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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A word about who we are (and were)

About us as we are about Him.

Rory Moore came to the Lord in 1979 at the age of 28.  He married Linda in 1983 and they have three children: daughter Savanah, sons Jetrey and Dustin.

For 24 years Linda and I were in our churches "inner circledoing almost everything you can do in a church without turning "pro".  In 24 years I served as an Assistant Pastor, Youth Leader, licensed minister, Elder, Board member, preacher, teacher,  fund raiser, altar worker, deacon, building maintenance, counselor, visitation minister and we were financial pillars to the church in every way via tithing, offerings, fund raisers and more.
Our personal service works included building cleaning and maintenance, construction, visitation, and much more.  I guess we might be called the typical, average loyal church supporters. 

We also worked closely with all of our pastors and leadership and had many friends in ministry, in the local church scene, and with other fellowship circles. -long before the internet. 

Linda was Choir Director for 7 years, a "special" singer, Sunday School teacher, church secretary treasurer, fund-raiser worker, and did many "helps". We were faithful attendees of almost every service and function of the church. For two decades we were among the first to arrive and were among the very last to leave church services and were often there 2-4 hours on those days, plus staff meetings. 

 As the years went by, we did not notice the progressive decline away from the scriptures and prayer as we stayed busy with church programs, activities, and the routine of church life. This decline occurred as our church transitioned from a denominational Pentecostal church into a non-denominational Evangelical Christian community church

In 2004 in the wake of two events, a family crisis and the passing of my dad, in my grief and sorrow, I sought the Lord fervently and returned to regular and prayerful study of the Bible. After "praying through" to a spiritual renewal, I asked the Lord for deeper understanding about our tithe doctrine after noticing a verse in Nehemiah 13:5 that said the "singers" were given tithes! 

When I showed that to Pastor, he looked at me with a funny expression on his face and mumbled a few words I do not recall. It struck me as strange singers and doorkeepers were to receive tithes. So I asked the Lord to show me the truth about this, and the Lord spoke to me clearly "start reading the New Testament."

A few weeks later it came as a shock when I realized there was no direct instruction to any Christians or churches that they were to pay tithes!  (this was before I later discovered that Biblical tithes were never paid in money).

I literally thought I was losing my mind. How could everyone I knew be wrong? But I simply could not find monetary tithing given to any church or saint in scripture as New Testament! 

Mentioning this to a few others about my questions only brought an attempt to "correct" us in the form of a surprise visit from the pastor and other elders one Monday night. When I attempted to question tithing in front of the elders, the subject was immediately shut down by Pastor and no questioning church would be permitted in front of us elders.

We never dreamed of leaving our church but on Sept. 29, 2004, after an agonizing decision, we walked away from the church we helped to start in 1993 as founding members.
We fit the typical middle-of-the-road Christian role models of the sincere church going family for 24 years but we realized we had to leave the church in order to find a renewed relationship with God all over again.
So after more than 3,500 church services, staff meetings, revivals, and related gatherings, we walked out into unknown territory.   
It was very difficult, as not once had we left the church before. But The Lord began to also confirm these things in a multitude of dreams and the Scripture began to open up and we saw things right there in the Word that nobody ever taught or mentioned, as The Lord God became our shepherd. 

As He revealed more of Himself to me, the Lord told me to "Write" and we now minister to far more people through writing and ministering the Word of God in order to serve others.  -And we are glad to do so freely. 

Writing the book, "The Tithe That Binds"  was the off-shoot of our personal study and questioning the Lord on the subject of tithing. When the book was in the writing stage, at one point I sought the Lord for the title as I wanted HIM to name it.  For three days we prayed for a title and on the third day, He gave us the name of it, and He also provided a Christian publisher who worked and gave of her time to us freely in order to publish it.

A second revised edition is forthcoming, expanded and further building on the truths regarding what the scripture does or does not say about monetary tithing.

At this point, we are 10 years out of "Institutional" Christianity and enjoying fellowship with other ministers and saints who have also come out of the system. It took us two years of "de-churching" and un-learning what we had  been taught from men, in order to learn and be taught from God's Word. In order to learn from God we had to be willing to unlearn what we learned from men.

The Bible is a wonderful and amazing book and has become a beacon of truth to us as we seek to do what it says rather than what others say it says...

Flattering Titles, Sacred Cows, High Horses

Flattering Titles, Sacred Cows, High Horses
and by-passing sacred scripture

"Good morning and welcome everyone one, God bless you!
I am the the Senior Pastor, Dr. V.A. Nity.   We are honored and privileged today to have as our special guest speaker, Bishop C.M. Proud,  D.D./PhD, Chief Apostle and President of the Worldwide Association of Mainstream Ministries."  

-"Thank you Dr. Nity, it is a great honor to be with you, your staff, and the congregation today .... Your Music Pastor Ken Olie and Choral Director Bobbie-Jo, did a wonderful job in the Song Service and we want to compliment Deacon Jones who worked to provide us with such generous hospitality." 

What you just read takes place in an unlimited number of variations, depending upon who the players are, in pulpits around the world every Sunday morning.  How quickly and easily these typical flowery introductions go in one ear and out the other of the typical pew-sitter.
Incredibly, that nice introduction and response by-passed the very words of the Bible those eloquent men desire to represent.

We mind-numbed church goers just smiled, clapped, and nodded at smiling men in suits up there on the platform, some wishing deep inside they could be up there getting the accolades too.
We all watched with anticipation what stirring words of profound wisdom might be forthcoming from our Titled speaker. 

Little did we or anyone in the auditorium realize we had just steam-"roled" right over some admonishments of scripture!

1.  Job 32:21 Let me not, I pray you, accept any man's person,
                     neither let me give flattering titles unto man
2.  Job 32:22 For I know not to give flattering titles
                     in so doing my maker would soon take me away

Now that is a pretty stiff uppercut to the Doctor of Divinity Bible College mills, Para-Church Ministries, card-carrying "Apostles", and Denominational hierarchies. 

Do you think a man like the apostle Paul may have had those scripture verses in mind when he wrote in 1 Thess 2:5 

"For neither at any time used we flattering words,
as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness".  

As we searched for the meaning of "flattering", we found in the Hebrew, kânâh; to address by an additional name;
 hence, to eulogize: - give flattering titles, surname

According to scripture, in lauding and titling ourselves and others, we have brought harm and hurt to the Body of Christ. 
Prov. 29:5 says  A man that flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his steps. 

This simply means that the lifting up of men (and women) with titles(surnames and additions to their name) causes them to trip, i.e. stumble over God's Word.
Have you seen how Jesus taught on this same subject in Matt. 23?

Rather than seeking to please the crowds, inflate their own ego, or meet their own self-esteem needs, both Jesus and the disciples utterly forsook the ego-centric outward appearances of success so common in today's church world.

Not only did we toss honorific flattering titles and positions around our churches, but we had our  own well-paid prophets come around call forth great "visions" for our future to go with them. 

In prophesying to old Israel we find a repeating in our day in Christianity. There seems to be no shortage of Prosperity Prophets who envision bigger barns for the church folks and bigger ministries for the titled clergy.
We had ours too, and we recall the stirring prophecies foretelling us how we would soon be moving to a new building, bigger crowds, and destined for greatness.
Most of it was ear-tickling and flesh-pleasing that appealed to our sense of achievement and desire for success.

"But we must "HONOR" them that labor" among us, the Bible says...... "  
Are you ready once again to have your mind changed and your theology tweaked?

"Honor" is used in several forms often in the New Testament, none of which legitimatize the use of flattering titles which tend to puff up egos and enhance the perception carnal authority:

Here is a little word study from the Lexicon.
G1784    valued,: - dear, more honorable, precious, in reputation.
 fix the value 
 to honour, to have in honour, to revere, venerate

G5092    a value, that is, money paid, valuables; by analogy esteem (especially of the highest degree), or the dignity itself: - honour, precious, price, some. to prize, that is, fix a valuation upon;  by implication to revere: - honor, value

Now you can "plug-in" the actual meaning with the general term "honor" in the verses below.

 Eph 6:2  Honor g5091 thy father and mother (which is the first commandment with promise),
 Phil 2:29  Receive him therefore in the Lord with all joy; and hold such in honorg1784
 1Thes 4:4   that each one of you know how to possess himself of his own vessel in sanctification and honor, g5092
 1Timothy 1:17   Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor g5092 and glory forever and ever. Amen.
 1Tim 5:3   Honor  g5091 widows that are widows indeed.

To "honor"  has everything to do with "to prize, value, consider precious, dear", etc. in the context of Christian love, than it does to flattering titles and flowery speeches and financial reward! 

If your Bible is to be believed and followed, "flattering titles" have a role in causing God's people to stumble.The fact that New Testament writers and Jesus Himself never sought "glory from men", or had "respect of persons" testifies to yet another area where visible Christianity has fallen away from the humility of the Gospel. 

We are not making "sin" out of the wearing of church titles. We are pointing out some scriptures that address the Titles and the motives for them. Again, read what Jesus taught about them in Matthew 23 in addition to what is here, and you will understand why some have chosen not to take titles as we minister. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Who Is Qualified To Oversee A Church?

Who is qualified?

1Timothy 3:1 Faithful is the saying, If a man seeks the office of a bishop, he desires a good work.
A "bishop" is defined by the scriptures as an "overseer", and is one who watches over the "called out ones".
The modern church has perverted the term "bishop" into a titled position in an ecclesiastical structure unknown in scripture. The apostles never ordained solo pastors or a priest over the churches. 
A "bishop" is not a pastor overseeing other pastors in a pyramid shaped organizational structure. He was an elder and most often supported himself as he ministered..

We will look at who and how God calls and qualifies with the responsibility of an overseer; that is, to watch over and tend the flock of God.  1Tim. 3:1-7

      1  Faithful is the saying, If a man seeketh the office of a bishop, he desires a good work.     (bishop means simply  "overseer" and is not a pastor over pastors)
2  The bishop therefore must be without reproachthe husband of one wifetemperate, sober-minded, orderlygiven to hospitalityapt to teach;
3   no brawlerno striker; but gentlenot contentiousno lover of money
4   one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjectionwith all gravity;
5   (but if a man knoweth not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
6   not a novice, lest being puffed up he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 
7   Moreover he must have good testimony from them that are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil

In Titus 1, he wrote a second time regarding elders:

 Titus 1:5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every cityas I had appointed thee: 
Here are the qualifications for those elders that are to be "overseers" of the churches:
      6)  if any man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having children that believe, who are not accused of riot or unruly.
7) For the bishop must be blameless, as God`s stewardnot self-willednot soon angry, no brawler, no strikernot greedy of filthy lucre;
8)) but given to hospitality, as lover of goodsober-mindedjust,holyself-controlled;
9)  holding to the faithful word which is according to the teaching, that he may be able to exhort in the sound doctrine, and to convict the opposers.

Did you notice the ordained "elders" in "every city" are called "bishop? 

1Peter 5
1)   The elders among you I exhort, who am a fellow-elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, who am also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
2)   *Tend the flock of God which is among you, exercising the oversightnot of constraint, but willinglyaccording to the will of Godnor yet for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind (*tend means "feed")
3)   neither as lording it over the charge allotted to you, but making yourselves examples to the flock.

Although this may upset a few people, the most often repeated qualification begins with the nouns "man" and "he", a total of 14 times. 11 in 1Timothy and 3 more in Titus.  

Masculine nouns are used repeatedly in multiple verses and is the first qualification specified and is referenced 14x times. The office itself "bishop", Greek "episkopos", is also a masculine noun. (Strongs 1985). 

 So when the Scriptures speak in terms of the office of an overseer and the elders that rule, it always does so with men. Even the word "pastor" (poimen in Greek), is a masculine noun, and there is no such thing as a wife being "co-pastor" or "pastor" over an assembly.

Having swallowed some "meat" from the Word, let us look at the points Paul gave in 1Timothy 3.
In our 24 years of church involvement and leadership, we never heard these taught or reviewed in regard to the people who were appointed or put in places of leadership.

This is a good example of how the church departs from scriptures as church leaders are usually those who demonstrate loyalty, financial support, natural gifts for speaking, or a willingness to support and volunteer.

We also see that among the scriptural elders that ministered, no one office such as the pastor, prophet, or apostle, is given pre-eminence above the rest.

Nor are Formal Titles are mentioned for those exercising oversight of the churches in these qualifications which apply equally to all ministries and the elders.

In 1Timothy 3

1.   without reproach:
      not open to censure, irreproachable. He is honest and his word and motive is good. He is not hiding any sin.  
2.   Husband of one wife
      He is a "husband" of one wife. He does not divorce and remarry another, unless the first wife committed adultery,  or she died.
3.   temperate; 
      sober, not given to alcoholic drinks and not a food glutton.

4.   sober-minded: 
      curbing one's desires and impulses, self-controlled, temperate, prudent , sensible
5    orderly:  
      well arranged, seemly, modest. This speaks of his life not being disorderly or out of control.  
6.   given to hospitality:  
      He is hospitable and generous to guests. Their home is made comfortable to others and they are made to feel welcome.

7.   able to teach: 
      He is apt and skilled in teaching in order to benefit and spiritualy mature others in the Scriptures.
8.   not a brawler: 
      Not ready for a blow, not a pugnacious, contentious, or quarrelsome person. "Not" means not. Contentious means argumentative. He is peaceable.
9.   no striker: He does not hit others, nor his wife, nor his children. seemingly, suitable
equitable, fair, mild, gentle

10.  gentle:   
      He is reasonable, listens and considers the words of others. He is equitable, fair, mild, and gentle. He is not over-powering, a bully, overbearing, stubborn, or hard.   
11. not contentious:
       Right after "gentle" comes not contentious again.
That is posturing as not to be withstood, acting as invincible, and abstaining from fighting whether it be with WORDS or ACTIONS
12. not greedy of money
      He is free from the love of money, and not given to deals and scams.

13.  one that rules well his own house
      He manages over, superintends, presides over, provides for, and is a protector or guardian
14. children in subjection with all gravity
      His (not adult) children  are under control, obedient, in subjection, submissive.   With dignity: the characteristic of a thing or person which entitles to reverence and respect, dignity, majesty, sanctity,honour, purity.
15. not a novice:
      He is not newly planted, a new convert, or neophyte (one who has recently become a Christian. -No matter how gifted they are, sincere, or giving of financial support.

16. Lest he be puffed up
      An immature overseer will try to meet his ego needs through the church. he will imagine himself to be above others, he will think those who disagree are going over his head, he will feel threatened easily.  He will see himself as being something he is not and entitled to things by reason of his position or title.
17. having a good testimony from outsiders:
     His bills are paid, his word is known to be good, he has a good name and reputation for honesty. 

In Titus 1:
18. blameless:
      He cannot be called into account, unreproveable, unaccused, blameless. What if he sins? If he is walking in repentence and forgiveness, he is blameless.  Except from the devil.
19. husband of one wife:  
      He is once married unless widowed, and did not divorce for any cause other than adultery by his ex-wife.
20. children that believe and are not riotous
      His children believe in the Lord and are not those that cannot be subjected to control, disobedient, unruly. His children are not in rebellion.

21. not self-willed:
     He is not self-pleasing, self-willed, arrogant.
22. not quickly angry:
      He is not prone to anger, irascible, hot-headed, fiery, hot tempered. 
23. not given to wine
      He is not a drunkard, given to wine, or drunken.

24. no striker:
      Not ready for a blow, not a pugnacious, contentious, or quarrelsome person. "Not" means not. Contentious means argumentative. He is peacable.
25. not greedy of lucre: 
      He is free from the love of gain, desire for wealth and substance, eager for base gain, or greedy for money.   
26. given to hospitality:
      He is hospitable and generous to guests.

27.  as lover of good
      He is of a sound mind, sane, in one's senses,
curbing one's desires and impulses, self-controlled, temperate
28. sober-minded: 
      He is safe (sound) in mind, that is, self controlled (moderate as to opinion or passion): - discreet, sober, temperate.
29.  just: 
      In a wide sense, upright, righteous, virtuous, keeping the commands of God
of those who seem to themselves to be righteous, who pride themselves to be righteous, who pride themselves in their virtues, whether real or imagined
innocent, faultless, guiltless

30. holy: undefiled by sin, free from wickedness, religiously observing every moral obligation, pure holy, pious.
30.self-controlledstrong, robust, having power over, possessed of (a thing) mastering, controlling, curbing, restraining, controlling one's self, temperate. He can control his apetite.
31. holding to the faithful word which is according to the teaching:  He cleaves hard to the Word, the sayings of God, not just in head knowledge, but in action. He speaks as an oracle of God.
32. able to exhort in the sound doctrine:  To refute, comfort, establish, correct, reprove, to console, to encourage and strengthen by consolation, to comfort

In 1Peter 5:1
"The elders among you I exhort, who am a fellow-elder",  the elders are to:
33. tend the flockto feed, to tend a flock, to rule, govern, shepherd
of rulers (overseers)
to furnish pasture for food
to nourish
to cherish one's body, to serve the body
to supply the requisites for the soul's need
34. exercising the oversightto look upon, inspect, oversee, look after, take care of the church which rested upon the elders, to look carefully after, beware in regard to protect 
35. not by constraint:
      not to shepherd and tend by using compulsion or force of title or position. (carnal authority)
36. willingly
      of one's own accord, voluntarily. -not as a hireling, but as a volunteer.

37. according to the will of God
     As a man sent from God, according to and from the Will of God, not by men or a Bible College Certificate.
38. nor yet for filthy lucre
     To do so NOT for gain, i.e. money. How plain that is. No tithes or salary
39. of a ready mind
     eagerness, willingly. Ready to help, work, and of the faith, fully persuaded.

40. neither as lording it
      Not as to lord against, that is, control,subjugate: - exercise dominion over (lordship), be lord over, overcome.
41. ensamples to the flock
      an example to be imitated, of men worthy of imitation.

 In 1Tim 3, Paul also brings up deacon qualifications and likens them to those of the elders. 8 Deacons in like manner must be grave, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not      greedy of filthy lucre; 9   holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.10  And let these also first be proved; then let them serve as deacons, if they be blameless.11  Women in like manner must be grave, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things.12  Let deacons be husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.
13  For they that have served well as deacons gain to themselves a good standing, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

 Can you imagine the typical church reading these scriptures from the pulpit?
Deacons were not the titled, name tagged folks with offering plates in the original church. They were more typically the hosts of the people who met in their homes and they were servants to the church. 

Do you want to see a deacon's role model?  You have the church selecting seven of them in Acts 6, one of whom was Stephen.

"seven men of good report, full of the Spirit and of wisdom",
And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus a proselyte of Antioch;
And Stephen, full of grace and power, wrought great wonders and signs among the people.
Now there's some real deacons, full of FAITH and the Holy Ghost. No wonder the early church did not go to doctors.  

In Summary: we have given the direct instructions and meanings from the scriptures for those holding "positions" in the church. It is very convicting to realize how far our old churches had departed from God's Word on this. Do you realize a pastor is not above correction? Pastors were only one ministry among God's people, they were not singled out as the head of the church.

What is presented here should make it obvious that the church structure around us is hopelessly departed from the Word of God. It is as it was at the time of Christ when Jesus called His sheep out from the sheepfolds of the false shepherds.. 

Does this list sound like what any elders do that you know?
This is not a life of managing, giving orders, adjusting the thermostat, making announcements, governing, CEO'ing ... as many of our brothers practice today.
If we set aside the traditions we learned and look just at scripture, we can see an elder as a vigilant, self-sacrificing, humble, giving, working servant of the flock. He might be an apostle, he might be a prophet, he might be a teacher, he might be a pastor. He might just be an older seasoned  veteran in life and spiritual experience.
These older ones could recognize a wolf even when it looked like another shepherd. These older ones knew how to love, to care for and to feed God's sheep. It was not a job for the power-hungry or for those who like to manage others nor those who crave the pre-eminence.

The church at Ephesus Paul spoke to in Acts 20, was overseen by elders, not men ruling as "kings". Elders-bishops who were told to work and help the weak and needy.
 The pre-eminent pastors and Nicolaitanes Paul warned about would come later.
He called them "wolves", they would do the very things Paul and Jesus told them not to do.
Elders should serve not as a hired church official, but serve and protect the people. They should never plunder  for gain and building their own kingdoms called "ministries" seeking name recognition and the outward appearance of success..

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Elders are pastors?

Elders are pastors?

According to scripture, is the typical church to be a One Man Show? -or were "elders" to "pastor"?

  • Can one man really Pastor a congregation?
  • Did Paul start churches and move on putting them into the hands of one pastor, priest, or bishop?
  • Did any apostle establish a church board or turn a church over to a family to run it?
  • Were any of the church epistles sent to one man, i.e., to  Pastor XYZ?

After many churched years of functioning inside the system as an "elder", but not as an "Elder" , we see according to scripture, elders are  pastors.

Not a Pastor, or The Pastor, but simply as a shepherds, servants, and elders with the responsibility to serve, attend to, and feed God's people much as fathers who watch and care for a family.
 -Not as a sole authority ( .."lords"), but as one among others with various ministries, gifts, and callings in God's kingdom.
All of the so-called "five-fold" gifts of ministries are elders, but not all elders are "five-fold" ministers.

How did all this become evident?

For the past couple of years, I have been reading, studying, and re-reading the book of Acts, in order to learn and understand what form of church government was observed, and what was preached, taught, and ministered, and the manner in which the disciples carried out the commands of Jesus.

We saw how the Lord gave examples from Acts 20:28 in which Paul told the elders, the "overseers" (i.e. the bishops) of the church at Ephesus, to "take heed to yourselves, and all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost has made you (plural) overseers, to feed (other versions read "tend") the flock of God which he has purchased with His own blood".

Let's notice the Holy Ghost made them overseers, not via ordination certificate, voting them in as Pastor, Bible College or Seminary, a denominational franchise, or a home missions board.  (see How To Answer A Call From God)

Whoops!, there we just wiped out the organizational flow-chart, church hierarchy, and staff diagram with the Pastor at the top of the pyramid..
You mean the Holy Spirit calls people, qualifies them, and puts them in as overseers WITHOUT sending them to Bible School?

How in the name of the "Nicolaitane" clergy can that be?

When the Holy Spirit does so, He does not put ONE man in charge over the rest of the ministries like the Nicolaitanes do.  (If you  do not know what a Nicolaitane is, please refer to the articles on this site.  God knew when He put that term in the scripture and said He "hates" it.)

What about those apostles, prophets, teachers, pastors, and evangelists?
They were all there at the church at Ephesus and not a one was painted with a title, salaried, collected  tithes, or in charge of a building program. No robed "Bishop", pope, Superintendent, Board, or frocked cardinal was seen in the entire church. -Quite a contrast to the local church scene, isn't it?

So we have found ourselves as functioning elders and helpers of the faith for many, feeding others from the Word itself, tending and caring for them, encouraging them, and even doing the work of an evangelist as we sow the seed of God's Word in many places. We are untitled servants of the Lord, not building own kingdom nor looking with expectation of financial gain from those we minister to.
God will see to it that our needs are met as He always has done as He told us in His Word.

We also find ourselves in the company of many others who have left Institutionalized Christianity.

These other elders function in their giftings and ministries as teachers, prophets, etc., and there are even a few apostles found, but the real ones don't sport titles, take tithes, or promote themselves.

1 Peter 5:1-3 Young's Literal Translation (YLT)

 Elders who [are] among you, I exhort, who [am] a fellow-elder, and a witness of the sufferings of the Christ, and of the glory about to be revealed a partaker,feed the flock of God that [is] among you, overseeing not by force, but willingly, neither for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind,
3  neither as exercising lordship over (God's) heritages, but examples for the flock,

1Peter 5:1 (in the ASV)
The elders among you I exhort, who am a fellow-elder (Peter), and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, who am also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
 2 Tend the flock of God which is among you, exercising the oversight, not of constraint (by controlling), but willingly, according to the will of God; nor yet for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
 3 neither as lording it over the charge allotted to you, but making yourselves ensamples to the flock.

We are to feed, not force feed; tend to and not be served by; give to and not take from; serve willingly and not for the expectation of a hireling.
In order to understand this, we had to leave the Institutional Church System and the unscriptural hierarchies that support it. We had to learn from the Lord what it is to serve others without the props of programs and a leaders "vision", which was most often his own and not Gods'.

Maybe you should pray for God to assemble you with others according to His Will, and if you are walking in the "bond of love", seeking His righteousness in overcoming the world and sin, our prayer and desire is to help equip you to be a Holy Spirit sent minister and equipping others to do likewise.

We are not about owning a bigger church barn, taking ownership of people, or being a "lord" over God's heritage. (1Peter 5:4)

We are no-name, no-bodies, called of God to feed, tend, and care for others that God has allotted us. Some of us work hard to get other sheep out of the mouths (those captured by their words) of the wolves behind many a pulpit.
  Jesus is Chief Shepherd according to 1st Peter 5:4, and Psalm 23. "The Lord is my Shepherd (PASTOR) I shall not want".
If the Lord is your Shepherd, you will recognize His shepherdship in those untitled, unpaid servants He is raising up.

Pray for us elders that His love and tenderness will flow through us as we die to self and become vessels through which He manifests His Shepherdship.

Scripture Summary:   Elders are pastors:

Acts 14:23 (NLT) Paul and Barnabas also appointed elders in every church

23 And when they had appointed for them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord (ASV)

Acts 15:2 ... Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.
Acts 15:4 ... they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.
Acts 15:6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.
Acts 15:22 Then pleased it the apostles and elders with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas and Silas, chief men among the brethren:
Acts 15:23 ... The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia.
Acts 16:4 ...they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.
Acts 20:17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.

"feed the flock of God over which the Holy Ghost has made you overseers"  

1 Tim 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.
Titus 1:5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:

Leadership in the Early Church
1 Peter 5:1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness
"elder":  presbeteros Strongs 4245
elder, of age,
 the elder of two people
 advanced in life, an elder, a senior
 a term of rank or office
 among the Jews
 members of the great council or Sanhedrin (because in early times the rulers of the people, judges, etc., were selected from elderly men)
 of those who in separate cities managed public affairs and administered justice
 among the Christians, those who presided over the assemblies (or churches) The NT uses the term bishop, elders, and presbyters interchangeably

Friday, September 28, 2012

What Jesus Taught a Minister Is

Jesus taught us what a minister is.

You do not know many of them, and chances are the hired pastor or priest is a far cry from what Jesus taught a minister to the church was to be.
- He was not to be a hired, Titled, administrator with an organizational flow chart, himself at the top, served by Assistant pastors, Associate pastors, deacons, Elders, Church Boards, and the recipient of tithes, a salary, parsonage, benefits, etc.
- He was never to be a CEO of a business recognized by the State as a "non-profit" organization.

What follows is a shocking breakdown of what Jesus taught His disciples as it related to position and authority in God's kingdom.

Mark 10:42:  (ASV)
42 And Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they who are accounted
        to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great ones exercise authority over them.

Three words in that verse are worth examining as to what the church is NOT to imitate:

rule        757     a primary verb; to be first   (in political rank or power): - reign (rule) over.
lord        2634    to lord against, that is control, to subjugate: - exercise dominion over (lordship)
                                  be lord over, overcome.
authority 2715   to have (wield) full privilege over: - exercise authority.

He described first how the world exercises authority,

and next He instructs the apostles who would bring us the Christian Covenant: 

43 But it is *not so among you: whosoever would become great among you, shall be your
44 and whosoever would be first among you, shall be ***servant of all.

Let's see if Jesus minces words here, and define those terms:

*     "NOT":    3756    absolutely negative; no, not: neither, never, none, nothing special
**   "MINISTER":      1249 diakonos:  to run on errands; an attendant, that is, as a waiter (at table or other menial duties); a Christian teacher and pastor (technically a deacon or deaconess): - deacon, minister, servant.
***  "SERVANT":     1401 doulos:   a slave (literally or figuratively, involuntarily or voluntarily; frequently therefore in a qualified sense of subjection or subserviency): - bond (-man), servant.

Matthew 20:

25 Jesus called them to him, and said, Ye know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over  them,  and their great ones exercise authority over them.
26 Not so shall it be among you:  but whosoever would become great among you shall be your minister;
            "not so among you":    the absolutely negative, no or not: neither, never, none,  nothing, + special,
27 and whosoever would be * first among you  shall be your   **servant
     *first:   4413: protos,  foremost (in time, place, order or importance): -before, beginning, best, chief first (of all), former.
** servant:  a slave   (literally or figuratively, involuntarily or voluntarily;   frequently therefore in a qualified sense of subjection or subserviency): - bond -man, servant.

even as (just like)  the Son of man came not to be ministered unto,

        but to minister, and to give his life  (to "give", not sell or exchange for a price)

 "their  "GREAT ones"
Strong's Number: 3173 mevgaß, Megas
(it is where we get "MEGA")
great,  the external form or appearance of things (or of persons) 
of number and quantity: numerous, large, abundant 
of age: the elder  violent, mighty, strong ==> predicated of rank,
as belonging to persons, eminent for ability, virtue, authority, power 
things esteemed highly for their importance: of great moment, of great weight, importance 

a thing to be highly esteemed for its excellence: excellent
of God's preeminent blessings 
of things which overstep the province of a created being, proud (presumptuous) things, full of arrogance, derogatory to the majesty of God

Used in King James- Total: 195: as great 150, loud 33, miscellaneous 12

Now shake off the notion of a man with a Title behind the pulpit ruling and exercising power and authority over God's people, and farming them for personal gain and support.  Read again what Jesus taught and let us wake up to the fact that the modern clergy system does exactly the opposite of what Jesus taught. The "system" does what He "hates" in Revelation 2:6 and 15..

Jesus did not promote His Ministry, build cathedrals, raise funds, sell religious trinkets or " God-stuff"...

No bake sales, he did not develop a staff, hire bodyguards, preach for pay..., give flowery homage to the leaders of Denominational Judaism, He did *not* minister for tithes or accolades... He did not wear Italian suits or Papal robes...
Chances are you have not seen many, if any, who are really like Him.