God Is For Us

I'M A CHRISTIAN...NOW WHAT?

How To Spot (Discern) A Healthy Congregation And Be Protected During The Great Tribulation…Revelation 3:10.

 

In Revelation 3:10 John writes God’s red letter Council: “Because you have kept My command to persevere I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who live on earth”.

 

Think about that friend. What did the church at Philadelphia persevere in? They persevered in Christian love—how they treated one another and their neighbors (strangers). Read John 4; John 8 and Luke 19. Jesus treated the worst of the worst with tenderness and love. He saw people as they would be not as they currently are (Also Romans the 12th Chapter) The verses below are just of a few pertinent Scriptures to this message:

 

 “…thus says the Lord God: “Behold I shall judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and goats…Because you have pushed with side and shoulder, butted all the weak ones with your horns and scattered them” (Ezekiel 34:11-22).

“For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand” (Psalm 95:7).

“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture! Says the Lord….I will attend to you for the evil of your doings” (legalistic behavior) (Jeremiah 23:1-6).

 

Ephesus, the first congregation that came under Theocratic scrutiny in Revelation 2 and 3 was found to be the “loveless church” (Revelation 2:1-7). They had forgotten their first love, the love from and for Jesus and Christian Love for one another. Notice in Revelation 2:1 they are commended on many levels and yet they had forgotten their ‘first love’, that which Jesus loves…He loves Love…Christian Love…unconditional, sacrificial Love (Revelation 2:5-6, Ephesians 5:25).

 

This church of Ephesus had lost their love for people (God’s children, all humankind) much like the legalism that has grown and has rotted and corrupted so many congregations today, (study all of Revelation chapters 2 and 3 and all of Galatians and Corinthians, these all were really messed up churches) but they were written about in order to give us examples of how to be and also not to be.

 

If a congregation is a loveless congregation, they will probably still be used by Father to do His Work in some ways, but He will not likely manifest His Supernatural Presence in such a place. He might Bless their efforts, for example; in a youth ministry, because it is Father’s Plan for these children to learn the basics, but these children will probably, eventually, become Spiritually famished and seek out adult Spiritual food as they mature. It is very likely that because these children grew up in a loveless, perhaps even hypocritical congregation, some will probably become prodigals. (Quote statistics here XXXXXXX).

 

This congregation will suffer from malnutrition and quite often the evil spirit of pride reflected from leadership will allow the enemy to slither in with more serious grievances such as pornography, weak marriages, general poor physical health and Spiritual atrophy…a dull and passionless attitude that separates them emotionally from the Holy Spirit…God on earth in Spiritual form, without Whom we become orphans (John 14:14-21).

 

The very first thing to look for when seeking out a healthy church is to observe how they treat new faces. This is not the only thing to look for but it is the first thing. Without true, Christian love (Philadelphia Love) in a congregation, Father probably will still use that Congregation according to His Will and Specific Needs, but that congregation will not likely soon know Father’s Kabod. His Heavy, Weighty, Manifest Presence...or receive His Protection during the Great Tribulation. (Revelation 3:10).

 

We are going to illustrate the importance of these things with real life examples. Names will not be mentioned for obvious reasons. There will be examples of both ‘Philadelphia Congregations’ as well as ‘Loveless Congregations’. First we will consider the examples of how not to be:

 

When I first arrived in a certain city Father put me to work finding a congregation who has a burning in their bones for Him to manifest Himself in the supernatural. I love what Nathan Morris says about miracles “Miracles are God’s Dinner Bell for Salvation”. This is so true. So I was on a mission to find a Philadelphia Congregation…because without love Father will not show up supernaturally. That is, if they do not have a close and personal, intimate relationship with Father and treat everyone as Jesus did then they cannot know His Mature Will. And in order to have that close relationship with Him they must exhibit Christian Love.

 

He led me first to a congregation who is much like the congregation of Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7). They appeared to have hard work and perseverance but they had forgotten their first love…the love of other people as manifest through our Lord, particularly those who showed up as new faces ‘out of the blue’.

 

A loveless church is often characterized by a ‘Claim Jumper’ attitude. Instead of being warm and genuinely interested in a new comer they automatically assume the worst and look suspiciously at that new comer. Instead of feeling joyous over meeting another man or woman of God, or a potential person of God, they will automatically hear the enemy’s negative, divisive voice of suspicion.

 

How do we know that these thoughts and suggestions are from the enemy? Simple, our God is the God of multiplication and addition, Satan is the god of subtraction and division. Our God is the God of growth; Satan is the God of death. Our God is the God of Love in a congregation; Satan is the god of suspicion toward new comers.

 

Their thoughts and actions might go something like this: “Look at that stranger; I wonder what he is up to. Look at the people he brings with him…they are poor and dirty, probably sinners…not righteous like us”. Sadly, this attitude comes in the name of “protecting the flock”.

 

So for fifteen months I visited this congregation and other congregations, periodically, and tried to become close to them, as part of the Body of Christ, in order to serve. I would show up early and sit in the gathering room with dozens of people around me. I tried to engage them in conversation but they would not ask even simple questions such as how long I planned on being here, do I have family here, would I like to meet for coffee, would I like to meet with them in their home to fellowship and to study God’s Word.

 

One particular congregation normally has 30-40 in attendance on Sunday. The Pastor often boasts of his open door policy, how he is well qualified to council and equip the saints (the most faithful) and how no problem is too small for him (instead of God) to solve (pride). I tried calling the Pastor many times to get to know him better. He met with me once for coffee during which time he kept watching the clock. The only thing he seemed interested in was my income and my tithing ability.

 

Over the next 15 months I left him several kind messages asking if we could get together or I would call to ask him to pray for individuals. He never once returned any of my calls. He screens his calls via the answering machine

 

Once he determined that I was going through a season of financial hardship, he lost all interest. I had never asked for anything for myself, mind you, but I had asked for small comfort and study for others who were in need. Apparently instead as seeing these battered sheep as Blessings, he saw them as burdens too great to bear and he said “it just isn’t me” to minister to the poor—I don’t want those people to be a bad influence on the children”. Also keep in mind that I do not take any of this personally. He and the elders treat every new face the same way (with suspicion and disdain) unless, of course, they think you have deep pockets. They had lost sight of their first love and let money determine a person’s worth. They missed or forgot the parable of the Widow’s Mite (Luke 21:1, Mark 12:41-44). They had forgotten their first love(Rev. 2:1-7).

 

Jesus tells us in Mathew 25:40 “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:37-46). Think about how many congregations ‘snub’ Jesus every time they snub a new comer.

 

This was all coming from a Pastor who brags that he is an Apostle and supports many missions. He might see that they are financially supported for ‘bragging rights’ (Ephesians 2:8-10) but he does not have a clue about what it means to equip the saints (the most faithful) and, sadly, they have a love for money rather than a love for people. The first clue was discerned in my first visit; they snub new faces who appear to be poor and they suffer from a serious case of ‘Claim Jumper Syndrome’ instead of being infected with God’s Agape Love. The Holy Spirit finds such a place ‘stinky’ not pleasing to His senses. Keep in mind that I have tested the spirits in this regard with several congregations over a period of about 2 years. If I show up in ‘come as you are’ clothing, I am snubbed. If I show up a few weeks or a few months later in a Brooks Brothers suit, they assume that I am wealthy and pay me all kinds of ‘loving’ attention.

 

The very first thing to look for when seeking out a healthy church is to observe how they treat new faces. This is not the only thing to look for but it is the first thing. Without true, Christian love (Agape Love) in a congregation, Father probably will still use that Congregation according to His Will and Specific Needs, but that congregation will not likely know Father’s Kabod, His Heavy, Weighty, Manifest Presence…or receive His Protection during the Great Tribulation. (Revelation 3:10).

 

One day I received a loud, desperate knock at my door. I answered it and the man began prophesying to me and at the same time he was openly declaring his convictions. I had never seen the man before but somehow he knew me. We will call him James.

 

The first words out of James’ mouth were “Please pray for me. I have brain cancer. I am dying. Part of my brain is missing, already eaten up with cancer. I had brain cancer 5 years ago. God healed me. Later I terribly grieved God He took the healing away. He will heal me again, I know that He will and this time I will live to His Glory”.

 

I had been used by Father several times to that point in a variety of healings. I had never seen a deeper level of faith or conviction. This broken man was ready for Father to reshape him as a witness to bring others to Salvation through Christ. I was full of the Holy Spirit and grateful to witness Father at work. I am a firm believer (and practitioner) in the fact that Jesus wants all believers to be used for supernatural healings and signs and wonders as part of fulfilling the Great Commission ( Matt. 10:7-8; Luke 9:1-2; Acts 1:8; 1 John 5:14-15; John 14: 12-13; Mark 16: 17-18; Mark 16:15).

 

I laid hands on James and we prayed. He fell out on my couch. The Spiritual Healing had begun. I knew that the physical and emotional and Spiritual healings were not far behind. I received an initiative from Father that this man needs a congregation so as to have a protective hedge around him. James needed a safe harbor where the enemy could not reach him. His healing had begun but he needed to be further discipled and protected..

 

The congregation that I mentioned earlier was within a few minutes driving distance. I had been attending there off. For a while. I did not realize at that time the depth of corruption that filled that congregation. I took James there as Sunday Services were to begin in a few minutes. I spoke to the prayer team. The Pastor was away that day but his wife was filling in. I introduced James to them and boldly stated that “Father wants to manifest Himself today, a miracle of physical, Spiritual and emotional healings will occur here today”.

 

One of the prayer team members is the Deacon of the congregation. She wears a perpetual scowl on her face. I could almost hear her thinking by the look on her face and in her eyes when she saw James. He is a late middle aged American Native. He smelled like the street. He was wearing dirty pajama bottoms. He was obviously, materially poor. The Deacon would not come close to him, much less lay hands on James.

 

I saw James in a different Light. I saw him as Father sees him. The Deacon’s stench of self-righteous hypocrisy was in the air but I still smelled the perfume of God’s Presence. James later told me that he smelled the same things.

 

The services began. After a couple of Praise and Worship songs; it came time for prayer and prayer requests. James did not hesitate to go up to the alter and onto the platform. I remained seated close by. Others could feel God’s Presence as James once again began to both prophesy and also express his convictions. Even the self-righteous Deacon remained in her seat, apparently she too could feel God at work. I began to think her heart was softening.

 

It took James about 5 minutes to give his testimony on how Father had healed him, through Jesus, 5 years prior. How he had grieved Father terribly after that and Father took the miracle away. Unashamed and desperate, this man was facing his own physical death and brokenness and gave an impassioned, contrite and bold plea for everyone’s prayers and blessings.

 

I went up to the platform and held James at his side and began praying both in the natural and in the Spirit. James was about to fall out when I felt a terrible tug in my spirit. One of the catchers who came up behind us was the Deacon that I mentioned earlier.

 

As soon as she appeared on the platform a stench of Spiritual death came with her. It was not James. It was accompanied by a feeling of rejection, suspicion, guilt and hunger. The guilt and hunger, suspicion and rejection belonged to her, she was hungry for God but she felt convicted for whatever reasons; she allowed the enemy to work in her. I knew it was her even though she was standing behind James and myself. I could smell her and her double minded and unstable spirit (James 1:5-8).

 

I held James close at his side as we received the Holy Spirit. Someone had brought a chair onto the platform and James gently smoothed into it as God’s Kabod settled in over him. After about 15 minutes of Congregational prayer for James, it was time for ‘church as usual’. The Deacon motioned for me to get James to the prayer room next to the Sanctuary.

 

James ‘came to’ and made his way, leaning on me and he was very wobbly as we walked to the prayer room.

 

We were joined by another brother. The time flew by as the services proceeded for another 90 minutes in the Sanctuary. During that time James was glowing. He talked excitedly about receiving the Holy Spirit. He could feel God’s Healing Warmth. He vowed to never grieve the Holy Spirit again. I never asked what James had done to grieve the Holy Spirit because that detail was for them only to know. Instead we focused on God’s Mercy and how James needed follow up Spiritual counseling and discipleship in order to continue the momentum of his healing.

 

At this point he no longer slurred his words. The paralysis on the left side of his face had disappeared, he could see clearly out of his left eye which had been blinded by the brain cancer. No doubt a healing had begun.

 

After Services and as we were standing and talking about Jesus, Glorifying and giving all credit to Father God, the Deacon of the congregation walked in and she came right up to us. She interrupted our prayerful conversation with the harsh words “I don’t think God will heal you”.

 

James immediately was devastated and began to cry out “PLEASE DON”T SAY THAT”! I began, at the same time, to pray quietly in tongues and also received an interpretation from the Holy Spirit that was meant for me alone. I was told very clearly to hold my words and not argue in the natural. I was told to allow this person to witness against herself.

 

Directly after that the Deacon realized what she had said, she tried to back pedal. She held her right hand up to her mouth and tried to take her words back but it was too late. Her curses had gone out like bullets and struck James in his heart.

 

It was too late for her to take her words back. The damage was done.  I remembered all of the teaching about the tongue in James 3:1-5. I remembered also the way to undue a curse is to speak blessings. Satan is the ‘accuser of man’, the cursor of man. This sister was seeing the situation through the devil’s eyes, not through God’s Eyes (also Psalm 52:2; 1 Timothy 3:8)

 

I spent the next several hours ministering to James in my room at the Hotel. I finally had to turn in and get some sleep. He went back to his room. The next day I learned that James had given up. He went to a local bar, drank himself into oblivion, and got robbed of several hundred dollars. Then he brought this behavior back to the Hotel and his behavior got him quickly evicted.

 

I lost track of James for several months until the 5th of August 2011. I saw him get into a car at a local convenience store. He was walking straight and looked healthy. Traffic did not allow me to get to him before he drove off as a passenger in the other car. But at least I know that he is alive and apparently healthy. I have no doubt that Father will have us cross paths again when the time is right.

 

I never spoke to the Pastor about this. Father was very clear that He would handle it. My test had been passed. I did not revile back to the Deacon of the congregation. The old Mark would have destroyed this self-righteous Deacon with one or two well placed verbal shots. But that is no longer me and has not been me for a number of years.

 

The very first thing to look for when seeking out a healthy church is to observe how they treat new faces. This is not the only thing to look for but it is the first thing. Without true, Christian love ( Philadelphia Love) in a congregation, Father probably will still use that Congregation according to His Will and Specific Needs, but that congregation will not likely know Father’s Kabod, His Heavy, Weighty, Manifest Presence…or receive His Protection during the Great Tribulation. (Revelation 3:10).

 

The next example of the ‘Claim Jumper Syndrome’ involves the same Pastor but a separate congregation:

 

I had been collecting and publishing Testimonies regarding God’s Miracles for a year or so at this point. The Pastor I mentioned earlier was very aware of this and had mentioned another congregation that was known for having many inspiring testimonies. The Pastor of that congregation had come from a criminal background as has many others in the flock. Of course, there is nothing more dramatic and interesting then a good old ‘Road to Damascus’ Testimony to inspire others who are coming out of the world and into God’s Kingdom; so this captured my attention. Knowing the Pastor’s background I had developed a special warmth in my heart for him. Father had drawn him out of the worst possible worldly circumstances and used him to save many souls.

 

The original Pastor (mentioned above) introduced me to the second Pastor (the one with a worldly background). The second Pastor mentioned that there was a young man who had a Testimony that would bring tears to your eyes. It was already on CD. His mother was expected to be at their services that Sunday and I was invited to come and meet with her and obtain a copy of the Testimony to be broadcast on my website and other Christian websites.

 

So I eagerly showed up early for services. I did not know this Pastor well and was somewhat apprehensive because he too ran his flock with suspicion of outsiders (Claim Jumper Syndrome). But I had known the other Pastor for a period of time and had to believe Father was at work in the situation so I obeyed Father regarding the assignment.

 

I showed up and talked to the Pastor. He was very friendly at first. We talked about my website and he introduced me to the young man’s mother, then he walked away. The woman and I were having a very comfortable conversation for a few minutes. Keep in mind this all happened in the Sanctuary. There were about 40 to 50 people around us all talking and waiting for services to begin.

 

It had been about 5 minutes or so since the Pastor had introduced us and then he left the conversation abruptly. He left with the Spirit of love in him. When he returned he was a different man, he carried back with him a spirit of rage. There are only two powers: God and Satan. If it is not coming from God then it is coming from the enemy. And God would never perpetrate the scene that followed:

 

There in God’s Sanctuary with 40 to 50 witnesses looking on, this man came back to me yelling in the vilest of tones and at the top of his lungs “YOU ARE A LIAR”!!! His face was beet red and his neck muscles were straining, I could see the arteries in his neck pulsating. For a moment I thought he might have a stroke. He continued to yell; “YOU ARE A LIAR”!!! Then he waited a split second to gauge my reaction. When there was no reaction he began yelling over and over again: “YOU ARE A LIAR!!! YOU ARE A LIAR”!!! It was like he was imitating a wounded animal.

 

I had been sucker punched by the enemy. I remained still…waiting for a word from Father. He told me to allow the man to witness against himself. I remained quiet and peaceful as the man reviled on: He continued to rant and rave and actually started foaming at the mouth as he got everyone’s attention in the Sanctuary. I could smell a foul odor of rotten eggs coming from his mouth. I could feel an unholy presence in the atmosphere. I could see a blackness, a deep void that surrounded him. He continued his mantra of “YOU ARE A LIAR”!!!

 

I accepted Father’s Protection from these evil forces. I quietly and very briefly began to speak in tongues. It was a message to me personally that Father also allowed me to interpret. “Mark, you are ok. Peacefully hold your ground, let him witness against himself”. Then, after the Pastor had exhausted himself in rage after what seemed like an eternity, I simply asked the man “Why are you so angry”? This gave him cause to return to reviling. I was obeying Father when He told me to peacefully hold my ground and allow the man to be a witness against himself.

 

He replied in the same ungodly, raging tones: “ARE YOU A MEMBER OF THIS CHURCH”!!!? I replied “You know full well that my home church is in Georgia but we are all members of the Body of Christ”. You and Pastor (blank) both know of my mission. You introduced me here”.

 

Then, according to God’s Initiative, I asked another question…a ‘neutral’ question: “Who are you”? The man continued to witness against himself with his raging  words for what seemed an eternity but was probably only a matter of a couple of more minutes…non-stop…still raging and foaming at the mouth.

 

I had been blindsided and was in disbelief that this could ever happen in one of Father’s Sanctuaries, at the hand of a Pastor…but the Holy Spirit kept me on my feet. Finally I simply walked away and with the kindest of words I had ever heard come from a human mouth I said “Father wants me to continue to show love to you. We will straighten this out later”. I then turned and quietly left.

 

Everyone in the Sanctuary was speechless; some actually with their mouths hung open in disbelief. As I left the Sanctuary and entered the fellowship hall, about 30 feet from the original scene, the man ran after me and insisted that I return to him the woman’s contact information that she had given to me. I reached into my pocket, looked him in his eyes to see what I could see and gave him the slip of paper containing her contact information. I then quietly left that Spiritually putrid environment. What I saw in his eyes, at that moment, was pure evil.

 

I saw at least one demon of rage and murder that he carried from his life prior to becoming a Christian. This (these) demon(s) manifest their selves in the natural as extremely severe head aches.

 

As long as he denies entertaining these unclean spirits he will be in bondage. Only when he faces them through Jesus’ Blood will he truly be set free. The headaches that he suffers from will then go away. There is not a shred of doubt that Father is working in this man but until he truly submits to Father’s Plan of Love and kindness he will be hindered by the unclean spirits from his life prior to being reborn in Christ.

 

We speak God’s Blessings into his life to undo the curses from the enemy and we pray that he sees the many ways that Father has already set so many free and that he knows this can be for him also. This is not a matter of the man’s Salvation…he is a Christian who has Salvation (probably, that is God’s call—not mine) but Salvation is just the beginning. Part of the new beginning for Christians is learning how to live a joyful, productive life while surrounded by a broken (Satanic) world.

 

The very first thing to look for when seeking out a healthy church is to observe how they treat new faces. This is not the only thing to look for but it is the first thing. Without true, Christian love ( Philadelphia Love) in a congregation, Father probably will still use that Congregation according to His Will and Specific Needs, but that congregation will not likely know Father’s Kabod, His Heavy, Weighty, Manifest Presence…or receive His Protection during the Great Tribulation. (Revelation 3:10).

 

As I left the building (by now I was heart broken and in shock) I felt Father’s Hand on me and I felt Him say “You did pretty good kid”.

 

I even heard the enemy saying things like “See, your ministry is in vain, you are a phony. No one wants to hear about Miracles. You are wasting your time. Give up and go back to Atlanta and rebuild your fortune in Real Estate”.

 

I knew I was on the right track because every time I do the opposite of what the enemy wants, I am always acting in God’s Will. So I had received double encouragement, once from Father and again, in an opposite way, from the enemy.

 

The enemy looses every time he is ignored. So I pressed on.

 

Once again I was tested and I passed. The old Mark would have reviled back. I would have dressed this man down verbally and humiliated him in front of his own family and friends. If he had attacked me physically he would have regretted it--but that was not on my mind. Instead, I gave it all over to Father in complete trust and I had done it automatically, without thinking. I knew at that moment that He was in me and I was in Him unshakably from then on.

 

Later, as I was soaking in the Spirit, communing with Father, I had a really good conversation with Him. He went over point by point what I had learned and what I had yet to learn. I had His Permission and Blessings to do His Work on earth. He let me know that I was in for a season of both personal and ministerial growth and prosperity. Looking back He was right, as always.

 

I tried my best to do what Scriptures say and I tried to mend fences with this supposed ‘man of God’. I called him and he threatened to destroy my reputation.  I called the Pastor who had introduced us, my tone was purposefully humble to both men and I spoke with every intension of healing that wound, out of love, that had been inflicted on the Body Of Christ. This ‘man of God’ also blasted me and attacked my character (Proverbs 17:3-5, Proverbs 15:1-4),

 

I felt lost for several days. I then mustered my courage and went seeking another Testimony. I met with another Pastor from another denomination. It turns out that the original Pastor had already spread the word around town…in so many words he said to ‘look out for that Mark Diaz character, he is a Claim Jumper. He is a wolf disguised as a sheep. He is here to steal, kill and destroy”. That Pastor, the third Pastor in this scenario, never ‘tested the spirits’ as none of them had done. He didn’t even check my references. Instead he went with gossip and slander. He believed the enemy without righteous questions or even a hint of Christian love (they had even refused to pray with me). They said that they did not need prayer--they through around words like ‘discernment’ and how God had told them this about me and God had told them that about me…when in truth, if they had true discernment and actually used it they would have discerned that I am one of the good guys simply looking for Testimonies regarding God’s Work in order to inspire others in similar situations.

 

The very first thing to look for when seeking out a healthy church is to observe how they treat new faces. This is not the only thing to look for but it is the first thing. Without true, Christian love (Philadelphia Love) in a congregation, Father probably will still use that Congregation according to His Will and Specific Plans, but that congregation will not likely know Father’s Kabod, His Heavy, Weighty, Manifest Presence…or receive His Protection during the Great Tribulation. (Revelation 3:10).

 

Now we are going to examine 2 examples of what it means to be a Philadelphia Congregation, this is the fun part:

 

I want to mention that these are true accounts as given to me by someone who is now close and dear to me. In the interest of time this will be a brief over view, not a lengthy, detailed account, although it would make a fascinating, book length, Christian Testimony.

 

A few years ago a certain sister was part of a Christian Theater Group who would basically go to various congregations and perform Christian based Theatrical Presentations.

 

One night, just before the holidays, her group was scheduled to appear at a rather large Church and the theme was ‘Showing God’s Love’. Our sister played the part of a homeless woman. Her costume was kind of ‘come as you are’…you know, old, drab, somewhat tattered.

 

Father moved in her, prior to the play, to place herself outside of the entrance of the church building. Far enough away so as to not be bothersome to those coming and going but close enough that she could be noticed. This exercise was inspired by something a Pastor had done. We will discuss this in the next example of true Christian love and behavior.

 

So she was there, appearing as a homeless woman. She had decided, of course, not to accept any money if offered, but to see how much kindness and Christian Love this poor, lonely woman would receive from the congregation.

 

To hear her tell the details actually brought tears to my eyes knowing that there are some Philadelphia congregations around, scarce as they may be right now.

 

To say the least, the supposed ‘homeless woman’, was loved on! Many people were led to inquire about her well being--if she was hungry, or if they could help in any way.

 

The second example may not be an example of how a congregation exhibited Agape Love but it certainly is an example of an inspired Pastor leading his flock in that direction.

 

As our sister was telling me this account I could actually feel Father’s Big Smile on this truly inspired Pastor.

 

It was ‘church as usual’ on Sunday morning. The nearly 600 people of the church were getting seated before Services began. Many of them noticed an older man seated outside of the entrance of the church building. He was sitting far enough away on a bench so as to not be bothersome to those coming and going but close enough that he could be noticed.. He was dressed in ‘come as you are clothing’ and hadn’t shaved for several days. No one knew him and there was a lot of pointing and whispering but no one came up to him to even talk to him, much less ‘Love on him’.

 

The man was seated there for probably a half hour prior to services. Services began with music and Praise, Prayer and the usual ‘house keeping’ announcements.

 

When it came time for the Pastor to speak, this old, tattered man walked up to the platform. People were becoming disturbed because this old man (this “bum”) was obviously headed for the podium and the microphone. There was a stir in the congregation; a tenseness in the air as this supposed homeless man approached the platform.

 

No one knew him because they did not bother to speak to him. Not one person knew this man as he picked up the microphone. The first words out of his mouth were “I am your Pastor”.

 

Once the congregation realized what they had done (with no words spoken) the Pastor delivered an inspired message on Christian Love.

 

This Pastor was truly being a Leader in God’s Kingdom: By recognizing the Spiritual need of his flock. God blessed him and inspired him, gave him an inspired idea on how to effectively drive home the importance of Christian Love. This Pastor was equipping the saints, the most faithful, to do God’s Work.

 

I have not yet met this Pastor but I hope to someday. He is a breath of fresh air in a currently, Spiritually arid world of legalism, self-righteousness and all of the rest of the basic elements of pride that infected the church, in general, in Paul’s day and today (Revelation chapters 2 and 3).

 

There is one final Scripture that you might want to consider while praying and meditating on how Father views the importance of Loving on each other and on new comers:

 

 “Let brotherly love continue, for by doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. Remember the prisoners as if chained with them-those who are mistreated-since you yourselves are in the body also (Romans 13:1-3)

 

There are other things to look for in a healthy congregation which will be discussed later. If you are part of a healthy Philadelphia Congregation then you are certainly blessed. If your congregation is unhealthy then pray about it. Ask for Father’s Inspiration…His Will for you. He might tell you to move on to a healthy pasture, one where you will be fed--He might tell you to stay and help the congregation grow. Either is fine if you are at peace that this is God’s Will for you.

 

We will be exploring this subject of healthy congregations in depth in future articles.

 

Love in Christ,

 

Mark

Views: 18

Comment

You need to be a member of God Is For Us to add comments!

Join God Is For Us

© 2021   Created by God Is For Us.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service