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Topical - Philosophy of Ministry (Part 1)

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Introduction:

Just a few of the practical things.  If you will take out the first page on the top it reads “Philosophy of Ministry” and then Roman Numeral I the Purpose of the Class.  We will go over the requirements.  Now, the purpose of the class is to help us build a biblical foundation for your ministry.  Whatever ministry that may be.  There are principles whether it’s for somewhere  related to a pastor or some sort of calling but still we need to have our ministry based on the scriptures and so we will set out to look at what the Word of God says about ministry.  And then along with that, the reason we have called it the Philosophy of Ministry is basically what Pastor Chuck has laid down for us, as of ministry and the principles.  As you notice in the handout I  put almost all the materials which will be used have been borrowed, and I put okay stolen from other Godly men of the Body of Christ and so.  These aren’t principles that have originated with me, these are the ones that I have been taught and I believe are effective and will be faced with your ministry.  And those are the topics we will be going over, I may add some, basically the way I’m doing this class which is unlike any of the other classes I do, are basically praying and so Lord what is the topic you would want us to go over this week.  What is it that the students need.  So, this isn’t a class that is necessarily duplicated easy where you have the syllabus, a handout it’s not a real technical class, it’s more to speak to your heart and to give you vision and direction for what the Lord has for you in your ministry.  So, that’s a little bit different so those are the topics that I want to hit, but then again, I have the freedom of not going in any order.  As the Lord begins to impress things upon my heart for that week, that’s what we will cover.  And as I sat down and put some things on the computer today, it’s just like there are too many topics to go over, so it’s not a matter of not enough information, but what is it that is of most importance for us for our time.  There are three (3) texts, the small ones, the easy ones.  The first one is the Ministry of an Assisting Pastor.  Now some of the stuff in here applies directly to someone that is on staff as an Assistant Pastor but at the same time I think there is a lot of principles in here that relate to the attitude that anyone should have in any ministry that is assisting in any aspect of the ministry of somebody else.  And this book I think would save a lot of church strife and division, if it was followed and maintained and we will spend a lot of time focusing in on this little book that was written by Larry Taylor.  Just a powerful book.  And especially if you have a calling to be an assistant pastor, you know I think you have your bible obviously and then this is the next thing that is going to give you a practical insight on how it is to be an effective assistant pastor.  So we will spend some time in that and again that goes over broadly just what anyone in the ministry should be doing.  The other two books, the other one is by Larry Taylor “The Things I Learned From My Pastor”, there are 17, basically they are a page long, but these are 17 principles that your life as a Christian as well as ministry should be based on.  I find myself referring just to go back and rereading this from time to time because it’s so easy to read but yet it just grabs your heart each principle that is there is very powerful and so that you are going to have to read through a couple of times and then Pastor Chuck wrote another small pamphlet called the “The Philosophy of Ministry of Calvary Chapel.”  So here’s what I want you to do with these texts, the requirements, (1) is I want you to be here at every class, I think you need to make a commitment to learn all that we are going to be going through and not just bits and pieces; (2) read the text and (3) summarize the text.  So there’s not a lot of homework here.  Again this class is not designed to be technical and detailed, it’s more for your ministry.  In Pastor Chuck’s book, what I want you to do is read through it, and in any place that you see a principle that he states about ministry, I want you to write that down and write a short definition of it.  It may be that he says “the Word of God should have a prominent place over human experience”, so that’s a principle that you would write down and you would explain what that is.  So, I’m not looking for 10, I’m not looking for 3, I’m looking for as many of the important ones you find within the text.  So simply write what that principle is and then give a brief definition in your own words.  And so that’s Pastor Chuck’s book.  And then Larry Taylor’s books I want you to read the text at least twice and you know I put on here “Commit every principle to memory” I obviously I know you’re not going to do that because there are 50 in one book, 17 in another but you should know these.  I mean that’s the bottom line.  These are dynamite principles that are found in here.  Then I want you to write a summary that will be, oh and also, the homework on this book is due the third week of class.  So, again, this small little books you can sit down and read in one sitting.  Then, Larry Taylor’s book, “The Ministry of an Assisting Pastor”, I want you to read through that twice as well, throughout the next quarter.  And then I want you to write a summary on the principles and I’ve listed them here for you.  I want you to write a little summary of those and for example, Principle No. 1 - Is Have a Servant’s Heart, basically you cannot be in ministry unless you understand that principle.  And then I like Principle No. 2 as well, Look for Things That Need Doing and Do Them.   It doesn’t take much to summarize that, does it?  It’s almost like repeat what it says, but make sure you’ve read through it and you communicate it in your own words.  So rather than being asked to do something, look around and look what the obvious things that need to be done in the ministry to have the things run peaceful and quiet and efficiently.  That’s the type of assistants that anyone in leadership needs.  You know you always want to be going to them and saying “Please do this” it’s like you should figure it out that say, as a Pastor that I’m teaching and some kids running around the sanctuary that someone should say “Hey let’s take care of this situation.”  And you obviously don’t want the Pastor to say “Get that kid and stop him,” someone that’s in the ministry should take care of it or in the usher ministry or simple things.  You come here and you look and there is trash over on the ground or the trash can is spilling over, you could walk right by or you know you could look to things that need to be done and do them so their from serious things to somebody that needs ministry after the service to the very practical things.  One of the things that I will say, because obviously not all of you go to Calvary Chapel La Mirada.  You say, well how do I know what the pastor wants?  Well, I think that if you listen to what he teaches, you eventually find out what is important to him.  And you’ll be able to anticipate the way he likes things, and what’s important to him.  Because you are being discipled by him directly as he is teaching you the scriptures.  And you’ll know what his heart is when he says something, maybe he has to complain about something or praise something you know the things that he basically wants and that’s because you are there in the services hearing the Word of God.  I believe that’s how you link up your heart with the pastor’s heart, not because he has to necessarily sit down with everybody and explain everything that is important to him, but you are hearing the Word of God, and your heart is right along to help complete that vision.  But again, this is an excellent little book.  I like No. 7 - Never Gossip, now how do you summarize that?  Never Gossip.  But read through it and let the Lord speak to your heart and so, I think you get the point.  And then on the last week of class, the little book, again by Larry Taylor “The Things I learned From My Pastor” I want you to write a summary on the 17 Principles that are found here.  And again these are all just foundational truths in the way in which we should be ministering.  The first one is “NOT BY MIGHT, you know that ‘s one of Pastor Chuck’s main thrust of his philosophy of ministry that it is not in the programs, not into our own strength but it’s the power of the Holy Spirit bringing things about and then you go through here and I think they are just meat to chew on.  Second one is the “The Servant of the Lord Must Not Strive.”  And you are trying to accomplish the work in your ministry in your own strength, your frustrated, your burned out and that’s just not the spirit of God working so, these are just jewels.  Like I said, I sat down and I read through this, I probably read through this ten or fifteen times already in my life.  Each time I go back to it, it’s refreshing, it’s like cool water just being splashed on your spirit to encourage you and to get your heart focused.  Now, tonight what I want to look at is, how the Lord has to break us of our own strength and our own dependence.  In our own might and our own power and we will be looking at this short handout which says on the top - Study No. One - The Breaking of a Man Of God and the quotes there I think show you the truth of what we are going to be looking at tonight.  Tozer spoke about any man that the Lord is going to use in a great way must first wound him deeply and I remember reading that as I started ministry and I thought, What in the world does that mean?  But you find out.  And I’m not going to go into too many details, but basically through things I’ve experienced, I have like a deep wound on just, all I know how to describe it is that my soul has been marred and what looked like a defeat, and what looked like what in the world is God doing with the life and the ministry that’s come out of that is, since that point has been incredible.  I think the Lord has done more in this last year through our ministry than 10 years combined.  And that’s because I think the Lord brought us as a church, Calvary La Mirada through some difficult, you know, the valley experience, and out of that, after that when the Lord stripped away and took away from our ministry, where there wasn’t a lot left.  And you look around and you say “What’s going on?”, and then the Lord starts adding life, but in a more powerful way than you could have ever thought so that, When I stand here even here tonight, just being in this building is just a miracle of God.  It’s God’s work, but often times before God does something powerful, there’s a crushing that takes place first.  And that’s going to happen in your life, if you feel called of God, you are going to get thrashed.  That’s the bottom line, that’s Pastor Bryan’s quote.  And I used to be excited when people would come to me and say you know I feel called to the Lord to go into the ministry and I used to say “Oh, Great!”, you know, what can we do to help you?  And now I say “That poor guy” he/she’s in for a few lessons, going to learn some deep lessons, but those lessons, every person has to pass through, so whatever decree the Lord is going to use us, there has to be that humbling and it comes in the least likely ways because that’s the most effective.  It comes from the least likely circumstances, catches you off-guard and God just wants to break you down.  I like what Martin Luther said, :”Prayer, Study and Suffering” make a minister.  I used to say “Prayer, and Study” but yes, it is suffering as well.  When the apostle Paul went on weak, that’s when I’m strong.  And, Jesus apart from me you can do nothing.  And “:nothing” in the Greek means NOTHING.  And so, we need to realize that if we are going to be used in the Lord, there needs to be a depth of humility of heart and mind, our thoughts, our deeds, our actions.  And we are not born that way, we are born to rely upon our self, we’re born self-sufficient.  And even in Salvation there has to be that humbling, that breaking that we will look to Christ and for many of us we fought it, or we thought we didn’t need it, I’m doing okay, or I’ll make it through the end but you know, God had to come in break and the stronger the will is the more the pressure he has to put upon your life.  And I borrowed a term that Pastor Chuck used, he spoke about learning an easy lesson the hard way.  And as we have a strong will God will break it because he is much stronger than us, isn’t he?  And he loves us too much for us to walk in self sufficiently and pride and self determination.  And so He will allow circumstances to be created to rise up that will bring the great pressure upon your life and what the Lord is trying to teach us is that, apart from Him we could do nothing and what we think is a defeat is actually a stripping of the way for a better life, a stronger life and more fruit to come to us.  See, God’s ways are not our ways.  He works in the opposite way than we think.  And look at John Chapter 15, there is a lot of things we could look at here, but we want to focus on the “Priority of Bearing Fruit.”  John, Chapter 15 vs. 1 - “I am the true vine and my Father is the vinedresser, every branch in me that does  not bear fruit he takes away and every branch that bears fruit, he prunes.”  And he prunes it as you well know, that it may bear more fruit.  See, but in the pruning process it doesn’t look like more fruit is being born, it looks like it’s being taken away.  And actually that’s the process that God uses, He stripes it away!  You know, I’m not too much of a gardener, I’ll go out there and hack things away, but in this house that I was renting in La Mirada a few years back, I had these fruit trees and they bore pretty good fruit the first year that I was there, that’s because the people before me took care of , and fertilized and did what they were supposed to.  Well, right next to this apple tree that I liked started to grow this tree, and I thought, wow this really looks great, and so this tree just started growing out of the ground and I think it was like a Maple tree or something, I really liked it.  But what happened is that the apple tree started to die.  And it looked like it was all green right in that section.  What that thing was, it was from the neighbors tree it was sucking the life out of that apple tree and before the apple tree died, I went out there and cut it out and that’s when the tree started coming back to life, but it was bare there for a time.  And so often, that’s what the Lord is doing in our life and when we think its bare, He’s actually stripping away the stuff that’s not needed that’s taking away from the life and the power from the Spirit of God within our life.  And so it’s hard then to understand, its’ a confusing time.  But it’s a process that we go through, over and over and over again.  And that’s the good news of the Lord is that He’s not going to leave you in the state that you are in right now but the bad news is, it’s going to hurt, He’s going to have to cut away.  And nobody likes to be pruned back.  And sometimes even ministries can have the appearance outwardly of fruitfulness, but God looks at it and He sees that’s not the real life of the spirit and strip this stuff away and lets bring the real work of God.  And so, you’ll just have to ride along as the Lord does those things.  It says you already cling because of the Word which I have spoken to you abide in me and I in you as a branch cannot bare fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine neither can you unless you abide in me.  I am the vine, you are the branches, He abides in Me and I in Him bares much fruit.  And so, there’s the encouragement, as we abide in Christ, we’re linked up to His life and His power and that intimate relationship with Him there’s fruit that’s going to be born, and God will cut away the things that are displeasing to Him and then more fruit will come.  As we continue in that process there will be much fruit for without me you can do nothing.  And the word “do” there is the word dutimi and it means to be able or I like this, to have power by virtue of ones own ability and resources.  So, by your own resources, and your own abilities, we can do nothing.  And the Lord has spoken this truth to us, but it’s not something that you read and then instantly understand.  I think you understand it to a point, and then God brings the hammer down and the tough times and your confused and you go through that pruning process and you look like God’s taken away once you make it through and you see the fruit that God bares through your life, then you begin to realize “Oh I see the process and the plan of God.”  But I honestly do not think this is a parable that you read and you ever fully comprehend it.  Because I don’t believe that we know our own hearts as God does.  We do not understand how much we are always thinking about ourselves or trusting in our own abilities and resources.  And so God creates these pressures, because He wants to teach us His truth so that even more fruit will be born.  And so a lot of the time, we are the ones who are in the way, we’re our own worst enemy.  But again, God is gracious and He will cut those areas away.  And this is a process I think for our entire ministry as well as for our entire life.  So when the Lord starts pruning back and starts looking bare what we need to do is say “Praise the Lord” God’s getting rid of the stuff that we think is important.  God may say, that’s not needed here.  That ‘s not needed in this ministry.  And he takes it out and replaces it with the fruit that he wants to bare.  You just need to let the Lord do that.  You know that Lord knows the hearts of people, the Lord knows His plan for a church, for a ministry and I believe it is very focused and very direct and God has a very specific plan for your life, there are certain things that he wants you do to and there are certain things He does not want you to do.  A lot of times we get involved in good things ministry, but it’s not baring fruit if it’s not what the Lord has enabled us to do those good works which He has prepared us for in advance to walk in then we’re wasting our time.  And on the surface it may look like maybe there’s some foliage there, but God says “That’s got to go.”  That’s not of my spirit.  This is not an easy lesson to learn, this is a passage I found myself going back over and over and over again, mediating on that “for without Me you can do nothing.”  Because again, we are born with a nature thinking that we can, and do God has to work that out of us.  I honestly think that to the degree that it gets worked out the greater amount of fruit God will bare through our life.  And as I look out at the entire church, I shared this with you before in classes as well as in messages, the church is not out of place of humility, saying “God we need your Power,” their looking for answers, their looking for programs, their looking for gimmicks, and that church growth we would _______ the country.  You know, there’s a church, I don’t even know where it’s at, I know the name of it, Willow Creek and it’s a very large ministry and so people equate with that large ministries success.  So some people even fly from California all around the United States to fly and go to seminars and learn how to grow your church.  Those are some of the topics, “How to Grow Your Church.”  You know when I read the bible “apart from Me, you cannot grow your church, you can do absolutely nothing, rely upon the Spirit of God, so people’s eyes are being taken off the Lord and relying upon men and their relying this thing.  The bottom line is some of the stuff works in a practical way.  But if it works, what are the people saying, they’re saying “Oh this program is so great,” it ‘s not like God’s Awesome the Lord’s doing this and the Lord’s doing that.  Isn’t that what you want from your life?  And from your ministry?  With people saying “The Lord’s doing this and then the Lord’s doing that.”  And you’re just kind of watching the Lord do all this stuff, taking you really by surprise.  Rather than putting your confidence, here’s a program that I have, this is the one that is really going to tip things off.  And so, we have to have this deep part of our nature that God would ingrain that into our hearts.  For apart from his we can do absolutely nothing and let’s look at a couple of men that the Lord worked this in.  Luke Chapter 22 vs. anytime you need an example, Peter usually does pretty well doesn’t he?  Because we can relate to him, can’t we?  Luke Chapter 22 vs 31 - and the Lord said Simon, Simon indeed Satan has asked for you that he may sift you as wheat.  And do the Lord may even use the devil or demonic forces, spiritual warfare to bring this humbling about.  I think quite often, He does.  I mean, haven’t you noticed that in the scriptures this is sort of a pet peeve of my own, you don’t find people going there and binding the devil.  The Bible says “submit to God, to resist the devil and he will flee from you, resist him in the faith.”  So, when we are being attacked, we need to run to God for His power and His protection and live our life according to the scriptures.  That’s the same frame you see in the life of Jesus when the devil came against Him, He didn’t say get out of here, I bind you.  He say’s the Word of God says this and he said it three times.  So He resisted him in the faith.  In the truth of scripture.  So the Lord will allow the enemy to attack our life but He has a plan for it.  Now the enemy is seeking to steal, kill and destroy.  But God’s going to allow the enemy of our soul to bring in an attack so that good can be brought out of it.  See, but we don’t want that, do we?  This is the bottom line, what do you really value?  Do you value comfort?  Or do you value being effective in the Kingdom of God?  If you want to be comfortable, don’t be in the ministry.  If you want to see fruit being born into your life?  Don’t expect to be comfortable.  Expect to be attacked.  Especially as you step your foot out and the Lord’s going to use you in reaching people that need to know the Lord and you know, you go into a prison and you think the enemy is going to just sit back and just watch that?  He’s going to want to thrash your life.  Those people are not only physically bound in that place, many of them are spiritually bound and tormented and you come in with the freedom here.  It’s like putting a big target on you.  And the enemy is going to attack, to try and stop you.  Especially if you are starting up a ministry, that’s when you’re going to find really all sorts of attacks are going to come upon your life.  All these things that seem to be nice in order, you say, I’m going to do this ministry, watch out.  All of a sudden you are going to have trouble in your family, you’re going to have trouble in the work, you’re going to have trouble with your finances, you have trouble with your finances anyway, so that’s just life.  But all these things will start to go chaotic.  And you’ll be wondering what’s going on and the Lord is allowing it again.  It’s time to teach us we need His Strength, and His Power and His Might.  So in doing, Satan may ask to sift you as wheat, but I had prayed for you that your faith should not fail.  And when you have returned to me, strengthen your brethren.  And there’s a problem, but he said to him, Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.  Now, I don’t think we are making that bold claim because Peter already made it for us and realized how foolish it is.  But the Lord just told him, Peter you are going to stumble, you’re not going to fall completely, the Lord said that to him.  The Lord said the Devil wants to sift you as wheat, but that’s not going to happen but your not going to fail, but after you return to me.  See he predicts Peter’s fall here.  The Lord knew what was in Peter’s heart and so there is a lot of grace in the eyes of Jesus Christ here, knowing that Peter , what he was going to do but yet didn’t set him aside.  He knew he was going to be under spiritual attack.  And after you’ve returned to me, then you’ll be used to strengthen your brethren.  And although the Lord predicts his downfall Peter says “it’s not going to happen to me,” and obviously, that’s the problem.  Peter’s confidence was in himself.  I’m ready to do this.  That’s what the Lord has to strip out of us completely and he would use the demonic forces to attack our life to bring that work of humility.  We are to have no confidence in our self but we are to realize that our confidence is only in the Lord.  Then, he said, I tell you Peter when the rooster will not crow this day before you’ll deny me three times that you know me.  Now look over in Matthew Chapter 26 vs. -- I remember pursuing classes on ministry and one of the guys says, My role is to talk you out of going into the ministry.  Again, when I was first starting out, I thought, that’s a dumb statement.  The more I understood what he was saying later, because he said if I could talk you out of it, you’re not called.  And if I could talk you out of it, you’re not going to make it.  The only ones that are going to make it in the ministry are those who are called of God because your life like I said is going to be a direct target of the enemy.  You may be sitting here right now, I’m willing to die for the Lord, just like Peter.  It doesn’t matter what you’re willing and ready do, yea, right now in your heart you are but wait until that pressure and attack comes upon your life, then what are you able to do?  It’s not a matter of what you’re willing to do, you need this power of God to sustain you to do His will.  And even Jeremiah, I love that passage where he basically said “that’s it Lord, I’m not speaking anymore in your name.”  Then he said but His word is like a fire in me.  I was weary of holding it back and I could not.  He went under persecution because he told the people “you’re under God’s judgment for 70 years” and God’s not releasing until then.  The false prophets are saying, “Hey, the Lord’s deliverance is right around the corner, he obvious listened to the false prophets and persecuted Jeremiah.  So, if you’re a trader telling us that this foreign nation is going to take us away for seventy years, and he basically wanted to give up.  He says these people are thrashing me.  He threw them in a pit at one point, left them there to die, wouldn’t listen when he’s speaking the Word of God, and that’s one of the things you are going to have to get over.  You have to get over the idea that everyone is going to love you and accept you.  You’re going to say “I’m trying to serve people, I’m trying to love them, trying to do good for them,” it doesn’t matter.  Things are going to happen.  Circumstances change and the only thing that’s going to sustain you is not your desire to be in ministry but the fact that God’s called you and the Spirit of God is resting upon your life.  Apart from that, it’s impossible.  It’s not a human thing, it’s obviously a supernatural thing, for whatever ministry, whether that’s a pastor, or assistant pastor or being in evangelism or whatever ministry it is.  You have to know that you are called of God and he will strengthen you supernaturally accomplish it.  And in Matthew 26 there is a great contrast between Jesus and the apostles.  vs. 36, and Jesus came with them to a place called Gesemethe and said to the disciples, sit here while I go and pray over there.  And He took with Him Peter, and the two sons of Zebedie and he began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed.  Then He said to them, my soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death, stay here and watch with me.  So He went a little farther and fell on his face and prayed saying “Oh My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me, nevertheless not as I will but as you will.  Then he came to His disciples and found them asleep.  Now, it’s interesting in the gospel of Luke Chapter 22 vs. 45 it says, the disciples are sleeping because they were filled with sorrow.  They were really pretty sorrowful about the way the events were turning out.  The hostility against Jesus, the rejection against Jesus.  It began to overrun them physically.  And do it wasn’t like it was late and they just couldn’t stay with it, but the pressures of this warfare that was going on were overwhelming physically for them.  Jesus, I believe it’s the gospel of Luke He said this is the hour of darkness, right in this garden here.  I believe this is when there was a greatest spiritual warfare that has ever been upon the face of the earth is right here in the garden.  Jesus called it the hour of darkness.  That’s when obviously the devil was there to try and get Jesus to do something other than go to the cross.  And Jesus is praying, Father, not My Will, Your Will be done.  Now you can’t blame Him for praying if there is another way, now is the time, show it to me, but if not, Your Will Be Done.  And the disciples are overwhelmed with not just the lateness of the hour but I believe the intensity of the spiritual warfare that is going on.  And I think sometimes we think we’re tired but really what it is, we need to pray.  These guys should have been praying.  Ministry is going to be physically draining at times, but I think one of the best ways to rejuvenate yourself is through prayer, seeking God, spending time with Him, being refreshed by Him.  And apart from that, there is no way we can make it, that’s for sure.  And Jesus finds him asleep and said to Peter, What, could you not watch with me one hour?  Watch and pray less you enter into temptation.  So he warns them and notice that the Spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak.  See that’s the problem, we look at it now and say “I want to do ministry” and the Spirit is willing and inside God’s called us and He’s given us a strong desire to be used by Him but there’s a problem, there’s a weakness of our flesh. Because there’s going to be those times like this when we should be praying when we’re asleep.  And right then, that’s when temptation is coming upon them.  And Jesus is resisting it through prayer.  The disciples are sleeping and they are all going to be caught.  So the battle gets intense and Jesus tells us a great secret here, we need to pray because even though we have the right desire, we don’t have the ability to carry out those desires.  And there’s a big difference between desires and fulfilling those desires in ministry.  There are a lot of people who have a lot of good ideas and a lot of good desires in the church.  But sometimes those desires and those thoughts never make it out of the pew.  Because the flesh is weak.  And so, here we are told we need to pray.  These guys didn’t heed Jesus’ warning and they’re going to fall.  Peter’s going to fall hard.  He went away a second time and prayed saying “Oh My Father, this cup cannot pass away from me unless I drink it, you’re will be done.  And He came and found him asleep again for there eyes were heavy.  So he left them, went away again, prayed the third time saying the same words.  Then He came to His disciples and said to them “Are you still sleeping.?  And I guess it just depends on the way you read that, you think Jesus said “YOU GUYS STILL SLEEPING!”  I don’t’ think He said it with a mean voice in Him.  I think He just came and stated it as a fact.  You guys are still sleeping…okay.  So the battle gets intense and Jesus tells us a great secret here, we need to pray because even though we have the right desire we don’t have the ability to carry out those desires.  And there is a big difference between desires and fulfilling those desires in ministry.  There is a lot of people who have a lot of good desires in the church, but sometimes those desires and those thoughts never make it out of the pew.  Because the flesh is weak, and so here we’re told we need to pray.  These guys did not heed Jesus’ warning and they are going to fall.  Peter’s going to fall hard.  He went away again a second time and prayed “Oh My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from me unless I drink it, Your Will Be Done.”  And he came and found them asleep again for their eyes were heavy.  So He left them, went away again for the third time saying the same words.  Then He came to his disciples and said to them “Are you still sleeping and resting now?”  And I guess, it all depends on the way you read that. You think that Jesus said “YOU GUYS STILL SLEEPING?” I don’t think He said it with a mean voice in it.  I think He just came and stated “Oh, you guys are still sleeping, okay.”  Behold the hour is at hand, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners, rise, let us be going.  Interesting term that Matthew used here in vs. 46, it’s a military term.  It was a term that how an army would advance to meet to meet an opposing army that would come after them.  And Jesus, He knows his enemies are coming to turn Him over to be crucified and He’s like that military, He’s going forth to meet His enemies without fear, His heart is already determined to do the will of God..  These knuckleheads, Larry, Moe, Curley and the rest of them, they’re going to be walking with Jesus, but they’re going to flee here in a minute.  Because their heart wasn’t submitted through prayer.  And so you see the importance of a prayer here, Jesus is ready to give His life over to these guys and all these other guys are going to take off.  Now Peter does take the sword out, but that’s just the energy and the might of the flesh, that’s not what the Lord wanted.  He wasn’t praying, again the desire was there but in order to fulfill what the Lord had for him in the spiritual sense, the flesh is weak.   He says “rise, let us be going, see who betrays me is at  hand.”  And you know the rest of the story and Peter was greatly broken and humbled.  And the Lord comes to him in that place of humility and says Peter, I ‘m going to put you on six months probation, …… there are some counselors over here at this retreat that we’ll stick you with, and no…. he just said “Do you love me?”  and he sent him in and said “Take Care of My Sheep.”  And he restored him, and Peter was obviously a different  man from that point but obviously with Pentecost the filling of the Holy Spirit would be so crucial and mandatory for ministry but this God event changed Peter.  He wasn’t making any great boast about himself after that.  He learned that the Spirit may be willing but Peter is ready to fight to death but that wasn’t the work in the Spirit of God, his heart was willing but the flesh was weak.  To be able to resist the Spiritual temptation that was going on.  And so, obviously here He is going to use demonic forces, spiritual warfare to break us down. But he doesn’t do it to strip us down, he does it to make us a man of God that he desires us to be.  And apart from that, I don’t think we’re going to progress in our ministry, we’re not going to mature to the point that the Lord is desiring to bring maturity to us.  Like I said, especially if you feel the call of God, God has to totally strip every ounce of trust  in our self, out of us, if He is going to effectively use us for His plan.  And that’s again, a brutal, brutal process.  And we’re all still going through it.  The apostle Paul, turn over to 2 Corinthians, Chapter 1 vs. 8 – It says, “For we do not want you to be ignorant brethren of our trial which came to us in Asia which was a burden beyond measure, above strength” for the apostle Paul this must have been some tough thing because he’s been through a lot.  He says but these specific ones were above strength.  So that we despaired even of life.  I’m not sure if he thought, I just want to die or I’m not going to make it through this.  You find both of those attitudes within the scriptures when God works on people.  And even Elijah the Prophet, he wanted to die.  Jonah also wanted to die,  God  was working on Jonah a different way, but he was transforming his heart or trying to.  It comes to the point where it’s overwhelming, life gets hard.   If you’re not in the ministry, life is hard, isn’t it?  And some of those are foolish enough to add ministry to the problems that life brings.  And it gets beyond strength.  Despairing even of life.  Yes, we have the sentence of death at ourselves and here is why.  See the word “that”, here is the purpose, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead.  Again, God is using circumstances of life that are beyond our strength and abilities so that we would not trust in our self.  See, Paul has been in the ministry for a time and he’s been planting churches.  This is 2 Corinthians, he’s been through at least one missionary journey, on his second missionary journey, planted churches, raised up elders, and he says – thou I do teach us this.  So, this is not something that you just learn automatically in a class where you go through a trial and difficulty and say I got it.  You know what happens, the next wave of overwhelming circumstances come and then you realize I think I’m learning it again, you learn it deeper and deeper and deeper until I think it just becomes a part of your mindset that you are weak and cannot handle what the Lord has asked you to do and you do not even attempt or try to in your own strength.  But that takes getting pounded.  See, I know for myself, when I became a Christian even before I was a Christian, I was a very determined individual.  Whatever obstacle in my way, as a young kid, I didn’t let that stop me.  Whatever task that was given to me, I’d accomplish it somehow and I always went above and beyond in whatever I was doing.  Every employee that hired me, I worked harder than any other employee there at that level.  I remember being hired at Alpha Beta being a busboy, I came in and after 2 weeks, all the other box boys were mad at me because the boss was getting on them, saying “Why don’t you work like he does?” When I would go out and get the carts, I would run out there and get them and these guys were out there  . . .  S-L-O-W-., you know, I didn’t want to be a box boy for the rest of my life.  I wanted to be the manager of the box boys.  I was always pushing, see but when you do that in Christ, you find that you’re pushing against God, and God may want you here and you’re trying to accomplish all this.  And that was the nature that I had, obviously I still have it but I’m trying to submit that to God’s plan and God’s timing so when I came to the ministry it was like, man I’m going to do all this for God and I had so much vision and so much things I want to accomplish, you know in the next couple of years I really boy we should really get some things going.  And, I learned it takes time.  It takes a long time.  God’s work, I think sometimes the slower it is the greater the quality is.  God wants quality not just quantity.  I think he wants both.  But he wants quality.  We want to rush through it, we want to get the outward circumstances and it looks good, but God says I want everything straight and I want everything right.  I want it done by my Word and the Power of My Spirit.  And I think I was just like a wound up toy.  Say the first five years of my ministry, and I had all these things I wanted to accomplish and do and I think the Lord just kind of like wound up the spring and let me try all this stuff and I ended up with a lot of frustration.  And see, I have the right desires, the desire to serve the Lord but I was trying to accomplish and build it in my own strength.  The thing you have to watch out for is God will bring to the surface; this will begin to show your heart what’s the motive in that.  Why are you working so hard, why do you want to accomplish that so fast?  And sometimes we find out that we really don’t want to accomplish it for God’s glory but we want to accomplish it so people will look at us, “Hey, look how spiritual that person is?”  And when God starts rising that stuff to the surface that’s when you want to quit and say “Why am I in the ministry, Look how rotten this heart is” God doesn’t rise these things to the surface to shame us, he does it to clean it out.  To give us a good heart, a heart towards Him and that’s when you know the Lord is preparing you for something.  When He starts showing you your motives and you look at your heart and say “Man that’s sick.”  Then I think that is one of the reasons that God keeps a lot of things really small at the beginning.  See, not many people could handle God’s prosperity.  Because what do they do?  I’m so smart, look what I accomplished,  I’ll write my book and you can do the same thing.  And it’s just passing on confidence in the flesh.  And so God keeps things small and than that touched your heart.  What if you started a bible study and only one person comes?  Do you teach that one person?  Or do you teach being mad because only one person in there?  And so the Lord makes you look at your heart doesn’t he?  See, we want maybe 1,000, give me 2,000, give me 100 or whatever the number is and then I’ll be happy.  No you won’t.  God wants you to pour just as much energy and effort as if the room was packed as with one individual.  And that’s when the motive begins to be tested and God starts working this stuff and so it’s rising to the surface so He can clean it out.  That’s a process that we all go through and we always have to be guarding our hearts.  The Bible says we don’t even know our own heart.   And you may think, well, I’m not that way, only the Lord knows and if your heart is that way, he’ll clean it out if he’s going to use you.  Because he wants that vessel that is set for His glory and His purposes.  Again, these are not lessons that we just come to learn by reading the Bible.  I think it’s the genuine work of the Spirit of God, the circumstances he brings to bare in our life.  Let’s look at 2 Corinthians Chapter 3 vs. – I hope I’ve discouraged you enough tonight.  2 Corinthians Chapter 3 vs. 4-6  because after God brings us through this process, we’re able to state what Paul says in vs. 4-6 “and we have such trust through Christ toward God, not that we are sufficient our ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves.”  See what happens after you get thrashed?  You get humbled, you’re broken, then when something good happens, you don’t take the credit for it because you realize that it’s not coming from me, I know myself, God’s shown me my own heart.  God’s shown me my own weaknesses, I have no power and you’re able to totally state this, it’s not from us.  It’s not as being from our selves, our sufficiency is from God who has made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant.  And that means by God’s Grace and we will look at the call of God in relation to the Grace of God one week.  That’s why we’re sufficient.  Not as it’s from us, but because God has called us, God empowers us, and he exercises continuous Grace upon our lives so our sufficiency is from God.  The calling that He has for your life your sufficient for that.    But where does that sufficiency come from?  From God himself.  So you realize, I’m not in the ministry because I study harder than anyone else.  I’m not in the ministry because I have a greater dedication or zeal than anybody else.  The only reason that you have a desire to study with the degree that you do, or the desire to serve the Lord with the capacity that you do, but because God has planted it there.  That sufficiency does not come from you.  See, when I first became a Christian, I did not understand that there was a difference between a calling of God and being saved. Because mine was a package deal, the Lord just said “Come to me” and I knew that He meant that I want your entire life from this time forward, yes to be saved but your entire life is mine.  And so in my mind,  I didn’t make a difference because  it was a life I got saved and then later on, Oh the Lord wants to use me, it was just that.  And I was responding to that call. It’s like when Jesus walked up the mountain and said “Follow me.”  It was like He left what he was doing and then followed the Lord.  That’s what I experienced.   I started seeing other people around me not having that same intensity to do the things of the Lord.  And what happened was because the enemy wants to take advantage.  I thought well I must be something special.  I read the bible more than these people and they’ve been saved longer, I have the zeal, that fire in me ready to go and they don’t have that, what’s wrong with them?  I study and I want to learn what the scripture say and I thought that sufficiency was coming from me and that’s why God was calling me.  Now realizing that God put it in there.  And now, that helps me understand that within the work of the ministry of the church, I don’t need to push anybody, I don’t need to drive them, I want God to speak to their heart and God call them to that ministry.  That’s where the desire will come.  Because a shepherd in the ancient time walked in front of the sheep and just walked along and they followed him.  He isn’t back there with a big rod, COME ON!  And MOVE IT! . .  He just walked and they knew His voice and they followed him.  And that’s how the Lord wants his sheep to be treated today.  So someone sits on the church for 10 or 15 years then that’s their loss, I don’t really desire that for them, but I’m not going to shake them.  What’s wrong with you, God has to work that in their heart.   Let sufficiency come from  Him.  And so, maybe you’re thinking, Hey I’m pretty special, I made it through the first year,” and we had a lot of people when we started and some of these flakes dropped out, what’s wrong with them.  The reason you’re here is because God’s Graced you and He’s kept that burden in your heart.  We just can’t claim anything from being from ourselves.  See how it so suddenly seeps in and even in ministry that’s because we are carnal.  We were born with that sinful nature that wants to think of ourselves, trust in ourselves and build ourselves up.  The Spirit of God wants to come in and squish all that junk out.  And we could say like Paul, there is no sufficiency in me but I have confidence that God has upon my life because He made me sufficient.  He’s given me what I need to do the work of the ministry.  And He’s given me enough Grace so when I stumble He doesn’t throw me out of the ministry, he picks me up.  For I’m not a cut above, there is nothing unique or special about me other than God just said “You’re the One that I want to Use.”  Don’t get too prideful for that because He said to Balem’s donkey, You’re the donkey that I want to use.  And God’s been using a lot of donkey since then, hasn’t he.  So, it’s not us, its God.  And so Paul says our sufficiency does not come from us, but God has made us sufficient.  That’s a beautiful thing to understand, because again, when anything happens you just shake your head and say “I don’t know why” or when things aren’t happening like you want them to happen you’re not frustrated and mad and saying “Well, gosh, I study, I do this and there’s all this frustration and there’s not all this fruit that should be taking place.  Because you realize that “Hey, God’s going to do, what God’s going to do.”  And it’s not the amount of energy and time and effort you put into it, if God’s in it, He’s going to bless it and prosper it, that ‘s where the sufficiency comes from.  And the other passage that is there is listed is one that you should all know by heart.  2 Corinthians 12:7-10 – Less I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given me a messenger of Satan to buffet  me, less I be exalted above measure.  So, a good thing turned out to be something bad.  The revelations that Paul received would have caused him to think highly of himself.  And so God knew that about his nature about man’s nature and so He sent him a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet him.  I don’t know exactly what that is,  there are many guesses, but you know it’s a messenger of Satan.  And I think that if God is going to use your life as well, in great ways, you will have spiritual attacks to keep you humble.  It’s a good thing.  It says concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me and He said “My Grace is Sufficient for You, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”  Again, this is one of those passages, it’s like John 15:5, you just don’t learn it by reading it, it’s a process, we learn it deeper and deeper and deeper, and so often times God will say, No, I’m not willing to change the circumstances, what I’m going to do, is I’m going to change you, in the midst of the circumstances.  We say, Lord make my life easy and I’ll change and God say’s no, I’m going to keep the circumstances just the way they are, they are designed for you to bring about the change God’s desiring.   And it’s that breaking down that we’re not trusting in ourselves but we’re trusting in God.  For my strength is made perfect in weakness, therefore most gladly, I would rather boast  in my infirmities that the Power of Christ may rest me.   Therefore, I take pleasures in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs and persecution and distresses for Christ sake for when I am weak, then I am strong.  So, we even get to the point where we value the work of God so much that even when distress comes, we take pleasure in it.  Not in the event itself, but in the work that God is going to accomplish through it.  And I pray that our hearts will just be sold out for Jesus Christ to that extent.  That we’re saying Lord whatever it takes, if it takes infirmities reproaches so that the Power of God may rest on my then I’ll rejoice in that .  Take my life, do with it whatever you want I’m a slave, I’m a servant,  I’ve been bought with a price, my life is yours.  I hold nothing back.  And the Lord will take you up on that, I believe.  Let’s look at another passage of Paul that comes to mind.  Look at Philippians 4:13 – I’m sure as we read it you see it and you know it by heart.   It says, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  What did I teach you in the first year about interpreting any passages in the Bible?   What’s the most important thing?  Context.  This is a great verse.  People throw it around and its quoted and it’s memorized which is good, but I think as you read it in the context it’s even more beautiful.  Paul’s not only talking about suffering about being abased, he says I can do all things in that state, I’m going to learn to be content in whatever state I’m in whether I’m living it up or whether I’m suffering need.  So, he could also do all things through Christ who strengthens him even in the midst of being blessed or prospered.   Now, I have found that that’s a greater danger when the time is difficult or hard, is when God is blessing your life.  It’s harder to handle that.  There’s not many people that could handle God’s blessing.  It takes the Power of Christ to handle it.  Because our nature wants to say “Look at this Kingdom that I’ve built, like Nebekenezar walking around in his palace saying “Look what I’ve built.”  And those very words were spoken to him and God came upon him and he was put into the wilderness for seven years and he acted like an animal and he went insane.  And he says four times in that chapter so that he would know that the most high rules in the kingdom of men and God appoints over it, even the lowest of men.  He had to humble him to teach him that truth.  That’s the nature of man in his worst form.  Look at this kingdom that I have built.  Look at this ministry that I have built.  And none of us our beyond that.  And I’ll tell you what, as I watch TV. and these guys are, some of these ministries are incredibly huge, I mean just the churches that they show on TV.  I’m not impressed by that, what I do is I watch the individual, first I watch what they teach and that doesn’t last long, me watching them.  But then, I just kind of watch the nature of the person.  I’m not trying to judge their heart but do I see the nature of Christ?  Is there that brokenness and humility?  Some of these guys strut around like Roosters, with their chest popped out and it’s just SELF is leaking out.  And it’s because they are prospering in some form and not everyone can prosper and handle it.  I think that’s a great danger when God is blessing your life and blessing your ministry, then your head wants to swell and say “Look at what I’m doing, I must be special, I pray harder than everybody else, I study harder than everybody else, I’m better at this than anyone else, those are just lies to get you off track.  And the only way we’re able to handle abounding is through Christ who strengthens us.  And I do believe that it takes the power of God even in a greater way, see when we’re getting thrashed, we humbling ourselves, we’re falling upon God, but when the time of prosperity that’s when we relax a little.  We have to be careful, we need Christ’s strength during those times.  I like to quote Spurgeon, he about summarizes everything for us in a beautiful way.  He says this “We would like to be rid of all of our infirmities which to our superficial conception appear to be great hindrances to our usefulness.  And yet, it is most questionable if we bring forth any fruit unto God without them..”  What we think is a hindrance to the ministry of God blessing our ministry is the very thing that is going to help bring about God’s fruitfulness.  God’s ways are not our ways.  And as much as I love all of you, you are all filled with pride to a degree.  We’re all filled with a degree of self sufficiency and God wants to drive that out of us, and He’s going to use hindrances, trials, infirmities, spiritual warfare to bring that out, to rid it out of our hearts.  And we need to be those that will embrace that and say “Lord,  I do not want to be the same person that I am today that I am next year.  I’m going to learn how to depend upon you and your Grace in a greater way this year, the next year and the next year.  When God calls you, what else is there in life?  What else can you pour all of your time and energy and effort into that you’re really going to find some sort of satisfaction and joy in.  When God calls you, you just get tunnel vision and that’s what you’ve got to do.  If that’s what the hand of God is upon your life then the Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak and so God is going to teach us how not to depend upon our own strength and our own might.  Turn over to the book of Isaiah, another way that God will humble us, you know this passage where God’s Way’s our not our ways.  And as much as I love all of you, you’re all filled with pride to a degree.  We’re all filled with a degree of self sufficiency and God wants to drive that out of us and He’s going to use hindrances, trials, infirmities, spiritual warfare to bring that about, to rid it out of our heart.  And we need to be those that will embrace it and say “Lord, I do not want to be the same person that I am today that I was last year.”  We are to learn how to depend upon you and your Grace in a greater way this year, the next year and the next year.  Because when God tells you what else is there in life?  Where else can you pour all your time and energy and effort into where you’re really going to find some kind of satisfaction and joy.  When God calls you just get tunnel vision and that’s what you have to do.  If that what the hand of God is upon your life, then the Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak and so God is going to teach us how not to rely upon our own strength and our own might.  Turn over to the book of Isaiah, another way God will humble us, you know this passage where Isaiah has a privilege to see the Lord and I want to bring out something important about ministry, sometimes we think of ministry as service that we do for God.  See, you can’t separate you as a person from your ministry.  You don’t do ministry, you are a ministry, you are a servant.  Jesus didn’t do works of being a servant, He WAS a servant.  He took on the very form, the very nature of a servant.  And so ministry needs to flow out of who you are and out of your life rather than your “activity” that you do.  I mean that’s what we find our self burning out is we are doing the activity but it is not really flowing out of the work of God’s spirit that’s happening within our life.  And I think that is where, an example in teaching the Bible.  You know each Sunday, I have a sermon to give, you know if I approach it as some sort of discipline to put a message together and do it all outlined nice and see it as an activity, that it is something separate from me, it’s going to be flat.  When I come to the scripture and say, “Lord, what is it you want to speak to my heart, what are you working in my heart from this passage,” then I am able to communicate it with confidence and authority and it’s coming out of my own personal experience and out of my own thoughts and out of my own character.  I think that’s what ministry is all about, studying something and telling people what you studied and so it’s just a mental process, I think each message, as much as possible should really come from the depth of your soul.  It’s you, you’re pouring out what God has worked in you.  I agree there are some messages that are going to be a little bit more personal in a way that still, it’s just not a thing you study and you pass on.  But, it’s a work of  God’s spirit and that is what you are bringing to people.  When that stops, I think you ought to stop.  Because, again this is not just an activity, it’s a supernatural work that God wants to sustain.  In Isaiah, in the year that King Uziah died, he saw the Lord sitting on the throne high and lifted up and the train of his robe filled the temple and Pastor Chuck makes a good point that it’s after the great and Godly King died off, then he is able to see the Lord.  Maybe, that was a hindrance and in a time of despair, “Hey what are we going to do without the King, without the Godly King that has been leading us.”  Well, we’ve got the KING to look to.  Above it stood seraphim, each had six wings, two he covered his face and three he covered his feet and with two he flew.  One cried to another, Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory!  And the post of the door were shaken by the voice of Him who cried out and the house was filled with smoke.  Then I said, Woe is me for I am unclean because I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the mist of a people of unclean lips, for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts.  So obviously when he comes into the presence of God, he realizes that something is wrong with me.  I am undone and the people around me are just as bad.  And so he realizes that he doesn’t belong there, he is out of place.  And he needs God to touch him or he needs the Lord’s help.  The Lord shows him his sinfulness.  And as I said, the Lord will do that with our heart, he’ll manifest our motives in our heart, why we are doing certain things and we’ll be like Isaiah, Woe is me.  And it can come to that point of despair of wondering, How is God ever going to use me, look what is in my heart.  But the good news, and when one of the seraphim flew to me having his hand on a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the alter, he touched my mouth and said “Behold, this has touched your lips, your iniquity is taken away, and your sins purged.”  And he obviously that offer of sacrifice, a provision for his incompleteness, his sinfulness.  And look at the response, and I heard the voice of the Lord saying, Lo, whom shall I send and who will go for us, and I said, “Here I am, send me.”  And at first Isaiah is saying, get me out of here I don’t belong here.  Now, he’s volunteering for the Lord’s work.  What happened?  God worked in his heart and brought that forgiveness and God touched his life personally and now he is ready to give out what God has put in him.  And I believe that’s what ministry is, you can’t give what you don’t have.  God has to be continually working in your heart and working in you and that’s what I believe continues that excitement, the excitement to continue to teach the Word of God because God is showing you truth and you want to pass those on because they are fresh.

It’s not like you go to the file cabinet and say, Message 10B, I did this one five years ago, let’s see, same illustrations, same points, so what is God working in your heart and it becomes fresh.  And if that’s not happening, you need to go before the Lord and say, Lord my heart is changing, change it back, touch my life so I can touch the lives of others.  So, the point is, here’s a guy who is saying, I don’t like what I see in my own life, God touches him and he say’s I’m ready to be used by you.  And again, that should be what we’re responding to.  We’re responding to the work of God in our life and its passing through us.  We can’t be that innocent bystander that just watches it happen, it has to pass through our life.  I believe that is when effective ministry is taking place, not just going through the routine.  But really, having that work in God’s heart.  We only have a few more minutes but I do want to touch on the subject of motives.  Turn with me over to Galatians Chapter 1, the other thing that you will be faced with in this and God will drive from us is a desire to please man, to be a man pleaser.  Because Paul says, you can’t do both, you can’t please God and man at the same time, it’s going to come to a conflict.  In vs. 10 of Galatians Chapter 1, Paul is not going to change the gospel at all, so it says in vs. 10, “for do I now persuade men or God?  Or do I seek to please men, for if I still please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”  And you do have to come to a point where you don’t care what people think about you any longer, and if you are one of those individuals where you wear your emotions on your sleeve and you hurt real easy, you’re in for a hard time, and I will pray for you.  You have to become thick skinned, not calloused, not hard hearted towards people, but you just have to say like Paul in 1 Corinthians vs. 4, it’s a very small thing when you think about me.  Because people are always going to have an opinion about you.  And their opinion to them is fact.  They may have nothing to base it on and it may just be a feeling, and you’re worried about what they think, you’re not going to be an effective minister.  You’re not going to speak the word of God with authority as Paul said, Hey, I’m telling you the truth, I’m not going to compromise the gospel some preach another gospel, let them be accursed, why are you going over this other gospel, I’m not going to compromise it.  Now you’re mad at me for that but I’m not seeking to please you, I’m seeking to please God.  And I think there is nothing wrong to want to be liked by people, I think that’s a human thing, but when it goes to the point where you want to be liked and if affects the way you minister or the what you teach, then you’re in trouble.  Again this is another motive that God has to drive out.  I went to the Chiropractor a while back, Candice was with me and I was reading this little book with her, and it’s like the Lord spoke to me from it.  There was a picture of a donkey, a father and a son.  There goes from Point A to Point B.  And the first picture shows the father riding on the donkey and the son riding along carrying him through and the first town says “Look at that old man, he should be walking and put that little boy on the donkey”, and all the people gripe and complain.  So he goes to the next town and you see the little boy is on the donkey and the older man is now walking the donkey and this town complains “Look at that young boy, he is young and strong, he should be leading and let his father sit on the donkey”, so the next town, they are both sitting on the donkey, and the people go out and say “Look at both those people on the donkey, look at all the weight they are putting on the donkey”, then the last town, because they know what to do, the donkey is on the old man and the young boy is back walking through it.  And that’s the way you’ll have to be if you worry so much about what people think.  But I really focus on God, What is it that you want?  And there are times in your ministry you need to be led by the Lord and people are not going to like the decision that you make and from the perspective of a Senior Pastor, I was just with another pastor and his wife and a situation came up in the church and her response was to having to let a guy go, and her response was “yea, people hate us.”  That was her comment on the whole thing.  And sometimes that’s the bottom line.  You make decisions, tough ones and people end up hating you for it.  It wasn’t she was crying over it, it was just kind of like stating it as a matter of fact.  Because they have been in the ministry for awhile, been through this over and over again.  Now if they are worried about what are the people going to say or are people going to leave the church because of this, then they wouldn’t have dealt with it.  And so God has to drive this out of our heart.  You need to be the Lord’s servant.  You are His servant, you serve the people but you are not the people’s servant, you’re a servant of Jesus Christ, there is a difference.  And I think that’s where unfortunately a lot of denominational churches that have Boards that are over the Pastor, the Pastor becomes a servant of that Board and now he is in a position where by if I say this I know these guys on the Board may fire me, may cause a rift and then there is natural conflict that is set up and if you get a strong bull-headed type of guy, he doesn’t care and he’ll do what the Lord wants and that just causes problems.  If you get a weak individual and he’ll cow and then you won’t have an effective ministry.  So you have to be a servant of Jesus Christ, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t authority set up within the church and accountability but you have to have a heart to do what the Lord is calling you to do.  And there is going to come a point where people are not going to like it and what are you going to do?  Paul says, I’m not seeking to please you guys, I’m seeking to please God, and that’s why you’re mad at me because I won’t compromise the message.  And you can’t compromise in areas of ministry of things that need to be done and you need to be as I said, the Lord’s servant.  Let’s take one other passage, 2 Corinthians Chapter 5, you know we spent a lot of time on doctrine last year on justification, on the completed work of Jesus Christ and there is a point to that in your service to the Lord.  Because you need to have the right motive for your ministry.  And your motive in Jude 11 there is reference to Balaam it’s to greed and then that passage in 3d John vs. 9 speaks of Diotrephes who likes to have the preeminence, he wanted all the attention and therefore he would not receive the people that John sent and there are people that are in the ministry because it is a place of attention and they find some sort of acceptance and appreciation and people value and they thrive on that.  There is a sickness to it.  If you lead a ministry in any capacity, watch out.  Because sometimes those seem to be the most faithful individuals because they are feeding off of something.  It’s not the Spirit of God, they are getting something else out of the ministry.  And you have to have a keen eye of  discernment to watch that, because you don’t want people taking the preeminence, taking the focus and somehow able to turn meetings to them and it’s about them, be careful.  Just keep your eyes open, you don’t want that to be a part of people you are ministering with. In 2 Corinthians Chapter 5 vs. 14, its says for the love of Christ constrains us because we judge thus that if one died for all then all died.  Then it goes on to speak about Salvation.  So the context is a Salvation passage but yet it’s talking about something compelling him to do something.  Something to continue on in the ministry and all that he’s done as an apostle was because of the love of Christ.  Now he doesn’t say the love for Christ but Christ’s love for him that would die for him and die for all and provide Salvation for anyone that would call upon His name.  That’s what continued motivating him to be involved in the work of the ministry.  And really that has to be the prime motivating factor in our lives, it’s not that we love God, but that He loved us first.  And that overwhelms our heart and then our heart willingly submits to His plan and then our service is carried out of the right motive because we are responding to God’s gracious work of Salvation.  Rather than out of trying to measure up or to complete something within Salvation.  And again, that’s why we spent so much time on that doctrinal point and we’ll address it again in a more involved way in a second year to make sure that is solid because out of that out of understanding absolutely the completed work of Jesus Christ, then you’re free.  You’re not under a bondage to serve God, because some people are serving God and they absolutely hate it.  Something is wrong there, isn’t there?  And you can tell when someone is serving for the wrong motive, usually they are critical and mad at everybody and upset, and that is not the Spirit of God.  Jesus speaks about a joy that He wants to give us and the only way to have this motive in the heart is to understand the Love of God for you first.  And I have found that if you are a teacher of the bible and you don’t understand that, all you are going to do is lay that same condemnation that you’re under upon others.  And one of these principles that was passed on in Larry Taylor’s book is “Emphasize What God Has Done for Man, Rather Than What Man Needs To Do For God.”  And you’ll find in Pastor Chuck’s ministries are able to do that yet bringing in the exhortations that are found within the scripture.  I was listening to a tape on the radio today that he was doing and I was driving somewhere and I think he was in Jeremiah and talked about God looking for a reason to pardon.  And he just started talking about the nature of God, you know God’s always looking for a reason to pardon people, it’s like He wants an excuse and it just melted my heart.  You know it’s like, if I’m in Jeremiah  . . and he finds the grace of God where it needs to be, it’s just so melted my heart to want to walk with the Lord.  Lord you are that way, you are the one who is patiently waiting desiring that none should perish and you don’t have any delight in the death of the wicked.  And it just draws people to love Jesus, for His nature and it’s powerful and the Lord responding and doing ministry because of that, I think that’s where the Lord would desire us to be.  You know even in that passage about giving, it’s not out of constraint or out of compulsion, in the Old Testament says that all those who were freely willing.  I mean I think that’s the same thing in ministry, as our heart has been touched by God or responding to His love and to His call, and we want to serve Him in responding to His goodness.  And that needs to be the motive and you know motive is an interesting thing because we all think we have good ones, right?  We’re all sitting here today thinking I’m in the ministry for good reasons.  Well until the Lord shows us different, only the Lord can reveal the motive of our hearts.  Paul even said, you know the one who is going to judge me is the Lord, in fact, you know, I don’t even judge myself, he says and if I do, I’m still not justified and it doesn’t make me right because I’ve determined that my motives are right, aren’t we usually a lot easier on us and a lot hard on everyone else, (well, his motive is, but my motive,) the Lord knows the motive and if its not right we’re not to seek to find out, God will bring it to the surface and He’ll clean those things out.  Don’t just naturally assume my motive is right and pure, put no confidence in yourself, you’re confidence is in the Lord.  But make sure that you’re ministry is a labor of love and you’re doing it responding to the love that God is demonstrated to you.  You’ll enjoy it a lot more that way, that’s for sure.  Alright we have run out of time. 

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