Just recently, I had the opportunity to talk to another gentleman (“Ordained” as he pointed out as if that made him more of a Christian) via Twitter. The conversation started a few hours after I posted a picture of an invite to the Christmas Worship Experiences at Elevation Church (picture below).
While I certainly won’t give away the name of the gentleman who participated in this discussion, I do want to share some of the content of the message because I believe it is something we can all learn from.
Rev: @ThePastorStuart this whole Elevation thing is really creepy.
My response: everyone is certainly entitled to an opinion. Have a blessed day. My prayer is that people will find a place to hear the Gospel of Jesus preached and lives are changed.
Rev:@ThePastorStuart either way your pastor is making money off you and the whole thing is just bizarre.
My response: If the Gospel is being preached and lives are being changed, that’s all I really care about (see Philippians 1:15-18) Hope you are doing well.
Rev:@ThePastorStuart don’t condescend me. Your “pastor” lives in a palace while people in Charlotte starve. Why? Justify it. You can’t.
My response: I don’t need to justify anything. You drive a car in a world where people walk for days hoping to get food. See Matthew 7:3 (which says “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”)
Rev: @ThePastorStuart don’t quote Scripture to me…
One thing I’ve learned in my life is that the issue on the surface is rarely the real issue. The gentleman conversing with me was not bothered that I invited people to church; rather, he was bothered and disgruntled that my Pastor is purchasing a very big home. After being questioned as to why our Pastor needs such a big house, I want to share with you my response.
“I don’t know his heart or reasons. He will stand before the Judge one day for his choices just like we will.”
I made that statement for a simple reason. The Bible teaches us in 2 Timothy 2:23-25, “Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth.”
I understand that being a Pastor is a high calling and that Pastors are held to a higher standard. In fact, Scripture tells us in James 3:1 that “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.“
While many critics like to “call out” leaders in the church when they do something that doesn’t line up with their ideology or theology, I want to make something very clear:
With greater responsibility comes greater expectations BY GOD.
There are a lot of Simon Cowell’s in the world today. You know, people who have an opinion and want to be heard, but they’re not the judge (reference: Simon Cowell and others were critics on American Idol years ago and they always had something to say, but they were not the final judge and did not make the final decision)
So before you decide to “call out” someone for something they may or may not have done, please consider a few things before making your voice heard.
1. “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” (John 8:7)
In this Scripture, we find a woman caught in the act of adultery. The religious leaders began quoting the Law of Moses saying that the Law commanded them to stone such a woman. They then asked Jesus what he thought to which he replied, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” Jesus was the only one in the crowd without sin; therefore, He was the only one qualified to throw a stone. But here’s what Jesus did:
Jesus didn’t rebuke her, He redeemed her.
2. Don’t look at the speck in your brother’s eye when you have a log in your own eye.
So many times in today’s culture, we see people constantly looking for the fault in others. Instead of trying to “call people out” to make a point, we should start finding ways to make a difference. There is nothing more irritating than hearing “religious people” argue on which church is better or why other churches are bad while there are people all around them dying and going to hell.
Stop pointing fingers and start pointing people to Jesus.
3. We are all in the same boat.
Throughout the Bible, we are taught that our sin separates us from God and we are all in the same position (before surrendering to the Lordship of Christ).
Let’s take a look at a few Scriptures:
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” – Romans 3:23
“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” – Romans 5:12
“…as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” – Romans 3:10-12
We all have struggled at some point in our lives when it comes to blaming others and casting stones. My prayer is that we can all begin focusing our own lives on Jesus rather than wasting our lives on foolish controversies and quarrels.
Life is short and hell is hot. Too much is at stake. Make the Gospel of Jesus known. GO!