Church Health

 

CHURCH HEALTH

 

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO JESUS?

 

   Do you remember what Judas did to Jesus?  What the Jewish religious leaders did to Jesus?   What the people of Nazareth attempted to do to Jesus?   What Pilate did to Jesus?  What the soldiers did to Jesus?   What Peter did to Jesus?  But there was a woman that did a good deed to Jesus when she worshiped Him and poured a very expensive perfume upon His head (Matthew 26), and yet some complained about this ‘waste’.

   But what have you and I done to Jesus?

Matthew 25:31-33  When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory:  And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats:  And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

34-36  Then shall the King say to them on his right hand, Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:  For I was hungry, and you gave me food: I was thirsty, and you gave me drink: I was a stranger (homeless), and you took me inNaked, and you clothed me: I was sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me.

37-39  Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry, and we fed you? Or thirsty, and gave you drink?  When did we see you a stranger, and we took you in?  Or naked, and clothed you?

39  Or when did we see you sick, or in prison, and we came to you?  And the King shall answer and say to them, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it to me.

 

41-43  Then shall he say also to them on the left hand, Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels (demons):  For I was hungry, and you gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink:  I was a stranger (homeless), and you took me not in: naked, and you clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and you visited me not.

44-46  Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and we did not minister to you?  Then shall he answer them, saying, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.  And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

   There is no escaping this review by God.  Most will of course be shocked to find that when they ignored the needy that they were really ignoring and refusing to minister to the Lord (not all ministry is from behind a pulpit in a church building).

   Perhaps we gave the hungry a can of soup, while we ate steak.  I am sure that Jesus enjoyed His can of soup. Remember poor Lazarus eating the crumbs that feel from the rich man’s table as he feasted sumptuously every day.

   I remember as a boy seeing two water fountains, each had a sign over it, these signs informed us which one was for ‘whites’, and which one was for ‘colored’.   Peter did such a thing, and Paul confronted him (Galatians 2:12).  We will not lose our reward when we give a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name.

   Have you ever taken a stranger into your house, or did you let Jesus get cold and wet in the elements, and leave Him out there in possible danger?  Some take better care of their dog than they do Jesus! 

   People buy new clothes and send their old ones to the thrift store, but at least Jesus might find a bargain or two there.   People buy a new refrigerator and give their old rusty one to Jesus.

   What did we do to Jesus when He was sick and in prison?  Did we encourage Him, or did we tell Him it was His own fault?   Our eternal destiny depends upon how we treat Jesus, not just on a profession of faith in Him.

   When Jesus healed a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath, the religious ones reacted thus:

Luke 6:11  And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus.

   There was once a man in our church that would get very angry because others were touched by the Holy Spirit, but he wasn’t.   1 Corinthians 12:26 tells us to rejoice when one member is blessed, and we are not.

Mark 15:11-12  But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas to them.  And Pilate answered and said again to them, What then do you want me to do to him whom you call the King of the Jews?

13-14  And they cried out again, Crucify him.  Then Pilate said to them, Why, what evil has he done? And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify him.

15  So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.

   We have a choice, who do we prefer?   What will we do to Jesus to keep other people happy?

 

DEVILS IN THE CHURCH

 

John 6:60-62  Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?  When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said to them, Does this offend you?  What and if you shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? 

   Does it surprise anyone that many professing believers find the truth to be hard sayings?  After all, when we come into faith in Christ we have so many preconceived ideas concerning Christianity.  When I am preaching I realize that everyone hearing me is interpreting what I am saying in their own context of experience, prejudices, and desires.   

   For the most part, we don’t lay down our way of thinking at the narrow gate that leads to life.   If we do anything we simply add some gospel aspects to our life long collection of religious ideas, and we do this very selectively.  It takes the revelation of the Holy Spirit, and the chastening of the Lord to change our thinking so that it aligns with the truth.   This realigning takes a life time, for we never come to the end of all truth in this life.   But thank God the Holy Spirit works with us all along the way to lead us into all truth (John 16:13). 

   Of course those who are unwilling to give up their own ideas of salvation will be offended to the point of murmuring and even walking away. 

63-65  It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.   But there are some of you who do not believe.   For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him.  And He said, Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father. 

   Why do we continue to look to the flesh for profit?  Our desire must be to speak only those things that give life.  Only the Holy Spirit can give that profit which leads to life.  The only thing that will ever succeed and produce life is that we submit to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. 

   If we are truly coming to the Christ and being changed into His pure image, it is only because the Father has granted that privilege to us – and therefore no one can boast.  How can we know if we are coming to Christ?   If we are coming to Christ we will know it by the fact that we are not being offended and we are not murmuring at truth!   Jesus said, “Blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me”, Luke 7:23.   To be offended by truth is to be offended in Christ, for He said “I am the way, the truth, and the life”, John 14:6. 

66-69   From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.  Then said Jesus to the twelve, Will you also go away?  Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.  And we believe and are sure that you are that Christ, the Son of the living God. 

   People have no qualms or fear about walking away from the truth, but rather they have excuses and reasons by the train load. 

   If we want to go away, we can go – the Lord will not force us to remain faithful to Him.  I often wish that He would force me to do what is right, and though we may feel that He is making us wish we had done right – still to each of us He gives a choice.  I don’t think there is anything sadder than for a person that once walked with the Lord to quit, turn around, and go back away from their walk with the Lord.  Yes we can ‘backslide’. 

   I don’t know about you, but for me there is no one else to go to, for only the Lord has the words that produce life in me – and I am sure of that. 

70-71  Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?  He spoke of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for it was he that should betray him, being one of the twelve. 

   For years I believed that if I preached the truth, then those who cannot handle the truth, or that reject the truth, will leave.   But I have learned that some can stay on even though the scripture says, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed”, Amos 3:3.   They can walk together – but only for awhile.  

   They can remain under truth for awhile by not paying attention, by focusing on other things, or because they have an unholy agenda, or because it is somehow profitable to their flesh (forced or bribed to do so), or because they are all the while arguing inwardly with everything that is being taught.   What better way to be an effective betrayer than to infiltrate and gain knowledge – but never gain truth? 

   Yes, there are devils in the church, but a day of separation is coming when: 

Matthew 13:41-43  The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity.   And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.  Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who has ears to hear, let him hear.   

TWO KINDS OF CHURCHES

 

   This could also be titled the ‘christian’s church’ or the ‘saint’s church’.

   Romans 10:3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

   While this scripture certainly applies to individuals, it also applies to churches. All individuals fit into one of these two categories, for either we are an establisher, or we are a submitter. Either we are busy establishing our own righteousness, or we are submitting to the righteousness of God. The same is true of all churches, church organizations, and ministries regardless of size or location.

   Individuals and ministries are either busy doing their own thing, or they are waiting upon God for guidance and then submitting to His guidance. We are either strategizing, dreaming for God, making decisions for God, and then asking God to bless our plans, or instead we are simply seeking His leadership and submitting to the will of the Holy Spirit.

   Jeremiah 10:23 O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walks to direct his steps.

   For the church in the wilderness it was called ‘following the cloud’ (Exodus 40:34-38), which meant that when the ‘cloud’ moved they followed, and when it didn’t move they stood still until it did move. Today many churches and ministries are either ignorant of His ‘cloud’, or they pay no attention to His ‘cloud’, or they have decided that His ‘cloud’ is stagnant (not growing fast enough), and therefore they have decided to map out their own plans – thus establishing their own righteousness. If righteousness is anything, it involves being led by the Holy Spirit (His ‘cloud’) in all things and at all times.

   The establishers and their churches invite people to come and bring what they are and what they have (talents, abilities, skills, education, natural giftings, training, finances, etc). The churches of the establishers will provide a place for establishers to display their art (if it fits in with the leadership’s agenda). These church’s motto is ‘Repentance not required’, just believe, profess, trust Jesus as your personal Savior, identify with Christ, be excited, join, be assimilated, and be involved so you can help make someone’s ministry bigger and more profitable. Never mind repentance from dead works and holy lifestyles, just come as you are and they will teach and train you to think and act in a more acceptable and successful manner.

   But the submitters and their churches have repented of their own ways and are actively submitting to God’s ways. The submitters are coming away from and leaving their dead works, from the blind leading the blind, and are now letting ‘the dead bury their dead’, so that they can follow the ‘cloud’, which is Jesus.

   Which are you? And what are you supporting, a ministry of establishers or a ministry of submitters?

 

 

GROWING YOUR CHURCH ?

 

   As a pastor I regularly receive information on upcoming events such as leadership conferences, which are usually church growth conferences teaching pastors and other leaders how to grow their churches or youth groups. Never mind preaching repentance and commitment to the Word of God.

   One of those information packets I recently received promised to assist me in expecting and attempting greater things in order to have a prevailing church in my city. These merchants of the church growth industry promise to infuse those paying to attend their conferences with a fresh vision to take their ministries into uncharted territories of godly exploits. But you must be willing to relentlessly pursue the singular mission of growing your church attendance and finances. What about following the cloud instead of charting our own course, Exodus 40:36-38?

   And what do they mean by a prevailing church? Does they mean that by strategically maneuvering we can be the prevailing church in the area, or prevail over other churches? Most mega churches are prevailing churches that have sucked members out of smaller churches to fill their large buildings. They are like having a Wal-Mart come into a town and shutting down the smaller home town stores.

   The church I have pastored for almost 35 years is on a dead end road in a rural area fifteen miles from the nearest city. There is another church around the corner on the highway that has a large family life center (gym) behind their large church. They also have a large concrete parking lot with a lighted sign in front. They have ‘money’ people in their church and can pay their pastor extremely well and pay to have their buildings cleaned and their lawns mowed. But I will not covet, I will not compare, I will not be jealous, and I will not play the game of attempting to prevail over that church or any other church. All our church must be careful to do is to please God where He has put us.

   Can you grow your church? Certainly, you can grow your church, that is if you are well trained and coached by the church growth gurus, and if the potential is there. But we will never grow His church:

   Matthew 16:18 I (Christ) will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Acts 2:47 And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

1 Corinthians 3:6-7 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that plants anything, neither he that waters; but God that gives the increase.

   Yes we have a part, some are to plant and some are to water, but only God can increase His church. If we can increase a thing that we are calling a church, then it is not His church, but it is a thing of our own making. Also, planting and watering has nothing to do with church grow principles, dreaming big dreams for God, and strategizing.

 

 

DEVILS IN YOUR CHURCH

 

   This is not the word that I thought I was to send out today, but last night I “suffered many things  in a dream”, and in obedience to the Holy Spirit I rose up very early this morning and wrote down what the Holy Spirit gave to me out of this dream. It may seem somewhat harsh to some, but the dream left me trembling as I awoke. I certainly don’t know who all this is for, but I pray that you will receive this as from the Lord.

I   t is easy to talk about devils in your competitor’s church, but what about the devils in your church? But first this, if you view some other church or preacher as your competitor, then you totally have the wrong concept of the body of Christ. My church is not in competition with anyone, and I am not in competition with any other preacher. I am here to do what God sent me here to do, and it has nothing to do with any other church or ministry (John 21:22). One of the most valuable lessons the Holy Spirit has taught me as a pastor and minister is found in John 6:37, All that the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will by no means cast out”. I have, and I will have, all those that the Lord is giving to me at the present time, and if He is not giving them to me, then I don’t want them here, even to ‘visit’.

   Now about those devils in your church. I am not referring to someone that won’t vote for the new building you want to erect as a memorial to yourself, but I am talking about those sitting on your pews, or in your youth group that are of the devil. How did they get there in the first place, who let them in? If they were already there when you came there, why are they still there? Are they in your church because you are working for an ‘all time high attendance’? Are they in your church because you think you need them to help pay the mortgage on your building that makes a statement to your community?

   Perhaps they are sitting on your pew, singing in your choir, teaching your children, or serving on your church board because there is not enough of the power of God in your church to expose them for what they really are. Perhaps you have taken a course of study on conflict management and therefore you have been able to avoid an all out war in your church on account of the devils in your church.

   Because Jesus was anointed and the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him, devils manifested when He came to church (and many other places). When is the last time a devil manifested because the Spirit of the Lord was present in your church or ministry? As long as we allow devils to hide in our church, there will be no revival, and the will of God will not be done! They are there to thwart the works that Jesus did, and greater works than He did (John 14:12). They are there to steal, kill, and to destroy (John 10:10).

   Pastor, if you will get right with God, repent and get the anointing again upon you ministry, then those devils in your church will leave and you will be on the path to becoming the man of God that you should have been a long time ago, and your church will become a true house of God. The reason you have needed to dream big dreams for your church, and do your silly vision casting, is because the Holy Spirit left your church a long time ago. He left and the devils moved in. Now you must walk on egg shells around them so they won’t cut your throat (those are the words the Lord told me to say).

   But listen, if God will not support your church or your ministry without those devil’s money and talents, then all you have is “wood, hay, stubble”. It may look good now, and it may cause you to look good now, but “the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is”, 1 Corinthians 3:12-15). Is it God’s work, or is it your work?

 

THE ANOINTING EXPOSES DEVILS

   Mark 1:16-20 Now as Jesus walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And Jesus said unto them, Come after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. And immediately they forsook their nets, and followed him. And when he had gone a little further, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets. And immediately he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him.

   What did these men leave? Everything they had ever accomplished, learned, and thought. Like the Apostle Paul, they forgot those things that are behind. Nothing of God will ever happen in our ministries until we are finally willing to leave our works, our agenda, our dreams, our five year plans and goal setting, our own abilities, our training and education, everything, and follow the ‘Cloud’ (Exodus 40:36-38).

   Mark 1:21-22 And they went into Capernaum; and immediately on the Sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught. And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.

   What do the scribes of our day expound, they parrot how to have your best life now, how to be a success in this life, how to prosper and accomplish, and whatever else is on the wish list of carnal ‘christians’. They speak only ‘smooth things’ that bring in the crowds and money. Admirers may applaud when they speak, but here is no Holy Spirit authority in their ministry.

   Mark 1:23-24 And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with you, Jesus of Nazareth? Are you come to destroy us? I know you who you are, the Holy One of God.

   When the authority of the Holy Spirit is present, then devils sitting on our pews will manifest. How long had these devils hidden in that church? I tell you if Jesus had not come by that church, that poor man would have never been set free. Do you claim that Jesus is in your church, then where is your proof? If devils are comfortable in your church, in your Christian school, in your Bible school, in your home, where you work, then Jesus is not there because He is not in you, for you would have brought Jesus there.

   Mark 1:25-26 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold your peace, and come out of him. And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him.

   Are you afraid of the devil tearing and making a scene? Some are not, because they have insurance to cover child molesting in their children and youth ministries. Listen, if you will not deal with the devils in your church, then God has no part with you or your ‘business’ you call a church or ministry. Jesus came to set the captives free, “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils”, (Mark 16:17).

   Mark 1:27-28 And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority he commands even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him. And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee.

   You can save your advertising money if you will get on board and move in the works that Jesus did and greater works than He did!

   One word of caution, get ready, not everyone will appreciate the fact that you expose and deal with devils. Remember, they became so enraged that they attempted to cast Jesus off the cliff in Nazareth. When Paul cast the unclean spirit out of “a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination”, he was rewarded with many stripes on his back and jail time.

 

CALLING THEM WHAT THEY ARE

   John 8:40 But now you seek to kill me, a man that has told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.

44 You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

   Friend be sure of your position in Christ, because if you call out those lying devils in your church, as Jesus did, know where to hide and where the exit is! But notice what Jesus did as He fled those religious devils:

   John 9:1 And as Jesus passed by (the religious devils), he saw a man which was blind from his birth.

   Jesus never missed a beat in doing the will of His Father, for He healed the first person He encountered. Your ministry will not be over with, but it will begin to become everything that God always intended it to be.

 

 

VISIONS, DREAMS AND PROPHESYING

 

   Acts 2:14-18 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, You men of Judaea, and all you that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as you suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day (9am). But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

   Peter, anointed by the Holy Spirit, which has just been poured out upon him and the rest of the 120 in the upper room, is answering the people’s question, “What meaneth this?” This scripture that Peter has just quoted, which is in your Bible in and in mine, and it plainly declares something that shall happen after the Holy Spirit is poured out upon us.

   The prophet Joel, inspired by the Holy Spirit of God, mentions three things that all who receive the Holy Spirit will experience. These are not the only reactions that will occur, for other reactions can be found in other scriptures. These three things that believers who have received the Holy Spirit will experience are: they shall prophesy, they shall see visions, and they shall dream dreams.

   It doesn’t matter what I think or you think about this, it is what the scripture says that matters. Before you stop reading, please let me explain these three wonderful gifts and blessing “which God has prepared for them that love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). Why would any child of God not want to participate in these gifts and blessings? Why would anyone want to attend a nasty dried up church that forbids or ignores these gifts and blessings that God has promised to His people and to His church?

 

PROPHECY

   Prophecy is a divinely inspired utterance or revelation. Prophecy given by Holy Spirit inspiration will come in the venue of either foretelling, or prediction of what is to come, or as a declaration of a divinely inspired instruction or exhortation, which is called forth telling.

 

   Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit comes He “will show you things to come”, (John 16:13). This is the foretelling aspect of prophecy. The Apostle Paul said that the forth telling aspect of prophecy would involve “edification, and exhortation, and comfort”, (1 Corinthians 14:3).

   Why would any believer or church body not want to have these gifts and blessings? Any believer or church lacking the manifestation of this gift would be spiritually powerless, and would have to turn to the methods of this world to survive. Jesus said, “But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you”, (Acts 1:8).

 

VISIONS AND DREAMS

   All through the scriptures men and women received visions and dreams from God. Visions and dreams are prophecies given to us in the form of an illustration in Technicolor. Visions and dreams accomplish the same purpose as an uttered prophecy, they foretell, and they forth tell. Visions and dreams will show us things to come, edify, exhort, and comfort. What believer or church does not constantly need to be comforted?

 

MAN’S VISIONS AND DREAMS

   Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish:

   I do not accept prophecies, dreams, or visions that man produces. I hate to hear the church growth people tell us to dream big dreams for God. I am not interested in anything that I of myself have dreamed. Jesus declared that He never said or did anything of His own initiative, but only what He heard and saw from His Father.

   I am not interested in following a vision of my own initiative or someone’s vision casting; in fact such foolishness is dangerous and does not honor God. Why would I want to follow something of my own devising when God wants to give us dreams and visions? I will tell you this, the dreams and visions that God gives cannot be accomplish with bank loans and marketing principles.

   Jeremiah 23:21-22 I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.

   There is the difference, when it is a God given prophecy, vision or dream, it will not excite or entertain the flesh, but it will produce true repentance, which alone will bring the approval and blessings of God upon an individual believer or a church body.

 

 

IN NOTHING OFFENDED

 

   Many years ago I was given the opportunity to peach for a church. That morning the crowd was rather small, and after the meeting I was told that the church had recently ‘split’. In the evening service I noticed that the crowd was much larger. I chose a lady from the congregation to participate in the service that evening, but I didn’t know that she was a part of the group that split off and left the church, and they had decided to show up that night. She took that opportunity to tell the crowd which had stayed with the building that they must come to the altar and repent. The only ones that came to the altar were from her group, and the other group defiantly sat there with their arms folded.

   I thought I should look for a back door so I could quickly exit in case the tension escalated. But then the Holy Spirit spoke a word into my heart, and that word was the scripture below. I rose up and stood between the two warring factions and preached about not being offended. That was why the Lord had me there that day, to help bring those two factions back together.

   Psalms 119:165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.

   It is amazing to me how that God’s people cannot (really it is will not) get along with each other. I have known of people leaving a church over a minor doctrinal difference of opinion and never speaking again to those they disagreed with. If those people do make heaven, will they go to opposite corners of heaven to avoid each other? Will they attempt to carry their warring behavior and attitudes into heaven’s tranquility?

   I read a book written by a pastor that survived the Killing Fields of Cambodia. He told how that those who believed in Christ, but differed in certain areas of doctrine, out of necessity became friends and mutual supporters during those awful years of persecution. But as soon as the persecution ended, and they were free to once again worship the Lord publicly, those different doctrinal views resurfaced and all soon reverted back to opposing and vilifying each other.

   Is such venomous behavior what Jesus died for? I am not supporting an ecumenical all inclusive movement, but we really need to stop hating and fighting each other, even those in our close own circle. Sometimes I forget when I write these email messages that I am not preaching to my own congregation where we all believe the same things about the scriptures. And therefore I find that I have sometimes offended some of you that are reading ‘Bread From His Table’, because I have said something that you disagree with. The last thing I want to do is to intentionally offend any of God’s people.

   Ephesians 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

   I know there are many aspects of being offended and causing offence, but want to talk to you about being offended at the word that is taught and preached. Some of you pastors have grieved because those you ministered to have chosen to be offended at what you taught. I said “chosen to be offended” because it is a choice, just as all actions are the result of choices people make. People chose to be offended as a method of controlling others (even pastors), to defend something they are doing, to defend a relationship, to defend a position that they are hanging onto as their hope of salvation. But remember this, “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them”.

   I don’t believe that any pastor would intentionally offend someone. Pastor, you have told yourself that if only you had said it different, or not said it at all, they would not have left. But we must remember that Jesus constantly faced this issue of causing offence by the words He spoke.

   Matthew 15:12-14 Then Jesus’ disciples came and said to Him, Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying? But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father has <span style=”text