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What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Photo by: Andy Ciordia

Let’s pick up on a theme that surfaced a couple of times in the “From Your Window” comments.

More than one of our friends talked about how hard it is to see a recurring pattern of church people attacking their leaders and hurting one another.

Why does it happen? What causes us to turn into cannibals when we all know that truth without love is noise… (1Cor 13:1-7); and that even in courageously confronting false teachers, “A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will” (2Tim 2:24-26).

In the face of such inspired words, what gets into us to beat one another up? Why do we follow those who treat others this way?

Is it in the water we are drinking? Is there something in our diet that keeps us from seeing that we aren’t just called to  truth, but also to complementing attitudes that are true to God– the God  who reminds us that the whole law is fulfilled in one “word”: to love our neighbor as ourself (Gal 5:14)?

In the very next verse Paul adds,  “If you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!” (Gal 5:15).

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56 Responses to “What’s Wrong With This Picture?”

  1. rxman says:

    I think I have seen this in every church I have been a part of. And I would have to say it almost always started with the pastor. Not very often have I seen a pastor who is a true shepherd, and when there was one, the leadership of the church ate him up and spit him out.

    I think it stems from always wanting to be “right”. It seems all churches want to “build” their organization instead of being a group of believers of one accord.

    No wonder churches aren’t a place where non-believers come to find what is missing in their life.

    Sorry if this seems harsh, but I am so disappointed in what church in America has become. Or maybe I am disappointed in myself.

  2. Len Philpot says:

    I’ve seen it both ways over the years. My dad was a minister, so I’ve also seen it from the inside-out. Currently, I’m tremendously blessed to be in a church with a very humble, serious (although certainly not humorless), Spirit-seeking, honest, transparent and servant-minded pastor who also happens to be a very good friend. He and a former associate minister at our church have in particular really helped me recognize and hopefully overcome my “us and them” perception of the local church body and leadership. I think our pastor strives to be a good example of “God is right, not necessarily you nor I”.

    rxman, I agree that strife often springs from (what is ultimately) our desires of individual glory in one form or another. But I’m also greatly encouraged by what I’ve seen in my home church: Our pastor’s shepherding and the support of a loving, although far from perfect, church around him. I’m not attempting to hold him or anyone else up inappropriately, but there certainly is hope. :-)

  3. scout1 says:

    Pastors are going to be extra accountable just like any teacher of the Word of God. But, what I have seen is Christian strife among all levels of the Church. The “individual glory” does seem to be some of the problem -which is translated -Pride. I agree with rxman, from my window of the world -we are not reaching the non-believers and they don’t look to us to help them see what is different about us. I have lived in this town I’m in for 6 years and I have yet to see any church offer a revival meeting like churches used to do. The only other thing I’ve noticed is that the pastor is in longer in control or shepherding the flock, the committees or church board members are the controlling factor. The pastor is just a employee. How unfortunate. . . prayer sure is needed.

    Len Philpot- Did you see all the wildfires that are in the Fort Davis area? You mentioned that you were making a vacation trip down there this summer. I used to live there. . .it’s such a beautiful place.

  4. rokdude5 says:

    Hello everyone. I know, I know…its been a long time but Ive been busy with school and other demanding issues.

    One verse that popped into my mind about Christians hurting one another is James 4:1. Since right at this momemt we are ALL on the wrong side of Heaven, sin still has a hold of us. Sin is so strong that even Paul mentioned that he has to figuratively “beat himself”. 1 Corinthians 9:27

    Christians are notoriously known for “shooting their own wounded.” This occurs when we become more legalistic and less gracious.

    Sometimes quarrels may be petty as in what color should the new church carpet be. Other times quarrels between Christians may be more fundamental as in what is considered a baptism or do you follow Calvinism or Armenianism.

    The key in my mind is to learn to be humble and learn how to disagree agreeably or graciously plus more importantly, remember what Jesus prayed in John 17:20-21 which is a prayer for ALL of His followers.

  5. Len Philpot says:


    Yes, I’ve been “watching” Fort Davis via Facebook, etc., since Saturday. It’s been heavy on my heart ever since I first learned of the fires. I agree – It’s a beautiful area and I’d love to live there. Since the late 80s I’ve visited 20 times or so.

  6. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    I am so lucky that I go to a completly denomination free church that just sits in a field with no connection to any organisation. We have four elders and no “Pastor” as such.
    The service is led and held in check by the elders under the control of the Holy Spirit. Most weeks we have guest speakers, some are international workers and pastors or from other churches who just enjoy coming to our little Barn and get blessed by God. Sometimes one of us from our small congregation will give the word.
    God has said to us over and over again how important unity is and that we should love one another, bring all our fears and problems into the light and be just open with each other, sharing all things and supporting one another.
    As a result people are coming for deliverance for all kinds of problems and we are so blessed.
    I think with big organisations there is alot of business pressure. I have noticed, when attending other churches, how much the actual organisation is mention during a service and that the order of service is contained by a fixed format. There is pressure on the Pastor to “perform” and increase the numbers and increase the “turnover” instead of letting the Holy Spirit have full control.
    In our little Barn often people contribute from the floor and are free to pray as they feel led.

    I feel the “real church” has to shake off the organisation as this seems to be getting caught up and deceaved by the “one faith” issue that is shortly to come and dominate the last days.

    “He whom the Son set free is Free indeed”


  7. bratimus says:

    There sre churches out there that are solid in faith.

    Ths Bible also tells us that false teachers will enter the church.

    3 John 1:9 speaks of a problems that rises in the Church.

    Revelation 2 and 3 warns us of what will come and enter the Churches or try to enter.

    We need to remember that faith and religion are not the same thing. And sometimes we need to lose our religion to find our faith.

    We need to look to Christ as head of the Church, without a head the body doesn’t function.

    Walking around headless you tend to walk into a lot of walls and fall on your rear. If we can walk headless so some of us might not even be walking with Christ and are just fish floudering out of the water.

  8. royalpalm says:

    Hello, everyone,

    In Gal. 5: 16 and the ff. verses, Paul mentioned other sysmptoms, aside from contentions and dissensions, also envy, hatred, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions,adultery, etc. – of a person living according to the flesh, in contrast with one who walks according to the Spirit.

    He reminded them in v.24, of the fact that “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” and v.25,” If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

    In my experience, some pastors are more concerned about their performance, results, reputation, attendance and their accountability to the congregation or organization rather than their faithfulness to God and His word. When a pastor seeks to please people, they will never be pleased nor satisfied.

    On the other hand, there are also church members who, like the servant who was forgiven by the king the trillion dollars he owed, never appreciated the fact – and who go around choking people who owe them petty sums. (Matt. 18:23-30)

    Somehow we are blind to the fact that how we live our lives reflect our understanding of what God had done for us.

    As Paul wrote in Gal. 5:23, peace in the church, along with love, joy, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. reigns when we live according to the Spirit, striving to please and honor God rather than ourselves and each other.

  9. nyekis says:

    I am a church deacon,and i respect the pecking order in our church,and i do not feel trapped by it at all,what i know is that God has called us to serve him in church differently,yes its true that i have see a lot of dis agreement in some churches,however these always seem to emanate from people wanting to impose their will on others.

    I am one of those who can never raise my finger against a servant of God especially those that are ordained.If God has placed them in position of authority at that particular time,i give them the space to do what God has called them to do.

    Similarly,when serving as a church deacon,i never impose my will on any one,i do offer my opinion on issues that am well versed in ,or what congregants passes over to me in our daily interactions,but i never try to impose my will,because it is always supposed to be the will of God who is the head of the church,and he can use anyone including a child to get his will done.

    If a dispute was to arise involving a pastor, i will be the last person to point an accusing finger because we have all fallen short.God has ordained them and it is not for me to go accusing them .The books of exodus and Leviticus are so clear on how to treat servants of the most high.These days ,most people have really no respect for the servants of the most high.No wonder things may keep on going wrong in peoples lives and they can not point out the cause.

    If you want to treat the Church like any other organization,well have your way but remember,it is not any other organization,and so by so doing ,you mock God. I see some people saying this or that pastor is so full of himself,well it is not for you to judge,you did not call him or her to the ministry.The one that they work for will judge them not you.

    The size of the Church is neither here nor there,because strive does happen even in our homes where there are only the two of you;husband and wife.So long as there are human being no matter the number,if they let pride to take the better of them,strive will eventually find its way to that fellowship.

    The Presbyterian Church here in Kenya is organized in Elder Districts where congregants living in the same neighborhood plan their weekly prayer fellowship at members homes.This gives people time to meet in a more freer environment and gives every one an opportunity to grow and discover their talents,something that might not happen in church because of the size of the church and sometimes because of the order of the church service.

    I have no problem with the strict order of service because even our Good Lord is a God of order.Again lack of order is what would generally lead to strive and lack of respect for others.I am not oblivious of the fact that not every one that comes to church on Sunday is a born again Christian,some are very busy individuals but the mere fact that they normally find time to come to the house of God even if for whatever motive,am more that willing to accommodate them, because its through the sermons that they here every Sunday that i believe God will one day convict them and they will come to accept him as their savior.

    Every Sunday when i stand at the door and usher in congregants,i see God’s children coming to thank him, for seeing them through a whole week.What makes me happy is to see both the rich ,might and the poor all coming there not to be recognized because of who they are in the society,but coming to acknowledge The existence of God.

    We all need to humble ourselves and acknowledge that it is God who calls his servants and that he does not need us telling them how to work for him,i wish we can all learn that then we would all stop finding faults with the servants of God and his church.I tell you the true,the fact that people come to church every Sunday is an indication to me that there is something which they find better in the church than out there. Anybody who does not believe that should examine themselves and find out what is wrong with their attitude towards Christianity and church.

  10. nyekis says:

    Am 39 years old and i have grown in the church that has a congregation of over 4000 members and i respect our church structure of governance.I do not try to change it,but it changes with the change of time to accommodate or be in sync with the times.

  11. nyekis says:

    ‘More than one of our friends talked about how hard it is to see a recurring pattern of church people attacking their leaders and hurting one another. ‘Mart De Haan,believe me when i say this,this will continue to happen as long as people continue treating the devil like a small child,the devil is so canning, and the devil understands very well that the only way to prevent real communion and fellowship in church is to bring strive in the church so that people can continue going to church and never confessing their sins,that way they do not interfere with his kingdom,What will it take us Christians to know that this struggle will always be there and not give into the devils tact ticks

  12. bubbles says:

    It is important to pray for pastors/deacons. Not prey on them. Maybe there are those who think when the leaders’ personality or style of preaching doesn’t fit their style of learning, it is time to begin complaining or criticizing them. We need to remember how difficult the position of pastoring can be. We should let them know they are appreciated regularly. We should pray for them daily–that they would be protected. Satan hates those who are doing God’s work.

    Maybe church members forget their church is being watched by those in the community who do not attend. The local church has a testimony in the community. Perhaps there are those members who forget others watch what happens in the church. All of us who are members of a church need to guard and protect the testimony of our church as carefully as our own testimony. We can guard our church with prayer.
    I do believe many times satan is behind many church problems.

  13. SFDBWV says:

    My first thoughts surrounding this subject are that we seemed to cover much of it in the last as well as many other topics. It is still and will always be “self” that gets in the way of serving “others”.

    However to ferret out more of the cause of this soiled nature of ourselves I look at the whole of us.

    Whether at work or at play or in any gathering of people the same results are present.

    Jesus said where two or more gather together in His name He is there, well where ever two or more gather together for any reason there is also the opposite of Jesus’ nature there…selfishness.

    So whether we gather together at work or at the Volunteer Fire Department, or the Masons, or the Knights of Columbus, or the Lions Club or the government, or any where two or more come together, even at church, we have the spirit of “self” present.

    We are told and warned that there are unseen powers; these spiritual dominions are real and have influence upon us. We are at war against these unseen powers and as Paul outlined in Ephesians 6: 10-18 we need the full armor of God if we are to be prepared to battle against this unseen foe.

    Modern people want modern remedies, but there is only one remedy against the wiles of the devil and it has not changed since the dawn of time.

    Only the power of Christ can stand against this evil and only when good people come together with the Holy Spirit in order to defeat this spirit of self can there be any success.

    Light drizzle and 41 degrees this morning, the daffodils here are finally beginning to show a little yellow head.


  14. SFDBWV says:

    By the way Mart, your picture of the dead fish with the smaller dead fish in it’s mouth….seems to have an odor and yuckiness that transends the limits of this venue of communication.

    I get the message.


  15. rxman says:

    Bob, your church sounds like a church I would like to be in. I love that congregants are given the opportunity to speak during the gathering. How did we get the idea that a pastor (someone who is supposed to pastor) is the only one who has something to say. Is he the only one that God is speaking to?

    As to it getting out of order, don’t we trust that the Holy Spirit has things in control. Just my thoughts.

  16. florida7sun says:

    When we wander away from the Cross of Christ we enter into peril. Even with the slightest sin in our lives (so small we cannot detect it in our flesh) it will grow as yeast and permeate our bodies. A virus cannot be seen with the unaided human eye, but it can quickly spread and kill like a raging forest fire.

    Daily, moment-by-moment, we need to be in communication with our Lord and Savior; seeking His grace and mercy, surrendering to Him our bodies as living sacrifices; taking up His Cross (which is our cross as well) in full awareness that He guides each our steps; and petitioning that He will empower us with His very character and strength through the Word.

    “Be ye holy as I am holy” is His desire for us. We cannot even approach holiness apart from His Cross, His Wounds and His Blood. We can do absolutely nothing in our own strength.

    To believe so is to believe the author of lies who looks for every opportunity to infect us with just one sin knowing his demons will endeavor to pull us away from Jesus. The warmth of worldy attractions exist to entice us, enabling the infection to spread and keep us from the Great Physician.

    As J. C. Ryle said, “If we profess to have any real Christianity, let us strive to be of John the Baptist’s spirit. Let us study humility. This is the grace with which all must begin, who would be saved. We have no true religion about us, until we cast away our high thoughts, and feel ourselves sinners.”

    Daily repentence, complete surrender, and joyful adoration of our Lord and Savior draw us to the Cross where we can be One in Christ.

    Beautiful day here in the Sunshine State. Warm, soft breezes, and birds singing… feeding their young. It reminds me that He cares for them. And, He cares for us more than we can ever know; more than we can ever comprehend apart from the Cross.

    Love to all, Ray

  17. BruceC says:

    A very good topic Mart that we all need to address in our own hearts.
    I have been to several churches over the last 35 years and have also seen it both ways; as one other poster mentioned.
    Have seen loving,compassionate, pastors that shepherded flocks with cold, unforgiving, members(some in leadership) that turned people off. And have seen pastors and their wives make some very hurtful remarks to others; including my wife and I.
    It is important to hold leaders up in prayer and at the same time the entire body. The modern church does have many problems and faults; but when we read the Epistles we see that many of the early churches did also. May we heed Paul’s instructions today as they did then.

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  18. tracey5tgbtg says:

    nyekis – thank you for taking the time to post your comments. Many things said that I needed to hear.

  19. poohpity says:

    As BruceC said, “that we all need to address in our own hearts”. That is where my problems begins in my own heart. The minute I walk through the church doors I bring my heart in.

    I grew up in a home that was very critical and I learned to criticize. With all my heart I wish I could stop demanding perfection of myself and others it drives me nuts and I drive other people away. When in reality I just want to be wanted and useful but yet I correct and find fault when I would do good to just keep my mouth shut and allow God to work. I think Paul really got that in Romans 7:14-25 but without the next chapter 8:1 So there is NOW no condemnation awaiting those who belong to Christ Jesus.

    I have to stop and ask myself, Are you condemning ____(fill in the blank) because in that condemnation I am condemning myself. No pastor is perfect so do I expect them to be something that I am unable to do myself. I do not know where the accountability comes in because I fear someone holding me accountable and it seems to be a very fine line to Cross.

  20. poohpity says:

    For me Hypocrisy is the word of the day.

  21. oneg2dblu says:

    good day all… many thoughts here about a church’s organizational shortcomings and its Pastor’s failures.
    I feel that it is “never the church” that fails anyone, it is always our own “Failure to See” who, or what, they should be serving, and who or what, should be in control.
    If and when it goes astray, it is always because of those cf who need to be told, “Get behind me Satan, for you are thinking about the things of man, and not the things of God.
    Staying “Christ Centered” is always the Key to any Successful Body of Believers. It is all about Following Christ, and not your selfish worldly desire.
    The focus should be, Working for Him, Working through Him, and Serving Him who gathered us together. For if you come together to serve some other means… you will become more worldly and fail even Him, who you think you are serving.
    When I look around at the body of believers gathered together, it amazes me to know, He has called each of them separately, and to Himself, for Himself, and to show others, Who He, Jesus, really is!
    The Head of the Church IS always Christ Jesus, Our Lord and Saviour!
    I believe God, preferes ever whitened carpets, without blemish, and as unstained as the Heart’s He has Forgiven, and cleanesed forever. But, the ever-soiled thoughts of man, don’t quite seem to find it that way,
    for they always want, it their way instead!
    “Upon this Rock, I will build my Church!” The rock He spoke of…as not “the man’ Peter, but the One Who showed Peter, WHO HE REALLY WAS, none other than “ALMIGHTY GOD!” Gary

  22. oneg2dblu says:

    I just noticed a little (cf) in the body of the text.
    I will say in all truth, that I do not know how it got there! But, because it is there… I will address it this way, If CF= Christ Follower, then a little “cf” is appropriate to the context, where one being of little faith,quickly looses sight of why we are called to assemble together, and why we are called to be HIS CHURCH!

  23. phpatato says:

    My mother was absolutely Blessed by being able to attend a church and become the organist/pianist under the pastorship of Dr. Charles Seidenspinner…Calvary Bible Church in Kingston On. Everytime I visited my parents and went to church with them, I could sense nothing of what fellow bloggers are saying. This precious man of God touched every single person who walked through the church doors with Christ’s love. What a tremendous loss, not only to the church but to my very own family, when our Lord called him home. Dr “S” (as he was affectionally called) was a great pastor and teacher; he exuded love and tenderness and whenever something big or small cropped up – and there was a serious matter of this church providing a Chinese immigrant sanctuary in it’s basement to protect her from deportation – much prayer for God’s will and direction was undertaken. It could be said that this church was a Pray Church. As Gary mentioned, it was “Christ-centered” in all things.

    Could this be one of the reasons why churches are falling apart or full of strife? Trying to tackle problems in their own way instead of Christ’s way…which could even come down to the colour of the carpet HE wants in HIS church.


  24. foreverblessed says:

    “and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will”

    Have not read all your comments, but wanted to say that whenever there is a church with christians who are alive in Christ, then Satan sends his agents to disturb them.
    Like irritations, strife,
    (“A servant of the Lord must not quarrel”)
    Often these thoughts spring up in our heads, we must send them away immediately before they take ground too much in our head, and we start to think the thoughts are our own and have a good ground to ponder on. And then they become part of us. It takes longer to send them away.

    He does not do that so much to spiritual “dead” churches, they are of no threat to him.

    I know this seems to diminish our personal thought that also exist, but many irritations and strife do come from without. I started to notice this, whenever I would go to a very good christian conference. Mostly at the end, then irritation starts, or suspicion,
    It is as if a dark cloud goes between two people, the one thinks the cloud is form the other, and the other thinks the dark cloud is from the one. It also happens within marriages, just a dark cloud which comes in between.

    When I went to a new church, 2 years ago I sent away all these feelings and thoughts, and it did help.

    (There are afcourse thoughts that are realy ours and good to consider.)
    It also helps to stear your own thoughts to good things:
    Filipians 4:8-9
    and praising and singing hymnals, gospel songs!

  25. phpatato says:


    Sounds like Ephesians 4:25-32

    verse 27 in particular – “Neither give place to the devil”.

    Good thoughts!


  26. foreverblessed says:

    Yes Pat, memorising these scriptures is also a good one.
    -Do not give place to the devil-
    I started to critically follow my thoughts when being in church.
    for instance: When the pastors wife, who is young and beautiful with thick long hair, swings her head to the left and right, and I looked at her doing that, a thought did come up in my head: “how full of pride she is.”

    Because I had set myself to scrutinize my thoughts, I stopped it: No, she is not ful of pride, she is a lovely daughter of Jesus.
    But if I hadn’t, and at another moment something similar would happen, after a while to me her pride would be a matter of fact, while it is all fictional.

    Romans 12:9-21 are also good to memorise

    v10 Honour one another above yourself,
    that is a weird command! Above myself?? Why not the same as myself?
    That scripture is like an antidote (antidope)to my old nature, totally upside down.
    BUt we follow Jesus who is the most Humblest of us all.

  27. poohpity says:

    foreverblessed, that is so good to grab the thoughts before they continue out our mouths to inflict harm. Very good lesson for me.

  28. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    I should be working on my Census project but looked into the blog and got caught up in it all, again!

    I have been very blessed in my life to have met Jesus as a result of a house meeting and apart from a short attendance at a Baptist and Apostolic church have really only been to house churches.
    After my 30 year wondering in the wilderness and my move to west Cornwall, I asked God to help me find a fellowship that would be like I experienced in the beginning under Jean Darnell and her husband in my home town of Poole in Dorset, England.
    While driving along a road near my home a sign seemed to be staring at me every time I past it and that was for the Barn Fellowship.
    I went and looked through the window one evening and saw a piano, small electric organ, a drum set, and a guitar.
    I immediately knew this was the place.
    And on my first visit my two friends who came with me gave their hearts to Jesus.
    Two weeks ago we had all those instruments in our worship time as well as a flute and a trumpet. (I have a set of bells I shake and sometimes wave a large banner in the air)
    You may not think this strange but there are only about 30 or so regular worshippers.
    Sometimes the presence of the Holy Spirit is so strong people can actually smell His fragrance.
    Often there is a prophetic word or tongue and interpretation. Sometimes someone gets a picture vision they share. And always the prayers and worship contain a confirmation to the guest speaker and the theme runs on throughout the meeting.
    No one coordinates this, it is all guided by the Holy Spirit. Sometimes we fall out of worshipping the Lord and there is utter silence, that’s when you know Jesus is there among us, just as He said He would be!
    Other than arranging a schedule for speakers, that often has to be rearranged at a moments notice, there is no “organisation” at all.
    All our worship and our services should be Spirit led and Spirit filled.
    God is in charge, not us or a pastor.
    Paul set up a clear structure to guide us in the way we run our churches and to keep us from straying, but at the top of that structure must be God not man.

    I strongly feel we have to move away from these large super congregations and get back to the roots of our faith as written in the Gospels and especially in Acts.
    It is time to “COME ALIVE” to God The Father, His Son Jesus and The Holy Spirit that lives within us.
    Everyday I remember that Jesus Died for ME, but also I must realise that He also Rose up from the grave in order that I may follow Him and become a Son of the Living God.


  29. injesusname says:

    Hi All, It stands to reason that (I believe) we don’t seek spiritual guidance because we are perfect; quite the opposite, we seek it because we are broken. My life has exhibited this and although I was exposed to Christ at the age of nine I didn’t begin to see the need to seek him until much later in life. about age 23. And it has taken me 25 years of following Him to understand that when I look in the mirror in the morning the ONLY person I can JUDGE; is the person starring back! I can honestly say I have lived long enough and sinned BIG enough to know this is the truth. Jesus said “let the one who has no sin, cast the first stone” and they began to leave stating with the oldest to the youngest. My point is that when people come to church they are looking for something, Love, appreciation, understanding, etc, but they (we) are all broken! So when dealing with a congregation of “broken” people any leadership must recognise that they may (at times) be in for a rough ride. Jesus loves me so much He has always forgiven me, this in turn has taught me to treat others with forgiveness and compassion regardless of how they treat me! If I judge them I am bringing that same judgement on myself (judge not lest ye be judged!)so I can only speak from experiance because I want to be in HIS KINGDOM, and I have walked through the Valley of the Shadow of Death yet He has forgiven me! What right do I have to judge? (I am not talking about rules in a church or the administration of such an organization) just me myself and I! Once we have experiance HIS LOVE long enough we will learn through His Spirit and we will no longer get caught up in the politics that plague some churches. I mind my own business “literally” because God knows my heart, and I will be JUDGED by Him one day! That speaks volumes to me! As we have been told; “work out your “own” salvation with fear and trembling” So that is exactly what I am doing! May Jesus Bless you all!

  30. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    Where two or three are gathered in my name Jesus said He would be in the midst of them.
    Where Jesus is there is Love and Hope and Healing.

    He said “If I be lifted up from the earth I will draw all men unto me”

    That is all we need to do, lift Jesus Higher.

    Then they will know we are His diciples by our love for one another.

  31. royalpalm says:

    I agree with you that God’s word keeps our mind and thoughts on track. I like memorizing God’s word. They are antidote, as you said, to Satan’s wiles and deception.

    With regards to the BTA topic,these verses that have become part of me are prayers I say for myself and for others, anytime, but especially in the morning when I thank Him for the work He has prepared for me for the day…

    Psalm 19: 14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.

    from Psalm 23:3 Lord, lead me along paths of righteousness for Your name’s sake…

    from Matthew 6:23, Lead me not into temptation,but deliver me from evil, for Yours is the kingdom, and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

    along with Psalms of praise like

    Psalm 9:1,2 I will praise You, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in You;I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.

    Psalm 145:1,2 I will extol You, my God, O King; And I will bless Your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless You, And I will praise Your name forever and ever

    Psalm 19:11 “Your word I have hidden in my heart,That I might not sin against You.”

  32. xrgarza says:


    I’ve asked myself this very question many times before, but recently I’ve had a very heavy heart. Because there is a ministry that I really enjoy and it has been a blessing to many.

    Recently this ministry began a pledge drive, and they are soliciting funds to support their ministry in such a way that is not scriptural and they are doing and saying so many things that goes against scripture my stomach goes into convulsions when I hear this to the point I simply can’t listen anymore.

    My dilemma is that I don’t know what to do about it, I’ve been praying, I wrote a letter that I have not sent, I don’t have any credentials other than from the Holy Spirit, and every thing that I have been reading lately confirms what I’ve been feeling but no one is doing or saying anything about it.

    So I ask, could this be something that God wants me to do? David was a brilliant Shepard boy, I’m not even in his league, and to face such a giant, expertise advice would be helpful. Heck if I’m the one out in left field set me straight.


  33. poohpity says:

    Trust your gut and the Holy Spirit. In your letter as long as you are stating the facts with no assumptions or opinions that it is not right that is the thin line of accountability without personal attacks but on principles in love.

  34. oneg2dblu says:

    rocky… the Holy Spirit guards your heart, and if it doesn’t sound or feel right, it probably isn’t, and if it doesn’t line up with the Word of God, it definately isn’t right! Whenever, I sense that type of confusion, I pray my way through it open and searching, and find I end up removing myself from the deception, being it ever so slight!
    I know we are all capable of being enticed into wanting everything “churchly looking” to be right, but history has shown us, it is never a reality, for there is always room for man to mess with it, and destroy God’s true purposes for keeping it pure, and in right standing, for the leading of the masses. We like sheep are easily led, and like sheep, can be led astray as well!
    Our only Protection is through Our Personal Daily Relationship with Christ, because there are no perfect churches, religions, or preachers,
    only people coming together, and if Christ is in the Center of their lives, then God’s Will is acted out through them. However, all a man’s ways seem right to him, but in the end lead to death! So, we can never fully follow a man, even ourselves, we must rely on His Holy Spirt, His Holy Word, and our willingness to Obey
    both! It is being In Christ, Our only Hope, for any Disobedience and Unbelief, will separate us from a Holy God Forever! But,Rocky My Brother, you already know all this! Be Blessed! Gary

  35. peterpugliese says:

    Serving as an Elder within a church that has dealt with discipline within leadership, and also having experienced the breaking away from a denomination due to theological and doctrinal differences I must say that other than spending time praying and discerning God’s will these were difficult times. I not only look back at the personal effect it had on me and my family, but I think about the effects on everyone within the church, the burden that was upon the ‘Body of Christ.’ Our focus was on what was taking place and not everyone was in agreement with decisions that were being made which led to division and resulted in people leaving the church. I mentioned the body, consider what Paul says about the body in 1 Corinthians 12:12-31. When times like this occur does God use them for His ultimate purpose? Is He working in the lives of everyone involved, whether they are in agreement or not? This causes me to think about Paul, Barnabas, John Mark and Silas(Acts 15:36-41). Division that led to the expansion of the gospel and the strengthening of churches. During the turmoil within our church many left. Now, a couple of years later the church is growing in numbers and maturing in the word of God. I guess what I’m getting to is that we often center our thinking in a way that results in what we want, simply because we lack what’s most important, God’s view of what He desires. O ye of little faith… What does the Lord call us to? Who does He call us to be? What does He call us to be? I believe that if we take these questions seriously we find that our thoughts and actions might not be so misguided, for the Lord will illuminate through His word and by the power of His Spirit what he desires for us and from us. Will there be disagreements? Will our approach be different than if we were consumed by circumstances? Yes it will. Why? Because the Lord is involved in what we are doing, and we’ve allowed Him to be first in our lives. Praise Him!

  36. Regina says:

    Good Evening All

    Hope all is well in your lives. This is a busy month for me as I’m preparing for a Palm Sunday & Easter Presentation at my church. I also need $915.00 to continuing paying off my student loans during the summer months (while I’m not working), so please pray/believe with me that the LORD will provide. Mart, your blog picture brings to mind the Gulf Oil Spill and the radiation issues in Japan. Looking forward to sharing my thoughts on this blog topic.

    Love to all,

  37. bratimus says:

    xrgraza wrote somthing that caught my eyes.

    Writes how he does have credentials other then the Holy Spirit. I’m assumiing he means that hasn’t went to Bible College and got a degree in pastoring.

    Maybe the credentials system is what is wrong. Credentials can’t replace the Holy Spirit.

    Men teaching men the Bible vs. The Holy Spirit inspiring men in the ways of Christ to write what we make the Bible from.

    Who better to guide people through the Bible then the Holy Spirit which is the inspiration of the Bible.

    Jude 1:4

    For certian men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

  38. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    Our Church leader is an 84 year old farmers wife,

    She is fully qualified because God appointed her and told her to form a church nearly 20 years ago. She is full of the Holy Spirit and guides our meetings with a most beautiful beeming smile.
    Her son is a farmer and he also ministers to peoples needs.
    The other two elders are mainly involved with worship and prayer.
    Seems the best qualification to have to lead a church is to love Jesus and to do His will.


  39. SFDBWV says:

    I don’t know if it is by coincidence or by design, but yesterday there was a five page article in Christianity Today about this very subject as well as an in-depth program on PBS concerning the creation of the Protestant churches.

    Either way I found the article in CT to be disappointing in information but the PBS program a means of reminding me of events and issues I was already familiar with. It was just interesting to see it put forth from a secular view of history.

    This is how the outside world views Christianity, from its beginnings to what it has become today; a view that is for the most part an intellectual study of religion and the psychology of its leaders and members. As well as its impact on society at large.

    I was reminded by the PBS program at how cruel and bloody the church was in what I might call its worst history. The matter being power and control of people and how they thought.

    The great division and revolt from the Catholic Church coming about by its members disagreeing with its leaders.

    From its inception up through today the Protestant faiths continue to fracture into sects and separate groups for the same reason.

    The only difference is that for the most part today we rarely add murder to the equation of separation.

    It is human nature, and a nature that has been present in us since the fall of man in the garden. It is not a new phenomenon, but an old enemy to Christ.

    However the enlightenment of scripture brings with it the awakening of individual thought within the confines of religion and so it becomes the terror and fear of any group whether church or government, to have its followers have the freedom of thinking for themselves.

    When the individual begins to think for themselves, then there will be and remain differences of opinion. Taken to the full extent, so then there will be division within the group whether in fellowship or friendship.

    So as Shakespeare said “there is the rub”, how do we give up individual thought and yet remain able to individually discern scripture for ourselves? While remaining in a group of others come together for the common worship of a common God?

    It would seem that the fabric of Christianity would come unraveled as its individual threads separate themselves from each other.

    So it is, that if we are remain as a Church we must work against our human nature for it to succeed. This is more difficult then it might sound. However if we want to remain a Church we have to find that place where the grip of our individual nature gives way to the nature of Christ and we work together for His purposes not ours.

    No one has ever said this would be easy, nothing worth doing is ever easy.

    Hard freeze this morning with clear skies, but spring is here.


  40. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    ps. We have no collection or any request for money during any service or outreach, yet in all those years none of their personal money has ever been used.
    Touring evangelist get paid for their time and many causes are helped when the Spirit leads.
    Cd’s of the services etc are all free.
    God has supplied every need and still does.

  41. foreverblessed says:

    BOb, if you go on in describing your little church I will have to come and see it for myself!

  42. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    You will be made very welcome!

  43. SFDBWV says:

    Wanted to ad as an addendum to my comments; that at any point in the line of events that created the separations of peoples from the original “church” to the division of the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Church and subsequently to the formation of the Protestants faiths, that it was the leadership of the various churches that failed to demonstrate the love and instruction of Jesus Christ.

    It was because the leaders became leaders with their own agendas instead of Christ’s that caused the uprising of rebellion within its members.

    The history of the church is in itself a miracle and proves itself to be led by the Holy Spirit by the very fact that it has survived 2000 years, in spite of the broken people who have led it and are members of it.


  44. poohpity says:

    I think it is wonderful that you point out the good in your church Bob. It would be nice if that is how we all looked at things to see the good or positive qualities and not focus on the bad, understanding that God does and will change anything that God finds wrong and disappointing. I do not think I have ever read in the bible that one of the spiritual gifts was judgment or criticism only discernment.

    Father, help me today to look for the good, right, pleasing, and humble things in this life to think on and to be thankful for. Knowing that the rest you will take care of in your time and in your way. In Jesus name I pray. Amen!!

  45. poohpity says:

    So it might be nice to consider, “What is right with this picture?” rather than “What is wrong with this picture?”

  46. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh…Luke 12:57 from today’s ODB states that Christ said,”Why don’t you judge for yourselves?”
    I wonder if the “Gift of Discernment,” may just involve that “Must Judge” attiutude? Who else can judge for ourselves,whether our inner motives, not always seen by others, are right or wrong, but our own clear conscience of allowing the Holy Spirtit to give our hearts,a judgemental discerning, about ourselves as well.
    Physician Heal Thyself! Gary

  47. oneg2dblu says:

    Also,In today’s “Discvover the Word” a discussion in Luke 17:4 says Christ, “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them, and if they repent forgive them.”
    Who judges that trespass against you? You must Judge!
    How can one be asked to rebuke without passing judgment?
    Just a thought… Gary

  48. oneg2dblu says:

    Rocky… I can remember times when I’ve given to a stranger, who presents to me a desparate situation, and causes me to take pity on them, and also bless them in the Name of Jesus Christ, and give to them freely.
    Only to find them out as a fraud! But, I was blessed because my heart was right, my intentions were pure, and I gave out of a commandment of the Lord. For that, I was Blessed! For there is on Law against such things!
    The recipient being as theif and a liar, will not be blessed for his actions, his motives were deception,
    self-serving dishonest! Against such things there are Laws, and God’s Word is quite clear, very clear,
    about who will, and who will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. He Judges their ,and mine!
    So, if you give your time, your talents, your tithes to a deceptive ploy, your Work for God will still be counted as righteousness for you! Gary

  49. xrgarza says:

    Pooh & oneg2dblu, Yes so true the Holy Spirit will and has guarded my heart and that’s who I will trust, thank you for your kind words of encouragement.

    bratimus, That’s a good word thank you. I’ve always wondered about how ironic it is that so many from different denominations disagree with each other, yet many of them graduate from the same Bible colleges and they all seem to preach the same canned messages.

    oneg2dblu, I too have given to the homeless and those that appear to be in need, whether they are scamming me or not, it doesn’t matter because before I bless them I always take their hand and pray with them on the spot, and put it all in God’s hands, so in essences it’s me giving whatever I gave directly to the Lord.

    On the other hand, the Bible instructs us to study in such a way that we will be approved, and reminds us that teachers will also be judged harder. It is our responsibility to recognize when someone in the name of Jesus is doing and saying things that are not scriptural whether it’s a slipup or for deliberate personal gain.

    We are instructed to be wise as serpents but gentle as doves.


  50. danielcmalloy says:


    May everyone prosper and be in good health even as your soul prospers.

    The opening post of “what causes us to turn into cannibals?”, is covered in 1 Cor 1:11,12, which refers to a primitive form of denominationalism. Paul corrects the Corinthians by reminding them that we are baptized into Christ and His death which makes us one body with Christ the head. The first step in denominationalism is church membership. What? Yes, church membership. The seed is church membership, the tree is denominationalism, and the fruit is inquisitions.

    May our faith work through love and our love light the world. Jesus is LORD.

  51. poohpity says:

    Gary, if we spent more time really looking within at our own motives and hearts I do not feel there would be time to continually look at the faults in others. We would be quick to see that we each fall short in so many ways. God is the only one who conquers evil and that we can trust and depend on Him to do. He is the only one that can see into a man’s heart but has allowed, for those who will look, the ability to see into their own hearts.

    I do not know about anyone else but I respond more to kindness, patience, love and gentleness than I do to someone who is judgmental or critical. I react to those who are judgmental and critical. I think if we want others to be drawn to the light of the Lord it will be His spiritual fruit they will see and be drawn to. Who wants to hang around anyone who devours their brothers/sisters that is not showing the love of Christ.

    All around in the world we can sit and listen to people talking unkindly, gossiping, slandering and criticizing others but is it not a breathe of fresh air to listen to one who sees the good things in others, or the pure things, or the right things and their faces and eyes will display the light but when people always see the bad and ugly their faces will also reflect that as well.

  52. poohpity says:

    I was thinking about Jesus. He could have called down fire and brimstone on all those who were evil but then there would have been no one to go to the Cross for. Rather than returning evil for evil He gave a sacrificial love which was totally against everything everyone does and that is what he calls us to do. He calls us to be different to show love and kindness when it is not deserved but because of our love for Him, put all the ugly in His hands to deal with. More often than not when I try and deal with ugly I get ugly too so what is the use and it does not solve anything.

  53. Bob in Cornwall England says:


    I love my church and everyone in it.
    That was not the case awhile ago.
    We are all human, but in God’s eyes we are sons!
    I have nothing to say to bad mouth my brethren.
    I love them, warts and all, and they love me!
    That is what it is all about!


  54. poohpity says:

    Yes, it truly is. :-)

  55. bratimus says:

    Luke 10:11-13, 16

    11)”I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives Hid life for the sheep.
    12)But a hirling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them.
    13)The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about sheep.”

    16)”And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also i must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one Flock and one shepherd.”

    Mark 7:6-7

    He answered and said to them,
    “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:

    ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.

    And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men”

  56. oneg2dblu says:

    We all take and deliver Criticism in the same way we know how to package it, and that goes for Love as well!!
    So, I do not want to directly criticize someone’s church manifestations, but my Pastor always warns us, the Presence of the Holy Spirit doesn’t have to, nor should it be, weird.
    We do not “have to have,” tongues, or shaking, laughter, or falling out, or any weirdness. That stuff too many times is from another spirit…and not from God!
    We all know and believe that those things “did happen” in the upper room, along with fire from on high and sounds of rushing wind.
    BUT, Do not be misled into thinking, that those who utter unknown sylables, and those who decipher such, have any real Holy Spirit calling upon them, as they direct the masses, which can also be misled by unholy intentions as well!
    Some churches even teach others the “unknown langage” so that they can participate in the gift. If God gives you a gifting of His, why would corruptable man have to teach it to you?
    Just some warnings about those who enter into such bazar leadings, and can become trapped by them!
    My Pastor was raised up in the Pentecostal Church, and knows first hand, how these “very gifts” can be misused.
    They are never required for your Salavation or your Ability to Follow the Master! So, BE CAREFUL!!
    I say this in the way I show you my ability to love and want to protect my brothers and sisters in Christ!
    In His Love, Gary

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