Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Examine The Entire Situation

First John 4:1 is an amazing verse which, in my opinion, too few people take seriously.

The "KJV" reads the passage this way:

"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. "

THE MESSAGE version of the Bible reads it this way:

"My dear friends, don't believe everything you hear. Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you. Not everyone who talks about God comes from God. There are a lot of lying preachers loose in the world. "

Three points:
1) Don't believe everything you hear.
2) Test, carefully weigh, examine what people tell you.
3) There are a lot of lying preschers loose in the world.

The word translated "TEST" is the Greek term dokimazo.
1) to test, examine, prove, scrutinise (to see whether a thing is genuine or not), as metals
2) to recognise as genuine after examination, to approve, deem worthy

It is interesting that this word has its root in dokimos, a word closely associated with coins and money in particular. For example:
1) accepted, particularly of coins and money.
2) accepted, pleasing, acceptable

Donald Barnhouse made the following comments:

"In the ancient world there was no banking system as we know it today, and no paper money. All money was made from metal, heated until liquid, poured into moulds and allowed to cool. When the coins were cooled, it was necessary to smooth off the uneven edges. The coins were comparatively soft and of course many people shaved them closely. In one century, more than eighty laws were passed in Athens, to stop the practice of shaving down the coins then in circulation. But some money changers were men of integrity, who would accept no counterfeit money. They were men of honour who put only genuine full weighted money into circulation. Such men were called 'dokimos' or 'approved'."

Barnhouse called them "men of honor." "Men of honor"..."genuine" Consider the term "men of honor." Consider the term "genuine."

All too often, we get caught up in a movement, wrapped up in a situation. We repeat what we have heard over and over. We hear the rhetoric and we accept it as truth, depending on the source. All to often we fail to step back and examine the options. All to often we fail to examine the messenger.

All to often we fail to examine the motives of the messenger...a fatal error.

There is a huge church in Jacksonville, Florida with over 20,000 members and with a pastor who came there in June '06. Without even being in that church one full year, that pastor is already attempting to convince that church of "God's vision" for the church, a building program, a vision that will cost them tens of millions of dollars. One member recently said that he is "behind our pastor" and that the pastor will need his support to execute the new vision after he fully explains it.

The "vision" is being leaked a little at a time, like trial baloons. It is an emotionally manipulative technique used by many leaders to "plant the seed" of an idea. By the time the entire plan is revealed, many people are convinced it is "the only way" when in reality, they have not bothered to stop and examine the situation from another viewpoint, to look at options, to consider costs vs results.

Bill Clinton was a master of mass emotional manipulation using this technique. You talk up your idea, your plan. Then you present, often misleading, figures and charts and claims. To top-off the situation, you claim "GOD IS LEADING US TO DO THIS."

Who is gonna argue with God?

1) You repeat the plan again and again,
2) You repeat the plan over a long period of time.
3) You proclaim it loudly and with conviction, real or feigned.
5) You never allow any objectors to speak in a public forum, especially in church.

Hey, hey...ya got it made.

Pretty soon people are convinced that what you say is THE ONLY OPTION! People are convinced that, even when they pray, GOD is going to agree with them. Suddenly, it's God's will.

And you have another feather in your vocational cap, allowing God to call you (if you are a leader) to a new situation, a bigger church with a bigger income and a better retirement plan.

Now, in the church situation above, it is not told that the pastor's vision€€ for his former church was to demolish a fifty-year old, historic building, claiming it wasn't good enough for them. In June '06, his former church had a forty-foot deep hole in the ground that covers an entire city block. In June '06, his former church still owed TEN MILLION DOLLARS on a FORTY-EIGHT MILLION DOLLAR DEBT.

Then ya know what happened?

Suddenly and without warning...
Nevermind the forty-foot hole in the ground kids, we're goin' to Florida!
___End of the Trumpets___

After his sudden and unexpected exit from his half-finished building program, he said emotionally, “I can’t imagine God bringing me to such a wonderful place like this.” He continued, “But in my heart, I sense this is where God has called me, and with your help, I will do my best to be your pastor."


That's the same thing he said just a few years before, when he convinced another church to demolish a historic building and then ran to Florida, leaving them in debt and leaving a hurt congregation behind!

I submit that many who repeat the rhetoric and platitudes of "God's will" and "let's move to the country" have not examined the situation as thoroughly and as earnestly as they could have. Many who "jumped on the bandwagon" have not considered other options, of which there are plenty.

HERE'S A SPIRITUAL TRUTH not from me, but from God's Word:

1) Don't believe everything you hear.
2) Carefully examine, scrutinise everything you hear.
3) There are a lot of lying preachers in the world.
1John 4:1

"Building programs DO NOT REPLACE personal evangelism."


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