Give It Away…

Give it away…

One of the amazing axioms that I’ve adopted in my life and ministry is the value of “giving it away”. This principle and practice has allowed me to multiply efforts and effectiveness in ways that I never could on my own.

Though there are tasks and responsibilities that every leader MUST take care of in his/her role, perhaps the greatest and most responsible “MUST” for every leader is to identify what they can and need to stop doing and identify as well as raise up others around them to take these tasks on. In other words, great leaders learn early and employ often the practice of creating margin(s) in their leadership by inviting others to lead and empowering them to help carry their leadership-load.

What are you doing that you can give away?

Who are you investing in?

How are you adding to your leadership by multiplying into others?

It is absolutely imperative for every great leader to ask and answer these three questions. As we do, we will experience a new lid in our leadership and throughout our organization. In other words, learning to “give it away” in leadership is a game-changer!

29744251_1901291103274903_5880893323620152140_o

Advertisements

Enough Is Enough!

 

Enough Is Enough!

I would argue that every last one of us, if we haven’t reached this place in our lives already, needs to get there…

We need to get to the place where we not only shout out, “Enough is enough!”, but change the way we view our lives, stripping away this false pretense in every area of our being in which we believe we have to, and attempt to live up to, this idea that we have to good enough.

The bad news…

Under the limited power of our humanity and according to the ever-changing standards of this world, we will never be good enough.

The good news…

Where our faith in Christ is concerned, we don’t have to be good enough because God is…

On Sunday, April 1, 2018, our church kicked off a brand new series entitled, “ENOUGH”. This collection of messages is designed to address the false notion that we somehow have to be good enough, and teach us that not only is this unrealistic expectation not possible, but we don’t have to be good enough because God is…ENOUGH!

If you’re warn out from trying to live up to an unrealistic expectation of being good enough in your life and faith, I cannot encourage you enough to spend a few minutes in this message entitled, “Enough Is Enough!” with us. Set some time aside and check out the video above.

A. Anderson

S I M P L I C I T Y . . .

“12 For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you.” | 2 Corinthians 1:12 (ESV)

S I M P L I C I T Y is a Spiritual Discipline that we must put into practice in our lives as an act of growing stronger in our faith and it is arguably the only discipline of addition by subtraction  –  of removing or limiting things in one’s life in an effort to grow stronger in faith and purposed-living. It is seen throughout Scripture. Time and again God speaks to matters of motivation and attitudes of the heart. And simplicity as an act and attitude is no different!

I recently had the opportunity to share a message in our church on the Spiritual Discipline of simplicity:

As a byproduct of the message many have asked for practical ways of approaching and applying simplicity as a Spiritual Discipline to their lives.

I love that our community is excited to grow stronger in their faith. I am excited to have many asking for practical ways to apply what it is we are learning in context. And I am lead to believe all the more that employing Spiritual Disciplines will serve as a means for us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.”

In response to the question of practical application of simplicity in our faith and lives, I recently invited an individual from our congregation into conversation on the matter, a person that I believe does as good of job as any of making simplicity a way of life in an effort to honor God, their family, and in making the most of this life that God has given us.

The following is a summation of our conversation both via email as well as over a cup of coffee, which will hopefully lead to some practical application for the “how” in practicing the Spiritual Discipline of simplicity:

“Truly, the most important thing before you dive into less is to know WHY. WHY do you want a life of less? Is it to get out of debt? Stop paying for a storage space? Retire early? Have more dinners around the table? Be able to have a friend over at the drop of a hat and not panic about your clutter? There are as many reasons as there are people, but unless you identify the why behind living a simpler life, it is easy to fall off and revert. You have already given a why to our congregation – to know God fully and make Him fully known.”


WHY?

Why is not only as important as any place to start. It must be the catalyst for our consideration. In an effort to practice the Spiritual Discipline of simplicity, we must first ask ourselves and understand the significance and importance behind why we want to change or adapt our practices and behaviors.

Is it because we want to grow in our faith? Perhaps it’s because what we’ve been doing for so long isn’t working and is, in fact, exhausting?

Whatever the reason(s), understanding the why behind the adaptation of behavior is of critical importance if we desire to change our behavior for the better.

So let’s start there!

Here is an excerpt from an article that my friend wrote on simplicity and living a minimalist lifestyle, which speaks more clearly and directly to the why:

“Maybe you want to be present with your family instead of constantly cleaning up clutter. Maybe you want to be able to go on a trip but your third car payment isn’t letting you. Maybe you want to get out of debt so you can retire early. Maybe it is avoiding decision fatigue at 7 a.m. instead of standing in front of your bursting closet. Or maybe you’re just tired of feeling compelled to own more, never actually finding happiness in the next thing.’ Whatever the reason, identify it and hold onto it as you begin
to sift.” (Heather Hall, “How to Start Your Minimalist Life”)

Practically, let me encourage you to grab your journal or something to write with and something to write on and begin…start writing down your thoughts and feelings on why you want to simplify your life.


PURPOSE

If I were to sum up the purpose for practicing the Spiritual Discipline of simplicity, it would be purpose – living a life of purpose, on purpose, for His purpose. That’s it! One could argue that anything that doesn’t lend itself to living our created purpose, “to know God fully and to make God fully known, is little more than a barrier or burden, which creates clutter in our lives and keeps us from the most important thing. In other words, a great question to ask and answer in all of life, but more specifically in the area of simplicity is to learn to ask: “does this help me or hinder me in living a life of full-devotion to God?”.

And this question of living a life of devotion to God can and must be answered in every area of our lives: family, work, community with others, etc. Purpose is not a matter of ambiguity. There are no grey areas. In every decision we make in life, it is either drawing up closer to our created purpose or it is keeping us from our calling.

Therefore, the decision to practice simplicity as a Spiritual Discipline is of critical importance! We must both ask and answer the why as well as come to fully understand the purpose to simplicity in our lives.

I want to borrow some great questions from my friend, Heather’s, blog on what I see as simplicity in our life and the practical approach to introducing simplicity into our faith and lives. (shared with permission – Heather Hall, “Great Questions to Get You Started On Your Minimalist Journey”).

“Aside from knowing your why, there are also some great questions you can mull over to get inspired to go deeper. If you’re in need of ideas, right this way…

  1. What cupboard/drawer/room/closet/nook and cranny can I go through TODAY?
  2. What can I consolidate and centralize? What multiples can I discard? 
  3. What activity could I cut out of my/our schedule in order to spend more time together? 
  4. Do I need to embrace my shape and adjust my wardrobe accordingly? What can I remove from my closet? Do I feel obligated to hang on to things? Am I holding on to unrealistic hopes? Do I really need my pre-kid jeans? Do I really need 20 pairs of pants? Are there clothes in my wardrobe that are just plain dated and ugly? What five words describe my style? Could I create a capsule wardrobe/uniform?
  5. Is there a TV show I could cut out? A magazine? Online browsing? Email notifications?
  6. Could we downsize our house and yard to have more time to play and less time cleaning and mowing?
  7. Could we get rid of one of our cars and make it work? 
  8. Could I keep my phone in my pocket for longer? Could I limit myself to checking Facebook/Instagram/email twice a day?
  9. Could we become a one-income family?
  10. If money weren’t an object, what would I want to do?
  11. Am I a retail therapy expert? Do I get a high from impulse buys? Do I justify purchases?
  12. Could I experiment with a temporary shopping ban to see what “enough” is for me?”


START(ING) LINE

Perhaps you’re like me, you’re competitive by nature and look for ways to achieve rather than simply going through the motions. Now I want to be clear in that I am in no way suggesting that we can somehow achieve salvation by our actions. Instead, I absolutely believe that we are saved by the grace of God through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ and not by any work or practice that we can implement in our lives (Ephesians 2:8-9). That said, I am incredibly convinced and convicted by the understanding that we have as much an obligation as we do an opportunity to work at growing our faith, knowledge, understanding, and relationship with God (Philippians 2:1-13).

I truly believe that working to implement simplicity in our lives is a direct reflection of our love of God and our choice to grow in faith.

Here are a few ideas to consider when asking and answering the why and identifying the purpose of simplicity in our faith and lives:

Calendar – Grab your calendar and identify what you can stop doing.

Resources – Grab your check registry and identify where you can stop spending.

Giving – Grab some 50gallon bags and identify what you can do without, bag it up, and give it away.

Consider – Grab some paper and consider what you’re going to do with what you’ve got – time, treasure, talent – all in an effort to know God fully and make God fully known. In other words, develop a plan of action moving forward.

Practice – Grab yourself by the shoulders, shake yourself up, and get excited as you put into practice the Spiritual Discipline of simplicity, working at it every day as you add to your faith and life through subtracting the unnecessary excess.

Share – Grab someone and share your journey with them. After all, we weren’t created to go life and ministry alone. We need each other! We are better together!

 

In summation, start by asking and answering the necessary and important questions!

For more on simplicity and other necessary disciplines for growing in our faith, check out these great resources which will not only speak to the Spiritual Discipline of simplicity, but many others as well.

  • “Celebration of Discipline: The Path To Spiritual Growth” (Richard Foster)
  • “The Spirit of The Disciplines” (Dallas Willard)
  • “The Life You’ve Always Wanted” (John Ortberg)

 

– A. Anderson

STRONGER: Prayer

26230329_1789490007788347_1891558935953625705_n.jpg

I recently completed some research on communication, specifically communicating with the use of our cellphones and was surprised to learn that there is such a thing as:

NOMOPHOBIA!

Nomophobia by definition is a phobia of being without a cellphone, specifically not having a cell signal and fear of low or no battery, which keeps one from the use of their cellphone. Symptoms of Nomophobia include phantom vibrations, panic attacks, dizziness, shortness of breath, nausea, sweating, elevated heartbeat, trembling, and chest pain. 

NOMOPHOBIA

Hold on…

It gets better!

I read some recent research from May 2017 that suggested adults, ages 18 to 40, are becoming increasingly addicted to their phones with habits including:

  • The average adult (18 to 40 years old) will check their phone 110 times a day
  • 12% of adults use their phones while showering
  • 44% of adults check job-related emails by phone while on vacation
  • 75% of users admit that they text while driving
  • The average user will spend 2 hours and 51 minutes a day on their cellphone..
    • That’s just shy of 20 hours a week (a part-time job)
    • That’s 80 hours a month
    • That’s 10 “working days” out of a 30 day month or the equivalent of 1/3 of your working hours spent on your phone!

For centuries mankind has been hard at work to communicate more, and to communicate more effectively. Think about it! We’ve come a LONG way from cave-wall carvings!

  • Carvings on stone and cave-walls
  • Smoke signals
  • Carrier Pigeon(s)
  • Letters by horseback
  • USPS (“snail-mail”)
  • Telegraph
  • Telephone
    • Swithboard
    • Landline
  • Dial-up Internet
  • Email
  • Mobile Phone
  • SMS (text message)
  • Social Media

Each one of these modes and methods of communication has been an attempt at communicating in various relationships, an effort to hear and to be heard.

What about your relationships with God?

How often do you spend time working on your communication with God? Listening. Seeking. Asking. Talking. Understanding. What would happen – how would your faith and your relationship with God look different if you were to intentionally invest in communication with him through prayer in the same way as an average person does communicating on their cellphone?

In Jesus’ famous Sermon on The Mount he addresses prayer first in Matthew 6 (The Lord’s Prayer), and again in Matthew 7:7-11.

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? 10 Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! 11 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.

There is so much to unpack in this passage, but there are just a few that I am going to address.

First, Jesus says, “keep on”. This isn’t about being repetitive or bugging God into submission. Keeping on suggests an ongoing conversation or dialogue. It’s one that continues to develop over time.

KEEP ON COMMUNICATING WITH GOD!

Next, in relationship to “keeping on”, Jesus is going to introduce 3 active-imperatives:

  1. Ask
  2. Seek
  3. Knock

An active-imperative in the original language lets us know that we have a responsibility where our faith is concerned, that communication with God doesn’t just happen. It takes work. It requires intentionality. It demands attention. More on this later…

I want to look a little closer at the 3 descriptors that God gives us regarding our responsibility in prayer.

Before we can effectively address what Jesus is calling us to regarding how and why we should pray, we must first understand some pretty important culture and context behind Jesus’ prayer in Matthew 7. If we don’t we run the risk of taking our commitment to prayer WAY out of context!

For example…

If you read Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:7-11 out of context, it looks almost as though it reads:

“God, whatever I ask for, you’re going to give to me.”

“God, whatever I’m looking for, you’re going to help me find, right?!”

“God, whenever I knock, you’re obligated to open the door that I want entrance into!”

There are entire theologies, even a doctrine, predicated on this type of misappropriation of Scripture; whole systems, even churches, that have established themselves on the teaching that we can have whatever we want, otherwise known as “name it…claim it!”, theology because of a gross abuse of this passage taken WAY! out of context.

Just so we’re clear, God doesn’t owe us anything. He’s not some cosmic jeanie in a bottle waiting to grant us our every wish when it’s convenient for us to come to him or when we’ve reached desperation in our lives. Not even close!

QUICKLY…

In Jesus’ Sermon on The Mount, Jesus was talking with his disciples as well as a large crowd that had gathered to hear him. This was an eclectic audience with representation from multiple regions.

In Jesus’ Sermon on The Mount, Jesus spends quite a bit of time up front addressing important matters of faith and life. This sermon speaks to the heart of every follower of Jesus and tackles everything including our attitudes, our actions, characteristics of the Christian-life, relationships, spiritual disciplines, and much, much more.

In Jesus’ Sermon on The Mount, Jesus concludes his assertions with application that can only ever be realized through prayer. Think about it! You’re there at the base of the mountain as Jesus is giving the most radical message you have ever heard, a message with incredible implications for your faith and life, and a message with clear directives that would leave even the best of believers feeling a sense of hopelessness and helplessness. Come on! Jesus has just dulled out a list of attitudes, attributes, and actions that we as Christ-followers are responsible for. The problem is, none of us in our carnality has even the slightest of chance to realize these things on our own. And Jesus being fully aware of this dilemma meets us in the middle of our mental-madness (trying to figure out how we’ll ever live up to these standards of life and faith), giving us the greatest resource available to us…PRAYER! 

Now…

Through prayer…

Through the power and the presence of the Spirit of God living in us and through us…

Now we are able to realize the life that Jesus calls every Christian to live.

Let’s look a little closer at the 3 tasks of every follower of Jesus as we come to prayer.

“ASK” | αἰτέω | to request, to petition

To ask God means that we are in pursuit of him – we are intentionally engaging God in our lives. Instead of superimposing on God the selfish desires that we’ve contrived based on the standards and expectations of the world around us, we are to ask God to draw us close to him so that as we study his word, we will discover what God cares about. This can only happen if we are actively pursuing God. And this will only be realized if we are deliberate in pursuing God.

“SEEK” |  ζητέω  |  to search for like a treasure, to desire, to require

Seeking God is about active pursuit; it’s realizing that God is to be desired and sought after above all else. When we pray, especially in light of what Jesus shares in the first two-thirds of the Sermon on The Mount, to seek God is to actively look to align our priorities with the word, will, and way of God.

“KNOCK”  |  κρούω  |  to beat a door with a stick, to gain admittance

When Jesus calls us to keep knocking, he is requiring of us a very purposeful persistence in our relationship with him. This isn’t about beating the door down, forcing ourselves in, or knocking incessantly until God caves to our desires. Instead, when we continually seek a right-relationship with God through prayer, we are being persistent, continuing to stay our course of action in our relationship with God and call as Christians regardless of opposition.

Bringing my thoughts full-circle, what would happen if we were intentional about our prayer lives making prayer the first part of everything that we do, where we couldn’t do without it? I guess similar to the way we view our cellphones today? How would your relationship with Jesus look different if you were committed to prayer?

Here are a couple of quotes on prayer that I want to leave you with:

“To pray is to change. Prayer is the central avenue God uses to transform us. If we are unwilling to change, we will abandon prayer as a noticeable characteristic of our lives. The closer we come to the heartbeat of God the more we see our need and the more we desire to be conformed to Christ.” (Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline)

“Praying with frequency gives us the readiness to pray again as needed from moment to moment. The more we pray – the responses of our Father to our requests – our confidence in God’s power spills over into other areas of our life.” (Dallas Willard, The Spirit of The Disciplines)

Check out the full message from this past Sunday!

A Special “1-Year” Message

I invite you to take part in a brief, but very special message!

Last Sunday I celebrated my 1-year Anniversary here at Country Bible Church! In this short but important reflection, I wanted to share some of what I’m grateful for, some of what I’ve learned, and some of what I’m excited about.

I would be honored if you would take just a little time to listen in and celebrate what God is up to here at CBC!

Deadheading – A Ministry Project

DEADHEADING

I’ve shared in the past that as a Freshman in college, a friend of mine and her family owned a Rhododendron garden – they even had their own species of Rhododendron that they had created from cross pollination. It was pretty crazy, but if I’m being honest…all of the plants seemed the same to me with some different variations of color. Shows how much I know about being a botanist. (I even had to look up the word, “botanist” – HA!)

While I may have not learned much about Rhododendrons or species, what I did catch onto was caring for these shrubs. In a term that I came to know as “deadheading”, I would walk through the garden with my friend and her family, and using our thumb nails, we would find the dead sprouts or flowers and pluck them out. The reason for deadheading is so that as the shrub draws nourishment from the soil and sun so that it’s not working to give life to something that is lifeless. Instead, when you deadhead a plant or a bush or a shrub or a tree, in affect what you’re doing is helping that shrub to focus it’s nutrients and energies into the rest of the bush, limbs and sprouts that are active and alive and that can use the nutrients. It’s capitalizing on the good and getting rid of the bad.

As a Pastor, I feel that an important aspect of my ministry is to “deadhead”. In other words, it’s really quite important for me to capitalize on the gifts, strengths and experiences that God has given me while also working to shore-up my weaknesses. A part of this deadheading process for me looks like taking on an intentional process of prayerfully choosing an aspect of life and ministry that I am going to focus on working at each year.

STRATEGY

This year, with the help and encouragement of my church’s leadership team and my staff, I have chosen to work on developing a strategy designed to help me cultivate a long-term, healthy, life-giving ministry while also working to find balance in my personal life in order to honor God and seeking to become the best version of a husband and father that I can possibly be.

A part of this process for me looks like spending intentional time investigating other pastors whom have proven track records of success in both life and ministry – fellow leaders of the church that have at least 10 years tenure with the same church of 1,000 people or more, that also have a family. Why? Because this is smack-dab in the middle of where I find myself in this season!

I want to be a man of wisdom, a man that can learn from the experience(s) of those that have gone before me or that are currently navigating these incredible waters of life and leadership in the local church. Not only do I want to learn, but I want to work with my staff and leadership toward developing a long-term strategy bathed in prayer and geared toward progressing into this next season, with the end-goal in site of healthy, growing, sustainable and life-giving ministry in our local church and beyond.

GIVER OF THE GIFT

Along with my desire to learn and grow, I am hopeful that I will be able to be a “giver of the gift”. Plainly put, I want to serve others in life and ministry when they are looking at making the most of what God has given them by way of leadership in the church. Though I have done consulting and coaching many times over the years, it is my hope that I can work with our church, leadership team and staff, toward developing a culture and habit of investing in other churches and pastors – the hope of being a tremendously helpful and encouraging resource, walking alongside other ministers and ministries in seeing God’s kingdom come this side of heaven in local ministries and communities all over the world.

WHAT’S NEXT?

In considering what’s next, I have already begun working out the details with my leadership team and staff, details which include attending a few other churches, meeting with several Lead/Senior Pastors in an intentional interview, continuing to partner with my mentors, and working with a fantastic team of people to build a strategy, making every effort to see this project come to fruition. This is in no way a few day process, but will likely take months, even years, if I am to continue to learn and grow as well as carry on with encouraging, coaching, consulting with, and investing in other pastors, leaders, ministries and churches for many years to come.

I would love to ask you to be lifting me, our leadership and staff, and our church up in prayer as we begin this process and as we move into a whole new season of life and ministry together within our church and throughout our community.

Looking forward to the best days ahead!

A. Anderson

THE JIG IS UP!

In the 1800’s a new term surfaced through a prominent newspaper out of Philadelphia.

“The Jig Is Up!”

More than 2 millennia later this terminology lives on.

“The jig is up” by its very definition is intended to communicate that the truth of any circumstance or situation has surfaced despite an intentional effort to mislead others by pulling the wool over their eyes. It’s literally as to say, you’ve been found out! No more pretense. No more games. No more faking or facades. The jig is up!

This past Sunday I preached week 3 of our “Timeless Truth” series from Titus 1:10-16 and was blessed to address how, through our actions and the fruit of our lives and faith, we can absolutely determine a person’s commitment to Christ. I also had an obligation to address church splits and the byproduct(s) of a body of believers divided. Not only does a church split divide the body of Christ, it devastates entire communities!

Here is the passage from Sunday’s message:

10 For there are many rebellious people who engage in useless talk and deceive others. This is especially true of those who insist on circumcision for salvation.11 They must be silenced, because they are turning whole families away from the truth by their false teaching. And they do it only for money. 12 Even one of their own men, a prophet from Crete, has said about them, “The people of Crete are all liars, cruel animals, and lazy gluttons.” 13 This is true. So reprimand them sternly to make them strong in the faith. 14 They must stop listening to Jewish myths and the commands of people who have turned away from the truth. 15 Everything is pure to those whose hearts are pure. But nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, because their minds and consciences are corrupted. 16 Such people claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live. They are detestable and disobedient, worthless for doing anything good. (Titus 1:10-16 | NLT)

In comparison to the 17 qualities and characteristics of an appointed elder in the church, God shows us 5 opposed character traits and behaviors of false teachers that are intentionally looking to divide the church and ruin the community of Christ through luring people away from the church and the truth of God.

Here are the 5 characteristics Paul calls out to Titus, that Titus is responsible to be aware of and on the lookout for:


#1  //  False teachers are rebellious

Rebellious means to “come against authority, wanting to seize control, engaged in opposition, and a defiant spirit”. We must be careful to examine the motives and intentions of those wanting to assume responsibility within the church. It is our responsibility to examine their practices as opposed to recklessly adopting their words and weigh all things with Scripture. Those that truly love God will actively set aside their own agendas, making every effort to KEEP THE UNITY OF THE BODY


#2  //  False teachers engage in useless talk

Useless talk as is mentioned in Titus addressing the people of the churches in Crete affords us the opportunity to consider 2 things:

First: Religious people like to puff-up their own ego and self-righteousness – they like to hear themselves talk and attempt to prove their worth and merit by what they say. This talk is meaningless!

Proverbs 26:4 (NLT): “Don’t answer the foolish arguments of fools,or you will become as foolish as they are.”

Titus 3:9 (NLT): “Do not get involved in foolish discussions about spiritual pedigrees or in quarrels and fights about obedience to Jewish laws. These things are useless and a waste of time.”

Second: This problem is also indicative of poor leadership; of people saying one thing with their mouth, but not following through, backing up their speech by their actions!

Proverbs 14:23 (NLT): “Work brings profit, but mere talk leads to poverty!”

2 Timothy 2:16 (NLT): “Avoid worthless, foolish talk that only leads to more godless behavior.”

Matthew 5:37 – “Let your ‘yes be yes’ and your ‘no be no!'”

In short, as Christians, our responsibility is to not get caught up in useless theological debates meant for causing division. Instead, we have an opportunity to look to create unity in the body with our words and the conversations that we’re a part of and that we facilitate. Beyond this, we also have an obligation to follow through on what we say – not making commitments with our mouths only to abandon our obligation(s) for another opportunity that we see as more beneficial to our lives.


#3  //  False teachers deceive others

These are people that like to and do talk senselessly for personal gain and their own benefit. These people are drawing others away from the truth of God by their deliberate and selfish actions.

Though there are many problems with this outright sinful behavior, the greatest damage is done in the heart and lived out through the actions of these deceivers.

Consider what the Bible says:

Philippians 2:3 (NLT): Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.

Romans 12:10 (NLT): Love each other with genuine affection,[a] and take delight in honoring each other.


#4  //  False teachers are focused on religion

These are those who insist on religion over relationship (circumcision before salvation) and were known as the Judaizers. These Judaizers were Jews and the “religious elite” that taught how Gentiles had to obey all the Jewish laws (613 in total) before they could experience Christianity. The greatest problem that I see without stating the obvious of how absurd and ridiculous this superimposed religiosity is on people is that…IT IS NOT BIBLICAL!

Far too many body of believers and those hiding behind the banner of Christianity are doing more harm than good, leading people to believe that they have to have “everything together” before they can come to church or encounter Christ. What the heck does this even mean, to have “everything together”? It’s ridiculous and a complete manmade system of thinking so as to puff themselves up and create unnecessary barriers for the people that most need an encounter with Jesus to experience Him. STOP IT!!!

Another problem that I see with Judaizers is that this is an incredible example of religion OVER a right-relationship with Jesus; of people choosing to try and will their way to salvation rather than experiencing the GRACE of God in their lives.

Ephesians 2:8 (NLT): “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.”

HOW DOES GOD VIEW RELIGION?

James 1:27 (NLT): “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.”


#5  //  False teachers do what they do for their own personal gain

In other words, these are the people only concerned with their personal gain and greatest benefit to themselves, willing to sacrifice anything to get their desired outcome. And what does the Word of God say about these false teachers?

THESE PEOPLE MUST BE SILENCED!

“Silenced” = Σπιστομιζω | verb | epistomizo | ep-ee-stom-id-zo  //  “to muzzle, to be silenced, to stop the mouth”.

One of the many responsibilities of our pastors, elders and the leaders of our church is to ensure sound doctrine and to protect against false teachers. We have a responsibility as elders to protect the flock, guide the sheep, and defend against harm and predators!

In short, what Paul is encouraging to Titus with regards to the early church(es) on the Island of Crete is to identify, call out and inform these false teachers that The Jig Is Up!

No more pretense. Masks and games set aside. We’ve identified you for who you are based on your actions and how you live your life.

What’s more is that for us as Christians seeking to honor God in all things, we must move away from mere lip-service and into a active lifestyle!

1 Thessalonians 4:1-12 (NLT): “Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you. You live this way already, and we encourage you to do so even more. For you remember what we taught you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor— not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways. Never harm or cheat a fellow believer in this matter by violating his wife, for the Lord avenges all such sins, as we have solemnly warned you before. God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives. Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching but is rejecting God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you. But we don’t need to write to you about the importance of loving each other, for God himself has taught you to love one another. 10 Indeed, you already show your love for all the believers throughout Macedonia. Even so, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you to love them even more. 11 Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. 12 Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.”
For more on this subject, be sure to click the video link above and follow along as I walk us through the entire passage from Titus 1:10-16.

A. Anderson