THE RADICAL SHIFT BACK TO THE ORIGINAL PLAN
By Pastor Jim Stern*
The Lord is shifting the heart of His bride from “come and listen to men”, to “come and encounter the Lord”.
It’s easy to slip into doing church without Jesus. The local church IS people but the local church was created FOR Jesus.
If all of our church community is built around people’s preferences (opinions), what we are doing as a church (programs and ministries) and where we are going as a church (vision), we can easily choose people over Jesus all in the name of Jesus. Ultimately, leaders can not build the church, they can only partner with the Builder. Matthew 16:18 – “I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”
Leaders need to be aware that rebellion isn’t just disobeying God’s law, it’s simply choosing to do life and ministry without Him and/or put Him in a place that’s not first.
Leadership responsibility: to continually call men and women to follow the leadership of Jesus. Praying leaders build prayer cultures…environments for a corporate body of believers to regularly encounter and commune with God in a corporate way.
For the congregation:
It’s easy to slip into following men instead of following God. While the Lord establishes and appoints leaders and gifts in the body, He clearly calls His people to follow one King and one Shepherd. The Lord appoints pastors, teachers and prophets to help confirm what His voice has already been speaking to the church body, not to replace His voice to the church body.
Israel demanded a king so they could look like the other nations and follow a man instead of following God and being set apart from the nations. 1 SAMUEL 8 They chose to be a popular people over being peculiar/special/chosen people. 1 Peter 2:9 – “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light…”
There is a preference in the heart of man to follow men instead of following God.
1. I won’t have to take a stand (be like the other nations)
2. I won’t have to take responsibility (someone to fight my battles)
God appoints spiritual leaders for the purpose of calling the church out of the temptation to “be like other nations” and by the grace of God, to set a course for growing the body into the Head-Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 4:11-16 – “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”
*Note these were taken from notes when Pastor Jim Stern spoke at the Intro to IHOPKC Internship in February 2014.
This is a series of articles. See Pt 1. Here