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Topical - Philosophy of Ministry (Part 2)

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Ephesians Chapter 4 - Topic - Accountability in the Local Church.

And what I mean by that is that if you were to have a calling of God, I believe that as God’s vessel that he wants to use to see that brought about is your local fellowship.  As I go back to the scriptures, I see there is a strong emphasis obviously on the church and we want to be biblical in that and so we will look at that aspect tonight.  In Ephesians Chapter 4, this is a passage that we’ve taken for our school actually, is vs. 11 speaks about the leadership of the church and they are for the equipping of the saints to the work of the ministry for the edifying of the Body of Christ and it speaks about understanding truth in vs. 13 and growing into maturity into the measure of Christ and then also in vs. 14 that where prepared individual believers are equipped with the truth to the point where they’re not tossed to and fro by every doctrine that comes into the church.  And yet we are able to speak the truth in love.  So not only that they’re not deceived or able to refute the truth in error when it comes in a loving gentle spirit but without compromise.  And then we’re growing up into Christ who is the head and then in vs. 16 it speaks about He’s the one who supplies all the life for the church.  And so it starts out with the leaders and their role obviously focusing on Christ who is the source of growth.  And without Christ obviously it would not take place.  And so I want to look at that, what’s the process or I think what is one of the most effective processes where you are sitting tonight or you say I have this call of God and maybe you don’t know what it is exactly, but you kind of feel like God is tugging your heart and you want to be open to that.  How do I get to Point A to Point B, or down the road to Point Z.  What do I do in the between time?  Because I have seen gifted individuals sit around and wait for some ministry to fall out of the sky as if God has this two years down the road he’s going to throw a ministry into your lap as you wait on the Lord.  And  - don’t wait for the phone to ring and say - Hey, I have a church for you to Pastor, and Pastor Chuck Smith is on the other end and he’s heard about you, there are things that you need to be doing right now to see that call of God come to pass in your life.   And I think there are some things that as I said I’ve seen very gifted individuals not be used in the Kingdom of God to the degree that others may not have the same abilities and talents but yet they make themselves available that God seems to put His hand upon.  And one of the key passages that I think about all of our Christian life and in the ministry that God asked for is over in Luke, Chapter 16. 

            And I just want to give you a little personal testimony about my own ministry here at Calvary La Mirada.  I’m not the Pastor that started this fellowship.  I’m actually the third pastor.  The first pastor started a home bible study, he got into a little bit of trouble, morally and was moved along.  The second pastor that took over for him was a man by the name of Kevin Webb.  He has a real strong gift of evangelism and would go out to the streets of Whittier Boulevard and he was going to local church and he’d bring these people and they wouldn’t want to stay at church and there was just so much of a difference that he started going to Calvary Chapel La Mirada and bringing these people that are being saved and they were growing and he just made himself available and he eventually was Assistant Pastor and then when that whole thing happened, he became the Pastor. I came by after about -  I don’t know, a year after Kevin was pasturing, and three to four months after that, Kevin found out that he had terminal cancer and they gave him a 5% chance to live.  Obviously God intervened and healed him and there was no medical possibility.  And a small church at that point, I was able to get involved pretty rapidly, pretty quickly and when Kevin went away to Mexico to get treatment, I was the one who came in and did the teaching in his place and shared it with another man.  But, let me tell you what led up to that.  I think the call of God for my own life started the very moment I got saved.  I knew that God had called me to the ministry.  Now, being raised in the Catholic church, I didn’t know what that meant, I just knew that God wanted to use my life and I said “YES!”, my heart surrendered to Him.  I immediately after I got saved, after a couple of months went to Bible College and I just knew I had to study, I needed to prepare myself.  And there were times when I was wondering why I was studying so much and it was like, well there wasn’t too much of an opportunity for an outlet, but I just felt the Lord say, You’re preparing for the future, don’t just look at right now what’s happening, but right now you are laying a foundation, study habits and character of the Word of God and your relationship with the scriptures that will be used in the future.  So, I just kept my hand to the plow of studying and trying to learn of the Word of God and then the Lord began to open up opportunities and the school I was going to and the second year I started to teach the scriptures three to four times a week, the Lord just opened up these studies on campus.  I did one for my dorm that I was involved with, I did also another Bible Study that was just for surfers and we gathered together and had our little surf Bible Study and that was a lot of fun, but wherever the door opened, I was ready to teach.  But then, I eventually moved up here and I wanted to get involved in a small Calvary Chapel when I moved to this area.  I ended up at Downey Calvary Chapel somehow, which was not a small Calvary Chapel.  At that time there were three services, the sanctuary held about 1500 and I just remember I was sitting there in church one day and Mike Macintosh was my Pastor from San Diego came up and he spoke about all these incredible things that were happening around the world and if you’ve ever listened to Mike, he’s got all these incredible stories about how the Lord uses him.  And I remember sitting there after the service and just weeping.  Not because I was doing anything wrong, I looked around and I said What am I doing sitting here, when 1500 people, this is one of three services, God has given me a gift and it’s not being expressed at this point and I felt like the Lord was just breaking my heart and then that very week is when I found Calvary Chapel La Mirada, walked into the building and there was about 20 people there.  You had to bring your own chair, I did not bring one, so, there were some guys there who would bring there own beach chairs, and this is the point I wanted to be able to grow with the ministry.  And I just went to the Pastor and said I know God’s called me to be a Pastor, to teach the Word of God and I want to make myself available to you in whatever you want me to do.  And he had a job for me that day.  It was to clean the bathroom over there.  And I went, I didn’t balk at it at all, but I took that as just as serious as if he said I want you to teach the bible, and I made that bathroom as clean as I possibly could.  And I showed up at his office the next day and I said “ I want to be used, what do you go for me, I was going to school at the time and he said Well, take this letter over to the secretary’s house, so I took it over there and then like the third day I showed up and, you know, he wasn’t going to get rid of me.  I wanted to be used of the Lord and so he gave me some money to go buy some paper cups for the Sunday School.  And I took the money, I realized it was the Lord’s money, I tried to get the best deal, so I checked all the prices and I got the best price on the cups and brought them back, with the receipt, and the change and I just kept throwing myself at him saying I want to be used here.  And I just kept showing up, every day I was there, and just making myself available to do whatever it is, what was needed.  All along knowing at some point the Lord had called me to Pastor, not only to clean and to serve but to teach the Word of God.  And I remember standing around one night and the guy who was going to teach a home Bible Study couldn’t do it, he was at the Pastor’s house and so the Pastor  said, well, Bryan why don’t you come in and teach and I’ll listen and make sure you have that gift and you know he kind of supervised that, and I remember teaching the Bible Study that night at his house, and the next week the other guy at the other study couldn’t make it so Kevin said you did a good job here, we’ll send you over there, and so then I was able to teach and so the progress that the Lord was allowing was very gradual. 

            That’s what I want to share with you, is that I believe that is the process the Lord takes us all through.  That’s why I’m saying don’t wait around for ministry to be thrown in your lap, be used of God right now, today, in whatever abilities and situations the Lord sets before you.  Look over at Luke Chapter 16 vs. 10 - He says, he who is faithful in what is least is faithful also with much.  And he who is unjust in least is unjust also in much.  I just take that as a principle.  A principle for my own life that right now what I’m doing even tonight is somehow preparing me opening the door, preparing me for future ministry that the Lord has for me.  Now, I look at the school, when we started, we had eight students meeting on one class on Saturday, and now look what’s happening with the school, we’ve been able to expand to other places and get involved with ministry but yet, I knew the Lord wanted me to be faithful with those eight people on Saturday morning to teach them and that’s when we were preparing all of the syllabus and all the materials and just being faithful to what the Lord had given us to do.  Now, I’m able to come and teach these classes, it’s not that I don’t prepare, but all the work was done eight years ago.  All the hard labor of putting those syllabus together, studying, putting it together and now I’m able to build upon that and so to be able to teach here on a Tuesday night isn’t a major time constraint on my life because the work has already been done in the past.  And so I realize that today what I am doing as well is somehow preparing me for the future and I need to be faithful whatever the Lord would set before me.  And that’s how you need to look at the ministry the Lord has for you right now.  If you pour your heart into what God has given to you right now it’s a sign, an indicator something about your character that you’ll do the same when God gives you greater responsibility.  If you don’t handle the small stuff now, all of a sudden when greater responsibility is thrown your way, you’re character will come out and you’ll handle it the same way.  So you don’t all of a sudden become faithful, you’re either faithful with the small things or your not, and if you’re not faithful with the small things, it shows the heart of God, you’ll be faithful with much when he brings that you’re way.  And so sometimes we overlook like this task before me but it’s all a test, it’s all preparation.  I’ve also put on there that if you are a leader of any ministry, even an overseer of any ministry, you need to know this principle so that the individuals that you are allowing to be raised up and that should be your heart as well, to be equipping the saints into the work of the ministry giving them opportunity and the best way to do that is not just to put them in a place of leadership becomes someone shows some interests, but to give them a small task and see how they respond to that.  Do they come over kind of in a prideful way, well that’s kind of beneath me, well then God has some work he wants to do in their life.  God’s not only concerned about the things that we do, he’s more concerned about me, my heart and where it’s at, and He wants to work in me.  I think God could take just about anything or anyone and work through it, that’s not the point.  God wants to work in me first and it comes out of my life.  And so, if you are leading a ministry and you are raising up people too fast, often times what happens is that person gets too much responsibility and they buckle under it and what happens to them is they say, I’m no good, I’m bad and then the devil comes in and discourages them and it takes some people a while to dig themselves out of that hole.  Just remember, as I put on the notes there, it’s easy to put a person into position but it’s extremely hard to remove them once they are there.  Without doing any damage to them.  There are a lot of times when we just have to wait upon the Lord in situations like that and not just because we are pressed because there is a need and someone is willing and you plug a gap there.  You don’t just need a body there, you need someone who is going to be faithful and take on the ministry the Lord has given them.  And you just give them a small task and you watch them, are they faithful to that, you give them more and more, and more, and that’s how you see people raised up in your ministry.  You should have the same heart to duplicate yourself giving others responsibilities and letting them grow in the things of God.  You also have to understand that for your own life.  That you need to pour into your ministry, whatever the Lord has given to you as a task right now, that’s your ministry.  And that’s what you need to pour yourself into, whether it’s small or large or big or small responsibility, you need to be absolutely faithful with that task.  And then the Lord will give you a little more, and a little more.  And I see Him working that way and I believe He wants to prepare some of your hearts and I want to look a little bit different and look at how the local church relates to this very principle.  Look over at Acts Chapter 6 vs. 1 - now in those days when the number of disciples was multiplying there arose a murmuring against the Hebrews by the Hellenists because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution, so God was blessing and obviously here there was an oversight and it’s a little bit touchy because here you have a Rachel aspect, where the Hebrews and the Greek speakers, and there was of course a cultural difference here going on in the church.  And these guys are saying, Hey, you who are from the Hebrew group before they were saved, I don’t know if it came into the church, they thought they were better than the Greeks speaking or the Greek cultured Jews.  And so that drift came into the church a little bit and then there began to become a murmuring and a complaining and so here they want to deal with that.  And it’s interesting that all the names that are raised up are more of the Greeks speaking names.  So, it seems like there is another whole leadership being raised up.  Not only just serving the tables but handling the finances that went with the handling of the organization that went with that.  So, I think that as you read Acts Chapter 6, you look at those qualifications and I’m sure you might say, Boy those are some strong qualifications to serve bread.  I think there is more going on here in Acts Chapter 6.  A leadership is being raised up underneath the Apostles and here are these guys that are going to be appointed to that task to somewhat be under shepherds for that aspect of the church.  Because you see, some of them go on to be evangelist and on to further ministry.  So I think there is a lot going on than just taking care of the widows here.  It says then the twelve summoned the multitude of disciples and said it is not desirable that we should leave the Word of God and serve tables.  Therefore, brother seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and Wisdom and we make it a point over this business.  And so here, they say, You seek him out from among your men.  The apostles didn’t get seven individuals and say, these are the guys, but the people knew who were the faithful ones, who had these qualifications.  Obviously, that means that they were there active in the work of the local church and then out of the local church they were risen up to a greater responsibility.  I believe that’s the process the Lord is desiring to do.  And that means that you need to be busy in your own local ministry, in your own local church, serving, whatever doors are open, you’re there, making yourself available.  If you have some call of God, I think God will bring that through the church.  Again, it’s not through some God giving you a vision and you going off on your own, He wants to use the church and then you’re raised up in a slow process so that when you are sent out by the church, they know your character, they know you are going to be faithful in that aspect or if you’re representing the church, mainly Jesus Christ, people are going to have that stamp of approval on you because they know you.  And I think the Lord is desiring to do that and don’t overlook that.  So, whatever the Lord has for your life, whether it’s to be in full-time ministry or to be involved in the work of the ministry, God wants to raise you up, right there within the local fellowship.  And you do that by being faithful.  You do that by being among the people, loving them, serving them, caring.  And they’ll be able to point out, well these are the individuals.  They should be able to say that.  Well, that person is there praying, that person is there serving, I see this guy doing this, and that person doing that over there, and they are known because they are servants.  Not because they have any title, but because they are just there loving and ministering to the people.  And the Lord raises you up out of that atmosphere.  So if you think that not going to church in the middle of the week is a good idea, I think you are fooling yourself.  (1) You need to be in fellowship, (2) the people there need  ministry to them if you have some sort of call, (3) You need to be among the people, that’s what the Lord is desiring and that’s how He raises you up.  I guess it depends on to which degree you have this call of God.  I mean let’s say for example, you want to be a pastor on staff someday, and you’re not going to the mid-week bible study now, you’re going to go because you’re on staff and your getting paid?  Does that make sense?  You should be doing that now because you want to be there among the people to serve and to make sure that everything is taken care of.  You see, once you come on staff, it changes NOTHING of your character and who you are.  That’s all built up leading to that point.  Or being ordained or whatever, that does nothing for you in your heart and so you need to be there among the people and let God give you more responsibility in that ministry.  And you will do so no matter how large the church is, like these guys built that small church in Costa Mesa over there, if there are needs there, there are needs in every church.  There are always needs in the Children’s Ministry there are always needs in the Parking Lot Ministry, Usher Ministry, Prayer, there are needs in every ministry, large or small and I think the Lord is looking for available people.  And then as those who are listening see the responsibility, they’ll see, I mean you can see when someone is going for it, they’re there, and they want to serve.  And they have the right heart and God will give you greater responsibility in this area, but you need to be there, you need to be with the people, that’s what ministry is all about.  It’s not coming to a class and studying about it, it’s living it out among the people, serving them and blessing them.  So here, they knew that these were full of the Holy Spirit, Wisdom and were appointed to his business but will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word and it seemed to please the whole multitude and it shows Stephen a man full of faith in the Holy Spirit and also Philip and these were guys who eventually went on to do ministry after Acts Chapter 6.  And Stephen went to those same Greek speaking Jews, ministered to them in the synagogue of the free men and then eventually he was put to death.  So I think he had a little bit of his training right there among the people that he was ministering to in the book of Acts Chapter 6 and taking it outside the church.  Same thing for Philip who went into Samaria, he was trained there in the local church, raised up and he went out from the church. But, do you see the process?  And so right now, what is your relationship to the local church?  Are people able to depend upon you?  Are you responsible with the ministry that God has given to you or do you come in and out when you please?  If you come in and out when you please, you can’t be depended upon.  I know for myself, there are certain individuals that are always going to be there and so after the service, or during the service, you know I’m thinking okay, I know such and such is being taken care of and I know who I can depend upon.  Now, there are always things that happen like that at the church, there’s always something unexpected that will take place or somebody needs this or somebody needs that, I know there are individuals in place that are going to be there that I can go to and say “Hey, this needs to be taken care of.”  And I can count on them, I can depend upon them.  There are others that are going to be hit and miss and I am not going to be coming to church thinking, you know, this has got to be taken care of, I know I’m going to be able to go to them and those are the ones God is going to raise up and give more responsibility to in the ministry.  Being faithful, just being there, serving and who knows what the Lord will have for the future but there are all these little tiny steps between now and ultimately what the Lord has called you to do.  I think the Lord, the testing ground is the local church.  And others see the hand of God upon you as well.  And I’m always looking to delegate, there are always things that need to be done in the ministry and that’s why I put that quote from D. L. Moody that reads “I’d rather put ten men to work then do the work of 10 men.”  I think that’s the heart of any pastor.  He’s not looking to do all the work, he’s looking to see others raised up that he could give ministry to, but the same time he realizes it’s spiritual work and it has to be a dependable person because if that person does not carry through with it, it ultimately comes back to himself as well as there could be some people who are hurt in the process, and so you want to be able to give things to dependable individuals that are going to carry things out faithfully.  And you do that and you know that by giving a person so much responsibility up to this point it’s just so easy that when a need comes up, Hey this is the individual for that task.  And the Lord just puts it together, it’s a training ground, the church is a training ground.  Look also over at Acts, Chapter 13 vs. 1 - and the church shows that Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers, Barnabus, Simeon who was called Niger, Lusins of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch and Saul.  As a minister to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said now separate to me, Barnabus and Saul to the work which I have called them.  And so as obviously ministry has progressed and Barnabus and Saul’s life, but the point here is that the Holy Spirit is the one who appoints to specific paths.  And he’s watching your ministry and how you’re conducting yourself and how you’re carrying things out.  And he appoints, it’s not that the church appoints you.  The church cooperates with the will and the desire and the leading of the Holy Spirit.  Now how does the church know?  Is there always a voice that says “Appoint this person to that task” , I wish there was.  You know how a pastor knows, he looks out, who’s there, who is faithful, who is laboring, and who is serving.  Who is God raising up?  And then through prayer connecting with the Lord, is that agreement through the Holy Spirit and God confirms it by the quality and character.  Do you think someone is going to walk in church Sunday morning no matter what there gifts are and all that, and I’m just going to say, Okay, go for it, you teach this morning for me.  I’m not going to play Russian Roulette with the church.  I’m not listening for some voice that says, “Hey there’s the guy that can teach” obviously, that’s my responsibility.  And I take that responsibility and anyone that is going to teach is going to know that they are going to have a heart for the flock and that call of God and how do you know that?  You can just see them, you watch.  And now here’s these guys, the Holy Spirit says separate me Barnabus, Saul to the work that I have called them and having fasted and prayed, they laid hands on them and they sent them away.  The church sent them away.  Now, vs. 4 also says being sent out by the Holy Spirit, sometimes the English does break down a little bit the word “sent” here in vs. 3 is not an official sending where you almost translate it “release them.”  They released them to go, the Holy Spirit is the one that officially sent them.  So the church needs to cooperate with what the Holy Spirit wants to do.  And nobody has a direct line to the Holy Spirit.  Some people think they do, that God is always talking to them directly, but the only way for me to know if the Lord is raising up and sending out is by watching people’s lives in the midst of the church.  To hear Paul the apostle as an accountability to the church, now I’m sure if the church said we’re not going to send you out and the Holy Spirit was telling Paul he would have went.  But he’s accountable here, they laid hands on him, and do you know what Paul also did?  He would go on his missionary trip and come back to Antioch and give a report of what was going on.  He didn’t say, Oh, it’s time to go again, and the church would send him out again and he would give the gospel and plant churches and go back to Antioch.  He did that three times.  So, he still had that connection with the church, not that the church lords over people’s lives but you see the cooperation that is there, and I believe that is what the Lord is desiring to do today is raising people up right from the local church.  Because their character is proven.  They’ve learned about ministry, they’ve shown themselves faithful to the small tasks, that now that Lord is opening up greater responsibility for them.  Now I think the other thing that is helpful here is, it’s not like Barnabus and Saul said “What?, I don’t know what I’m called to do.”  They knew, and so what the Lord does, is He starts working on someone’s heart, He starts drawing them, calls them, and He knows what He has gifted them to do.  And He starts putting it and working it in that individuals heart.  And He starts drawing them to be willing to do what that ministry is.  So you come to someone and you’re a leader and say I’d like you to do this and that and it totally freaks them out, they’ve never thought about it, maybe that’s not the right person and you’re appointing them to a task and not the Holy Spirit - because the Holy Spirit is going to draw.  A lot of times, when people have that call, they are just waiting for the door to be open, they know what it is, and now they may be a little nervous, a little apprehensive but it’s like, Yea, this is what the Lord has asked of me, I’m going to go for it.  Because the Holy Spirit is calling them first, then the church helps, is the vehicle, the vessel that these things come about.  I really don’t know what to make of all the organizations, including our school, that is, see we’re trying to be connected to the local church and encouraging people to be in the local church, but I don’t know what to make of all these ministries that are outside the church.  Because often times they siphon the gifted individuals of the church, teachers, evangelist which I think all that should be coming out of the local church, that’s my perspective scripturally.  This is not what is happening today, so I live with it, but as I look at the scripture, I don’t see Paul starting the Apostle Paul Evangelistic Association, it’s right from the church in Antioch.  And sometimes what these (sounds like . .Perish church organizations) that’s what they are called, Perish Church Organizations, complain while the church isn’t doing the job.  Yea, you’re taking some of the evangelist and some of the teachers and some of the labors and some of the money of what should be within the local church.  And so I believe the local church should be equipping you and training you for the work that God’s called you to do.  And so, although we have a school that obviously there are people from outside of our church, we strongly encourage you being involved in your local ministry and letting God raise you up in that environment.  Don’t think that this school is preparing you for the ministry.  We’re just coming along side with what you’re local church should be doing by teaching you the Word of God and providing you with an environment and opportunities to minister and to serve.  And so you’re making a big mistake if you’re going to sit in classes for two years and not be involved in your own church because really you haven’t progressed, you’ve gained some knowledge but you haven’t gained a relationship that I think you should have with the local congregation and accountability with that congregation because you know I think that’s where God wants to raise you up in the work of the ministry.  And we’re glad to help out in any way that we can, but we are not a substitute for that, we’ve never tried to be.  We want to see people grow and learn the scriptures and take that into their church where they attend and they’ll support the ministry there and be a blessing to the church that way.  I have real strong convictions about the importance and the priority that Jesus Christ placed on the local church, the local fellow-ship and so maybe there is some thinking you need to do and maybe that’s why the Lord has brought this subject up for us tonight.  And like I said, I just prayed each week and say Lord what topic do you have and you know when I sat down on the computer today, I have to write these thoughts down, and then I formulate them.  So all these thoughts just begin to flood my mind on things to speak on.  And again, I encourage you, get involved in your local ministry and see that responsibility grow.  Because that is the process the Lord has for you.  And their needs to be accountability in that relationship.  And the Holy Spirit will speak to your heart, will speak to the Leader’s heart because they are going to see you ministering and serving in a faithful way and through that the Lord will open up the proper doors for you in His time and in His way.  Now, I always like what J. Vernon McGee said about people just going out and doing their own thing, he said “Where you sent?  Or did you just went?”  now only he could say it that way and get away with it.  But self people are self appointed.  I think to avoid that, you need the confirmation of the church, yes, this is what the Lord’s called you to do.  There is safety within that.  Because you  don’t want to appoint yourself to a task and do it, you want to be working along with leadership that God has set up that you support and that is supporting you.  And then I believe what the local church does, does not appoint but confirms, yes, this is what we believe the Lord is called you to do and we are behind you with that.  Now that may not be so dramatic as Acts Chapter 13, it may not be some official thing that happens in the church, but it happens in a process as you get involved in ministry and God gives you more, it’s basically the church and those who are in any sort of leadership position saying “yes, we agree that you should be doing this task.:”  And that’s for your own comfort as well, as well as your own safety.  And you have someone to fall back upon for questions and for issues as well as support.  And so I don’t think the Lord has too many Lone Rangers type of ministry.  I think it comes out of the local ministry. That’s why God’s given Pastors, Teachers, Evangelist for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry.  Alright, let’s look at what happens in Acts Chapter 15 vs. you know the story about the division over John Mark there in vs. 36, I want to look at failure a little bit because I think there is in all of our ministries we’re going to fail in our responsibility.  No one is going to have a perfect ministry.  You want to be faithful, there are going to be times where we mess up.  “Then after some days Paul said in vs. 36 of Acts 15, Paul said to Barnabus let us now go back and visit our brother in every city where we have preached the Word and the Lord and see how they are doing.   Now Barnabus was determined to take with him John called Mark.  But Paul insisted they should not take with them the one who departed from them in Panphelia that had not gone with them to the work.  So there was a dispute that took place and I want to not look at so much the dispute, but what I want to look at is, here is John Mark, the guy failed.  So I look at it, he wimped out in the mission field.  So, earlier in the book of Acts he didn’t continue on in the ministry, that’s hard for the apostle Paul, there he is planting churches, there are new churches and the people he’s bringing with them, I think he wants them to be faithful and serve.  Now look back over in Acts 13 vs. 5, it’s kind of interesting, this is when the church sent him out, it says, “and when they arrived in Salinas they preached the Word of God in the Synagogues of the Jews, they also had John as their assistant.  That word assistant sounds like a big high title but it isn’t.  It’s the same word used to someone who carried the bags.  So at this point, John Mark was good at carrying the stuff and doing whatever was needed to be done which would have been important at the time, the travel would have been rough and there is a lot of little things that needed to be taking place, that was his responsibility.  And whatever happened, he chickened out and he went home.  And then here another opportunity comes up and Paul says, no way.  But Barnabus who was that Son of Encouragement took him.  Now, things happen and you need the Paul’s who are just going to say, there is no messing around here, this is the Lord’s ministry, this person is not ready and you need the Barnabus’ that also come along and will take a person where they’re at and kind of wean them back to health.  And I don’t think there is a right or wrong here in the end of Acts Chapter 15, having Paul doing what the Lord showed him what to do Barnabus did his ministry.  Paul needed someone who was going to be absolutely faithful, Barnabus had a different ministry where he would have been able to nurture this guy along, but think of the devastation that would have happened to John Mark who eventually went on to write a gospel and as you mentioned, Paul at one point said, Hey bring John Mark he’s really helpful for me at the end.  So things got worked out, but see from that one point of failure to the point of Paul’s dying, ready to go be with the Lord, John Mark proves himself.  And in your ministry there are going to be times that you bad decisions, the wrong choices and you need individuals there to sort of pick you up, to help you.  And if you are leading a ministry and you have people that fail, there are times when you do have to pick up and move on and there are other times you need to, like Barnabus, nurture back.  And I tried to make a distinction between trying to understand a person’s heart.  Sometimes things do disqualify a person from ministry and that’ just the way it is.  Other times you need to work with them and realize this person, is like they are tripping over their own feet it’s not some sort of rebellion or some sort of direct act or the individual just didn’t care, you need to be able to work with those individuals.  Like Peter, you know, Peter messed up, the Lord came back and ministered a lot of grace to him and said, Peter, do you love me and Peter said, Yes, I do and the Lord said “feed my lambs, go take care of my sheep.”  You really need to pray in situations like that, of people that you are working with because if you close the door on them that could close the door on their heart, if you open the door too soon and they are in ministry then they may do the same thing and then more people are affected.  And so you really need to be led by the Lord in situations like this, and I praise God for the Barnabus’ that are able to work with individuals in that slow process and I like the Paul’s as well that just say, Hey, here is the way things are, work for the Kingdom is serious, we need to keep moving forward in what the Lord has for us.  And as I said, I’m not planning on going into any details, but we’ve had people in our ministry here that obviously things come up, let’s put it that way and there are times when I’ve had to say, well you need to step out of the ministry and there are times where I’ve said, well we need to work you through this situation.  I don’t know if there are any right way to tell, but if you’re being raised up in the ministry in the local church, you need to be able to fall back on individuals.  Because there will be those times when you fail and you need that accountability.  I think the Lord will use that within your life.  Okay, let’s move over to Acts Chapter 16.  Some of the other thoughts I put on the notes there and just thinking about the local church and the safety, I forget where I heard it, but someone said ministry is more caught than taught.  See, you can’t teach ministry.  And what you need to do is you need to watch somebody else, as Paul said follow me as I follow Christ.  I believe that’s where the discipling takes place within the local church is that you need to be under the teaching of the pastor to understand what his heart is and his thoughts are about the Word of God, about his philosophy of ministry, it comes through his teaching.  Not everyone is going to have an opportunity to go to a class or have some sort of small group discipleship, I don’t know if that’s necessarily the best way, I think the best way is to be under a man that you respect, learn what he has to say about the scriptures and then live those things out.  And simply that’s what I’ve done, I’ve really not had a pastor that has shepherded me, I came out of Calvary San Diego just a young whipper snapper and the only thing I did was whipped and snapped there and did the ushering and I moved up here.  So it wasn’t like I was sent out by that church or was discipled in ministry and the next thing you know I find myself basically taking over for a pastor that is passing away and I’m pasturing the church.  Over that next year, my responsibility grew so it wasn’t like I had a guy saying do this, don’t do that, and here is a good thing to do and so what I did was I started listening to all these tapes by Pastor Chuck.   I’ve listened to hundreds, thousands of his tapes and I know what his philosophy is not because he has ever sat down with me and said this is what I think on this subject Bryan, and in this situation do that, but I’ve learned principles over the years.  So that since I’ve been discipleship by him by catching him on the radio, catching him at the Pastor Conferences, listening to the tapes, Hey, I still when I’m going through the bible, in my through the bible studies, I still listen to his tapes.  And say, okay, what does Pastor Chuck say in these topics?  And it’s not only because of his interpretation, I think as you start listening to an individual over and over again, you start becoming like them to a degree.  You start taking on somewhat of their mentality of things, and I’ll tell you as I look out in the ministry there are not too many people that I would say I would like to be like.  And so, I just immerse myself in his studies.  And I feel I am discipled that way, and I believe that is the best form of discipleship, is listening to what your pastor has to say in going through the bible.  And then that shows you, am I in agreement with this individual?  Can I support what this individual believes in their pursuit?  Because you don’t want to be working with someone that you support 50% or 75% but someone you can get behind and say, yes, I can pour my life, my energy and effort into the direction this ministry is going, otherwise, I think there will always be something that you will be holding back in your heart towards that ministry and that is not good.  That’s not healthy for the people nor for yourself.  I’m not saying you are going to agree 100% with every little interpretation but I’m taking about the basic philosophy of things, and the only way to learn that is again, not going through an 8 week class because obviously I have a lot more to say than I can accomplish in 8 weeks but being there, listening to the study and that philosophy comes through and then you are able to absorb it that way and ministry like I said is caught, not taught.  You hear it, you see it and then you pursue that same sort of direction.  Now in Acts Chapter 16, Paul wanted to go to the East and you think, well what’s wrong with that?  You know here is a desire I have, well, was it God’s plan?  And so the Lord is setting this all up and Paul didn’t know, He’s sending him West.  This is where it gets kind of hard to determine the will of God, I have this desire but God won’t let me fulfill it.  But we need to submit to His plan, so he’s not able to go to the East.  And after they came to Mysia, they tried to go into Bethina.  So they went to the North and down to the South but the spirit did not permit them.  So passing by Mysia they came down to Troas.  And now they are basically at the boarder, they are at a sea coast moving to a sea coast coming to the water.  And here is the pattern I want to show you, Paul didn’t just sit there.  He went to the East, the Holy Spirit said no, so he went to the North and he went to the South and I think here is where people get bogged down, they don’t know where to go so they sit and pray and wait for the heavens to open up and a voice to speak to them.  And they won’t do anything until that happens.  I don’t see the apostle Paul doing that and I don’t’ see the apostle Paul knowing exactly what the will of God is in this situation.  He’s trying to discover it, it is a process.  And discovering God’s will is hard.  I think honestly God holds a little back from us and it draws us to Him.  It causes us even greater to seek Him, a greater dependence upon Him, He doesn’t tell us everything, we have to come to him, say Lord what is it that you want?  Because if He just told you the whole plan for your life, we may never check in with Him, we’re just going to do this and I’ll go here and no, God says you need to learn from Me, I’ll speak to your heart, but I’m not going to give it to you all and it draws us to him.  And so, you say, I have a sense of call, I don’t know exactly what it is, don’t wait until two years down the road, I’ll try this.  I think you need to step out now and see what it is that the Lord has called you to do and what he has not called you to do.  Where He has gifted you and where He has not gifted you, because nobody knows exactly.  You don’t’ know exactly what the Lord’s called you to do.  The only way to do that is to step out and see if God blesses it, there is fruit, there is a sense of peace in your heart, this is what the Lord wants.  Or, if this isn’t what the Lord wants, or if that’s not what the Lord wants, Paul went to the East, that’s not what the Holy Spirit wanted.  And I think that is the way you discover and find yourself in that place of ministry that God has for you, rather than trying to tune in exactly on the will of God, this is it!   I think God leads you as you’re stepping out.  And some people are so afraid of making the wrong decision.  I’ve made so many wrong decisions that I’m not afraid to make them anymore because God by His grace, helps you anyways.  He doesn’t kick you out and say, well you make too many bad choices, too many bad decisions, I’m not going to use you anymore.  You know, you talk with anybody, anyone is who is in ministry and they look back, two or three years and they say, Boy I made a lot of bad choices.  And four years from today, I’ll look back and say, boy I’ve made a lot of bad choices, you know, no one gets it all right.  So what we need to do is you need to pursue a direction that you feel God by His Spirit has put into your heart what to do.  And if you are called to teach, probably the best thing to do is ask the Lord for a small responsibility and teach it.  Don’t wait, as I said for me to call you up and say, Would you do Sunday mornings?”  There are people that teach here on Sunday mornings and the people that are teaching right now progressively and the evidence of the teaching is upon their life.  They’re teaching right now, and now here is another responsibility to teach.  They just don’t take someone that feels the call of God, I think I’m called to teach, well, let ‘s see if it is.  And so you need to take some small steps right now, don’t worry about failing, don’t worry about it not bearing fruit, God will show you if that’s what He has for you, or if it is not.  See, you could be here two years from now wondering about, Has God me to teach?  You need to step out and start pursuing a direction and God will lead you in the process.  You have a desire, I believe that’s the Holy Spirit putting that there and you need to make yourself available in your local church to do that sort of teaching.  And a lot of times that starts in teaching the little ones in the Sunday School, you have a little bit of curriculum, a little bit of guide, you can’t mess that up too much.  But it’s a small step of faith in that and God will open up the door. Maybe you’ve been teaching for awhile and maybe you need to open up a home bible study, I don’t know what it is, maybe it’s evangelism, start going out and evangelizing.  And take those small steps and God will direct you’re life.  Again, you’re faith of those small things in God is the one that will raise you up.  And He’ll give you greater aspects for ministry, but you want to get from where you are right now to see the call of God fulfilled, you have to start moving in a direction.  You have to start making yourself available, useful in the Kingdom of God, then God builds slowly from there.  He adds more and more responsibility, that’s the safe way.  It’s for your safety so that this ministry just does not overwhelm you.   People start depending on you and you flake out, then they are hurt and they’re wondering and they’re confused.  So that’s why its small, steady progressive steps.  Then here on Point No. 5 it just says final words of advice.  Everything I’ve said basically is (1) make yourself useful and doing anything and everything until the Lord opens the door.  Don’t wait for a completed ministry to be given to you, just do everything.  Just have the heart of a servant, serve the people, serve the local church.  So you say, well, I’m called to be an evangelist, well, straighten out the pews, straighten out the chairs, that stuff will come.  Pick up the papers off the ground, make sure the carpets clean, make sure the windows are clean.  Whatever it is that needs to be done, get there early, make sure when the people are coming into the church tonight’s a comfortable place for them.  Think ahead.  Think the heart of a servant.  Before when we were over in the Jr. High School, you know the place wasn’t very comfortable to say the least.  We had theses hard chairs and we would put them out and a couple of times you know I’m come in and it just wasn’t straight and that bothered me.  We put these carpets out you know so people would walk on the carpet getting there because they are walking on high heels, you know you could hear it through the service or through the study and I came to a guy that was doing the usher ministry at the time and he probably thought I was crazy, you know I said look, here is how I want these chairs to be set up.  I want this first chair to be right on this corner right where these squares meet, right there, and I want one and a half squares in between the rows, and I want the front part of these chairs to be straight across on this line, not scattered but straight across and I want every row to be like that.  See these carpets that we roll out, I want that edge of the carpet to touch every edge of that chair.  And same with the carpets on the outside.  That’s because although we did not have a nice place, I wanted to make it the best that we possibly could for the people that were coming in there.  I didn’t want the chairs just thrown out any old way.  You know, I had to teach a guy to do that and then he taught other guys to do the same thing.  And so, you need to come to church and look around and say, you know, what is it here that I could  make or do so it would be more comfortable for the people that are coming in.  That’s what a servant does.  Now you could pull up, just like everybody else, a little bit late and rush in and you know and start worshiping, and rush out after the service.  Or you could hang out, maybe some people need some prayer, you could see it on their face,  you’re just making yourself available.  You’ll see that the Lord will use you.  There’s having that mentality to be there to bless and to serve.  The other thing is as I said in number (3) there, be there all the time, as much as it is possible for you, I know everyone has different circumstances with families or little kids and jobs, but be there, be around.  That’s the environment that the Lord raises people up.  God allowed you responsibility.  And then there is no. (4) in the long term, if you feel you’re called to go on staff somewhere, watch your finances.  Because sometimes when you are looking to bring someone on staff and they have a VISA card payment and a car payment, and this payment, it’s like the Church can’t afford them.  The church cannot afford to pay them that salary where those bills have to be met.  I believe the Lord gave me insight when I was in San Diego the Lord showed me and spoke to my heart and He said, you be ready in a night to move, literally.  If I say go here to that town, you be ready to move, you don’t have to sell a car, you don’t have to sell this, it’s not like I’m going to say, what do I do with my house, He basically said, put no roots down at all.  He say’s you belong to me and I want to be able to tell you, go here and to go there.  And I believe that was one of the reasons that it was all God’s timing I was able to come on staff when Pastor Kevin passed away is because I had NO DEBT at all.  I was able to literally move overnight from San Diego up to here, so I was praying and I felt the Lord say, move up to La Mirada and go to BIOLA and I felt like this urgent pull, and literally I could have left the next day.  I had a gardening business that I had worked and I raised up a little business and I gave that to a guy, he took over all the clients and we’re able to just pack up and leave.  The only thing I did was gave a 30-Day Notice to the people in the apartment which was a reasonable thing, and then we left.  We didn’t have any kids at the time, so again things are a little different, but I felt the Lord say,  HAVE NO OBLIGATIONS just  be able to go here and go there.  And I believe that I was being obedient to what the Lord wanted and then when this moved up here, I could see how the Lord worked it all together.  Now since then, I felt the Lord gave me a freedom to set some roots down, I don’t feel like I’m going anywhere, I’m not just going to move over to the end of the country here.  So I have some roots because I believe the Lord has allowed me to have that but you know, honestly you know at looking at a church finances it’s not like the majority of churches have all this money laying around in the bank thinking, gee let’s go count our money, what are we going to do with it, type of praying, okay Lord provide for this and provide for that.  And there is always individuals that would be great to be able to bring on staff, but hey, sometimes they are just priced out of what the church is able to pay an individual to bring them on staff.  So if you feel that call of God, I believe that this is just good solid practical advice.  You want to be in the ministry sometime, start paying off everything that you owe and make yourself easy to be able to bring on, I think the Lord will use that, If He’s called you.  Now, if you don’t have those long term goals, you know, take the advice for what it would be for you in your situation.  But make yourself available for the things of the Lord.  And there are churches that need to be planted all over, it would be great just to say, hey, go over here and plant yourself there and you’re able to do it just like that.  Well, I have to take care of this and take care of that, and then well, three years, I think I can do this now, well, be ready to be flexible and see what the Lord has for you.  And watch, the Lord will open the door, in His timing and it will come to pass.  But again, you realize you’re preparing yourself for the future right now and you’re just making yourself ready for when the Lord says, Now is the time.  And you’ve prepared yourself each and every day.  Every member although we stress the local church promotion does not come from the East or from the West but from the Lord.  The Lord raises you up.  The church can raise people up and they can make mistakes and they can be right as well, but it’s the Lord who will open the door for the ministry, and the Holy Spirit has called you and equipped you then He’s going to open the door for that opportunity for you.  But I think there are certain things you could do to cooperate with what the Lord wants to accomplish and there are certain things you can do to slow or hinder that process.  So the bottom line is to be a servant and be available and minister to people and who knows what the Lord will open up in your life.  And start stepping out in what the Lord’s called you to do.  Don’t just always be worrying or thinking or what if, this is a neat possibility, you could be thinking until the Lord comes back about these things.  Take a step forward and see if the Lord honors it.  If the Holy Spirit is in it, you’ll have that sense of peace and the evidence of it and if not, then that’s okay, be directed elsewhere.  But don’t be so bound up in having to make the exact right decision.  Nobody is that sensitive to the Lord other than Jesus Christ.  

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