Is Perfection the Right Standard for Pastors?

What happens when a pastor falls short of perfection? What happens when a weakness is revealed for all to see? Do we love, support, empathize, encourage, and work to help them or do we find a way to escort them out the door seeking another pastor who will be perfect?

I can imagine that for many pastors, there is a great fear that their congregation will discover that they are merely human like the rest of us… full of flaws and weakness.

I like what Jesus said in Luke 18:19, “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.”

And in Hebrews 4:15-16, where it is written, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

The point here is that we sometimes put pastors on a pedestal of perfection. And when they fall short, we don’t always extend them the same grace and mercy that God shows us in all of our imperfections. Pastors have doubts, fears, and temptations just like the rest of us. Sometimes they stumble like the rest of us.

When that happens, love them through it. If they confess and seek forgiveness, we should be quick to forgive, as God is quick to forgive us.

Lastly, create an environment at your church and a relationship with your pastor that would enable them to speak freely about their imperfections. They need not isolate themselves in an attempt to hide their flaws for fear of what their congregation might think. Be a loving, grace-filled church to your pastor, just as you are taught to be to the rest of the world.

Put the Bible into Practice

It’s important to not just read the Bible. We must put it into practice in our daily lives.

In Philippians 4:9, the apostle Paul urges us “whatever you have learned or receive or heard from me, or seen in me, put into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Here is an example. A few verses beforehand, in Philippians 4:6, Paul teaches us “Do not be anxious about anything…”. In this chapter he’s also talking about living with the joys Christ in our lives and being content with the ups and downs of life.

Do you want to remain anxious or stressed out about things or do you want the peace of God to be with you?

Like Paul, I urge you to exchange the anxiety and discontented feelings of this life with the peace that comes from God alone.

Are you a worthy disciple?

I was reading Philippians 3:17 today where Paul encourages others to follow his example of pursuing Christ. In the study notes, it asked a wonderful question, “What kind of follower would a new Christian become if he or she imitated you?”

So a thought to consider today is what kind of disciple of Christ are you? What example are you setting for others? Is it an example worth following?

Don’t Be Stereotypical

Loving God and loving others means it’s real, sincere, genuine, and tangible. 

Having great intentions or thoughts to love God and people is not authentic.

The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) adjusted his life at a crucial moment in order to help the injured man. His love was authentic.

Shouldn’t ours be the same?

We all struggle in this area. So, don’t be discouraged if you recognize how much you fall short. Know that you’re among friends here at Changing the Face of Christianity.

We don’t need to ask you, “What is Christianity?” We know you have at least a basic understanding that it is having a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ. We have faith in God. We know we can cry out to Him, “God please help me”, when we need it. And we often know how to pray to God.

The question is whether as a Christian we are struggling towards that ideal of being like the Good Samaritan … or if loving God and others authentically is even on our mental radar. You might know of  Christ or about  Christ, but do you know  him enough to obey  him? 

Don’t be discouraged if you recognize how much you fall short. Know that you’re among friends here at Changing the Face of Christianity.

In reality, we cannot love unless the Spirit of Love Himself dwells in us. Changing the Face of Christianity is all about helping Christians understand the truth that Jesus dwells in us by his Spirit. We help genuine people really get to know him through:

  • Bible studies
  • A mentorship program
  • Learn to love God and others with sincerity, because God loves each of us.
  • Encourage them to attend and support their local church

Sometimes the simplest way to understand something is to know what it is not. If you want to authentically love God and people, then you may want to start with the Negative Christian Sterotypes Bible study. It’s an eye-opening expose of false perceptions people often have about Christians.

It’s backed up by many recognized studies done by Barna group, Lifeway Research and more.

  • It’s free.
  • It’s fun.
  • It’s eye-opening!
  • Make surprising discoveries about what people in our society really think about Christians
  •  … and maybe even discover a few surprising beliefs you hold yourself.

Download your free Negative Christian Sterotypes Bible study now

Where Are All the Female Disciple Makers?

As many of you know, our ministry runs an online, email-based discipleship program where we pair mentors and mentees and provide a discipleship curriculum to work through together. It’s been a HUGE success and we couldn’t be more pleased with the lives being changed through that program.

Running that Discipleship program is also a bit of a balancing act…trying to have enough available mentors for the incoming mentee requests. Well, we are currently in desperate need of spiritually mature Christian female mentors. We have a good number of Christian or aspiring Christian females asking for love, support, and spiritual guidance from a fellow female.

You don’t have to be a pastor or seminary graduate to help. And you don’t have to have all the answers. Our program walks mentors and mentees step by step through the process. You do need to be a fairly spiritually mature Christian…walking the walk. And most importantly, you need to have a willing and loving heart toward other Christian women.

If you can help, or know someone who can help, please email us at discipleship@changingthefaceofchristianity.com or fill out this online form. We’ll review your information and get back to you asap!

Thanks and God Bless.

Brad

PS – Please join us in praying that God will provide the female mentors needed for this valuable program.

Love is an Action Plain and Simple

“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:18 NIV)

These are profound words from the apostle John. Such words are even more profound with some greater context.

Let’s back track to verse 17…
“If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?” (1 John 3:17 NIV)

Having pity on someone in need goes beyond merely feeling bad for them. What help is that? I think this also goes beyond the knee jerk “I’ll pray for you” response.

Notice it says if anyone with material possessions… This clearly implies that if you have material resources to help, then help by providing those material resources. Right?

Another verse is highly relevant here from James:
“Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” (James 2:15, 16 NIV)

Love is an action…plain and simple. If you and I aren’t loving in action, we aren’t loving. We are commanded to love God and love others. So don’t stop at “I’ll pray for you”. Love by giving what you have to help someone in need. Amen!

Ps, here is a link to a dear christian couple in need. Becky and Larry Knight are facing eviction from their home. Help (love them) if you can: http://www.gofundme.com/aa65w8

Better than Sacrifice.

Gift box / present or christmas gift hand close up. Decorative g

“But Samuel replied: ‘Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.’” (1 Sam 15:22)

What could be better that coming before God and offering praise and worship with gifts and offerings? Surely this is the pinnacle of our relationship with God and the ultimate expression of worship and  faith.

Apparently not; God has a different view, and His opinion is that it is much more important to obey and to heed. We know what it means to obey, but the definition of heed gives us more insight: “to pay attention, to give consideration to, and to mind what someone says.” It gives the sense of one listening with intent to act in obedience.

Quick Prayer: Help me to hear, and compel me to obey. Amen.

best regards and God bless,

True Religion.

called-to-business

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27)

 

 

 
What is religion all about? Is it worship on a Sunday? Is it working hard? Is it letting others know about Jesus? All these things are true, but what does God say is the real heart, pure and faultless religion that He accepts as true?
First, there is a demonstration of an inward transformation: “to look after orphans and widows in their distress.” Pure and simple, we have a significant God-given obligation to help the poor.
Second, we are called not to hide away from the world because this would make the first part impossible but to “keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” Live in the world and fully participate, but don’t take on its values and distortions.
Quick Prayer: Thank You that true religion has a practical application. Amen.

 

best regards and God bless,

 

 

 

“Prayer Works” and 2 Other Things Christians Should STOP Saying Now

Vintage Christian button, Prayer worksThis article originally appeared here on the Church Leaders~ Pastors Blog. By Carey Nieuwhof

 

 

 

One reason people stay away from Christianity is not because they don’t know any Christians.

It’s often because they do.

Our actions and our words as followers of Jesus have the power to attract or repel people from Christianity.

The number of people who never go to church or follow Jesus keeps growing. And their thinking keeps changing too (I’ve outlined 15 characteristics of unchurched people here).

So what can we do about it?

Well, in addition to modeling humility, grace, truth, love and so many other things that describe the earliest Christ followers, we Christians can watch our words…  Click here to read the rest of the story on the Church Leaders ~ Pastors Blog site.

 

 In addition to serving as Lead Pastor at Connexus Community Church north of Toronto Canada, Carey Nieuwhof speaks at conferences and churches throughout North America on leadership, family, parenting and personal renewal. More from Carey Nieuwhof or visit Carey at careynieuwhof.com

 

Asked.

called-to-business

“Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” (Mat 5:42)

 

 

 
How are we asked to respond to those in need around us? What is our response to be to those who ask for help? Give and do not turn away. As we open our hands, we open our hearts. As we walk in obedience, we open our hearts and our hands follow suit. It is a virtuous cycle of love and giving.
If we live our lives this way, God will pour out His provision as He finds vessels willing to be His hands and His feet with His heart. Ministering to those around us is not only telling them about Jesus but also demonstrating His heart by meeting the needs of those who need help.
Quick Prayer: I am available to bless someone today. Send me someone who needs help. Amen.
best regards and God bless,

 

 

 

Amending “Ancient” Sins

 

Hello,

42 years ago, I , along with my husband (now ex) committed insurance fraud.  I was 22 years old and found out that I was pregnant.  We had no health insurance and no money for the costs of having a baby.  I panicked and came up with the idea of getting rid of our car in a deep lake in order to get money.  The car was worth $1700.  We did this and reported the car as stolen.  The insurance company sent a check for $1700.

I became  a Christian a year after this  episode.  It has bothered me off and on over the years and I confided in some people about restitution, but they said because my sins were forgiven I did not need to pay back the money.  Lately, I have really been seeking the Lord, and this matter has again come up in my mind and heart.  How does one make restitution when something has happened so many years ago, and will I have to go to jail.  I don’t have the money and am on a fixed income.  I want to do the right thing.  Can you advise me what course to take?

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How can you reflect the love of Jesus to others?

I Love Jesus - Crucifixion

How can you reflect the love of Jesus to others?