Tag Archives: church

Where Have All The Men Gone?

rosie1Pete Seeger wrote the song, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”  The lyrics in the song continue to say, “long time passing” and “when will they ever learn?”  I feel like singing that song today and changing the lyrics to, “Where have all the men gone? Long time passing. When will they ever learn?”  We are living in a time where the women have been forced to step to the front because men have either quit taking their rightful spot as leaders or have acquiesced to stronger women. Where have all the men gone?

When I look at churches and even my own church, the ratio of women to men is right at the average of the survey; six women to every four men.  Can you grasp that?  For every 10 people who attend church services on Sunday morning, four of them are men.   It is irony to know that a man who selected 12 other men to help Him start Christianity has now developed into a feminist organization. Where have all the men gone?

Most men in the church, as a whole, would rather not hear that statistic.  They want to know that the men are still strong and doing well.  Well, sad to tell you, that is not the case.   I, for one, am grateful for every man and boy in my church.  I tell them so.  They, I’m sure like most men in church today, do their best at whatever they put their hands too.  Where have all the men gone?

I even heard a startling report that the majority of the protesters in Iran are women.  Women are forced to come to the forefront and do what men are expected to do but have abandoned their posts.  Where have all the men gone?

Now I’m not naïve enough to think that all this stuff about men is all their fault.  I know there are some women who would just rather the men stay at home and let them do all the leadership responsibility.  However, I think I would be safe to say that this attitude would be the opinion of the minority.

Is this how we’re going to end this world?  Is this where the future of the world is heading?  I don’t know.  But what I do hope is that men would come out of the dugout, pick up a bat and step up to the plate.  While I know it’s comfortable in the dugout with the bench, water and the shade, it’s time to play ball.  Where have all the men gone?

That’s what I think about it.

DTW – http://www.exaltationchurch.com

The Label Says Cotton Blend But I know Better!

cotton_labelI come from a background of textiles.  Yes, Gaston County, North Carolina was my hometown area, and our bread and butter were textiles.  I didn’t know anything else for 18 years.  My dad and mom worked in it all their lives.  It was nothing for me to see my dad covered in lint from the top of his head to the tops of his shoes.  The fragrant smell of cloth, yarn, cotton and material dye permeated our clothes, our house and our town.

Even now, I find myself buying a new garment and putting it up to my nose to get a nostalgic smell and memory of my childhood days. I know that someone has just used the label to sell me a cheap product.

I overheard a conversation recently with some pastors and one pastor’s comment was that he makes sure that they are “Christians” before he marries them.  I interjected into the conversation.  I explained how that it is a sad commentary, as there are non-Christians who have better marriages than Christians a lot of the time.

Just because someone wears the label “Christian” it doesn’t always mean what we think it means.  However, many choose to use that label to be accepted by others, to gain favor in business relationships or even to gain a position or favor swinging the pendulum to their side.

When folks wear the label and don’t measure up to the standards of what Christ meant–it sadly devalues the entire family of believers.  So what do we do about it?  We continue to show others what it means to be 100% Christian and not a blend of good and evil.  Even Jesus said that there would be tares among the wheat.  Tares look like wheat until maturation at harvest time.  The wheat bows over with the golden top.  However, the tares stand upright and proud.

Interesting that wheat bows while tares pridefully do not.  Yes, there are people who look like, smell like, act like and even wear the label of Christian that live among us.  In actuality, they are just not Christians.  Jesus said at harvest time, he would take care of them.

Remember, it might say it on the label, but it doesn’t mean it is the read deal.

That’s what I think about it.

DTW-www.exaltationchurch.com

Why Do We Call Ministers Reverend?

ordinationJesus was so right on when he made several statements about the titles many carried in His day. He realized that agape didn’t need titles to get people to love and respect Him. Even in His last days, the opposition tried to call Him king, and He just replied with a non-answer answer.

We have so many religious titles that men love to have, wear and become attentive to when called by their title. We have the reverends, the pastor, father, bishops, overseers, elder, priests, and rabbi. Many in the religious fields probably feel that they could take them or leave them. However, there are those who feel that respect is in a title. Their expectation of others to call them by their title is their reassurance of that respect.

Agape doesn’t label religious leaders with titles. We give men titles because of protocol in our religious world’s system. Men receive titles to assure others that they have completed the criteria and process demanded of them for that office.

People who know me call me Tim; others call me Timothy. Some call me Pastor Timothy. When I was growing up in church, we called the pastor, “preacher.” Some, I have come to find out, feel that that title is disrespectful. I never could figure that one out.

I appreciate it when people call me pastor, but the truth of the matter is that if they wanted to call me Tim or Timothy, it’s just fine with me. Agape carries with it a respect and care for others without the crown of a title. Agape says that you can just call me by my name; I don’t need to be called by any title.

Jesus even referred to those who were psychologically gratified and loved having their egos fed when others would call them by their titles. They loved it. They lived for it. Vanity is the foundation for such titles. They are used by those who crave attention.

I was in the presence, years ago, of a man who was a district overseer for a particular denomination. He demanded that no one call him by his first name, but by his title, “Bishop.” I guess some people need that sort of thing in the religious world.

Agape says you can love me for who I am. Agape says that I’m going to love you for who you are. Agape is not bias, prejudice nor judgmental. Agape loves when all other loves fail.

Paul says that if I have not agaped, I am nothing. It doesn’t matter if you have titles a mile long, If you don’t agape people, then you are absolutely nothing. That’s pretty harsh. However, agape should be the basis for our leadership and not what title we hold. Jesus asked Peter if he agaped Him and then he told him to feed His sheep. It was agape that would cause Peter to lead people, not a title of rank. Respect is not found in a title. Respect is found in a person.

That’s what I think about it.

DTW – http://www.exaltationchurch.comeclogo11

You See Them Everyday

les9fig10Have you ever given yourself permission to leave your circumstances and situations just to think about him or her and what they go through or are going through? You see them everyday, and yet you give no time to how they think or what they feel. You might just say, “Hi, how are you?” They reply back to you, “Fine, thank you.” You hear this reply all the time because they really don’t expect you to notice, care or even listen to how they really are. Our politeness and courtesy, many times, become a futility of meaningless words. Just being friendly, that’s all that’s required of us right?

Now let’s go back to them. You see them everyday and do you really want to know how they are feeling or what they are going through? Agape says, “Yes, I really, seriously do.” Agape says, “I’m going to take the time to find out (if they want to share with me) the good, bad and the ugly of their lives.” They might need you right now. They might just need someone who sincerely cares about them and their circumstances. They might even need something you have that you could possibly give them. It doesn’t have to be money. So don’t even let that be your first thought.

You see them everyday and you just go through the process of acknowledging them and share in your return of verbal niceties. “Yeah, I see you. So there.” Then we allow them to go on their way and we get back to doing what we were doing. When you’re really focused on what is going on in your life at the time, you don’t want to take time for others–now do you? When you’re in a time crunch, now is not the time to show agape. Or is it? Maybe it does show agape when you’re in a self absorbed moment and you’re willing to show the other person the agape of Jesus.

You see them everyday and you know we live in a complicated and messed up world. People travel through life storms as well as emotional or physical earthquakes of catastrophic proportions. Proportions, of which, we are unaware. They need our agape! They need it right at a time when they wish they could find an emergency red handle on a wall somewhere that says, “pull if you need someone who cares!”

Yes, you see them everyday but they look and act just like you and me. You don’t know what is churning on the inside of them unless agape seeks out the bad and replaces it with good. Agape says, “I’m busy, but I do have time for you.” Agape says, “I care when no one else cares.”

Agape says, “Come unto me, all you busy people who are tired of hiding your problems and acting like nothing is wrong, and I will give you relief and rest.” – Jesus Christ.

Agape should be on the endangered species list. It is so very difficult to find when you need it.

That’s what I think about it.

DTW – http://www.exaltationchurch.comeclogo9

Ten Percent

imagesThis is a number everybody should know about in Christendom. We should know what it applies to. If you’ve been to church at least four times in your life, YOU should know what it applies to. And, if you have been one who has had his religious muscle trained from birth till now, you certainly have been one who understands the rigors and the expectations of “ten percent.”

Maybe you’re one of those that have been drilled Sunday after Sunday, Wednesday after Wednesday, that this number is the least and minimum expectation of servitude and loyalty. You might be one of those that quit going to church because you heard this number so much and there was no way under heaven that you were able to meet the demands so firmly placed on your shoulders. In fact, you may have even come close to fearing that if you didn’t meet those expectations, it might come to the point that the church would put a lien on your property.

You could be one of those who are able to meet this understood agreement with the church, and as such, you probably feel guilty if you don’t meet this requirement. In fact, you actually may even feel a sense of relief when you are able to satisfy this goal and fulfill the “obligation.” You might even breathe a long sigh as those who collect it walk by you. Yes, you most likely sit there—relieved that you’ve done your part (as if it were April 15, and you can go to sleep knowing the IRS is not coming after you.)

What if this number were the only number we lived by? What if it were the only requirement demanded of us? What if it was the numerical standard we were expected to satisfy all the time? Picture this:

You get married and you only have to take care of ten percent of your wife’s needs. She wants to buy furniture; you only have to give her ten percent of what it costs. He wants the house cleaned; you only clean ten percent of the house. The infant children need formula or milk, so you go to the store and buy ten percent of what they need. This same scenario could be used over and over in many different situations.

So, where does agape fit into any of this? Does agape have anything to do with ten percent? If we are only required in life to fulfill obligation and demand, then we can be justified in saying, “I did what was required of me.” Then, you reverently thank God for the day and go to sleep knowing you did what was asked of you. However, if agape takes the lead instead of rigidity and standard, how much better will life be for you and those around you? How much better will it be if each of us do more than ten percent.

I posed this question to several people recently, “If you were not required to meet the ten percent standard, how much would you contribute?” When agape is the center focus of your life, you do things differently. You do things out of a spirit of help and hope. When standards are what you live by, life becomes cold and calculated.

That’s what I think about it.

DTW – http://www.exaltationchurch.comeclogo8

Was It Over? Absolutely Not! It Was Just Beginning!

1421-ark_covenantThe cross is iconic to most people as a symbol of our freedom from sin. Interestingly enough, many men (before Jesus) also died on a cross. Somehow we might need to remember that Jesus was the only one who came out of his own tomb without anyone calling Him out. Maybe the tomb should be the icon. It is the symbol of life. It is the symbol of victory. However, the cross was the instrument on which His blood had to be shed.

Early Friday morning, Jesus realized that He would be suffering more pain than ever. Not only did he endure physical pain, but he suffered spiritual pain as well. He was taking every nasty sin and detriment of health on his body. Imagine what it would look like for a man to have every disease known to mankind on his body. Imagine seeing a man who had placed upon Him the sins of every person that had been alive and those to come. Isaiah the prophet said no one could look at Him. He was too hideous.

Now, what about all the blood that was shed in order for us to have life? Blood shed for us that would extend for eternity after we leave this time on earth? He lost a lot of blood at the beating of His back. More blood loss came when they put the thorny crown on His head. Even more when the nails were drive into His hands and feet. However, the ultimate insult came when the soldier pierced His broken and battered side.

Then it was over. But what about the blood?

They took His body down off the cross, the method of state execution. They took the body of the One who had done nothing but was betrayed, bruised, beaten and bludgeoned. And then He was gone. It seemed to be over.

In the book of Revelation, there is a passage where the Bible says that there was silence for about 30 minutes. Why? What would there be in Heaven that would stop all glorious praise and worship to God? What event would have occurred that would demand that all keep silent? I’m not so sure it was as much a demand as it was that everyone was speechlessly in awe.

I can’t prove this because we just don’t know. But could it have been the time when the victorious Savior, the One who took the keys of death, hell and the grave away from His adversary, the Lamb that was slain before the earth was ever created, the King of kings and Lord of lords entered the gates of heaven carrying a bowl with Him? And what was in that bowl?

As He slowly walked down the streets headed toward the throne room of heaven, I believe heaven got brilliantly quiet. Seeing the One who had laid down His glory to go to earth had now returned with His sacrifice of blood. Then He reached the throne room and began to satisfy the demands of His father as He poured His own blood over the Mercy seat of the altar. That’s where the blood went. Hallelujah!

Silence!

Now? Eternal rejoicing.

The party wasn’t over. It was just beginning, and it will never end.

That’s what I think about it.

DTW – http://www.exaltationchurch.comeclogo6

Who Wants To Believe This?

painDo you realize pain is pain? It doesn’t really matter how it is incurred or inflicted. Whether you have a toothache or a broken leg, pain is still pain. Now, grant it, the intensity of a particular pain makes a difference in the tolerance of that pain, but still, it is pain.

When we look at the way pain is inflicted, we have to understand that it occurs either by accident or intention. It can be caused by falling down the stairs or by someone pushing us down the stairs. However, the results of both actions are the same; pain.

When pain leaves us, it often leaves a calling card behind. It is called a “scar.” The scar, be it large or small, is a reminder that we had pain, and it was intense. The scar is the equivalent of the pain being gone. It is the remnant. However, in all this, there are certain scars, called “adhesions,” that can cause even more pain. See, scars (whether emotional or physical) are not all the same. Some scars mean the pain is gone, while others are the nagging reminder that we have suffered. Ironically, pain is something we don’t want in our lives, and yet, it is something we can’t escape.

Many try to hide their pain. Some try to mask the pain with drugs, alcohol or even food. While others try to put make up on their scars, so that you cannot see the pain they have suffered.

But I have a better remedy that I read about if you care to believe it. Who wants to believe this with me?

I read in the scriptures in Isaiah chapter 55, verse one, that the question is asked, “Who believes what we’ve heard and seen? Who would have thought that God’s saving power would look like this? (The Message.)

So true.

Who will believe what Jesus did for us? Who will believe that, out of His agape, He died for us so that our sorrows would be minimal? Isaiah 55:4 tells us that He took our burdens, hurts and pains because he “agaped” us. Can you believe that? And verse 5 said it was so that we could (and would) have peace as a result of us believing. And allowing Him to become our burden bearer and our scar carrier, would mean that we wouldn’t have to carry those things. We, in essence, become “freed from them.” Who wants to believe that?

I do. I want to. I must. I have to. I fiercely need to.

And you should too.

Put the drugs down. Quit pouring the drinks. Get rid of all that junk food. It’s not necessary. The burden/scar carrier has taken your pain for you. Just believe it! It’s true.

That’s what I think about it.


DTW – http://www.exaltationchurch.comeclogo1