Several decades back Bob Dylan released the song "The Times, They Are a Changing" and it has since become a cultural quote that is embraced by those trying to get the point across that the way something used to be is not how it is any longer.
Change is always rough on us as humans because our fallen minds draw peace, comfort and security from things we find familiar. One goal of the Christian walk should be to get so entirely used to being led by the Holy Spirit that we begin to feel comfortable with that leading. Easier said than done for most folks to be sure.
I have been involved with several churches in one form or another over the years and like many of you I have seen some very beautiful things..and some not so pretty stuff as well. The constant in all of it has been change. Most recently, about a year ago a new church leader in our area approached me about helping him out with his effort. After meeting with him and getting a very clear direction and feeling for what he wanted help with, I agreed to help out. Over the last year there I met a lot of wonderful new people and similar to times past, saw a lot of beautiful things.. and some not so pretty things. The constant through it all was and still remains change.
As you discover changes in and around your life, you will usually adjust things accordingly. Thus, radical change to produce radical results requires radical discovery of what has changed in or around you. In my case with this recent church, they began to change the relationship dynamic a little bit more and more as time went on. A little bit at first but climaxing with them asking me to be silent about certain doctrines that I held to be truths but the church didn't agree with. To me these were small things that would be classified more as opinions instead of actual Christian doctrine. Certainly nothing worthy of parting ways over but it became more and more important to them and they started to make that very known.
Long story short, they made my continued involvement contingent upon me remaining silent about any doctrine that the church didn't agree with. This was to include even personal postings here on my blog or on my personal facebook profile. Any visible or spoken communication to others, even those who were directly involved in our personal ministry, in effect asking me to not speak or minister as I felt I was led by the Holy Spirit, all because they felt it could possibly be seen by others as a position the church didn't support. It forced me into a position where I had no other alternative but to move on.
I share this on here because my blog is read by many Pastors, Apostles, Prophets and leaders in the body of Christ from the USA and around the world. I want to speak candidly to you leaders directly for a moment here....
When you pray for God to bring people around you to help you advance your ministries, he very rarely brings someone that agrees with you entirely. In fact, in most cases God will hide something you need in people you don't really like that much. It is well within God's nature to allow the wheat to grow up with the chaff to help you exercise your discernment. That teenager who wears all those tattoos you don't like is likely anointed by God to head up your video department. That woman who wears the ugly smelling perfume is likely anointed by God to head up your hospitality. That guy you see as disrespectful because he never sits and listens when you preach..he is probably anointed to lead your ushers or security.
We must stop making human judgements based on what we see in our flesh. God is going to use a lot of different types and kinds of people to bless and elevate you. Even homosexuals... by the time we get done wagging our finger at those people, we miss that if we would communicate that they are absolutely accepted while we stand completely against their lifestyle choices.. God could use us to build relationships and ultimately see them set free. instead our flesh would feel better if they just kept silent about their sin.. or better yet just left entirely so we didn't have to mess with them.
Let me openly rebuke many of you modern leaders for preaching so hard that we need to love the lost yet once they get saved you do nothing but try to get them to fit into your interpretation of God's law. I'm not saying we don't have standards, I AM saying the the Holy Spirit does the changing in a person's heart.. and if you want the person to change, love them into it. When people get really, really honest, they KNOW they are in sin. They don't need you to constantly remind them. Stop asking people to repeatedly repent of sin and instead remind them of their true destiny and how you believe in them!
I remember in my teens my life was a complete mess. Rebellion and Lust were two of many things that had wrecked me. A father in the Faith to me at the time took me in and allowed me to run the control board at a Christian radio station where he had a show. Had anyone known what my life was like, they would have certainly protested if not boycotted... but this man was more concerned about loving me into a place of change instead of trying to force fit me into what he believed to be true. Today I oversee SEVEN Christian radio stations reaching tens of thousands all over the world each and every month. You tell me, was he wise to not force a behaviour change and instead build real relationship with me? You better believe it.
All of us can learn from what I just shared. Let us never fail to preach the truth and never compromise our morals or messages... HOWEVER, while we do that, we need to remember we are entrusted with Jesus' wife, His personal bride. If God brings someone to you, they are not expendable. You are called to love them and as much as wisdom will allow, give them access to be able to enjoy a relationship with you. You are not called to reject them because they don't believe like you believe.
Last point today... a couple years back I had a big blow up with a guy on the phone over the direction of one of our stations. He was a self identified "Bishop and Apostle" and he was bent on telling me how wrong I was. He caught me when I was tired, and we were in a giving shortfall to boot. I let his foolishness trigger my own and it was ugly. A couple hours later I was preaching on our network and God led me into talking about forgiving people. In my mind AS I PREACHED I was telling God no, not him. I'll forgive everyone but him, he was an idiot, he was this, he was that, etc. Finally as God's presence fell hard, I broke before God and released my bitterness. I began to pray aloud for God to bless him and I was broken with God's heart for the man. At the same instant this happened I got a donation notification. I checked it and it was from that same man that i had just forgiven. He gave a $3000 donation and in the notes of the donation field he said 5 words I will never forget. He said "I'm sorry, I was wrong".
Who has God sent into your life to bless you? Who have you inadvertently chased off in the name of them not agreeing with you or worst yet, not "submitting to your vision"? Then you will go back to god and beg Him more to help you when He has likely already sent help, you just didn't like the package it came in so you marked it return to sender.
God, give us all YOUR eyes and ears. let YOUR understanding be ours... in Jesus name!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.