Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Tag Archives: family

Duggar family scandal – think of the kids

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Duggar family scandal – think of the kids

I am sure by now you will have had time to digest the story about Josh Duggar that came out yesterday and the confession that he, in the past was guilty of child molestation.

This blog has been written with much thought on the words to use in situations like this. I am not a personal friend of the family and know them as well as any other reality TV show star. This is written with a much higher purpose in mind and that is from a concerned Christian brother who only cares about the message of the gospel and that not being hampered in progressing.

Duggar dishonesty

The main stick that people are beating the Duggar family with is the dishonest way in which the criminal element happened when it was brought to light. Jim Bob buried it for nearly a year and then when it was dealt with, it was dealt with by a friendly member of the local police and no charges were ever filed.

Whilst I understand that Jim Bob was doing what any protective father would have done and attempted to shield his son from any punishment, the fact remains that we are called as Christian leaders to be “above reproach” and Jim Bob, even although he was not on TV yet, he was still known in the State of Arkansas due to his politics.

Timeline is wrong in accusations

As alluded to in the last paragraph, Jim and Michelle were not regularly on TV and that is another stick used to beat them with is that “they wanted to protect their TV show” and that could be refuted by simply looking at the timeline, the only fame they had was Jim Bob’s political career.

Is Josh wrong?

Of course he is, he has come out and admitted his wrong doing.  It has come out that Anna, his wife and Anna’s family knew about this prior to the marriage so it was known that it was a big enough issue to bring up during courtship.

He will be criticized in three areas and rightly so…

1) He will be criticized for the act itself – let us not forget that he took advantage of people in conduct that was outside the law and then buried the act until the statute of limitations had passed.
2) He will be criticized for coming out with a confession when it looked like he was going to be “outed” – it looks like “situation management” or “political spin” where if an inconvenient truth is going to come out, you make sure you give your version of events as the “bombshell”.
3) He will be criticized for taking the job in Washington DC with the Family Research Council that he had to resign from as his position was untenable after this announcement.

Pray for the victims

I read an astounding piece yesterday that made a statement along the lines of “it is horrible that this announcement with make these victims remember” and I find that hard to read as victims of abuse do not “forget”.

A lot will be written talking about the need to have forgiveness for the Duggar family and how we need to pray for Josh and Anna and I am not negating that and I will make a similar observation at the end of this article but the victims are suddenly thrown back into a spotlight they never requested and they need prayer.

Will they still be on TV?

It is TLC we are talking about so I would imagine they will. Josh and Anna may play are lesser part and may tone down their appearance in the show, but the network who stood by the Gosselin family when John and Kate plus 8 became Kate plus 8 will not give up the cash cow that is 19 Kids and Counting franchise in DVD and other merchandise easily, to them it is a business and as long as they are publically popular then they will be on the air.

But he is meant to be a Christian?

Yes he is! Does that mean he is perfect? no it doesn’t! When we become a Christian we do not suddenly lose the ability to sin, we simply become forgiven of our sin. It also doesn’t mean that he will always make good choices. People know that Christians are called to a higher standard so when we fall off this perceived standard or code of conduct then we are called out harder than someone who is of the world.

Regrettably we are all seen in the same bag and this allegation makes it tougher for Christians as a whole as people will use it as a stick to beat the Christian faith. Truth be told abuse is as likely to happen out in a secular organization as a Christian one, it is reported less and is not as big a scandal.

In my local town one of the local churches took a body blow as it was found out that the worship leader was guilty of 4 counts of molestation and it was tough for me as I knew the guy and I am a fellow laborer in that city and when men fall like this it is ALL Christians who get tarred with that self-same brush and it makes it tougher to introduce Jesus to non-Christians when they have this perception of who Christians are.

The bell that can’t be un-rung!

It is seen as such a scandal as there is an abuse of trust from someone we held up as a “fine young man” and it does show the danger of following man rather than Jesus Christ. Men (even the fine young ones) will fail us and make mistakes.

However this particular sin is perceived as worse than all others and because of the man’s public profile will lead to the public humiliation of his and his family. The statute of limitations is passed so there is nothing legally that can be done to him, but he can be publically spoken about, maligned and gossiped about in public until it all dies down.

What’s my angle?

Well I am a Christian dad who homeschools and I know that both will be more of a challenge after announcements like this. I already get “the look” at sporting events when I am there with my kid and they ask what grade she is in and I say “first” and they ask who the teacher is and my kid points to my wife and then we have to explain that she is homeschooled and then we see it “the look” as if we are weird.

It is something we are used to as my wife has been a choir director for a local homeschooling choir for many years and we got “the look” before we were even parents. It is something that we shrug off and laugh about.

I would not say I am a “fan” of the show but I do like the content of the show, the idea that they have that many kids, are homeschoolers, are Christians and the values they represent made for good TV viewing, I have not however saw “every episode” but I have really enjoyed the ones I have watched. I have no “axe to grind” with the Duggars and before these revelations found those folks to be decent people with good God centered family values. 

I feel for both the victims as well as the Duggar family, yes they did not do well in the areas above but this really will impact their witness for Jesus Christ. Whether they carry on with their show is irrelevant, what is important is that they continue growing as a family in their relationships with Jesus Christ and continue to impact people positively for the kingdom of God.

What now for Josh and Anna

Well Josh is now looking for a new job; fortunately his kids are homeschooled so they won’t have to endure taunting from their peers at school. I would imagine that people will take it upon themselves to voice their opinion whenever they see the family in public; I pray that it doesn’t happen but situations like this bring out the worst in people.

As stated above I expect them to slip out of the public profile and play a less significant role in the show if it does continue. They will be less of a “camera draw” as people may not wish them to be there. The family will rally round them and will be a support and I hope that Josh is able to find employment and able to provide for his family.

I think this will be the tip of the iceberg and I think that some magazine (probably not People as the Duggars have previously supplied them with stories) will have a story about this and will be giving the victim “a voice” and I would imagine some more will come out as the Sun shines on this story.

People will react as people do, they will want him to pay, they will be hysterical,  they will want the show off the air! They will claim at large that all Christians and all homeschoolers are like that!

What if it was my kid?

If it was my kid I would have been angry and never allowed the story to be buried, I would certainly have had him prosecuted to the extent of the law and I would have had a hard time keeping calm about it.

That however would NEVER bring my daughter’s innocence back! I would have a hard time about it and not want to do it but I would pray for him.

Think of the kids

I come back to the original point I made when I began this blog. There are kids involved and at some point Josh, Anna, Josh’s siblings and Jim and Michelle are going to have to sit the kids down at some point and tell them about what has been written about Josh. Headlines no longer last for a day and even although this eventually will die down the story will be indexed and perhaps referenced if another story comes up about the Duggars. (How many times have you noticed “related articles” on news reports.

They are going to have to deal with this revelation about their brother/husband/daddy/uncle/in law and I am sure they will have to see the public’s reaction. I pray they don’t and that people do not behave the way people behave in these situations. Please think and remember they are the innocents in this case.

This has been tough to write and I pray that although this is challenging and tough to read, please feel free to share, like or comment below as the LORD leads.
SDG
TGBTG
TTE

Cellphone Idol

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Cellphone idol

As most of you know I went to a men’s conference (Calvary Chapel Northern California Men’s Conference) at the weekend and these conferences are good for me as it helps reassess priorities and lets me look at where I am going wrong or where I am in error.

I am just a man

I am not Superman, I do not have all the answers, I am just a fallen man who has realized that he is a sinner and needs the constant forgiveness of a willing Savior and I need the help meet that he has given me to fulfill what he has called me to do.

I am not even that good of a man, I am not an “all round nice guy” and if I was to describe myself openly and honestly I would describe myself in the following way… I am grumpy, I am moody, I am selfish and there are times where I would rather play games than knuckle down and do what needs to be done. So to say that I do well is not correct in so many levels. 

I am blessed however, I have an awesome wife who looks after our finances and runs our house well. When I need to help it is because she has too much on her plate due to her doing several money making schemes to help balance our budget as well as homeschooling and dealing with chronic pain. (I would urge that you check out her blog on the right hand panel of this website, it is called “Keeper Ministries”) I have no idea why she loves me but she does and she certainly deserves better than the chump that she settled for and she gave me the greatest gift of all in 2009 when she gave birth to our beautiful daughter. (That alone is a testimony to the faithfulness of God)

I am not a very technical man; I am hopeless at DIY, yard work and most other things that men pride themselves in. But even although I do not always have the best actions, my feelings and intentions are to love my wife. My aim is to love my wife as Christ loved the church and I am still a work in progress but I am getting there.

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Remove the parasites

Your wife (or husband) is the most important human relationship that you will have. He or she deserves your undivided attention. This is an area I have failed in since the advent of “smart phones” and I am really contemplating whether this is something I can even have in my life. On research I see the problem of “phone zombies” where people spend their lives attached to their phone so much they become incapable of having a decent human conversation. Some who know me would argue that I have never been capable of this, but we are truly disrespecting our partners if the phone becomes a “third wheel” in a relationship. This really hit home at the weekend when my five year old asked for the cell phone during lunch and I was really convicted about the example I am setting for her at such a young age.

For me it is a parasite in my life and I am looking at this and other things that cause contention in my home. If something is upsetting or troubling my wife then it is just not going to be there, I need to effectively lead my home and defend it from parasites. I have two people who are supposed to be dependent on my leadership and studies have shown that when a father is engaged in what his family are doing and is a leader in his home then the statistics on his legacy, his children going off the rails are massively reduced.

Biblical pest control

The only effective way to “bug bomb” these parasites is to clean house and replace them with the things of God, my wife needs a strong leader in the home, one who is never going to give up on her, one who values, takes seriously and will rise to the challenge of the vows he took on his wedding day. One who will love much, forgive even more and lead his family on their journey together in unison to serve God and follow Jesus Christ. That is my number one mission field, regardless of what I am externally called to do I am called first to be a father to my girl and equally as important I am called to love my wife. 

When I do pest control I want those parasites to be gone and by the same token you want to remove anything that is coming between you and your wife. I want my wife to be secured in the knowledge that when I say to her “I love you” it is not me “saying the right thing” or it is not me saying “I love you, except if this happens” I need to be as faithful to her as God is to me. She has to be a close second in my life behind my relationship with Jesus.

Defend your home from internal attacks

My wife is super house-proud and does not like being embarrassed when people come calling to our home. I am more of a “drop in, I have a 5 year old so watch where you step” so I have to mine sweep and know that if I have invited people over to an event such as a bible study, then I have to be aware that I will have to do my share of helping out, sometimes things will come up in your life that you would rather do, we all work hard so we all like to have fun and yesterday was our churches “Ice cream social” and I would love to have chilled out, ate ice cream and had fun, but I knew also that I had folks coming over and I was gone for 15 hours the day before so the adult thing to do in that situation is to help out. It might seem obvious but most guys don’t think like that! (Before I was married I didn’t)

Many house fires that engulf houses happen from within the four walls of the structure. Many more of them could have been avoided by simple precautions being taken and we need to do the same with our marriages. If we are causing disputes through simple neglect and hitting hot buttons that irritate then we are on a one way bus to conflicts-ville! I say that as one who is very clumsy in this area and I hate when I do it because I realize when i am in too deep that I am the one who has caused the problem.

Do something about it

This is what I am looking at now, I have had an unhealthy attachment to my cell phone for some time now and I am done! I think that what needs to happen is to down grade my device to one that just makes and receives calls and texts and do it for a purpose, do it for something better than another 5 minutes on Instagram, Facebook or whatever had sparked my interest in that day. When I look back on it the bulk of discussions I have been involved in could easily have gone on with or without my input so whether I was involved or not had no value and certainly had no value to the wife and daughter I was not spending time with.

This article is not fun to write, it is embarrassing and really chokes at my individual pride but I feel that it has to be said as in my discomfort I may actually help someone then it doesn’t matter what and how I feel. I feel that I have to be honest and actually say that I need prayer, if you could lift me up I would be super appreciative as I am a great believer that “the prayers of a righteous man availeth much”.

It’s only words and words are all I have

On this medium at least that is true, the true test will be in the taste of the pudding and whether I have the will, desire and resolution to back up these words and show my wife in actions that she really does mean as much to me as my lofty claims represent. A resolution is meaningless if it is not backed up with action. The country I now call home (The USA) would not be the USA if the signers of that really important document called the Declaration of Independence had rolled up the document and never actioned upon it then it would be likely that the USA would still be feeding a foreign Government and a foreign king. As someone who was born in Britain I find that idea horrifying!

Are cell phones bad?

Not at all, they are only inanimate pieces of machinery designed to serve a purpose as a communication device, it has no value spiritually unless it is being operated and even then it will go where the operator takes it. For me I had to come to the same decision I came to with alcohol I am going to have to remove it from my life. I am not 18 anymore, I am a grown man and I am not playing games anymore. This post was never about bashing cell phones and using smart phones and they are not “the devil” they can certainly do the devils work when placed into careless hands. I am not in any sin apart from the amount of time I spend on the silly thing!
 
Is my wife making me write this???

Actually no, if anything she blessed me with the following Facebook post this morning…

“Thank you for never giving up. Thank you for loving me even when I’m having bad days and am not the most pleasant of people. Thank you for praying for me and for being patient. Thank you for being dependable and faithful. Thank you for being a loving Daddy to our girl. Thank you for working hard at your job without complaint. Thank you for blessing others with your willingness to serve. I know I don’t say it enough, but thank you! Love you.”

And I want to be that man that she thinks I am! There are no words to describe how much I love this woman, I have my failings and my shortcomings and there are days that I think that I really have gipped this woman and that she really could have done so much better than me. Am I the most spontaneous guy in the world? Not even close! Am I the most romantic guy in the world? Only if the male species all went into a posthumous state while I was writing this. What I do well is that I do pray for her and I do try and I believe that if I spend some actual FaceTime (human interaction as opposed to the application) then she will understand that I mean what I say. 

What i need from you all

Is to hold me accountable! Share this post! Tell everyone who knows me! Pray for me! Appreciate my honesty and check in with me to see how it is going every now and again. Love my wife and I and again keep us in prayer. I know this is a little Proverbs 29:11 but please indulge me just this once.

God bless you one and all and I pray this was a blessing and please share, like and comment below as the LORD leads you too.
SDG
TGBTG
TTE

Thanksgiving week – Day four – my extended family

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Thanksgiving week – Day four – my extended family

Psalm 107:1 (ESV) Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!

As you may have noticed, the last few days I have been posting reasons that I am thankful on this thanksgiving week. On Monday I posted about my daughter, on Tuesday I posted about my wife, yesterday I posted about my faith in Jesus Christ. Today I wish to be thankful for extended family.

Thanksgiving is a time to get round the table and have fun and fellowship with those who you love, in my case what normally happens is that we all converge on a member of my eternal family’s house, (We all live within 20 miles of each other so it is easy to do so) spend several hours together, eat a lot, watch a little football and have fun as a family.

The external family I am speaking of is my wife’s brothers, their families and her mother. This year the shindig is at the Mother in laws house, but we are having some family sickness so we may or may not be there. This is sad to say the least. I am hoping that this is not the case and we are able to do so, but I have a nephew with a low immune system who is very susceptible to getting infections and in his case it would require a visit to the hospital, so you can understand my concern.

I am grateful to them as they have emancipated me into the family with much love and kindness. I am grateful to the LORD for the love and support they provide, especially to my wife.

Getting used to the concept of an extended family

My wife has always did the “big family” thing, my parents, not so much, they did celebrate New Year’s by socializing with other folks and we did visit relations from time to time, but in Scotland we so not celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas was usually done with just my parents (I don’t think I have ever celebrated a Christmas meal with my brother and his family) so it was a bit of a culture change coming over here.

As extended families go, I certainly have been blessed, there are quite the mix of people, different humours, different temperaments, in my case a different culture, but deep down they are good people, we tick each other off sometimes but deep down there is love there. I know that in most instances that I would back them up and they would have my back also.

Memories

I have only been a part of that family for a short time, married 9 years to my wife but there are just some things that you do, I have memories of rescuing folks from things that have happened and being rescued myself. I have accounted these times as a blessing to the LORD the times I have been able to help and serve and also the times that we had that I have been served.

Thanksgiving

As stated before, in my country we didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving and I was asked earlier this week “What do we call Thanksgiving in Scotland?” I answered as best I could so my reply was “Thursday”.

I am of course being flippant, but despite knowing very little about the day itself and why we celebrate it, I am thankful for the ability to come together (whether it is just with my wife and daughter or if it done with the extended family) I will count it as reason to praise him.

Misery lacks company

I hope that if you don’t have a place to go this thanksgiving that someone reaches out to you, my hope is that everyone is surrounded by family and friends and folks that love them. If you know someone who is going to be alone and you have enough to share (let’s face it, many of us have more than enough) then pull an extra seat at your table for that person.

James talks about this in his epistle…

James 1:27 (ESV) Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

Get those who have no-one and show them the love of Jesus. Be that example of Christ’s love, which is more powerful to someone who is alone than the best orated and smoothly delivered sermon.

Actions like that back up what you are preaching is also what you are living. This is intentional Christianity, not just meeting a need but bringing Christ front and center in your service.

Be thankful in the small things

Don’t focus on the bickering, the fights or whatever will steal your joy from that day. Focus on the laughing, the sounds of the kids chasing each other and the positive memories. Also be thankful for the LORD, who created the harvest. This is the day that the LORD has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!

This article is a series on being thankful. LORD willing I hope to do one every day this week. Other blogs in this series include:

Day one – My daughter
Day two – My wife
Day three – My faith

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.
TGBTG
TTE

Thanksgiving week – Day one – Oh thanksgiving tree, meant so much to my princess and me

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Day one – Oh thanksgiving tree, meant so much to my princess and me

Proverbs 22:6 (ESV) Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

I wish to start by stating that I have the best kid in the world…

…every parent says that huh? In my view my kid is, partly because in some way she resembles me so much, and in some other ways she is a mini Chelsea.

What inspired this series of blogs was a brainwave of my wife, she truly is the brains of this operation. Yesterday (Sunday) my child had contracted the sickness that my wife and I had had for the previous week, so my wife and I decided to do shifts and both stay up half the night to look after her.

In our sleep deprived state we were in no fit state to do church, so I read from Ephesians,  my wife read from Psalms and we had a great time of prayer, praise and worship. Lastly we took time as a family to do a “thanksgiving tree” and let our five year old princess chose what she was thankful for.

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Love measured

I don’t tend to measure my love for her when everything is going well, but rather when the chips are down like Saturday night/Sunday morning.

Not to toot my own horn but it was an honour to be able to care for her, gave me a brief glimpse of how God cares for us. When your kid is sick in a bathroom and they are helpless without you, it truly is humbling to be able to serve and help.

The rewards are not for the present time but she loves her Daddy,  knows that when she is in a pickle then Daddy will be there. To have that level of trust placed on you is quite a responsibility. But one I love as much as I do her.

Being a student again

Being as daddy of a wee princess I have had to learn many things outside of my comfort zone. I have had to study things that she likes. I could probably answer questions on subjects such as My little pony and littlest pet shop.

She is the coolest little girl I know, her personality is unique and I would not swap her for anyone in the world. I also try to help with her homeschooling but her mom is the real teacher there. But I spend hours staring and studying her to be the best daddy I can be.

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Father of the year?

Ephesians 6:4 (ESV) Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

I am most certainly not, I have so many flaws, imperfections and defects that I am amazed my kid is so normal. I of course attribute this to my wife, but the princess surprised me with her choices of what she was thankful for.

Let me just say she is a kid of five years old so things such as a presents and money were always going to somewhat near the top of the list,  however I was surprised by just how much she picks up when she gave deeper answers than I would ever have given her credit for.

She chose this craft to explain she was grateful for her dogs,  her parents, grandparents, family,  church, Jesus and her bible.

This excited me but grieved me at the same time, there are times she has witnessed her mom and I being faithful, but there are other times where we have not. She is at the age where she should think that her parents “got this” and if we don’t then God does.

The challenge

Is to be faithful in and out of season, to give everything unto the LORD.  To put my daughter before me, to be grateful for Gods gift, to remember what a miracle she is (for the full story check my wife’s blog) and when I am with her, be actually with her. Not just in the same room but be grateful for the small time the LORD has trusted me to be her custodian.

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Her future

Should the LORD tarry, she would probably want to marry someone like her daddy.  I would be against that,  I want someone much better than that for my daughter.

This article is a series on being thankful. LORD willing I hope to do one every day this week.

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.
TGBTG
TTE

Happy Labor Day (no I didn’t mis-spell it)

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Just a quick blog to wish you one and all a “Happy Labor Day”  As a foreigner to the US it has always been a source of mirth to me that on “labor day” many people do not actually work. (At least on the careers that provide income)

I added that last part in because I saw it as a day to get some stuff done around the house and spend it with some extended family.

Whatever you do and however you spend it, please praise the LORD and do all things unto the LORD (Colossians 3:23)

God bless you one and all, and I pray that you have a blessed day. Please consider liking, sharing or commenting on the article.
TGBTG
TTE

Careful who you put in charge

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Careful who you put in charge

This has been on my heart for a while, today the LORD has me write about this subject.

This is not aimed at one particular church and pull examples from several I have witnessed, of you see your situation below then pray thanks if you are in the “what you should be” and pray also if you see any of the “what you should not” category.

Titus 1:5 (ESV) This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you–6 if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. 7 For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, 8 but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.

A lot has been said of church leadership, especially in the movement that I belong to where a leader can yield quite a bit of power locally.

I love that Paul was called by God to write on this subject in his letters to both Titus and Timothy. It is as if God had the foreknowledge (which we know that he did) that society and the standards of society would change.

What must a leader be?

We read from both passages that a leader (some texts say Bishop, some say overseer) must be the following:

THE HUSBAND OF ONE WIFE – not a man into polygamy, not a man who is in a series of lewd relationships, not a man given to same sex attraction.

This also discounts women leaders.

ABOVE REPROACH – not subject to questions about how he could possibly have been chosen as a leader, this one gets cloudy in our modern day church, we have people getting positions they were never called into and people serving in areas that they either do not wish to or feel obligated to because they were just honoured to be asked in the first place. (Or because they are in a certain family or legacy)

I am not referring to the missionary church or the church plant as in many cases, people help out based on need and gradually develop their calling from there. This happened to me as I was able to teach small group bible studies as developed a will and a calling to learn and later to teach.

This goes hand in hand with what is said in Timothy about the leader not being a recent convert, I have seen folks be elevated too quickly, become proud of their new status and fall from grace, truly sad and both parties (both leadership and the man who fell) need prayer in that situation.

ARROGANT – The leader should be someone you come to for counsel and should be of a gentle spirit.

We all all fallen creatures who ALL have an issue with pride, (if you say you don’t then you also have a problem with lying) one of the hardest parts of leadership is to not exalt yourself as an example when someone is bearing their soul to you. We are commanded to be humble, to treat that person with the gentleness that Jesus has treated our many sins.

SOBER – the text says “not given to much wine” I would go further and link the verses in Romans about not causing a brother to stumble.

In the Western world we have a culture of excess, we claim poverty but have riches that 30% of the world will never see in ten lifetimes. When we get into something and make it into a demi-God, like the almighty bottle (take it from a guy who used to bow at its altar at least 4 times a week) that grabs you slowly, entices you in with the taste and by the time you realise it has you, you are already too far gone down the path to ever enjoy it responsibly again.

If you can do it, then more power to you, if you are drunk or buzzed a lot, then you have the beginning of a problem, if you got to my stage and was annoyed he had to defer my first drink long enough to do a days work, then you are in idolatry and God does not want his leaders serving two Gods.

HOSPITABLE – if you are going to lead people then you have to get to know them. You have to be willing to show your home and your lives as an example to those you wish to serve in leadership.

Also, in order to give good counsel and not to bear false witness or give options that are not factual about believers in your body that you know little about. I have had this happen to me and it leads to your estimation of that leader as well as the reliability of his facts with other leadership members called into question.

Lastly, if you are not hospitable to all then how will you know who requires extra prayer, who requires more from you, we have a culture of just “skating through” and it does not cut it anymore.

GREEDY – he has to be temperate, not after money, he has to be honest. Can you imagine trying to respect someone in leadership in your fellowship who has a wide reputation for being a crook. It just does not add up.

HOLY – his life must show a “set apart” for Jesus Christ nature, he cannot be the one in the cheap seats telling off colour jokes during the lesson.

He must be an example to the newer believers, one who attracts folks coming to him for discipleship.

SELF-CONTROLLED/DISCIPLINED – is probably the hardest one (as if there is an easy one) as when you are a leader, you have so many more eyes on you than before, you have other leaders and also church members.

What I am trying to say is, it is not just the appearance of these things, it’s the actual living them out on a day by day basis.

ABLE TO TEACH – you will notice this is the last one on my list, but when people try to make themselves available for leadership positions in the church, this is usually top of mind for them.

In my mind it was the last thing I wanted, I love to teach, however I don’t want it to be about me as in the man, I want it to be Jesus being centre stage and like being refreshed on a hot day, you don’t thank the LORD for the jug, simply the water.

1 Timothy 3:1 (ESV) The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2 Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. 8 Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. 9 They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11 Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

What he shouldn’t be.

(Here is where people get upset)

INVISIBLE – he should be attending things that the church puts on, have folks over (not just the ones he likes) and actually wish to find out where the prayer points are.

CONNECTED – Pastors need to be connected with others in their movement in order to identify trends and share from the wisdom of their peers.

Elders/Deacons need to be the conduit for connection between the body and upper leadership, this whole Sunday facade that has become commonplace really needs to stop.

The facade goes as follows 1) Shake laypersons hand 2) give warm greeting 3) smile a lot 4) advise that you will see them next week.

TOO BUSY – if you are too busy to do what someone has asked you then you need to pray about stepping down. Leadership is a calling, not just a kudos point or a way to show you are holy, so if you are there because of who you know or because you like seeing your name on the bulletin, then it perhaps should be time to prayerfully back out.

The layperson in the church buys into what the leadership are doing and there is only so much that folks without position can do, if the leadership by in large does not show a certain element of buy in, then the church as a whole wont either.

An example of this is hospitality, if the boots on the ground don’t see the ones who are called to lead see it as a priority, then they won’t either. End result is the church remains fragmented and never grows together as it is harder to break up clicks once they have started. Many churches in the US today are just a gathering of groups under the one building.

This spreads like a cancer, and it starts from leadership down. in the end you end up with falsehoods such as the smile on a Sunday/but secretly hate you the rest if the week mentality. We are supposed to be one body, can you imagine the state of your body if the brain didn’t talk to the hands or feet.

How do you measure up?

Now you have read all about leadership in the church and what the bible states that it should be, how is your ministry application coming along? Has it developed prayer points? If you have anything you would like to add then please let us know below

Thanks for reading and please share or comment as the LORD leads
TGBTG
TTE

Do we treat the Bible as the precious document it is?

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Do we treat the Bible as the precious document it is?

We in the western world are very blessed. We have a Bible in almost every room in our house. I certainly have at least 5-6 Bibles in my house that are either on my bookshelf or have barely been read. If we were to look into impoverished nations, such as those in Asia and Africa where they have only ever owned a few pages at a time in their native language, and see what they look like if they were to get a whole book of the Bible, like a Gospel of John or a New Testament, never mind a whole Bible, will make you think about your faith, your relationship with your Bible and hopefully inspire you to change. Here are a few scriptures I have chosen to ask the question above.

We need reminding to study and why

2 Tim 2:14 (NKJV) Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness.

It is a sad indication that we don’t treat our Bibles the way we should. If we did, my new country (USA) would be in a state of revival that would make the Azusa Street Revival seem like a conservative “run of the mill” Sunday.

The graphic is of course amusing but it is meant to cause a point. I borrowed the graphic from a local pastor who I know quite well (Pastor Bob Grenier – Calvary Chapel Visalia) off his Facebook, sorry Bob!

The graphic however got me thinking and made me wonder about my own life, do I “study to show myself approved” as much as I should? I read the Bible sure, but how am I in the areas that really matter. How am I in personal readings? Do I study enough? Do I study with my wife as a couple? Do I lead by example when it comes to Bible reading? How do I engage my child and raise up the next generation of Christians? What example am I to the folks that God has allowed me to be head of that home?

Challenging stuff huh? I am not as bad as the graphic but I am certainly a long way from where I believe God would like me to be. It is not easy to publicly say that and it truly chafes at my inner being to admit. I like to be like everyone else and claim that I have it all down, but I am a fallen man, who fails his wife consistently (let’s be real here) but has been forgiven by God and also by his wife!

Continuing in the Scriptures

2 Tim 3:14 (NKJV) But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Starting a Bible plan is only the start; I have started, re-started and turned over enough leaves to fill an autumn. My wife calls me the “startup guy” because i am great at getting things moving, ministries started (I launched the church I attended since 2007’s Facebook & Twitter in 2009 before passing it on earlier this year) and then pass on the baton to someone else. Of course she is right, but I wish I had more staying power at times.

It is imperative that we teach the precious children the precious scriptures. These are not just words on a page, this book is the most maligned, most attacked, most martyred book ever, it contains the Word of God. The words that should guide your life as a Christian, as the verse says it “is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”

The world is going to teach them anything but the Bible, such as programs to ban school bible classes. We have had no official representation in schools for the Bible since 1962. If the kids are not getting the Bible in their homes (whether that home is Christian or Non-Christian) then they most certainly are not getting it at school.

I am a little bit of an enigma in that respect, until recently my dad did not care for the word. I was sent to a Brethren Gospel hall for Sunday School and I learned a basic foundational knowledge from there, I did not get beyond a basic knowledge as I did not follow up in the word (always have had a Bible) and didn’t read it because my parents didn’t. God rescued me from myself by sending a wonderful woman (see my Testimony page)

How deep is the Word?

Deut 11:18 (NKJV) “Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 19 You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 20 And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 21 that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above the earth. 22 “For if you carefully keep all these commandments which I command you to do—to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, and to hold fast to Him—23 then the LORD will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess greater and mightier nations than yourselves.

This is critical, we have to memorize the word, write it on our hearts, we have to bind them as a fabric of our every being. (I don’t know about you dear reader, but I am being flogged by the words today and realizing my shortcomings) God promises blessings if we abide in his word.

I like the idea of writing them on your “doorposts and gates” having reminders all around your home who you serve and the standards that you must keep. In my house when you walk through the door I see the words “FAITH HOPE LOVE” which of course refers to our family verse 1 Corinthians 13:13, all around my house are different scriptures to help remind our family that when the trials come, and they will, the God is in control and all this other stuff is temporary (see my blog on trials)

The promise to drive out our enemies is one I like, what we have to realize though is that is in God’s time. Often times he will “purify us in the fire” longer than we would like. When I get trials I usually sink to my knees and pray for deliverance. What I should be praying for is open eyes to see what lesson I am being taught here.

Destroyed for rejecting knowledge

Hosea 4:6 (NKJV) My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for me; because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.

God has written down his plan for your life (mine too) and we have the same choice as Adam and Eve. We can choose to reject God’s plan, discard the knowledge that is in the Word of God, reject God’s plan for your life and forget God’s law. There are two things I would like to say here, if you are giving up on God completely and going away from the faith, then that is tragic.

Secondly I see people who are in ministry, try to take on more than they were ever equipped to take on, the counsellor is soon in need of being counselled, the preacher should really sit down and learn for a season. The prayer has a dry prayer life and is pumping a dry well publically. The minister is living life based on what he knows of the words of God as opposed to the Word of God and he is falling into a hole that very soon will either lead to apostasy or leaving the faith.

I pray for those folks. I see so many folks sitting with their little “cyber guns” waiting to shoot at a minister, a pastor or someone in ministry that either has gone off the rails or is about to. Instead of getting down, getting humble and praying for those folks, honestly wishing their brother does not fall. They sit with a “Grinch-like smile” and take great glee at uncovering their sin in the same manner as Noah’s son Ham, where he could not wait to tell his brothers of his father’s shame. (Gen 9:20-23) Are you like Ham? Or are you like Shem and Japheth? (There are whole ministries dedicated to being Shem or Japheth’s)

What is the Word of God?

Hebrew 4:12 (NKJV) For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

I pray that as you read this, it is not my words which impact you but the Bible verses. That is the point of this whole blog/website. The word of God is center stage. I have no “show to steal” as i am just a lay person (a nobody) giving what God has put on his heart. I have no official ordination or tie in or promotion to any church/assembly or group. I write just as me.

That being said, in studying for articles like this one, my heart does get pierced. It speaks to me in a way that no other man made document has. It is a refiner, a mirror to show your imperfections and what you need to do to fix it. I am a knucklehead so I need to be told everything many times over to allow it to resonate. This is why I believe that God wrote it down for us. So that we can’t say, well if only God would tell me what he wants for me to do with my life. In the words of Answers in Genesis founder Ken Ham “Well there is this book…”

How to receive the word

Acts 17:11 (NKJV) These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.

Now we understand the importance of the word, how do we receive it? We have two options

1) Receive it in a passive way, possibly like you are doing now
2) Receive it in a fashion like the Bereans (v10 states who they were)

The Bereans were studiers of the word, they pulled apart the scriptures and were what we would call these days and Inductive Bible student, they found out what it meant, they liked for ways to apply it to their lives, they examined the evidence and found the truths, they looked for each spiritual nugget and how it meant to their lives.

My prayer is that God make me like a Berean!

Some comfort in the Psalms

Psalm 119:105 (NKJV) Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path

Psalm 119:11 (NKJV) Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.

Some comfort to end on a light note, the Word of God is there to help us be “lights in the darkness” and our Bibles are what keeps the light shining bright, we need to treasure these scriptures as they have been diligently been prepared (by hand until the later part of the 16th century)

We need to have the word engrained in our hearts; it allows us to claim victory over our struggles.

God bless and I pray this was an exhortation and a blessing to you all
TTE