what you are specifically called to do, and to whom the Lord has assigned you to reach.
However, the moment that we minimize God’s divine influence, is the moment we keep the One Person responsible for bringing the people into the church building and ultimately, His kingdom out of the most important work of the church (see John 6:44, 12:32-33, and 1 Corinthians 3:5-6). The church is the ark of safety. It is a soul saving station. It is God’s house of redemption.
In places like these where prayer is minimized, it only reveals a deeper problem. A clear intentional reluctance to call on the name of the Lord for the lost. A sad lack of prayer to the Lord of heaven and earth.
There must be a balanced combination of the two things in order for results to manifest. We cannot afford to sit and pray all day when the Lord said, “Go, therefore…” And we must not “Go, therefore…” without receiving divine instructions on where to go.
In Luke chapter 5, after the Lord concluded ministering to the people, He told Peter to “Launch out into the deep…and let your nets down for a catch.” Peter told the Lord that he “toiled all night, nevertheless, at your word…” Peter didn’t pray a lick for fish. He gave up fishing after being out in one or several known spots all night long.
But perhaps Peter and the rest of the fishermen left one spot un-searched. Or the Lord withdrew the fish to assemble in the deepest part; undetected until it was time to catch them. Whatever the case may be, the lesson is clear. You cannot catch anything unless you rely on the only Person capable of drawing them to the net to be caught.
The Lord instructed them to go back out.
Three things that need to be shared.
One, it is important to understand that positioning had something to do with it.
Two, obedience, even after working all night long, is essential to receiving the manifestation of your prayers and efforts.
And three, no matter what, do not give up, is the final point. Persistence will pay off after while.
Methods and means will change but you have to be current with what the Spirit of God tells you to do. We do not have to compromise with the world to get God results. The world is competing against God for souls.
When the Lord moves, we must do so at His command. Therefore, do not seek just fill seats. Your church must be prepared to disciple those whom the Lord sends. This is what evangelism is all about.
We must remember that the Lamb of God came to take away the sins of the world. Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. Jesus came to die for the sins of man. He is the propitiation or appeasing sacrifice, satisfying the just claims of the Most High God.
Man is to be reconciled to God through the blood of the everlasting covenant. God was never in the wrong. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. However, we were justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
The ultimate reason for the existence of the church is to inform sinners that the price of sin was paid in full by the life, death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. We have victory over sin through the blood of His cross. Evangelism. True evangelism will always remind the sinner of the price the Lord Jesus paid to free us from the power and guilt of sin.
The pain and suffering of Jesus on the cross is what we must remember every single moment of our lives. He endured the cross and despised the shame. The joy that was set before Him caused Him to endure the suffering.
The joy that one day, we would be saved from our sins. The joy of being united in heaven with the Savior. The joy of being with those that made Jesus Lord of their lives. The joy of not being cast into the lake of fire, separated from the presence of the Lord forever.
True evangelism will never exclude the power of the cross.
If we water down this gospel, the true meaning of the gospel is lost or veiled to those that are blind and do not believe. Woe to the church if we fail to preach the cross of Christ.
Every time you go to a funeral or home-going, a soul’s name, written in the Lamb’s book of life is all that matters at the end of the day.
In Part Two we will cover…
3. The Doctrine of Christ. The Apostle’s Doctrine
4. Fellowship Among The Believers
5. Accountability And Stewardship Among Believers
6. Company Of Believers Becoming One In The Temple
7. Meeting The Needs of the Needy