1Timothy 4:6-16

I am continueing on in 1Timothy wrapping up chapter 4 – man this has been good for me!!! Here are the last 10 verses in chapter 4 –

If you explain these things to the brothers and sisters,[c] Timothy, you will be a worthy servant of Christ Jesus, one who is nourished by the message of faith and the good teaching you have followed. Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly. “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it. 10 This is why we work hard and continue to struggle,[d] for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers.

11 Teach these things and insist that everyone learn them. 12 Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. 13 Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them.

14 Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you. 15 Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress. 16 Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.”

I am to the place in my walk with the Lord, ,my understanding of the Word, my dependence on the Holy Spirit that this little section of Scripture is so meaningful to me. Paul writes to Timothy as he is mentoring him on how to properly lead people when it comes to the Word, he warns him of many things but the CENTRAL thought here is the WORD! He tells him if he explains these things to the brothers and sisters, you will be a WORTHY SERVANT of Christ Jesus, one who is nourished by the message of faith…..

In my last 2 years of preaching I was convinced that my preaching would never be the same again! That the Lord had instructed me to only use the Word and to teach ONLY the WORD! I heard Him say without a doubt that people need to KNOW the word of GOD, not hear about the Word of God! The last 2 years of preaching that is exactly what I did and this is how I will for the rest of my Life. In my own private studies, reading, teaching it’s only the Word. Here Paul says that “you will be a worthy servant” man that is my desire!!!

“Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives tales….instead, train yourself to be godly….” This is SO huge for the body of Christ, not just leaders but everyone. I am amazed by the arguments that come up in the name of Jesus, over thoughts, Scriptures, etc….As a pastor I would get so many emails, letters, phone calls, personal visits about “thoughts” or idea’s or whatever on scriptures, old wives tales, NEW ways of thinking, what that Scripture really means….etc etc…. I hated it and it could waste much valuable time just searching for the correct answers to prove them wrong…. Paul says “train yourself to be godly…….for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this iife and in the life to come”

I have come to realize and understand when most come with what they believe about something and challenge you, they usually cannot persuaded to change their mind…. they LOVE to argue…..they love to debate…..I have found most of the time they have a hardened heart on many issues. I had one man that many times threatened me to leave the church if I could not come around to his way of thinking, he would not partake in some things such as communion if I did say the “right” words while serving it etc… I allowed him to run me ragged until I finally understood this scripture…. then I was free and he was free to leave…. after this took place in MY heart (after 10 years of it) things changed, he STOPPED and ended up leaving. He would get me so upset and so mad…..hours of precious time wasted in ministry, family life etc..

11 Teach these things and insist that everyone learn them. 12 Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity

Paul tells Timothy to “teach these things and INSIST that everyone learns them” What things is he talking about? Go back to chapter 3 and into chapter 4 – JESU!!! The truth of our faith, The HOLY SPIRIT, the one who teaches us THROUGH THE WORD, beware of false teachers and people who argue the truth!!! Pretty simple and a very good job description for a pastor/elder. So between our (Pastor’s/Elders/Teachers) dedication to the Word and the pure lives that we live being an example to all believers in what you say, the way you live, love and the faith you have…..PEOPLE WILL FOLLOW, LEARN, GROW, and FALL IN LOVE WITH JESUS.

The very next verse Paul says “Focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them” and then he closes this chapter out with “Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you”

So there it is…..the job of the pastor! One thing hits me pretty hard “for the sake of your salvation and the salvation of those who hear you” I blew it pretty hard in my life and in ministry…..with so much damage done, so many lives affected and I’m afraid I really don’t have a clue how deep it goes. The world (so many people) says that each person is responsible for their own salvation, they cannot blame me if they turn away from God because a pastor fell. I have told myself that many times, my counselor, my wife, and so many others. But then I run into a Scripture like this!! What do I do with it? It says the opposite of what the world says.

I praise God that all has been exposed, that I was caught and had the chance to repent and turn back to Him, restore my marriage, family and friends. But there are still a lot of people out there hanging…….some I will probably NEVER had the opportunity to sit face to face and seek forgiveness. I not even sure if that is what needs to be done at this point. Here is what I hear the Spirit saying to me about this at this moment. First of all I want to give thanks to the Spirit for meeting with me this morning, as I read, study and write these things out so much comes to light, truth is spoken, lies revealed and it’s changing me forever. In some area’s its very painful and in other’s it’s freeing!

I know that the spiritual is so different from the natural, in the natural I could spend a lifetime (which is not that long for me now day’s) trying to make things right with people and probably never get to the end of the list. But in the spiritual, my heart, my repentance, my sorrow, my brokenness, and my RESTORATION will change the atmosphere in the lives of many. I am not sure how or anything else, but I’m very confident that HE IS ABLE and HE CAN do miracles in the spiritual that we cannot see. It is the Holy Spirit that brings forgiveness, heals brokenness, reveals truths about situations in our lives. IF my pastor falls it is up to me to forgive him, move on with my life in the Spirit….. THROUGH THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT this is possible for EVERYONE!!!

Does this mean I’m free from having to face people and seek out forgiveness? Restoration? NO NO NO and a thousand times I say NO!! It means that the Spirit will lead me to the right people and the Spirit will call the right people, and the Spirit will ……..

I pray that I came across right in this post – I pray my heart shows through in every word I’ve written. GOD IS GOOD!!

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1Timothy 4 — moving forward in this journey

Warnings against False Teachers

Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons. These people are hypocrites and liars, and their consciences are dead.

They will say it is wrong to be married and wrong to eat certain foods. But God created those foods to be eaten with thanks by faithful people who know the truth. Since everything God created is good, we should not reject any of it but receive it with thanks. For we know it is made acceptable[b] by the word of God and prayer.

The Word tell us that it is the Holy Spirit that reveals this, it is NOT Paul who writes it but God himself. This section of scripture’s heading is “warnings against false teachers” and his very first words are “the Holy Spirit tells us……”

In the last times, or last days there will be great deception taking place, even the strongest of the strongest are able to be deceived. Wrong will seem right and right will seem wrong…. here is how it plays out in todays world…. politically correctness!! There are so many issues in this world and for the most part if you do not bend with them the world will think you are narrow minded and closed minded. THIS IS NOT ACCEPTED.

How do you explain the morals of the world from the Cleavers to Modern Family in 40 year span? It’s not just homosexual issues which rules the frontline of everything right now, but just plain morals…. the way we talk, the attitudes, the language we use, abortion, sexual perversions, pornography, and the list goes on and on. The Bible says that they a deceived by demons! Does it mean everyone is inhabited by demons? NO it does not!! It’s a spirit in the world, that slowly moves until the attitude of the world shifts…. personally I believe the shift began in the early 60’s with drugs and the sexual revolution. I was right in the center f it!! But the reality was even then I had NO CLUE what I thought of believed, I had no foundation and I rode the movement just like millions of others.

As time passes by in this world deception will become greater and greater, even the STRONGEST will be deceived. The reason for this is in the end times Satan will try to turn as many away from Jesus as possible through deception…..”surely you won’t die if you eat the apple, God knows that your eyes will be open as soon as you eat it and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil” This was the same lie we are told today!!!

I could go on for days on this subject, you see I’m to the belief that all this is real, that there really is a heaven and a hell, that there really is God and Satan… I know many do not, they think that I’m a fool, that if that is true we are some type of ponds that they use to fight their war. How can a nation turn Godless? One that is a “Christian nation” to a “godless nation”? Is it really that we are becoming more educated? We have more knowledge? Or is it because deception is great over this world?

OK, now for me and how this section of Scripture applies to me. This is a tough one, I have all this knowledge and all these beliefs about this and yet I did what I did in the midst of it all. I was preaching HARD in the book of revelation about how deception will be in the end times, how we better be ready, we better know the Word, we better be in love with Jesus, and so on ……I was pounding into the congregations heads…..well a part of me was trying to pound it into my head….I believe what I preached but was not living it!! My hope and my prayer was that I would be out of this tangled up sin and walking strong before it’s too late for me. I was deceive into believing that I could get away with it!! I was deceived into believing that God would turn his head if I would just stop, I was deceived into believing that God was patient and did not want to all so many lives to be ruined because of my sin, and so He was patiently waiting for me to get out of this mess and move on.

What a FOOL!!! God cared more about my heart and Spirit than he does about my reputation and his reputation. HE IS GOD!! Even if I had stopped it would not have solved anything, it would not have “let me get away with it” HE KNEW and I had to be accountable, I was his chosen vessel as pastor of that church, I was the man chosen to be husband to my wife, father to my children, grandfather and the list goes on. I WAS TOTALLY exposed and I’m so thankful now….I WAS DECIEVED!!! The sad part is the pain it cost so many others, so many in the church and the people that trusted me, followed me, listened to me….. my wife and children who counted on me and trusted me!! I let downs hundreds, I did great damage to the kingdom, and yet God would rather expose, deal with it, forgive and restore…. I WAS DECIEVED!!!

Everybody has beliefs, but what are they based on? Some will say well the Bible says this and I believe this….. I had a conversation with a man yesterday talking about him living with a woman. He is a Christian and he is now married but he was telling me his father is the strongest Christian man he knows and when he lived with this woman his father would point his finger at him and say “you know if you die today you’re going to hell” – he would respond back “you have NO RIGHT to judge me” and they ended up not talking at all for a couple years. Went on to say “well I believe that it’s ok, it’s different days today than it was back then, God does not expect us to live without sex, and it’s better to live together and find out if we get along rather than getting married and ending in divorce” I asked him what he bases this belief on? The answer…..”it’s what I feel”

VERY DANGEROUS — I’m not one to throw judgment, and I don’t know where the line is for God when it comes to our salvation…..but I am learning go to the WORD and see what it says…..out feelings are NOT TO BE TRUSTED.

BOTTOM LINE of this Post: We must hear the Spirit, our teacher, our comforter, the one who guides us in TRUTH, the one who reveals the Word to us, the One who reveals the heart of the Father to us. It is now our feelings, thoughts, or others thoughts that should direct our lives but it is God who does and should!

Thoughts on end of chapter 3 of 1Timothy and then to chapter 4

They must be committed to the mystery of the faith now revealed and must live with a clear conscience. Before they are appointed as deacons, let them be closely examined. If they pass the test, then let them serve as deacons. ~ 1Timothy 3:9-10

I am writing this about Elders/Deacons/Pastors:

“let them be closely examined, if they pass the test, then let them serve as deacons/elders/pastors….I have a few different things to say about this subject. I served as a member of the “credentials board” for about 5 years. On this board we were the ones doing the testing of men and woman going through the process to ordination and full time ministry. First thing I want to say is I wish I took it more seriously now, I mean I did but I along with the entire board could have gone deeper. The idea is NOT to put men and women through a brutal beating to see if they pass, or if they are good enough to join our group! The idea was and is to make sure they first of all are called by God, second they are submitted to him in all area’s of their lives, family, wife, children, finances, community etc and thirdly are the in a LOVE RELATIONSHIP with Jesus, his word, prayer, knowledge of Him etc……..I must say I saw a huge difference in the way we did things in the last few years from when I went through the process 15 years ago. This is very difficult to do, you want to make sure and at the same time you want and need to encourage a person to keep moving forward.

The other thing I want to say is through this study I’ve learned that the “church” is very important, the leadership of the church is to be ALL these things and to be trusted. God established the church, Jesus died for the church and left it in our hands!! There are far too many men and women out there who proclaim themselves as “prophet, prophetess, deacon, pastor, elder, evangelist. When asked about it they come back with “God has called me, I don’t need a man, a church to give me permission” Well according to what I read in the Word of God that is FALSE!!!

Does God use men and women — YES YES YES. He uses us all in ministry. that is not what I’m talking about. I want to give an illustration to show my point.

When I was pastoring things were going along pretty well, my prayer was for our church to come alive in the Spirit! Deeper things, gifts etc…..one day in walks a man that is alive, on fire and very expressive in his ways….very charismatic. He would speak to people, pray over them, pray healing, speak words from the Lord, and in many ways was spot on. He came to me and to my wife saying that he was here and would support us…..with open arms we accepted him into the body. Soon so many following him, holding on to every word he would speak. I was not threatened in any way, I felt he was sent here to help us open up to the gifts of the Holy Spirit. My life changed in many ways…..he spoke over me many times about how great of a pastor I was, what a GREAT man of God I was…..etc etc etc… my future in the kingdom etc…..He would say He knew what God was saying…..He spoke what God told him to say, he could see the heart of men through the Spirit. IF God sent him to us, as many things in this world, when his time was up he stayed on… you know kind of like a revivial when it’s over man tried to keep it going. His time was up and he hung around, clinging to the people who followed and staying clear of those who were concerned.

HERE IS TRUTH!! IF this man was a “prophet” as he proclaimed, (with no covering, no credentials – self-proclaimed) why did he not see me? Why did he not see the horrific sin I was tangled up in? Why would God send him to me and let me know how pleased God was and my future was SO HUGE in the kingdom? Why didn’t he know? IF he was really who he said he was, God could have sent him to me and probably would have sent him to me to warn me, expose me, whatever and however…..but no it did not happen. I’m pretty sure now if anyone ask him he would say “he knew…….he warned me… blah blah blah” HE DID NOT KNOW < HE DID NOT SEE IT!!!

This is just ONE example of what is taking place out there. Many are innocent and do not know better…. the CHURC IS IMPORATANT!!!! A man is to be tested and then be approved and then ordained. So, I say BEWARE of anyone who is a lone ranger prophet, pastor, evangelist etc…. BEWARE!!! They may lead you astray no matter how strong you think you are.

How do you test a man, how do you test what a man thinks, feels, knows, acts and reacts? It is very difficult but I am convinced that the spouse/family is the key to it all. When we would interview men and women year after year, we NEVER interviewed the spouse until the final interview before ordination and it was not a setting for them to open up and speak if there is something not right…… they know!! Or family members for the matter. I think there should be separate interview that are less intimidating for the spouse all the way through the process. Sometimes the process is over a period of 10 years. I must say that EVERY TIME a pastor has fallen, the spouse knew and hid it for years, knew it before they were ordained. I mean what spouse wants to ruin that for a man or woman? The truth is they probably are hoping and praying that this is the very thing in their life that will being the change that is so desperately needed.

I know for me and I know for each one that has fallen that I am aware of this would hold true. Would it hurt? YES, would it help? YES YES YES…..for me being exposed was the very thing that FREED me up after years and years of living with secrets. Very difficult thing to do, to set up but a man with secrets will always hide the secrets, hoping that change is right around the corner, there may even be some freedom for awhile, but it always rears it’s dirty little head up again down the road.

Well that’s it for chapter 3 – it’s been hard, hurtful, painful and FREEING!! It has opened the doors to others around me too — I’m very thankful for this book and the Holy Spirit who has brought me through it with new insights and truth shown to me about ME.

The Last Two qualifications of an Elder/Pastor

Well, this has been pretty eye opening for me!! I’ve read this section of scripture a thousand times as well as used it, taught it, judged men and women through it, but I NEVER lined my life up with it in complete openness and honesty. It’s been painful and freeing at the same time. I will NEVER be the same again and for that I thank God!!!!! There are 2 left and I’m going to try and get them done today and then my last post from this section will be addressing the area of “after testing the man/woman……”

14. People outside the church must speak well of him. – Well this one I kind of touched on in an earlier post. As a pastor some people just naturally speak bad about you, they despise you, want to see you fall, in some cases just plain hate you. Well we know that they hate Jesus not the pastor……with this thought in mind here are my thoughts of ME and how people spoke of me.

For the most part most people spoke well of me but over the years I had people that did not for good reason. Most of any negative talk about me that was TRUE would be tied to financial things, someone I owed money to or maybe I lied to get out of a situation, or did something to cause someone to distrust me………there were people that spoke bad of me and some had reason the others who just DO because I’m a pastor means nothing, EXCEPT they are waiting for a man to fall and when I did it gave them more hate and more proof that it’s all a game and a scam to take people, control people etc….

So when someone would speak bad of me EVEN if they were correct I would always use the “because I’m a pastor etc…” and make myself look good to the people around me and basically call them a lair and stirring up trouble, would say things alike “they will have to stand before God one day…..” just writing this is bringing tears to my eyes. There are a few that I can remember but there is one that I will share with you….

About 15 years ago I was in an accident, I did not see the car in front of me stop and I slammed into him going about 40 miles an hour. My airbags activated, Beckie was with me and I’m sure she remembers well. The car I hit had a man and his little girl….. they were thrown around pretty hard and but seemed to be OK, badly shaken though. I believe his daughter went to the hospital just to make sure she was ok. I did not have insurance on my car at the time for whatever reason…. a few days later the man called me and I told him I was a pastor in town and things were hard, my insurance had lapsed and would take care of his car personally…. he said he wanted to think about it. A few days later he called me and said it’s been a very hard decision for him, all of his friends told him to turn me in and I would lose my license and he could sue me along with a few other things. He said that he sat in front of our house one night trying to decide what to do and ended up deciding NOT to turn me in and ruin my life, he was a believer and didn’t want to hurt a man of God and his family. I thanked him a hundred times telling him over and over again that God would bless him. We worked out the details of how much I would pay him to fix his car etc……… as the weeks passed, they turned into months and then years………. I never saw or heard from him again.

To this day this story hurts but today even more. I don’t know who he is, what is name is or where he even lives but I’m sure he remembers mine and I’m SURE he does not talk well of me nor has an once of respect for me. I’m sure his family and friends laughed at him for being such a “nice guy” to the man of God and all of them did not talk well of me…..One of the reoccurring prayers that I have in my life and especially the last year is that we would meet up one day, run into one another one day and I could ask him to forgive me…. this makes me cry 😦

As a pastor/elder we need to live our lives above reproach, open, honest. IF you live any part of your life in the flesh, if you have any hidden things in your life that are not taken before the Lord, I if you are NOT resting 100% of the time and 100% of your life in Jesus it will come out and it will be exposed.

Now my entire life was not this way, I did many good things, helped many people and had respect from many people……….but IF they saw things like this in my life…. well?

Why did Paul pen this? People hate Jesus and they always will, as a MAN OF GOD we cannot give them another reason, we represent JESUS, we are his hands, feet, mouth……..if he really transforms people, if he really changes people, if there really is a life of holiness to be lived…….if people on the community speak bad of you/me there is probably a reason!!!

15. He must live with a clear conscience. – By now I know and anyone reading this knows there is NO way that I lived with a clear conscience! Why must a Pastor live with a clear conscience? There is NO way that one can be 100% effective, 100% connected to the Father if not. Without a clear conscience a man is living a LIE, living with sin that has not been confessed and given over to the Lord, living in un-forgiveness, will always have to be looking over his shoulder.

This ONE thing right here will tell the entire story of a man…….. the question is how do you test him on this? How do you know if a man has a clear conscience?

OK — HERE IS THE SECTION OF SCRIPTURE that I’m going to talk about in my next post to wrap this up and then it’s on to Chapter 4!!

 10 Before they are appointed as deacons, let them be closely examined. If they pass the test, then let them serve as deacons.

 I am writing these things to you now, even though I hope to be with you soon, 15 so that if I am delayed, you will know how people must conduct themselves in the household of God. This is the church of the living God, which is the pillar and foundation of the truth.

One for today….and the beat goes on

Here is one more for today……

13. He must not be a new believer – I remember when I first became a Christian, soon after that experience I felt the call to go into full time ministry. Looking back at that I think it’s something that many feel when salvation comes in such a powerful way. I’ve seen it over and over again with so many men and women over the years. The key is to seek and find out if it’s God calling you or if your excitement and passion is moving you in that direction. I MUST SAY this……we are ALL called to ministry…our lives should be about Christ and where He leads us DAILY — so yes we are ALL ministers. With that said there is another calling that moves a man or woman into Pastoring, evangelist etc….a call to dedicate a life to Full Time service for the Lord.

When I was first saved I was on fire and ready to roll….felt strong the call of God to enter into full time ministry. I was part of the Assembly of God Church, this is the church where I found the Lord, I was plugged in with a couple of the pastor’s and was ready to make the move. I went to one of the pastor’s and talked to him about this, they had a school in the church. Trinity Bible College. I had another good friend that was going there and both the pastor and my friend said “GO GO GO” and so I enrolled in the school and paid the tuition, bought my books and started down the road that would end in full time ministry. (this was my dream)

After the first year and entering into the second year Diane and I decided to get married. I went to the pastor who I was pretty close with and asked if he would marry us, I was so excited! We met and he told me that he could not marry us because I was married before and was divorced, the church would not allow this. I was shaken a little and then figured, well I’ll ask an outside pastor  to perform the ceremony and just use the church for the wedding, so I told him that and he said “Greg, you can’t even get married in this church” and it floored me. I walked away shocked and angry. After a few hours I realized that if they could not perform my wedding and if I couldn’t even be married within the walls of this church, I will never be ordained through this church!! I went to the pastor the next day to confirm that and it was true. I asked why are you even allowing me to be in YOUR SCHOOL when I will never be ordained, never be in ministry? He had no answer so I walked out that day never to return.

I ended up going back to a little church in Rio Linda, there the pastor took me under his wing and helped me along. Soon I decided to enroll in the Bible College offered through the district. This was through the church of the Nazarene. The pastor agreed and supported, the church board agreed and supported, now I had to go and apply to the school. I sent in my application and waited…..within a week or so my pastor called me and told me that they turned me down, I was not able to attend the school because of my past. I was pretty mad and upset and my pastor was too, he told me he was ready to resign over it and that just fueled my anger and resentment. The man who made the decision name was Walter Hubbard. I held a lot of anger toward him, saying he was a old man that was not ready for any change etc….(right here that shows my new believer status)

I have up and dove into work. We moved to the bay area and then to Chico. In Chico we ended up in a Nazarene church and made some good friends in that church and with the pastors. I was the youth pastor and was able to preach a couple times. Pastor Tom supported me even though I would never be able to attend school or be ordained. From Chico we moved back to the Bay area and ended up in a Nazarene Church in Fremont. A great little church where the pastor encouraged me to move forward in school and would help me get in. This was a different district so I applied and was ACCEPTED…….. so I started my journey in Bible College. Worked full time and went to school at night.

After a three years or so we moved to Tracy, by this time Dr Hubbard had retired and a new man was in charge, I was able to transfer my schooling to this district and continue. It took me over 9 years to finally graduate but I DID IT!! Entering into full time ministry before I even graduated!!

Soon after that I realized how immature I was as a Christian when I first started, I KNEW NOTHING except God called me….. Dr Hubbard had great insight and saw my lack of wisdom, knowledge and all the things needed to make a man ready for ministry. I realized he did me a GREAT FAVOR by not allowing me in so quickly……..I sought him our and asked for his forgiveness through my tears, I told him of my anger and words I have used against him…..he had NO IDEA but accepted my apology and forgave me…. we both wept and hugged that day. From that day forward he was one of my biggest supporters.

This is part of being in the body of Christ — the CHURCH! A pastor/elder/deacon must NOT be a NEW BELIEVER!! Why? Man I would have ruined more lives that helped when I was a new believer… We need to time to grow, understand the ways of the Lord, fall IN LOVE with the Lord, know the Word, understand prayer, fasting, tithing, service, love and people. Become mature in the Lord so we may lead other into maturity. And SO MUCH MORE!!!

 

It’s been a few days…..here is more 1Tim 3

Just about to the end of this list of qualifications of an elder/pastor penned by Paul in 1Timothy 3 – the idea of this is for ME, it’s a healing process, it’s a renewal process, it’s a way to look back at my life as a minister and what the Lord has done. I’m loving this through the pain of reality.

12. Must manage his family well, having children who love and respect him. Well this one is a very difficult one for me. I have two families, I was married as a very young man and had 4 children………..Jennifer, Misty, Shirley and Ryan. This was before I became a Christian but the reality is it doesn’t matter if I was or not, it’s just basic human behavior to love and take care of your family…..it does not depend on if you follow God or not. Back then my life was a total mess with drugs, alcohol, women, money etc….get the picture? I walked out of that family after 8 years of marriage, the children were all pretty young, Ryan was only 2 years old.

After another failed marriage, a year in state prison my life changed forever….I remarried a few years later and had 4 more children…..Meghan, Noah, Rebecca, and Adam. At this point in my life I saw everything differently, I was broken knowing what I had done to my other children…..I was never a father to them, spent very little time with them and did not invest into them at all. When I had 4 more children it was as though the Lord gave me a second chance and I was determined to be a GREAT FATHER to them! I believe that I was with the exception of 2 things….

1. I had secrets that they never knew about and sooner or later the Lord will expose them – they had NO idea of who I was on the inside (not saying I was always someone else, but the secrets grew through the years) When I was exposed, they were all grown and it was devastating to them all. They ONLY knew me as the father they could trust, the father that was faithful, the father that was their pastor………a father that LOVED their mother. So for them it was devastating.

2. I never made it right with my other children, I kept the attitude that it was the past and I could not change it, they are all grown and doing fine…. I let them know how much God has changed my through my words, but my actions NEVER MET up with my words. So, I didn’t teach my children how to forgive, seek forgiveness, repair hurts, and make things right. They thought I was a stellar Christian man who made mistakes and God healed and made it right!!

So with my first family, they were hurting and had to learn how to deal a father that was not a father and when this happened again in 2012 it crushed them even more. When I fell as pastor, when my life was totally exposed, I called each one of them and let them know. Even at that moment I had NO CLUE how it affected them…..My second daughter Misty  helped me the most with this. She pretty much said she wanted nothing to do with me! I was hurt and angry with her and asked her about it. She calmly explained to me why she said that and what she meant. She has worked very hard to heal in her life and most of it because of ME….she was no longer going to allow me to hurt her, control her feeling, her pain etc…. she is better off keeping a distance. That opened the door to SO MUCH for me. Not only with Misty but for everyone that was in my life. All the pain I’ve caused in so many lives. I will forever be grateful for that. I love you Misty Scott for being honest with me and having the guts to say it.

Then there is the issues of Sandie, Jody and Diane…. Sandie and I were married for 8 years, high school sweethearts……I walked away from that marriage and family and did not look back for many years. I cheated on Sandie and left her for another woman (girl). I did not stick around to see what she was going through, how she hurt, the pain, the anger… none of it………I just walked away and lived my life!! When this happened again last year and I watched and experienced what Diane went through I saw for the first time what Sandie must have gone through and maybe to another level even. I stayed and faced it with Diane but with Sandie, I gave her NOTHING!!! I truly thought she would be ok back then, it was no big deal. Man, she must have hated me!!! To Sandie I am truly sorry and I will always be so very thankful for how you raised the children, they all turned out GREAT and that is ALL BECAUSE of you!! You are a strong woman, a loving and wonderful mother and an incredible grandmother. Thank you! I wish it would have been different. I am sorry!

I left Sandie for Jody, a young girl I worked with. I was 29 years old with 4 children, she was 18 years old just out of HS and living with her parents. We moved in together and married about a year or two later. Her family hated me and we didn’t care! We were married for about a year and it all ended when I was arrested and her eyes were opened. We had NO CHILDREN THANK GOD. She was able to walk away after 3 years and we never saw one another again. I am so sorry for this part of my life – the hurt that I caused that family and her I can’t even imagine….. well I can in a way, I know how protective I am with my girls when it comes to boys! I will probably never have the chance to speak to her or her family again………but I am so very sorry!!

And then there is Diane, my 3rd wife. When we met I was a brand new Christian man going through a divorce and on my way to prison. She was a young woman that was a born again Christian, never married and committed to staying single, not dating until God brought along the right man. We didn’t start dating until a couple years later, although there was something there for both of us. When we did start dating everything moved quickly…. within months we set a date to marry. Here family LOVED and ACCEPTED ME right into the family. God showed her I was the man she was to marry. A man married 2 times with 4 children and spent a year in prison! Can you imagine? We married with our eyes on ministry the entire time. … this was the goal, I was called to pastor, she was called to be my partner…..we had 4 children within the first few years and life took off from there. I loved the Lord, I loved her, I loved my family. BUT….I had things in me that just were not right, I could lie with ease, I could hide things with ease, I could flirt with other women with ease and Diane knew this, she kept forgiving me and forgiving me, believing that God would heal me one day. Each time something would come up it would kill her a little more and before we knew it we were in full time ministry together and if she ever exposed the “real” me she knew that I would lose my position, our church, blah blah blah.  So when all this came out in 2012 after years and years of her dying more and more, not trusting me, being hurt by me in SO MANY ways……….she finally shut down and that was it!!  She was not sure if she would remain married to me or not…….one thing about Diane is she loves God much more than she loves me, she trust God and did not trust me. She left and sought out what God had to say about it, what He wanted her to do. Without telling her story, she chose to forgive me and that opened the door to many to forgive and see, she chose to remain married to me and move forward. To Diane: I love you and will forever be grateful and thankful for the woman that you are! Our last years on this earth will be out best, with or without money we will always have one another and our family! Thank you for loving the Lord the way you do and being obedient to His word.

I have watched the pain, hurt and humiliation that she has gone through and that has helped me see so many things in my life. Who I am, Who I was, What I’ve done and how I’ve hurt so many. The devastation that I’ve cause Sandie and my other children. The lack of Love that I give, show and experience. Diane I will always be grateful to you….. I LOVE YOU with all my heart.

So, “He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him. For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?”

He can’t and I didn’t!! I treated God’s church just like I treated Sandie, Jody, Diane, Jennifer, Misty, Shirley, Ryan, Meghan, Noah, Rebecca, and Adam…….How do you test a man in this? I can lie, I can cover up, I can convince a board that all is well with my family, I can even convince myself (I believe this is how I lived my life) that they respected me. BUT…if they would have spoken with Sandie or any of my children I had with her, especially Misty they may have gotten a better picture of me.

I cannot go back in time and repair any of this – I can only live my life today the BEST I can, one day at a time. I LOVE and I am learning to love. I have a long way to go with all my children and I pray that the day will come when all is healed, forgiven and clean. No pain, no living with “I wish…..” but we will be pure, loving and renewed as a family. ALL OF US!!

FORGIVENESS IS A POWERFUL THING…..