Is the Church still the Pillar of Truth?

1 Timothy 3:14-15 “I’m writing these things to you so that you may know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.”

The Apostle Paul identified the church as a ‘pillar and buttress of the truth‘. If there is any group of people on the planet that needs to know and represent the truth of Jesus Christ well, it’s the people of God. Representing the teachings of Jesus well doesn’t mean selecting a few verses out of the gospels that suit your position on the latest social issue but requires understanding the whole context of the bible, including the Old Testament, the epistles, as well as the historical and apocalyptic literature that make up the New Testament. Unfortunately, we are witnessing a shift away from truth as the bible reveals, within the church, because of pressure from the surrounding culture. The antichrist spirit is gaining momentum across the media and culture at large, making it easier for fence sitters in the church to choose the broad pathway that leads to death instead of the narrow pathway that leads to life. More and more believers are using Jesus name to justify ideologies that aren’t even in the ball park of what the Scripture teaches. This demonstrates poor exegesis and a growing ignorance of the fundamental teachings of the Word of God. It appears that some believers are basing their beliefs on feelings to suit their conversations with family, peers and voices in the media rather than on the solid rock of God’s Word. It’s becoming a case of the blind leading the blind. The universal church, by and large, has held onto essential orthodox beliefs for 2,000 years because the truths underpinning these beliefs have been painstakingly clear in Gods Word for 2,000 years. It’s only been in recent times that we are now seeing such liberal views of Scripture infiltrate the church on a mass scale. This is a time for the church to be revived in its passion for God and truth, and not only for people and grace. This is a time for the church to be revived in its belief in the authority of Scripture, interpreting it and applying it in a way that honours God first and foremost, whether it’s popular or not. Explosive Insights!

Building a Team for Breakthrough!

People aren’t your greatest asset, the right people are!

One of the great metaphors for a church or ministry team is a bus. On a bus you have a driver and a whole lot of passengers, with hopefully some key people in the seats closest to the driver. Depending on who you have in the key seats, will determine the trip you take.

Research has shown (Jim Collins – Good to Great) that the first thing you must do before you want to build a team for breakthrough is get the wrong people off the bus, the right people on the bus and the right people in the right seats. Before you work out where you want to go or what you want to achieve, you must focus on who you are going to take the journey with.

Great vision without great people is irrelevant.

Whoever is on your bus should be there because of who is on it, not just where it is going. When you have the right people on the bus, you eliminate the need to constantly micro-manage and drive them to get results. The right people are self-starters and are led, not driven to make things happen.

“We focused year after year on injecting endless stream of talent and building them into the best managers in the industry. That’s how you build the future.” (CEO Dick Cooley, Wells Fargo)

Are you trying to be the genius with a thousand helpers or are you trying to build a team of great strength and depth? A genius leader doesn’t need a team, just a bunch of soldiers that will implement their ideas. The problem is, it’s unsustainable. Don’t settle for being a genius on WHAT to do in ministry. Aim to be a genius in WHO you pick for your team. Great leaders build a team for breakthrough, not a platform for their talents.

Look for the 4 C’s in recruiting people – Character, Chemistry, Competence and Calling. Recruit people to your team, even if you don’t have a vacancy for them as yet. Great people will start to contribute because they are initiator’s. It takes rigorous discipline, not a ruthless dictatorship to build a team for breakthrough. A rigorous team environment is disciplined, whereas, a ruthless dictatorship is ego-centric and fear mongering.

Practice the 3 essential disciplines of a rigorous environment:

  1. When in doubt, keep looking – better to have an unfilled position, then fill it with the wrong person.
  2. When you need to change, act quickly – Don’t delay but be decisive.
  3. Put your best people on your biggest opportunities, not your biggest problems – Your best result on your biggest problem will be average. Your best result on your biggest opportunity could be world-changing.

The human component in bottle-necking church / ministry growth isn’t location, circumstances or marketing but the ability to get and keep enough of the right people. Walter Bruckart was once asked to name the top 5 factors in his companies breakthrough. He responded with, “Factor 1 – right people. Factor 2 – right people. Factor 3 – right people…” You get it!

Grace!

A Christian’s Response to Homosexual Marriage!

This issue of ‘gay marriage’ is a hot topic in our culture. I offer my reflections as a Christian.

Genesis 1:26-28 tells us that we have been created in the image of God. We aren’t animals who can’t control our sexual desires or preferences but image bearers made in the likeness of God, male and female, he created us.

We can’t start talking about homosexual marriage by talking about homosexual marriage. We need to consider the BIG picture issue (Genesis 1-2, Psalm 24:1, 72:19) of why God created the universe. Every atom, molecule, creature and person was made for the glory of God. Every question about life must come back to how God’s glory is made visible in creation. The right order of things in God’s creation will be the order that most demonstrates God’s glory. God made us male and female and complimentary partners and this is the order that brings God most glory.

We aren’t self-defining creatures, nor autonomous moral agents but fully accountable to God as his creation. Evolutionary theory is destructive because it minimizes morality to a social construct that simply serves for the reproduction of the human race rather than a universal principle found in the personhood of God. It’s interesting how we will relax on morals when it comes to sexual preferences of 2 consenting adults, but if an old mans sexual preference is fondling little kids, then its amazing how moralistic we all become. How can you hold to a moral position on child molestation and tell an old man his particular sexual preference is wrong, if you don’t think that a moral framework applies to your own sexual preferences? It’s inconsistent.

We can never talk about sex without talking about marriage. Fire is great in the fireplace but dangerous outside of it and the same is for sex outside of the context of marriage. Sex makes sense only within the context of marriage between a man and a woman. Sex outside of marriage and God’s order is an insult to the creators design and the height of human arrogance. Human sinfulness is displayed in our demand for autonomy, for our rights and rejection of God’s moral law. The marriage union between a man and a woman is spiritually, emotionally, physically and anatomically glorious to God.

How we approach any issue is determined by how we read the bible. To hear a lecturer say, that because there’s only 11 scriptures in the bible on homosexuality, and that these 11 verses are insufficient to build a case against homosexuality, is utterly ridiculous. You’d be hard pressed to find 1 verse on child molestation and yet we acknowledge the sinfulness of the desire and action. I recently read a theological paper from a local church pastor, acknowledging that, “Any Christians response to homosexuality must draw its basis from the bible”, however, he then proceeds to question every Pauline text suggesting, “The question remains as to whether Paul’s teaching in Romans allows for committed, mutual, loving homosexual relationships”. This is confusing.

Albert Mohler says, “If the bible doesn’t speak clearly to the issue of homosexuality, it doesn’t speak clearly to anything.” (Romans 1:19-28, 1 Cor 6:9-11, Jude 7) To justify homosexuality biblically, you have to do interpretive gymnastics to justify what is explicit and uncompromising, that is, homosexual desire and practice is sin.

We must stay dependent on the authority of Scripture because the fallen human mind is supremely capable of infinite rationalization.

We must understand the doctrine of sin and Christ’s victory over it. Secular culture says, “You were born this way, so embrace your identity and press for full rights as a normalization of your lifestyle.” Gods Word outlines that we were born totally deprave (Romans 3:10-26). Whether our preference is heterosexual or homosexual we all must repent of our sin and turn towards God.

God’s grace will always provide what his grace requires of us. God’s grace will bring a re-ordering of affections and priorities in our hearts and minds, even if the residue of temptation causes us to walk with a limp for the rest of our lives (1 Cor 10:13 answers this issue). Homosexuals are not a class of persons who are beyond the grace of God to change their lives.

We must love homosexuals more than homosexuals love homosexuality. Too many people have reduced their identity to their sexual preference. This is called idolatry! Sexuality is an important part of life but only one aspect of it. We weren’t created for sexual pleasure, alone, as the meaning of life but for relationship with God. Our love must be tenacious enough to love people more than they love their sin. Homosexuality is not a special category of human sinfulness outside of God’s grace.

In conclusion, the church must engage in compassionate truth-telling and celebrate what brings glory to God above all. We must love homosexuals so much that we refuse to accept the very concept of homosexual marriage. Normalizing homosexual behaviour through redefining marriage will take sin to a new level and institutionalize idolatry to the point that God’s truth will be suppressed. Marriage between a husband and wife as a norm declares the glory of God in the most holy way. The creation mandate of marriage (Gen 2) stands as a monument to the only right ordering of human relationships. If we normalize sexual misbehavior, we have to de-normalize marriage.

For the church, marriage isn’t up for political or cultural debate, it’s a theological and spiritual issue that goes to the core of humanity. Marriage isn’t an invention of our culture, it’s the invention of God.

Grace!