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“Obey” Your Leaders?

Greetings,

Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I believe that every member of The Body of Christ is a full and equal peer under ONLY Jesus.  I contend that all Christ followers are true siblings and that no believer ever has the “rule” over and above other believers.  Many in the traditional “church” believe in Ruling Elders and that only the Clergy are to be in charge over the church.  I say that ONLY Jesus is The Head, Ruler and true Shepherd of His Church.

It seems that most traditional “church” Pastors disagree with my stance on church leadership.  I mention these Pastors here because they often quote Hebrews 13: 17 as a validation of having humans rule over others in the church.  Today I want to take an honest look at that verse and determine what it might really mean to all of us in His Church.

We are going to look at several English translations of that particular verse. However, there is no real good substitute for the Greek.  I took over three years of Koine Greek in college, but that was over 25 years ago. Now with the Internet and computer tools we can all finally delve into real meanings that can be very eye opening. For example;

Hebrews 13:17a Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: – KJV

Hebrews 13:17a Obey your spiritual leaders and submit to them [continually recognizing their authority over you] – Amplified

Hebrews 13:17a Keep constantly obeying your rulers, and constantly be
submitting to them – Wuest

The Amplified and Wuest both do a better job bringing in the concept of
continuing action that is only implied in the KJV

However, translators that want to appease the King and Church (or today get endorsements that increase sales) do not want to “rock the traditional boat”.  King James would never endorse a translation that did not support hierarchy and “men” ruling over other “men”.  The King James translators were biased towards human leadership and rule in the church because they knew the King could have their heads if their words did not support Kings and Clergy.

Let us look at three Greek words that are prominent in this verse:

Peitho – persuasion
Hegeomai – chosen leader
Hupeiko – military term to stop fighting after a loss

Then taking the Greek into full consideration the verse should read like this:

Hebrews 13:17a Stop resisting and allow yourself to be persuaded by
those you have chosen to follow.

Now that translation of the Greek seems to me, to better line up with what Jesus showed us about true leadership in the church.  It also comes more into line with what Paul taught about authority in the church.  This translation makes the whole concept of leadership more relational, as it should be.  Instead of being ruled and made to obey someone in a position of power over us, we instead have the freedom of choice to be persuaded by someone we want to follow because of the life we have seen them live before us.  This is not being commanded or told what to do by someone with a title or position.  This is us voluntarily wanting to follow someone we love, know and appreciate because we have a relationship with them.  In a free church submission is always voluntary and never forced.  We should never be forced to follow anyone’s lead, even if they are licensed, ordained and have a title that makes them sound important.  Jesus does not force us to follow Him, so why should we ever follow ANYone who tries to force us to submit, listen to and follow them because of position or title?  True submission occurs when we realize that someone has laid down their life for us and that they are acting in our best interest in any given situation.  It is always about relationship and never about power, manipulation and control.

In most traditional “churches” Leadership is always top heavy and always top down.  That is not the way that it should be among us followers of Jesus.  Jesus led by example as did Paul and others.  In the church it should never be about edicts or commands from those in recognized Leadership.  The two main things I always look for in someone I might follow are love and humility.  The reason I follow any peer is that I see that they are following Christ Jesus.  As Paul said, “Follow me as I follow Christ.”  A true leader does not seek to lead, no they seek to follow Christ alone.  Leadership, true leadership, is merely a quite simple by-product of following and abiding in Jesus.

Love and ……

Kirk Out !

P.s.  I am been praying and have decided to take the Holidays off from Blogging to focus even more on family, friends and fellowship.  However, I hope some good discussion is prompted by this current blogpost before we all tend to things we need to do this Christmas season?

 

Totally Free & Open, Spirit Led Fellowship

Greetings,

“Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4: 4-7

Some time ago in free and open fellowship, during prayer, The Spirit had me have this passage from Philippians ready to share.  Then not too long into the gathering a brother was sharing about how he was very anxious about a situation at his workplace.  It was the perfect opening for me to share the passage that God already led me to, and it was very well received.

Then another brother began sharing how as of late he had been drawn to the very same passage.  Another sister said that she too had been reading Philippians a lot lately.  That is what I just love about totally free & open, Spirit led fellowship.  No one planned anything or had an agenda, but The Spirit knew exactly how to lead us and all we had to do was surrender to His will.  It was amazing!  I have witnessed The Lord lead gatherings like this since 1976 and I have never once been disappointed.  God knows exactly how to lead us without the need of any liturgy, human plan, or agenda.  And the past 40 plus years I have been learning how to stay out of His way and allow Him to flow through each and every member as He sees fit.  We are not in need of any Pastor or human Leader to direct our meetings.  No, we just let go and let The Spirit of God flow as He desires in our midst.

Another thing that happened during this gathering was a brother expressing how he could not afford his blood sugar medication, so he was doing without.  Then another brother stepped right up and gave this brother all the cash that he had on him.  It was more than enough to cover the medication.  This kind of thing happens all the time in free and open fellowship. When you don’t have a Pastor or building to pay for, it totally frees up the Body to be able to give as anyone has need.  True fellowship works like a fully functioning family and NOT like a business as most “churches” do.  Love and freedom abound when they do not have to follow a planned schedule.  We simply adjust to The Spirit’s flow, instead of requiring God to follow our format and plan.  That is what works for us anyway.  Let God out of your box and He will AMAZE you!

Love and…….

Kirk Out !

 

It’s Really Not About The Book

Greetings,

“He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant – not of the letter but of The Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”  2 Corinthians 3: 6

Here we have it again:  The Spirit is superior to the letter.  We need The Holy Spirit to guide us, even guide us in how we approach and use the scriptures.

I am going to try and explain this as simply as I can.  I need The Spirit more than I need the bible.  Because the Spirit inspired what is written.  That means if I don’t have a bible The Spirit can still tell me anything I need to know in the bible.  The Spirit can even give me exact chapter and verse if need be.  When I have The Holy Spirit I have full and complete access to everything written in the bible.  The Spirit can bring to my heart and mind ANY passage that I need at ANY given time.  That means if I have The Spirit I also have the entire bible available to me at all times.  With the Spirit I lack nothing that the bible can supply.

However, If I only have the bible and not the Spirit I am lost.  Because you need the Holy Spirit to really fully understand and comprehend what is written.  It is the Spirit that gives the bible its life.  We need the Spirit to open the eyes of our understanding to the bible, without that Spiritual understanding….. the bible is just another lifeless book.

If one has to choose either The Spirit or the bible.  The Holy Spirit is the obvious choice.  If I have The Spirit I automatically have the bible also, but if I have a bible that does not guarantee that I have the Spirit too.  When left to our own human reasoning and understanding apart from the Spirit’s enlightenment we are very apt to misuse and misapply the written word to the detriment of all who may be involved in any given situation.  “Church” and cult history are full of such misled examples.

I am thankful that I do not have to choose between the Spirit and the bible.  However, it is very good to know that no one can ever really take the bible away from me.  Sure they can confiscate the book, but as long as I have The Holy Spirit I will also have the whole counsel of scripture available to me at any time.

Does this help explain why I always say that we need to be Spirit led and not bible led?  I value and treasure the bible.  I wear them out all the time.  It is never really about the book.  It is truly all about the Holy Spirit who gives life to the book.  The Truth needs to be written on our hearts and not merely on paper.

Love and……

Kirk Out !

p.s.  I Had 3 people call me a heretic or worse over my last blog post.  I just smile and continue to love them.

 

 

The Definitive Word?

Greetings,

Jesus said:

“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.  But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth.  He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come.”  John 16: 12-13

There we have it!  The definitive word, right from the mouth of Jesus Himself…. It is The Holy Spirit that guides and leads us into ALL TRUTH.  This is why I say and stress that we must be Spirit led and NOT bible led.  Taking these words of Jesus into full account and consideration how can anyone say anything different?

The Spirit of Truth is above the bible there is just no other way around that truth.  Now when the Spirit is leading us into this truth, the place He leads us perhaps most often is the bible. The Spirit can and does lead us in the scriptures and that is as it should be.  However, the bible does not always lead us back to the truth of The Spirit.  Because without The Spirit’s illumination the bible is nothing more than dead letter.  “For the Letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”  The vast majority of traditional/institutional “churches” out there claim that the bible is their final or sole authority in matters of faith and practice.  Yet they deny, in practice, the Priesthood of all believers and settle most often for the Priesthood of one “man” in their congregations that they call their Pastor.  Plus they deny many if not most of the gifts that the Holy Spirit gives individuals in the Body of Christ.  When they limit or deny the Holy Spirit’s empowerments like that they can always back it up with their version and interpretation of scripture.  Jesus came so that we could be free in the Spirit and led by Him and no longer be in bondage to the written word and Law.  Being bible led places limits on the Holy Spirit’s leading and in fact denies us of the full and free Gospel of Truth that is abundantly found in the Spirit of Christ alone.

This brings us to one very great and important question…..  Would the Spirit ever tell us to do something that goes directly against Scripture?  Please step back, say a prayer, and ponder that for a minute?  The answer is YES He can and does at times.  Now, read Acts chapter 10 verses 9-16.  In that passage the Lord directly tells Peter three times to kill and eat what scripture had previously called unclean.  Peter was told in no uncertain terms to violate what was written in the scriptures.

So I choose to yield and submit to The Spirit’s leading in all things, biblical or otherwise.  At least I do on good days.  More human words here will not prove this case any better than what Jesus, Himself, has said about this matter.  God, The Father, The Son Jesus, and The Spirit reign supreme.  I refuse to follow or bow down to anything or anyone less than God Himself.  I will choose direct revelation from The Spirit over and above secondary revelation from a book about Him on any day.

Love and …..

Kirk Out !

 

 

HIS Voice Always Comes First And Foremost

Greetings,

“…because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.  And by Him we cry “Abba, Father.”  The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.”  Romans 8: 14-17

Here it is again…… “..those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”  Please notice again that we are supposed to be Spirit led and NOT bible led.  If someone is bible led it does not necessarily mean that they are a son of God, but if they are Spirit led they are a son of God. It does not get much clearer than that folks.  Once again I am not saying that the bible is not important in the life of a Christ follower.  In fact the place that the Spirit leads us most often to for truth and confirmation is the bible.   However, being Spirit led is not limited to the bible; but being bible led leads to many limitations.

Another thing…. I was just reading Revelation and in chapters two and three we find messages to the seven churches and each message concludes with,,, “Let him who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.”  The Greek word used for “hear” is a form of akouomai, from which we get the English word acoustic and it means exactly what it says…to hear or recognize.  If we really want to know what God is saying to the church we need to listen to, and follow, the Spirit; NOT the bible.  Don’t throw your bible away, but only use it when the Spirit leads you to.

Finally Jesus said in John Chapter 10 that His sheep hear His voice and obey.  So where it comes to following Jesus and The Spirit we need to listen for and hear His voice.  It does not say to look at and read the bible.  True Christ followers listen for His voice instead of always trying to make the bible The Sole Authority.  Of course when we do read the bible we can also hear His voice there quite often, but always remember that His voice is always more important than what is printed on the page.  Right now some folks are shaking their heads and pulling out their hair because of what I have written here.  I will say this right out loud now…. sola scriptura is a lie.  The bible is not the know all and end all of the faith.  I am surely glad to have the bible as a most excellent resource in my life, but I refuse to elevate it to near Godhood.  I know this is a difficult saying, but what I am sharing is the Truth in Love, even according to the bible.  Listen for His voice?  The Spirit of Christ will surely guide you into ALL Truth!

Love and …..

Kirk Out !

P.s.  I am in the process of deep prayer and thought about whether to continue to BLOG here or to step away for a season or longer.  The reason I BLOG is beacause Jesus led me to and I am pretty sure HE still is.  However, the lack of interaction and dialogue here the last few months has caused me to question the whole endeavor.  Please pray that I receive clear direction from HIM in this matter?  Thank you very much in advance.

 

Without Mercy All Is Lost

Greetings,

“To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable:  Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself:  God, I thank you that I am not like other men – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.  But the tax collector stood at a distance.  He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, God have mercy on me, a sinner.  I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God.  For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled. and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”      Luke 18: 9-14

Wow, Jesus was very straightforward here, even to the point of directing this parable right at those who were acting smug and holier than thou towards others.  With pinpoint accuracy Jesus called out those who were full of themselves and lacking in grace, mercy and Spiritual maturity.

The Pharisee exalted himself by comparing himself and his self righteousness to others who were obviously sinning.  Then he listed his qualifications (fasting, tithing) as if he were applying for a position with God.  He totally misses that the only standard we are judged by is Jesus and that nobody ever really measures up without His abundant mercy and grace.

The tax collector was totally humble in approaching God, fully knowing that he did not measure up to God’s standard.  Then instead of listing his good deeds he called himself a sinner and simply asked for God’s mercy, knowing full well that his life falls way short of God’s best.

Too many times in my life I have been the self righteous Pharisee, showcasing my best attributes and minimizing my sin.  Hopefully, this occurs less often as I age and mature in Christ; but it still happens at times.  I can all too easily be a smug bastard and look down on others as I compare my good works to theirs.  Deep in my heart though I am not that person, but in my insecurity there is so much fear and pride that I get sidetracked and focus on works instead of grace.  Sometimes I think that I cannot trust God, His grace, or anyone else; and that I need to earn acceptance and forgiveness on my own.  I know this is warped thinking, but I think it comes from my childhood and never being able to trust my natural father because of the way he raped, molested and abused me.  Trust is a MAJOR issue for anyone who has been abused.  In my heart I know I can trust Jesus, but in my mind at times I still struggle.  So here I am this very deeply flawed individual very much in need of grace and healing.  My only hope? God have mercy on me, a sinner?

Love and ……

Kirk Out !

 

What Would Jesus Do?

Greetings,
                 “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps. ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth.’  When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats.  Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly.  He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed.  For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”  1 Peter 2: 21-25
                 The WWJD bracelets are easy to wear, but the life is difficult and very hard to live at times.  Jesus left some pretty big steps for us to follow in.  The New Testament is not filled with as many references to being Christ-like as many would have us believe.  However, this passage is pretty straight forward though and does not give us very much wiggle room.  Jesus is our example and the way of Christ is that of no sin, no deceit, no retaliation and no threats.  Oh, and let us not forget the suffering. Everyone wants to overlook the suffering.  This is exactly how and why we are to make our calling and election sure. (2 Peter 1: 10)
                 The way of Jesus is not pretty or easy, in fact it is downright ugly and difficult at times.  Jesus wants us to pick up OUR cross daily and follow Him.  For those who refuse their own cross, but still try to claim His cross in their life I would say this: “No cross, no death, then NO RESURRECTION!”  He wants us all to die to self and instead live for and in Him.
                 But, EVERYONE sins you might say.  True, but not everyone turns their heart towards relationship with Jesus.  If we are in true relationship with Him, He will then cover our sin with His blood sacrifice and we are clean and free; IF we are wholeheartedly surrendering our lives and sin unto Him.  However, if we hold back and continue in a sin; I feel that is a extremely dangerous path to choose.  We might still be forgiven in His eyes, but the collateral damage that comes with that sin cannot be avoided and it can leave a huge path of destruction in its wake.  This is my belief and experience, but we all have to work out our salvation in our own way and time.  Without Jesus though, we are all hopeless and lost. Thankfully He always meets us at our exact point of need and His love, grace and mercy are always extended and within our grasp no matter what we might have ever said or done.  We are never too late or too far gone for Jesus to forgive and reach us.
                 I was going to write more, but I feel Him saying I have written more than enough for today.  I will now take Him at His Word and bid you all a fond farewell.
                 Love and ….
       Kirk Out !
               P.s.  BTW, my best answer to W.W.J.D.? is “Clear The Temple Again!”