People or Perfection?

… perfectionism is not the same as the pursuit of excellence. In ministry, having a perfectionist mindset can be detrimental to your ability to minister with and to others.

Hi. My name is Melissa and I’m a recovering perfectionist.

I say recovering because truly it is a daily battle. Straighten that picture. Fluff that pillow. Refold the towels. Re-clean the kitchen after, ahem, others have done so. I have gotten better about NOT doing those things. The only area where I still “redo” is in loading the dishwasher, but this is a family agreement because the men of the home know I WILL make.every.dish.fit.somehow.

But I did some damage before I realized how my perfectionist ways were hurting my family.

Let me clarify that perfectionism is not the same as the pursuit of excellence. To pursue excellence, we focus on doing the best that we can within our gifts, talents, and abilities; we strive to do our best as unto the Lord. To pursue excellence does not harm or hurt another person. Perfectionism, however, becomes self-focused. It is based in pride in that we seek others to praise us for what we have done. It might also be based in fear which can cause us to feel paralyzed to the point of doing nothing. Both are compulsions that create an atmosphere of neglecting that which is good – people over perfection. Perfectionism often hurts others.

Are you a perfectionist? Does it have to be done just like you want? Do you go behind people and redo what they have done just so it “looks better” or “looks right”? Do you tend to fluff and fuss over decorating? Does it have to be done your way? Does your skin start crawling, hands start fidgeting, feet start tapping if you see something “out of place”? Are you unable to concentrate until you “fix” what is “wrong”? Do you have a comment regarding your neighbor’s (or stranger’s) Christmas decorations? (What were they thinking? They need to straighten those lights. How many blow ups do you need?)

Still not sure if you are a perfectionist or not? Ask your spouse. Ask your kids. Ask your friends. Ask your co-workers. I’m sure, if they are brave enough, they will tell you.

Did you know that the only other people who are going to notice when things aren’t “just so” are other perfectionists? Most people (and by this, I mean in the high 90% range) do not notice if something isn’t “right.” After all, exactly what is “right”? Is it your definition? If so, guess what? Everyone else has a definition as well. So there really isn’t a “right,” is there?

In ministry, having a perfectionist mindset can be detrimental to your ability to minister with and to others.

This is the tale of two pastors and their wives. Pastor #1, at one time, was bi-vocational before he became the pastor of a church where he pastored full-time. His secular vocation: professional painter. One day not long after the church had freshened the paint in the sanctuary two couples in the church came to the pastor and asked if they could paint a few walls in the education building to freshen it as well. They didn’t want any help or recognition. They simply wanted to serve the Lord, their pastor, and their church. Pastor #1 knew that they had some experience in painting, so he agreed to their offer and request. While Pastor #1 was away on vacation these dear folks came in and painted three walls of the education building as accent walls in a dark color which matched the doors and door frames. It was the style of that time and did look nice. When Pastor #1 returned he went to check on the progress of the project. It was complete. BUT.

He called my husband asking what he was going to do. When my husband arrived, he looked it over. It was a tad splotchy in places, particularly higher up (9-foot walls) where it would have been difficult to reach or see from the floor. What Pastor #1 failed to take into consideration was that the couples were all in their 70’s. Flexibility on ladders and diminishing eyesight led to a paint job that wasn’t exactly how the Pastor would have done it. Pastor #1, the professional painter, was experiencing great distress. My husband told him he had two options. 1) Leave it alone and receive it as work done “as unto the Lord” and a blessing from these dear people. 2) Redo the paint job but understand that he would more than likely hurt these dear folks’ feelings. Pastor #1 chose to leave it and learned to accept the blessing of his people “as unto the Lord.” After all, ministry is people.

Mrs. Pastor #1 also had a few perfectionist tendencies. As we worked with her, we noticed that she was usually the one to do all the decorating for certain events. She tried to play it off as she wanted to do it for the ladies but when it came down to it, she was a perfectionist. Over time it became an issue with the ladies. One day I explained to her that she was denying the ladies an opportunity of service as well as keeping them at arm’s length from her by not including them in the decorating. I suggested that if she was concerned with having things done “just so” to set up one table exactly how she wanted it to look and have the supplies available for the ladies to duplicate all the other tables. (They usually had 20 to 30 8-foot tables to decorate.) She agreed. The ladies were excited to be included and willingly set the remaining tables up exactly as the first. Camaraderie began to develop with Mrs. Pastor #1 and between the ladies. Ministry is people.

Same church several years later and there was a new pastor and pastor’s wife. We began to get to know this family and quickly realized that both had perfectionist tendencies. When we finally went back for a visit THE paint job was painted over. We remarked that we liked the new color. The conversation quickly went to how they couldn’t believe how terrible the previous paint job looked. We tried to tell them the story behind it, but it fell on deaf ears. We knew then that they might have a developing issue. As time passed, we watched as both Pastor #2 and Mrs. Pastor #2 began redoing things that their members had done. The reality of the seriousness of the situation became very apparent in preparing for a very large community outreach several years later.

We were able to assist them in the preparations for the event during the days leading to it. Pastor #2 asked a few of the teen boys to change the lettering on a roadside sign. The boys did so and left to run an errand. When they returned, they noticed that the job they had done had been changed. Not the message, but the placement of the letters. Their words: “Looks like Pastor changed what we did.” Ouch. For teen boys to notice, that is huge. Ministry is people, not perfection.

Mrs. Pastor #2 was not receiving very many positives either. They were having problems with people not volunteering to help with projects or events which resulted in Mrs. Pastor #2 “doing all the work”. She was one of the “fluff and fuss” type of perfectionists; everything had to look “just so.” She was exhausted. She also began making statements of being “done”. Yet, she still didn’t realize that it was her own doing that had caused the problem. As we helped with the preparations for the event, we noticed many of the ladies who did come to help avoided working with Mrs. Pastor #2. They passed her off to others. Comments of “what difference does it make what I do, she’s only going to change it” were overheard. As she gave instructions, eye rolls and audible sighs were observed. This was especially surprising as many of the ladies were in their 70’s and 80’s and not mere teenagers. Instead of creating an atmosphere of camaraderie she had inadvertently created one of hostility toward herself and ministering at the church in general. Ministry is people, not perfection.

Pastor #2 often commented in church how many hours Mrs. Pastor #2 put in working on projects “all by herself.” Although he believed he was praising his wife, he unwittingly was adding to the issue. He didn’t try to figure out why those who had once served willingly and readily stopped doing so. Instead, without realizing it, he was “service shaming” (a back-handed way of badgering) his people from the pulpit. The more he did it, the more resentment and an even greater unwillingness to serve grew.

There are four options when working with others in ministry and serving in practical areas.

Accept the work offered “as unto the Lord.” It is always our advice to anyone who is willing to serve in their church that whatever they do should be done as well as someone who might be paid to do the same job. This would be those big projects like painting, plumbing, or other construction related projects. It is the responsibility of the leader to ensure that the one offering is qualified to do it. For those projects where a professional is not needed it may become necessary to simply accept what was done as is and as unto the Lord even when it may not be how we would have done it. The Lord was pleased with their willingness to serve. We should be as well. This is the best option for ministry is people.

Provide an example or explicit instruction on what needs to be done if continuity or your “just so” is that important. (Remember, the “just so” isn’t always that important.) Communication is often lacking when things don’t go as you hoped they would. As we showed Mrs. Pastor #1, simply providing an example of how the table should be set was all that was needed for the ladies to happily serve without confusion and ensure that there was continuity in decorating. However, be careful in your “instructions.” Being too nit-picky in how something is done may not be the best especially when it is a job that may have multiple ways of accomplishing the same goal. Clear communication without nit-picking is a good way to have ministry focus on people. Too much nit-picking in your instruction places perfection over people.

Allow people to serve but go behind them “fixing” what they did to suit your desires. This is a dangerous option. You will be telling your people through your actions that what they did “as unto the Lord” was not good enough in your eyes. This is demeaning and dismissive. It is also very damaging to your ministry. Eventually your people will stop serving, because they know that you will go behind them and change it. Ministry is people, not perfection.

Decide to do the job yourself. If you feel the job must be done a certain way and that no one will do it the way you want, do it yourself rather than going behind “fixing” things. If you are going to serve, everything you do must be done “as unto the Lord.” Therefore, you must give up complaining that no one helps if you insist that things must be done a certain way. You have effectively telegraphed to your people that you do not want their help, at least not what they have to offer. If you cannot give up doing things yourself and complaining, you must realize that you will become exhausted. You will eventually become bitter toward others. You will one day become “done” with ministry because you feel no one is serving with you. Ministry is people. Ministry is not about perfection.

Pastor and Mrs. #1 figured it out and have gone on to serve in other churches successfully developing great lay leaders and volunteers. Pastor and Mrs. #2 still struggle today in their ministry. They have yet to identify their perfectionism. And they and their ministry are suffering because of it. Do you see yourself? Is this you now or perhaps somewhere in the past? Have you had an “aha” moment today? It is possible to overcome perfectionist tendencies, but you must be conscious of them. Once you are you will be able to choose people over perfection.

Idea Day Night

Come join us!

Join us Tuesday, August 20, 2019 for Idea Day Night from 6:30 to 9:00 pm. Come enjoy fellowship with other local ministry leaders. Round-table discussions will help to provide cultural context for your local church and community. Each host site chooses two topics for their event. The LaGrange, GA event will include video presentations by Thom Rainer on 7 Ideas for Church Revitalization and Josh Teis on 6 Ideas for Long-term Spiritual Health. Following each presentation the site host will moderate a time of discussion with all attendees. This is a great time of encouragement, ministry evaluation, and ministry help to aid the local church in reaching their community more effectively. The average time for the event is approximately 2.5 hours.

This Idea Night event is an outreach to provide a way in which more ministry leaders who might not be able to attend an Idea Day conference may be encouraged and uplifted in their ministries.

What is the Idea Day Network? It is a place for ministry leaders to share fresh ideas, resource information, and much more. The Idea Day Network also hosts Idea Days, an Idea Summit, and is now organizing ministry mentoring and coaching.

Rushed to the Hospital

… I want to share how the Lord is working even in this. It began more than a week ago, early in the week. I was not feeling well at all and was short of breath just standing. On Wednesday…

As many of you know, I have been dealing with breathing issues for some time now. In the past eight months I have been transported by ambulance to the ER three times. Doing the simplest of tasks has become anything but simple. Walking across a room can tire me out and prevent me from exerting energy on any level. I am asking prayer that either God gives doctors wisdom to determine the issue and have a solution or God just steps in and removes this from me.

I want to share how the Lord is working even in this. It began more than a week ago, early in the week. I was not feeling well at all and was short of breath just standing. On Wednesday I was trying to do as little as possible to gain the strength to get to church that night. However, I just couldn’t seem to maintain any decent consistency in breathing. After a few breathing treatments at home I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it that night. Melissa asked me if we were going; I told her I was going to try. I was ready to text the pastor and tell him I wasn’t going to be able to make it. I waited a few minutes to do so and, in that time, just prayed a simple prayer asking for strength to be able to go. I did not text the pastor; within fifteen minutes I was feeling really good. I got dressed and we left for church. It wasn’t until I had entered the church building that I got a text from the pastor that he wasn’t going to be able to make it. With a few adjustments to service order, I simply stepped in and did what I have done hundreds of times, “be instant in season and out of season.” Always be prepared to preach or handle anything needed to be done in the church. We sang songs (which has been difficult for me), I preached a message, then we left to go home. As soon as I walked out of the building to head to the car, I literally lost my breath. It was extremely difficult to catch my breath just to walk to the car.

It was a rough night Wednesday night into Thursday. Thursday, I took multiple breathing treatments and anything else I could think of to get on top of struggling with the breathing. Around 9 pm I felt as if I was going to be able to get on top of it and told Melissa I was fine (she had asked me if she needed to take me to the ER), I would do another treatment in a few hours, and felt like I could try to get some sleep. I am pretty sure she checked on me one other time shortly after that then went to bed. At a few minutes before midnight I started another round of a breathing treatment. I had been coughing up junk all week but I felt as if it was breaking up finally and I was going to sit up for a while getting it out of my system. Around midnight I remember sitting on the couch with a trashcan in front of me so that I could spit in it and thought that within 30 minutes I could have enough cleared so that I could breathe to sleep. This is how it has typically gone in the past. Sitting down staring at the basket and floor is the last thing I remember.

From midnight Thursday night until around 4 pm Friday afternoon I have no memories. Everything I am telling you now is what my family has relayed to me. About 2:15 am a text was sent out from my phone to Melissa and Nathan stating that I was not getting better and was going to need help. Somehow that message got sent. Nathan, who was still up, rushed into the room. According to him, he asked me questions. I told him to get Melissa. Nathan got her and she came running. She asked me more questions about taking me to the emergency room. My response was that I couldn’t make it to the car. Nathan called 911. First responders and an ambulance arrived quickly. (Remember, I have no memory of any of this.) They tried getting me on oxygen, breathing treatments, etc. I was not responding to any of it. It took them 30 minutes or more to try to stabilize the situation but there were no good results. One of the firemen ended up driving the ambulance so that both ambulance workers would be free to work on me.

I arrived at the ER and was taken to a cardiac care room where the medical team took over. They determined quickly that I was unresponsive and no treatment was working. With a quick blood test, they discovered that my CO2 levels were in excess of 90% in my blood. (For reference, “normal” is 40%.) They tried medication at first to no avail. They had to intubate me; in other words, place me on life support. They placed a breathing tube down my throat and hooked me up to a breathing machine. From there they took me to ICU to monitor how I was going to respond.

While all of this is going on Nathan got on the phone to get support. I am thankful he learned growing up in the ministry that you call. As ministers, our phones are always on and we are always there to help. He called and they came. THANK YOU to all the preachers and others who came by that night and morning. I am sorry I do not remember any of you being there, but I am thankful that my family knows there are those who care.

I also know that prayer works. Though the doctors did exactly what they needed to do, at the levels I was, this could have been a very long drawn out day or days before removing the tube or breathing on my own. I know prayer works because I went from the depths of poor condition to breathing room air with only slight oxygen assistance within hours. (The main breathing tube was inserted around 5:30 am and removed by 9:45 am.) As a matter of fact, my normal breathing and oxygen levels during the last eight months has stayed at or below 93%. By 7:30 pm Friday I was breathing on my own on room air with oxygen levels exceeding 95% consistently.

I do not understand all the technical stuff but I know God knows how He made us and He did a work that day. I know it was a long night and day for my family and I am so thankful for all those who stood with them and prayed. I was truly in the Lord’s hands as I have no memory of anything after midnight that night. Thank you, Lord, for what you did. Please continue to pray that healing will be done. I am asking for prayer for physical strength to work and minister. The Lord knows the needs in all areas: physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially. We are in need of the Lord showing up and out as we move forward.

Healthy Sheep Reproduce Sheep

Plans and programs for building a church are found almost everywhere. So many of them have great ideas and opinions that truly help the church grow. However, we seem to keep missing most basic idea of what the church truly is. The church is not the building or the place where the church gathers. The church is the people. We have all heard this and know this, but do we overlook it? Many churches are asking why they are not seeing souls saved “like they used to”. Church leaders are looking for ways to get lost people to show up to church or church events so they can give out the gospel, but are discouraged when no one or few ever come. We look for bigger and better events or make changes in schedules and services to see if that will help. It seems the harder we try the fewer results we get.

What do we do? We look at every angle except at the one we really need to look.

Sheep produce sheep.

How spiritually healthy are your sheep? When was the last time you did a complete health exam of each of the sheep in your fold? What do I mean by health exam? First, you need to determine what makes a healthy sheep. Here are some things most use to define a healthy sheep: They attend every service. They are involved in the services. They volunteer to help with programs. They teach classes because they know so much about the Bible. Beware! Some of the most unhealthy sheep in your congregation are those who are doing all of the above. These actions are not a sign of health. How many people do you know were doing all of these things and then suddenly quit. stating they are burned out and need to rest? Activity is no sign of health.

How to know if one is healthy is fairly simple. A doctor establishes a baseline of what makes a person healthy. What is the appropriate weight for this person’s height and body type? What is the best form of physical activity for a persons make up? What kind of activity is best for this person? Doctors also check family history to look at possible issues. The best doctors conduct a complete work up to determine the best outcome for being healthy.

How then do we find the spiritual health of our church members? First and foremost, if a person sitting in your church is unsaved, he is obviously sick unto death and their only help is to come to Christ. Sheep, however, are those in your church who are saved and have come to Christ for eternal life.  As leaders, we need to do a complete work up on every believer in our congregation to determine how healthy they are. What is the work up needed?

Each believer is given a serving gift from God to do the service they are called to do. The first step of work up should be to know what that gift is. Until we know how they are gifted we are unable to see if they are healthy and doing what they are called to do. God has also made us all different and unique. We need to know how God has made us in our personality. How has God uniquely made you to think and see life? God has also taken how He has made us and gifted us and, with our life experiences, given us passions and desires of our heart. Understanding one’s passions are vital to knowing that baseline of one’s health.

Once I know the baseline of health for the sheep in my fold, I can then begin to see where one is not healthy in the use of their gifts, personality, and passions. At that moment I can begin to give the proper healing medicine of the Word of God to make them the healthy member they need to be. I can also provide the proper healthy maintenance activities and truths from God’s Word to keep them healthy.

Having a healthy flock of sheep will produce more sheep. Are you leading your flock to the wrong green grass for the sickness they are going through? Do you even know what they need to get healthy and stay healthy? Stop what you are doing now and find out before you loose any more of your flock. A healthy flock will produce more flock.

Let us help you do a baseline health exam. Then, allow us to help you find the right medicine needed to bring health to your flock. We cam then help you with the on going means to stay healthy.

Schedule a consultation.

Learn more about Health Exam

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Workout Clothing Options

One of the hardest clothing categories to shop for is modest workout clothes or clothing for active living (aka: chasing after children and real life activities!). We have put together a list of websites that offer various levels of modest workout clothes. Some may be longer or shorter …

One of the hardest clothing categories to shop for is modest workout clothes or clothing for active living (aka: chasing after children and real life activities!). We have put together a list of websites that offer various levels of modest workout clothes. Some may be longer or shorter than you may be comfortable with wearing. Many include styles with built in shorts, capris, or full leggings. Keep in mind body type also plays into fit and length for any item of clothing. With these things in mind, we have attempted to bring a balanced selection for every modesty choice.

Sparkle Skirts – Includes various styles of skirts with built-in shorts (with pocket) or capris, sizes 3XS to 3XL

Sparkle Skirts skirt with capris sample
Sparkle Skirts skirt with shorts/pocket sample

Skirt Sports – Includes skirts, bras, tops, bottoms, sizes XS to 3X (member of Ebates)

Nuu-Muu – active wear/travel dresses and tees for women and girls, women sizes XS to 3X, girls sizes S (3-4) to XL (10-12)

NuuMuu active key-hole dress sample
NuuMuu active scoop neck dress sample

Running Skirts – shorter length to knee length skirts with attached bike shorts or capris, tops, active wear dresses, maternity, women’s sizes 0 to 20/22, girls sizes 2 to 12

Running Skirts capri skirt sample
Running Skirts golf skirt sample (shorts underneath)
Running Skirts longer length sample (shorts underneath)

Snoga Athletics – knee length or longer skirts with bike shorts, capris, or leggings attached, active tops, women’s sizes XXS to 2XL, girls options, sizes 5T to size 12

Snoga knee length skort with bike shorts sample
Snoga mid-length skirt with shorts sample
Snoga long length with capri sample


Kosher Casual – mid-thigh and knee length workout and running items, tops, women’s sizes XXS to plus size 24, girls sizes XS (size 5) to girls 16. NOTE: Kosher Casual is based in Israel. Shipping will be international.

FaithLine – below knee cap length skirts with shorts, capris, or leggings, compression items, choose your length 20″, 22″, 24″, 27″, choose shorts, capris or leggings, women’s sizes XS to 2XL, girls sizes 2T to size 14

Break the Cycle of Closing Churches

Every day we are heartbroken to receive phone calls from hurting pastors, church members, and churches facing depressing difficulties or, worse, on the brink of quitting or closing their doors. Many of these individuals and ministries cannot afford to bring us to them and we certainly cannot afford to take on the expenses alone. In order for us to expand our ministry to reach these hurting ones we need to raise funds. The funds will allow us to reach more churches and pastors and to get help in the hands of those in need.

Would you partner with us? Help us, Help Others.

Every day we are heartbroken to receive phone calls from hurting pastors, church members, and churches facing depressing difficulties or, worse, on the brink of quitting or closing their doors. Many of these individuals and ministries cannot afford to bring us to them and we certainly cannot afford to take on the expenses alone. In order for us to expand our ministry to reach these hurting ones we need to raise funds. The funds will allow us to reach more churches and pastors and to get help in the hands of those in need.

Would you partner with us? Help us, Help Others.

We don’t want to see any more churches like this.

We want to get help and good material in their hands. Below represents 30 years of training and experience that can help. The proceeds from the sale of these books is only a small portion of the funds needed to help broken churches.

book cover montoge-1

We are asking people to give to the GoFundMe account out of a heart of compassion for others. This fund goes specifically to providing resources, ministry counseling and covering expenses that broken churches simply cannot afford to cover. We will report not only how much is coming in but, as it is spent, where it is going. Follow our progress from our social media sites and our web site: churchhelps.org.

Click blue link below.

Click to Donate Now!

Rebuild The Broken Walls of Protection of the Church

The walls protecting the church is the submission of the occupants to the God given biblical authorities over them.

 

The clouds were at a great distance simply moving along slowly growing taller and wider. The once white fluffy clouds began to turn an ominous gray followed quickly by expanding black thunderous billows. We see all the signs of the coming storm and are aware of its devastating power. We begin to fear the sights and sounds streaking and pounding our flesh. We find ourselves out in an open field with nowhere to go. If only we had a simple umbrella for protection.

The storms are here and it is raining. You have no umbrella!

I grew up hearing an illustration of the umbrella of protection. As children, we were to be obedient to the authorities above us (parents and others) and, thus, we would be protected. As long as we remained under the umbrella, we were okay, but if we got out from under it, we would get wet with the dangers of this world.

As we picture an umbrella, let us build this illustration. The beginning simple illustration is that of a family. Ephesians 6:1, Children obey your parents. Children are under the umbrella of protection of their parents. We teach our children to be obedient, no matter what. We teach them to “obey your parents because it is right,” not because the parents are always right. The message given to the children shows the mom and dad above them in this umbrella. This illustration is good for all children for all times, because in the simple act of obedience they find themselves protected. Some may ask, “Protected from what?”

Ephesians 6:1-3, Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

Exodus 20:12, Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Deuteronomy 5:16, Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Notice that when children are obedient and honor their father and mother “it may be well with thee.” This is the first commandment with promise. I believe we can take from this truth and apply to this principle. This is the very first truth we teach in one’s life. When the Bible says this is the “first commandment with promise,” it is not saying that it was the first one God ever gave with a promise and there would be more given later. It is the first commandment, that is to submit to authority and that obedience will protect you. Notice God gave Adam and Eve one, and only one, first commandment: do not eat of that tree or in the day you eat you will die. Some ask, “Why would God do that?” Could he not just have never made that tree and never put that before them to obey? There was placed in Creation a protection from evil that would draw man away from God, that protection was submission to God, being obedient. If Adam and Eve had stayed under the umbrella, they would have never seen death. Therefore, the first commandment is exactly right. This is seen as the first commandment in time of life and in priority. The first thing we need to teach our children is to submit to God-given authority for their own protection.

Deuteronomy 4:39-40, Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else. 40 Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, for ever.

Here in Deuteronomy chapter 4, we see that God is above all, the top of the umbrella. Those who submit, or stay under the umbrella, will have it “go well with” them and long days on the earth. God wants us to submit to Him and His set authorities in our life for our own protection.

God started with Adam and Eve and set Himself as their umbrella of protection. He then set up the family and put Adam to be Eve’s protection, she was set in the marriage to be submissive to her husband Adam. The submission word when used for women in the marriage relationship is not politically correct. Nevertheless, we need to understand God simply placing Eve in a prominent position of having an umbrella of protection, her husband Adam, in the middle of a storm. They then began to add children to the home. Those children were placed under the umbrella of protection of their parents. The children were taught truth from the direct Word of God. Once they (Cain) walked out from under it, the storm came and destroyed.

Generations grew. Society formed; governments were likely developed. The Bible doesn’t give us a time or place or more information. However, when God does show establishing government, the principle doesn’t change.

Genesis 12:1-3, Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: 2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

When God sets up a nation, he adds to the set up a promise of protection. Israel was to be a nation. Those who bless it shall be blessed; those cursed for cursing Israel. The establishing of this nation was a way in which others who came in submission to it were protected.

1 Timothy 2:1-2, I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

Romans 13:1-5, Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. 5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

1 Peter 2:17, Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.

God has placed governments as an umbrella of protection. It is to be a minister of good; those who step out from under the protections should understand there is wrath on the evil. We are instructed to honor government.

As well, sometime after Adam and Eve, people began to work for other people. In that relationship there had to be a boss; that is how it works. Again submitting to another authority is the right thing. When we find ourselves on the job, we have an umbrella of protection by submitting to the authority of the boss. We need to submit not just to please the boss, but also to work to please God, which should be visible. What a testimony when we do.

Ephesians 6:5-7, Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; 6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; 7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:

Colossians 3:22-25, Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: 23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. 25 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.

To sum up where we are at this time, we have an umbrella of God protection by being submissive to Him. We then have the submission of the wife to the husband for an additional protection. Children have an umbrella of protection by being obedient to their parents. As the people of a nation, we have an umbrella of protection by submitting to the king. Once we find ourselves working for someone else, we add the umbrella of protection of the boss. We have yet to address one more umbrella.

Hebrews 13:7-9, Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. 8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. 9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.

Hebrews 13:17, Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

1 Timothy 5:17-18, Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. 18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.

God has given us another umbrella of protection: the man of God, the Pastor. The church was and is God’s plan. As in all other parts of our life where God saw fit to put an umbrella of protection for us, why wouldn’t He, in a vital part of bringing the message of salvation to the world, have one in the church? There is a spiritual authority in the church. Just like all others, when one is not submissive to this authority the protection is lost.

What happens when we do not submit to the God-given authorities in our life?

The clouds were at a great distance simply moving along slowly growing taller and wider. The once white fluffy clouds began to turn an ominous gray followed quickly by expanding black thunderous billows. We see all the signs of the coming storm and are aware of its devastating power. We begin to fear the sights and sounds streaking and pounding our flesh. We find ourselves out in an open field with nowhere to go. If only we had a simple umbrella for protection.

In a series of messages on building the church, we address this issue in detail. What has happened to our church? Perhaps we are out from under our umbrellas.

In the message, we exchange the illustration of an umbrella for walls. The church needs to do some work on its walls. Throughout our studies of Titus, 1 & 2 Timothy, and Philemon we addressed what happens to a church when they forsake submitting to authorities. Then, we addressed the issue of wall rebuilding through a study of Nehemiah.

We tend to list reasons as to why the church is broken; we also list ways to fix the church. However, until we admit that we have men not following God, wives not submitting to husbands, children not being obedient to parents, people not submitting to the higher powers of government, workers not submitting to bosses, and believers not submitting to pastors; we won’t ever fix the problem. Make all the lists you want, but perhaps a list of authorities should be first on the list.

 

A series of messages can be found here at this web site  https://churchhelpsblog.wordpress.com/rebuild-walls-nehemiah/

Under Construction

We are excited to be updating our website. Stay tuned as we make the move and major overhaul. It is LONG overdue!

1/2/18 – We have updated the information for the Ministry Tools tab. The drop down choices include Assessment Tools and Ministry Consulting. Both of these areas have been available since the founding of Hold Fast the Truth Ministries. However, we are now able to offer more comprehensive assessment tools for your church members and leadership team through new software. We are also in the early development stages of turning part of the ministry assessment into software to provide an even better evaluation of your ministry.

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