Tag Archives: theology

WHEN FATHERS BECOME FURNITURE

I believe with my whole heart that the majority of degradation that we see in society and in the church is an issue of honor. Honor is one of those words that we are beginning to see resurface in our communities, but for the most part has been absent for a long time. We have neglected the importance of honor and many times distorted the concept to the point of avarice. Many people see the word ‘honor’ as a bad word implying blind submission and or the relinquishing of one’s self respect and dignity. We have replaced the word ‘honor’ with inadequate synonyms such as respect, support, acknowledgment or accolade. While all of these words and ideas are found within honor, honor is still so much more. Honor is the divine glue designed to hold together order. Order is the first thing on God’s list of priorities. Order is so important that God crushed His son to restore order. Let’s look at a very familiar passage of scripture:

John 3:16– For God so loved the world…

The word ‘world’ there is the greek word ‘cosmos’. It literally means the arrangement of things, the placement and or order of a system. It is not that God loved the earth so much, it’s because God so loved His order. One of the things I teach often is that the Kingdom of God operates within four dynamics: Order, Rank, Protocol, and Power. There can not be effective POWER without protocol. Protocol, simply put, is Honor. There is not power without honor. Where there is no honor, there is only highjacked power. So what is HONOR? Honor is the RECOGNITION and proper RESPONSE to rank. Rank is one’s jurisdiction, authority and assignment. Honor is acknowledging that ‘rank’ and responding accordingly. This is the only way ORDER is maintained. Where there is a lack of HONOR, there will not be sustained order. When order is not maintained it mutates into disorder. Disorder breeds disunity, division, and glory-less (place of no inheritance, deal with that in just a moment) environments. WE MUST HAVE HONOR.

I grew up and started doing Martial Arts at a very young age. I was engulfed in the Asian culture, became a Buddhist (I am delivered now, calm down). I did Martial Arts for over 17 years, was a vegetarian (NEVER AGAIN), lived surrounded by the Asian culture, even spoke both Mandarin and Cantonese. In the Asian culture Honor is such a priority that everything revolves around it. I remember when I was doing Martial Arts, even if we were mad at someone, and was going to fight, we would bow to show respect. We wouldn’t speak in the presence of a master because of the expectation that he might say something that will change my life. Our society so enforces our personal destiny and responsibility that we have bred a culture of dishonor. We have a generation so consumed with “me, myself, and I” that we are willing to walk over any and everything to “get what’s ours”, even if it means disrespecting our mothers and fathers.

We all know the commandment God gave to Moses..

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.

Now what is interesting is that the word ‘honour’ there is the same Hebrew word for glory, ‘kabod’. The word ‘kabod’ literally means heaviness, weight, importance, or essence. It would be useful here to say it is interesting the revelation that is brought out if you replaced the word ‘glory’ for ‘honor’ in scripture. Let’s try it.

Matthew 5:16– Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Do you see that. If we would replace it, it would read like this:

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and HONOR your Father which is in heaven.

Now the passage gives us illumination. That we when do good work, we HONOR our Father. What does this mean? We represent our Father in a good way. Because when you HONOR someone you are constantly concerned with how you are making them look. You can not detach the importance of reputation from honor. Honor is all about reputation. We see the reputation of many leaders in the Body of Christ being slung and rung threw the mud, and many leaders are happy. Many leaders are elated to see another Christian leader fall and fumble through sin and humiliation. This is dishonor. We must understand if one minister of the gospel falls, we all fall. It is not a time to rejoice, it’s a time to pray and restore. Let’s look at one more scripture.

1 Cor. 6:20– For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

If we replace the word ‘glorify’ with ‘honor’ it will read like this:

For ye are bought with a price: therefore HONOR God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

WOW! Now I understand why William McDowell sings the song “my life is not my own, to you I belong.. I give myself, I give myself away”. When we HONOR God with our Body, we are saying “Lord this does not belong to me, it’s yours. And since it is your, YOU tell me what to do with it”. It says in Ephesian 6,

2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)

Well what is the promise of honor. It is found in Exodus 20:12, it’s LONGEVITY. Could the reason we see fast, very successful, shooting start type ministries fall overnight? Could dishonor be the reason we embrace faddish, celebrity like Christian leaders who are only here for a moment, and then gone the next? Now you say, “Pastor, I know all of this”, well how does this translate to the issue of Fathers and Sons.

I am a young man, brought up in the south.. Atlanta, Georgia. We are trained to say “yes ma’am, no ma’am”. We are trained to open the doors for females, and be silent in the presence of ‘grown folks’. In the south you are taught to respect your elders, help old people across the street, and give credit where credit is due. Sadly, while the south may have a culture of hospitality, it seems as if the Church has missed this lesson. Where has honor gone? Let’s deal with a few issues:

How can you have 18 spiritual mothers and 33 spiritual fathers? Now let’s qualify this very quickly. A Spiritual Father is one that you have submitted your life, ministry and assignment to for the purpose of maturity, oversight and accountability. This is usually your pastor. Now people have multiple spiritual fathers and mothers in the same city, state, sometimes even in the same CHURCH!!! The term ‘Spiritual Father’ has become a title we tag on any and everything now, and because of it’s frequent use without proper understanding and reverence.. IT MEANS NOTHING NOW! What happens when Fathers become furniture.

When we look at Elijah and Elisha.. Elisha submitted his entire life to Elijah.

2 Kings 2:2 And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Bethel. And Elisha said unto him, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee…

When it came time for Elijah to depart, he tried to spare Elisha the pain of departure, but Elisha, his son, said wherever you go, I am with you. Let’s look at another example.

Jesus was speaking in John 6. And then He makes a statement of extreme profundity. He says in verse 53, “if you don’t eat my flesh, and drink my blood, you have no life”. WAIT A SECOND!!! Jesus are you saying that I have to be full of you.? You have to be my desire? The Bible says that many walked away from Jesus.

66 From that time many of his disciples went back , and walked no more with him. 67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve , Will ye also go away? 68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. 69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

What an amazing exchange. Honor kept the disciples from leaving Jesus at a time where it seemed impossible to follow. We must have honor. We need sons and daughters that understand the importance of being FULL of their ASSIGNMENT to their Mothers and Fathers of the Faith. If you call yourself a son or a daughter, understand that it’s not a weekend thing. It’s a LIFETIME thing.

I want to give you some practical applications for developing a life of honor and a deeper understanding and intimacy in your assignment to be a son or daughter. You must learn to honor your leader’s PERSON, PERSONALITY, and PRESENCE.

PERSON– There are natural and spiritual needs that your Mother and or Father in the Faith have. Make it your business to pray for them, fast for them, but sometimes the greatest thing to do is just ask “do you need anything?” You must be dedicated to the well being of their person. This deals with protection, covering, and accountability. I remember when I was serving my first pastor, I wouldn’t eat unless he had ate. I couldn’t see myself being an armor bearer, him working hard for me, and I am sitting on the sidelines eating. I couldn’t imagine driving a better car, he could have the car. I wouldn’t want anyone to see my man or woman of God without the very best. I am just telling you my line of thought. We must be committed to taking care of the well being of our leaders. They sacrifice so much for us.

PERSONALITY– Every leader has a different personality. I love the honor displayed by David. Even though Saul hated him, and even tried to kill him, David never dishonored Saul. He never spoke against him, was involved in gossip, and would never dare throw a javelin back at Saul. When given the opportunity, David was there to help and cure Saul of his ailment, never bringing shame to his king. WATCH THIS!!!! David never tried to change Saul. It is not the job of the Son to change the Father.. but the job of the Father is to change the Son. The Father and the Son are NOT equal. Now understand I am not dealing with the trinity or the Godhead. I am speaking of our relationships. American culture has killed dishonor by making one generation neglect the achievements and sacrifices of another generation with the statement “that was then, this is now”. That becomes the catalyst for “you don’t understand me” which breeds a disregard for counsel and wisdom. If you are going to submit to someone understand that you must submit to their personality, no matter how CRAZY they are. Honor their personality, even if it rubs you the wrong way.. ask David, God is working someone out on your behalf.

PRESENCE– Honor always produces credibility and acknowledgement. This is something we understand from a church perspective. We ‘honor’ the presence of the Lord. In the same way we should honor those that we have dedicated and submitted to. Our natural and spiritual leaders. We are the only generation that sit at the table with Generals and try to teach them something. When we are in worship, and the presence of God comes in, do we stop and try to teach the presence of the Lord. Of course not! We quiet ourselves and let God have His way. We must learn to honor our leaders, give them first place, preference and priority.

Let us not allow our Fathers to become furniture. Let us see a resurgence of honor enter our home, our churches and our communities. Let us commit ourselves to being bold and courageous when it comes to honoring our leaders’ person, personality and presence. Be intentional about showing honor to those you are submitted to. God requires this of us.

1 Tim. 5:17– Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

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The Elephant in the Room: OFFENSE

Have you ever been offended? We all have to some degree. Have you ever been hurt by a church? Maybe you are reading this, and even at this moment you are mad or upset with a church and their treatment towards you. Maybe you feel as if you should have been given a chance to minister or serve. Maybe an usher or leader said something very nasty to you. Maybe you were overlooked or used in some degree. If you have been in the church for more than a day, I am sure you have been offended. Offense is present wherever there is people. As the Lead Pastor of a growing church in the city of Atlanta, I have spoken with many people on the subject of offense. Offense seems to be everywhere. People leave churches because of offense, people leave marriages, burn bridges and tarnish people’s reputation and names because of offense. After speaking with pastors and parishioners who have been hurt and healed of offense,  I began to ask a lot of questions. What makes someone leave a ministry, while others draw closer? Why is it that offense hurts some, and empowers others? What is it that causes breaches in relationships? I came to understand that dealing with offense is a perspective issue.

Now what is offense? Offense is something that offends or displeases someone. It is a violation or the breaking of a law. To “take offense” means to feel humiliated, injured, or annoyed. Wherever there is people, there will be offense. This is why it agitates me when I hear people say that they left a church, or “the church” because of offense. As many times as you have been at a job where people offended you, you never left. As many times as family has offended you, you still went to the cook out and the reunions. As many times as you could have been offended at a restaurant or a theater, that doesn’t make us stop eating or watching movies. The reality of it is, people will find anything to become a catalyst for offense.

Offense breeds defensive people. Defensive people are people who feel it is necessary to always be one step ahead of you relationally. These are people who, if they think you are going to break up with them, they will break up with you first just to avoid embarrassment. Defensive people are usually chronic pathological liars and vivid imaginators. They dwell in suspicion and have a false sense of persecution. They think everyone is after them. You may be reading this and saying “hey, that’s me” or “wait, I know someone like that,” well in this blog I seek to reveal the dangers and the blessings of being offended.

The Dangers of Being Offended

Sustained unity is one of the keys to growth in any organization. A healthy atmosphere and culture is needed for anything to be successful and impacting. One of the main deterrents to a healthy culture is offense.

A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle. (Prov. 18:19)

A brother offended.” This gives us insight to how offense travels. Offense can only exist where there is relationship. Offense does not occur where there is not expectation. David said in Psalm 55:12-14:

12 For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: 13 But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance . 14 We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company. 

It wasn’t a stranger that offended David, it was someone that he was close to. Offense only happens within the confines of covenant. And the scripture says that “a brother offended is harder to win than a strong city.” A strong city or stronghold is designed to keep people out and hold things in. It is characterized by its defenses. It gains strength by division. Offense will always cause division. People who are offended separate themselves and become reclusive.

Another result of offense is the spirt of murder. The spirit of murder, hate and infirmity follows those who are consistently offended.

Matthew 24:10 And then shall many be offended , and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

Do you see the process. Offense breeds betrayal, betrayal breeds hate, hate is the foundation for murder. When we look at the story of Cain and Abel (Gen. 4:1-14), we see this process clearly. Cain became offended with his brother because Abel received respect from God, and he didn’t. Cain also was offended with God. I want to point out here that neither God nor Abel did anything wrong, but offense was still present. Offense is not always the result of wrongdoing, but is most times the result of misunderstanding.

13 And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear . 14 Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid ; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass , that every one that findeth me shall slay me . (Gen. 4:13-14)

Offense not only caused Cain to kill his brother, but caused Cain to run from the presence of the Lord. It also says that he became a vagabond, which is a wondering man without any place to dwell. An inability to worship, serve, submit and be planted in a local church are all  signs of offense. We must understand the responsibility of the “offended” and not just the “offender” to restore order and unity.

I have heard people say that you shouldn’t offend people, and I believe that this is true. Deliberate offense should never be the goal of anyone in power, but it is also true that offense is inevitable. You can not walk on egg shells trying not to offend someone. Now this is the blessing of offense. The entire reason I wrote this blog is to get to this point.

I believe offense can be a blessing. I heard it said that what offends you, reveals you. The scripture calls Jesus a “rock of offense”.

7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient , the stone which the builders disallowed , the same is made the head of the corner, 8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient : whereunto also they were appointed . (1 Peter 2:7-8)

Jesus comes to offend. The gospel comes to offend. It comes to offend everything that is not like Jesus. When you are offended, it reveals the weaknesses you have in your flesh. This is a good thing, a constructive thing. You should rejoice when you are offended, for God is showing you that you can and must become better. Do not allow offense to become a wedge between you and your destiny. Do not allow offense to separate you from the people your purpose is attached to. Offense can be used as a catalyst for personal development and growth. I want to encourage you that offense does not have to be a bad thing. It can be the very thing God uses to grow you. Do not allow the spirit of offense to cause you to become nomadic. Relationships between people are never perfect, it takes hard work, dedication and consistency to yield the maturity we need to support each other. My prayer is that if you are offended in any area, or with anyone, that you would seek restoration and renewal.

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” (Matt. 18:15-17)

Bryan Meadows

#BeEmpowered