WELL DONE

“Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

These are the words you want to hear someday, right? In fact, these are the words you long to hear, you actually crave and even expect to hear someday, from an appreciative Lord and Savior, welcoming you into His joy.

You want His assurance that you have lived fully for Him, that you’ve accomplished all that He’s asked you to do, and that your life has actually counted for something.

C’mon, be honest. You’ve pictured that moment, haven’t you? And isn’t that the way it should be? You arrive at the gates of Heaven and are ushered toward God’s throne by beautiful angels, where Jesus stands at the right hand of God to greet you and thank you for your ministry on earth, your heartfelt prayers and intercessions, all the sacrifices you made for Him, and your obedience to Him through countless temptations, trials and tests.

“Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of thy Lord.”

Then you’ll fall on your face and cast your crowns at His feet, because you know He’s the only one worthy of such accolades.

Oh, how magnanimous of you! How humble. How selfless.

And those words will continue to reverberate through Heaven. “Well done.” “Well done.” “Well done!”

And even though your face is flat against the clear, cool golden steps leading up to God’s throne, your chest heaves a bit, and you are overwhelmed with the emotion that you’ve been received by the King of Kings. Your work has been appreciated. Your effort has truly been noticed and approved of.

“Well done.”

Can I ask a couple of questions here, though?

Why do we always assume it’s the “well done” part that put us before the throne of God? Or the “good and faithful” bit? How about the “servant” portion of that sentence?

It seems to me that for the last 30 years I’ve been listening to sermons about remaining faithful, doing a good job, overcoming temptation, reaching out, conquering sin, meeting responsibilities, preaching, tithing, attending, seeking, witnessing, praying, reading, going, accomplishing, leading and even serving. Always doing.

The thing is, though, we do all those things by an act of our will. We decide to follow, to give and to serve. We make that decision to be obedient to God, to do His will, to accomplish great things for Him. But by living that way, all this becomes nothing more than good works, filthy rags, dung. Worthless.

How’s that, you say? Aren’t we supposed to do these things, to act like Jesus, and to follow the will of God? Well, yes. The Bible says that “we are created in Christ Jesus unto good works,” but it qualifies that by saying first that we are “His workmanship.”

All that really means is that all our works are His works. It’s all His. We shouldn’t need accolades, or glory, adulation, or even confirmation at the end of it all that our lives were good enough.

Following in the footsteps of Jesus has absolutely nothing to do with our works.

That’s right, I’ll say it again:

Following in the footsteps of Jesus has absolutely nothing to do with our works.

Jesus said, “Come, take up your cross and follow me.”

But didn’t He say that we’d do greater things than He did? I don’t know – did He? What’s the difference, anyway? Who cares if we do “greater works”? Why do we always get hung up on the people who seem to be the most sensational? What is it about us that we slavishly follow bombastic so-called “prophets” (all too common these days) instead of people like Solanus Casey? Or Martin Luther King, Jr.? Or Mother Theresa?

Let me ask you this:

“What’s the difference between serving and being a servant?”

Remember that I said earlier that we do our works by an act of our will? That’s serving. We decide whether to serve or not to serve, don’t we? If God asks us to reach out to someone, or pray or teach – we either do it or we don’t by an act of our own will. It’s our decision.

So, really then, it becomes our will, doesn’t it? Think about it. We can do it. Or not. We choose.

And I believe that’s where we start expecting all this “well done” stuff.

To move in the true Spirit of Christ, however, we must get beyond this way of thinking. There’s just way too much pride, ego and self wrapped up in it, and too much opportunity for us to take credit.

I’ve seen so many preachers, pastors and ministers let their good works go to their heads, that I’ve lost count. They start believing what their congregations continually tell them, and it robs them of their true ministry – and that’s to be like Jesus to the sheep God has asked them to serve.

“There’s no church like my church. We’re reaching the world.”

“My pastor preaches a unique word. He’s a great teacher.”

“Our pastor is a prophet and apostle, and has gifts of healing.”

We do a disservice to ministers by holding them up and feeding their egos. Do we think that after 18 years of a man hearing praise about what a great teacher he is, that it’s not going to go to his head? If we do, then we’re stupid. No one is immune to the sin of pride. If you had someone praising you for years, you’d be puffed up too.

Instead, we should hold ministers accountable to being servants to the household of faith. And we should walk as servants ourselves.

Christian maturity is not achieved through an act of our will, but is really a state of being. Being like Jesus – following Him – walking like Him – seeing through His eyes – hearing through His ears – touching with His hands.

When Jesus walked the earth, he touched all those around Him in powerful ways. How did He do this? By deciding to? No. He was the presence of God on earth. He became love in action, and was moved with compassion that resided within Him.

That’s what motivated Him. Compassion. The heart of the Father. Love.

Well, how do we do that? WE DON’T do that!

We’re supposed to BE that. BE Him. Show compassion, humility, love, long-suffering, patience, joy, meekness and love. You can’t decide to be humble, or to show love to someone. You either are humble and loving or you aren’t. And you gain humility by allowing Jesus to control your life.

Being a servant is saying, “Not my will, Lord, but yours. Here I am, send me.” No preconditions, parameters or time frames. A good servant says, “Whatever you need me to do, I will do it. I agree AHEAD OF TIME to obey your will, before you ask. I’m not going to wait until you ask me, then decide whether I agree or disagree with your request.”

It’s not the “well done” that counts, or even the “good and faithful.” It’s the servant.

Jesus was the ultimate servant, and we are to emulate Him in every way. He reflected the glory of the Father by showing humility, meekness and compassion, and we are called to do the same.

Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit those in prison. Because when we do, we’re acting like Jesus. Just like Jesus.

And isn’t that what it’s all about?

“Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

The Bible says: “When we see Him, we’ll be just like Him, for we’ll see Him as He is.”

If the ultimate isn’t to do great things, or build large churches, or preach great sermons, or overcome great obstacles – but to “be just like Him” – then why can’t we start right now? What prevents us from being a servant as He was a servant on earth?

Pride?

Ego?

A sense of fulfillment? Or some super-spiritual sense of destiny?

PRECISELY!

So let’s just BE Jesus to the world. Allow Him to form the heart of a servant in you by giving your will to Him, then He will flow out of you like cold water to a thirsty world.

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant.”

Who needs the credit anyway?


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Posted on February 5, 2010, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 54 Comments.

  1. I agree with Jiffy Pop, to be a servant is peace, love and understanding.

    To be a servant with no expectations. To look around me and see the hurting and hold my hand out. Or just listen to someone who is hurting. To be there for my friends and family. To be there for someone even when I’m tired or don’t have the time. To make that time.. To put them first, and me last.

    To be like Jesus and look at everything I do, to be kind and loving. To love and give without any expectations of any return.

    To just be, who God intended me to be everyday.

    Thanks Dennis for changing our perspective…

  2. Haven’t commented for awhile, but while I read and agree or disagree with all of these insightful comments, I’d like to hear the voices of many others on your future posts too. Thanks to those who have shared their views and hearts, besides your own wonderful and thought-provoking writings Dennis.

  3. Time to write a new article … maybe not as controversial as Servanthood!

  4. SERVANT=PEACE, LOVE, UNDERSTANDING

  5. Gentleman,
    This will be my last contribution to the thread, I have enjoyed this, but its getting old.

    The more discussion the further I move away. The further I move away the closer I get to nowhere, but……. I think that I am happier nowhere than somewhere.

    The problem is someone will try to convince you

    That they know the answer no matter the question

    Be wary of those who believe in a neat little world

    Cause it’s just f$&^(#g crazy you know that it is : Dave Mathews

    And as WD prefers the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, I prefer the God of Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac and Jacob.

    Tradition seems to have given up on poor old Ishmael,

    Gen 21:17 And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is.
    Gen 21:18 Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation.

    PEACE
    May the God of Ishmael, Isaac and Jacob, Vagabond and Big D, Western Dog and me, RICHLY BLESS YOU.

  6. Jiffy pop,
    I always Love to hear from you because you are so kind and caring brother ,
    Yes.. to your question …you said :
    If it comes from care and concern for one’s soul and salvation, then it is with a good heart. Be careful, however, how you present yourself, so as not to offend.

    i wasnt trying to offend But only Concern from my heart Bro …
    But you miss my point of view, when i post you take it as disagreeable and dissmisive…

    let me try one more time: i will only point out this ok?
    I said :

    “but at the cost of your interpretation of your idea of your brothers and sisters in Christ i can not agree with ……
    you always assume that somehow you have the ability to Love others, and everyone who doesn’t fit into your ideology doesn’t Love.”

    This was in reply to the last and other satements made from NM…

    No longer do I wish God to ‘feed me’, now I wish to feed those who need to be fed.
    No longer do I wish God to ‘love me’, now I will love others for him.
    No longer do I wish God to ‘show me’ now I will show Him to others.
    No longer do I wish…..but I serve my God by serving the Muslim, Hindu, Jew, fag, homo, whore, lesbian, crack head, dope fiend, liar and cheat.

    You Assume Much to think others dont Love like you!
    Now i think that can be offensive also…

    Jiffy pop , do cherry pick what is offensive?

    could this be offensive to someone :
    I have given up on a Jesus that supports Sarah Palin in the next election and believes that conservatism and republicanism is a godly trait.

    I have given up on the Jesus that has bitterness and hatred toward the Muslim yet loves the un-repentant Jew.

    where did this word Hatred come in i dont get it .

    I am OPen JIffy pop to other cultures and people of other nations to learn from them and understand them to open my heart to them and show them that i care…The Love of Jesus …

    What is the Great Commision ?
    Romans 10:15

    And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

    I believe this is the case for the great commision .
    Christ and him alone can save ……

    You said:
    I can imagine that traveling down the narrow path alongside you are those who read the Qur’an, those who have never heard of God but who believe in a Creator, those from all walks of life who believe in our Lord and in the Supreme One. Only He knows.

    Isnt this why we need to GO …and Reach the Lost?

    Jiffy pop i know you are very wise and intellecul ..
    i cant touch ya man and im not trying too…

    my only concern is for The True Gospel to be preached and not a false one , as Paul has said.

    I like what you said here :
    Stay true to God while trying to understand the world and its inhabitants, even learning from them. They are also children of God, their salvation judged only by the one Supreme Spirit
    (I prefer the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
    the alpha and omega.)
    I totally agree with this and desire to do it !!

    Newmission i hope i didnt offend i was only concerned bro
    LOvE a Bros
    PS 🙂

  7. Newmission,
    I like that last long comment you made, obviously directed straight toward Western Dog. haha
    Western Dog seems to think so anyway. I know it wasn’t. Really good stuff in there. I wonder if friends of Jesus took personal offense when He was really trying to speak to the masses, to the world, even to future generations. I wonder if people even thought He was not of God by the things He said and did. We know these things to be true. People can be so very assuming. Everything you wrote about the Jesus you have given up on are the things Jesus was absolutely not. About the Jesus you embrace, you wrote of things that He definitely stood for as well, as described in the scriptures. The descriptions were your truths, lining up with the way Jesus lived while on Earth. It seems the core of your beliefs are centered upon love toward others and God, which in my mind, reflects not a political stance, but a reflection of how the Master lived and what He spoke of. Some would rather use energy disagreeing than understanding.

    Western Dog, I mentioned this to you in my last statement. To assume someone is not on the narrow path, or to even hint at it, especially when everything they are saying lines up with the life of the Master, then that is a great blunder. I would never judge a man’s salvation or relationship with God. It is not our place to do so. Only One can do so. If it comes from care and concern for one’s soul and salvation, then it is with a good heart. Be careful, however, how you present yourself, so as not to offend. The narrow and wide gates reference can most definitely offend. It would me. You would lose respect from me. Also, Newmission is not on a search for other Jesus’ in different cultures. Again, saying this can be taken as very offensive. Do you have a favorite musician or sports figure or actor/actress? How about a favorite teacher? Do they always have to be Christian? There are many holy men and teachers who speak spiritual wisdoms and absolute truths, many who fall under different religions and with differing beliefs. It has been recorded, in fact, that Jesus traveled from the age of around 12 until the age of 30. He was known throughout his sojourn through India and regions of the Himalayas as Saint Isa from Israel “in whom was manifest the soul of the universe.” He lived among saints, monks, and pundits. According to Tibetan manuscripts, it was not long after the age of 12 that Jesus left his home in order to avoid plans for his betrothal as he reached maturity- which for an Israelite boy at this time was 13 years old. “At this time his great desire was to achieve full realisation of godhead and learn religion at the feet of those who have attained perfection through meditation.” Note that during His time in the East, Isa “openly denounced the practices of a caste system, or caste bigotry, many of the priestly rituals, and the emphasis on many gods in idolic form rather than the sole reverence for the one Supreme Spirit.” So, it’s documented that even Jesus learned from ‘alternative’ teachers, while staying true to God and His beliefs. Shutting ourselves off from other religions, belief systems, teachings and terminology simply allows us to misunderstand all of the above. Stay true to God while trying to understand the world and its inhabitants, even learning from them. They are also children of God, their salvation judged only by the one Supreme Spirit. I can imagine that traveling down the narrow path alongside you are those who read the Qur’an, those who have never heard of God but who believe in a Creator, those from all walks of life who believe in our Lord and in the Supreme One. Only He knows.

  8. Western Dogmatic

    JUST TO BE REAL CLEAR HERE.

    My observations are directed at the organization not at YOU.

    This is not personal.

  9. Brother Newmission,

    I can say thank you for your convictions and your desire to follow your new path ….
    i can respect the fact that you have your point of view .
    BUT…..i would have to disagree with most of what you have said …”SERVE YES YES DO SO”

    but at the cost of your interpretation of your idea of your brothers and sisters in Christ i can not agree with ……
    you always assume that somehow you have the ability to Love others, and everyone who doesn’t fit into your ideology doesn’t Love.
    But i will l leave it at that
    I can say that we respectively agree that we disagree .
    My last post was from my heart to a friend?
    you pounded me pretty good my friend.
    I will be praying for you ….
    just remember that as you follow your “steep path ”
    that you stay on the “Narrow path” as Jesus has said
    Matthew 7:13
    [ The Narrow and Wide Gates ] “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.
    As you seek other Kinds of Jesus”s in other Cultures just ask your self is this the same Jesus who is the Son Of God? the one who can Forgive Sins for all mankind ?
    who was resurrected from the dead who defeated death on the cross,the only way to the Father ?
    if not then they are False Jesus’s and a False Gospel.
    I know for a fact that most of them ONLY believe that Jesus is JUST a prophet a good teacher..
    That’s It …….
    So again i ask Stay on the “Narrow path ”
    lest you fall off a cliff……

    just to clarify I’m am talking about absolute truths of Gods word Newmission Not any organization or church so please don’t respond with more political positioning……

    I LOVE YOU BROTHER AND I CARE WHAT HAPPENS TO YOU…
    LOVE YA BRO

  10. Brother Western Dog,

    Please don’t assume that I have “given up” on the Savior, Teacher, Master and Messiah.
    The Omnipotent, Immutable, Eternal Truth just because I quoted some very wise men including ‘The Buddha and Jimi Hendrix’

    I have given up on the ‘Jesus’ that MANY MEN preach.

    I have given up on the Jesus that condones war which causes millions to perish, most without ever hearing the only name that can save them. (27 more yesterday in Afghanistan) I have given up on a Jesus that supports Sarah Palin in the next election and believes that conservatism and republicanism is a godly trait. I have given up on the Jesus that has bitterness and hatred toward the Muslim yet loves the un-repentant Jew.
    I have given up on the Jesus that seeks behavior change over a complete transformation of the mind and soul.(whatever that may be and however it looks) I have given up on the Jesus that gives up on the worst in our society and condones the death penalty and the building of more prisons. I have given up on the Jesus that has the answer to the most important decision in a persons eternity wrapped up into three questions. I have given up on the Jesus that has no tolerance for other cultures and wants everyone to assimilate to “their way”. I have given up on the Jesus that has spread colonialism through out the world. I have given up on the Jesus that believes that homo-sexual, trans-gender and gender confused are demon possessed and can be free from oppression by a slap on the head and a good ‘deliverance’ session.
    I have given up on a Jesus who thinks it’s “OK” to cheat on your taxes but not your wife. And I have given up on a Jesus that minimizes other religions, their Holy days, their Holy men and their devotion to their faith, yet agrees with any radical movement as long as it falls under the ‘christian’ umbrella.

    I embrace the Jesus that told us to love the ones that want to kill us and hurt us. I embrace the Jesus that said ‘render to Caesar what is Caesar’s’. I embrace the Jesus that was an example of the ‘manifest presence of God’ on earth. And showed us HOW TO BE the same ‘manifest presence’ by taking care of the widows and orphans, visiting the prisoners in prison and standing up for the oppressed and afflicted. I embrace the Jesus that sits at my dinner table with my family and friends and breaks bread with us as we enjoin ourselves to one another in the Spirit of God. I embrace the Jesus that takes the road less traveled. And finally Western, I embrace the Jesus that loves the Muslim, Hindu, Jew, fag, homo, whore, lesbian, crack head, dope fiend, liar and cheat before they ‘become’ Christian.

    I have a peace beyond measure these days my brother, a peace not associated with an organization.
    The greatest gift that God has given me is the lack of desire to ‘expect’ from Him.
    NO EXPECTATIONS
    Most may say that this is theologically wrong or not in good doctrine.
    My response to that: Barking like a dog, roaring like a lion or rolling around on the floor in drunkeness should be suspect, not a peace that transcends beyond ones temporal expectation.
    No longer do I wish God to ‘feed me’, now I wish to feed those who need to be fed.
    No longer do I wish God to ‘love me’, now I will love others for him.
    No longer do I wish God to ‘show me’ now I will show Him to others.
    No longer do I wish…..but I serve my God by serving the Muslim, Hindu, Jew, fag, homo, whore, lesbian, crack head, dope fiend, liar and cheat.

    PEACE

  11. Dennis told us one time when we were training for a mission trip to S. Africa…

    They don’t want to hear how spiritual you are, but they want to know what Jesus has done in your Life how he has affected you – what kind of testimony you can tell of him ……(these aren’t exact words Dennis).

    So that’s what I did – I went to Soweto and Pastor Isaac said “Go-tell” ….so from home to home we told my personal story how Jesus had changed me from a man who didn’t care about anything but himself, to one who God gave a New heart and who Loves now,
    who Loves his wife more than ever
    how Jesus changed my habits,
    to saving my marriage, I praise God for this …

    I say this because my Brother Newmission and I also have a testimony…
    we’ve known each other since High School – after that he worked for me for a while doing carpet with me, I didn’t know Jesus at the time – my lifestyle was a partying one and NM and myself would do many types of “partying” as i can explain …

    I was a very bad influence for him at the time and we eventually parted ways…..
    Some years went by and we met at a Concert. Well I had on a Christian T-shirt and He liked it and commented on it and asked me where I went to church and I believe I told him I was a Christian.

    I invited him to come and soon I saw him and his beautiful family there …
    You see I don’t know when NM accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, but it looked obvious to me he did – and we’re singing and praising God together after all these years ….

    So we used to do Alcohol and Drugs together – Now we Sang and lifted our hands in Glorious praises to our Lord together … In Jesus Name

    Newmission i will miss you !!!
    Don’t give up on the Rock, Jesus Messiah, he’s the only one who can save, my brother.

    This is my only Dogma: JESUS …………. John 3:16

  12. jiffy pop,

    were you a guru in your previous life?

    good insight.

    i love you!

  13. In light of recent events and self searching I have decided to abstain from the critique of the evangelical and charismatic movements in order to walk the ‘steep path’

    “And what will explain to you what the steep path is? It is the freeing of a (slave) from bondage; or the giving of food in a day of famine to an orphan relative, or to a needy in distress. Then will he be of those who believe, enjoin fortitude and encourage kindness and compassion” Holy Qur’an

    It seems as if ‘winning the arguments’ became, for me, a source of ‘power’

    And “when the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace” Jimi Hendrix

    Controversy feeds my ego which grows into striving and,

    “in a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth and have begun striving for ourselves” Buddha

    So, I must follow the road of faith,

    “ a person consists of his faith. Whatever is his faith, even so is he” Hindu Proverb.

    When Gandhi stated, “your Christ I like, your Christians I don’t like, your Christians are not like your Christ”, he was sending a message to the body and it seems as if none listened. I withdraw myself from the debate and the controversy to seek a better faith. A faith that will lead me to a place where the above statement will not include me.

    A faith that does not condone oppression and legalisms, a faith that does not approve of the shedding of blood if they deem a people group as the enemy. A faith that loves and does not hate, a faith of tolerance and understanding. A faith that seeks relationship and not exclusivity. A faith that seeks to embrace culture and not assimilate to a sub-culture.

    A faith that is not filled with marketing and consumerism. A faith where the common theme is to assist those in need. A faith that speaks up for the poor and the oppressed. A faith that does not affiliate itself with any political party or regime. A faith that seeks to better understand God and His purpose.

    To all that I have offended, forgive me, to all that have been angered by my statements and stumbled into anger, forgive me.

    Today life has become much simpler. My wife, children, neighbors and friends will be my priority, with God at the head.

    Peace be with you.
    NM

  14. To All,
    These comments are such a repetitive theme on this blog! Amidst the comments of encouragement, which seem to be the minority when I read, the major tone, although sometimes muted, cynical, or comical, and sometimes outright egregious, is of anger, disagreement, contention, mockery, defensiveness, and stubbornness.

    These comments continue to come back to discourse on the “church.” Each of our definition of a church differs, even if ever so slightly. Each of our opinion about church differs. Each our view on G-d differs as well. We will never come to a place where all our minds, as a collective consciousness, will perfectly attune, while on Earth. For now though, let’s appreciate each others’ individuality and use understanding when dealing with others’ experiences throughout their lives.

    To be able to stand criticism is a mark of spiritual strength. It is weakness to allow resentment to conquer one’s feelings when criticized. To be able humbly to stand the barbs of criticism, just or unjust, and to make continuous effort to improve one’s attitudes and behavior when criticism is justified, will make one a saint.

    The Bhagavad Gita, the revered Hindu Bible, teaches that anger is an evil enveloping one in a delusion that obscures discriminative intelligence, with consequent annihilation of proper behavior.

    Accepting differences in each other and respecting and trying to understand others’ life issues is what separates us from most in this world. When I read these comments, I see much disrespect, written in a defensive tone. It gives bad energy to anyone who participates in this blog.

    Michael Hensley,
    What, sir, are you trying to accomplish on this blog? Your comments alone have no encouraging value whatsoever. You sound only angry, defensive, and derisive.
    I love you!

    Western Dog,
    You always end your comments with a loving remark, no matter how much you disagree with others’ comments. 🙂 You are, however, quite disagreeable. You don’t seem very open to other ways of thought. How will you ever learn anything new? Not newly invented, just new to you. You sound like you don’t try to understand others’ comments, which are written based upon experiences in their lives. You might not feel the same sentiments, and you don’t have to. Just try to understand what someone has been through, and ask why they feel the way they do, whether you think their feelings are justified or not. One’s feelings are one’s feelings. Please don’t let individual differences and criticisms affect your understanding and respect for others. Help to heal, don’t help to hurt. Keep loving!
    I love you!

    Newmission,
    You are frustrated, as am I, with how people lack understanding and fail to observe differences in one another. The way of the world, and especially the way of the Christian world, makes you want to put your head through a wall sometimes. You love everyone, but hate narrow mindedness, blindness, disrespect to fellow man, and especially dishonor to God. I commend you for not letting anger be the source of your comments. You always try to back up what you say with either scripture or words of wise men. Like myself, it’s not enough sometimes for your point of view to be heard or read, but really understood, whether the outcome is agreement or disagreement. I think we both need to sometimes replace resentment with contentment. We can’t expect everyone to understand, because they don’t and won’t! You are a grand debater 🙂
    I love you!

    Vagabond,
    Your hurt, like mine, comes across and we fail in hiding our feelings. A good thing to fail at, if you ask me. Your comments are challenging, insightful, intellectual, and hilarious. Don’t let your frustrations with other ways of thought get to you. Some people just don’t get it, and that’s fine. Our tongues are like serpents, and we’re both learning to let it hiss, not to bite. Hiss away!
    I love you!

  15. just searchin’ google to add to some new lyrics of mine, Servants/Slaves. came upon your blog – interesting.
    Lady GaGa

  16. Mike,

    Just to set the record straight – My wife and I DID NOT leave your church due to hurts and disappointments. We had long-standing, sharp disagreements regarding 1) the direction of the church; 2) a marked change in vision from the original vision; 3) what we felt were strange doctrines beginning to come in; and 4) a lack of true discipleship. As an Elder, I confronted these issues and was gently ignored many times over several years. This bothered me, as my opinion should have held some weight if the office of an Elder was respected. Obviously, there was a lack of respect. So as Paul and Barnabas split, so did we. Of course the parties involved will disagree on this, so that’s why we “moved on.” We did not want to cause a disturbance or take anybody with us, or try to “plead our case” with anybody. People thought we abandoned them, and we let it be for the sake of “moving on.” We DID NOT, nor DO NOT have “the spirit of Absalom” as you have accused us of having. We have tried, as much as possible, to live peaceably with all men.

    As far as this blog is concerned, you must read everything I’ve written to see my heart and my desire to present a balanced view of things. I have made every effort not to grind a personal axe, although I admit that at times I may have let my passion and personal feelings about hurtful issues come through. I apologize if I’ve offended anybody. Many people have commented – some of them pretty inflammatory – but I’ve let it go for the most part. We’re all adults, and we should be able to discuss these things without flipping out. It’s good to discuss, rant and rave a bit, hear each others’ hearts, and empathize with one another. The only way we can do that is by listening.

    I have written about many “touchy subjects” in this blog, but always aimed at the Church Universal, especially the church in the western world – NOT any particular local body of believers. The Church is sick. We can be better, but only if we admit we need healing and work toward finding a cure for our spiritual arrogance, apathy and self-centeredness. My personal experiences at a couple of churches through 30 years of ministry – as well as my four years overseas as a missionary – feed into what I believe and espouse. But I have no personal animosity toward anyone or any church, and only want the Body of Christ to focus on the Great Commission instead of feeding ourselves till we burst.

    If you are sincerely interested in discovering the truth, no matter how much it challenges what you now believe, I suggest that we continue to discuss these issues that obviously are dear to us all. Look at the emotion they engender. That tells you something, doesn’t it?

    May the Spirit of peace & reconciliation begin to work deep within our hearts and minds and draw us all into a love for God, each other, and the truth.

    Blessings to you.

  17. Let’s start with the Absalom spirit. I know the mouth that locally started this heresy, and to see it used here just confirms how deep this charismatic doctrine has taken root.

    Ever ask yourself why Absalom, the favored son of the King would do this to his father? Ever really read the story?

    Let’s start with David’s failure to PAY ATTENTION to the laws of the land and the laws of God by exacting proper punishment on Amnon for raping Absalom’s sister Tamar. Absalom was pissed due to the poor judgment of his Father the King, and can you blame him?

    I can’t and I won’t, I think that I would be pretty pissed too. In fact I would hunt that bastard Amnon down and kill him myself. (That’s the proper right winged conservative evangelical, war mongering mindset, right?) I mean come on, the guy just raped my sister and killed her womb, now she won’t be able to have any children, and what man will want her in this condition?

    The fact is that the boy was favored and was named ‘The Father of Peace’ – Avsalom in Hebrew – and rightly estranged himself from David for his failure to act decisively. I would assume by the accounts of the Israelites who joined Absalom that there were other Kingly duties that were not being met either. This may be why they were so easily convinced to side with Absalom, causing David to lose his throne temporarily.

    So let’s get back to the Absalom Spirit. It is a doctrine that has been twisted and changed throughout the years by those affiliated with the charismatic movement. Here is some ‘prophetic’ Absalom spirit information right from our own city of Detroit as given by the Prophet Kim Clement:

    “You see there is a spirit of Absalom that I detected as I launched out into the deep. And I began to sense the heart of David as he ran from the great palace in Jerusalem instead of standing up and facing his son, Absalom.”

    “There is a spirit of Absalom that is endeavoring to take away the right of the ruling authority of those whom God has anointed …”

    “There is a prophet that will destroy it by the power of the prophetic word. Because once we detect that thing, my friend, we know how to hang it quickly.”

    “The power of the prophetic word is breaking the spirit of Absalom right now, right now, right now!”

    “There is a spirit of Absalom in Australia and I command you to come down and to hang yourself.”

    “Now this is a spiritual matter. One of the spirits that God is dealing with in this nation and many others, but specifically here, the spirit of Absalom to remove the authority from the church and from the people who have been anointed to do something.”

    “God said tonight, ‘the demise of this force has begun and the destruction that it has endeavored to bring has been broken.'”

    Now these are some quips from the whole “prophetic” word if that’s what you want to call it. If you’re interested in reading the whole thing, feel free to google ‘the Absalom spirit’.

    Dig this, I just found the 12 STEPS TO IDENTIFY AN ABSALOM SPIRIT:

    1. AN INDEPENDENT SPIRIT – An attitude of independence emerges when the person no longer wants to serve the leadership, but seeks recognition and a reputation.
    2. SELF-PROMOTION – The person will maneuver for the praise of men. In II Samuel 15, Absalom stole the hearts of the people.
    3. SPIRITUAL PRIDE – As people recognize and praise the deceived individual, he begins to believe that he is more spiritual than the leaders.
    4. AN OFFENDED SPIRIT – The Absalom falls into an offended spirit because of spiritual pride. When his ideas and gifts are not promoted by the leadership as he believes they should be, he becomes highly offended. Often he will seek others that will agree with him in his offense.
    5. A CRITICAL SPIRIT – Almost all the decisions of the leaders are questioned and undermined to the people. Sadly, with this critical spirit, the Absalom no longer can receive any spiritual feeding or direction from the leadership.
    6. A COMPETITIVE SPIRIT – The Absalom sees himself in competition with the church leadership and begins to distort and misrepresent the decisions and directives the leaders are giving.
    7. SOWING STRIFE AND DIVISION – The Absalom will take his offenses to many individuals in the church and spread his discontent through various means.
    8. ACCUSING THE LEADERSHIP – The Absalom feeds his followers his critical spirit and faultfinding. Minor things, usually not related to God’s spiritual qualifications, will be made major issues, such as what kind of car the pastor drives, how long he takes to receive the offerings, etc.
    9. OPEN DISLOYALTY AND DIVISION – The Absalom feels that many are following him, so he boldly brings his disloyalty out into the open. At this point the leaders become aware of his discontented splinter group. Now the people are forced to make a choice between the leaders of the church and the Absalom who has deceived them.
    10. A BOLD CONSPIRACY – The Absalom justifies his conspiracy to everyone by focusing their attention on all the minor issues that he has found fault with in the leadership. (Usually, the Absalom does not have legitimate accusations such as the preaching of false doctrines or blatant sin on the part of the pastors.)
    11. A CHURCH SPLIT – The Absalom leads a naive splinter group out to the birth of a new church or ministry. Declare a new vision.
    12. GOD’S JUDGMENT ON THE REBELLIOUS CHURCH – The scripture tells us, “if the root be evil, the whole tree will be evil,” and every church or ministry that is birthed by an Absalom spirit will be full of rebellion, disloyalty, and continual church splits.

    This just legitimizes my belief that any dissension will be categorized as “SOME KIND OF SPIRIT”. Just read recently that there is a Spirit of Nero over the City of Detroit. You know I wonder if the Spirit of Barrenness and the Spirit of Nero are competing with one another for control over the city? I have heard two prophets with two different spirits, and if you add in Kim Clement then the Spirit of Absalom is here too, so we have three spirits battling it out for control?

    Vagabond: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”

    How about we create our own fable: The SPIRIT OF JOAB. “Joab son of Zeruiah knew that the king’s heart longed for Absalom. So Joab sent someone to Tekoa and had a wise woman brought from there. He said to her, “Pretend you are in mourning. Dress in mourning clothes, and don’t use any cosmetic lotions. Act like a woman who has spent many days grieving for the dead. Then go to the king and speak these words to him. And Joab put the words in her mouth.”

    We don’t never hear no preachers preachin’ on the spirit of Joab, who is deceptive and cunning. And let’s not forget his absolute disregard for the King’s wishes when it came to the life of Absalom.

    The king commanded Joab, Abishai and Ittai, “Be gentle with the young man Absalom for my sake.” And all the troops heard the king giving orders concerning Absalom to each of the commanders.

    Joab said, “I’m not going to wait like this for you.” So he took three javelins in his hand and plunged them into Absalom’s heart while Absalom was still alive in the oak tree.

    WOW – now that’s amazing, all this talk about Absalom, the Father of Peace and here we have the King’s Right Hand man with complete disregard to his AUTHORITY.

    This is sort of cool too, it’s from Matthew chapter 1:
    That evil, Absalom had a lot to do with the blood line from David to Jesus.
    David had Solomon
    Solomon had Rehoboam, (who married Maacah daughter of Absalom)
    Rehoboam had Abijah, (Grandchild of Absalom)
    Abijah had Asa,

    That’s the end of the Absalom Spirit.

    Michael Hensley commented: “It seems your idea of a new way of thinking about things means to question authority even when there’s nothing to question, thus creating an atmosphere of mistrust. If you had issues with the leaders and the organized church…move on, but don’t take others with you with rants about how those leaders you sat under and were a part of for eighteen years ‘done you wrong.’”

    1. When and where in the New Testament is there a clear picture drawn for us discussing the ‘authority’ structure implied here and in any organized ‘church’?
    2. To question that authority is the most healthy thing that a person can do. How would we live if we did not question authority? How would my African American Daughter be treated if MLK Jr. did not question authority? Your own denomination was formed out of PROTEST by Martin Luther. We would all be under the control of the Roman Empire if we did not question authority (funny that the right wing conservatives feel that it is completely fair to question the governing authority of our land that the bible clearly tells us has been ordained by God, but if anyone questions the authority of a pastor or church they are demonized as being under the influence of the Absalom Spirit)!
    3. The bible clearly states that ‘teachers’ will be held to a higher standard. If they have ‘done someone wrong’ it needs to be addressed. If it’s addressed (which in this case I know it was) and the teacher dismisses it as foolishness, how else would you suggest to bring it to light?
    4. If you or anyone else don’t like what is being said here, then change the station. God forbid you get infected by us venomous people being led by the spirit of David’s Son.

    The authority structure in churches today is becoming oppressive, and the charismatic movement continues to inject its false doctrine that the ‘church’ is supposed to be the ‘governing’ authority of the land. The more that happens, the more the power will be abused and people will be oppressed. When a leader can re-invent his position, office or authority in an organization we are in big trouble.

    Churches should be led by an UNPAID elder staff and by no means a paid member of the church. Furthermore, it is clear in the scripture that Paul would never have condoned the abuses we see today by huge salaries and high financial burdens on congregations due to building expenses, programs and salaries.

    PEACE

  18. “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Timothy 4:2-4).

    “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Matthew 11:15)

  19. Newmission,
    you said :
    Going to find a 12 step program that helps me become just like you and western….

    dont be like me bro be like HIM “THE MASTER ”

    heres a good PROGRAM:

    22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

    23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
    24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
    25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
    26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

    Vagabond you hurt my feelings i thought we were friends …..LOL
    I REALLY LIKE THE DOGMA REMARK THAT WAS GOOD !
    Love ya Bros

  20. You have no idea what you’re talking about Dennis. I am trying to understand people. GIVE ME SOMETHING TO UNDERSTAND. Some here are like date rape victims that won’t give any details about their attacker to aid authorities in finding the truth. Your, New Mission’s, and whomever else’s version of the truth…may be only your perception of the truth and not Thee truth.

    PROTECT THEM?!?!?! Are you kidding me? It’s backbiting plain and simple. You don’t like how you were treated for one reason or another and you’re taking out your frustrations in a blog format. Good for you. But don’t believe that you’re blameless. God will judge the motives of your hearts. I’m not the one that knows what they are, but my perception is that you and some around you are trying to exact the same hurts from those that hurt you. I was wounded by leaders at an old church. I dealt with it. I didn’t have an Absalom spirit about the issue and wander around in the camp reinforcing people’s wounds against leaders. I was hurt…but you CAN’T see it because it’s not yours to see. It’s not other people’s business and just serves to cause people to think ill of others even if they themselves have not been hurt. If I were the dogmatic type I would still be at my old church drinking the kool-aid as it were. But I saw issues and moved on.

    You ask for trust. I’m sorry, I don’t. It seems your idea of a new way of thinking about things means to question authority even when there’s nothing to question thus creating an atmosphere of mistrust. If you had issues with the leaders and the organized church…move on, but don’t take others with you with rants about how those leaders you sat under and were a part of for eighteen years “done you wrong”.

    I believe in free speech. There’s also reasoning in free speech. Are you really looking for the “perfect fellowship” with no issues? You must forget we are all human. Obviously I’m not so short-sighted to think we’re doing it absolutely right all the time. And right in your eyes isn’t necessarily right in another’s eyes.

    So, to address your concerns, please tell me…specifically, how the leaders that you’ve been involved with have erred and not been accountable to the Word of God themselves. If this is happening in the local fellowship, do not the elders and board members have a responsibility to do something about it? To discuss it with the governing body that oversees the church? Weren’t you yourself an elder? Were there others in leadership that saw this movement away from Godliness but yet did nothing? I’d say the responsibility for the error lies squarely in their court!! Unless you’re talking about a rogue pastor that has no accountability and no one can speak into their lives.

    You write…and New Mission quotes:
    “There’s no church like my church. We’re reaching the world.”

    “My pastor preaches a unique word. He’s a great teacher.”

    “Our pastor is a prophet and apostle, and has gifts of healing.”

    We do a disservice to ministers by holding them up and feeding their egos. Do we think that after 18 years of a man hearing praise about what a great teacher he is, that it’s not going to go to his head? If we do, then we’re stupid.”

    What is your definition of venom?? What about the belly-aching about the pastors $90k salary? A salary which he does not choose…but his board.

    So go ahead…touch the anointed. Let’s not be abstract. Unless some of you have ALWAYS felt like this, something had to have happened. Let’s discuss the pink elephant.

    Dennis, you say “don’t be afraid to consider the truth”. I have not been afraid. I listened to what you wrote a number of months ago. It troubled me. So I discussed it with the individual directly involved. He shared with me his perception of what happened. So…I have his story and I have your…”they hurt me”, or New Missions, “they were mean to my wife”. If no one is willing to give me the other side of the story, am I supposed to blindly believe you?

    Vagabond, as I read this thread, it seems you and NM were the originators of taking a story about being a servant and turning it into a story of how the church is wrong and wounding. I simply responded. Seems to me you’re dogmatic about your position as well.

    Finally, Man cannot serve two masters. So if the church, collectively and locally isn’t serving the Lord (you’re seeming perception), who are they serving??

  21. Western Dog,

    I appreciate your ability to try and see other points of view, while holding to what you believe – and a little humor you throw in is always good. Thanks.

    But Mr. Hensley,

    I found your comment to be condescending and sarcastic toward people you’re not even trying to understand. They don’t need to give you all the details of what they’ve gone through. In fact, they protect the ones who hurt them by making merely a detail-less reference to their pain. It’s enough for them to say that they’ve been wounded by leaders in the past, and you – if you continue to sit under those same leaders – should be motivated to at least consider the complaints. Obviously, you can hear people’s pain in the things they say – just look at vagabond’s latest. I hesitated to approve it, but thought that his “bad attitude” would reveal to some degree the amount of hurt in his soul. Can you begin to see it?

    Trust me, I know what I’m talking about, and all I’ve ever asked is that the readers of this blog would listen to one another, consider other points of view, keep it relatively clean, and open your eyes to new ways of thinking about things.

    As good Christian Americans we celebrate the Revolution that birthed our country (although the native Americans weren’t too happy), and we celebrate the Revolution that caused Luther to look at the Bible and salvation with new eyes. Without that kind of revolution, none of us would even be reading the Bible.

    Can we all at least consider that the way we’ve been “doing church” for the last 1,300 years has many faults and shortcomings? You may think you attend a great church, but is it what Jesus had in mind when he assembled those first believers?

    I really think we’ve strayed far from where we’re called to be, and we MUST begin to question how things are done, and hold pastors and church leaders accountable to the Word of God.

    Don’t be afraid to consider the Truth.

  22. i’d rather eat dogsh*t than dogma.

  23. w.d. and m.h.

    dogma
    noun
    1. blind faith, certainty, unquestioning belief, arrogant conviction

    …in your leaders.

    to turn a blog about how we can BE servants like Jesus into a court case defending the always-right leaders of our one-and-only churches and our untouchable holy safe havens reveals one thing. dogma.

    sickening.

  24. D.man and New mission,

    I thought i was being civil, granted i expressed my mistake in my first post and admitted it…
    my second post i thought was relatively simple i thought , i didn’t get upset, I’m just debating the issue that you say we have differences about …

    the issue a had was just that i didn’t think it was fair to say what people were doing for the Lord.
    we have know way of knowing all the things God has planned and what they are doing or will be doing .that’s it …..

    Newmission,
    I really liked your post so don’t think that were that far of Bro ,
    As far as details …i was never one in my walk to get into peoples business and i don’t want to know , that puts me in a position to see this as NOT defending but trying to understand both sides of the issues…..
    I was Not trying to defend a church i was trying to point out good taste especially among the brethren
    you may disagree with them but they are still Your brothers in Christ ……

    NM
    Finally West Dog, your definition of church differs greatly from mine so it is futile for us to discuss these issues.
    Lets talk about this ok?
    Love ya Bro
    PS still waiting for my plane…..

  25. Mr. Hensley & Western Dogmatic Christian,

    I missed the “venom” you referred to. Can you please point it out? And I just don’t understand why all the defensiveness over this article. All it’s about is becoming servants without any expectation of reward for our efforts, just like Jesus instructed us to do.

    We’re also commanded to “try the spirits” to see if they are of God or not: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” I John 4:1

    What that means is that sometimes we’ll “try the spirits” regarding teaching that we’re receiving, and it will be of God. Following that logic, we’re being instructed to test everything, whether it’s from God or not, from our pulpits or over the radio or on tv. SO WHY DO SO MANY PEOPLE GET SO DAMN DEFENSIVE whenever someone like newmission questions the teaching or behavior of one of our leaders? That’s EXACTLY what we’re supposed to be doing! If we’re being wise – not judgmental – we will question everything and line it up with the Word of God.

    Consequently, we have a responsibility to expose false teaching, lies, spin, politicking, the love of money, nepotism, elitism and egocentrism in the Church. If we fail to do this – or if we are too cowardly to stick our necks out to expose these things – then we play a part in the deception of many, especially the “little ones” that Jesus spoke of. I, personally, don’t want that millstone hanging around my neck!

    Would you defend our “American” rights of free speech – even send off our sons and daughters to die for them – but not our rights and responsibilities as Christians?

    If anyone here was “spewing venom” I missed it. Finally, I’ll ask you both this: “What are you afraid to take an honest look at?”

  26. Yea MH, you’re right.
    Western you’re right too…..

    I’m just an ignorant putz who just starts trouble and makes false accusations.

    I’m sorry if I upset you or Western.

    Going to find a 12 step program that helps me become just like you and western….

  27. Western, You tried for a little civility…but alas…

    “You don’t know what I’ve been through…and to keep my superior position…I’m not going to give you any of the details so you can fact check with the parties involved and make a more clear discernment of that events that actually took place that made me feel the way I do”.

    It’s much easier, and salacious to spew venom about some people that you disagree with and make judgments (oh, I’m sorry…assessments) as to where their hearts are at.

  28. WESTERN SAID: I just don’t think it’s in good taste to make remarks like this; it’s obviously directed at brothers in church, quite frankly i think it is very arrogant to judge your brothers and think that you know how their walk is, what they do outside of the church what kind of work the Lord has them doing … do you know all this ???

    NM said:
    There is no accountability to keep leaders humble and to keep congregations OUT OF THE BUILDING, DOING, DOING, DOING… the will of GOD
    do you know what they are doing ???

    Good taste flew out the window when leaders treated my wife and I (and some dear friends) with dismissive, domineering, smug and pretentious attitudes.

    My assessment (not judgment) is not naive or capricious, but you are absolutely correct in saying that it is directed at people ‘in church’. In fact it is primarily directed at leadership. Sadly I ran away from them as fast as I could when I saw their true colors, so I must say that I don’t know what they are ‘currently’ doing. If they are doing anything close to what they did a year ago, then nothing has changed and life continues as it was.

    Don’t feel bad West Dog, it’s not just your church, I say this based upon personal experience and testimonies that I have received from many people leaving the ‘established’ church and ‘evangelical movement’.
    People are tired of reading the bible, seeing Jesus, Paul, Peter and John as ‘servants’ and comparing them to the church pastors who call themselves things like ‘ruling elder’, Chief teacher and Most Reverend Doctor Apostle.

    Many act as if they have been elevated to an ‘office’ that affords them ‘control’ of the church and everything in it. I used to belong to a church that paid its pastor almost $90,000.00 per year, now that aligns itself perfectly with Paul’s comments in Corinthians: “and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.” (NOT)

    I do not expect you to understand, nor will I pour out the gory details of specific experiences that have caused me to feel this way.

    I will express, however, that the experience that I and some of my fellow followers have had with a couple of specific leaders has caused us to seek a deeper relationship with one another and with our Maker, and for that I am thankful.

    If a pastor, leader or ruling elder is hurting people, and they are leaving the church because of it, it’s time for the congregation to take off the blinders and start asking the hard questions. You know, talking about the elephant in the room……

    Finally West Dog, your definition of church differs greatly from mine so it is futile for us to discuss these issues.

    May God cause us all to stop focusing on the buildings, programs, services and structure and cause us to take care of the widows and orphans. To plead the cause of the oppressed and afflicted and do get out of the pews.

    But, that won’t happen. The pastors will continue to bestow their agendas upon the people following them. They will continue to press the political agenda of the Republican conservative groups, and foremost they will continue to build their neat little kingdoms where everyone is in lock step and no one is ‘ROCKIN’ THE BOAT’……

    God forbid that someone stand up shout !

  29. Vagabond NM,
    Nice to hear from you again ….
    Well i messed up writing that post
    i had some things i was thinking about and it came out wrong ……Sophie was right i drowned on that one !!

    i don’t have much time when i do this so its kind of hurried….

    The reason i responded mainly was for the tongue and cheek responses you two were having with each other …havin too much fun…..

    1 Like the elephant in the room no one wants to talk about. Touch not the anointed.

    2 c’mon new mission! stop rockin the boat! why stir up the gently rolling waters that are lulling me to sleep? i don’t wanna wake up to find out my rock-solid ship is really just a dinghy!

    I just don’t think its in good taste to make remarks like this its obviously directed at brothers in church, quite frankly i think it is very arrogant to judge your brothers and think that you know how there walk is , what they do outside of the church what kind of work the Lord has them doing …do you know all this ???
    NM said:
    There is no accountability to keep leaders humble and to keep congregations OUT OF THE BUILDING, DOING, DOING, DOING… the will of GOD
    do you know what they are doing ???

    Let us be humble servants as you have said
    In his name
    Love you all

    PS Buyin A Plane

  30. Western Dog – Seems like you’re drowning yourself.
    Maybe you should consider a plane over the ship stuff.

  31. QUOTE FROM VAGABOND: it won’t matter how we got there. all he’s gonna see is purity because it’s Jesus’ blood that’s allowin us to stand there.

    Western Dog; are you smoking something??

    Neither myself nor vagabond ever intimated that anyone could EARN thier way to salvation….
    Maybe your sea sick from the cruise ship ?

    Furthermore I sense your low opinion of Vagabond and myself by your comment “BROTHERS ARE WE TRYING TO MAKE A NEW DIVISION ”

    Western Dog, I can only speak for myself by saying that you and I do not share the same perspective with regard to the body and the local church. This does not in any way mean that I (or vagabond for that matter) are persons who ‘try to make division’. Dissent creates discourse and discourse creates accountability.
    Many are living in a sub-culture where:
    “There’s no church like my church. We’re reaching the world.”

    “My pastor preaches a unique word. He’s a great teacher.”

    “Our pastor is a prophet and apostle, and has gifts of healing.”

    There is no accountability to keep leaders humble and to keep congregations OUT OF THE BUILDING, DOING, DOING, DOING… the will of GOD

    He defended the cause of the poor and needy,
    and so all went well.
    Is that not what it means to know me?”
    declares the LORD.

    Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,

    to look after orphans and widows in their distress

    The list goes on and on and on.

    I just did a bible search on ‘sitting in church’, ‘staying in the temple’, ‘Sunday service’, ‘Wednesday service’, ‘glory spout’, ‘liver shiver’, ‘river of worship’, and ‘staying put’ and none of them came up as being in the bible.

    We are saved by the Blood of Christ, our works are the fruit of that salvation.

    Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
    22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
    23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

  32. hey again w.d.,

    you wrote to me and newmission:

    “Ok Got to get back on my Cruise ship now …….
    oh wait my dinghy, oh im not sure can you tell me what im in? im confused ???”

    nobody’s tellin you what YOU are in. i was using a hint of sarcasm to ALL OF US by saying:

    “c’mon new mission! stop rockin the boat! why stir up the gently rolling waters that are lulling me to sleep? i don’t wanna wake up to find out my rock-solid ship is really just a dinghy!”

    yes, it is all too common that we put so much into OUR “rock-solid ships” (OUR church, OUR pastor) when really it is really just a “dinghy” (like you said…”ONLY BY HIS BLOOD !”). OUR church, OUR pastor, OUR works…it’s a dinghy…a false security…dung…crap. IT’S HIM! the TRUE servant!

    like bro dennis said:

    “I’ve seen so many preachers, pastors and ministers let their good works go to their heads, that I’ve lost count. They start believing what their congregations continually tell them, and it robs them of their true ministry – and that’s to be like Jesus to the sheep God has asked them to serve.

    “There’s no church like my church. We’re reaching the world.”

    “My pastor preaches a unique word. He’s a great teacher.”

    “Our pastor is a prophet and apostle, and has gifts of healing.”

    We do a disservice to ministers by holding them up and feeding their egos. Do we think that after 18 years of a man hearing praise about what a great teacher he is, that it’s not going to go to his head? If we do, then we’re stupid. No one is immune to the sin of pride. If you had someone praising you for years, you’d be puffed up too.”

    maybe you misunderstood my post?

  33. w.d.,

    “love fest?” heh? “How Dare we think that we can earn our way to Heaven by what we do or dont do……ONLY BY HIS BLOOD!”

    i don’t get what you mean…i wrote the following:

    “…it will ONLY BE THE BLOOD OF JESUS that He will see.”

    “…he’s actually NOT gonna see us or what we did.”

    “he’s NOT gonna see if we have 1000 ‘notches’ (saved souls) in our ‘well-done-good-and-faithful belts’ or if we made it in ‘by the skin of our teeth.'”

    “it won’t matter how we got there. all he’s gonna see is purity because IT’S JESUS’ BLOOD THAT’S ALLOWIN US TO STAND THERE.

    “so, yeah, FORGET ALL THE “well done” ACCOLADES crap…because IT’S NOT ABOUT THAT or what happens when we’re already in god’s presence.”

    “IT’S ABOUT WHAT WE ARE NOW. NOT what we are doing. what we ARE.”

    trying to make a “new division?” i don’t get what you mean…

    i wasn’t “dividing”…i was actually agreeing with brother dennis’ comment:

    “If the ultimate ISN’T TO DO great things, or build large churches, or preach great sermons, or overcome great obstacles – but to “BE just like Him” – then WHY CAN’T WE START RIGHT NOW? What prevents us from BEING a servant as He was a servant on earth?”

    maybe you misunderstood my post?

  34. Sorry to break up the Love fest Newmission and Vagabond ……..

    How Dare we think that we can earn our way to Heaven by what we do or dont do ……

    ONLY BY HIS BLOOD !

    8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—
    9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

    BROTHERS ARE WE TRYING TO MAKE A NEW DIVISION ?

    One in Christ
    11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (that done in the body by the hands of men)—

    12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.

    13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
    14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,

    15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace,

    16 and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.

    17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.
    18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

    Ok Got to get back on my Cruise ship now …….
    oh wait my dinghy , oh im not sure can you tell me what im in im confused ???

  35. It’s very difficult for me to visit a friend for dinner who wants to serve me as if I were a king, wanting me to just sit still as they generously pour out to me. I’m presented a feast in a bowl of soup that they’ve prepared carefully; their enjoyment comes in simply watching me enjoy.
    It’s hard to receive and not to orchestrate; it’s humbling to give in to their expressions of love.
    As I begin to relax and appreciate it all, my visit becomes focused on conversing, relishing their company and appreciating our friendship.

    In the same way, it’s not easy to just sit back and let God be my example. When I rest from my own labors, I can really begin to enjoy and appreciate His love for me and our relationship.
    It’s so good that there’s no way I can keep it to myself. And if I do, He heaps more love upon me in the midst of my failings. As I’m broken and humbled before Him, He gives me His heart for others, leading me to appreciate, to love and to relate to them as He does.

    Hey – thanks again, Dennis, for just being the instrument He’s made you. It’s beautiful music
    and we’re lovin’ it.

  36. Glory… Glory…. Glory…..

  37. amen, amen, amen. 🙂

  38. Vagabond,

    Like the elephant in the room no one wants to talk about. Touch not the anointed.

    The man that we all need to follow is the man who was rejected, smitten, esteemed himself nothing, afflicted and despised.

    The man who carried our sorrow.

    The man who left the flock to save the one who had gone astray. The one who esteems others greater than himself. The one who calls us to go, do what he did, be who he was, go where he went. Outside the camp to the sinners, the oppressed, the disenfranchised and the unlovable.

    This is the man that I will follow.

    Do you want to hear ‘well done’?
    Well then DO WHAT HE TOLD US TO DO.
    Take care of the widows and the orphans, stand firm for the oppressed and hurting. Do what you can for those in need.

    The gently rolling waters that are lulling you to sleep are the same waters that have lulled the church to sleep as they sit ‘in the river’ and feed week after week. More, more, more are the cries to the one who already gave everything he could give. HIMSELF.

    Sitting and singing and dancing, getting the liver quivers and sitting under the spout where the glory comes out. It all makes us feel good, but that’s not the call. I have yet to read any red letters that said, above all do the things make you feel good.

    It’s wrong, backwards and upside down.

    Sorry for rocking your dinghy bro,

    All my love to Vagabond and wife !!
    PEACE

  39. c’mon new mission! stop rockin the boat! why stir up the gently rolling waters that are lulling me to sleep? i don’t wanna wake up to find out my rock-solid ship is really just a dinghy!

  40. hey dave,

    dennisup summed up what i meant.

  41. FUNNY THAT NO ONE COMMENTED ON THIS:

    To move in the true Spirit of Christ, however, we must get beyond this way of thinking. There’s just way too much pride, ego and self wrapped up in it, and too much opportunity for us to take credit.

    I’ve seen so many preachers, pastors and ministers let their good works go to their heads, that I’ve lost count. They start believing what their congregations continually tell them, and it robs them of their true ministry – and that’s to be like Jesus to the sheep God has asked them to serve.

    “There’s no church like my church. We’re reaching the world.”

    “My pastor preaches a unique word. He’s a great teacher.”

    “Our pastor is a prophet and apostle, and has gifts of healing.”

    We do a disservice to ministers by holding them up and feeding their egos. Do we think that after 18 years of a man hearing praise about what a great teacher he is, that it’s not going to go to his head? If we do, then we’re stupid. No one is immune to the sin of pride. If you had someone praising you for years, you’d be puffed up too.

  42. Good point, Dave, but maybe “vagabond” just meant that all of our works are as dung, or … crap. I don’t know. My intent with the article was merely to remind us all that it shouldn’t be the Divine Slap On The Back we should be looking for, it should be following in the footsteps of Jesus, as a servant. Sometimes I think we get out of balance and just need a little reminder, that’s all. However, I agree that God is the Great Encourager, and often acknowledges our service for His Kingdom. And I’m glad He does, because it’s sometimes the only encouragement I get! Thanks for your input, brother. I’m glad you’re reading!

  43. I have to chirp in here about some things that have been said that really trouble me. If it is the Lord’s will and good pleasure to bless us with praise like “Well done, good and faithful servant” who are we to call that “crap?”

    While I think we all agree our works are not what the Lord is going to judge when it comes to our salvation, there are plenty of scripture verses that indicate some acknowledgment will be made by Him when it comes to what we have done with what we have ben given.

    The passage in question itself refers to this, and 1 Cor. 3:10-15 also comes to mind.

  44. i like what peggy wrote:

    “…it will only be the blood of Jesus that He will see.”

    when we see the big man face to face at the big pearly gates (if that’s how it works) and he asks us, “why should i let you into MY heaven?” (the way someone preached to me it will be like…i forget the other 2 questions), he’s actually not gonna see us or what we did.

    he’s not gonna see if we have 1000 ‘notches’ (saved souls) in our ‘well-done-good-and-faithful belts’ or if we made it in “by the skin of our teeth.”

    it won’t matter how we got there. all he’s gonna see is purity because it’s Jesus’ blood that’s allowin us to stand there.

    so, yeah, forget all the “well done” accolades crap…because it’s not about that or what happens when we’re already in god’s presence.

    it’s about what we are now. not what we’re doing. what we are.

  45. I dont truly think we have any idea the depth of our “self” life reaches to. Even after salvation. Only the Holy Spirit can bring light and His sancitfying work in us to separate us and free us from our selves.

    David said in Psalms, who can know his inquity? Paul said that even if his conscience is clear that is not what aquits him, it is the Lord that judges him.

    All this is to say that when we come into presence of the Father Who dwells in unapproachable light in Whom there is no shadow, it will only be the blood of Jesus that He will see. Faith is what pleases God and that alone. Then we will see the depth of what Jesus truly did for us on the Cross. We will know as we were known. Praise God.

  46. Very well said my friend. We’ve spent too much time stepping over the people in our way to “minister” to the others we want to minister to. Not an evil plan, but if I want to be like Jesus I must also have compassion to all those “in my way”, to care for those “in my way”, to weep and mourn and rejoice with those “in my way”. Isn’t it funny how God will ALWAYS put people “in our way”?

  47. Dennis,
    Your words speak truth and it goes without saying that I am in full agreement with you. The painting of Jesus washing the feet of the disciple really caught my eye while reading this post. This speaks exactly to what a good and faithful servant is and should be. I agree with one of the posters that said that in our childlike minds we want to ‘please’ God by doing good, thus giving us some assurance of future praise. But I would also say that we need to loose that emotional need by the ‘renewing of our minds’. What we cannot seem to grasp is the upside down reality of God’s will. The last will be first and the first will be last. The greatest among you will be the least.

    It’s time that we realize what Shalameth wrote:

    My Servant
    Isaiah Chapter 53:
    “He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
    And we hid, as it were our faces from Him;
    He was despised and we did not esteem Him….”

    With this humility we must serve.
    PEACE

  48. Awesome Uncle D. Thank you for being HIS good servant.

    Jan

  49. Thank you for expressing His love, Dennis.
    i happened upon these verses today –
    “Do not put your trust in princes, Nor in a son of man in whom there is no help.
    His spirit departs, he returns to his earth;
    In that very day his plans perish.” Psalm 146

    It goes on to describe how Happy we’ll be if we have the God of Jacob as our help and our hope – and then so beautifully describes the Extreme Servant that God Is!

    Why do we choose to continue to emulate, follow and imitate man? I thank God for continuing to help me as He forms Himself in me.

  50. My Servant
    Isaiah Chapter 53:
    He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
    And we hid, as it were our faces from Him;
    He was despised and we did not esteem Him….

    Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him;
    He has put Him to grief.
    When You make His soul an offering for sin,
    He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
    And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. He shall see the travail of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous SERVANT
    shall justify many.
    For He shall bear their iniquities.
    Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great,
    And He shall divide the spoil with the strong,
    Because he poured out His soul unto death,
    And he was numbered with the transgressors,
    And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.

  51. Dennis, excellently expressed and compelling thoughts on a scripture that has been on my mind recently.

    I can see myself in heaven one day, in line before the Lord:
    Jesus: “Well done good and faithful servant, Bob! Well done, good and faithful servant, Susan! Hello David, nice weather we’re having up here, isn’t it? Well done good and faithful servant, John!”

    My simplistic 2¢:
    Loving children want to please a loving parent, and if they also use the hope of future praise and assurance that they are doing right to help motivate them to overcome their human tendencies, I think there is nothing wrong with that.

    Yes, our works are like filthy rags when it comes to any ability to save ourselves. But the sense that we are pleasing God by doing the right things in our lives is part of the joy of being a servant, and joy is something that is noticeably missing from some brothers’ and sisters’ walks at times!

    “Well done, good and faithful servant…” The servant part may be the most important component of the phrase, but Jesus wants good and faithful servants who do good things well. When I hear the Spirit whispering to me, instructing me to do something that takes me out of my comfort zone, knowing that doing so will please the Lord can be a significant motivator.

    Perhaps if we do that consistently enough, habitual obedience may bring us to that state of “being” a servant that you mention.

    God bless!

  52. Wow… Well said!!!!!
    These very same points you have covered in this, have been coming to my spirit in the past year and especially few months.. even yesterday I was praying about this very thing..
    Thats deep!
    Thank you so much for putting this out there..
    its about time someone is speaking the Truth about this.
    This is Revelutional material here..
    Father, allow this to spread like wildfire..
    Not that Brother Dennis would get the credit but that he’d continue to be used as a willing vessel to allow your Holy Spirit to change the hearts of a culture that has been deceived in so many ways. Or may have missed the boat in key areas. In humbleness and submission that you will teach us what it really means to be a true ‘servant’ and to be like Jesus..Not our will but Yours.. In Jesus Name, Amen.

  53. Great Post Dennis i liked the whole thing !

    So let’s just BE Jesus to the world. Allow Him to form the heart of a servant in you by giving your will to Him, then He will flow out of you like cold water to a thirsty world.

  54. Thanks again Dennis for a very thought provoking and stirring article. Now today I am off ‘to be’ for Jesus and like Jesus!

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