1885 WHO’S THE GREATEST?
Got with the street guys yesterday- will post a few pics right after this note [p.s. every morning that I post- I post to the blog and Facebook- these are not ‘generated’ posts- I write- post- and leave. So- if you’re reading this on the blog- the pics are on Facebook].
2 guys died this past week.
John- a nice brother- carried a staff- sort of like a prayer thing.
I didn’t know him well- but just spoke to him the other day.
The other death was a good friend- Donald D.
I met Donald 20 years ago- he was one of the first street guys from the Bluff.
He was a real nice guy- sure- problems- but nice.
Donald did not hang out at the mission- so I would maybe see him once every few years- for the past 20.
He always treated me like a brother- big hug- you know- like when you see a family member.
I was sad to hear that he died.
A few years ago I met his son- Eddie.
At first I didn’t realize it was his son.
Eddie told me they were originally from the Garden state [N.J.].
I was surprised- being I’m from there as well.
He told me they lived at Lake Hapactkon [spelling?]
Wow- I went there as a kid with my dad- a small world.
Okay- let’s finish the week with something spiritual.
I have had a few things I wanted to say this last week- but haven’t really had the time to cover them all.
So- let’s pick one.
In the gospels the mother of James and John [disciples] ask Jesus for a favor ‘can my 2 sons sit at your right hand and left in your kingdom’?
Jesus tells her that it is not his place to decide that- but God [the father] will make that decision.
The other disciples hear about the request- and they get mad.
They begin a debate about who will be the greatest.
Then Jesus says- in the world you measure greatness by how far up the ladder you go- how many people are under you.
But in his kingdom it’s not like that- but the least will be the greatest- the ones who serve- not the ones being served- are ‘great’.
This simple example covers a lot of ground.
I have friends in ministry- pastors- ministry leaders- etc.
And it’s often difficult to ‘explain’ the ministry to them.
Usually- we see ministry as setting up 501c3 nonprofit- raising money [usually lots] and then becoming- well- famous.
Often times what we call ‘pastors’ are really just motivational speakers who speak weekly- or travel to an event- all well meaning men- but that’s the category many of them fall into.
So- when I’m asked ‘to preach’ or ‘how are you funded’ it comes as a surprise that I never take money- ever.
Some of my pastor friends actually think that it is wrong to not take the cash.
I remind them that the apostle Paul left that option open in the N.T.
My purpose is not to debate this whole subject right now- I’ve taught it in depth many times over the years- but just to say that we usually judge ministry by criteria that Jesus himself said was wrong.
It’s not how many people are ‘under you’ or how much money you bring in- or how famous you are.
It’s a matter or serving others- laying down your life for others- not always seeking your own welfare- but the welfare of others.
These principles are the main principles of leadership- and Christianity in general- but they are often over looked because we simply have substituted the modern corporation for ‘the local church’ and we basically run ‘the church’ along the same lines of the corporate world.
I am not one of those critics who hates going ‘to church’ [the building].
There are many who don’t go- because of the things I just shared with you.
I’m not in that camp.
But- the things I did just share- they are very important to get a grasp on- for those who see themselves in ministry- or as pastors.
On the blog- if you look to the left you’ll see a few short books I wrote years ago.
The one called Further talks on Church and Ministry deals with this subject a little more in depth.
Also- under the Feb. posts of each year- there’s a category called ‘what in the world is the church’. There are posts about this there as well.
Okay- the point today is we [leaders- believers- the whole bunch] are not to measure success in ministry as attaining some type of material success.
We should not view Christianity thru the lens of ‘what can I get out of this’.
These are usually the main themes that you see from the TV preachers of our day- and I know they mean well- but that’s simply not the heart of Christianity.
The writer to the Hebrews said ‘you took joyfully the spoiling of your goods- knowing that in heaven you have an enduring substance’.
He was talking about the persecution they went thru- they were robbed of their stuff.
In today’s world the average preacher would say ‘get back what the devil stole'.
The writer of Hebrews says ‘praise God- you have a better inheritance in heaven’.
The apostle John wrote ‘if you have this worlds goods [see- he does not call material stuff ‘true riches’] and you see your brother in need- and don’t help him- then how does Gods love dwell in you’.
The apostle Peter says ‘you were not redeemed by corruptible things- like silver and gold- but with the precious blood of Christ’.
I could go on- but just want you to see that we in the modern church really don’t focus on these themes any more.
Sure- most well meaning preachers will say ‘yeah- I believe that’.
But we often [if ever?] actually teach it.
The bible says we should listen to the WHOLE counsel of God- not just to the ‘bless me’ verses.
Okay- that’s it for now- I know some of this stuff rubs some of you the wrong way- in the past I have had friends ‘un-friend’ over stuff like this- so whatever will be will be.
If you want more about this subject- also on the blog- you will see another little book ‘House of Prayer or Den of Thieves’ I wrote that years ago- at the fire house- but it gives you some verses that might help.
Okay- have a good weekend- and don’t worry- I’ll be back to politics soon- I know how much you guys love it!
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] - I have posted lots.