How are we suppose to react to……

When someone falls into sin, addiction, abuse, lying, cheating, pornography, well anything….nothing left out… should we react? What should be our view? Our words? Our support or non-support? Where is the line drawn? Is there a line to even draw? How do we help restore? NOW, I know we all have “our” opinions….but what is God’s opinion?

There are people in all walks of life that are good, God loving people along with people who are not God followers. People who fall into some type of sin, addictions, actions….secret things that sometimes shock us and rock our world. I want to focus on the “religious” world in this post although I believe the principles relate both to secular and spiritual people.

This is such a complex subject with many different levels surrounding it. We react many ways when a brother or sister falls down. Some of the reasons we react negative to this is:

1. Pride, it makes me more “spiritual” than they are

2. Deflection, it takes the light off of me and my sin, faults, secrets.

3. Position, it puts me in a greater position than they are.

4. Anger, the actions of the person somehow reflects who I am

There are so many reasons we react the way we do. In this post I will attempt to show how we react and how God reacts. MY THOUGHTS on how people should react and how the church should react. It will be taken out of my own life, my experiences on both sides of the fence. I have been the one who has sinned, fallen and I have been the one in position that needed to deal with one who has sinned/fallen.

One of my first memories after being a Christian in any type of leadership position seeing someone fall was when I was in a church in Fremont Ca. I was in school and in a leadership role in the church, this church was on fire and growing like crazy. The senior pastor helped me in so many ways and is a huge part of why I became a pastor and finished school. I loved this guy and I loved this church. One day the head line news on all the major news stations was about a pastor in Colorado who had disappeared and the search was on for him. Within a day or so it came out that he was in some serious trouble with the IRS, personal and business…he FAKED his death and was on the run. The world knew about it and people were outraged, Christians were horrible along with rest of the world. Well it turned out the man was a personal friend of my pastor. I went to him thinking we would be angry together etc…. I walked into his office expecting anger and rage but he was weeping. I asked him how he was doing and he said he was boarding a plane to go get his friend, bring him to his house and help nurse him back to full “spiritual” health. He did just that!! He did whatever it took to get there and get him to bring him home to just ‘love on him”. I was amazed, shocked and confused. But that memory will never leave me!! I really thought as Christians we were suppose to “protect” the church, and get him out after all he put another HUGE black mark on God’s Church!! I learned much that day…but surely not enough for I have made so many mistakes in the years of ministry.

There was Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Baker, and so many other well known leaders not to mention the thousands of leaders, pastors that fell from grace in the churches in our world. Most never to heard from again.

The goal is/should always be restoration. I would like to know how many have been restored over the years. I know some are back in ministry and they still have to live with the “talk” or I should say GOSSIP as they try to enter back into ministry.

As a pastor I really had no clue when it came to this…I thought I did, but in reality I did NOT. Early in my ministry I didn’t know how to deal with things, I was so scared of losing people, not having a church any longer, I was ignorant of any type of counseling and yet was expected to be a counselor. Later I tried dealing with issues as they came up in lives of the congregation and most of the time I thought of protecting the church more than the soul of the person I was suppose to be helping. And in the last years I was afraid to confront and do right because of my own secrets I had in my life. I never wanted to cause any ripples so that nobody would look at my life. I did everything wrong in this area. And in reality did much more harm than good. Get them out of the way….Lord please forgive me!!!!

When it came to people with addictions, deep rooted things in their lives, sins, anger, divorce, just about anything I did it wrong.

On the flip side when I fell I heard from most people how it affected them… what it did to their lives, how it made them feel, how it angered, hurt and crushed them. I WANT TO SAY I GET THAT!!!!! And I do get it totally ~ 100%. I don’t blame anyone for feeling that way and part of my healing was to see that in the lives of people around me. SO please do not mis-read what I am saying.

In my case I take 100% responsibility for what happened, it was my fault, my doing, my choice. With that said when one gets tangled up in a situation, it’s a slow process it just doesn’t happen… the time it’s full blown out of control most don’t even realize what had happened or how they ended up in a place like this! How it went so far….the deception is deep and as for me I was convinced/deceived into believing lies and could not see past my own selfish thoughts and desires. It was a long road back to reality and truth. It was a wake up when my eyes were opened but it took losing everything in my life to see it!!! When it happened I was devastated, hurting like I’ve never hurt before. Nobody knew what to do or how to react except my counselor. He just loved me and had hope for me, he loved me as God loved me.

Family does not know, friends do not know, the church does not know how to handle such things. Like I said earlier people around me all told me how it affected them, the church wanted me out FAST and NOW….the goal in church leadership was to “restore” and I think they tried as hard as they could the best they knew how. BUT there is a deeper issue here, there is a time of healing and restoring LOVE over everything else. I can speak from my own experience…… I understand there is a process that has to be gone through when it comes to such things, but when someone is devastated, just lost it all they really can’t think in a logical way.

There is a HUGE difference between someone who is rebellious, not repentant and does not think they did anything wrong and someone that is repenting. At the same time repentance is a process that you go through….I know that sounds “wrong” you either repent or you don’t…….but there is an element of things coming up in your spirit and in your mind. It depends on the depth of the sin/addiction.

I know my wife got it for the most part – she stood between me and people for a long time knowing what I was going through –  it was almost a year before I could even bring myself to see anyone, be around anyone….why?  guilt and shame….brokenness, repentance, and trying to find my way back to my Father. In church circles rumors and gossip fly around like crazy, in the community secular world it was worse.  I heard some pretty crazy rumors (lies) during this time. Most people didn’t know what to say to me…….and some just discarded me. I will say that I stayed away from people too. Some gave me space and a couple gave me “unconditional love” and time. It was very difficult.

Please understand I am NOT angry, or bitter towards anyone….like I said I get it, I know it was my fault….here is where I stand now coming out the other side. For people to treat sin, see sin, understand the person who fell into it they must be “Christlike” period. How can we see a man or woman as God does if we are NOT? We cannot period!!!!!!

What does it mean to be Christlike? How does God see it? How does God respond? How should we respond? This will be the subject to my next blog — PART 2.

Mark 3:7-12 — I am done with church…. well not really but check this out…

Jesus went out to the lake with his disciples, and a large crowd followed him. They came from all over Galilee, Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, from east of the Jordan River, and even from as far north as Tyre and Sidon. The news about his miracles had spread far and wide, and vast numbers of people came to see him.

Jesus instructed his disciples to have a boat ready so the crowd would not crush him. 10 He had healed many people that day, so all the sick people eagerly pushed forward to touch him.

The crowds were getting HUGE and I would imagine sometimes out of control. I would LOVE to see this!! And like I always say and I always preach….this is exactly what people are looking for….still today. Is it just the healing, the miracles that people want? I don’t think so…there are so many ministries that are totally focused on “miracles” “the show” and it draws large crowds and big MONEY!! Are all of these ministries just looking for money and a name for themselves? NO I do not believe so…I am sure there are thousands of men and woman out there doing exactly what the Lord has instructed them to do.

So, what is it then? Why did they follow Jesus by the thousands? Why do ministers today fill auditoriums? I think people want a God that is REAL, that really moves in their lives, that they can touch, feel, see and that they want HOPE, hope of eternity, hope of love, hope of healing, hope of a touch from a creator.

So, how do we apply this to the church/body of Christ? For the most part many have been let down by the church, they have been promised and nothing delivered. Our Christianity is not based on healing, miracles or success, it’s based on a relationship with Him, it’s based on you and me becoming Christlike, it’s based on you and me loving the way He did, it’s based on us seeing people through the eyes of Jesus, it’s about you and me dying to our FLESH completely, it’s about us ministering to God, it’s about you and me learning to worship in truth and spirit, it’s about you and me leaning how to pray as Jesus did, it’s about you and me preparing ourselves to be the BRIDE of Jesus, ushering in Jesus to take His bride.

We have made church so man-like that it is sickening for the most part. There are times when all I can say is “I am about done with church.” although I know that will NEVER EVER be the case for me and it shouldn’t for you either!! Until the church becomes the bride and is purified, (I believe that this will take place long before the return of Jesus, when HE shakes the church and it becomes totally different than it is now) I will remain in the body of Christ (the church)

1. I will worship deep

2. I will pray for revelation from the throne of God for the church to see the church through the eyes of Jesus

3. I will support and pray for the pastor and leadership team.

4. I will continue to become Christlike – through the Word!!!

Can you imagine a church full of leaders that are Christlike, leading a congregation to become the BRIDE OF JESUS? Can you imagine a church on fire, in revival, and lacks NOTHING? Can you imagine a church where God rest? I can’t wait myself!!!

I say there is way too much of man and way too much of Satan in today’s churches. When I see such “un-Christlike” behavior from church members and leadership that just sweeps it under the carpet………oh man!!!! How do I know? Well, I’ve been on both side……I am a church member, I have been a pastor, and I was full of way too much flesh, making the church more about me and my abilities than about God….wasn’t always like that, but I fell into it just like so many others. I AM DONE with living that way. My life is about HIM and HIM alone today………in ministry or not in ministry.

11 And whenever those possessed by evil[a] spirits caught sight of him, the spirits would throw them to the ground in front of him shrieking, “You are the Son of God!” 12 But Jesus sternly commanded the spirits not to reveal who he was.

This is a strange scripture in my opinion. The spirits knew who he was and they would have the person they inhabit throw themselves on the ground in front of Jesus proclaiming who He was and then Jesus would command the spirits not to reveal who he was!!! Why did he say that? Why did they throw themselves at his feet proclaiming His name? This will be the topic of my next blog in the next couple of days….

EVERY Church member MUST read this!!!!

God Loves Order

One cannot truly know God nor appreciate Him as He is without being awed at the ordered array of His universe. Yes, the Almighty loves life and freedom, but at the substructure of all creation there first had to exist an immutable matrix of order. It was upon this foundation of ordered laws of physics that life emerged. Order is the source of life.

We must remember that the very same eternal mind that created the structured order of the universe created the church. There is a divine order to the church that begins in being rightly related to Christ and the leadership He gives to the church through people. God is a God of order; order precedes life and freedom. God’s mind is ordered; His will is ordered and He gives “orders” to put things in order.

It is important to note that the Lord Himself honors the order He creates. Consider: the Lord appeared to Paul, spoke to him, actually blinded him in His glory, and then said, “Rise, and enter the city, and it shall be told you what you must do” (Acts 9:6). Why didn’t the Lord just heal Paul? Why didn’t He just tell Paul what he had to do? Paul would have to learn that, to reach God, he would have to submit to man. This is God’s order and the Lord Himself honored it. Paul had to hear about Jesus from Ananias.

Or consider Cornelius: an angel appeared to this Roman centurion in a dream and told him that a man named Simon Peter would explain to him the way of salvation. Why didn’t the angel simply tell Cornelius about Jesus? In the Almighty’s universe, God works in an ordered fashion. Before the Gentiles could enter the kingdom en masse they would be invited by the Jews, who first accepted Christ. God honored the order He created.

Consider church protocol in the book of Acts. When Philip brought the gospel to Samaria after Pentecost, miracles, conversions and great signs were accomplished. But Philip would not lay his hands upon the Samaritans to receive the Holy Spirit. Why? Because until this time, the Holy Spirit had only spread through the hands of the first apostles. Again, God required His servant to respect the order and authority of the first apostles.

God has an order in your church. However it is established, and in whatever way it is defined, it is a place in order and it should be respected and honored. It does not matter whether you agree or not with the governmental structure within a church; as long as you attend that fellowship you should honor the order. Most congregations are led by a pastor; in some, the authority resides in the elder or deacon board; in still others, the authority comes from a bishop or even a prophetic or apostolic ministry. Whatever the structure, honor it and submit to it without dissension. If you feel you cannot grow in that congregation under its present structure, find a church where you can develop spiritually. However, do not cause strife just because you are not familiar or comfortable with the order.

The issue is not the form of government, but the life within the form. Paul wrote of apostles and prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers; John, however, spoke of the church in terms of fathers, young men and children; Peter, on the other hand, taught of elders, shepherds and the flock of God. The issue is not how the order is defined, but to understand that there is an order already established in a church and that order should be honored. It can be changed, but to change a church structure, one must submit to the elders of that church and be in agreement with the senior leader. They will pay the price for change when they are convinced God is leading. But they should not be forced to change just because someone has a problem with a church expression.

When the Jezebel spirit begins to manifest in a church, it immediately seeks to undermine the authority structure. If it cannot directly seduce a leader or cause him to commit immorality (and use that sin to diminish his authority), it will bring strife and division to challenge his authority in the church. Bear in mind that the spirit which produced Jezebel existed before its namesake was born. Although we refer to Jezebel as “she,” this spirit is without gender. However, it is important to note that, while men in leadership are the main target of most principalities, Jezebel is more attracted to the uniqueness of the female psyche in its sophisticated ability to manipulate without physical force. Remember, Jezebel was a queen who ruled a king; she assumes a “prophetess” role so she can rule a church. In so doing, she seeks to create a counterfeit authority among groups of individuals in a congregation. The result is that the established order in the church is undermined, true authority is neutralized, and leaders are wearied by endless meetings.

“And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day.” -Jude 1:6

There is a proper abode for each of us in the order of God. Jesus said that in the Father’s house there were “many dwelling places” and that He was going to prepare a place for each of us. The Father’s house is not only a place found in heaven; it is revealed here on earth in the body of Christ. Whenever we seek to break the order of our church, we leave our proper place and enter a realm “kept in eternal bonds under darkness.”

My friends, stay loyal to the church order where you worship God. If that order does not fit your temperament, find a church that does. If you cannot find a church, perhaps you are called to start one where your vision of Christianity can be fulfilled. But whatever you do, do not open up to false authority; do not dishonor the authority in your local fellowship through gossip or dissension; rather pray the vision of the senior pastor. For in so doing, you will help bring the church into the destiny of God and serve to fulfill the uniqueness of God’s purpose.

-From Pastor Frangipane’s email teaching

Happy New Year!!!!

“For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.1 Corinthians 2:2 (NIV)

If you’re thinking about making some New Year’s Resolutions, consider this one from The Apostle: “This year I resolve to know nothing but Christ and Him crucified.”

Paul’s message is radically simple: Salvation is in Christ alone. What does this mean?

• It’s not Christ plus your good behavior. • It’s not Christ plus the years you taught a Bible study. • It’s not Christ plus your tithe. • It’s not Christ plus the church you attend. • It’s not Christ plus the number of verses you memorize. • It’s not Christ plus your title in the church. • It’s not Christ plus wisdom from the latest Christian seminar. • It’s not Christ plus a  fast. • It’s not Christ plus a good driving record. • It’s not Christ plus well-behaved children. • It’s not Christ plus the right job. • It’s not Christ plus the right spouse. • It’s not Christ plus the latest technology.

It’s simply Christ. Christ plus nothing.

That’s a message that is as right throughout the coming year as it will be in 2999.

May your new resolution for the year be nothing but Christ and Him crucified.