Tuesday, March11, 2014
Building People of Substance for Works of Power
One more time, Friend.
It happened twice this last week. It seems as if it happens with remarkable frequency. I was just reading some articles when I saw a headline about a Christian leader who has been accused of misconduct. That was followed by word of another fellow who has gotten off the doctrinal track. Then a famous pastor on trial for financial malfeasance. You would think I would get used to it. I lived through the great televangelist scandals of the 1980’s and still continued to serve the Lord. I saw ‘ pastor who helped me immensely slide off into universalism and watched one of my most talented students drift into a theological train wreck. And can anyone count all the gifted men and women who have fallen into sexual or financial wrongdoing? All I know to do is pray for them, and then for myself. “Lord. Forgive them and restore them. And please, keep me on the beam!” There are a few things in my routine that help me stay on the right track:
1. Maintain a personal devotional life that includes the Bible, prayer, and quiet. It is the fountain from which all else must flow.
2. Maintain regular contact with my wife. She knows where I am and she knows who I am with. If it changes, I call her.
3. Maintain relationship with other ministers and connection to an oversight organization. This means actually contacting people and taking part in the organization in a meaningful way. Relationship is not a certificate, it is a connection.
4. Maintain a sense of awe and responsibility at the wonder of being called by God to care for His property and people. I like to revisit my call to remind myself why I am still alive.
5. Test all things before I preach them: If no one else has ever preached it, then I need to talk it over with someone. I am not the source of new revelation.
6. Strive to keep my heart free from judgment of those who fall: The moment I think it couldn’t happen to me, it has probably already started.
Somebody Said: A beast does not know that he is a beast, and the nearer a man gets to being a beast, the less he knows it. George MacDonald
Scripture Reading: Keep a firm grasp on both your character and your teaching. Don’t be diverted. Just keep at it. Both you and those who hear you will experience salvation. (1Ti 4:16 MSG)
There are many, many more who have stayed faithful than there are those who have fallen. I thank God for each and every one, and pray they maintain their character and their message. I also pray for each of the little ones damaged by the failures of the ministry. May they each find one of the faithful ones to help them through. I pray for those who are church-shopping that they will examine the character before the preaching, the doctrine before the delivery. Remember: Horse first, then cart.
Find the message “Walk in Truth: Set a Spell, Take Your Shoes Off.” at http://www.fcftucson.org or check out the FCFTucson YouTube channel.