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Stay In The Trench and Do Not Flinch

It has been said that pastoring is not a job, it’s a calling – and I could not agree more. One man once said, “If you think that you are called to pastor, but you also think you may desire to do something else, go do the something else.” Why the directness? Because if you are not truly called by God to pastor, as the pressures mount, you will gladly take any exit ramp possible to alleviate and eradicate the pain.

So for those who are truly called by God to this noble, yet servant leadership (John 13) role of pastoring, how do we press on, day in and day out, in the midst of the struggle? The following are 7 keys from God’s Word that I pray will encourage you, embolden you, and stiffen your spine as you valiantly soldier on in obedience to the LORD:

  1. Remind yourself daily Who called you: The old phrase rings true: “If God brought you to it, He will see you through it.” God doesn’t make mistakes and He has a plan for His glory and your good, yes even in the midst of the challenges and pain that you are facing today. The apostle Paul proves how powerful the call of God is when he wrote in 1 Corinthians 9:16, “For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!” Regardless of what others say about you, remember Who called you.
  2. Remind yourself daily to have calloused knees: The preacher’s power is not from standing in the pulpit, but by helplessly falling on his knees in his prayer closet. Contrary to the world’s thinking, our power is not from ourselves, but when we are on our knees it is of God. If we are not seeking the face of God in all things, we have failed before we have even started. “ 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7
  3. Remind yourself daily to wash yourself in The Word: If we are not anchored to the Voice of Truth, we will anchor ourselves to the other voices that are jockeying for our allegiance. Therefore, it is crucial that we daily mine the Scriptures, bind the truth around our necks, write God’s wisdom on the tablet of our hearts, and hide His Word deep within the wellspring of our soul. As Psalm 1:1-3 tells us, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” Daily bathe in God’s Word and your roots will become deep in the LORD, allowing you to withstand the storms of life.
  4. Remind yourself daily to stay Gospel focused: It the midst of the battle, it is relatively easy to completely lose sight of what we are fighting for. The war is not about physical life, but everlasting life. When this mission is constantly top-of-mind, we are more apt to press through the dry seasons of ministry as we rely through desperate dependence upon God to carry us each step of the way. Because the Gospel is potent beyond human thinking, we must cling to Paul’s words in Romans 1:16 when he declared with confidence and fervency, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”
  5. Remind yourself daily that suffering for the Gospel is inevitable: Jesus did not mince words when he warned us in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” The key here is that we would recalibrate our hearts and minds to be in Christ (in Me Jesus says) for peace in the midst of the suffering. And yet, as we rest in Christ during the challenges, we must also remind ourselves the cut-to-the-chase promise that Paul gave to young Timothy when he said in 2 Timothy 3:12, “ Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”
  6. Remind yourself daily that the battle is spiritual: Satan desires for us to be deceived into thinking that we are wrestling against flesh and blood. Why? Because if we are focused on overcoming flesh and blood, we are focused on the wrong enemy as the real enemy will seek, steal, and destroy us. Paul poured this deep truth into the Ephesians 6:10-12 when he said, “ 10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Keep your heart in-tune with the reality that Satan is not some little guy in a red suit, with a pitchfork, a goatee, and eyebrows gone wild. No, as the spiritual battle rages on, he masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14) and he prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he
    may devour (1 Peter 5:8).
  7. Remind yourself daily that the battle belongs to The LORD: Praise be to God for this reality, because if it was up to us, we would be in big trouble. At the end of your day, no matter challenges we face, when we are in Christ and under His righteousness, we can and must rest in the soul-satisfying fact that the battle belongs to the LORD. You notice I said that we “should.” Of all the 7 keys to adhere, this is the one that I struggle with the most. Oh wretched man that I
    am, who will deliver from this body of death (Romans 7:24)? God will! As we walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7), may God grant you His perfect peace in the midst of the struggle. “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.” – Psalm 20:7

Be encouraged in the battle pastor, and count it all joy when the enemy assaults you with his fiery darts of deception and slander (James 1:2-3). Don’t bend, don’t buckle, don’t break, and don’t waver regarding God’s call on your life. Keep your hand to the plow and don’t look back (Luke 9:62). Drive a stake in the ground today with great resolve that even if God doesn’t go your way, you are still going His way (Daniel 3:16-18). Contend earnestly for the faith (Jude 3), and do not lose heart. Stay in the trench and do not flinch!

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“How to Heal the Body”

As Pastors we often separate ourselves from having TRUST for anyone! WE put ourselves on an island guarded by a moat of hungry sheep! Sometimes our spouse and family are farther away than the sheep. The enemies SATAN and FLESH has caused many to buy into a culture of division! Pastors compete with each other so often while our enemies wreak havoc! Please continue. 

 

In America there are more than 250 Denominations recognized by the IRS(The World has many thousands). Throughout the “Church” in America the differences of Denomination, Doctrine, Race, Culture and Social Status has caused great division. According to the many Pastors as a group and particularly within the same denomination do not Trust one another. Sadly the Body and “Pastors” also still struggle with Racial Prejudice and Segregation. As Pastors we are taught how to build a “Castle”, more commonly called the Local Church.

IMG_3034.JPGThe Simple Solution:

Diligently Strive to Transform our Differences into Wholeness in the Body! (One Body with many parts working together to grow the Kingdom) Develop a “Kingdom Culture”! This is the culture when Pastors in a community agree to attack the enemy as one Army and one Body in love, trust and power! It is the mindset of bringing the Lost to the Kingdom and allowing the Holy Spirit to direct them to the right “Church Fellowship”. Pastors Need each other! We must find Pastors to establish True Relationships of Trust, Accountability and Encouragement across all barriers and walls. We suggest that every Pastor make a commitment to find Three other Pastors-different denomination, race, and culture “if possible” and meet with them EVERY WEEK for about 1-2 hours to talk as real men about real issues.                                                                                                                                    20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 1 John 4:20 NAS

The Results: The Body is quickly Healed! More lost will be brought into the Kingdom of God. Communities will see what being “Christian” really means. Your “Church Fellowship” will benefit because you get refreshed and re-fired every week. Many Pastors say that their “Messages” become more powerful. Your Wife will be Thrilled because she will be spending more time with her Husband and not her Pastor. You will develop trusted friendships to share things that only another Pastor can understand. You will finally have a place to unload without fear of betrayal. You will personally grow because you have embraced accountability. You will learn more about the “Body”…… a lot more! As we build these Friendships with Trust and Encouraging Accountability the Body also comes together and is held tightly together by this bonding also! The community will become shaken. When Pastor’s come together publicly and regularly in love and relationship it overflows to congregations and communities. Note: Pastor’s Marriages, Ministries, and Lives have been saved by starting these weekly Champion Tables! (Just ask Me)                  

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Sex, Money and Power: Table Talk

How do we treat God's Gifts?Dear Pastor,

A few years ago God put a strong word in me about the struggles Pastors have with sex, money and power. As people that are human we have the same driving issues that every other person has. The flesh that we live in has hungers that if not “Disciplined” will ruin our lives our families and our ministries! Sex has been made to be a dirty word by many pastors and churches because the world has been very abusive and seductive in its portrayal of it, however the beautiful union between a man and a woman was given to us by God. God set this special gift aside to be between a man and his wife as a Holy Union that demonstrates the oneness of marriage. Our challenge to you today is to ask yourself, am I seeking to be like the world or am I seeking to be like God. In other words, am I treating sex as “Holy Intimacy” as a gift or am I treating it as a flesh satisfying action where God is forgotten?

Pastors, we must not allow ourselves to stay in the trap of the enemy filling our eyes, mind and actions with sexual fantasies. This is a sure way to total failure and perhaps eternity in the pit of hell. Yes, we said hell! Let us say this very truthful statement, “Your Actions and Words Identify Whose you really are!”  The only way to defeat the enemy in this arena is to (1) Be “full” of God’s word (2) Obey the Holy Spirit (3) Put NOTHING before your eyes that cause temptation (4) If Married- Have Holiness in your intimacy and make your bed an altar before God (5) Engage in weekly Accountability The Bible teaches that the love of Money is the root of all kinds of evil. Having Money or lacking Money is definitely a driving force in peoples lives today.

As Pastors we must have Money for ministry. We must have money for survival. We must answer the question that if we serve an all powerful and loving God why are so many Christians struggling to eat and pay bills. These are questions that we face constantly. The wealthy Pastor versus the poor Pastor is a very difficult challenge. What we know is very clear, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven”! “Where your heart is there is also your treasure!” These are just two of the truths of God’s word. As Pastors we volunteer to give up our lives to serve the Lord. Money is the defining tool God uses to determine where your heart is. God may choose to bless one greatly and another not. He looks at the heart. But be aware, the enemy can pour money and earthly treasures on you as well giving you the choice, who are you going to serve?

The questions you may need to also ask is, do I have any idols in my closet? Would you be willing to sell all to follow Jesus? If the answer is No, then perhaps you need to examine your heart and see if Jesus lives there. If the answer is yes then you need to live like it! Treat everything you have as if it were Jesus’ and he expects you to return it to him. Having Money is a good thing as long as it doesn’t own you! Power and Glory are battles that all Pastors face. They are either inward or outward. Being in control as the Shepherd is a genuine responsibility that must be taken seriously. Falling into the deception that we are to control and dictate has caused the destruction of many great Pastors. Leading as a Bold servant of God who understands the authority you operate under is critical to having a highly blessed/successful ministry. Power struggles in church leadership, pastoral staffs and congregational leaders continue to be one of the primary tools satan uses to destroy churches and pastors.

Self center attitudes by pastors breeds destructive tendencies as well. Being in charge is a constant battle and it often stems from home life. The worlds way says, “it’s all about me”! The idea of being a humble servant is not very appealing based on worldly standards however Jesus humbled himself to become a man. The fact is that when you truly know who you are in Jesus and you know how to live under his authority then being humble is a necessity. Why? Because you walk in His Power and Authority, not your own. You walk in the fullness of Holy Spirit and are confident! Pastor, I pray that you will examine yourself today and get with your fellow Champions and review these three major battle grounds for Christians/Pastors. Dissect them, search the scriptures establish a checks and balance/accountability. It is our prayer that this brief letter will bring things to your attention that will cause you to stretch to a higher calling and a higher walk with the lord Jesus. We also pray that you will become the leader and pastor that God called you to be by humbling yourself and praying daily more fervently than ever before. We love you and continue to pray for you. Your Servant, paul        

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Am I a “Man of God”?

Recently at one of our lunches the guest speaker used the term “Man of God” as he was telling a story about someone. Immediately the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, “Man of God is what you and every man should be striving to be called”. When people see you they should think of you as a “Man of God” before anything else!

The “Holy Spirit” further went on to say that being a Pastor is a position, but being a “Man of God” is a description of who you really are. It describes your character and testifies of who you are on the inside.  Many of us work hard to earn degrees and attain many great titles and this can be well and good, however Holy Spirit said to me the most important title (if we can call it that) is “Man of God”.   Who are you, really? Who am I? Does our title tell the world who we really are? I have been called many things: Pastor, Dr., Bishop, Apostle, Executive Director, Reverend, etc. some of these are not accurate about me and others were spoken just for respect, but none of these are true reflections of who I am as a follower and servant of Jesus!

Did my wife marry a Pastor or a man? She married a “Man”. She is more interested in me being a man seeking God with my whole heart and mind than she is that I may be a Pastor or Minister. Who we are is much more important than what we do as a calling or position. How important is it to our church families and fellowships to know that they can trust and count on us as men of integrity and godly character?   Our positions can change and be forgotten our relationships are what is remembered and has the longest lasting impact.

Now for the kicker. When we truly are a “Man of God” all of these things mentioned become easier to do and with lasting affect! Being a Pastor is easy when you know that you are walking in the Power and Wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Being a husband and Father is much easier when your wife sincerely sees you as a Man of God! Being a leader of a ministry or business breeds much success because people want to be led by great “Men of God”!

Now the question remains, am I a “Man of God”? Are you a “Man of God”? What are we going to do about this?

I pray that this will make us think about how people really see us, starting at home. As you meet with your Champions Table this week discuss the importance of why it is critically important that as Pastors and Ministers that all people see you as a “Man of God”

We are praying for you!!

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The Pink Elephant in the Church

Hello dear friends, there has been an invasion in God’s church and it has been named “The Pink Elephant”. This Pink Elephant looks harmless and has many people wanting to look at it ride it and even feed it and yet it is crushing men women and children by the thousands. This Pink Elephant’s history is widely known and despite it’s familiarity the church has unwittingly allowed it to enter.

Friends we have message of warning that we beg you to see and hear. This video will open your eyes and prepare you to defend against and defeat this awesome and terrible enemy. Please watch this to its end and pray that God will empower you with His Spirit to have victory.

We are praying for you.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KoVLXFdjlyw&list=UUHh5YIfMcC0KI9UeRJIpHvA&feature=share