Thank You Pastor


Merry Christmas

I have had the great pleasure of working with pastors from different denominations and diverse theological and doctrinal positions. I have walked away with great admiration for pastors. We have pastors that genuinely care about advancing the Kingdom of God. Pastors are often grouped with a general classification, good or bad. Looking from the outside in, you might not get to see the heart of the pastor. Those pastors I connect with are leading churches of various sizes. In my experience, they are pastors with a passion, commitment, excellence spirit and do not want to fail at their God given assignments. Pastors I connect with love God and love people. They might have different emphasis, but the gospel is at the heart of their ministry.

Throughout my Christian walk, I have come to embrace the David principle, when dealing with pastors—Don’t touch the Lord’s anointed.

We need to recognize that our pastors are humans—Not from a position of excusing and condoning sin but understand that they have needs just like the congregants. I am not encouraging the Rap Industry “bad boy principle”—the more shots, the more prison stays the more impressive the street credibility. I am suggesting there is a need to give pastors a break. We should recognize that our pastors hurt just like anyone in the church, they are not always operating at 100%, and they do need your encouraging words.

The portrait that is on television is not the general portrait of pastors with whom I am connected.

Look to your local pastors as examples, as they follow Christ. If you think they are not examples, pray for and encourage your pastor rather than cut him/her down. Pastors have different leadership styles. I believe most pastors enter the ministry for the right reasons. We should be conscious of the fact that Satan has placed a huge bull’s eye on pastors. Their mistakes and sins are amplified. Respect your pastor and the office of the pastor but do not treat them as gods. Provide a support mechanism for your pastors. LOVE your pastor.

  • When last have you called your pastor and prayed for him/her?
  • When last have you encourage your pastor?
  • When was the last time you spoke against your pastor instead of speaking a word of encouragement to him/her?

During this Christmas season, take a moment and thank God for your pastor. Take a moment and pray for and with your pastor. Make an appointment to see your pastor and surprise him/her by just praying for them, instead of asking for help or counsel.

Kingdom People Living by Kingdom Principles – Part 2


As we deal with the issue of living out the missional call  the Church has to effectively deal with the attitudes of the congregation to be more “holistic” in their approach to missions, while being theologically consistent with the Biblical mandates. It will require an understanding of the theology as it relates to missions: Church, world and Kingdom of God, this is call the holistic approach.  There are several themes that are illustrated in the Bible relating to different aspects of missions that can be seen throughout Church history as documented by Henry Chadwick in his book The Early Church.[1]  Two of these themes are the understanding of the main object of mission and the structures involved.  Jan A. B. Jongeneel also defines these in his book, Philosophy, Science, And Theology of Mission in the 19th And 20th Centuries.[2]  We have to have a solid theological foundation that rest on the gospel message dealing with the Great Commandment, Commission and Compassion.[3]

It is therefore helpful to explore some of the definitions that are used to define missions, since these definitions are somewhat slanted to the theological view of the authors; it is pertinent for anyone or group that is embarking on the journey of being missional to posit a working definition that will follow them throughout their journey.  One cannot define missions without defining the Kingdom of God.  As we seek to clearly articulate this meaning it will be helpful to consider these meanings as they relate to eschatology (study of end times) and the ecclesiasticalogy (study of the church).  Entrance into the Kingdom of God is clearly defined in scriptures; what is its meaning within this context of your journey?  Of a fact, the full gospel message is about is about Restoration is the focus of the new era; Gabe Lyons in his book The next Christians spoke about telling the full gospel story, God’s story: creation, fall, redemption, restoration and ultimately consummation.[4]

Church History is a hidden treasure of practical and demonstrative information relating to missions and the Church’s understanding and application of missions.  The early Church took the commission very seriously because they believed that Jesus would return in their lifetime; armed with this conviction they wanted to take the gospel message to the entire world as they knew it.  The foundation of the early Church was about advancing the Kingdom of God by spreading the gospel message.  Throughout Church history there were many who benefited from the advancement of the gospel and they were sometimes willing supporters because of other reasons apart from the gospel.  What they found were that people were converted into the Kingdom of God and living a life that was admirable and these new converts became responsible citizens, workers, neighbors, and employees.

In the first 100 years we saw the purely Jewish Christian Church developed into the majority Gentile Church.  It was the Apostles’ commitment to the Great Commission empowered by the Holy Spirit that led to the spread of Christianity during this time.  They were also obeying the Great Commandment and demonstrating Compassion but the foundation of their missional quest was the Gospel Message.  Later, The Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church took up a similar thrust and once again missions were at the forefront of their endeavors.  The birth of Protestantism came from a desire to become more like the Christ of the Bible.  They originally were not actively involved in missions because of their efforts to codify their doctrines during the reformation.  On the other hand, the benefits of their sound doctrines and the codification of these doctrines was the catalyst for the future generations of Protestantism who were now adequately armed.  Their desire for missions as their focus, led to the spread of the Gospel everywhere they went.  While the effect of their actions was originally felt in the west and the subsequent colonies, it later spread throughout the rest of the world, literally.  Historically missions had at its core the gospel message; everything was done to advance the gospel.

We more forward to the Great revivals and the birth of Pentecostalism where these periods were marked by the desire to be like the Christ of the Bible and those involved in these movements participated in missions, as they perceived it with emphasis on the gospel.   There is an ongoing struggle for those who are seeking to be true to Jesus’ command to present a holistic missional approach to the gospel.  As the Church grew, some sections were more tilted towards just the commission, others were more tilted towards compassion and still others were more focused on the commandments.  However, there is a consistent theme that undergirds all of the generations throughout Church history and that is missions’ main purpose is to bring the gospel message to all those who have not yet received it.  These missionaries would travel to foreign countries and suffer great feats determined to see the natives transformed and accept the message they brought.  They were holistic in their approaches; focusing on the Great Commandment, Commission, and Compassion.  The holistic approach to missions is necessary to fulfill the call of God on our lives.


[1] For a more detail information on this subject read Henry Chadwick book, The Early Church (The Penguin History of the Church), (Revised ed. Boston: Penguin (Non-Classics), 1993), 13-20.

[2] Jan A. B Jongeneel, Philosophy, Science, and Theology of Mission in  the 19th And 20th Centuries: A Missiological Encyclopedia: The Philosophy And Science Of Mission (Studies in the Intercultural History of Christianity), (2nd Rev ed. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2002), 88-93.

[3] See Ed Stetzer’s post at  http://www.edstetzer.com/2012/03/monday-is-for-missiology-credo.html for a look at some efforts to define missions.

[4] Gabe Lyons, The next Christians: the good news about the end of Christian America. New York: Doubleday Religion, 2010.

A Higher Call to Love


The fundamental principle of our Christian calling is LOVE.  This love is one that brings us into a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savor.  This is not an abstract love rather it is a practical love.  To truly love, we have to first experience the love of God.  This now holds us to a higher level of our calling.  This is greater that our consciences and motivations.  Since as Dr. Mohler stated that one would not know oneself to a level that you separate yourself from our motivations. This idea says that the judge or the politician cannot ignore his religious and non-religious worldview and make decisions in an abstract way.  John laid it out this out in 1 John 3:20 & 21, “Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if we don’t feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence.”  Therefore, the call of love is greater than our own desire.  This call has to respond to the demand of God to love God and our neighbors.

It is this higher calling that requires us to love.  This love is demonstrated in our daily acts, loving God by keeping his commandments.  Jesus said that the greatest commandment is this, Matt. 22:37-39, Jesus replied, “You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself.” If we truly love God then our actions are filled with obedience, our lives are free from willful sinning and, we love our neighbors. I trust we can truly live up to this standard of living.  Love is the foundation of our faith.  Can we find someone in our community to truly love?

It is this love that will allow us to fulfill the Great Commission and practically demonstrate the Great Compassion.

Back to Basics: Walking the Talk


In Matthew 22:34-40 we had a deceptive lawyer (“scribes of the Pharisees”, Mark described him in a more favorable light) asking Jesus a fundamental question.  In his deception he could not realize the significance of his question but Jesus used the moment, as he often does, as a teaching moment.

I believe that the answer speaks to the foundation of our Christian faith.  Judeo-Christian faith is filled with significance and the symbolisms in the Old Testament (OT) that are fulfilled in the NewTestament and we are to be able to apply them in our everyday life.  You cannot have and apply the OT without the application of the NT. So, the lawyer’s question sought to question Jesus’ commitment to the fundaments of the faith as given in the commandments in the OT.

I pause to call to remembrance the fundamental mission of the Church.  We at Bethel have embraced this mission and stand now to remind ourselves of our individual responsibilities to this mission.  The core mission of the Church is, the sending of the Church with the good news of forgiveness, reconciliation, restoration and love.  This message is holistic and is rooted on Biblical doctrines working through the church. This mission is practical, contextual, it can be translated into practice it is ecclesiastical (relates to the church) and eschatological (it is about the future of the soul).  This “Missions call for obeying the Great Commandment the fulfillment of the Great Commission and the practical demonstration of the Great Compassion.”

In Matthew 28:18 to 20 we have the scripture verses, which will be our focus during this year.  It embodies the invitation of God to join Him in this wonderful plan of salvation.  Jesus reminded the disciples, and by extension every Christian, that His instructions came from and authorized source.  He was not just commanding us in isolation, no, the Father has granted Him this authority and in turn He was relaying the Fathers’ wishes.  What a wonderful opportunity, the Almighty God is inviting us to join Him in what He is doing.

What we are asked to do is to obey the great commandment (love), the great commission (go), and fulfill the great compassion (do).  In God’s agenda, are things He is doing in order to restore our broken relationship.  Every person can help to advance the Kingdom since it has no borders and it has an individual and a universal view. Christians must move onto God’s agenda if we are going to fulfill His call on our lives to join Him where He is working.  We are servants of the King, and as such, we serve at the pleasure of the King.  Matthew 6:33 reminds us to seek or pursue the Kingdom of God and God’s righteousness first, and then God will provide us with everything we need.  The onus is on us to pursue the things of God’s Kingdom.  It is in this pursuit that our will begins to lineup with God’s will.

If we are going to go back to basics we have to be comfortable embracing the historical nature of our faith and be willing to apply them in our everyday life.

In response to the question asked by the lawyer, Jesus replied

Matthew 22:37 x‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: y‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 zOn these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” [1]

What Jesus was saying is that all the Law and the Prophets are left null without the key ingredient of love.  A matter of fact it was this love that wrote salvation story. Now, there is a natural sequence that is taught in these directives.  Firstly, love is the fundamental ingredient in the Kingdom of God.  In God’s prospective love canonized the whole understanding of the principles of the Kingdom, it is not just abstract love or a theological love and or a theory; it is a practical demonstration.

This love addresses two district personalities the creator and the creature.  Since the creature was created in the image of the Creator (God) then the creature has to exhibit the characteristic of the Creator.   Therefore, since the God loves then we must love.

Once we have understood and obey the principle of love we can now move to the commission of love.  In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus clearly using the authority that was fully given Him by God the Father to send out the disciples or commissioned the disciples.  While we might have a good understanding of the principle of Love if it is not practice then it is null and void.  The commission put form to the principles; it is the vocation of love.

This love will drive us to reach, teach and fellowship, not in a spirit of isolation but one that place us among the masses. Now, as we fulfill the commission we have to demonstrate compassion.  Jesus in Luke 4:18-19, made this clear.  The heart of the Christian has to embrace compassion.  It is the divine love of God that tugs on our heart to love with a compassionate spirit.  In Luke 4:18 the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.  And this reference is also reference in

Is. 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

Love addresses the issue of sin.  In 1 John 1 we are told in verse we cannot say we love God and we are still having fellowship with the things of the dark.  John put is this way,

1John 1:6 So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth.

1John 1:8  ¶ If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.

1John 1:9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

1John 1:10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.

We often start off by condemning but Jesus want us to present the whole Gospel beginning with the creation, fall, restoration (including advent, work, death, resurrection, ascension and promised return), Penalty and reward, and Culmination in the reign in heaven.


x Deut. 6:5; 10:12; 30:6

y Lev. 19:18; Matt. 19:19; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27; [Rom. 13:9; Gal. 5:14; James 2:8]

z [Matt. 7:12; Rom. 13:10; 1 Tim. 1:5]

[1] The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), Mt 22:37–40.