Stay the Course
|

Stay the Course

I find myself grappling with a trend that I’ve seen happening in the Church for the last few years.

When I reference the Church, I don’t have a particular church in mind. “Church”, in this context, is the global church, the church around the world, or the Body of Christ. I’m not singling out a particular person or church as I’m writing this blog. The trend that I am talking about is people leaving the Church. Not just a few people here and there, but people leaving in droves…

Some are hurt or disappointed by the Church or leadership. On this subject, there is little that you can tell me that I haven’t experienced. I don’t want to sound arrogant, but when it comes to Church, I’ve seen more than most. Church split? Lived through it. Abuse and manipulation from church leadership or fellow church members? I’ve received these types of attacks often!! Observing moral failure or financial mismanagement? Sadly, I have witnessed this more times than I can count…

The only thing that I can equate a church split to is a really messy divorce. I saw family and friends during this time get so preoccupied and disillusioned with the things of God, that they turned their back on the God of things. Many of them have never returned, vowing never to go back to church, ministry, or God.

What I find really interesting is that they blame God for what has transpired – as if man had no hand in the whole ordeal!

It’s too convenient to forget that God is not the One who causes these things… Unfortunately, it’s His kids (who are so far from perfect and still struggle with sin) who are most often the perpetrators of these hurtful situations.

Covid, in my view, was a huge catalyst in people withdrawing from the Body of Christ. I’d like to think that Covid took the “Church” out of the four walls – that it took it back into the homes where families can sit around the dinner table at night. Then, after sharing a home-cooked meal, they study Scripture together. That is my utopian thoughts on the matter! I know some friends who have done just that and replaced Sunday church with a healthy Bible study at home. But, the reality is that the vast majority of Believers are not doing that.

Does the Church have a part to play in what is happening? Absolutely! The majority of churches have become a big show. The focus is on the dimmed lights, smoke machines, the right music and – of course – we have to be careful not to offend anyone in the way we conduct our services. Pursuit of presence has been forfeited for convenience.

Mathew 24 talks about a time when there will be a great falling away, where offense and betrayal and hate will abound, and that the love of many will grow cold. This is the portion of Scripture which talks about the Signs of the Times and the End of the Age. Is this the time in which we find ourselves? If so, what are we as “the Church”, as the children of God, supposed to do?? I may never have all the answers, but I know that the author of the book of Hebrews says in chapter 12 that we should fix our eyes on Jesus, to consider Him and to not grow weary and lose heart!!!

As for me and my house we will buckle down and do the work of the ministry with more fervor than we have before. Our assignment and mandate as the Church, or the Body of Believers, does not and has not changed! Matthew 28:18-20 is still applicable! We are still commanded to make disciples of ALL nations, baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and to teach these disciples to observe all the things He commanded!

And while we carry out this Commission, we must remember a few things:

Ensure our lamps remain FULL of oil and that we anticipate His return (Matthew 25).
Pursue an even deeper, more intense relationship with our Savior.
Take every opportunity to make Him known to those with whom we come into contact.

In the end, my primary motivation (regardless of if I have been in or out of full-time ministry) has always been that when I finally stand in front of Jesus one day, I will hear the words:
“Well done good and faithful servant…” Oh, what a glorious day that will be!!!

The Art of Discipleship

The Art of Discipleship

For those of you who know me know that I am passionate about disciple making.


Making disciples is hard work you have to get your hands dirty spiritually speaking. You have to spend time with people day in and day out. You have to spend time with those who are loveable and those who might press your buttons on occasions. As the body of Christ, I realized that we have a problem with disciple-making.


Only a few years into my ministry in the villages of Sub-Saharan Africa, I realized that we have done an excellent job of making converts. For years the evangelists and evangelistic ministries have come through and they did a great job functioning in their calling – but the results are that these precious people have gotten saved (gave their lives to Christ) over and over again. Nobody has taken the time to explain to them that there is life after the encounter with the cross. It is my personal belief that this is why Christians struggle with their authority as a believer.


This is why we don’t see the “More things than I have done, you shall do.”


Discipleship is a lifestyle. It is not only the responsibility of the church to do discipleship, but also the responsibility of the believer to seek out discipleship. Therein lays the secret of the individual’s personal relationship with the Father.


Realize that Jesus died to reconcile you/us back to the Father and because of His sacrifice you and I can now go into the throne room of the Father and make our petitions known directly to God the Father. This realization is the catalyst that could completely change the life of an individual. Can you imagine if you recognized when praying that you are in the throne room? How much power you actually have been given to move heaven and earth with your prayers?


That’s why our directive is to go and make disciples.


Mat.28: 18-20


Jesus said “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all the Nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Teaching them to observe every thing that I have commanded you; and I will be with you, even to the end of the age.”


We are to go and help people learn about Jesus, to believe in Jesus and to obey His words. We also see here that Jesus never promised that it would be easy, but the promise is that He would be with us. So many times at the altar call, we are promised that if we receive Jesus He will help make our lives easier. Life is hard! I don’t know how people do life with out Jesus – I sure can’t.


So here is a question for you. If we are not helping people to learn more about Jesus to believe in Jesus and teaching them to obey His words – are we not the ones being disobedient to the one to whom all authority has been given to?


I write this not as a rebuke or to bring condemnation. My heart is to challenge you. What is your part in the body when it comes to the mandate of “go and make disciples?”


I believe you have a part to play, what that will look like is between you and the Father. All I know is you have a purpose and what you have to offer can make a difference in the lives of others! As for me, I decided a long time ago what makes my life worth living is using the time I have on earth to change the lives of others for the better. I love my God, I love His people and out of that ministry flows.


Amen.