Reflecting on this posting brought several thoughts to mind, but that is what reflection is right (duh)? This reflection will not be exhaustive so as, hopefully, it will not become exhausting to read. Allow me to begin by attempting to establish some common ground for our mutual benefit.
Nicholls (1996) wrote, “We all speak from within some pattern or another. This means that we can never be entirely objective, either about our own beliefs or in evaluating other peoples” (Nicholls, B.). Consequently I found the vast majority of this posting a reminder of what I learned years and years ago (sometimes the hard-way). I have spoken, taught, lectured, ministered, and performed for many years. Mostly I learned from others (mentors) but unfortunately some tough lessons I learned through experience – some experiences were not so pleasant. I am reminded of something written in the fifth chapter of Isaiah, “Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” (Isaiah 5:21, KJV). 2nd Peter warns us that false teachers will arise within the church and secretly introduce destructive heresies (2 Peter 2:1-3, KJV). But back to the point of this reflection.
One of the Pharisees, which was a lawyer, asked Christ Jesus, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (Matthew 22:37-40, KJV). Then a particular Proverb resonates in my mind. "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding . In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6, KJV; emphasis added). Pack (2011) wrote, “Human nature follows the crowd, which follows what is popular” (Pack, D.C.). We all MUST love God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and lean not unto our own understanding. Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes. How I pity, but pray for, those that have no fear of the LORD our God. Whether we are called to pastor a congregation or small group, minister, do missionary service, or serve others in any other capacity for our LORD - WE MUST KEEP READING, STUDYING, SHARING, and PRAYING for greater understanding of God’s Word.
I am so thankful for the LORD'S blessing of having the opportunity to watch, hear, read, and learn from other leaders and true Belivers. How simple following Christ Jesus appears — until one truly encounters a relationship with our heavenly Father and He makes it quite clear that this is nothing to be taken lightly.
Today and tomorrow are nothing compared to eternity! What a responsibility we all have not only as leaders but as followers of Christ Jesus. Wait…aren’t those two, leader and follower, really the same thing only different? True Believers will always be "followers." The difference, as I understand it, is that anyone professing to be speaking, teaching, and leading are held to a very high standard in God's eyes. Religious hypocrisy and self-righteousness have run rampant throughout history and still does. Woe unto those who profess to be speaking and teaching Father’s Word but have a hidden agenda all of their own.God in His justice disciplines sinners.Those that make false claims about their love for God will suffer punishment at the judgment. So my understanding is yes, they, leader and follower, are the same thing - only different. What makes them the same is what God requires of His true Believers whether one is a leader or not.
Sharing the gospel is not a task anyone should take half-heartedly. Using spiritual discernment and not judgment, I read, research, study, and observe many individuals that claim to be part of the clergy. They claim to be spreading the word of God, sharing and teaching the gospel. They claim to be Christians. There is NO blending between the crescent and the Cross. To coexist makes for a great sentiment and bumper sticker but never has, and never will become reality until the return of Christ Jesus. Leaders following Christ Jesus must stick to the written word which is provided to and for us in the Bible. Leaders following Christ Jesus are called to exemplify the qualities of Christ Jesus in their daily lives in all they do. Leaders following Christ Jesus must teach, preach, minister, and evangelize only the written Word of God!
Read, study, and pray for God’s Holy Spirit to grant you greater understanding of what you are reading and studying. Father’s Holy Spirit resides within you already...right now! All we have to do to call on the aid of the Holy Spirit is—BELIEVE! Satan is the god of this world and takes much pleasure in twisting and confusing us. Satan uses everything he has at his disposal and that includes self-righteous members of the clergy and church.
Here is my take-away. Love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and lean not unto our own understanding. Take NO ONE’S word for truth... even mine!! Make the time to prove everything to yourself! God is calling only a select few into the understanding of His truth and to live His way of life. Want to hear it again? "Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might" (Deuteronomy 6:4-5, KJV).
Again? “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment” (Mark 12:30, KJV). There are NO shortcuts and we are ALL in this together. Unfortunately, only a few will get it right.
I thank God for Christian Leaders Institute and pray for its continued success. Tithe where you receive the true word of God brethren – every penny helps save a soul – and that soul just might be yours!