Are your God-given gifts about advancing your ministry, or about advancing God’s wonderfully diverse gifts in others?
Originally posted on Crossroad Junction:
I wrote this report in early 2007, following an extensive ministry trip in Ukraine. Ukraine previously was the western-most region of the former Soviet Union, where it bumped up against Europe, but is now an independent nation.
With all that’s happening in that part of the world, I thought it might be interesting to post this on Crossroad Junction. Please be in prayer for our brothers and sisters in Ukraine. Since this trip, the situation in the country has deteriorated as Russia continues to challenge Ukraine’s fledgling democracy, the economy is in shambles, and political infighting grips the nation.
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We need to stop!
Every time we meet someone who has no family in the area or is homeless, Marianne and I invite them to spend Thanksgiving (an American holiday) with us.
Each year, our home is filled with family and new friends, but this year we may have more guests than seats – even with several tables!
Somehow, I’m sure we’ll figure out how to fit everyone in, make them feel at home, and have a great day of food, laughter and fellowship.
How about also reaching out to those who have no home or family this year?
Invite them to your home and your table.
You will be blessed even more than them.
~ Jim and Marianne
T.A.C.O.s Anyone? By Roger E. Olson
This article provides a sober warning by Dr. Olson that increasingly applies, unfortunately, to certain segments of the so-called “organic” or “simple” church community here in the West – which have come under the influence of so-called “apostolic workers” and their books, blogs and magazines.
Often, when you find an evangelical cult, you don’t have scratch very deep to find some self-professed “apostle” just below the surface.
Unfortunately, the “apostolic workers” now peddling their influence, books and conferences in the organic/simple church community – like we’ve seen with other so-called and often dead-end “new apostolic reformation” movements – are self-appointed, self-proclaimed and unaccountable (except to other “apostolic workers” who are part of their own mutual promotion network).
They also have been aggressively seeking to silence – through threats and slander – all who dare mention the history of sexual predation, abuse and coverup among them.
Sometimes, because He’s gracious, Jesus asks us to surrender the very thing He created us to be good at or value, so He can then restore it under His Lordship.
Otherwise, we end up seeking after the gift, rather than the Giver.
While a prepared message has its place, it is no substitute for a prepared man or woman.
Everyone loves the poor, until asked to share a meal in their home with one.
Everyone loves mercy, until they have to embrace the actual mess of inconvenient victims.
Everyone loves justice, until it disturbs their comfort zones.
Everyone loves the prophetic, until it exposes sin among them.
Everyone loves grace, until it calls them to repent.
Everyone loves love, until it speaks truth.
Postmodern Angst: When you finally figure out that trying to be relevant is no longer considered relevant.
Oh, the crazy webs some weave! ;-)
Someone asked if it is God’s will when evil happens.
I suspect it is God’s will that we have the right to reject Him and choose evil, because He wants us to have the related ability to freely choose the love, grace and rule He offers us.
I also suspect that He grieves with us at what some have done with those choices.
~ Jim Wright
Is it any wonder that a generation raised to believe it’s all about them has a hard time grasping that it’s all about God?
They are easy prey for those peddling God’s amazing grace, love and acceptance, while rejecting repentance, truth and change.
The greatest deceptions, however, involve half truths.
Unfortunately, there’s just too much of this going around these days, and it’s terminal when it comes to healthy believers and healthy ekklesia.
Grace is the means – God extends undeserved mercy, forgiveness and truth.
Repentance is the result – I accept, submit and change.
I know I have been posting a lot lately on sex abuse by church “leaders” – like author and “apostolic worker” Frank Viola, Sovereign Grace Ministry’s head C.J. Mahaney, and the recent case we helped wrap up at Christ Chapel Assemblies of God involving allegations of abuse by several pastors.
I know I have also been posting a lot about those – like Jon Zens, Bart Breen and even otherwise respected leaders like Felicity Dale – who condone such abuse by seeking to excuse or cover it up through threats, lies, slander and intimidation.
These are not issues with which I ever wanted to become involved.
As sovereign King, Jesus gives us the liberty to pursue virtue, not the autonomy to pursue vice.
A ministry Marianne and I are part of, through our churches, is Nathan’s Voice. It has helped many victims of sexual abuse by church leaders, and hardly a week goes by that we are not assisting or counseling yet another survivor – both men and women.
This is a widespread problem, involving leaders in the church who use their position of trust to sexually prey upon men and women seeking their help.
It effects all kinds of churches, from highly structured traditional churches to loosely organized organic fellowships – and all kinds of church leaders, from local “pastors” to so-called apostolic “workers”.
Most people are surprised to learn that in the United States, this is not illegal in most jurisdictions unless it involves some other misconduct – such as a direct physical assault, a minor, or maybe employment discrimination (i.e., sexual harassment in the workplace against an employee of the church).
A gospel which proclaims acceptance without repentance is all about me – rather than Him.
When we capitulate to evil in the name of “peace”, we become the evil.
When we suppress truth in the name of “love”, we become the lie.
When we excuse abuse in the name of “unity”, we become the abuser.
~ Jim Wright
Is Janet Mefferd Being Intimidated by the “Gospel” Mafia to Shut Up About SGM? ~ The Wartburg Watch
Finally, the truth is coming out!
For several years, Marianne and I have been deeply involved behind the scenes in helping victims of the Sovereign Grace Ministries sex abuse scandal. We’ve seen its impact on close friends, while also counseling survivors and their families through Nathan’s Voice.
I also know Boz Tchividjian, who is publicly confronting SGM about its history of sexual abuse and is mentioned in this article.
Although we can’t directly talk about all the underlying facts regarding SGM due to confidentiality, we believe that this exposé by The Wartburg Watch is spot on.
What’s happening in that case is very similar to what’s also happening in the ongoing scandal involving author Frank Viola and his team of self-appointed apostolic “workers” and his additional “accountability team” of other organic church “leaders”.
The problem is not so much that organic church wannabes – who persist in writing, opining and peddling influence on all things organic without actually being part of a healthy, functional, local fellowship – are wrong in theory.
Rather, it’s that their opinions and aspirations lack a sufficient basis for being right in application.