Pastoral Testimony

I have never written to this list before, I’m a messed up and undone man.
I hope that some of this sharing of my heart provides a witness in the
spirit with some of you on this list.

To make a long biography short, I have a full time “secular” job and I’m
also a “Pastor” of a small assembly. I had been an associate pastor for a
few years, but since the last 4 months I have replaced our previous pastor
who has went on to another calling. I have no formal theological/ seminary
education. My wife is the “worship” director and the “women’s ministry
leader” We have worn the names of about everything you could ever be in an
Institutionalized Church. We also know what it is like to be “busy for the
Lord” like Martha was. I have used parenthesis in these words because the
definitions seem to change daily as the titles of “man” are swallowed up
in the purposes of God.

In our church we have totally changed our approach to the Lord during our
“services.” It has been a mutual conviction among the leadership and
myself to stop our attempt in keeping a program going, or “entertaining
the crowd.” When we gather together our main focus is to minister to the
Lord as a body. Our Sunday meetings are held in a high school auditorium.
We set up and tear down our sound and music equipment every time we are
there. We begin at a certain time and quit whenever. Lately, I have just
wanted to sit at the Lord’s feet and learn while praising and worshipping
Him. My desire to teach and preach has been changed. I love to teach but I
feel like I’m on a dead run in pursuit of his glory through praise and
worship when we meet as a congregation.

It used to be a few songs and an hour plus of the Word. Some would not
come until the preaching started. It seemed that the “worship time” was
just a optional added event to the “putting your time in” on Sunday. Now
we have little or no preaching and spend the rest of the time ministering
to the Lord. If you stop and think about how much time the church in
general has in corporate intimate time ministering to the Lord. Or think
about the time spent in true worship. I’m sure it is very little, if at

I have found that the Lord can speak from his presence a few words to a
person that could produce more of a change that a million sermons from man
could. It seems that when a pastor is continually preaching to a
congregation midweek after midweek, Sunday after Sunday something very
subtle happens to them both. The first, is the pastor gets a feeling of
being “needed” by the congregation. Lets face it, we all love to feel
purpose and being wanted. And of course, he must earn his pay, so the
feeding continues. The worst outcome of this type of ministry is when the
redeemed start to let the man behind the pulpit become their spiritual
ears and spiritual eyes. The conviction of the pulpit precedes the
conviction of the congregation. It seems that we humans default to being
lazy. If someone else will do my job and I still will benefit from
it…Great! We want our money out of him too. Why should the congregation
try to hear from the Lord when the Pastor already has?

We become eaters of the bread of “second hand revelation” when we put
ourselves in this lazy mode of letting someone else “hear” or “see” for
us. The sad thing is the flock never recognizes the voice of the Great
Shepherd, just the voice of the pastor or Prophet. This is how many will
be deceived in the last days. They will follow the voice of another
“anointed one.” We need the five fold ministry, but it is to teach us to
know the Lord and personally recognize His voice in order to do His work.
This also applies to the Apostle, Prophet and Evangelist. We work out our
OWN salvation but we also are called as a whole body.

If you are among the hungry and thirsty in the congregation there is a
great chance for frustration to occur. One week, THIS is how we have
victory in Christ, the next week THIS is how we have victory in Christ. So
each week you try what someone else said. Each week you grow more and
frustrated. As Jesus said to Peter, “Who do you say that I am?” Well the
pastor says, or the elders say…No, “Who do you say that I am?” You, your
self need a personal encounter with, and a revelation of Christ. It needs
to revealed first hand from God to you. In all this I am NOT taking away
from teaching the Word. Mature believers are to be equipped for duty, not
fattened and spoon fed. And equipping them is teaching them to walk on
their own and hear the Lord personally.

When the church meets we all have something to offer. We have an “open
microphone” policy and the congregation is encouraged to share what the
Lord is saying. Each person is inspired to use their spiritual gifts as
God leads. I guess the key words are “as God leads.” The worship team does
not “perform” any more. As the whole congregation seeks the Lord, each
individual waits to be led to their instrument or place of worship. If no
person is led to their place, the set up time was for nothing. So be it.
There is one interesting thing about waiting on the Lord’s leading rather
than a having a program. When we are “out of it” there is no program to
smooth it over. You feel it, and it is not a good feeling. Church is not
about spectators it is about participants. Take the players off the field,
you have no game. No participation in service, you have no church.
Participation isn’t about being “busy” in the church, it’s about letting
Christ work through you individually to accomplish the overall.

I have felt much confirmation when reading the books. “God Chasers”, and
“God’s Favorite House” by Tommy Tenney. Like him, I’m so sick of “doing
church.” I am hungry to see God come in his glory and “do the church.” We
have carried the Ark on the ox cart of man’s ways long enough. As I said
earlier I am messed up in my spirit. All I care to do when we gather is to
seek His face and provide a place for His glory to rest if He chooses to
visit us.

I have also done a little research into our Jewish roots and have read the
book “Open Church” by James Rutz. It made me sick to see just how pagan
and far off from the original plan and blueprint of the church most of us
are. How can God come in His glory to a house that he doesn’t even
recognize. How would you feel if the contractor that you hired ended up
building your custom designed home his own way? We hold dearly in our lap
and pet doctrines that have roots that come from the “minds” not the Holy
Spirit of our “early church fathers” which for the most part were pagan.
Salvation becomes us accepting God rather than God accepting us. Grace is
cheap and abused, repentance is shallow. See Andrew Strom’s article on his
website about “Asking Jesus into your heart.” Oh by the way, I agree 100%
with what Andrew wrote about this easy believeism. How far we have strayed
from the “original recipe.” How little the church resembles the early book
of Acts church. I have heard that the last chapter of Acts is yet to be
written, spiritually not literally. I know it will not be about what the
current “mode” is.

I have learned to question everything from the mind and mouth of man. You
need to separate the bones from the meat. Ask yourself, why do I do this?
Why do I do that? It is so easy to run to a man for an answer, or go to
the latest seminar. Why not lock your self in your prayer closet and wait
on God until he shows you. Too many Ideas, too few revelations. “This is
what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Do not listen to what the prophets are
prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions
from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD. They keep saying to
those who despise me, ‘The LORD says: You will have peace.’ And to all who
follow the stubbornness of their hearts they say, ‘No harm will come to
you.’ But which of them has stood in the council of the LORD to see or to
hear his word? Who has listened and heard his word?” (Jeremiah 23:16-18)

I’m sick of the ox cart, I want the restoration of the tabernacle of David
in it’s fullness, I want the Ark back in Zion…

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