Sunday Main 09-09-12

 

 

 Prayer & prophecy following praise time.mp3

 References used: Rom. 12; I Cor. 7:27-35

 

Review:

We had to have a healing and open discussion about a local tragedy in our assembly. I edited the content to protect the specific identity of those involved.

This time was very good, healing and instructional. Some very difficult issues had to be addressed and some of those are listed below along with any scriptures we discussed concerning them:

  • General admission to our lack of intimate involvement in each others lives.
    • How this may have effected this specific issue, due to not being more verbal of our love and acceptance, regardless of how clearly it was received or not.
  • Some people isolate themselves and make themselves difficult to approach due to an inwardly perceived need to protect themselves from intimacy with others by erecting a social wall.
  • Question as to whether or not we should invite the one in sin to church functions so that they will not feel rejected by us as a group –

“And if anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take note of that person; don’t associate with him, so that he may be ashamed. Yet don’t treat him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother. May the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” ~ 2 Thess. 3:14-16

  • What affirmative action can or should take place?

“But now I am writing you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother who is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a reviler, a drunkard or a swindler. Do not even eat with such a person. For what is it to me to judge outsiders? Do you not judge those who are inside? But God judges outsiders. Put away the evil person from among yourselves.” ~ 1 Cor. 5:11-13

  • Not beating ourselves up but allowing God to use us towards reconciliation via prayer, fasting and direct communication as He leads. (words seasoned with Grace we receive from Him in our times of intercession).
  • Not being condemning of the one in sin.
  • If anyone see a brother overtaken in a fault…

“Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.” ~ Gal. 6:1

Following our session I had to do some study on this verse because it stuck in my mind that the actual meaning of the words were not as straight forward as one would anticipate. As it turns out I was correct. Paul’s wording here speaks of not a determined, hardened, sinner. Instead, the idea is of someone who has fallen into sin, finding themselves trapped in a place they never thought they would be. The word “overtaken” contains the idea of falling. It is not the deliberate, the planned, aspect of sin that is stressed here, but rather the unwitting element. “A mistake rather than misdeed is the force of the word, though without absolution of responsibility.” – Ridderbos, cited in Morris.

If a someone is overtaken in any trespass: Paul recognizes that there may be those among the Christians in Galatia who have been overtaken in a trespass. Paul doesn’t seem to exclude the overtaken one from the brethren, yet they should never stay in the place of being overtaken.

Unfortunately this is not the condition of our current issue, but ours requires a more direct confrontation of the sin.

So far the scriptural mandate has not been followed strictly and so therefore will require some direct guidance from God as to our next steps. Please pray for guidance in this issue.

Read: I Cor. 5 & Matt. 18:11-20

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Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been shepherding in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it right...safety in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" that did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keep authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provides teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!