May 302013
 

IMG_0463They are the “Five Tenets” and they are to be shouted with gusto,standing at attention before the instructor.

“Modesty”!

“Integrity”!

“Self Control”!

“Perseverance” !

“Indomitable spirit, SIR”!

 

The students enrolled at Master Evans Martial Arts must not only memorize these tenets, they must demonstrate that they are living them out in daily life.

The declaration is then followed by confession.

Master Evans asks, “Which of you were disrespectful to a parent, grandparent, or teacher today”?

The guilty raise their hands…because they know that the parent, grandparent, or teacher has already spoken to Master Evans.

Discipline is sure and swift… a minimum of 100 pushups or “burpies”.

Repeat offenders may find themselves against a wall in a squatting position with arms extended for the whole class.

Don’t try that at home…

We enrolled Trey there to learn that discipline.

He won that medal for beating someone up…in behavior, he’s still working on honorable mention.

Naturally, my mind turns to the church…

What if …at the beginning of the service this Sunday we all shout the “Nine Tenets” of Christian living?

“Love”!

“Joy”!

“Peace”!

“Patience”!

“Kindness”!

“Goodness”!

“Faithfulness”!

“Gentleness”!

“Self-control…LORD”!

This would be immediately followed by confession…because He already knows .

He does expect us to demonstrate these tenets in our daily lives…

He sent someone to take the all of our punishment, though.

Make your own application…

  102 Responses to “TGIF”

  1. “…in behavior, he’s still working on honorable mention.”

    Aren’t we all 🙂 !

    Great words, brother.

    Blessings to you & Trey-man.

  2. Great post, Michael.

    It begs a bigger question: should the church be a hospital or a gym? Or both?

    Discuss amongst yourselves.

    🙂

  3. 1 Corinthians 9:22
    King James Version (KJV)
    22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

    So yes…a hospital, a gym, a therapist office etc…

  4. but hopefully not a shopping center.

  5. Great post, Michael! Sounds like a new Call to Worship!

  6. In my Opinion… we give too much credit to the ‘church’ and the ‘staff’ of a church. here’s what i mean.

    the church is neither hospital (Christ and the HS does the healing, not the church, as we apply the Word and Repentance to our own lives),

    not a gym (life is the ‘workout’. we ‘exercise’ our gifts and callings out there in the world),

    not the therapist office (… we should be wary of people taking the place of the Word and the Spirit’s position in the life of a believer)

    it’s not a business that offers ‘services’ for people to take advantage of.

    and the ‘pastor’ or ‘staff’ are not ‘christian workers’, ie professionals to whom we must resort for “help in our time of need” (i think the book of hebrews gives that ‘job’ to the HS)

    the church is simple and sweetly the great Extended Family of God, getting together in the front room for meetings and songs and eating together. in short BEING more than DOING..

    we don’t need the church.. we ARE the church. we don’t attend or GO to church… the church goes to a meeting place or just meets “where two or three are gathered”
    -mic

  7. Really good post.
    Imagine what impact the church would have if we did indeed, live out those 9 tenets.
    Lord have mercy, on me a sinner.

  8. MIC
    There you go again…LOL .

    A. The Holy Spirit works through the church and through us as His co~workers. Some have the gift of healing others…

    1 Corinthians 12:9
    To others that one Spirit gives gifts of healing.

    10 To others he gives the power to do miracles.

    1 Corinthians 3:9
    For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.

    2 Corinthians 6:1
    As God’s co-workers…

    B. Gifts and callings work within the church as well as without. The exercise of the gifts is a lot like working out. A bodybuilder increases his mass by work outs. A Christian increases his ability to move in the gifts by exercising them. The Christian becomes more honed and sensitive to the Holy Spirit by moving in the gifts and their exercise. So in a sense it is a workout of a sort. The Holy Spirit gym?

    C. We in ministry do deliver the Word as therapy at times to others through preaching of the Word of God, teaching etc as Christ representative.

    Acts 20:28
    Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

    D. Agreed

    1 Peter 5:2
    Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;

    1 Peter 5:3
    Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock.

    E. You eliminate the role of a shepherd.

    1 Peter 5:3
    Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock.

    F. You describe the “kinship” model that Pastor John Wimber of the Vineyard espoused. The church is to be active not passive.

    2 Timothy 4:5
    But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

    How does one make full proof?

    G. An oxymoron of circular reasoning?
    The Church is where the church is where the Church is…

  9. A cursory look at the New Testament shows that the church has an organizational structure with offices and responsibilities within that structure…even if it meets in a home.

    While God is the fount of both healing and help, He usually dispenses both through human agency.
    The sick are to call for the elders to anoint them and pray…

    The gifts of the Spirit are distributed not for the sake of the one with the gift, but for the Body they are exercised in.

    The promise of “where two or more are gathered” is in the context of…wait for it….church discipline.

  10. David @ 8

    “A. The Holy Spirit works through the church and through us as His co~workers. Some have the gift of healing others…”

    The ‘church’ and ‘us’ are not mutually exclusive, they are one in the same. Where 2 or more are gathered, I am amongst them.

    “B. Gifts and callings work within the church as well as without. The exercise of the gifts is a lot like working out. A bodybuilder increases his mass by work outs. A Christian increases his ability to move in the gifts by exercising them. The Christian becomes more honed and sensitive to the Holy Spirit by moving in the gifts and their exercise. So in a sense it is a workout of a sort. The Holy Spirit gym?”

    There is no ‘without’ the church because we ‘are’ the church. A Christian does not exercise gifts…the Holy Spirit exercises gifts ‘through’ us in His perfect timing. A Christian does not ‘hone’ the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit rules over us.

    “C. We in ministry do deliver the Word as therapy at times to others through preaching of the Word of God, teaching etc as Christ representative.”

    Every Christian is ‘in ministry’. It is not exclusive to salaried/career church staff. Yes, the Word is excellent for therapy.

    “E. You eliminate the role of a shepherd.”

    Christ is the only Shepherd. There are certainly ‘teachers’ of Christ’s Word…but all they require is a Bible and one set of listening ears to perform their ‘role’.

    “F. How does one make full proof?”

    Tell others about Christ, and example Christ in your life, until you die. No profession required.

    “G. An oxymoron of circular reasoning?”

    Only if one can not distinguish the difference between “Christ’s church” and “Man’s church”.

    Christ’s church = where 2 or more are gathered in Christ’s name
    Man’s church = 401(c)(3) corporation, CEO, Board, Land, Assets, Operating Expense, etc.

  11. One of the earliest acts of the Church was administration to the poor. There we learn about not only problems in bias and inequality, but about how Spirit-filled leaders were the answer to do that ministry, even if those leaders were different than other Spirit-filled leaders which were seen as having a different role for the Body of Christ.

    One thing that sometimes is missing about the role of the local church is in this area – given we live in a time and country where the government and other private charities (church affiliated sometimes, sometimes not) are means of meeting the basic needs of those who can’t meet them for themselves.

    Please note clearly – I am not speaking AGAINST such programs and other charities here. I certainly believe that Christians have every right to claim what others in our nation can claim through our tax-supported and charitable agencies. Federal, state and local.

    I only write this because the whole “The Spirit will provide” argument loses weight IMO when God’s word shows us that the Spirit provided by means of the local church as administered by the local church leaders. If someone were to ask what need is the local church? This is one – and seemingly an important one in Scripture.

    Sure, God can send a raven to feed somebody in need, as He did in Elijah’s day – but that is not the norm.

    Of course, the flip side is a deemphasis on meeting these needs by many local churches because they think it is not a priority today – so it is a vicious circle.

  12. “In my Opinion… we give too much credit to the ‘church’ and the ‘staff’ of a church. here’s what i mean.

    the church is neither hospital (Christ and the HS does the healing, not the church, as we apply the Word and Repentance to our own lives),

    not a gym (life is the ‘workout’. we ‘exercise’ our gifts and callings out there in the world),

    not the therapist office (… we should be wary of people taking the place of the Word and the Spirit’s position in the life of a believer)

    it’s not a business that offers ‘services’ for people to take advantage of.

    and the ‘pastor’ or ‘staff’ are not ‘christian workers’, ie professionals to whom we must resort for “help in our time of need” (i think the book of hebrews gives that ‘job’ to the HS)

    the church is simple and sweetly the great Extended Family of God, getting together in the front room for meetings and songs and eating together. in short BEING more than DOING..

    we don’t need the church.. we ARE the church. we don’t attend or GO to church… the church goes to a meeting place or just meets “where two or three are gathered”

    This in SPADES^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

  13. ““E. You eliminate the role of a shepherd.”

    Christ is the only Shepherd. There are certainly ‘teachers’ of Christ’s Word…but all they require is a Bible and one set of listening ears to perform their ‘role’.”

    YUP!!

  14. ““A. The Holy Spirit works through the church and through us as His co~workers. Some have the gift of healing others…”

    The ‘church’ and ‘us’ are not mutually exclusive, they are one in the same. Where 2 or more are gathered, I am amongst them.”

    amen to that!!

  15. “C. We in ministry do deliver the Word as therapy at times to others through preaching of the Word of God, teaching etc as Christ representative.”

    Every Christian is ‘in ministry’. It is not exclusive to salaried/career church staff. Yes, the Word is excellent for therapy.”

    This^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

  16. “F. How does one make full proof?”

    Tell others about Christ, and example Christ in your life, until you die. No profession required.

    “G. An oxymoron of circular reasoning?”

    Only if one can not distinguish the difference between “Christ’s church” and “Man’s church”.

    Christ’s church = where 2 or more are gathered in Christ’s name
    Man’s church = 401(c)(3) corporation, CEO, Board, Land, Assets, Operating Expense, etc.'”

    Couldn’t have said it better myself

  17. Certain martial arts seem to put a higher emphasis on discipline that others. For two years myself, my son and one of my daughters were in Muay Thai kickboxing and the emphasis was more on giving out beat downs

  18. Christ’s church = where 2 or more are gathered in Christ’s name
    Man’s church = 401(c)(3) corporation, CEO, Board, Land, Assets, Operating Expense, etc.’”

    Structure and the presence of the Spirit are not mutually exclusive…and if you folks had a real pastor he might help you to quit quoting verses out of their context…

  19. I can imagine what Sunday morning would be with many over on the far side of the sanctuary doing 100 burpies while the rest enter into worship.

    The problem with the church is that character and holiness have been replaced with appeals for more grace. We throw these words around with such intensity to our defend pals or ourselves, and we have forgotten that those “liberties” that we want an extended coverage plan on were also among those that caused Christ to die.

  20. if you folks had a real pastor he might help you to quit quoting verses out of their context…

    This^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
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    🙂

  21. So WHEN exactly do I get to punch someone?!

    I just watched two old versions of “Les Mis” as sermon prep. I didn’t sob so loud my wife was visibly concerned like I did when I watched the musical 2012 version with her, but the story of redemption (and what WE DO WITH IT) is soo moving I still had some mysterious problem seeing….

  22. Your #18 is well said Michael. It seems so easy to “lump” all pastor’s together as power hungry business men. If sitting with a woman while she hears that her tests came back positive isn’t the role of a pastor, what is? When the phone rings at 1am the person on the other end is frantically explaining that their child was killed by a drunk driver, should we as pastor’s tell them to call someone else because I’m only getting paid to teach? Teaching is one of many things we do and in my opinion, not the most important. Unless a better term to explain what pastor’s do (or should be doing) is created then shepherd best describes what some are “called” to do.

    Commence with the stone throwing…

  23. I shudder every time someone uses the “where two or three are gathered” phrase as a proof text for God’s presence within a small gathering. READ THE CONTEXT people. It’s not about prayer meetings, worship services, home fellowships, or any of those things. It’s about CHURCH DISCIPLINE.

    “We don’t need the church; we ARE the church.” Let me see if I get this straight. If we ARE the church, but do not NEED the church, we are all unneeded. I don’t need you. You don’t need me. Nobody in the body of Christ needs anyone else within the body. And all that talk in Acts about selecting deacons to help feed the poor so that the elders could concentrate on the Word and prayer, such nonsense. And what was that Paul was saying about manifestations of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians? Oh yeah, all of those spiritual things given for the edification of the BODY, not the world.

    OH…WAIT…NEWSFLASH…a body is made up of many…many…many parts which must interact in a healthy manner in order to function correctly. So, obviously we do not need the church…yeah…right!

  24. “Structure and the presence of the Spirit are not mutually exclusive…and if you folks had a real pastor he might help you to quit quoting verses out of their context…”

    Spoken with true arrogance and Pride thinking that “Pastors” have the answers. Sorry but I don’t need a Pastor to teach me the word. I’m just as qaulified to read the word for myself and understand it as any Pastor is. Get off your High Horse and humble youself

  25. “if you folks had a real pastor he might help you to quit quoting verses out of their context…

    This^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^”

    Spoken from soemone who belongs to a Church named after a Man

  26. Pastors don’t have all the answers…but our lives are dedicated to study and becoming competent to teach.
    That’s not arrogance, it’s a lot of work and education so that we can feed those the Lord gives us to be undershepherd to.
    You don’t understand the first thing about the time, money, discipline, and tears it takes to be a biblical pastor.

  27. Our church is not named after a man…I have no idea why you would say that.

  28. “Every Christian is ‘in ministry’. It is not exclusive to salaried/career church staff. Yes, the Word is excellent for therapy.”

    I absolutely agree with this concept of “every member ministry.” I also agree that salaried staff are not the only ones in ministry, nor are all pastors salaried. (As a side note, I will be spending time this summer as an unpaid pastor.)

    That being said, Paul taught that Jesus gave pastor-teachers to the body as a gift, to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. So whether paid or not, you can’t just throw out the offices and structure of the church.

  29. CK,

    You know what the word Church means? Don’t twist things to justify the 501 c3 existence of Church yoked with Government. You may want to try and watch the move “The Radicals” to get a proper perspective on what and how we as believers are to function and our attitudes toward being yoked with Government (unbelievers). Guys like Calvin and Luther had it wrong in this regard

  30. Lutheran’s chruch

  31. SolRod, do you even know the name of the church that Michael pastors? If you’re thinking it’s the Phoenix Preacher, you are dead wrong!

  32. covered,

    I hear you…and concur.

  33. CK,

    He probably thinks that Calvin or Packer are in the title…because he likes to think that way.

  34. Maybe a church should be named after a horse?

  35. How about “Mr. Ed” church?

    With pastor Wilbur.

    Oh, wait. He’s a man. That disqualifies him, I guess.

  36. SolRod, I didn’t say anything about 501 c3, you did. So what exactly am I twisting?

  37. The Fifty-third Calvinistic-Packeristic Church of the Northwest, Fundamentalist-Ecumenical-Charismatic-Liberal Synod.

  38. When I am sick I go to the doctor. When my car is broken, I take it to the mechanic. When my toilet is broken, I call the plumber.

    Yes, I am able to take care of some things myself. I can apply a band-aid, I can change the oil in my car, and I can change a washer if my faucet is leaking. But I am not fully trained in these fields, nor in the thousands of other fields of life. I do not have the time or the ability to become fully trained in all these fields. Therefore, I must rely on others who are fully trained in their respective fields in order to get by in life.

  39. CK,

    That’s it…the title takes up the whole bulletin. 😉

  40. KevinH,

    Well said.

  41. Kevin H, exactly! BTW, you have a great name! 😉

  42. Sorry I had to leave the conversation for a moment. I got a cellphone call (yes, I give my cell out to all who ask) from someone from our church who has a very sick child going on now for many months and wanted to just talk with her pastor – so we did, and then we prayed.

    The thing is, this person is extremely strong in the faith, and has already suffered more than most will on this earth. I am not some substitute for Jesus in her life. She goes to the Lord constantly – but sometimes it is nice to talk to somebody “voice to voice” and to give them a hug and word of encouragement each Sunday.

    So, pardon the interruption, what was Solomon saying again???

  43. KevinH,

    Well put.

    Really. This isn’t rocket science.

  44. A group of my friends took karate back in the 60’s. I wasn’t very good and I dropped out as did the others. Later, another friend took classes and got pretty good. His idea of fun was as we were all in my backyard he would ask each of us to attack him. He then proceeded to do a number on us! The only solace I took from it all is he had no clue how to play football, basketball or baseball and I made him look just as bad as he made us look when we ventured away from the martial arts. 🙂

    It takes a lot of hard work and discipline to learn the martial arts and I place attitude and humility right up there with the actual skills. Wax on. Wax off. Wax on Wax off.

    Good for Trey.

  45. “The Fifty-third Calvinistic-Packeristic Church of the Northwest, Fundamentalist-Ecumenical-Charismatic-Liberal Synod”

    So there are really at least 52 other churches that share these same characteristics? And here I thought Michael was unique. 🙂

  46. Sol Rod, do you not see your #24 as arrogant and offensive? For the last 6 months you have twisted and misinterpreted many scriptures. I am not disagreeing that believer’s are qualified to learn, understand and teach the Word of God. What I am telling you is that you are implying that YOU don’t need anyone to teach YOU and that is arrogance. There are many times when preparing for a message I am very uncomfortable with where The Lord has led me only to find out that there were “things” that others needed to hear outside of my limited perception. The Holy Spirit is the One Who has equipped you ( all believer’s) to understand the Word of God but to conclude that for this reason you don’t or can’t or refuse to learn from others is ignorant.

    I have learned more from godly and wise men including pastors on this blog than in 4 years of Bible college. Not only that, I believe in my heart that God brought me here to expand and enhance many things that He has taught me.

  47. Oh trust me, even within that synod, Michael is considered a rebel. 😉

  48. “but sometimes it is nice to talk to somebody “voice to voice” and to give them a hug and word of encouragement each Sunday.”

    Steve, There are so many for various reasons who so desperately need what you described and for some reason they miss out on something so important. Not looking to place blame anywhere but pointing out how isolation or any number of things drive even the strongest believers to a point where they need something as simple as a hug, a hello, or someone to listen without judging.

    Sometimes you take so much heat but I sense you are a man with a pastor’s heart who cares for those he serves.

  49. Steve your #42 was awesome! Now don’t you have a Bible to read? Get back in your box, you aren’t qualified to help anyone! 🙂

  50. Solomon,

    You speak a great deal about church. Tell me about the church where you live and function and covenant. What is it like? What is your role?

  51. Covered: “I have learned more from godly and wise men including pastors on this blog than in 4 years of Bible college. Not only that, I believe in my heart that God brought me here to expand and enhance many things that He has taught me.”

    This ^^^^^^^

  52. the shortcoming of the idea that ‘anyone can understand the Bible, I don’t need a pastor’ is overlooking the various gifts and offices given the Church for mutual edification. I’m sure everyone can access the Bible to some degree and understand much of what it says. On the other hand, the ones who are specifically gifted by the Holy Spirit with the gift or office of teacher, prophet, or pastor have a different role within and for the Body of Christ. To ignore this key component can be risky.

  53. “I’m sure everyone can access the Bible to some degree and understand much of what it says. ”

    ‘…to some degree…’?

    Wow. Made me have a chuckle fit right in the middle of the day. Thanks. I gotta get back to work, but I’m still trying to recover.
    Enjoy the rest of the day, to whatever degree you are gifted to… 😉
    -mic

  54. I think the individual ‘church’ is first and foremost a social construct and part of mankind’s sociology and gravitation to Groups and sub-Groups and sociological/psychological need for organizing and meeting and associating in Groups.

    I think a “church” (not body of Christ/church universal as there is no such individual construct any longer) can play the role of hospital or gym or place of worship and instruction from a particular interpretation of the biblical text, but largely its a function of social order and a natural by-product of human psychology.

    That it is largely a social construct and important to society in that regard is neither good nor bad, it just is.

  55. I think there are some perspectives here worth considering and some folks that discuss some interesting issues a lot of the time. I like it for its diversity of tradition and non-tradition under the umbrella of “Christian”.

  56. I am working on my message for Sunday night.
    My task is to understand the texts I’m preaching from, then from that understanding discern what the Holy Spirit has to say to our church on that day.
    I have two software programs open at the moment,both of which I have invested multiple thousands of dollars in.
    I have six commentaries open, three different modules that help in understanding the original Greek text, a comparison of the text in six different English Bibles, cross references, parallel passages, and another module to help understand the literary type I am studying, and a historical timeline.
    After working prayerfully through all that I will put together my notes for the actual teaching.
    It will be many hours from now before I can even think about doing that…and I’ve already spent many hours in the work.
    I have spent decades studying the Bible.
    My point is this…it’s not arrogance that drives me to work this hard.
    On the contrary, I am so aware of my own weakness and flesh and the depths of the Word I study that I have no choice.
    I love our church and I’m responsible before God to feed them to the best of my ability…which still won’t provide a comprehensive look at the text.
    Perhaps some of you are so brilliant and gifted that you can understand and teach without such work…but I’m not.

  57. Oh, and I have to pick up Trey in an hour, get some work search in, feed him lunch, help with his homework, take him to practice, feed him, do all the other ministry things that may come up and hopefully find a way to support myself.
    I take no salary from the church.
    This pastoring gig is a piece of cake.

  58. Michael @ 18 “Structure and the presence of the Spirit are not mutually exclusive…”

    ‘Structure’ and ‘God’s Spirit’ are absolutely mutually exclusive imo.

    The Spirit does not reside in temples made with the hands of men. It resides in the temple of man’s hearts.

    If we go to the park, God is with us. If we go to a ball game, God is with us. If we sit in a pew, God is with us, etc.

    “…and if you folks had a real pastor he might help you to quit quoting verses out of their context…”

    Is the qualification of a ‘real pastor’ one who subscribes to your personal interpretation of context? Granted, I could find you several brothers throughout history who would agree with your opinion…but do mutually agreed upon opinions necessitate ‘fact’ or that I somehow ‘error’ in my understanding?

  59. Here we have the beginning of an organizational structure:

    “Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” And what they said pleased the whole gathering, 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. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.”
    (Acts 6:1–6 ESV)

    We also have specific offices and responsibilities outlined:

    “And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles?”
    (1 Corinthians 12:28–29 ESV)

    “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,”
    (Ephesians 4:11 ESV)

    Specific qualifications for positions that are presumed to be part of a church, separate from the laity,but composed from it:

    “The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.
    Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.”
    (1 Timothy 3:1–13 ESV)

    Provision for leadership commanded:

    “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.””
    (1 Timothy 5:17–18 ESV)

    No one I know argues that the building is the church.
    It is the place where the church gathers.
    Biblically, that church will have a Spirit led, Spirit filled, organizational structure.

  60. Is the qualification of a ‘real pastor’ one who……
    ——————————————-
    Actually, there was a time when the study of theology in preparation for the ministry was one of the three advanced educational pursuits, right next to medicine and law.

    Today, you still can’t legally practice medicine or law without proper education (and passing various proficiency tests to show that education was actually learned). And nobody would dream of trusting their bodies and fortunes to an untrained self-professing “doctor” or “lawyer”

    But when it comes to trusting their souls….

    One thing about our military, you sure aren’t allowed to pursue the role of chaplain without formal education. And of course, the same is true for most denominations.

    I knew two years into my walk with the Lord that He wanted me to teach His Word. I also knew I did not have nearly the education to do so in His sight.

  61. Crowned 1,

    If my interpretation of a passage disagrees with the historic understanding of the church and gifted, Spirit filled teachers of both yesterday and today…then I’m probably, almost certainly, wrong.

  62. “Sometimes you take so much heat but I sense you are a man with a pastor’s heart who cares for those he serves.”

    and this ^^^^^^^

  63. Michael,

    No support from the church? Didn’t know.

  64. Kevin @ 38 “Yes, I am able to take care of some things myself. I can apply a band-aid, I can change the oil in my car, and I can change a washer if my faucet is leaking. But I am not fully trained in these fields, nor in the thousands of other fields of life. I do not have the time or the ability to become fully trained in all these fields. Therefore, I must rely on others who are fully trained in their respective fields in order to get by in life.”

    The difference here being, a band aid will heal your wound…changing oil will lubricate your engine…swapping the washer will stop a leak. These are verifiable truths.

    With a pastor, they are only qualified to give you a well educated scholarly opinion. If Christians agreed with each other (we all arrived at the same conclusions) it would be another outlook entirely.

    I gave up on subscribing to a particular branch of Christianity. I took my “label” of my former Christian life and left it at the cross. I still fellowship with believers, but I simply read God’s word now and trust He will not lead me astray.

  65. BD,

    They help me a lot…but we are a small group.
    I wouldn’t trade what I have for a salary.

  66. Even though David was anointed King, he was not yet the King that he was anointed to be. The same applies to me. I am far from the pastor that He has called me to be. I believe that the pesky little voice that tells me to love, pray, feed, weep and rejoice with others is Him leading the way. It has nothing to do with me. Being willing sometimes happens through scars, failures and shortcomings and much pain. I wish I could have taken the course on line or in a classroom but that option wasn’t available. I am broke but have a lot because of His grace.

  67. covered,

    Love you and your heart…amen.

  68. Without the giving of our church I don’t know what would have become of me and all the others whose lives they have touched.
    They restored my faith in so many ways…and helped me fall back in love with the Body of Christ.

  69. Steve W., Covered and Michael, I would be honored to call any of you my pastor.

    There are others from PhxP past and present of whom I could say the same, but for now, just going by the dialog on this thread.

  70. With a pastor, they are only qualified to give you a well educated scholarly opinion
    ——————————————————–
    The studied ones are…

    But the thing about “opinion” is that a lot of “opinions” are flat out wrong – and a well educated, scholarly opinion will eliminate all those wrong opinions, if the person holding to those wrong opinions is humble enough to be corrected by someone more learned than himself.

    A whole lot of the Bible is NOT “opinion” it is what the text says. God intended to communicate, and did communicate, but in a certain linguistic, historical, grammatical context. Which is why step one is always “What would the original hearers understand about this text”

    In point of fact, many are the times when a verse or two arrive and the well educated scholarly opinion is to tell the people that there are 2 (or 3,4 usually not more than that) legitimate possible understandings shared among well educated scholarly scholars – then humbly explain which one the pastor believes is accurate and why, and then move on without too much dogmatism.

  71. CK,

    I think I can speak for all of the above that we’d be honored to serve you in that capacity.

  72. Amen, Michael. Thank you CK

    A final thought for now – the Biblical office, I believe, is the pastor-teacher. I know there is some controversy on that but I think that is the idea behind the Greek (and I certainly have plenty of agreement in that position from others)

    Pastoring does involve teaching the word, but teaching the word is certainly not all there is to pastoring.

    A pastor is not just some guy giving his weekly opinion on the Bible – at least he shouldn’t be.

  73. “In point of fact, many are the times when a verse or two arrive and the well educated scholarly opinion is to tell the people that there are 2 (or 3,4 usually not more than that) legitimate possible understandings shared among well educated scholarly scholars – then humbly explain which one the pastor believes is accurate and why, and then move on without too much dogmatism.”

    Amen.

  74. I’m off to pick up Trey…I was waiting for Crowned1 to reply to the Scriptures about structure…

  75. Michael @ 61 “If my interpretation of a passage disagrees with the historic understanding of the church and gifted, Spirit filled teachers of both yesterday and today…then I’m probably, almost certainly, wrong.”

    Which historic understanding? How does one gauge which historic understanding of the text is the valid interpretation? Does “we’ve been around the longest” necessitate truth?

    He said, they said, the tradition has been, the historic position, etc. etc. All verbiage suggesting ‘opinion’ as opposed to ‘fact/truth’.

    *Sigh* maybe if God didn’t make me such an analytical person I could pick a brand and stay with it. But alas, all I find myself wanting to choose is God and His word.

  76. Michael @ 59

    I am in 100% agreement with members of the body of Christ having different roles/gifts. I think “offices” is merely semantics in this case.

    My point was more so “God is not stuck in a building”. When the building empties, so does the Spirit, and It departs wherever the church departs to.

    In so much as there are no ‘sanctified grounds’ in which the Lord dwells. In the movies we always see individuals who are seeking God run inside of building adorned with various religious symbols. All they needed to do was talk to God wherever they were at the time.

    Theoretically speaking, overnight every single church organization & building disappear off the face of the planet. Is the church gone? That’s basically where I’m coming from.

  77. Steve @ 70 “In point of fact, many are the times when a verse or two arrive and the well educated scholarly opinion is to tell the people that there are 2 (or 3,4 usually not more than that) legitimate possible understandings shared among well educated scholarly scholars – then humbly explain which one the pastor believes is accurate and why, and then move on without too much dogmatism.”

    That works for everything but salvation imo. ‘Not going to hell’ could use some unilateral consensus in the Christian church.

    I believe John 3:16 is enough. If its not, I’ll pack some marsh mellows.

  78. Thanks CK, I would be honored to be your pastor. Just so you know, I don’t have any more Hawaiian shirts, I no longer teach prophecy updates quarterly, I believe that my elders should have teeth and I only make around 3k per month (no med, no dental). If you can live within these parameters then I can’t wait to serve alongside of you. Just for the record, my best friends are either CC or former CC (I wanted to offend all and not just a few :).

  79. Some great thoughts here, Michael, the 2 Kevs, Steve W, crowned…..

    ………and a couple not so great 😉

    Very enlightening, Michael, as always!

  80. Acts 8:26-40

  81. Michael…how come the donate link doesn’t work?

  82. Linnea,

    The site is kind of messed up right now as we have three different domain names pointing to one site.
    If you log in with michaelnewnham.com it all works….very little works if you get on with phoenixpreacher.com or .net.

    Thank you for letting me know!

  83. Covered at #78, I have enough Hawaiian shirts for both of us, I never did care for prophecy updates anyway, I still have all of my own teeth, and we make about the same $. I attend a CC but am not a dyed-in-the-wool CC guy. Sounds like we’re good to go! 🙂

  84. I remember an erroneous teaching that surfaced back in the early 70’s that stressed what it termed “body ministry,” There is a certain truth to that. God does use everyone.

    But some taught, “We don’t need pastors and ministers any longer. God is not using ministers any more. God has a different program now.”

    I hear some in here today say something along that line in a sense.

    The ministry gifts are God’s program for the maturing of the saints until Christ comes for His own. God sets ministry gifts in the Church- not man. What we know is that there is a vast difference between God’s setting some in the Church- and man’s setting some in the church.

    1 Corinthians 12:27,28
    Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
    And God hath set some in the Church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

    The above is God’s government for Christians. Man manufactured organizations are not God’s government, a lot of them are in the flesh and something carnal. They “called” and “set” people who had no divine calling into certain offices. This is unscriptural. God does the setting. God does the calling.

    You can not make yourself a ministry gift. Only God can. But those whom He has set among us as His ministry gift are part of His government that we participate in as Christians.

    As Michael has stated we do need a pastor. Michael indeed is a pastor. I see Steve Wright and Captain Kevin as pastors. A few others not so much…

    Rebellion against God’s government gets us no where.

  85. Crowned1 said, “Which historic understanding? How does one gauge which historic understanding of the text is the valid interpretation? Does “we’ve been around the longest” necessitate truth?”

    IMHO, bad argument. History seems to dictate that that the further removed you become from an event, the worse the recollection, and the more tainted it becomes. Historical revisionism is rampant in all facets of historical study. School text books on history are more interested in shaping history than relaying it.

    So amplify that by ten when it comes to the church, because every movement that has sprung up has “arrived” at some level of new truth in ministry and church function. People like Dave Hunt told lies about John Calvin, and he sold books, and shaped the fear Calvary Chapel had of the godless soteriology of the reformed.

    Ignorance is willful and inexcusable if one does not take the time to study the SOURCE of many of the traditions of the early church. I am 100% convinced of that.

    So my tendency to respect those who have “been around the longest” outweighs a man with little to no theological background proclaiming the Holy Spirit as the guide of a new movement that simply turns out to be another ego trip, aka Acts 29 et all…

    My round about point being, history is important.

  86. David, how can we know when we are participating in God’s government and not manufactured organizations? I’m not arguing, just looking for clarification of your position.

  87. CK 🙂

  88. I could say, “Through discernment of the Holy Spirit.” But I won’t. Because I don’t honestly know. But I will share a few thoughts that come to mind…

    I’ve watched young people in the church who were apt to work for God. Some of them I believe, were called. Some of them, I am certain were not. I have seen other members in the church ruin some of these young people by getting around them and saying, “I believe you are called to preach,” and so forth. They tried to do it and failed. Oftentimes they got out of church completely.

    I do know we don’t go because somebody else called us.

    How can you tell a divine call?

    You will have the conviction in your own spirit.
    You will have the witness in your own heart.

    God does deal with our spirit. We can learn to listen in our spirit. I do know that if we are messing around along in the world, about half dedicated, half-in-half-out, because you are living too much in the carnal area, carnality will dominate you and you won’t be conscious of your spirit. I suppose this would be why some wouldn’t know if they were participating in God’s government or some manufactured organization.

    I know that I personally don’t get fed or edified in certain places that I go to in Christianity and in others I leave with an awareness of having received from God.

    I do know that some who post here only want to edify others and to help them along in their walks with God and others only want to mess with people and cause doubts in them

    A pastor is a “Shepherd.”

    John 10:11
    I Am the GOOD SHEPHERD: the GOOD SHEPHERD giveth his life for the sheep.

    God calls men and equips them to shepherd, or pastor, a flock. To exercise a position of loving oversight and care. Sheep without shepherds are scattered abroad- they go astray. One possible sign that a supposed pastor is not a pastor at all. Pastors “feed the flock of God,” and if the flock is not getting fed they will scatter.

    I honestly believe that there can be no more noble calling, or more needed office that God could call you to than the office of pastor. I am convinced that the pastor ought to be equipped with the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, and even with tongues and interpretation.

    But over all the most outstanding characteristic of a pastor is a shepherds heart. The shepherds heart is a gift from God. Thank God for those like Michael Newnham here- who love people. They are loyal to the flock, sometimes even at the expense of depriving themselves of a few of the pleasures of life.

    It takes a shepherds heart to see after baby Christians- to love them, to norish them, and to bear with them when they first try start trying to walk. People understand love. Even an old cur dog understands love. People may not understand tongues, but they understand love. And you have to prove to people that you love them. Pastors must love people. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.

    A pastors actions convey rivers of living water. If a pastors teaching does not leave people refreshed, it simply is not in the power of the Spirit. Many who post here leave others slimed. They are not pastors!

    In exercising his teaching gift Apollos helped them much.

    Acts 18:27
    And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, HELPED THEM MUCH WHICH HAD BELIEVED THROUGH GRACE. (Caps for emphasis)

    Divisions can be caused by unbelief and hardness of heart, even when teaching is in the power of the Holy Spirit.

    Under the ministry of Jesus this happened. They would not accept His teaching. On one occasion the Bible says, “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” John 6:66

    A true pastors teaching should shun causing divisions as he shuns the plague.

    The work of a pastor is to build up- not tear down…

    I would not listen to a pastor who was not willing to be taught. I’m still learning, aren’t you? Wouldn’t it be terrible if all you knew is what you know right now?

    The more you learn the less you see you know.

    A great and wise man of God, W.I. Evans, used to say, “We know so little. Because the more we learn, the less we see we know.”

  89. Thanks David. You’ve given much to consider.

    “Wouldn’t it be terrible if all you knew is what you know right now?” Based upon what I know right now, it would be a tragedy of the highest order.

  90. Then again, I do know Jesus and the Gospel, so I guess I’ve got a good start.

  91. Amen to that captain!

  92. Smallest number of visitors here that I have ever seen…

  93. MTM,

    Your reports of our demise are greatly exaggerated.
    We’re doing ok, considering all that we’ve been put through.

    Friday 31st May 2013 2,097
    Thursday 30th May 2013 2,290
    Wednesday29th May 2013 2,383
    Tuesday 28th May 2013 2,562
    Monday 27th May 2013 2,706
    Sunday 26th May 2013 2,322
    Saturday 25th May 2013 2,060

  94. Not that numbers are important (they shouldn’t be, just like butts in seats) but I think if I left for good or got banned for good, the numbers would go down measurably. I think what is exaggerated is that I have killed the blog or whatever else. I think many lurkers and readers like blunt honesty and cutting through the b.s. and while it might be uncomfortable at times, it helps make this a unique place.

  95. Believe,

    That may be your perception…but as the blog owner I can tell you that you’re very wrong.
    It’s not just the numbers we’ve lost, it’s the kind of people we’ve lost.
    I let it happen and now I’m trying to repair the damage.
    It’ll take a while.

  96. Captain Kevin @ # 86:

    How about just the simplicity of treating each other the way we would want to be treated?

  97. I’ve been tracking your numbers via the “visitor’s map” for some time now (it reset recently), and the numbers and data do not support your claim Michael.

    There was no measurable drop in participation before you moderated the blog and my participation as a variable did not seem to “lower” visitor count, in fact, during times of my heavy participation, the number of “visitors” seemed to rise (in general).

    The data doesn’t lie if you count measurable “visitors” calculated by the plug-in on your site as an indication of “participation”.

  98. Now if you measure “participation” as some of the regulars not commenting any longer, then you have a legit claim, but if you are measuring “success” of the blog as quantified by “visitors” which you seem to assert above with Tundra, then you are wrong, my participation has not “hurt” the blog if your “success” is measured by “visitor” count.

  99. Believe,

    We have people who will no longer participate here solely because of your behavior.
    I am moderating the blog solely to deal with your excess.
    Those are the facts of the matter.
    It’s my responsibility, but it should never have come to this.

  100. There are many folks who won’t participate here because of your behavior and MLD’s behavior and Steve Wright’s behavior etc. I know, they’ve emailed me.

    I think the moderation is good for a variety of folks on here, including Josh, MLD, Derek T., Steve W and several others as well.

    Again, you can scapegoat me as that fits the narrative of some of your core folks, but others outside the bubble who follow along here see it a bit differently.

  101. Hey Believe, regarding your self-assessment and importance the blog…

    Nevermind…

    MTM almost seems to be relishing in his perception of the PP’s so-called demise.

  102. Ok, I have a backlog of comments awaiting approval on this subject.

    I just wanted to watch my kids belt test in peace.

    Here is the only fact that matters to me because it is my blog.
    People who I care about, who were with me for years, no longer will participate here.
    That hurts me and I think it weakens the blog.
    I posted those numbers in the flesh because MTM’s claim that we were “circling the drain” was absurd.
    It was also pride and I’ll deal with that between myself and God and apologize to those who were offended.
    Believe, if you want to resume posting on your blog I’m sure your core audience would appreciate it.
    You have a large following that appreciates you and you can say whatever you will and run things as you choose because it’s your blog.
    I have supported you and your brothers cause to the best of my ability and will continue to do so when I believe it will be impactful.
    I’m not interested in pursuing this matter any further…someday we may indeed circle the drain and disappear, but if we do I want to go out on my own terms.

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