NOTE: Truly I was not fully conscious when I wrote yesterdayâ€™s email/devotional. Mike is not in Afghanistan; his location is not important only his mission. Wendy is not the name of the wife of Keith Green; it is Melody. I knew better on both accounts; I plead lack of sleep.
If revival is to come to America it will only happen when the pulpits begin speaking out against the vile times in which we live. Sin must be preached against and clergy must understand the important responsibility given to them in their calling. And that calling does not include making sure your building is the biggest and brightest and has the best coffee shop of all neighboring churches.
I have written before that I am not opposed to large churches or the niceties some churches have; I am opposed to that being one of the primary objectives of the church. A pastor is called to preach, not build a multi-million dollar organization. A pastor is called to lead his flock, not grow it by the latest marketing gimmicks. A good reminder for pastors is Jesusâ€™ words to His disciples after the mother of the sons of Zebedee came seeking special privileges for James and John:
â€œBut Jesus called them to Himself and said, â€˜You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slaveâ€”just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.â€™â€ (Matthew 20:25-28)
We have too many pastors in the receive mode and this is what brings fear to their hearts when it comes to preaching against sin; they donâ€™t want to upset the flock and lose the fleece. Two other characteristics Jesus commanded of His disciples were wisdom and purity:
â€œBehold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.â€ (Matthew 10:16)
Too many pastors today are vicious vipers leaving the road to redemption completely closed or the flipside they are so fearful of persecution of the IRS and ACLU or whatever boogey-man they envision the hide under their pulpits. If the pulpits continue with clergy of either sort revival will not come to America.
John Adams, our second president, understood the importance of the clergy sounding out against societal sin even before our American Revolution. In 1774 writing in Novanglus: A History of the Dispute with America, from its Origin, in 1754, to the Present Time, Adams implored clergy to speak out:
â€œIt is the duty of the clergy to accommodate their discourses to the times, to preach against such sins as are most prevalent, and recommend such virtues as are most wanted. For example, if exorbitant ambition and venality are predominant, ought they not warn their hearers against those vices? If public spirit is much wanted, should they not inculcate this great virtue? If the rights and duties of Christian magistrates and subjects are disputed, should they not explain them, show their nature, ends, limitations, and restrictions, how much soever it may move the gall of Massachusetts.â€
I am not here to bash the clergy. However, I must share what God has put on my heart. God expects pastors to be bold:
â€œBut we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every manâ€™s conscience in the sight of God.â€ (2 Corinthians 4:2)
Yesterday while driving to work the Lord gave me a vision for an organization to encourage, equip, and exhort ministers and lay leaders to â€œtake back right ground.â€ I have shared this vision with my wife and I will be meeting with my pastor for his counsel and a few men for their advice, prayers, and wisdom.
This vision has been building in me for sometime and I could not put my finger on what it was the Lord was trying to show me. It was not time until yesterday. I am not sure when this will be brought to fruition; that will be up to God. I’ll follow the Wisdom of Solomon:
â€œCommit your works to the LORD, and your thoughts will be established.â€ (Proverbs 16:3)
I will not be sharing this vision in the near future but suffice it to say John Adams exhortation will play a big role in it; to help clergy accommodate their discourses to the times.
I covet your prayers not only for me, but more importantly for our pastors across America. Encourage yours and support them if they are preaching the word unashamedly and unapologetically. I leave you with the words that the Apostle Paul gave to his ministers:
â€œWe then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says: â€˜In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.â€™ Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed. But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.â€ (2 Corinthians 6:1-10)
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Copyright Â© 2010 David Jeffers
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