Kyle Shreve- Missionary to Peru


After a 3 month break…
May 17, 2014, 2:29 pm
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I’d like to pretend that since my last blog post, I was off in the wilderness, meditating in a waterfall learning secret knowledge from our ancestors. In reality, I’ve just been really busy on deputation. Which is probably actually more profitable than getting pneumonia in a waterfall. Plus, you don’t need to go to such extremes to  learn ancient knowledge. You really just need to open your bible.

And that’s one thing that I have been reminded about over and over again on deputation: how important a daily devotion is! I know this is super basic stuff “read your bible every day,” but this is something the Lord has been working on in my life lately. Maybe it’s because it comes up in my deputation message over and over again, or because I’ve missed a day or two (and seen how much I don’t like it)

Right now, my ministry is deputation. I make phone calls, write prayer letters, and generally work on anything that will help us get to Peru. But, when is all said and done, none of that is more important than my personal walk with the Lord. Walking with the Lord, through daily bible reading and prayer is the foundation for everything else. There may be many big, impressive shiny results in a ministry, but without that personal walk with God, there will be a very nasty downfall one day.

That’s it. That’s what the Lord has been teaching me lately: how very important it is to walk with Him. So let’s walk with the Lord.



A personal struggle with my preaching!
February 8, 2014, 8:30 am
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The temptations of preaching

It may sound strange, but there are many carnal temptations that come with preaching. I’m not talking about temptations in the office of a pastor or missionary, but simply preaching a message, teaching sunday school, or anytime you are trusted to open the Word of God and expound from it to a group of willing listeners. One of, if not the biggest temptations I often face, is wanting to preach in such a way that would make myself look impressive and intelligent, and not preaching in a way that helps the congregation.

Book smart or street smart?

Now, I’m not saying those two ideas are mutually exclusive, because there are men of God who can preach in a way that is very helpful to the congregation while still being very scholarly and elegant. I recently sat in a chapel service at a large Bible college, and heard a message from a man who was obviously well educated. He talked about the greek words, all kind of different cultures in Rome at the time, had a very advanced vocabulary, and so on and so forth. And you know what? I was very blessed by the sermon, and learned a lot! I thoroughly enjoyed myself, saw every point he made right out of the text, and knew what he was talking about at every point of the sermon. There you have it: a wonderful blend of scholarly thoughts and display of education, while still being very simple and easy to understand. The cookies were left on the bottom shelf, so to speak.

Nor am I saying that I should strive to appear intelligent in my preaching, because that is never something we see in scripture. If I do, wonderful. If I don’t, wonderful. My appearing to be intelligent or a scholar is never the intendment of my preaching. Talent shows are a place to show off talent and ability. Preaching is a medium to edify, mature and help the hearers.

I’m also not advocating that all who preach the Word learn as little as possible, and remain uneducated. I am all for education, learning, and personal growth.We can, and should, all constantly be improving and growing in this area.

But, in my life and preaching at least, I find that if I try to preach to show my education and intelligence, I usually find myself thinking that I didn’t do so well, and no one really got a blessing out of it. My problem is that I shift my focus from helping the congregation and expounding/explaining the Word in a comprehensible manner to displaying my ability. And that paradigm shift if so very crucial!

The preacher isn’t the focus

Preaching is not about the preacher. Sure, he’ll stand and preach for a length of time, and all eyes will be on him, but he shouldn’t be trying to show off himself and his ability. It isn’t about how great and cunning he is. His job is not to use the pulpit to display himself. He should be using the pulpit to help, edify, mature and teach the congregation. Now, will God work in the preacher’s life during his time of study and preparation? Surely. But it is not about him, but him helping the congregation.

If my preaching make me look better, I haven’t done my job.

If my preaching helps you grow, I have done my job.

Keep it simple!

Anyone can take a simple subject and make it complex. That is not good preaching. Good preaching is taking a complex subject, and making it simple.

Some of the best, most wonderful sermons I have ever heard have been the simplest ones! I can remember, time and time again, sitting under my pastor’s preaching, and as he walked through the message, thinking, “Wow. That’s such a great thought, and it was sitting right there in front of me in the text. I could have figured that out if I’d studied!”

Now, is that a bit presumptuous of my studying habits? Probably. But that is the kind of thing people should be thinking during our sermons, not “Wow. I’ll never be that smart. I don’t know where he sees that in this verse.” The great preachers, the truly great ones, are not always the most educated and scholarly, nor are they the most uneducated and simple. They are the ones who teach and preach in such a way that the congregation learns the message and is able to apply it to their life.

In summary…

Since I am writing on simplicity in preaching, let me attempt to simplify this all into 2 key points:

-We don’t preach for the purpose of appearing more intelligent and scholarly (aka showing off.)

-Preaching should mature, edify, build up and help the hearer (aka serve others.)

I think the highest compliment I can pay to my pastor (or the whole pastoral team at Vision Baptist, really) is that when they have finished preaching a sermon, I have a better understanding of the text they preached, and how it applies to my life. This should be the aim of every person trusted with the opportunity to preach or teach the Bible.

Maybe I am the only one who has to fight the temptation of turning the pulpit from a place of service to a place of showing off, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a few others who had this same temptation. Let us always remember that our preaching is not to boost or better public opinion of ourselves, but to serve and edify the hearers!



Obeying the Word in Exodus 5- Part 2
February 5, 2014, 3:55 pm
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I do not like that in my short life I have many circumstances and happenings that come to mind when thinking of this post. The idea that obedience to God’s word may mean standing alone, even amongst God’s people really is a tragedy. Though, it is nothing new. I think we can all think of a few (if not more) people we know who have blatantly hindered another Christian, or hassled at the very least, as said Christian strives to obey the Lord. Of course, they would never do so on purpose, but rather out of either immaturity or desired, though faulty, well meaning.

Undoubtedly, there are plenty of parents who would love to see their children active and involved in the local church, but, if they were honest, would cringe in fear if their child left for the mission field, and may even do all in their power to hinder such a happening. And I can think of several teenaged Christians who seem to be the oddity of the youth group for their obedience to the Lord among their lukewarm peers. 

But, again, this is nothing new. We see this in Exodus 5, that the children of Israel faulted Moses, verbally accosted him and blamed him for their problems. Read what they say to him at the end of the chapter. Exodus 5:21:

“The Lord look upon you, and judge; because ye have made our savour to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to slay us.” 

Not exactly the way to encourage your leader, especially when he was obedient to the Lord. We’ve already established that obedience to the Lord may cause “hard times” or discomfort in some thing. It’s to be expected. However, these things cannot be equated with fault in the Christian, or we would have to say that Jesus must have done something wrong in order to be crucified.

And so we must realize, and be willing to confront the fact, that opposition may come if we are obedient to the Lord. I can think of more than a few Christians who had to make a choice between a relationship, or serving God on the mission field. And while not all opposition will be on such a grand scale, there are always those who will pressure others to miss services for sporting or other leisure events. I speak of this because it is what I know, and knew growing up, not that I am adverse to sports or leisure time.

But, though it is a sad reality, we must all realize that there may come negativism from our brothers and sisters in Christ. May we have grace and wisdom in these situations, and never bend from God’s word to please man.

 



Obeying the Word in Exodus 5- Part 1
February 1, 2014, 4:42 pm
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1-Obedience to God’s Word will almost certainly cause division and adversity. 

All Moses, Aaron and the Israelites wanted to do was go and worship God, thereby being obedient to His command. At first, just Pharaoh and the Egyptians are the only ones adverse to Moses and Aaron, but by the end of the chapter, even the officers of Israel are accusing Moses. 

Keep in mind that Moses was simply obedient to the Lord’s word. The idea to ask for freedom to go worship was not Moses’ idea; it was a God generated command. So for Moses to go before Pharaoh was the correct thing to do! But sometimes, obedience to God’s word can cause us to go against the status quo, and can complicate things for us.

Now, I’ve never had to stand before Pharaoh and ask to let an entire nation be set free, so I can’t really imagine what that would be like. I have, however, on more than one occasion, stood before a boss, or manager and had to let them  know that I don’t work Sundays or during midweek service. Missing baseball games on Wednesday nights was note exactly the best way to maintain my spot in the starting lineup as a teenager, either. Were there times that I was either denied a job, or scheduled less hours because of it? Yes. More than once. And while this is a VERY small sacrifice to make, obedience to the Lord, from the smallest things (job schedules) to the biggest things (asking for a nation to be set free) can cause some hardships. 

Had Moses just kept things the way they were, not bothered the status quo, and kept on making bricks, worshipping God when he had the chance, things probably would have been a little easier then they were by the end of the chapter. The Egyptians would have kept gathering straw for the Israelites and everything would have stayed the course it had been on. But for that to happen, for comfort to be achieved, Moses would have had to directly disobey God’s word. 

Because Moses obeyed the Lord’s word, it moved them from comfort and coasting to a place where they were facing hardship, and as we will soon see, direct adversity. I’m not trying to rain on any parades, but the truth simply is that there will be times that obedience to the Lord causes us to step outside of our comfort zone! This is a reality all Christians must face. We will not be granted special and favorable treatment just because we are believers. If anything, it would be quite the opposite. 

For the Christians determined to follow the word of the Lord, we must accept the fact that adversity, division and discomfort are to be accepted. May we steel our nerves and be of stout heart, willing to conquer such trivial matters in order to remain obedient to the Word.

Next post coming soon.



Upcoming series: Obeying the Word in Exodus 5!
January 29, 2014, 10:29 pm
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Exodus chapter 5 is the telling of Moses going before Pharaoh to plead for the Israelites to be allowed to spend 3 days worshipping the Lord. Pharaoh, of course, rejects this, and further increases the Israelites’ workload, making them gather their own straw to make bricks but produce as many bricks as when straw was provided for them. 

It is no surprise that this caused the Israelites’ production to decrease, which further angered Pharaoh and the Egyptians. They accused the Israelites of being lazy, and that their motivations for worship weren’t spiritual, but just an excuse to have a few days off.

By verse 20 of this chapter, the blame has fallen onto Moses and Aaron, and the duo is accused of being the ones who made the Israelites to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh. Keep in mind, however, that Moses and Aaron did nothing but obey the Lord’s commands and follow what He told them to do. What are some things to learn from this story of horrible bosses and blame shifting?

It should come as no surprise that obeying God isn’t always easy, and I would do you a disservice if I told you it did. This series, then, will be about some adversities we may face in obedience to the Word of the Lord.

Here are the first two posts in this series (Lord willing, we may have a few more):

1-Obedience to God’s Word will almost certainly cause division and adversity.

2-Obedience to God’s word may mean standing alone, even amongst God’s people

 

I hope they will be a blessing to you!



A quick testimony of God working in my life.
January 22, 2014, 8:30 am
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This is not deep exposition of the depths of scripture today, folks. This is a little testimonial of something God did in my life yesterday.

Before I start my day calling pastors, I try to spend some time in prayer and reading scripture. I pray, ask God for some meetings, to bless my efforts, and start calling. I’ll admit that I don’t always ask for a specific number. Maybe I’m afraid God can’t, or won’t give me that many meetings, but, for one reason another, I often lack the faith to ask God to give me a specific number of meetings.

But, as I went about getting ready to leave for the church this morning, I thought that I would ask the Lord for 5 meetings. 5 meetings is an incredible day, and doesn’t happen too often, but I thought I’d take a step out and ask for 5 meetings. Worst case scenario, I get 0 meetings, and God’s still as good as if I got 50 meetings! God’s goodness and character is not dependent on how many meetings I schedule in a day or how much support I have coming in. God is good. End of story.

But I prayed, asked for 5 meetings, and got to calling. It started very slow, and I had no meetings scheduled by 1pm. I started at 9, and 4 hours had yielded nothing palpable. But I kept on calling, kept on trying to schedule meetings and plant as much seed, so to speak, as possible.

Then the first meeting came. I called and asked the pastor for a meeting, and his literal words were, “well, that sounds like a good idea.” We agreed on a date, and I was out of the blocks and running. Then another came in. Two down, less than an hour apart. Things were looking good.

I kept calling, and while I’m not one to often leave a voicemail, I had left a pastor one, and he called me back. Maybe I should leave more messages, seeing as he scheduled me for meeting number three on the day. Number four was scheduled because another pastor had recommended I call his friend, and I was in with a chance on a five meeting day.

Then I hit a dry spell. I kept calling and calling, but to avail. I just couldn’t seem to seal the deal. Try as I might, I never found number five.

I drove home, feeling pretty pleased with the day; four meeting is nothing to sneeze at by any means.  I ate dinner, spent some time with Hannah. It was after 10pm, so I figured I hit the showers, having given up on reaching 5 meetings in one day. While I was in the shower, however, my phone rang.

Now, I’m not the greatest with social skills, but even I know that calls after 10pm are generally reserved for the most important and pressing matters in life, especially on a Tuesday night. I peeked out to see who it was, and it was a pastor, returning a voicemail. He was in central time, where it was only 9pm.

I got dressed as fast as I could, and answered the phone, still soaking wet.

Well, long story short, God gave me five meetings. I just had to end my shower early to get there.

So, you can sign me up for the list of people who, though I might not have had the most faith, asked God to work, and got to see Him work.

It was pretty neat to see God answer my prayer, and give me five meetings in a day. Especially when it wasn’t in the most orthodox way. Is this major theology, or a building block for our theology? Of course not. I just wanted to testify of how God answered my prayer yesterday.



See through spirituality
January 11, 2014, 8:15 am
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A brutal fairy tale

Genesis 19 is a brutally honest chapter. I’ve been trying to think of other words to use, but brutally honest seems to be the most accurate to me. In a fairy tale, there may be some “bad guys” but usually nothing really creepy or overtly horrible. Genesis 19 is not a fairy tale by any means. It is a brutal picture of a man who has, what I call, a see through spirituality.

Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways.

Lot hassles and begs the two angelic visitors to come and stay with “their servant.” Reading this, I almost get a feeling that there were selfish motives to this. Maybe it was to appear spiritual to his family, or thinking he would receive a material blessing for taking the angelic visitors in for care. I can’t say for sure, but even if he had purely good motives for harboring these strangers, we will soon see that his own family didn’t place much credibility in his spiritual life.

Laughing in his face

And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place: For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the Lord; and the Lord hath sent us to destroy it. And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law.

The angels tell Lot that the city is going to be destroyed, and naturally, Lot wants to warn his family. But there’s a hang up: they think he’s joking, or that he is as one that mocked. His son in laws don’t take him seriously when he has a message from God’s messengers. How embarrassing would that be? If my house was about to be destroyed, and angels told me to warn and evacuate my family, I would hope they believe me! But that wasn’t the case with Lot.

They knew that, sure, he might house some angels, and might even have a message from God’s messengers, but in the end, he had see through spirituality. Because between Lot housing the angels, and trying to warn his family, he offers up his virgin daughters to a mob of angry men. That’s not a characteristic of someone with a strong spiritual walk.

If a man who would think of doing such an atrocious act tried to give me spiritual advice, I would probably laugh in his face, just like the sons in law did!

Bringing it home

This is a very powerful lesson to me, and I don’t even have children yet! I have a wife, and I want to live the kind of life that shows her she can trust me and my spiritual leadership. But doing cowardly, selfish and ungodly things will detract from that. And as a husband, and one day, God willing, a father, I need to remember that I am a leader. I need to live the kind of life that shows my family that I serve God not just in word, but in action and all areas of my life.

Wether you’re a father, husband, pastor, or even an unmarried christian living on your own, there are always people watching you. Your coworkers know that we say we’re Christians, but we seem as one who mocks when we live in a non-biblical life in front of them. We laugh at dirty jokes, have a short temper, arrive late, leave early, treat our wife poorly, skip church for work, don’t read our Bibles, and all this is causing those around us to follow the path of Lot: the path of see through spirituality.

Especially in the southeast, the number of people who claim to be a born again Christian, yet live in open sin, never attend church, and have nothing to do with God is astronomical. This does the kingdom of God no favors. What we need are Christians to live like Christians  at home, work, school, with friends or family.

We can talk the talk like pros, but often, our walk is far short of not only our talk, but scripture’s guidelines.

There may come a time when our gospel witness is hindered, and we will be less effective in our opportunity to warn a lost person of impending judgement because of our see through spirituality. We may never know how many opportunities to influence other Christians we have lost to see through spirituality.

God help us to be men and women who not only talk the talk, but walk the walk, and live a true, bible based life, not a phony, see through spirituality.



I am not a movie star. I don’t have a book about me either
December 22, 2013, 8:15 am
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Well, after 2 months away, I’m finally back with a new post. I know blogs are supposed to be 600 words or less. This one isn’t. I guess if you average out 2 months inactivity with a long blog post, it averages out. I hope so.

Books and movies aren’t about the norm

If you’ve ever read a fictional book, or watched a T.V. show or movie, you should quickly notice one thing: it isn’t about everyday life. That would be boring. Really boring. Besides, we already  know what that would be like, because we live an everyday, normal life on a pretty much daily basis. Sure, there are times that we go on vacation, or have some out of the ordinary experiences, but for the most part we have “everyday life” covered pretty well.

And that’s why authors and directors don’t make books and movies about taking your children to school, running some errands, working 9-5 and having the weekends off, or getting the oil changed. Or if they do, there’s usually some kinds of crazy, unexpected plot twist that forever changes the main character’s life. But I’ve never been abducted by terrorists on my way to Subway. And I doubt you have either.

Movies and books sell so much because they’re about what never happens to us, not what always happens to us. Honestly, a movie about my life would be pretty boring after about 8 seconds.(Hint: it involves lots of phone calls, and driving on the interstate, with some preaching mixed in there.)

Another key element of these modes of media is that they are all about a main character or group of characters, and  how they have to overcome problems. Even when said characters are fighting for a greater good, the emphasis is (usually) placed on their individual struggles and hardships in relation to that greater good.

They all follow the same pattern

Growing up, I loved movies. I spent most of my income on them, and really had a fair sized collection of them. And after watching them, over and over and over, I came to have a little bit of what you might call a “silver screen complex.” Here’s what I mean:

Movies/books generally follow a similar plot line.

1-Main character/characters are introduced

2-Problem/conflict arises

3-Character/characters must rise to the challenge (usually life altering, or greater than any previous challenge)

4-Resolution of conflict and conclusion

I understand that this is not the only plot line for books and movies. But you would be hard pressed to find one that doesn’t have those basic elements in them.

So, as an avid movie and book fan, I kept waiting for that one moment when something dramatic would happen to me. I was always waiting for a cataclysmic event to radically alter my life, and have to rise above a challenge like no other. But it never came. I had “silver screen complex:” always looking for movie-like events to pop up in my life

Pictured: not my daily routine

Pictured: not my daily routine

I often felt like I was doing the same thing, over and over: get up, go to school, sports practice, work, homework, bed, and repeat. Even in Bible college, there was some of the same kind of repetitious schedule to my life. And, to be honest, even on deputation, there is a great deal of the same cycle: Get up, make phone calls, go to meetings, go to bed, repeat.

To be honest, I can’t think of one single thing in my life that would make for a great movie or book. Sorry. I’m not a movie star. And if you’re reading this, guess what? I doubt you are either. Sorry.

Don’t try to live a movie life

I’ve pretty much given up waiting for that one catastrophic event or life changing moment. Will bad things, and unexpected circumstances happen to me? I’m sure they will. Will I find out that I’m actually a robot, created in some kind of science experiment by the C.I.A.? Doubtful.

So what? Since we’re seemingly relegated to being normal people, who will never have books or movies about us, what can we do? Slog through our ho-hum life and hope to get transported back in time so we can have some real fun? I don’t think so. I don’t even think we should really look for those “movie or book” moments either, to be honest. But I’m also not living a boring life. Not at all. And I don’t feel like I have to discover a deep, hidden secret to have validation and justification for my existence.

I have my life. The life of Kyle M. Shreve. What I can do, and what you can do is this: live your life serving God as best you can, and be faithful in everything you have been given. I’m not promising that you’ll be a missionary and get to live in another country (but you can if you want, you know. We need all the help we can get  down in South America). I’m not promising you that you’ll get to preach to a million people on a grand stage. But here’s what I will say: you will live the best life a Christian can live.

Created to NOT be the main character

It might seem like a small and boring thing, at first, to “just serve God” with your life. But for myriad reasons, that is what our life is to be about: God and not us. I am a servant of the Lord Jesus, and my life does not belong to me. Or at least according to 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 I’m not. That says that my body and spirit are bought with a price, and belong to God.  I’m not the main character of my life. Jesus is. My “movie/book life” isn’t about Kyle Shreve. It’s about Jesus Christ, living and working in me. My job is just to serve Him, and let him work.

Here’s a truth I’m starting to learn, that at first was very uncomfortable and a great blow to my ego, but has really been more of a comfort than anything to me of late: I am probably not going to be the next Charles Spurgeon. I doubt I will every preach to thousands of people. I doubt I will ever be in a history book. I’m just going to be a normal guy, live my life serving God, die, and spend eternity with Jesus. (which is a pretty good deal, by the way.)

So how is that a comfort? Because it really allows me to not worry about my life. I used to fret and feel so insecure that other people were doing things that I wasn’t. This person got married at a younger age than I did. This person went on more missions trips than I did. I didn’t have the experiences of other people. I often felt like a character in a B-movie, compared to a bunch of blockbuster, bestsellers. Honestly, I felt too boring and normal to be used of God.

But here’s the truth: that’s not my responsibility. I’m not called to live a crazy life and have all these wild experiences. I’m called to be a servant of God and live every area of my life in obedience and service to Him. I’ll let Him write the script.

Not an excuse to be lazy

However, let me add this before you draw the wrong idea: This is not an excuse to do nothing with your life and call it serving Jesus. Serving Jesus ought to take a serious investment of your life. Literally, it ought to touch and control every area of your life. This is not an excuse to sit on the pew idly, and claim that you didn’t get the William Carey script for your life.

If you’d get up and start serving, maybe you’d find out that God would do something with your life besides the normal routine and rut you’re stuck in! I highly doubt that when Peter began following Jesus he knew he’d preach to thousands at Pentecost and be the apostle of the Jews. He just though, “Hey! This is what I’m supposed to do, so let’s see what happens!” I think you would be shocked and delighted what God would do in your life if you would surrender to serve Him in every area of your life.

Will it involve corporate espionage and death defying car chases? I don’t know anyone like that, and I’m blessed to work along some modern heroes in missions. So I doubt you and I will live up to the insane standards set by movies and books. But that’s okay. We’re not called to do so.

You and I, normal people, are called to serve God. Let’s just let Him fill in the details, and I think we’ll be pleasantly surprised with what He does. I love serving Jesus with my life. I might not ever jump out of a helicopter as it explodes, and I’m okay with that. I get to serve the creator of everything with and in the life He has given me, and I will be content and pleased to do so.

Slow motion scenes not needed.



Poor spiritual leadership #3- Lead by man’s opinion, not the scriptures
October 23, 2013, 8:30 am
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“And there shall be, like people, like priest”

Now, with this post, I’m not advocating that all preachers go out on a kick and rip their congregation a new one this coming Sunday. I’m generally not that way, and I don’t advocate it, unless that is what the text is advocating. You can search for my posts on preaching to see that.

What I am trying to advocate, is the opposite of what these priests were doing. They had the idea “like people, like priest!” Whatever feels good for the people feels good for us! We’ll give them what they want. The idea found in 2 Timothy 4:3-4:

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

These priests were just trying to itch ears and say what felt good.

Now, let me reiterate that I would not be in favor of a pastor lambasting and accosting his congregation on a weekly basis. Some passages are a little rougher than others, and call for rougher preaching. That is not necessary. Neither is the opposite end of the spectrum, to always preach that everything is okay, and nothing is wrong.

The mistake that these priests really made was to minister following man’s opinion, and not according to the word of God! Let us, as spiritual leaders, remember that we are to preach and minister according to the scriptures, and not any man’s opinion!



Poor spiritual leadership #2- Focus more on personal gain over health of the flock
October 21, 2013, 8:30 am
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” As they were increased, so they sinned against me: Therefore will I change their glory into shame. They eat up the sin of my people, And they set their heart on their iniquity. ” 

The priests, or any spiritual leader, has been charged with the oversight and responsibility of a person or people in a great way. When you think about a shepherd, you do not think of someone who is working for personal gain. To stand in a cold, rainy field, making sure your sheep are cared for is not generally associated with selfish motives and greed, but sacrifice and love for others. To go hunting through the thicket and woods for a lost sheep, only to have to carry it back to the fold an mend its broken leg is not a selfish action. But these priests, it would seem were not doing such things.

They were increasing, and as a result sinning against God, and were eating up, or living off of, the sin of the people! What a tragedy! Instead of being a good shepherd, and trying to warn the people away from sin and error, they used the opportunity to make gain and increase off of them! I am quickly reminded of the many false prosperity gospel preachers of our age, who preach no true gospel, and take advantage of foolish and unlearned people, and build for themselves a large empire of material wealth.

I cannot express enough how that a shepherd does very little, if any for his own personal gain. Think, for example, of the Lord Jesus Christ. How is is the good and true shepherd, who literally left heaven and literally gave everything He had, even unto his life, for his flock. That is the example of a shepherd that we are to be as spiritual leaders.

If these priests weren’t going to try to guide and lead their people to do right so they could make gain, we ought to do the opposite, and always be leading our people closer to Christ, even if it may cost us a little!

Maybe there is a man in your church who is a giver, but also a teacher of false doctrine.While you would risk losing several offerings to try to rectify the situation, either by helping the man to learn the error of his way, or asking him to depart and cease from infecting the flock, but that must be done.

For a spiritual leader, the health of his flock is paramount and must always be kept at the front, even when it means that he may have to make a self sacrifice.

I once ate lunch with a pastor who told me that the offerings took a decline over a period of a few months. Rather than fire his staff, or not pay the missionaries, he made sure both got their money, and that he went without a paycheck for a few months. I was so amazed to hear that. That is a sacrificial spirit that all leaders should have.