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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Wasting Time and Energy on a Restless Ministry?


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Christ is coming back soon, so most churches and ministries today work double-time to "evangelize" people by hook or by crook. They'd do anything that works, especially anything that cramps people into their church buildings. The common notion is that the Great Commission is done by upping church membership.

Once their churches have become mega in membership, you see the happy, fulfilled expressions on their faces, thinking they have done God's will. And often, they look down on other churches that have remained small and "not growing." To them, growth is none other than numerical (especially financial), although sometimes they may hint on seemingly favoring "quality spiritual growth." But don't count on it. They only say that to sound spiritual. In reality, growth to them is numerical, period. Numbers in membership and finances.

Ministry with a Worldly System

Almost everyone has forgotten that everything should be done as Jesus did church and ministry. It is useless to crowd people in churches like sardines but not have everything look like what Jesus and the Acts church had. In fact, it is useless to have thousands of people in your church and have high income if you just look (and operate) like the world.

For starters, Jesus' ministry and the Acts church did not have any denominations. They had apostles and prophets, aside from evangelists, pastors and teachers. They gave up everything and depended solely on the Word and the Holy Spirit. They operated in genuine signs and wonders and miracles. They aimed for perfection and believed in the glorious church of Jesus Christ (unlike church today which keeps claiming nobody is perfect and there is no perfect church).

Well, where are the apostles and prophets today? And I mean, genuine ones. Where are the signs and wonders as Jesus and the apostles had them?

If you keep doing your ministry the way you do without looking like anything you see in the Gospel (but look in every way like the world), it's all useless. You can never mix God with the world system.

Why the Gospel is Full of Events about Jesus' Ministry

If God wanted us to do just anything in ministry---especially anything "effective"---he would have omitted showing in the bible the life and ministry of Jesus Christ and gone straight to his suffering and death on the cross if salvation was just the purpose. But the Gospel shows how he started ministry and discipleship, his life and character, his mindset and attitude towards the world, kingdom principles and value system---and others---so we can do the same things. Or more precisely, stick to the same things. We cannot do ministry other than how Jesus did it.
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing (or do the same things I have been doing), and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. [John 14.12]
God's will is for true believers to "do the (same) works I have been doing." So, regardless how serious you are with your ministry, how much money or effort you pour into it, or how big it is---if it does not look like Jesus' ministry---it is nothing. Useless. Especially if it operates more like a corporation, a cause-oriented group like the Rotary Club, or a fans club (with every member being an avid fan of the church denomination).

It's Not about Hurrying Up or Getting Busy

The notion today is that we have to hurry up and waste no time in ministry to reach lost souls. Well, we do need to reach lost souls. But it doesn't mean we should panic, hurry up, and get so busy. This will make you look good publicly, but privately you will develop a rotten character. I've seen minsters get rotten in character privately because of their mad drive to "win souls" to up their membership and establish their churches everywhere in the world.

This passage also applies here:
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? [Mark 8.36]
Even the Pharisees traveled over land and sea "to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are," [Matthew 23.15]. They were so busy with evangelism but all they produced were "members" as rotten as they were. This is among the few things you should be careful about ministry if you want to do Jesus' genuine ministry---always watch your character---your heart. Because in your evangelism, you will reproduce only those with the same hearts as you have. 

A lot of ministries have tried to cover this up with their training on how to look good in front of people. They are experts at looking and sounding nice. But you will know them by their fruit. See if they have the character of Jesus in their unguarded moments, especially when they are under great pressure. 

Ministry Pressure Will Ruin You

Beware because I've always seen this in my 37 years of ministry---ministry pressure will ruin you---your spiritual life, character and physical health. I've seen pastors and church leaders fall without noticing it. They become difficult people, stubborn, arrogant, self-conceited, self-centered, unable to listen, strict, and always in a hurry to do something. They have forgotten how to relax and rest. So they're sick with deadly diseases. But funny how they attribute all this to Jesus' cross. They're proud to die in ministry, and that means die of deadly diseases because of ministry stress, which is nowhere in the bible.

It's not God's will that you die in sickness. It's God's will that you enjoy good health as you serve him [3 John 2]: Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.

What the bible emphasizes is resting in God and resting from dead works.
Anyone who enters God's rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience. [Hebrews 4.10-11]
Not entering God's rest is disobedience and can kill you. And I see many church ministers and leaders being disobedient like that. 

Ministry Pressure Will Make You Do a Good-Looking though Wrong Ministry

Serve God all you want, but make sure it is according to how Jesus served the Father and how the Lord did his ministry. Share the Gospel with as many, but you shouldn't pressure yourself with its results. Some churches exist only to "trap" people to conversion by hook or by crook. They use tactics such as followups, visitation, giving them benefits with strings attached, pestering them with repeated invitations, attracting them with church facilities and programs, and the like. This is not evangelism as Jesus did it. It's denominational expansionism. 

Jesus never did anything like that. He just presented people with the pure WORD. He never fed them or healed them and then made sure they were back to his church next Sunday. His principle was always, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

Christ is coming back soon, but it doesn't mean all hell breaks loose in our churches. We don't have to go after people. If you have 10 or 15 people in church who really live like Jesus and manifest his character, you have already succeeded. That counts more in God's eyes than a mega church of people who do ministry as the Pharisees did it or do it in the systems of the world, which will surely make them rotten in character.

Don't dream to be small but don't force yourself to be big. Just go along with the Holy Spirit. Some are given one talent, some three, some five. What matters is to reproduce according to the specifications of the Master.

A restless church has the reputation of being alive, but it is dead.

Make Sure It's a Genuine Jesus Ministry

Share the Gospel in a simple way, without making it look attractive or glamorous. Present the Gospel in exactly how Jesus did it, without circus or fanfare (or funfare). And most of all, share all the vital points. The rich young ruler asked Jesus how he could have eternal life. Jesus told him everything, not just the juicy part. Not partially, and then telling him the rest later when Jesus have "trapped" him already into his membership. 

No, Jesus told him everything right from the beginning. That's how you share the Gospel of salvation---you include the cost of following Jesus Christ. "Sell all your riches and give to the poor. Then come follow me," he said to the young ruler. Did he really have to say that and discourage the young man? Wouldn't Jesus be held "accountable" for breaking the heart of this lad who was willing to get saved?

Jesus was not just after more members and more income. Even if thousands or millions were perishing without a Savior in his time, he still did things according to what the Father wanted. Remember, it's always how faithful, not how grand. What are you going to do with a church-full of rotten characters?

Everybody is busy with getting successful today but do not understand how God sees true success, whether in life or in career. Or even in ministry. So, I have embarked on the e-book, "The Gospel Success" to share God's standards of success. Your accomplishment will all be nothing, anyway, if it doesn't pass God's quality control. But do you know what's true success to God? You'd be surprised. Watch out for the ebook.

For more radically life-changing insights, get our e-books! 

GOD's Flesh: 
"And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!" [Job 19.26-17]. LIKE US ON FACEBOOK!

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