Forgiveness

Lord, help me never to do something or say something to someone with my motive being “what’s in it for me”.  I want to completely deny myself… Not have a veiled selfishness, masquerading as benevolence.  I don’t want to hurt people, but to truly love people and bring Your life to them.

Help me Lord, to heal from times I have been hurt by others in this way, and to have the right attitude – one of love – towards those who have hurt me, and forgive me Lord, for the part I know I have had in hurting others in the same way.  Keep me aware of my motives at all times, Lord.

Thank you so much for leading us as a good and gentle Shepherd, to safe green pasture and restoring our souls…….. ❤

Manipulation

Manipulators never give anything for free.  They always have an agenda, an ulterior motive, a vested interest.

Jesus taught against this.  He said “freely you have received, freely give”

Flattery is manipulation.  Manipulators use flattery to secure your loyalty, fostering the fear of man (people-pleasing).  Remember that fear of man brings a snare.  It is hard to free oneself from this bondage – by buying into this, we are giving dominance and control over ourselves to the manipulator.  Manipulative people are always seeking a personal advantage and an upper hand over their “prey” in their manipulative tactics.   Dominance and control is what they want, although often this is very cleverly disguised by them and they may seem extremely sacrificial and altruistic.

 

we want to believe the best about people and so we very often are blind or willfully ignorant of the fact that some people are malicious like this.

 

 

 

Hierarchy, authority and equality

Is there (should there be) a hierarchy in the church?  Are some people the special, the called, the elite, the chosen, the leaders…. more spiritual, more connected to God, more in tune, than the majority of “regular people”?  Isn’t that more reminiscent of an Old Covenant shadow instead of a New Covenant reality?  Isn’t God’s Spirit shed abroad in the hearts of all of us, who are now all belonging to that special class – a royal priesthood – no more dividing walls or veils…?

Is division in the body of Christ really chiefly about doctrinal divides, or can doctrinal divisions actually be traced back to a different kind of division…. a division of superior vs inferior, leader vs follower, lesser vs greater, layperson vs minister…?

Did not Jesus our Lord teach about humility, servanthood, equality among his disciples as though we are all brothers?  Yet we see the people of God desperately desiring human leaders and institutions, systems, programs, seminars, meetings and strategies to hold our religion together.  Instead of being bound together by hearts of sincere love for one another, and learning to move and operate as one body consisting of many equal parts connected to Jesus our head, and motivated from WITHIN by the Spirit, we seek figures of authority and we need external motivation (programs and weekly schedules and all the accoutrements of modern day church activity) to keep us going through the motions.

If we really believe it

If we really believe that church is not a building, not a destination, not a service, not an organization…..

then why do we still say:

– where do you go to church?

– what time does your church start?

– how big is your church?

– it’s important for Christians to attend church.

– I’m on my way to church.

– I love the songs we sang at church.

– who is the pastor of your church?

etc.

 

Does method matter?

Does it really matter how we organize ourselves?  How we do things?   Or are these all peripherals that don’t really matter in the grander scheme of things?

Does it matter what church government/leadership structure looks like?  Why/why not?  To what extent does it matter?

Is there a lot of freedom given, or not, with regards to how things at church should happen?  Are there any prohibitions as to how things happen?

Who should decide who the leaders are and what their function is?  Should there be a division/distinction made between the leaders and the rest of the people?  How is this helpful or harmful?  What is the role of leaders (whether it be overall leaders, small group leaders, worship leaders etc) and who decided that is their role?

Some assumptions worth questioning…

Here are some:

1.  A church is not legitimate unless it has identified a human leader (or leaders).

2.  Sunday school is a good thing and we should obviously send our kids there.

3.  Church worship should be led by a gifted musician and he/she will lead us into God’s presence.  The worship team should prepare and rehearse for the worship time.

4.   The sermon is primarily  how we learn God’s word and it’s not really a church meeting without preaching from the pulpit.