Posts Tagged ‘ Jesse Walker ’

Complete Forgiveness

Forgiveness is such an important topic and yet it is perhaps one of the hardest to not only grasp, but articulate. However, nearly two decades ago I heard a pastor being interviewed about a book he had written on forgiveness, and the interviewer asked “What is the primary way you know that you have totally forgiven someone?” The pastor replied simply “When you can sincerely wish them well and ask God to bless them.”

The moment I heard this, it’s as if I had just received a little treasure, for all of us have people who have hurt us, some very deeply, and it’s even more important for us to forgive, than it is for them to receive it. At that moment, I integrated that nugget of wisdom into my life and it has helped me on the path of forgiveness throughout the years. The Pastors’ name is R.T. Kendall and his book is called “Total Forgiveness.” It should be, in my opinion, required reading for every Christian.

Something I have encountered in life is that forgiving is particularly difficult when the hurt is perpetrated by someone who should know better, such as a pastor. They should know better, but clearly they do not, which is why Jesus said regarding the Jewish leaders who sneered at him upon the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Even though they should have known better, they did not, and regardless of the fact that they should have known better, Jesus still asked the Father to forgive them.

Some hurts are so painful that we have buried them deep down in our hearts so that we don’t feel the pain, but that doesn’t fix it. When you bury things in your heart, whether it’s unforgiveness, sin, emotions, etc., there is less and less room for Jesus. What have you buried in your heart? Who do you need to forgive?

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The false god Baal and Elections

My mom, Jeanne, who is one of the wisest people I know, said regarding the topic of abortion “Women have THREE choices: Abstinence, Birth-control, and Adoption. But they don’t have the right to murder babies.”

Baal was one of the Canaanite gods, and is mentioned in the Bible as a false god. In fact, the priests of Baal used magician type tricks to make people believe that Baal was real. The name “Baal” means “owner” or “master,” and the ancient worship of Baal involved the horrendous practice of infant sacrifice.

What modern people fail to see is that the so-called “pro-choice” sect clamors that it’s “my body, my choice,” claiming to be the owner or master of the life that is inside of them. They do this to try to excuse the fact that they are essentially committing infant sacrifice unto themselves, but thereby are claiming to be the so-called god of Baal. This world-view should scare the crap out of everyone.

Fact: As of 2017, over 57,000,000 people have been murdered by abortion. That’s 1/3 of generation X.

Fact: Less than 1% of abortions are performed to save the life of the mother.

Fact: As Christians, God calls us to stand up for the innocent and helpless, and that necessitates voting for whichever candidate is the most pro-life.

#voteprolife

 

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What kind of Pastor are you? Church Politics 101

My intention in writing this is to enlighten, and not to harm, though it may hurt…because the truth hurts. As I ask many times in my articles, if you are going to read this, please commit to reading it in its entirety, because there will be some difficult points and thoughts to ponder, but if you let the Lord speak to you, the conclusion will be worth it.

I have always been somewhat of a reluctant leader…leading by necessity and calling rather than desire. Because the church “leadership” failed in many ways to help me grow, I found early on that I had to lead myself first, and then offer to others that which the leadership failed to give me. God used the situation for good, but the battle has been hard fought.

The leadership failed for two primary reasons: First, what I needed, they didn’t have. Second, if they did have it to give, they gave just enough, dangling it like a carrot to keep me coming back, but never was I filled. They kept giving me fish when I desperately wanted to know how to fish. The first was a failure of preparation, the second was a power play. They didn’t want to help me grow into the person God was calling me to be, at least not fully, because they were comfortable being the spiritual ones in charge. This is not simply my perspective, I had objective observers tell me these things before I ever vocalized them. It was a bittersweet confirmation of what I already knew.

This emphasized the fact that the church organization has a hierarchical structure, even if you are part of an independent, non-denominational church. The church organization has defaulted, and continues to default to a hierarchy of established people and expected norms. This is the nitty gritty of what is known as “church politics.” Of course, when one looks at actual politics it is quite clear that, whether you like it or not, there was a political revolution in the presidential election of 2016. The “establishment” politicians were overthrown and kicked out.

The church has an “establishment” too, and if you are one, you should desperately check your life and be sure you get on the right track with the Lord, because it is only a matter of time before He rectifies things. You don’t want to be included in the “church establishment” because these people will eventually be kicked out as well.

(I will be using leadership and establishment interchangeably in this article)

Here are some points to help you determine if you are part of the church establishment, the primary causes of which come from “All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (the pride in position and possessions).” 1 John 2:16

  1. Manipulation – Do you help people grow to the point where they don’t need you anymore? If you help them grow a little, but not as much as you actually can, you are probably doing it so they remain dependent upon you for spiritual guidance. This protects your position as a leader, because the underlying motive is that they not reach the spiritual summit that you assess yourself to have reached, for fear they may become closer to Jesus and/or more popular with the masses than you, thereby eclipsing the position you have attained. Be careful because this is a form of manipulation for the purpose of maintaining control and power. Are you manipulating people by holding them back from being the person they can truly be in the Lord?
  2. Greed – This goes hand in hand with the first point. Remember that old adage “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”? The church establishment gives people fish every Sunday to keep them coming back. They neglect to teach people how to fish so they can grow on their own, in order to keep butts in the pews and tithes in the purse. Are you allowing money to keep you from doing what’s right?
  3. Power – The church establishment is destined to fail because they were never supposed to be “in power” in the first place. Christ is the head of the church and all authority has been given to Him. How often do you hear a message on how to hear the voice of God? Not very often, because the establishment thinks that “lay people” aren’t learned or responsible enough to understand such deep, intimacy with the Father, that should be left to those who have a theological degree. That is an elitist mentality that protects its’ own. The fact is, shortly after Moses, the Exodus, and the promised land (which foreshadow Jesus and his mission of leading us out of the bondage of sin and into the promise of His Spirit), comes a book which I am convinced is a foreshadow of Christ and the church – the book of Judges. In this book God speaks to, and employs those He chooses at any given time for any given purpose. Subsequently, the people want an established human leader but God wants to lead them Himself, and speak to them personally. As many of you know, the Lord eventually gives the people what they want in the form of King Saul, but it was not God’s original, perfect will for them. His original will was essentially a Theocracy – a nation led by the Lord Himself. This is why Jesus said “But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one Teacher and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ.” By these verses it is clear that the Lord does not want hierarchy of power within the church, because that simply leads to an elitist mentality. He should be on the throne of every heart. Are you usurping Gods’ perfect will? Do you have an elitist mentality when it comes to ministry and the things of God?
  4. Jealousy – I know of a pastor (we’ll call him John) who has had the call of God on his life for ministry from the time he was a teenager. Johns’ goal has always been to help people grow so much, and get so close to Jesus, that they don’t need John anymore. However, other pastors and leaders have been jealous of the gifts and anointing that the Lord has placed on Johns’ life, and they feel threatened by Johns’ Biblical knowledge, youthful zeal, purity of heart and maturity in the Lord. They are secretly afraid that John will take their job because he is more qualified both in the eyes of man and in the eyes of God. Because of their jealousy and fears, they have held him back from accomplishing the call of God and operating in his giftings. Their actions have deeply wounded John because these pastors and leaders are people who should know better. They should put their pride aside and, at the very least, allow the Lord to work through John in his giftings. However, an even better, more mature response would be for them to help John in ministry in whatever way they can so that the church may thrive. To make things worse it hasn’t been just one church or pastor that has felt this way and done this to John, the majority of pastors John has worked with over the years have responded out of jealousy and fear. The only consolation is that John is in good company, because the religious leaders of the day treated Jesus the same way. Of whom are you jealous? Who do you feel threatens your position in ministry?
  5. Bias – Singles are treated as second-class citizens of ministry (See the article “Church and Singles“). Do you have a biblical view of singleness and marriage?
  6. Favoritism – I have a friend who is a fellow minister and who is intimately familiar with church methods for obtaining staff and guest speakers. As a pastor and speaker myself, I was refreshed yet deeply saddened by a comment he made. Refreshed because he was unabashedly honest, and saddened because it is unfortunately true. He said nobody cares if you have a great message, they only care if you have a big name and can draw a crowd. Unfortunately, the ways of the world creep into the church. Whereas God looks at the heart, man looks at the outward appearance. If one doesn’t fit the mold that the establishment thinks one should fit (the way one looks, dresses, talks, yes, sometimes even what one drives), or if one doesn’t have a big name that can bring big bucks, they are ignored by or passed over by the leadership, even if God’s anointing is upon them. Do you rely on your own desires, or on God’s Spirit when looking for staff and speakers?
  7. Nepotism – This is very rampant in the church establishment, perhaps because the church establishment has become a career rather than a calling. It is also one of the most obvious and therefore hurtful mistakes that the establishment can make. I have witnessed excellent candidates who were not even considered for a position simply because the pastors brother-in-law wanted the job. Odds are that anyone who has been in church any length of time has negative feelings on this issue. Is ministry a calling or a career for you?

This is not an exhaustive list, and there is a lot of overlap, but I listed all of these things to point out how “the pride of life” (the pride of position and possessions) is manifest in the church establishment, and God’s word says that “God opposes the proud…” and that pride goes before a fall. Therefore, from one pastor to another, I challenge you to answer these questions honestly and evaluate whether you are a part of the church establishment.

After you have given yourself an honest evaluation ask yourself “What can I change to become more like Jesus?” and “what am I actually prepared to do?”

In conclusion, just like there was a political establishment, there is a church establishment. A loving rebuke and warning to those of the church establishment: You think you are elite but you are not. You teach on maturity but you are the ones who are immature. You talk about love but you love money, influence, power, and control. You love all that is in the world. But no matter which way it is divided, it all boils down to lust and pride. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of Life (the pride of position and possessions). You have no room in your heart for Jesus, but this is your chance to change, and who knows, the Lord may forgive and cover your transgressions as if you never even wandered off the path. I pray this is the case, and it begins with you making a decision to soften your heart, abandon your elitist attitude and in humility ask for forgiveness from the Lord. Open your heart, once again to Jesus. You know Him, now let Him know you.

(See also “What you need to know about church“)

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Church and Singles

It has become clear to me that there is a need, yes even a longing within the church itself for a revolution. Not a political revolution, but a spiritual one.

Let us first define some terms and ideas so as not to confuse the issue. Most Christians are aware that the “church” in its Biblical definition simply refers to all of the people who believe in Jesus Christ and have trusted in His sacrificial atonement on the cross, and resurrection from the grave.

However, the word “church” is also used to refer to the hierarchical organizational structure, denominational or not. So for the sake of clarity of this post I will be using either the phrase “church organization” or “church hierarchy” to distinguish this from the Biblical usage mentioned above.

The church organization, in its zeal to follow Jesus, and also, to protect itself, has set up its own rules and regulations and thereby, have become a bureaucracy in a sense. There is more red tape and less ministry being done. The church needs to focus on people, not paper; on individuals, not bylaws.

Here is a perfect example of what I mean: The church organizations’ bias against singles in ministry. The apostle Paul, and even Jesus himself taught that, in respect to ministry, being single is at least as good as, if not better than being married because “…One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided…” 1 Corinthians 7:32-34 (see also Matt 19:10-12)

These passages make it clear that being single is not something that should disqualify one for ministry, especially since Jesus and Paul were single. On the contrary, singleness should be looked at with great respect within the church because of the commitment it shows to Christ and His church.

I know whereof I speak, for I myself have been turned down for many positions in ministry based solely on the fact that I am not married. However, this is the life to which the Lord has called me, and I must follow Him rather than please man.

My own pain aside, it is unfortunate that the church is missing so many wonderful, dedicated Christ-following ministers because they assume that verses such as 1 Tim 3:2 and Titus 1:6 mean that one must be married to be in ministry. This is the unfortunate consequence of reading between the lines of scripture…you end up trying to “strain out a gnat” and miss the camel you’ve just swallowed.

First, 1 Tim 3:2 and Titus 1:6 clearly apply only to those selected for the role of “elders.” This is also a bit messy to dissect, so for the sake of time, I will leave that for another post.

Second, these two verses must be reconciled with the aforementioned passages regarding singleness, and therefore should be taken to mean that a person should have no more than one wife. This would exclude anyone who is practicing polygamy, and may or may not apply to those who are divorced and remarried. Knowing the Lord and His Word, it is most likely that Paul is simply forbidding polygamists from holding the role of elder-ship.

Third, we must note also that the Bible does NOT say “an Elder must be married” or “an Elder can not be single,” because that would exclude both Jesus and the Apostle Paul (who, incidentally penned the verses in question), among others.

In conclusion, the church organization must reevaluate its stance on single people holding ministry positions. To deny singles from these positions is to deny the call of God that is on many hearts.

How do you view singleness? Does it actually line up with God’s Word?

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Voting, Elections and God

Here is another guest blog by Jesse Walker. I am enjoying my time away from the blog, watching some movies and playing some video games with my wife, actually relaxing a little, getting several weeks worth of homework done in an afternoon (because it is so much easier than what I have done … ever in college!), and working on other theological and ministerial things.

I do not usually get too into politics on this blog, but that does not mean my guests have to shy away from it! For this election season, here is an early post (instead of my usual Tuesday schedule). May it help you in making a decision on how to vote (and, please, vote!). Pray, pray, pray! Listen to all advice and weigh it by the your convictions, what the Bible says, and how you feel the Lord leads.

Many blessings until later! Your brother in Christ, Daniel

If you’re like me, you probably have had questions about the candidates, the party’s and which candidate might possibly have God’s endorsement (since, of course, His is the only one that matters).

While there are many issues that are important to each of us, be it the economy, immigration, the second amendment, or a plethora of others, I believe that there is one that will not only last for eternity, but is near and dear to God’s heart. It’s not that the other issues aren’t important, but that only one involves eternal souls. You see, God is a protector of the innocent and a defender of the weak, and the issue that is on His heart, the only one that will last for eternity, is preserving the life of the innocent un-born. As Christians it is vitally important that we vote for the pro-life candidate who can win. I say, “who can win” because many of us would like to vote for a third-party candidate. Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that our system of government, a democratic republic (NOT a democracy), is a two-party system, which makes it very hard for a third-party candidate to win. I almost registered as an Independent, because I felt that elected officials from both sides of the aisle had let us down, but as I researched the party lines, I began to see that all of my principles and convictions were already laid out in one of the two main parties.

But no matter you’re political persuasion, as a Christian it is your responsibility to vote pro-life. Please take a moment to listen to a radio program I did here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tP22TwZbvk

Based on this information, I had a lot of peace about who to vote for, and then God gave me confirmation through a great man of God, Lou Engle. Here is an email I received from Lou this past week:

Can I vote for Romney?

Over the last year I have wrestled greatly with this question. I have been mostly silent, waiting on the Lord for understanding. Prior to TheCall Detroit I’ve felt a strong calling to pray for President Obama, that he would be a Lincoln-type President who (through the dealings of God) would be changed into another man on the issue of life. Should he win the election, I will still hope and pray for this outcome. However, many people have misconstrued my statements and even twitter’d that I intend to vote for President Obama. Quite the contrary! My clear and pointed statement has been that I cannot vote for anyone who by legal decree supports the shedding of innocent blood, believing such a vote would make me an accomplice to the act.

In recent years I have further refined my position to include no exceptions for rape and incest, understanding that life begins at conception, therefore all life is sacred. My position has been to reject the compromise of simply voting for the  lesser of two evils, believing that my allegiance is given to a higher King and a higher kingdom, therefore my  No  vote actually becomes a prophetic act” a vote of conscience, not abdication. I have believed that if the church would stand on principle, and also require the same of our candidates, that we could actually shift our political climate from confidence in man to confidence in God for the healing of our nation, and that God, in response, would answer with the fire of revival on a people who refused to bow (via a compromised vote) to the image of Caesar. Jesus said,  Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s.  How can I stoop to surrender the image of God in marriage to Caesar (Gen. 1:26″ 28)? How can I forfeit God’s image in the unborn through abortion to Caesar, when Scripture clearly warns against the shedding of innocent blood? (Gen. 4:10, 9:6; Deut. 19:13; Psa. 72:12-14; Ezek. 35:6)

These are not small questions, driving me in great consternation to much dialogue with my Christian brothers and sisters across the nation. I found myself challenged by a simple question: Can you be sure that if you don’t vote for Romney you aren’t still accountable for the shedding of innocent blood, similar to a sin of omission? After all, abortion could greatly proliferate under Obamacare. Furthermore, though Romney allows for the exceptions clause, with which I disagree, he remains opposed to all other cases, and this statistically represents 98.5% of current abortion procedures. Successfully overturning 98.5% of abortions would represent a massive shift in our national blood guilt. In this view, voter accountability becomes more complex, and the answers not so clear.

Bringing further challenge, I was given a scenario, a true moral conundrum. If I had been a Christian conservative in pre-Nazi Germany, as the nation floundered in moral and economic woes, and there I heard the rousing moral clarity of a leader promising a strong economy, who was also pro-family, pro-marriage, anti-debauchery and drunkenness, etc., could I have actually made the mistake of voting as a matter of conviction for Hitler (who in fact adopted those many  good  positions). Could principles in fact blind me to the moment, such that I would support the raising of a king whom Christ Himself would want torn down? Whoa! This is a deeply troubling thought. To me it seems clear that if I had made my stand on principle alone I would have missed God and joined in the destruction of 6 million Jews. This is why we must submit ourselves to the governance of the Holy Spirit, for the wrong application of right principles can cloud even the discernment of the righteous.

At about this time of crisis in my own thought processes, my closest friend (and a true prophet in my life) had a compelling dream concerning Romney s viability as a candidate. In the dream, Romney was clearly favorable from a divine perspective. After this, the substance of my friend s dream was immediately confirmed by another prophetic encounter from another well known prophetic voice. Now hear me, this election is not about Romney being the great answer to America s problems. Rather, these prophetic experiences seemed to indicate that Romney was a sort of window of mercy to America on several fronts, but chiefly the dividing of Jerusalem. The thought of protecting that ancient covenantal bond of God shifted my paradigm dramatically. I found myself having to peer into another biblical principle that I heretofore had not pondered with the same intensity as I had the life issue.

As I sought the Lord concerning these various biblical truths and prophetic words, it was as if a light began to shine into my heart. I sensed the Lord saying,  Will you stand with Me in my covenantal faithfulness? Will you stand for my ancient covenant with My people? A deep abiding ‘Yes’ began to conquer my arguments.

Therefore I now make this statement for the sake of both my own conscience and for the clearing of any misconceptions or questions currently circulating in the body. I remain to this day a no exceptions voter, though very challenged by lingering questions regarding the practical application of a principled vote. I am committed to the highest, best moral and faith response to the political issue of abortion. I seek its ultimate end, and its progressive end. But I refuse to castigate any well-meaning believers who come to a different conclusion than mine. It seems to me there is room for great Christian understanding and patience with one another in the journey.

With that said, I am declaring my best, personal understanding of the Lord’s heart in this hour: that in this election, America’s future is on dangerous ground, facing judgment not only over abortion and other key issues, but most definitely over the high possibility of breaking faith with God’s covenant with Jerusalem, the land of Israel, and His covenant people. President Obama has publicly called for the return of the land of Jerusalem and Israel to the pre-1967 boundaries. I can’t go there. I won’t. My heart had been opened to another great theme:  The Life of the unborn has called me and God’s covenant to the Jewish people restrains me .

I am voting for Romney.

In clean conscience,

Lou Engle”

I challenge and encourage you to vote for the pro-life candidate, Governor Romney.

With all Sincerity and Love in Christ,

Jesse Walker