While we do seem to have a disproportionate number of 'high ranking' spiritual leaders on this forum, it is not a race, gender, or cultural thing – it is a human failing. Folks who are insecure in a humble calling, situation, social status, etc., seek to elevate themselves in importance or status in both their own eyes and (hopefully) in the eyes of others. The need to be seen and appreciated as one having knowledge, wisdom and influence is critical to many individual's sense of self esteem. It is called pride verses humility.
The result is that many truly Spirit called and ordained spiritual leaders are side tracked or over showed by the noise and glamor of the leaders called and ordained by other men (or just called and ordained of themselves).
Consider an apostle who only planted the church that they pastor, or the bishop of one or two assemblies. Or, the one who received a prophesy (exercising the gift) and now thinks that they are a prophet (holding the office). Then there is the evangelist who only goes about visiting other churches as an exhorter – not preaching to the lost out in the market place or in the hospitals, but to those who already believe as the 'evangelist' does.
Then there is the pastor/teacher folks who started a small church because they felt lead to start one – needing to be in the position of a 'spiritual leader' and taking whatever money they could exhort from their small congregations. The rise of false prophets and teachers.
The sad thing is that the truly called and God ordained ministers must now contend with those within the body as well as those outside. It seems as though most everyone wants to be 'on the platform' and sitting in the chief seats of the church. The big stick: If you mess up the pastor will 'sit you down' (take you off the platform). Listen closely to those who talk about the numbers (members) that they run in their church attendance, or how they run/manage their platform, or who they will allow behind their pulpit, or who is allowed to minister within their congregation. Listen to the number of times you hear the words, me, my, and mine in reference to their part of body of Christ, and compare that to the recorded words of the true apostles and how they used these same words in discribing their own relationship to the body of Christ.
Of course, some who are in leadership positions simply do not know any better – because they were never taught how to be a true servant leader, as Christ Himself instructed His disciples to be. The only examples that many of our men and women in leadership have known are only the spiritual masters who have occupied such positions within the church/organization. Even so, the lure of fame and fortune – these two seducers have been the downfall of way too many men and women, even within the church its self.
To those among us who are true to their calling, humble before God and man, seeking the well fare of others above themselves, who follow after the leadership example set by Jesus and His personal representatives, that is, to all of the functioning elders (even as Peter and Paul identified themselves to be) of the body of Christ, and to every single saint of God who is called, ordained and gifted according to His own purpose, peace, grace and blessings of our God be upon you. Amen.
LOLOL Brother Luckett -I forgot all about that fan club thing! Please - don't go messing with my head. I have problems enough already. LOLOL
However, I am in the process of searching the internet for subjects I have commented on and attempting to clean up those posts (grammar, spelling, etc.) and reposting them on my web site (HaShaliach.com) as discussion starters for 'serious' consideration, not the usual right/wrong bantering we usually encounter on the web.
You said and i quote, "The result is that many truly Spirit called and ordained spiritual leaders are side tracked or over showed by the noise and glamor of the leaders called and ordained by other men (or just called and ordained of themselves)".
So very true!!!! One of the marks of a TRUE apostle is written in our scriptures.....(2 Cor. 4:5, 12) "5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake... 12 So then DEATH worketh in us, but LIFE in you." Oh what a GLORIOUS DAY it will be though we can carry a "label", but our hearts are poured out to OTHERS. As you can SEE i'm not afraid of what I AM by the grace of God.
Even with all the "abuse" we can't afford to discard who we are by maligning ourselves away from "apostleship. There isn't anything intrinsically evil with identify your gifting. I often tell those who carry the authentic grace or gifting to "The direct way of dealing with abuse is by CORRECT USE. We don't throw it AWAY, but we by proper USAGE bring DIGNITY and HONOR into our giftings".
Let me also say for those desiring a "different look at the gift of apostle", i do have an entire teaching on the Restoration of Apostles and Prophets from a redemptive view available. It's silently a variation from what is popular now. I do rejoice that we will begin seeing a complete restoration of the Ascension ministry of Christ which speaks from "Above" and not from the "Bottom Up".....I'm also having a more updated website with these information on that site for easy accessibility......
In my opening post I hit the general subject rather hard – broad brushed it, if you will – it was a lot like pastor bashing. That is, most of my comments were highlighting the negative side of the issue. There is, however, another view that needs to be examined.
As touched on in my original post, there are the legitimate questions concerning the calling of the spiritual leaders of the church: How many of each office do we need? How are they selected, confirmed, and honored? And, what level (degree) of authority does each office hold and exercise?
Then there are the questions of how can one discern the different offices and the roles of the people who sit in those offices? My approach is generally cut everyone 'down to size' and then see who stands back up in the love, knowledge, understanding, wisdom, compassion in their personal lives and exercise spiritual authority and power in, by and through God's Holy Spirit. The others? Generally they either get very angry (self-justified/ self-righteous), run and hide, or in silence, hope that I will simply go away and not identify them by name. Few are they who repent and drop their religious trappings.
But, what of the ones truly called, ordained and established by God? They fight the good fight of the faith, seeking the kingdom of God and to increase it – even at the expense of their own lives. These standard bearers of Christ go out to 'compel' even the stranger to come join in the promised wedding feast. These men and women also stand up before and challenge the false teachers and prophets and all others who would pervert the gospel for their own gain. These same men and women stand before and challenge those who would seek to destroy the souls of people in witchcraft, occults, and other such demonic practices. Theirs is the lonely fight, and throughout history, it is they who have the most often lost everything, including their fortunes, families, friends and their very lives, for the cause of heaven and the salvation of the world.
Today, do not look for the spiritual leader who demands your honor and/or your sacrifice, rather look to the individual who seeks to serve the spiritual and physical needs of others and who lead by example.
I wrote, "Today, do not look for the spiritual leader who demands your honor and/or your sacrifice, rather look to the individual who seeks to serve the spiritual and physical needs of others and who lead by example."
Interesting, but I forgot the other warning sign of a leader who is more interested in his/her position and on its perceived 'benefits', rather than being concerned about enhancing another's relationship with God:
They covet your personal loyalty (sometimes cloaked in terms of support for church programs, ministry, vision, buildings, etc.). They desire to be the center of your spiritual life. Watch carefully, because this can be very tricky. It is the difference between a mister being a sign post that points another to Jesus Christ, and on the other hand it is a minister using Jesus Christ to point to themselves. Discernment is the key!
Thanks kids for your replies. You have done me honor.
Now, the question becomes, "What are we individually going to do with the information provided?" Study (research), apply, ignore, apply, modify, etc.?
It is these kinds of questions that I sometimes use as a self check, to see where I stand in my own ministry:
Why do I do what I do? What is my motivation. - My Purpose.
What do I hope to achieve? Why do I do what I do? - My Goal
What is my 'reward'? What is it that II personally receive out of what I do? - My Personal Payoff
These kinds of questions must be addressed honestly - without resorting to euphemisms such as "God called me", as apposed to freely admitting that, "I like being at the center of attention." And, sometimes the answer can be both, "God called me and I love the attention". Correction cannot be effected until one is first willing to be honest with themselves.
I try to keep these questions before me when I select and respond to a community thread, or post an on-line teaching. A 'reality check'.
Anthony, Anthony, my dear friend. There is no way I can answer that question with any kind of true authority.
That being said, the very question you are willing to ask in an open forum must contain its own answer!
Your willingness to publicly express a personal doubt or concern in this area would indicate to me, just as an observer, that even if you did place yourself in the center of the spot light (replacing Jesus) from time to time, it is not a place you are comfortable being in. I would further suggest that when you overstep your bounds, you are aware of it and at least attempt to make correction,
In truth, the only one who can honestly address your question is – you. I have looked to the Spirit to open my understanding, but the sense of the response is, “The Lord of All shall direct, approve and/or correct His own servant. The motivations of my servant's heart is between he and I. Unless you can identify a sin as a sin, do not attempt to make correction. If my servant does well, I will tell him.”
In your particular case, two scriptures comes to mind. 1 Corinthians 10:32-11:2 and Ephesians 4:29-5:2. I would suggest these two particular passages captures your heart – even when you falter in your walk.