Archive for August, 2013

Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr’s I Have A Dream Speech 8/28/1963.  Still Inspiring us these many years later.  Please listen with your hearts:

 

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1 3 Unity: “Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies – or else? The chain reaction of evil – hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars – must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation”
~Martin Luther King Jr on unity.

Colossians 3:13 “Make allowance for each other’s faults, & forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” NLT

Many years back, when I was a new believer & hit the ground running with Gospel missionary work.  My wife & I were a package deal so she was by my side throughout.  The hardest part, for myself was leaving behind my precious brothers & sisters at church.  After a long deployment in God’s army I came back to church, just myself due to my wife was feeling ill that morning. I was greeted warmly & everyone asked, “So where is your wife today?” I replied with the simple ‘oh, not feeling 100% today so she’s home & healing.’ Bible study & worship with familiar faces was so refreshing.

Uneventful right? Just wait..  The following week I returned for services solo (my wife was helping her mother who was having health issues) however, this time I was met by angry faces. Even the elderly ladies were mad dogging me.  No one would speak to me. Every once in a while someone would pass by & whisper ‘I feel so bad for you.’ Or, ‘I’m praying for your situation.’ Or ‘You should be ashamed.’ I was perplexed. What’s going on?

I pulled a good friend outside & quizzed him on ‘what I was going through..’ because I had not a flippin’ clue.  Everyone has my number. No calls from church folk all week..so what was up to cause such a negative response?

He angrily exclaimed, “You lied to everybody about your divorce when you were here last week. I can’t believe you would cheat on, mistreat her & then throw her out of your house like that.”

I was taken back. Scratched my head.
“Come ..come again?” Was my reply.

Yes, the old gossips were at it.  They had run a week long campaign on why my wife was ‘really not there.’ In addition to that they added some juicy details as special effects to make this epic sci-fi tale drama a sure hit. Worthy of a Soap Opera award.  Funny thing was, my wife & I were happy together & had a, rare great & peaceful week.

You see friends, because of tolerance for gossip the church can never experience the joy of a surprise party.. Joking aside, it is hurtful to engage in this activity. Not only for the hearer but it causes division within the body of Christ.  The bible warns us to turn off the flow (see Proverbs 10:19).  Don’t fall into the trap of listening. When the slimy story starts, change the subject or point them in the direction of the person they’re speaking about. 

*What if you’re the victim? Jesus is our best example. Oh, them gossip folk spoke on Him too. Our Lord was accused of being illegitimate, a drunk, a glutton & even an agent of satan.  He usually ignored the ridiculous accusations, lived life & pressed on in kingdom work in such a way that no one would listen to that mess.  If anyone throws mud at you, it will look a lot worse if you try to wipe it off. Just keep on living in the light of God’s glory & it will dry & fall off without stain. 

Back in the old testament, Nehemiah was a victim of a smear campaign as well.  Sanballat & his homies tried to use a gossip letter to discourage Nehemiah from doing God’s work.  Nehemiah gave them the vapors. He didn’t even give them the time of day.  He just pressed forward in doing what the Lord wanted him to do.

He said this to the gossip folk’s tabloid spin, “I am doing a great work, so I cannot come down. Why should the work cease, while I leave it & go down to you?” Neh. 6:3

Participating in gossip makes you come down to the gossip folk’s low level when you think about it.  Tabloid theology only serves to aid the enemy & divide God’s forces. Bringing a virus of mean spiritedness, division & confusion only seeks to derail what God has commissioned each & everyone of us to do. It’s forgiveness, coming from all parties effected that is the key to healing once the damage is done. None of us are perfect, God’s got that alone.

*Don’t feel you need to be the one to apologize?  It’s contrary to our sinful nature & our flesh crawls at the thought of giving up an apology. But Jesus says to love on our enemy.. we tend to forget that. Also, if we want His forgiveness we must forgive others.  Yes, all need to make nice & reconcile both to each other and ultimately God for the offense.  There is a world out there that needs Jesus. They need to hope and heal. No angel was given this duty. No, not even one. It’s on us!  If we are distracted with fights & licking our own wounds just how are we suppose to do that kingdom work exactly? Don’t fall in the pit of backbitting, rumors & slander my brothers & sisters. Get your great commission on instead. In John 17, Jesus prayed that this not be so. He basically said if the believers are fighting the world won’t believe the Father sent Jesus. Perhaps that is why unbelief is on a roll in this generation. Just maybe overcoming this error will be the aid or solution to that ill. If you are a third party to an issue between two brothers and/or sisters.. please steer them into one another so it does not escalate & have it’s destruction. 3 or more is a crowd. If you are offended or hurt, don’t assume, call that person or better yet go out for coffee & have it out until the issue is squashed.  God don’t like ugly. Therefore be about unity. There is a special blessing that comes from brothers & sisters that unify. See Psalm 133. If I offend anyone at anytime, I’m sorry. I have an opinion, yes & I try to tread lite but my mouth gets the better of me on occasion. Lord help us all to be what You made us to be & be more like Christ. Amen! »Pastor Pete

1Timothy 5:20-21 Those who sin should be reprimanded in front of the whole church; this will serve as a strong warning to others. I solemnly command you in the presence of God & Christ Jesus & the highest angels to obey these instructions without taking sides or showing favoritism to anyone. (NLT)

  Did the bible really say that? Yes. We should correct in love & Jesus gave guidelines for that in Mat. 18:15-17 when a fellow believer falls into sin with no shame or sense of responsibility. When this is the case & the sin is done publicly then & only then is it time to rebuke publicly. To humiliate? To separate? To harm the person in error? A thousand times no.

  The action of public rebuke is to prevent the error to spread like a virus within the community. Infecting it & taking other fellow Christians down as well. Think of the alternative .. Everyone ignores the elephant in the room & the destruction runs it’s course. As Christ followers we know 2 things at the very least. We all sin & Christ, who was without sin paid dearly for our sins. Sin demanded a sacrifice. A life for a life. So who are we to do this rebuke? We are someone..in relationship with Jesus. We are the church or we are protecting groundwork that God laid down. We should never act out of emotion ..not according to the bible. Someone or we are to protect God’s & we are not alone in doing this. Did God not leave us His Holy Spirit and His book for these last days? Our emotion reactor kicks in when we sense this may indeed be a problem. Then we are to put it through the filter of God’s word. Not just the rules.. that would be a mistake. The total script. At the end we have to call evil evil & good.. good. There is a time for everything under heaven so if, when the enemy tries to make a grab of our own.. & we can’t man up & call sin out.. & fight back then what the heck are we doing exactly?

Fear God  Just like anti-virus or meds when you have the flu.. we have to rebuke as quick as possible, in front of the audience that witnessed what was done publicly in order to do a body (of Christ) good. But what of the offended brother? Review: The sin was public. The rebuke was public. Therefore the come back can be epic! Inspiring many to come correct. Nothing better than to see a brother or sister (in the Lord)slay his/her demons, fully restored & right with God. Humility is key to recovery.

  Unfortunately, many fail here. Instead of the humble comeback some/most bail & get bitter and/or depressed. Pointing fingers & whining, crying. Sad is that ol’ easy road. God Himself don’t want you to be that guy. He esteems us better than that. He loves us & ONLY allows us to be tore down so He…God can build us back up. Stronger. As the scripture says show no favoritism to no man. We are about God & His will. It is impossible to please both God & man. No one likes confrontation. We learned today that.. when you don’t confront sin, head on & right away.. the cost & damage can be too high. Pray, engage, encourage a Godly lifestyle.. then sit back & watch God restore, redeem, reconcile, re-create & do His new thing. This is why it is important to guard our heart’s, minds, actions & take up our cross daily. Too much blood spilled for the Christian church & too much ground work laid to let Satan have an inch. Tell that fool, the devil & His terror method called sin… “You ain’t welcome up in here!!!”  Jesus did this.. see Mat. 16:23 …Check it. Amen  ~Pastor Pete