The first crisis the early church confronted was a crisis of integrity. In the book of Acts, a married couple named Ananias and Sapphira pretend to sell their property and give all that money to the church. The reality, however, was they kept back part of it. They pretend to be something on the outside that they are not on the inside. And God’s immediate and drastic judgment falls on them. The apostle Peter, the leader of the church, sees this lack of integrity as an invasion of the powers of darkness into their community of the Holy Spirit. He knows the power of the Spirit will be quenched without truth and integrity. Thus, he calls it out. I have rushed through areas of my leadership more times than I want to remember. I have avoided meetings I knew would be hard. I have skimmed on truth when it was uncomfortable. I have preferred. Read more.
We classify people in different ways – by race, the language they speak, economic class, age, geography, educational level, even personality type. God classifies people in the book of Proverbs as mockers, fools, or the wise. Where might you be on the Wise/Foolish spectrum today? Mockers (or scoffers) are referred to 17x in Proverbs. They are extremely proud, shameless, and foolish. These are abusers and dictators who throw people away (e.g. Hitler/Stalins). Proverbs acknowledges there are those few “evil” people that, while not beyond redemption, are particularly unteachable. They are the extreme end of the foolish spectrum. Fools (or the simple) are mentioned 65x. This is the great mass of people. These are the naïve, the easily influenced, the impulsive, and the impatient. Fools wander into messes without thinking because they prefer to not do the hard work of thinking things through or asking hard questions. The wise (or prudent) is God’s goal for. Read more.
Last week I preached on this at the twentieth anniversary service of Iglesia Nueva Vida. I was senior pastor of the church for five years before Pastor Julio Rodriquez took over leadership and greatly expanded the work. They now number about a 1000 people and have over 90 works in Latin America. You can listen to this bilingual message if you like by clicking here. (I actually begin speaking 1 hour and 12 minutes into the video). The following are the hard lessons that I wished someone had taught me 24 years ago when I began pastoring: 1. Be Yourself. I spent too much time in my early years trying to be someone I was not. As Rumi said, “To live unfaithfully to yourself is to cause others great damage.” David models this for us in 1 Sam. 17 as he takes off Saul’s armor. This takes great courage and faith. 2. Seek. Read more.