Episode 257: Can You Trust Your Pastor?

Disciple Up # 257
Can You Trust Your Pastor?
By Louie Marsh, 5-5-2022

https://www.christianitytoday.com/pastors/2022/spring/pastoral-credibility-erodes-resilient-glenn-packiam.html

https://churchleaders.com/news/417918-barna-glenn-packiam-american-pastors-credibility.html

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Episode 256-Silly Things that Christians Say & Believe

Disciple Up #256
Silly Things Christians Say & Believe
By Louie Marsh, 4-27-2022

Intro. Just to show you we aren’t the only ones acting very silly if not downright disgusting sometimes: https://sheershanews.net/men-gang-rape-kill-and-eat-endangered-monitor-lizard/

“Christlikeness is a journey, not a destination. The joy is in the journey.” – Charles R. Swindoll

https://directors.tfionline.com/post/more-jesus-reflections-christlikeness/

https://www.wisefamousquotes.com/quotes-about-journey-not-the-destination/

By saying Christlikeness – is to admit that this is the goal! Example of me going to Texas.

Becoming like Christ is both a journey and a goal, and we won’t be done with either one in this lifetime that’s for sure. If it’s not a goal why did Paul write this?

7But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:7–11, ESV)

12Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16Only let us hold true to what we have attained.” (Philippians 3:12–16, ESV)

8By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.” (Hebrews 11:8–10, ESV)

“Love Always Wins” –

Probably taken from what Gandhi first said which was…” When I despair, I remember that all through history, the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murders, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall.”

The movie about his life ends with this quote.

16“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.” (John 3:16–19, ESV)

13“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. (Matthew 7:13–14, ESV)

1First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1–4, ESV)

8But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:8–9, ESV)

30“Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, declares the Lord God. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin. 31Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? 32For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.”” (Ezekiel 18:30–32, ESV)

10“And you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, Thus have you said: ‘Surely our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we rot away because of them. How then can we live?11Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:10–11, ESV)

Love always ends makes perfect sense if you are a universalist, but if you take the New Testament seriously, then you believe that Hell is real and awful beyond belief and that means God’s love doesn’t always win. And if His doesn’t then mine sure won’t either!

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Episode 252

Disciple Up #252
Character Over Charisma, Godliness Over Giftedness
By Louie Marsh, 3-30-2022

Article that sparked these thoughts:

 https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2022/march-web-only/hillsong-brian-houston-australia-look-for-character.html

 Other Articles:

https://preachitteachit.org/articles/detail/character-wins-over-charisma/

The Real Point:

 What I find disappointing are the explanations for Houston’s actions. While medication can adversely affect a person’s mental state, it is never a justification for inappropriate behavior. These excuses ring hollow, especially for victims of sexual harassment.

 One obvious issue, rightly noted by the Hillsong board, is that “Hillsong’s governance model has historically placed significant control in the hands of the senior pastor.” Freighting one person with authority is not indicative of a healthy leadership culture. We would do well, then, to reflect on which model of church governance and which style of leadership are more conducive to transparency and accountability.

 As biblical scholar Andy Judd suggests, we should always ask, “Where is power distributed? how are decisions made and reviewed? and what happens next when a leader is forced to move on?”

 But more important than leadership structures is a person’s character. The biblical qualifications for a pastor don’t rely on clicks, downloads, book sales, revenue, conference circuits, the number of bums in pews, or how many celebrities attend your church.

 Instead, they require a pastor to be “above reapproach” and “self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money” (1 Tim. 3:2–3). Jesus taught that “the greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” (Matt 23:11–12).

 During my time in seminary, I joined a wonderful Bible-believing church, and when I was being considered for a place as a pastoral intern, I met with one of the pastors. Having known me only for a little while, he was optimistic about my potential but wisely cautious about my character.

 He said, “I know you’re gifted, but I don’t know if you’re godly.” Those words have stuck with me ever since.

 There is a difference—a big one—between being gifted and being godly. It’s the difference between the show you can put on and what desires you harbor in your heart, between what you do on stage and what you do when you think nobody is watching you.

 The events surrounding Houston are a reminder that the evangelical world needs leaders who demonstrate Christlike character, not simply public confidence; who grow disciples, not groom sycophants; who see themselves as naked before Christ, not robed in the prestige of their platforms. We need leaders who know that when success becomes an idol, cover-ups become a sacrament.

 A Word From Our Sponsor:

1The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? 6He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.” (1 Timothy 3:1–7, ESV)

11The greatest among you shall be your servant. 12Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:11–12, ESV)

Character Counts and it trumps charisma and giftedness.

New Testament leaders are chosen for character and how they deal with family, not business and skill tests ratings.

In the end what else is a leader but someone who’s character shines bright and causes others to follow them.

New Testament leadership is all about Servant Leadership. This too takes character.  Story of Crazy Horses’ father taking a new, humble name when he gave his name – Crazy Horse – to his now famous son.

What qualities do we need in a Pastor or leader?

Paul laid that all out in Timothy. They need to be godly, self-controlled, humble and service oriented. Someone who knows how to lead, discipline and love all at the same time. They must be spiritually mature – which means being knowledgeable and active in applying that knowledge to their own lives first and other people’s lives second.

Beyond all that they must have a good reputation among non-Christians! Now why on earth would that be needed in church leaders? Paul says so that he won’t fall into disgrace or a snare of the devil.

The words, “good report,” are marturian kalēn (μαρτυριαν καλην), “an excellent testimony.” “Those without” refers to the non-Christian world in the midst of which the saints live. Expositors says: “In the passage before us, indeed, St. Paul may be understood to imply that the opinion of ‘those without’ might usefully balance or correct that of the Church. There is something blameworthy in a man’s character if the consensus of outside opinion be unfavorable to him; no matter how much he may be admired and respected by his own party.… One cannot safely assume, when we are in antagonism to it, that, because we are Christians, we are absolutely in the right and the world wholly wrong. Thus to defy public opinion in a superior spirit may not only bring discredit (reproach) on one’s self and on the Church, but also catch us in the devil’s snare, namely, a supposition that because the world condemns a certain course of action, the action is therefore right and the world’s verdict may be safely set aside.” – Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English Reader, vol. 7 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 58–59.

There are, of course, two sides to this matter. Reproach (ὀνειδισμον [oneidismon]). Late word from ὀνειδιζω [oneidizō]. See Rom. 15:3. The snare of the devil (παγιδα του διαβολου [pagida tou diabolou]). Here subjective genitive, snare set by the devil. Παγις [Pagis], old word from πηγνυμι [pēgnumi], to make fast. So a snare for birds (Luke 21:35), any sudden trap (Rom. 11:9), of sin (1 Tim. 6:9), of the devil (1 Tim. 3:7; 2 Tim. 2:26). Ancients used it of the snares of love. The devil sets special snares for preachers (conceit verse 6, money 6:9, women, ambition). -A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1933), 1 Ti 3:7.

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Episode 228

Disciple Up # 228
7 Letters For 7 Churches, Pt. 2
By Louie Marsh

Intro. Last week we did the first three and I shared a nice graph on the letters in the show notes. This week we’ll be finishing off the last four.

Next week – I might be focusing on what I preached on September 12th – Gender with a special focus on the end of the message which dealt with why we are thinking the way we are in this culture/

Gender & Sanity:

https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/christschurchontheriver/02_reThink_-_Gender__Sanity.mp3

Last Four Letters:

 Website where I got what’s below from: https://www.christianity.com/wiki/end-times/what-do-the-7-churches-in-revelation-represent-summaries-and-explanations.html

  1. Thyatira. The Church that Follows False Prophets (Revelation 2:18-29)

Summary and Explanation: Thyatira was a wealthy commercial city. Jesus’ letter to Thyatira praises the church for having grown in faith and service (Revelation 2:19). The church’s downfall was its devotion to a false prophet that led some members to commit idolatry and immorality (Revelation 2:20). Although the false prophet remained unrepentant, Jesus affirms that the congregation can still repent by turning away from the prophet’s ways (Revelation 2:21-22).

The Lord reminds us in this revelation that He will repay each of us according to our deeds (Revelation 2:23). The payment for sin is death. Those who persevere in faith, however, will receive a share of Christ’s messianic authority over all nations and triumph over death (Revelation 2:26-28).

Significance Today: Just as some in Thyatira’s church were led astray by a false prophet, Christians today fall prey to cult leaders, occult practices, and other false teachings. To share in Christ’s victory, we are to avoid these “so-called deep secrets” of Satan (Revelation 2:24) and hold firm to Christ’s teachings.

  1. Sardis. The Church that is Spiritually Dead (Revelation 3:1-6)

Summary and Explanation: Sardis was a city that had endured two surprise attacks despite its fortifications. Our Lord faults the church in Sardis for maintaining an outward appearance of being “alive,” while actually being spiritually dead (Revelation 3:1). Alluding to the city’s history of prior surprise attacks, Jesus warns the congregation to “wake up” and repent, lest he “come like a thief” to bestow His judgment (Revelation 3:2-3).

Those in Sardis who heed Christ’s warning will be “dressed in white,” a symbol of purity and victory, and will be acknowledged in Heaven’s Book of Life (Revelation 3:5).

Significance Today: Today, Christians can fall into the trap that ensnared the church in Sardis if we merely go through the motions of practicing our faith without really feeding our spirit. We can avoid becoming “the living dead” by engaging in our faith through Bible study, prayer, and fellowship.

  1. Philadelphia. The Church that Patiently Endured Despite Weaknesses (Revelation 3:7-13)

Summary and Explanation: Philadelphia was home to a synagogue community hostile to Christians. Christ praises the Philadelphians for remaining faithful in the face of trials despite their limited strength (Rev. 3:8).

Jesus does not reproach this congregation but condemns its persecutors. (Revelation 3:9). Christ promises that if Philadelphia’s congregants remain faithful to Him, He will protect them from the “hour of trial” and make them pillars in God’s heavenly temple (Revelation 3:10-12).

Significance Today: The message to Philadelphia shows us the blessings that come when we maintain our faith despite life’s tribulations. In fact, those who persevere despite weaknesses will stand strong as pillars in Heaven.

  1. Laodicea. The Church with a Lukewarm Faith (Revelation 3:14-22)

Summary and Explanation: Laodicea was a prosperous industrial and commercial center. Jesus’ letter to this church wastes no time denouncing the congregation for its lukewarm faith, threatening to “spit” the congregation out of His mouth (Revelation 3:16).

Christ scolds this church for allowing its economic prosperity to cause it spiritual bankruptcy and reveals that, despite its economic wealth, only He can provide spiritual wealth (Revelation 3:17-18). Those in Laodicea’s church who open the door to Christ will share in His Heavenly banquet and have the right to sit with Him on His throne (Revelation 3:20-21).

Significance Today: Like the church in Laodicea, it’s easy to become complacent in our faith during times of abundance. Christ warns us in this revelation that he will “spit out” lukewarm disciples. Instead, Jesus urges us to keep seeking the Lord’s face even after His hand has bestowed riches in our lives.

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Episode 220

Disciple Up # 220
Double Talk & the Church
By Louie Marsh, 7-20-2021

Intro. Changes to the podcast will be coming fairly soon I think. What changes would you like to see?

Article I read from:

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2021/july/umc-leave-church-methodist-split-lgbt-conference-protocol.html

36And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” 37Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. 38But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. 39And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, 40but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. 41And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.” (Acts 15:36–41, ESV)

33“Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ 34But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.” (Matthew 5:33–37, ESV)

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Episode 189

Disciple Up #189
Celebrity Pastors
By Louie Marsh, 12-10-2020

Article Link:

https://www.christianitytoday.com/pastors/2020/december-web-exclusives/celebrity-pastor-entitlement-church-culture-humility.html

Celebrity Definition:

1the state of being celebrated FAME The actress lived a life of celebrity.

2a famous or celebrated person. Many celebrities attended the awards ceremony.

Given that definition the Pope is a celebrity, Billy Graham was the biggest Christian celebrity of the last century, etc.

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Episode 182

Disciple Up # 182
No Place for Repentance?
By Louie Marsh, 10-21-2020

Intro. Episode on change is going to be a ways off.

Today’s episode wasn’t planned or wanted actually, but here it is and I feel like we have to deal with it like it or not. We’ve talked about this in episodes 93, 96 and at least one before 93 but I’m not sure which one.

Also see episodes 97, 98, 99 – Wounded by the Church

1When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? 2Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? 3Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! 4So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? 5I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, 6but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? 7To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? 8But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers!” (1 Corinthians 6:1–8, ESV)

Links Used:

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/november-web-only/james-macdonald-harvest-bible-chapel-suing-our-critics-bibl.html

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2020/october/james-macdonald-harvest-walk-word-million-arbitration.html

https://harvestbiblechapel.org/2020/10/14/october-14-2020-elder-update/

https://jamesmacdonaldministries.org/reconnecting-with-our-partners/

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2020/september/ravi-zacharias-sexual-harassment-rzim-spa-massage-investiga.html

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2020/september/ravi-zacharias-sexual-harassment-rzim-spa-massage-investiga.html

Verses on Repentance:

38And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38, ESV)

31God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.” (Acts 5:31, ESV)

4Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4, ESV)

9As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. 10For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.” (2 Corinthians 7:9–10, ESV)

24And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,” (2 Timothy 2:24–25, ESV)

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Disciple Up # 171
Stupid Things Christian’s Say, Pt 2
“Everything Happens for A Reason”
By Louie Marsh, 7-5-2020

Links to Sites Quoted From on this podcast:

 https://www.inc.com/thomas-koulopoulos/its-time-to-say-it-everything-does-not-happen-for-a-reason.html

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/finding-purpose/201807/why-we-think-everything-happens-reason

https://ideapod.com/everything-happens-for-a-reason-7-reasons-to-believe-in-this-philosophy/

https://www.christianity.com/wiki/christian-life/does-everything-really-happen-for-a-reason.html

Does everything happen for a reason? Yes.

Scientifically everything has a cause and then has an effect. That effect then often causes other things to happen. So yes, in the physical world everything is caused by something else. Nothing just spontaneously occurs for no reason whatsoever.  So, in the physical world nothing happens without a cause, or a reason for it happening.

Possible Reasons Things Happen

Sinful acts by others or myself

Well intentioned acts (mine or others) that go wrong (Murphey’s Law)

Things break or wear out in our fallen world

Chance that seems random, but may or may not be

Others responding to what I’ve said or done (reaping what I’ve sowed)

Physical consequences of my actions

Several or many different things happening at once

How this works in real life

 If someone you know and love kills themselves and a friend attempts to comfort you by saying, “Everything happens for a reason,” what do they mean? Do they mean that depression resulted in this person killing themselves?

Almost certainly no. When people say this they are referring to some vague and unknown universal power or deity or just “the universe” itself has some sort of plan or purpose and your friends suicide somehow, in some unknown and unknowable way, fits into this mysterious plan.

This is what is so objectionable from a Biblical perspective.  First of all God is not unknowable and secondly who are you to say that everything is part of his plan? What about our free will and our responsibility for what we choose to say and do?

According to the Bible everything that happens is NOT what God wants to happen, and He does NOT make it happen. He allows it to happen, but that’s completely different from causing or approving it. That’s why many things are labeled sin by God, they happen alright but not because they are part of God’s plan or He wants them too.

33  “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. 34  You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35  The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. 36  I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, 37  for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:33-37 (ESV)

  • We are responsible for what we do, think, feel and say, and we will answer for all those before God. That nine-year-old little boy who was killed in Chicago this weekend was NOT part of God’s plan. The reason he was shot was because of sin. The person or people responsible will be held accountable by God.

1  The word of the LORD came to me: 2  “What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’? 3  As I live, declares the Lord GOD, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. 4  Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die. 5  “If a man is righteous and does what is just and right— 6  if he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife or approach a woman in her time of menstrual impurity, 7  does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, commits no robbery, gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, 8  does not lend at interest or take any profit, withholds his hand from injustice, executes true justice between man and man, 9  walks in my statutes, and keeps my rules by acting faithfully—he is righteous; he shall surely live, declares the Lord GOD. 10  “If he fathers a son who is violent, a shedder of blood, who does any of these things 11  (though he himself did none of these things), who even eats upon the mountains, defiles his neighbor’s wife, 12  oppresses the poor and needy, commits robbery, does not restore the pledge, lifts up his eyes to the idols, commits abomination, 13  lends at interest, and takes profit; shall he then live? He shall not live. He has done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon himself. Ezekiel 18:1-13 (ESV)

  • God does have a plan, but it’s based on FREE WILL. Therefore everything that happens isn’t part of His plan. Yes He knows it will happen and yes He has a way to accomplish His will in spite of those events, but they are still NOT happening for some mystical reason. They are the result of sin, and that’s the bottom line on that!

46  “If they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you are angry with them and give them to an enemy, so that they are carried away captive to the land of the enemy, far off or near, 47  yet if they turn their heart in the land to which they have been carried captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their captors, saying, ‘We have sinned and have acted perversely and wickedly,’ 48  if they repent with all their mind and with all their heart in the land of their enemies, who carried them captive, and pray to you toward their land, which you gave to their fathers, the city that you have chosen, and the house that I have built for your name, 49  then hear in heaven your dwelling place their prayer and their plea, and maintain their cause 50  and forgive your people who have sinned against you, and all their transgressions that they have committed against you, and grant them compassion in the sight of those who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them 1 Kings 8:46-50 (ESV)

 

  • What really offends me about this is just how self righteous it is. I head someone on TV say a while back that they are “a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.” Oh my, how spiritual you think you are! But are you?

 

1  But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2  For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3  heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4  treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5  having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 (ESV)

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Episode 122

Disciple Up #122
When Someone Leaves the Faith
By Louie Marsh, 8-21-2019

Recent “High Profile” Christian leaders have either abandoned the faith or nearly so. Marty Sampson and Josh Harris are two of them.

John L. Cooper(lead singer of Skillet) FaceBook post on this: https://www.facebook.com/johnlcooperstuff/photos/a.2899206263638620/2899204140305499/?type=3&theater

John L Cooper’s “Rant” Edited

 Ok I’m saying it. Because it’s too important not to. What is happening in Christianity? More and more of our outspoken leaders or influencers who were once “faces” of the faith are falling away. And at the same time they are being very vocal and bold about it. Shockingly they still want to influence others (for what purpose?) as they announce that they are leaving the faith. I’ll state my conclusion, then I’ll state some rebuttals to statements I’ve read by some of them. Firstly, I never judge people outside of my faith. Even if they hate religion or Christianity. That is not my place and I have many friends who disagree with my religion and that is 100% fine with me. However, when it comes to people within my faith, there must be a measure of loyalty and friendship and accountability to each other and the Word of God.

My conclusion for the church: We must STOP making worship leaders and thought leaders or influencers or cool people or “relevant” people the most influential people in Christendom. (And yes that includes people like me!) I’ve been saying for 20 years that we are in a dangerous place when the church is looking to 20 year old worship singers as our source of truth. We now have a church culture that learns who God is from singing modern praise songs rather than from the teachings of the Word.

I have a few specific thoughts and rebuttals to statements made by recently disavowed church influencers…first of all, I am stunned that the seemingly most important thing for these leaders who have lost their faith is to make such a bold new stance. Basically saying, “I’ve been living and preaching boldly something for 20 years and led generations of people with my teachings and now I no longer believe it..therefore I’m going to boldly and loudly tell people it was all wrong while I boldly and loudly lead people in to my next truth.” I’m perplexed why they aren’t embarrassed? Humbled? Ashamed, fearful, confused? Why be so eager to continue leading people when you clearly don’t know where you are headed?

My second thought is, why do people act like “being real” covers a multitude of sins? As if someone is courageous simply for sharing virally every thought or dark place. That’s not courageous. It’s cavalier. Have they considered the ramifications? As if they are the harbingers of truth, saying “I used to think one way and practice it and preach it, but now I’ve learned all the new truth and will start practicing and preaching it.” So the influencers become the voice for truth in whatever stage of life and whatever evolution takes place in their thinking.

Thirdly, there is a common thread running through these leaders/influencers that basically says that “no one else is talking about the REAL stuff.” This is just flatly false. I just read today in a renown worship leader’s statement, “How could a God of love send people to hell? No one talks about it.” As if he is the first person to ask this? Brother, you are not that unique. The church has wrestled with this for 1500 years. Literally. Everybody talks about it. Children talk about it in Sunday school. There’s like a billion books written on the topic. Just because you don’t get the answer you want doesn’t mean that we are unwilling to wrestle with it. We wrestle with scripture until we are transformed by the renewing of our minds.

And lastly, and most shocking imo, as these influencers disavow their faith, they always end their statements with their “new insight/new truth” that is basically a regurgitation of Jesus’s words?! It’s truly bizarre and ironic. They’ll say “I’m disavowing my faith but remember, love people, be generous, forgive others”. Ummm, why? That is actually not human nature

It is time for the church to rediscover the preeminence of the Word. And to value the teaching of the Word. We need to value truth over feeling. Truth over emotion. And what we are seeing now is the result of the church raising up influencers who did not supremely value truth who have led a generation who also do not believe in the supremacy of truth. And now those disavowed leaders are proudly still leading and influencing boldly AWAY from the truth.

Is it any wonder that some of our disavowed Christian leaders are letting go of the absolute truth of the Bible and subsequently their lives are falling apart? Brothers and sisters in the faith all around the world, pastors, teachers, worship leaders, influencers…I implore you, please please in your search for relevancy for the gospel, let us NOT find creative ways to shape Gods word into the image of our culture by stifling inconvenient truths. But rather let us hold on even tighter to the anchor of the living Word of God. For He changes NOT. “The grass withers and the flowers fade away, but the word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:8)

 CT Article: https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2019/august/leaving-faith-by-losing-focus-part-1.html

How Should We React When People We Know Do This.

 1) Stay calm, do NOT overreact and get in their face.

 2) Pray immediately. For them and for yourself and what you should do about this. Don’t spread it around, take it to God.

 Check yourself and make sure you are standing strong.

 1  Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2  Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:1-2 (ESV)

 3) When you talk to them the most important thing is to try and get to REAL root of the problem. This usually isn’t what they’ll tell you at first. In my experience it’s often tied to personal pain or betrayal inflicted on them by a Christian. Or it’s a tough time and God hasn’t answered their prayers they way they wanted Him too.

4) Ask lots of question and actually LISTEN! Be like Jesus who did exactly the same thing.

5) Reaffirm your love for and friendship with them. Be in this for the long haul if that’s what it takes. Don’t reject them just because they are, or think they are, rejecting the Lord.

6) Main question – where’s Jesus in all this? Often this will bring them to realize this is more of a rejection of the church or other believers than it is a rejection of God or Jesus.

7) Ask them if you can pray for them when talking to them, and tell them you are going to pray for them privately.

Please Get In Touch!

Email – louie@discipleup.org

 


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82

Disciple Up #82

Can Christians Sue Each Other & a Life Lesson From Jeremiah

By Louie Marsh, 11-14-2018

CT article – https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/november-web-only/james-macdonald-harvest-bible-chapel-suing-our-critics-bibl.html

SPEAK TO THE ROOT OF THE SIN – THE REASON PEOPLE DO WRONG:

“How can you say, ‘We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us’? But behold, the lying pen of the scribes has made it into a lie. The wise men shall be put to shame; they shall be dismayed and taken; behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, so what wisdom is in them? Therefore I will give their wives to others and their fields to conquerors, because from the least to the greatest everyone is greedy for unjust gain; from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely. They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace. Jeremiah 8:8-11 (ESV)

 Please Get In Touch!Email – louie@discipleup.org

 


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My book –