1Timothy 3 — and the list continues

It’s funny as I go to write these some seem so simple and no brainer to me and then the Holy Spirit steps in…….

6. Must be able to teach – hmmmm seems simple enough but….. there were times in my ministry that I taught, but I always said “I hate teaching, I’m a preacher…..” and looking back now I can see how wrong that is……….bottom line it’s an excuse for not knowing the Word in deep enough ways to teach……….being a pastor is so much more than just preaching, we can buy sermons online, well actually you can get all the free ones you want…. when it came to teaching in my life the times I was “IN” the word….. what I mean by that is, reading in depth, studying, eating and allow the Holy Spirit to teach me, guide me etc….. in those times I could teach like no other!! Teach with power and authority because I had deep understanding of the Word, the principles, the power of the Word!! But the other times……. well I would take an outline of what others have learned from the Word and wrote about, take teachings of others that were deep and the “in” the word and just repeat what they said………..and in those times, well it was DEAD for me, dead for the listener etc…. I know there were times that someone in the class or study would be touched but not because I “brought it on” with power of the Word……… it was all Holy Spirit!!! Here is the truth for my past…. I didn’t hate to teach, it sounded good and it worked….. it was a pitiful excuse for not being in the Word and again wanting kudo’s for being something I was not…. I had seasons but….. enough said I think.

So why is this in the bible? Why does Paul pen this? Why is it important that the elder/pastor is able to teach?

An Elder/Pastor is called by God himself to lead people, to pastor them, to teach them, to instruct them, to LOVE them. Men and woman need to be able to know, trust, love the one God brings in their lives to lead them in the ways of the Lord.

When it comes to teaching a person has to trust the one teaching, they MUST know that this person is being led by the living God in ALL area’s of their lives, that God brought them for such a time as this… they can trust what they are being taught. In ministry we recycle so much teaching, so many sermons, etc that some men/women do not even understand what they are teaching!! I think that there are pastors and elders out there that can’t even tell you what they believe, what they base their teachings on….. what the bible actually says about things…….. they believe what they read about the Bible, hear about the Bible!!

I can remember drilling men and women about the “articles of faith” they had to know them, understand them and be able to teach them……. why? BECAUSE THIS IS WHAT WE BASE our FAITH ON!!! It showed through who read the articles of faith and who read the articles of faith through the power of the Holy Spirit…. they knew the “spirit” of these beliefs.

And yet…… well I can understand this concept or principle of “Being able to Teach” in a whole new way today. I LOVE GOD’S Word, the more I read it the more I love it….but what really amazes me is how the words pour into my Spirit now I’m clean and open and “RESTING IN HIM”

This is all I have time for today — will try to post a couple tomorrow………not even half way through yet.

 

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1Timothy 3 – a couple more of these today

I’ve been going through books of the Bible right now I’m in 1Timothy. As I go through these books I am not using any other materials to study along with them. No study notes in my Bible, no sermons, no commentaries etc…. just me and the Holy Spirit – most of the things I’m reading apply to my life from the perspective of who I was and who I really am in Christ. His vision for my life, what he created me to be as a man, husband, father, grandfather and minister. At this point I’m going through the list Paul gives for Elders…….I’m looking at them from what I was………and how it’s meant to be. It is VERY PAINFUL to do this for me but it’s worth it. (I think) in the last few post I’ve hit a few, here are a couple more.

5. He must enjoy having guest in his home – At first glance I read this and thought ahhhhh now here is an easy one. I loved having people over, having a house full of guest. But I felt the Lord check me and ask me to really ponder on this, allow Him to show me some things about this. So I’ve waited a few days to get to this one.

It is true, I love having people over, we both loved to entertain and have dinner parties, pool parties etc….that is very true! But in this the Lord showed me how I abused this and how I grew cold in this. The last 3 years of ministry I was very selective of who would come over and who would not. Again in this I was pulled to have people over that adored me, thought I was a “great” man of God, a great dad, husband blah blah blah — and even closer to the end of my time it would depend on if “she” was involved or not. It all became very selfish and self-centered in all I did when it came to this area of my life as an Elder.

So I asked the Lord to reveal and show me the true reason this is in the Word of God and why it was important for an Elder/Pastor to have this trait that he would be tested on to even be considered as an Elder.

1. A man or woman of God’s home should be an open place to all of the lives they cross with. I am to be of the belief that God puts certain people in our paths for a reason, IF we are truly called by the Father our life is not our own. We are hand picked by God to represent HIM in ALL we do, it’s a LIFE not a JOB!

There are pastors/elders that set themselves up as men and women of “honor” the chosen ones….they demand respect, they demand privacy, they demand to be taken care of and well the list can become quite long. It’s like “I’ve got it coming to me” attitude. The home they live in is untouchable just as their lives are. I was like this in some ways and a part of me desired to have that status, looking back now it makes me want to PUKE so I can only imagine how it makes the Father feel. 😦  

2. Our homes should be a place of peace, salvation, restoration, rest for the people that the Lord brings into our lives. A place that is safe where a man or a woman can bring their burdens to and unload. A place where the Spirit of the living God dwells and touches lives, using the very men and women he calls to serve Him, be his hands and feet. I believe that an elder/pastor should have an open door. I don’t know where any other way came from…. how it became to different.

3. Our homes should be a place of an example when it comes to living life, family, marriage, children, how we keep our homes etc etc etc…. The lives we live as husband and wife should be EXACTLY the same behind the closed doors of our homes as it is in the church in front of everyone and in public. We should not have to clean up our homes and lives to have guest.

When it comes to this one for me……….. well man it was all WRONG!! Paul put this in his letter and Holy Spirit has placed it in the Bible for us to understand and to put into practice. I find it interesting that there is a list here that says we should be tested on and after we are tested and pass the test then we can become an elder/pastor. I know men that have set themselves up as a “pastor” and use the terms,….”I do not need man to approve my ministry I only need the Holy Spirit, if God calls me who is man to tell me if I can or cannot” I finally get this entire section of scripture and why we have it. WE DO NEED men to test us, Godly men who the Lord has called and have been tested themselves. We need to TRUST GOD in these things not man, but trust that GOD CALLED THEM. IF they are NOT right with the Lord and testing you, SO BE IT!!! God will deal with that man……….if you don’t believe me just ask me. I was a man that sat in the seat testing men and women for 5 years and my life was NOT RIGHT with Him……I believe God used me in this role, but he sure didn’t allow me to get away with it. WE need to have authority over our lives, BE AWARE of any man or woman who is a “pastor or elder or evangelist” with no credentials!! I am very convinced of this or it would NOT be in the Word of God.

Well it turns out I’m just going to do this one today…… that’s enough for me right now. It is very difficult writing these things as I reflect and see my life in the past. I must admit it gives me hope for the future though. Right now I sit here and the word in my head is “Joy comes in the morning” — I’m still waiting for morning to come into my life……I can see it coming.

1Timothy 3 — and the beat goes on….and on…

Going to attack a couple more of these things today…

3. Exercise Self-Control – the word “self-control” means to control or restraint oneself or one’s actions, feelings, etc. This is one of the fruits of the spirit spoken about in the book of Galatians”

This is probably one of the greatest things I’ve learned this year. For most of my life I tried to obtain self-control and it was always in public, the “appearance of self-control” while in my private life, inner thoughts, just me time I would feed my flesh with things that nobody knew about. I thought it was OK as long as it hurt no one around me, nobody knew about it there was no harm. Actually I think I believed that this is how men lived their lives. My father taught me at a very young age that men are different with other men than with family, wife, kids etc….they acted different, talked different, did things that were “men” things. I am not blaming my father for my actions, it’s how I took it and how it affected me in my life. I made my own choices.

A man living in the flesh, not a born again, spirit filled man, this makes sense, you do what you can to keep your private thoughts and desires private. Now most (I think) grow up and mature and learn to live a decent life without secrets…I don’t know, I’m assuming this. Anyways for me I can excuse my behavior because it was all I knew at the time. BUT when I found the Lord, when I was filled with the Spirit and when I was being transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit day by day — when I proclaimed to be a “new man” I should have laid all of that at the altar, I should have been an open book with my life WITH THE LORD! The funny thing is He knew, He knows, and yet he allowed me to be stupid — free choice!! free will!!

Here is what I’ve learned this year that has changed my life! GOD SEE’S ALL and KNOWS ALL about me, I cannot “get away” with anything. My flesh stinks, I cannot be trusted with my life, I am a SINNER, I am selfish, I am arrogant, I am proud, I am deceitful, I cannot be trusted. And that my friends is a GREAT FREEING WAY to live!! So I may as well live my life openly. Today I get up every morning and lay my life before Him, I let him know, I can’t do this today without him. I can’t be a good father, husband, employee, grandfather, servant, leader, etc etc etc without HIM!! I die to my flesh each day, I can’t do that in my flesh, I can’t hide my prideful attitude, I can’t hide my deceitful ways, I can’t love my wife and my family — all I care about in my flesh is ME!!!

So, today I am walking in “self-control” through the power of the Holy Spirit — without Him I will just let you down, hurt you and walk all over you trying to get my needs met. NO WAY TO LIVE!!! I am happy for the first time in a long time, I am clean with nothing I need to hide. I praise Him!!
 

4. Have a good reputation – hahaha I have NO reputation today!!! Before my public fall did I have a good reputations? NO!!!! I just hid from those who had things against me!! There are always some who mis-judge and try to ruin your reputation and that happened and boy when it did I FOUGHT, talked bad about them, become judgmental and felt I was in the right doing so. Where was the humility? When one is guilty of things, they all the more voice tress in it!! Go into big defense mode!! Horrible!!!

There was a long list of people that had ought against me that ruined my reputation as a “man of God” — MANY!! But I fought, tried to make them look bad and wrong and moved on surrounding myself with people that like me and respected me. EWWWWW

So, the thing Paul is talking about is even before one becomes an “elder” – do they have a good reputation? We are to be tested  and we need to pass the test. How do you do that? How do you test ones reputation? That is a good question and I really don’t know the answer to it. If I was asked to being in people to answer questions about me I had plenty of people that would TALK it up of what a great man I was, how much honor I had blah blah blah…. So I really don’t know the answer to this, BUT I would say the closest I could come would be through the mans/woman’s family, spouse etc…. my wife knew my secrets and my deception with the hopes of me changing one day. She knew that I loved the Lord and tried to do the best thing for me and the church. I think she would do it differently today. I have sat on committee’s that “test” men and women preparing them for ministry and I would say every time a man or a woman feel out of grace in ministry the spouse and family members knew about it and just buried it. OUCH OUCH OUCH —

All of this I’m writing does not mean I wasn’t real – that my experiences were faked, my life was a fake, my ministry was a fake — I was flawed and God cares more about MY HEART and MY SALVATION than he does about my reputation!!! So it came to this and I praise HIM.

Well, there is 2 more of the LONG list   – more to come

1Timothy 3 — Does my life or did my life line up?

I will take a post or two to line my life up… I am seeking the Holy Spirit in this to help me, to open my eyes to the truth of who I was, who I am and who He wants me to be. There is pain in this but they is also healing in this. I am going through the Scriptures with no study notes, no commentaries, no sermons, no books, nobody’s thought. I am seeking the Holy Spirit to open my eyes and my spirit to the truth in each word. With that said I understand the scriptures are alive through the power of the Holy Spirit and there are SO many levels to them. They can have so many meanings as they relate to the reader. I’ve read these a hundred times, I’ve preached them, taught them etc…. but today this is for ME, I’m blogging my journey.

So an Elder/Pastor must be a man whose life…..
Verse one he talks about the role of elder as an honorable position and to be in a position like this you have to have a “right” spirit….as I look back over my time as a pastor I believe that I entered into the role with a very humble spirit, with the right motives. As I grew into this my flesh become a very big part of it. Being a pastor is NOT easy by any means, there are so many expectations, you live in a glass bowl, your job is 24/7, people do not mind speaking their minds to you, letting you know all your faults, you are involved in very sensitive area’s of peoples lives and that is another whole story. As I look back I hated when someone didn’t like me, or called me out on things and so I think that I gravitated towards those who would show me honor and stayed away from those who did not. And there were plenty who did not……near the end of my time as a pastor, many showed me honor in our city just because of who they “thought” I was, just because I was a pastor. I thrived on being known, being looked upon as a “good” man, a man who served his community and loved people. But there were plenty of people who I have offended or did wrong over the years and those I stayed clear of and made excuses.

So Paul writes after talking about “an honorable position” SO……and elder must be a man whose life is………” that word SO is huge!!! Right there was my downfall…. I did not line up!!! I will discuss each point somewhat. These will be brutally honest and open.

1. Above Reproach – there are many meanings to this word “reproach” and I would like to share this one…”a cause of occasion of disgrace or discredit” Was my life a disgrace or discredit for Jesus Christ? Did I do things in my life to disgrace him? Being a pastor is a calling from God himself to represent Jesus in this world through the power of the Holy Spirit. IT’s not to be toyed with, mis-used, I was to be the mouth of God for his people at this time. We all know when someone blows it, it remains with them, you don’t trust the words they use, you can’t sit under them in leadership roles, I was not above reproach in my life by any means. I do believe my hearts desire was to be……. but there were things that happened over the years with people that was JUST WRONG!! And I would sweep it all under the carpet and stay clear of that person. Most of the time it would be with my words or something with my finances.

I am very ashamed as the Lord brings things back to my memory – with that said I am very thankful that I have a clean slate and today I am living my life totally open and clean. I have learned that a life above “reproach” is not a life given to you because of the position but it’s your private life being exposed on a daily basis, at any time under any circumstances. It is being transparent, it is living in a glass bowl………. this is the life God calls men and women to when he calls them to pastor/elders… there are no secrets.

2. Faithful to his wife – when I think of this the first thing that comes to my head is Bill Clinton! “Define the word “LIE” he said among many other things. The word “Faithful” has such a deep meaning, much more than just faithful sexually in a marriage. In fact the world has even defined what it means to be faithful sexually in a marriage, as Mr. Clinton helped us with that too! It is not unfaithful if you don’t have intercourse with another woman, but only touch or have oral sex. What a crock!!! Anyways the point is being faithful to his wife does not mean just sexually!!

A man that is faithful to his wife is faithful in all things…… ALL THINGS!! It means “true to one’s word, promises, vows etc” well let’s take a look at the promises and vows in a marriage relationship.

“I, Greg Nethaway, take you Diane Atkinson, to be my wife, to have and behold from this day on, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; until death do us part.”

…to have an behold – the word “behold” means to look at, to see – the vow is to look at her as mine, my heart belongs to her and her alone! I am vowing to no longer look at others with any thoughts of how they could make me happy, how they look, dress, act PERIOD!! I have vowed to “BEHOLD” her for the rest of my life — till DEATH

“for better or for worse” wow these are such big words – it means NO MATTER WHAT!! If my needs are met or not, in the good times and the bad times…. not dependent on what she says or does, I have VOWED to behold her in the best of times and the worst of times. That means when she is cranky, PMS’ing, mad at me, has no self-esteem, doesn’t like the same things I like, is grumpy …. no matter what!!

“For richer or poorer” – no need to even speak too much on this. Our vows do not loose meaning if financial times are hard or GOOD – sometimes marriages break up over money even when money is plentiful!! But what about richer or poorer in our health? Our love? Our fun times? I believe it goes way deeper than money.

“in sickness and in health” Marriage fall apart in both of these areas. The vow is to remain faithful in both. Sickness in the body and the MIND –

“To love and to cherish” – I am convinced that the only way for “true and real” love is through the Love of Christ. So many people have so many dysfunctions and shortcomings, that once you get to know them you may not like them let alone love them. Pure love is GOD – I am to love my wife as Christ loved the church — he gave his LIFE for the church!! Love is a funny word and we use it for everything, it takes work. CHERISH – oh man this one is huge. “to hold or treat as dear, feel love for, to car for tenderly, nurture, to cling fondly” You cherish what you LOVE !!!

“till death do us part” NUFF SAID – till the end, no back doors –

These are the vows, not just about cheating sexually on your wife. I must say now with a broken heart that I was NOT faithful to my wife for 26 years of our marriage!! Today, it’s a new story – my life is number one dedicated to the Lord and secondly to my wife. I cannot wait to “re-marry” her and renew my vows to her knowing this time I will be faithful to my wife till death do us part, however long that may be.

Well, this is enough for me today! LOL – as you can see this will take some time to go through but worth going through point by point. There are 15 things listed here and I have only touched on 2.  My prayer is one day I will be restored back into full time ministry, but if NOT I am ok with it…… my heart and my love for the Lord is real, it’s pure and it’s growing. I look forward to whatever He has for me. I am content.

 

1Timothy 3 – part 2

So an Elder/Pastor must be a man whose life…..
1. Above Reproach
2. Faithful to his wife
3. Exercise Self-Control
4. Have a good reputation
5. He must enjoy having guest in his home
6. Must be able to teach
7. Not a heavy drinker *not drink too much wine
8. Must not be violent
9. Must be gentle
10. Must not be quarrelsome
11. Must not love money
12. Must manage his family well, having children who love and respect him.
13. He must not be a new believer
14. People outside the church must speak well of him.
15. He must live with a clear conscience.

Before they are appointed let them be closely examined. IF they “pass the test” then let them serve as deacons/elders/pastor.

These are the things I will talk about over the next couple post – I will line my “past” life up with each one of these and then share my thoughts on the verse 10….this will be painful but OH SO GOOD for me and my future whatever that may be. Here is are the Scriptures…1Timothy 3:1-10

This is a trustworthy saying: “If someone aspires to be an elder,[a] he desires an honorable position.” 2 So an elder must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife.[b] He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach. 3 He must not be a heavy drinker[c] or be violent. He must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not love money. 4 He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him. 5 For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?

6 An elder must not be a new believer, because he might become proud, and the devil would cause him to fall.[d] 7 Also, people outside the church must speak well of him so that he will not be disgraced and fall into the devil’s trap.

8 In the same way, deacons must be well respected and have integrity. They must not be heavy drinkers or dishonest with money. 9 They must be committed to the mystery of the faith now revealed and must live with a clear conscience. 10 Before they are appointed as deacons, let them be closely examined. If they pass the test, then let them serve as deacons.

1Timothy 3 — this is gonna hurt

I’ve said a couple times that chapter 3 is going to hurt. I will try to explain this as best I can although I think as I go through this chapter it will explain itself.

Paul is writing to Timothy giving instructions for the church, for the body, for the leaders, to men, to women, to the pastors/elders, to the deacons. The bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit and so I can’t just say this is Paul’s deal, I must say Paul penned this while in the Spirit and it has deep meaning for me and you today. Paul “Gets it” when it comes to men and how we work, he sees what it takes and I believe he sees through all the deception and the pride of men, this is why he writes these things in this letter.

This section of Scripture is used by church leadership as a man or woman is going through the process of becoming an elder, in fact when I was ordained the general superintendent of the church laid his hands upon my head and prayed a powerful prayer over me using these very words, the word brought to us that night was preached out of this sections, the charge given to me was given out of this sections of scripture. I made a VOW before him, before the congregation, before my family and most of all before GOD to live out these scriptures. I committed myself to the idea if I ever fell short of this I would turn my credentials back into the church. I did that a little over a year ago, with much pain and shame.

And to top it off I sat on a committee that used these same scriptures to help other men and women go through the process, I would “test” them in their commitment and truth in these very scriptures, I would have to use judgment as to weather a man or a woman would “pass the test” as Paul puts it in chapter 3 — and in the last 3 years on that board, I was living in deception and a lie — I have not even started dealing with this emotion yet, I’ve been so consumed with my wife and family, job and just being able to breathe…..and so I know I now have to deal with it, face it. Even in just writing this little introduction to this chapter I am wrecked. BUT I know in the end the pain will turn to joy with FREEDOM in this.

The first verse……..1Tim 3:1 – “This is a trustworthy saying “If someone aspires to be an elder”, he desires an honorable position”

I find myself going back about 30 years to when I first felt my calling to go into ministry. The calling was so strong, sweet and pure! So innocent. My life had changed so much and I wanted to dedicate it to serving God for the rest of my life. I wanted people to know what HE can do and He does do when people stand before him naked and open. The problem being, looking back today is I did not stand before him naked and open…….. I only allowed parts of my life open to him and other I held on to tightly…. I did not do this on purpose, I believe it’s all I knew and I did the best I could, not even realizing it. I proclaimed transformation so boldly and so quickly that I had to start living it right away, tried living it in public while private life was not the same! This is the first time I’ve admitted that or maybe a better way to put it is the first time I’ve really seen it. Very quickly I had to “put on” who I was in front of people…….. my hearts desire, my prayers, my hope was that one day soon all would change, or I could suppress it all until it went away. AS I KNOW NOW, that is just a stupid way to think and to live, everything that is not nailed to the cross and crucified will bear it’s ugly little head sooner or later. I really DID have the desire to be a person that lived a HOLY LIFE.

Another part of this first Scripture is the idea of an “honorable position”  — man oh man. I question what my motive was in this at this point of my life. Did I look at it as an honorable position or a position to gain honor?

I do believe that GOD called me to preach, I do believe that God touched me and changed so much of me, I DO believe that God wanted to complete the work He started in me. I do believe that God used me in many ways. But God will not be mocked and after all these years I was exposed and my entire life came out……..  not to the world but to me! And for that I am so very grateful to Him. Now it’s me and God walking through this day by day, in the midst of transformation and renewal, restoration and a heart that is be made ready to do His work.

A very grateful man!!