A Little Kneeology ……..Matthew 5:5 (NKJV) “Blessed are the meek……
It seems like the word “meek” has come to be misunderstood in present day to mean “wimpy”. Consequently, because of the misinterpretation by both the world and many Christians, we have come to think that it more acceptable for the Christian to shrink back from taking firm stances in regards to other belief systems, politics, and world views. I, personally, find myself not one of great tolerance when it comes to lying politicians, folks speaking against the truths of the Word, or even being very tolerant of beliefs that contradict the Word of God. As Christians, born again believers, or maybe better defined as believers who have been converted and committed to being a follower of Jesus Christ, we have been given a spirit of boldness and power assisted in all things for the Kingdom by the Holy Spirit. It seems like so many professed Christians take more of what I call an “Eeyore” attitude when it comes to taking a stance concerning oppositional beliefs or behavior. Eeyore just accepts everything just as it is with no desire to try and change it because that is just the way it is. In fact, he is a bit pessimistic, and non-confrontational. When we study the word “meek” translated in both the Greek and Hebrew, when we connect its use to folks like Jesus and Moses, and even David in his later years, it seems like it is better defined as “power under control”. It seems as though meekness as Jesus speaks about it in His teachings carries with it an assurance of truth, a confidence that emits from one that speaks for itself. It would seem that if one displays such “meekness” it in itself witnesses to the power of God and the assurance of one’s salvation. As I was studying the word as it is used by Jesus, I began to wonder if in my own walk, “Do I display the spirit of meekness as spoken of by Jesus?” It would seem that if we had such a spirit, our witness would require very few words. As I asked the above questions , I also asked if my ministry projected a spirit of meekness, therefore, showing that I was operating in and with controlled power and assurance. If so, did that meekness display when things get a little binding or in confrontations? I found myself praying for a strong anointing of meekness in both my life and ministry, so much more of that controlled power of God’s Holy Spirit, realizing that such is the power to confront and overcome that which the world and the enemy throws out in front of us seeking to trip us up. Join me in like prayer. Amen?
In the last session I talked about vision; today I will share more about vision since it is vital to an effective ministry. Some people tell me that they do not need to write down the vision because they are just led by the Spirit. This sounds spiritual but it is not the teaching of the Word of God:
(Habakkuk 2:1-2 (NKJV) 1 I will stand my watch And set myself on the rampart, And watch to see what He will say to me, And what I will answer when I am corrected. 2 Then the LORD answered me and said: “Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it.
There is no one better organized than God -just look at the universe to see how well organized God is.
I am concerned that some who say they are “being led by the Spirit” are just using that excuse as an excuse for not doing the hard work of planning with the help of the Holy Spirit.
We need to have a written vision so we do not get “vision shift”. Many people are led off track very subtly by listening to their spirit and not the Holy Spirit.
How do we get off track? One of the most common ways is a friend or someone comes into your ministry and says: “God laid it on my heart to tell you to do this…”
For example when Ginny and I purchased a building (an old restaurant) in Shelbyville, Indiana; well-meaning people came to us and said; with this building you should feed the needy and open a thrift store. We told them NO, the Salvation Army is doing that and we will support them, but God has told us to start a Christian Book store, a teen drop-in Center and a church.
We must do what God called us to do, not what other people want. We must guard against becoming people pleasers.
Many people will try to tell you what God saying to you, but let me be frank; if God wants you to do something , who do you think He will talk to first? You! He may send others to confirm what he told you, but He will reveal it to you first.
I like what TMCI Bishop Pele tells people who suggest that He should do something in his ministry that God has not revealed to him. He asks them, “Do you believe God wants that done?” And of course they say yes. He then replies: “Good, because He obviously has called you and He has revealed it to you and not me”.
Another thing that can get us off track is trying to make the vision happen too quickly. By doing this, we can let our flesh get in the way. I know this would never happen to you, but it happens to me.
God drops a vision in my spirit and I start off in my flesh to complete it. All of sudden, I am having nothing but trouble. I shout to the Lord, “Lord you told me to do this – what is the problem?” He tells me I am the problem, I need to come back for the instructions. I have learned that anything I do in my flesh does no good for me or anyone else. A lot of time is wasted by not spending quiet time with God daily.
Another thing that can get us off track is past success which can hinder growth. Build on the past, but do not stay in the past. We must not get complacent with where we are. Complacency is the enemy of greater success. In order to have a greater future we must let God move us on to new things. We disciple someone to take our place, so God can bring us to the next level.
God will, if we let Him, grow in us a bigger vision using our God-given gifting and passion. Let me give an example.
When I accepted Christ, God gave me a great love for his people. I wanted to help everyone to have a better life. My church took the time to ground me in the Word of God.
This put a desire in my heart to share that word with God’s people to make them more mature Christians and help them in their daily walk. Then God put me in leadership in our local church and I learned to not only love the people but to serve them.
Then when he moved our family to Indiana he put me in touch with Lay Renewal Ministries who had me do leadership training in many churches in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.
God took my passion to help others grow from individuals, to Bible studies, to a church, to many churches and finally the great privilege of serving you through TMCI.
The point is: your vision, when you start, you see in part, but as you are faithful with what He given you, He will expand beyond what you imagined. I think we believers tend to put God in a box, not realizing all that he wants to do through us.
One of the key to fulfilling your vison and having an effective ministry is to invest in yourself. Constantly grow in your gifts while keeping your passion for what God called you to do. You must be willing to spend money educating yourself to fine tune your gifts. We must never stop learning. God loves a teachable spirit.
It always blesses me when I read in a monthly report of someone who has received a degree or invested in their education by going to a school to fine tune their God-given gifts or of those people who take the time to go to a successful ministry to learn their principles so they may improve their ministry.
There are many good resources that will help us improve our gifts and fulfill God’s vision in our lives.
Next time, I want to talk about bringing a team around you to help fulfill the vison. I will share some ideas on how to attract and keep volunteers.
Bishop Bob Coulter
Suggested book: Put Your Dream To The Test by John C. Maxwell
Most people start ministries because God has laid a vision on their heart. It is a God given passion that will benefit others. A vision without a Godly passion is just an idea that will leave you when the opposition comes. And, trust me, opposition will come. The opposition usually comes from well-meaning friends who say things like “you cannot do that, or “you do not have the education or training to do that”, or the squelcher of all “you cannot afford it”.
The opposition that most people starting out in ministry are not prepared for is the religious spirit. When there is a move of God, the first to criticize is the religious spirit who is invested in the status quo. The Pharisees and Sadducees opposed Jesus and His teaching and the miracles He was performing. They accused Him of being a son of the devil.
Another mistake many make when they get a vision from God is believing it will be fulfilled quickly. In fact, most of the time overnight success takes ten to fifteen years. Consider many well-known Christian leaders who labored many years to get where they are today.
I am reminded of Jer. 18: 4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. NKJV
Many times when we receive a vision from God, we are not equipped to fulfill that vision immediately. God has to mold us into the vessel that He can use. Then He places us where He wants us to be. In my experience, God had to get a lot of Bob out of me before I could become an effective vessel for him. I suspect that is true with most of us. God keeps pruning me and enlightening me as I strive to complete his calling on my life. I have learned that we never stop learning. We must have a teachable spirit that is forever open to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
In the Old Testament Habakkuk has an interesting thing to say about vision:
Hab 2:2 Then the Lord answered me and said:
“Write the vision
And make it plain on tablets,
That he may run who reads it. NKJV
Why should you write down the vision? First God told us to write it down and we need to be obedient. The other reason is so that we do not forget it or add to it. Many times if we become physically, emotionally and spiritually drained it is not from what Christ wants us to do, but from the things we add on. This is especially true for those who are bi-vocational. You work days. You have to take care of your family’s needs and you spend the balance of your time in ministry. It is extremely important that you are doing only what God called you to do.
What happens to some of us is that we begin by doing what God calls us to do, and then say “I can do this also”. Or others see our gifting and ask us to help with their project. Most of us, being mercy motivated, try to help that person and maybe another and another. These are add ons.
We wear ourselves and our workers out doing good things instead of God things. Remember, Satan delights in keeping you busy doing good things as long as these keep you from your God thing. Make sure God is telling you to help that ministry and make sure the activity falls within your vision statement.
It is important to have a written vision statement. The vision statement will give you the guidelines you need to evaluate each request for help. If an activity falls outside your vision statement, do not pursue it. You may ask, “Bob, are you saying that I should say no to ministry?” Yes, if it falls outside of your vision guidelines. Some are stealing ministries from others because doing so makes their flesh feel good. When that happens, you can stay so busy doing good things that you miss fulfilling the vision God gave you and thus miss the will of God for you.
Lastly, write down your vision so your people will understand it. Prov. 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: KJV The word perish mean they become unruly. If children are left unattended, they eventually become unruly. And usually what happens is they start quarrels among themselves because they want their way in the situation. It is the same with people you are leading: they must have direction in their ministry lives. It is your vision statement that will give them a sense of direction. In fact the vision is the congregation’s security; it is a comfort to them that they know where they are going.
The added benefit to a written vision statement that is visibly displayed either in the entrance to your facility or in the church bulletin each Sunday is that it will attract new members who identify with your vision – those sheep that will hear your voice. The other good news it may help keep away those who do not agree with your vision – the goats who are unteachable.
The Lord has laid on our staff’s heart to start a ministry tips and tools blog. It is our goal to publish two per month via email and video. We will keep the teaching between five and eight minutes. We will start with some basic teaching but would welcome suggestions of a subject or subjects you would find of interest. As part of the teaching, the staff will review the monthly reports to see if there are common issues that we may teach on. After you read or listen to the teaching, we would gladly welcome suggestions, observations, and feedback from you. We all must continue to learn so we are more than willing to receive information that will benefit us all.
Our Goal at TMCI is to help you fulfill the call that God has on your life. We pray that these tips, tools and teachings will help you as you carry out your ministry.
To start I would like talk about Effective ministry. My definition of Effective ministry is ministry that changes lives for Jesus Christ. If you have a large group attending a meeting and it is not changing lives for Jesus Christ, you need to either change the format or stop it. We have to remember we are not a social club. We must be making disciples for Jesus Christ and not just entertaining people. Too many churches are entertainment centers instead of training centers. One of our future teachings will address making disciples.
The start of any effective ministry is prayer. Your success in ministry is directly related to the amount of prayer you put into it. Oswald Chambers: “People pray for a greater work; prayer is the greater work.” Nothing is won in the physical realm, until it is won in the spiritual realm.
First, you must have an effective prayer life. Many Christians have a devotional life in which they read a devotional that inspires them spiritually and then they pray for a prayer list of people and events. This is a good thing, but God wants more for you, especially for those in leadership. He wants quiet time with you so that you can listen for and hear his voice for the day’s events.
I have learned that just doing a devotional reading does not build a relationship with Christ. Ginny and I used to own a Christian book store. We sold many copies of a devotional called Five Minutes with God .There was even one called One Minute with God. One to five minutes a day is not sufficient to build a relationship with God. When Jesus was on earth, He asked his disciples to spend one hour in prayer with him
I am reminded of Rev 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. NKJV.
This scripture reminds me of two things. One: Christ wants a relationship with us. He keeps knocking. The second: we must open the door and let him in to build that relationship. There is a difference between eating and dining. Dining means to linger, to take one’s time, to enjoy the event. That’s what Christ wants to do with us. He does not want to go through a MacDonald’s drive-through with us. As Judy Covington said “He wants to spend quality white tablecloth time with us.”
Christ is ready to meet you where you are! Do not try to copy another’s believer’s relationship with Him. You are unique and God knows best how to communicate with you. Some believers get spiritually frustrated because they are following someone else’s formula. Be real with him!
I also discovered that an experience with God is not the same as building a relationship with the Almighty. God has used me in many spiritual gifts just as He has used you. It is great to be used by God in those circumstances. But some are gift seekers and not relationship seekers. We must stop seeking the gifts and concentrate of seeking the giver. As we spend quiet time with him and go deeper into Him, we will receive new and deeper revelation.
Christ is not talking about a little prayer time; he is talking about relationship building time. Time for praise and worship, time to listen, time to get revelation. Prayer can easily become a religious activity, and not a relationship building activity. Our ears can shut out the voice of God when we are doing our religious activity. In today’s world, we need new revelation every day for guidance.
Another important thing in starting a ministry is to get people committed to pray for you. Intercessory prayer warriors and prayer partners are essential in effective ministries. You need people who will watch your back in prayer. My wife, Ginny, and I always have a prayer team around to protect as we travel and do ministry.
When God called us to help Sister Judy Covington run TMCI, the first email I sent out was to ask for those who would pray for us. I received twelve responses from people who committed to pray for us. Now we have over one hundred prayer warriors praying each week for us and the prayer requests we receive from you on your monthly reports.
I encourage you to get a scripture to pray for yourself and your ministry. Every day during our Morning Prayer time at the office I pray the Prayer of Jabez: 1 Chron 4:10
And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested. NKJV
We ask God to bless us and increase our territory for Him and that He will be with us because without His presence and guidance our lives and ministries will be fruitless. We pray that we will be a blessing to our people. God has always honored His word and He still is increasing his territory through TMCI ministries like yours.
The Lord has put Isa 60:1-3 on my heart this year. I believe He is fulfilling this scripture in the lives of TMCI ministries around the world. I continue to get reports of salvations and many signs and wonders from TMCI ministries everywhere.
Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. 2 For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you. 3 The Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising. (NKJV)
What better time of the year to share about the light of the world, Jesus Christ? Every year Ginny and I put up outdoor Christmas decorations. Many of our shrubs are decorated with Christmas lights, but the focal point is the manger scene Ginny puts on our porch. It is our non-verbal message to all who pass by: this is the reason for the season.
Many people are in deep darkness. Christmas is a great time to share the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Don’t allow the darkness of this world to bring us down, but let us rejoice in the season and share the good news of Jesus with all who will hear. Remember we celebrate the birth of our Savior who brought light into the world. Let us not forget to share it with others.
Some ways to share are simple: a smile to those with whom we come in contact, especially the store clerks who help us or check us out at the cash register. Smile at them, encourage them and leave a blessing by wishing them a Merry Christmas. Let’s not wish them happy holidays but rather Merry Christmas.
Let’s let the light of Christ flow through us this season and speak the truth in love to people around us. We all have a sphere of influence. Let us enlighten those who are in it with the good news of the gospel. What is our sphere of influence? Our relatives, neighbors, co-workers, and those with whom we do business. Most people have at least sixty-six people in their sphere of influence. Many of you have a larger sphere of influence through Facebook and other social media. Let us get the good news of Jesus into their lives this Christmas season.
Remember, the only Jesus many will see is the Jesus in you. So let us be good ambassadors for Christ this season. What better gift can we give than the love of Jesus Christ as we let God use us to share the Gospel and use us in signs and wonders this season. Let your light shine!