a question for all Pastors

For 2 days now I have been pondering this verse…

Matthew 21:12-13
Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.13 And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.'”

Here is the question for all pastors who have a church.

Do you believe in the entire Word of God?

If you do, why do you sell, have bookstores, coffee shops, etc inn the House of God?

Do you not know that as you sell in His house, you stifle His presence, and grieve His Holy Spirit? For as you heap riches and market–you deny what God REALLY desires to do.

For look what happened next as the tables were overturned… then and only then…

Matthew 21:14-15
14 Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them.

If you desire Christ to be present in your life and in His Body…you must rid yourself and the building where your flock dwells, of the world that already has crept in. Otherwise–your church will be just another church–seeker friendly, programs-programs, coffee, books, relics–but His presence absent.

Ezekiel 34
34:1 Irresponsible Shepherds
And the word of the LORD came to me, saying,2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD to the shepherds:”Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks?3 You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock.4 The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them.5 So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered.6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them.”

7’Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:8 “As I live,” says the Lord GOD, “surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became food for every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, nor did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock” –9 therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the LORD!10 Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them.”
11 God, the True Shepherd

‘For thus says the Lord GOD: “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day.13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country.14 I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel.15 I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,” says the Lord GOD.16 “I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment.”

17’And as for you, O My flock, thus says the Lord GOD:”Behold, I shall judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and goats.18 Is it too little for you to have eaten up the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the residue of your pasture — and to have drunk of the clear waters, that you must foul the residue with your feet?19 And as for My flock, they eat what you have trampled with your feet, and they drink what you have fouled with your feet.”

20’Therefore thus says the Lord GOD to them:”Behold, I Myself will judge between the fat and the lean sheep.21 Because you have pushed with side and shoulder, butted all the weak ones with your horns, and scattered them abroad,22 therefore I will save My flock, and they shall no longer be a prey; and I will judge between sheep and sheep.23 I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them — My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd.24 And I, the LORD, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I, the LORD, have spoken.

25 “I will make a covenant of peace with them, and cause wild beasts to cease from the land; and they will dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods.26 I will make them and the places all around My hill a blessing; and I will cause showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing.27 Then the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase. They shall be safe in their land; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke and delivered them from the hand of those who enslaved them.28 And they shall no longer be a prey for the nations, nor shall beasts of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and no one shall make them afraid.29 I will raise up for them a garden of renown, and they shall no longer be consumed with hunger in the land, nor bear the shame of the Gentiles anymore.30 Thus they shall know that I, the LORD their God, am with them, and they, the house of Israel, are My people,” says the Lord GOD.'”

31 “You are My flock, the flock of My pasture; you are men, and I am your God,” says the Lord GOD.

on a side note– if you are interested in knowing what others are saying about this– feel free to stop by my alabaster box. Evidently this is a controversial topic of interest.

5 thoughts on “a question for all Pastors

  1. Hi Amy. The Lord’s house is never a building, or at least, not a physical one. The church that Jesus is building is those who are born of His Spirit. Unfortunately, for 2,000 years man has been trying to build on a physical and earthly plain and not after Spirit. Man has been trying to capture the wind and putting it into a box called religion and religion has its building called church. The word church really has no english translation. A truer meaning of ecclesia would be a group of people called for a purpose such as the VFW, the Republican Convention, Boy Scouts, etc. Would you call that a church? Of course not because religious peoples have hijacked that word and given a completely different connotation. Actually, culture has. It has taken on a life in itself given by man and his religion. So has its practices and titles and offices. Jesus never encouraged one to seek after an office or title. He never sanctioned the words clergy and laity. In fact, He condemned it in Revelation (Nicolations). Tithing, ministerial practices are no where to be found within the pages of the New Testament. So what is one to do with all this? Nothing! For those who desire to follow the Master they will heed His voice and walk accordingly. That is so neat and so liberating to know that we are to walk with Jesus and let all the kingdoms of this world go their way. You, follow Him! This is very simplistic but nonetheless, needful! Maranatha!
    SEMPER FIDELIS!

  2. Good reading by Michael Clark.

    Have you ever noticed that Jesus never went around claiming that He was the Messiah? Even when pressed by the Jewish leaders to say so, He seemed to avoid taking the title to Himself. Instead he let men tell Him what He was while they observed His actions and words (see Matthew 16:16). The title does not make the man, and neither do his degrees. On the other hand, Jesus did take the title “the son of man.” There was nothing special about being the son of a man, now was there? Or how about the title that Paul chose, “the offscouring of the world”(1 Corinthians 4:13) as our example?

    Have you ever notice that Christ’s whole life was one of seeking the lowest place? He was born in a barn, and laid in a feed trough in the least of all towns in Judea. He grew up in a town in Galilee that also was considered least by the Jewish leaders of that day. Referring to Him they said, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” He spent most of His life in what was called “Galilee of the Gentiles” with disdain by the Jews. He was rejected by the leaders of His own people and finally he was tried like a common criminal, crucified between two thieves and His body placed in a borrowed grave. If being born in the right family and having a place of respect in the local community was an asset for gaining power, somebody forgot to tell God.

    There is a great lesson to be learned here. Today we often see men who are in ministry getting degrees and taking titles to them and seeking the highest places in their denominations and churches. We seem to be observing a Christianized version of the world systems of men. There is Pastor Wonderful, Prophet Profit, Apostle Covering, and Doctor Eschatology, etc. Then there are those out there who love to take God’s name to themselves– “Reverend.”

    He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name. (Psalms 111:9, KJV).

    Oh yes, and don’t forget the clamor to have an “office,” the office of prophet, the office of apostle, the office of pastor, district supervisor, etc. Did you know that the word “office” is not in the entire New Testament, but was added by men in later translations? Did you know that the so called “five fold” is a list of empowerments, spiritual gifting with which the one gifted is suppose to edify and build-up the whole body by the power of the Holy Spirit? These are not “offices” we can use to rise above the saints of God, but rather acts of service to the body of Christ (see Matthew 2O:25-28).

    The humble service the gifts were intended for is not what we see in most churches today. Instead we see posturing. Posturing is often subtle. It’s what men do to make themselves appear larger than life in the eyes of other men. They feel the need to be set apart from the ochlas or the multitudes of “ordinary” people, “the common people, as opposed to the rulers and leading men” (see Strong’s 3793) . This action of rising above another is often rooted in an inferiority complex that needs to be healed, not promoted.

    Jesus, on the other hand, identified with the people, the ochlas, and was often found mingling with them. He was criticized for it by the Jewish leaders. How often we see people who love titles keeping the common people at arm’s length or even further. This is not the Spirit of Christ. He did not have an appointment secretary who acted as if she went to guard dog school. I am afraid this is all too common today among recognized church leaders.

    In contrast we find Jesus rebuking His disciples for trying to keep women and their children away from Him and he said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” In short, Jesus was a servant to all and always accessible to the little people, even saying that they will fill His kingdom, not the elevated ones.

    Jesus was not one who graduated from the best schools of Rome, Athens or Jerusalem and therefore was not given any titles for going through the hoops. Evidently He believed that even without such an education, the Holy Spirit would lead Him into all truth and give Him the words from the Father to say in each situation. This is what He taught and His adversaries never caught him off guard. It is also our inheritance in Him.

    Education in the schools of men is a funny thing. For the most part, if you pay attention in class, listen to the things that the teacher puts greatest emphasis on, then parrot it back to him on your papers and tests, you will pass with flying colors. My wife figured this out early on in college and had no problem getting high marks from her instructors. She just learned to stroke their egos by repeating back what they were teaching and put the greatest emotion into. Jesus is too honest to play this game.

    A Lesson from Life

    Recently, we went to a meeting announced over the Internet. A local man called the meeting to tell everyone who came that the present great move of God in the world is the house church movement. We heard how this is going on all over the world and that people are leaving the institutional church in droves. This could very well be and I, for one, would rather gather in a home with the saints of God in a casual setting than spend two hours in a pew being lectured. The problem with what this man was saying was that in everything he did and said he modeled the institutional church. It was even noticed by an old pastor friend of mine who was there.

    As we went into the rented meeting room at a local motel, we first noticed that all the chairs were arranged in rows facing the front where there was the typical podium or pulpit set up for the speaker. Just like Sunday church, this brother was at the door shaking hands and welcoming the folks that showed up, asking them to take a seat. It was not a layout conducive to fellowship among those who came. Tell me, is the furniture in your home arranged like this or does it resemble a circle so that you can be family together? Then why do we think that the family of God should be treated any different?

    Next, he took the front and center and started posturing. In a short time we heard that he had a degree in theology, a high IQ, had been a pastor for years in three different denominations, and had been a Christian for thirty years. Then he started dropping a few names of current international ministers he personally knew. This was not so that he–like Paul–could count it all dung except for the excellent knowing of Jesus Christ, but to set himself apart from the rest of us. He was set apart by the arrangement of the room and by his history, titles, intellect, education, and who he knew. It became obvious that this was not about house churches where everyone relates to each other as family, but about one man feeling the need to rule over everything that happened under his supervision. I dare say that his presence was felt in the house churches that were aligned with him as well.

    Next came the veiled threats. Men in control often let everyone know that they are apt to be shut down or embarrassed if they go too far afield from acceptable behavior. He announced that he was going to allow a few people to stand at their seats and share briefly how house church meetings have blessed them. Three or at the most four would be given a maximum of five minutes apiece. Before he opened the floor, he told a story about his favorite revivalist, D. L. Moody. At one meeting, a fellow minister was making a long prayer, and Moody interrupted him at last by saying something like, “While our brother finishes up his prayer with God, I will speak with you what God has put on my heart.” After sharing this, our house-church advocate and ex-pastor said, “Ol’ D.L. shut him off quite effectively, and remember, I am a BIG fan of D. L. Moody.”

    Finally, when our house church advocate started preaching he told us how the house church was the new wineskin and that God was now using the house church movement to pour in His new wine of the Spirit. The trouble was that the whole meeting was a complete demonstration of the OLD WINESKIN! He even spent a great deal of time telling us about how great the past revivals were and what a student of revivals he was. It was obvious that the words of Jesus were being reenacted once again before our eyes.

    37 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined.
    38 “But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved.
    39 “And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, `The old is better.'” (Luke 5:37-39, NKJV).

    Yes, for him as so often happens with many, “The old wine is better.”

    Before the evening was over we had been to a typical Sunday service, complete with special worship music and singing, announcements, controlled personal testimonies, and finally the grand finale, the pastor’s sermon. Oh yes, he did give everyone a free little book with an offering envelope tucked inside of it and there were the over-priced books on the book table. The more things “change,” the more they remain the same.

    This was not a demonstration of Christ, who is the basis for all ministry, but rather a demonstration of the world system, the kosmos that is in such great contrast to the kingdom of heaven. We could see that the man was still lacking the cross in his life and really needed a time in God’s wilderness to strip away everything he clung so dearly that was not of Christ. It is not my purpose to belittle him by writing this and I have been careful to not mention his name or the city where this took place. I use this example to show what is and what is not acceptable to God among His saints in hopes that we will take our eyes off men, cease to be intimidated by their posturing, and obey the Spirit of God when we gather together as members of HIS body.

    For their to be true edification in the body, each member must be allowed and even encouraged to join together and share with the other members the supply that God has given him or her (see Ephesians 4:14-16). If we truly want to see the church grow into the manifest kingdom of God, we must change the way we meet and relate to one another and return to letting Jesus be the Head of the body. The Holy Spirit must be our supply and our guide.

    Saints, there is no substitute for the work of the cross and the excellent knowledge (intimate knowing) of Jesus Christ in our lives. There is no substitute for the unction of the Holy Spirit and the heavenly teaching that comes from Him as we open our hearts to God. Institutions can teach you the history of the church and tell you how many times Jesus used “the kingdom of God” as opposed to “the kingdom of Heaven” and try to make them appear as two different things. They cannot give you the rhema word of God you must walk by if you are to be His disciple. Remember that Paul had the best education that the Jewish system could provide and he counted his history, bloodline and education as less than nothing. Mark his words, “We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know” (1 Corinthians 8:1-2, NKJV). It is not what we know that counts, but whether Jesus knows us and we intimately know Him (see Matthew 7:21-23). We cannot effectively teach what we have not become. As with John, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30, NKJV).

  3. The big difference between the coffee shops and the temple marketplaces was: one of them preyed on the poor and fostered corruption.

  4. It’s interesting when the Lord wills, to open ones eyes to the things of the temple.Christianaty has become so cool, where even in my previous experience where preachers would think that they are soo free in Christ because he can go over sees and preach with his cool litlle headset to thousands and come back home and preach to 20 while wearing shorts. It makes my stomach turn just to think about if this is about me speaking in shorts or not or thousands or 20. The question is can you win a soul from hell eternal, what responsibility in this hour the church stands. The reverance is gone. And yes our coffe shops and our disciple traing programs and all the other hundred meetings for activity only show, that yes my house is not a house of prayer. May the Spirit of the Lord reveal himself to us
    That once we walk in. It’s his house and not yours, brothers.
    Oh yeah my church had a real good frapacino.

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