MORE AND LESS

ABMORE OF HIM, LESS OF ME

I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. —Philippians 3:8

While I was pastoring a church early in my ministry, my daughter Libby asked me, “Dad, are we famous?” To which I replied, “No, Libby, we’re not famous.” She thought for a moment and then said rather indignantly, “Well, we would be if more people knew about us!”

Poor Libby! Only 7 years old and already struggling with what many of us struggle with throughout life: Who recognizes us, and are we getting the recognition we think we deserve?

Our desire for recognition wouldn’t be such a problem if it didn’t tend to replace Jesus as the focus of our attention. But being absorbed with ourselves crowds Him out of the picture.

Life cannot be all about us and all about Jesus at the same time. This makes Paul’s statement that he counted “everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ” (Phil. 3:8 ESV) strategically important. Faced with a choice between himself and Jesus, Paul intentionally discarded the things that would draw attention to himself so he could concentrate on knowing and experiencing Jesus (vv.7-8,10).

For us, the decision is the same. Will we live to draw attention to ourselves? Or will we focus on the privilege of knowing and experiencing Jesus more intimately?

Lord, thank You for reminding me of the value of knowing You more intimately. Help me to keep myself out of the way as I pursue a deeper walk with You.

Do our choices bring honor to God or to us?

BE GREAT IN THE MIDST OF CRITICISM …

But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you. – (Matthew 5:44, NKJV)

If you’re going to pursue greatness, if you’re going to be a great businessperson, a great teacher, a great parent, a great leader, you have to understand that not everyone is going to cheer you on. I’d love to tell you that your family, friends and co-workers will celebrate you, but that’s not necessarily the case. Some people simply can’t handle your success. As you grow and increase, as God pours out His favor on you, someone will get jealous. Someone will start finding fault. Don’t be surprised if a relative tries to belittle or discredit you. You can’t focus on making everyone around you happy or you’ll start changing and lose sight of what God has placed in your heart.

Remember, your destiny is too great to be distracted by people who are never going to affirm you. Don’t take it personally. It’s not about you. It’s their problem. Shake it off, run your race, and be great anyway.

Having greatness in the midst of criticism begins with forgiveness. Don’t hold a grudge. Bless those who curse you; pray for those who spitefully use you. As you keep doing what is right, God will honor you. He’ll promote you, and you’ll be great in the midst of criticism!

STRIKE IT RICH :

And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. – Galatians 3:29

One of the problems that hung around me for years was poverty. But I remember the day I decided I wasn’t going to be poor anymore. I was reading in the Word where it says that the blessing of Abraham has come upon the Gentiles by Jesus Christ (Gal. 3:14). Then I got down to the twenty-ninth verse where it says, “If ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and HEIRS ACCORDING TO THE PROMISE.” Suddenly the truth hit me. I got so excited I could hardly stand myself.

I turned back over to Deuteronomy 28 and–line by line–I read those promised blessings. “Blessed in the city, blessed in the country. Blessed going out, blessed coming in. Blessed in your barns, blessed in your fields, blessed in all the works of your hands.” Man, I had struck it rich!

I’d been going to school in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and I was living in a dumpy little house nobody would want to live in. But when I read those promises in the Word, I saw the light. I realized God already had redeemed me from the curse of poverty.

Well, that afternoon in my back bedroom, I took my Bible in my hand and I said: “I want to announce to Almighty God in heaven and to Jesus Christ of Nazareth, to all the angels of heaven, to all the demons of hell, and to anybody else that cares anything about hearing it, that from this day forward my needs are met according to God’s riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

I told Him, “I’m standing on Your Word, and I’m looking to You to take care of me. I’ll never ask a man for a dollar.”

That was many years ago and I never have. You know why? Because that decision connected me to the power of God. It’ll do the same for you.

What Todd Bentley & Mark Driscoll Have in Common

The recent Mark Driscoll scandal has caused me to see a connection to the Todd Bentley scandal several years ago.

The sins of Bentley – who was a Charismatic celebrity – were sexual immorality and drunkenness.

The sins of Driscoll – who was a Neo-Calvinist/Reformed celebrity – were emotional abuse, dishonesty, emotional abuse, and verbal assault.

Both Driscoll and Bentley were popular figures in the Christian world.

Both stepped down from ministry.

Both lost thousands of fans.

But both were promoted by respected leaders who have very large platforms.

I want to make two big points in this piece.

1. Sexual immorality and verbal/emotional abuse are equally serious sins in the New Testament. Yet evangelicals by and large have made sexual immorality the big sin, while giving a pass on swearing at people up one side down the other and emotionally abusing them with hurtful words and fits of anger. Paul puts these sins on the same level in Galatians and 1 Corinthians. Sexual immorality is not more serious than verbal abuse.

2. The people who promoted Bentley and made him a star later got off the Bentley ship (excepting Rick Joyner). But to my knowledge, none of them made any public confession that they were part of the problem. They should have asked forgiveness. They should have owned the fact that they gave Bentley a stage. They erred in judgment for promoting Bentley in the first place, exposing him to the Church. This was wrong and they should have come clean with it.

This pattern is repeating itself. The people who promoted Driscoll and made him a star are getting off the Driscoll wagon, but I’ve not seen any admissions or repentance for promoting him in the first place. They knew of his temper problems, his profanity, his harshness in dealing with people, and looked the other way. Why aren’t we seeing confessions by John Piper, Matt Chandler, Rick Warren, and the other people who gave Driscoll a platform? This was a major error in judgment and they were part of the problem.

It’s not too late for those who offered Bentley and Driscoll platforms to make public admissions and ask forgiveness.

I’ve seen some people denounce Driscoll because he believes homosexuality is a sin and that women shouldn’t be part of the workforce. Many leaders in the evangelical world have held these views for centuries, including Anabaptists. Those aren’t wrong even though some may disagree with those positions. Driscoll’s sins are verbal assault, emotional abuse, using profanity against others in fits of rage, and slander. He’s also known to misrepresent the views of other authors without doing due diligence.

Those are the sins that should be focused on in the Driscoll case, not his belief system.

Something is wrong with Christianity when Charismatics and Calvinists who have huge platforms offer them to the wrong people and ignore other people who are gifted, have an important message for our time, and who possess character.

Maybe someday this will change.

Written by Jeffrey Yoder
http://www.radicalresurgence.com/todd-bentley-mark-driscoll/

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