YOUR TIME

“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:16).

Two little words are found in the Greek version here. They are translated “ton kairon” in the revised version, “Buying up for yourselves the opportunity.” The two words ton kairon mean, literally, the opportunity.

They do not refer to time in general, but to a special point of time, a juncture, a crisis, a moment full of possibilities and quickly passing by, which we must seize and make the best of before it has passed away.

It is intimated that there are not many such moments of opportunity, because the days are evil; like a barren desert, in which, here and there, you find a flower, pluck it while you can; like a business opportunity which comes a few times in a lifetime; buy it up while you have the chance. Be spiritually alert; be not unwise, but understanding what the will of God is. “Walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, buying up for yourselves the opportunity.”

God has brought us to this place with open eyes to behold the promises of our generations. We can see but unable to touch, but it is enough for us to take stock and spend wisely “redeeming the time”. My brothers and sisters as we close this year  2017 let us look ahead to the place that is flowing with milk and honey. A place prepared for us who are washed in His blood.

Sometimes it is a moment of time to be saved; sometimes a soul to be led to Christ; sometimes it is an occasion for love; sometimes for patience: sometimes for victory over temptation and sin. Let us redeem it.

WHAT IS THE FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY

Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div

Here a little and there a little until we reach that place of perfection. I will stretch to close the year with some extra understanding of the word. I pray that your hearts will be open to receive and you will bless another person.

The concept of the five-fold ministry comes from Ephesians 4:11, “It was he who gave some to be

  1.  apostles, some to be
  2.  prophets, some to be
  3.  evangelists, and some to be
  4. pastors and
  5.  teachers.”

Primarily as a result of this verse, some believe God has restored or is restoring, the offices of apostle and prophet in the church today. Ephesians 4:12-13 tells us that the purpose of the five-fold ministry is, “to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” So, since the body of Christ definitely is not built up to unity in the faith and has not attained to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ, the thinking goes, the offices of apostle and prophet must still be in effect.

However, Ephesians 2:20 informs us that the church is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone.” If the apostles and prophets were the foundation of the church, are we still building the foundation? Hebrews 6:1-3 encourages us to move on from the foundation. Although Jesus Christ is most definitely active in the church today, His role as the cornerstone of the church was completed with His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. If the work of the cornerstone is, in that sense, complete, so must the work of the apostles and prophets, who were the foundation, be complete.

What was the role of the apostles and prophets? It was to proclaim God’s revelation, to teach the new truth the church would need to grow and thrive. The apostles and prophets completed this mission. How? By giving us the Word of God. The Word of God is the completed revelation of God. The Bible contains everything the church needs to know to grow, thrive, and fulfill God’s mission (2 Timothy 3:15-16). The cornerstone work of the apostles and prophets is complete. The ongoing work of the apostles and prophets is manifested in the Holy Spirit speaking through and teaching us God’s Word. In that sense, the five-fold ministry is still active.

THE FULLNESS OF THE SPIRIT

Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div

“And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.” (Acts 5:32).

We can only know and prove the fullness of the Spirit as we step out into the larger purposes and plans of Christ for the world. So many ministers concentrate on the numbers of people that attend the church and how much money will it take in the offering. They have pulled a wool over the eyes of the people and because the people lack the knowledge they are dying spiritually.

Perhaps the chief reason why the Holy Spirit has been so limited in His work in the hearts of Christians is the shameful neglect of the unsaved and unevangelized world by the great majority of the professed followers of Christ. There is nothing like evangelization without the preaching of prosperity and the sale of books and DVD. How the people have lost their way and the calling to a safer place. You cannot make it to heaven if you are poor. Therefore, everyone wants to get rich for the journey. Oh, foolish hearts come back to God.

There are millions of professing Christians–and, perhaps, real Christians–in the world, who have never given one real, earnest thought to the evangelization of the heathen world.

God will not give the Holy Spirit in His fullness for the selfish enjoyment of any Christian.

His power is a great trust, which we must use for the benefit of others and for the evangelization of the lost and sinful world. Not until the people of God awake to understand His real purpose for the salvation of men, will the Church ever know the fullness of her Pentecost. God’s promised power must lie along the line of duty, and as we obey the command, we shall receive His promise in his fulness.

Lord, help me to understand Thy plan.

MAN IS A TREE

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” (Psalm 1:1).

Three things are notable about this man:

1. His company. “He walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.”

2. His reading and thinking. “His delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law doth he meditates day and night.”

 3. His fruitfulness. “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”

The river is the Holy Ghost; the planting, the deep, abiding life in which, not occasionally, but habitually, we absorb the Holy Spirit; and the fruit is not occasional, but continual, and appropriate to each changing season.

His life is also prosperous, and his spirit fresh, like the unfading leaf. Such a life must be happy. Indeed, happiness is a matter of spiritual conditions. Put a sunbeam in a cellar and it must be bright. Put a nightingale in the darkest midnight, and it must sing.

WATCH UNTO PRAYER

Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div

“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41).

We need to watch for prayers as well as for the answers to our prayers. It needs as much wisdom to pray rightly as it does faith to receive the answers to our prayers.

We met a friend the other day, who had been in years of darkness because God had failed to answer certain prayers, and the result had been a state bordering on infidelity.

Very few moments were sufficient to convince this friend that these prayers had been entirely unauthorized and that God had never promised to answer such prayers, and they were for things which this friend should have accomplished himself, in the exercise of ordinary wisdom.

The result was deliverance from a cloud of unbelief which was almost wrecking a Christian life. There are some things about which we do not need to pray, as much as to take the light which God has already given.

Many persons are asking God to give them peculiar signs, tokens and supernatural intimations of His will. Our business is to use the light He has given, and then He will give whatever more we need.

COMING BACK AGAIN (Part two)

Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div

And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them–Luke 2:51

Routine Should Never Be Counted as Drudgery

Now, that is big with meaning for us all, and is capable of endless application. At this season, for instance, one would think of holidays. Many of my readers have had a splendid holiday, favored by weather exquisitely fine. A strong light, says Emerson, makes everything beautiful, and multitudes have found the truth of that. And now, from the “large room” of holidays, and the healing vision of mountain and of moorland, they are back to the old drudgery again. It is never easy coming back like that, especially in the vivid years of youth. The “daily round and common task” are alien and irksome for a little. But if we are trying to follow the great Master, we can show it not only in our going forth, but by the kind of spirit in which we return. He went down and was subject to His parents. He left the hills for the epileptic boy. He did it with that unfaltering faith of His, which assured Him that His God was everywhere. And in that radiant spirit of return from the vision to the daily round, He has left us an example that we should follow His steps.

It Takes Heroism to Come Back to Lowly Tasks

The same truth holds with equal force of all the great revealing hours of life. There is often not a little heroism in coming back again to lowly tasks. When love has once come caroling down the highway it is not easy to get back to drudgery. When sorrow has come and “slit the thin-spun life,” how intolerable, often, is that housework! The hand that knocks the nail into the coffin seems to knock the bottom out of everything, and we are left sometimes, paralyzed and powerless, in a world of phantoms we cannot understand. Some men in such hours take to drink. Some who can afford it take to travel. Some lose “the rapture of the forward view” and settle down in the “luxury of woe.” But He who came to lead us heavenward, and who drank our bitter chalice to the dregs, has empowered us for a better way than that. To take up our common task again, to march to our duty over the new-filled grave, to come back to the detail of the day, knowing that this, too, is holy ground–that is the path marked out for us by Him who went down and was subject to His parents, and who left the mount for the epileptic boy.

A Christian Does Ordinary Things in Extraordinary Ways

Nor can we forget how this applies to the great hours of the spiritual life. For that life, too, has its high revealing seasons, when like the apostle we are caught up to Paradise. After such hours (and one of them is conversion) men often yearn to do great things for heaven. They want to be ministers; they want to leave the bench, and go abroad to evangelize the heathen. If that be the authentic call of God it will reveal itself as irresistible, but often the appointed path is otherwise. It is not to go forth in glorious adventure; it is to come back with the glow upon the face–to the old home, the dubious friends, the critical comrades, the familiar faces, it is to tell out there all that the Lord has done, not necessarily by the utterance of the lip, but by the demonstration of the life. A Christian does not always do extraordinary things. He does ordinary things in extraordinary ways. He makes conscience of the humblest task. He does things heartily as to the Lord. And to come back again, with that new spirit, to the dull duty and narrowing routine is the kind of conduct that gives joy in heaven.

SPIRITUAL CHOICES

Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
“And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” (Ezekiel 36:27).

      The highest spiritual condition is one where life is spontaneous and flows without effort, like the deep floods of Ezekiel’s river, where the struggles of the swimmer ceased, and he was borne by the current’s resistless force.

So God leads us into spiritual conditions and habits which become the spontaneous impulses of our being, and we live and move in the fullness of the divine life.

But these spiritual habits are not the outcome of some transitory impulse but are often slowly acquired and established. They begin, like every true habit, in a definite act of will, and they are confirmed by the repetition of that act until it becomes a habit. The first stages always involve effort and choice. We have to take a stand and hold it steadily, and after we have done so a certain time, it becomes second nature and carries us by its own force.

The Holy Spirit is willing to form such habits in every direction of our Christian life, and if we will but obey Him in the first steppings of faith, we will soon become established in the attitude of obedience, and duty will be a delight.

To my brothers Archbishop and Apostolic Head-Elect Hon. Adrian and Archbishop-Elect Goodridge standing before you is a choice that you will have to make as you continue this spiritual walk of life. Yo have to choose the way of the Lord and make your paths straight, or you choose the way of the man that will lead you to damnation. I have prayed for you that your faith fails not and that you will strengthen your fellow brothers and lead them to a path of spiritual conversion. May Almighty God grant you grace and mercy along this pathway until He comes.

TIPS FOR DEALING WITH GOSSIP IN THE CHURCH

And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.—Romans 1:28–29

When I see a list of the sins associated with abandoning God, I expect to see things like wickedness and murder. I don’t expect to see gossip and slander. Why? Because those they’re so commonplace—even in our churches.

Because we tend to use information as a commodity when we’re building relationships and alliances, gossip gets woven into the foundation of most human communities. The truth is that its cancer that ultimately eats away at the core of a community’s security until there’s nothing left.

What makes gossip particularly nefarious is our attitude about it. We expect people to gossip, we make jokes from the pulpit about women and gossip (regardless of the fact that loose talk is no respecter of genders), and it’s this casualness that empowers and emboldens this sin.

If you’re ready to wage war on this unity killer, keep reading. I’ve put together 5 tips to help you put gossip in its place.

1. Be a model of love and solidarity

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.Ephesians 4:29

Many leaders struggle with gossip. In fact, I don’t think I’ve been in a church where it wasn’t an issue in leadership. The ministry’s tough and sometimes you just want someone to commiserate with.

But every time you gossip with someone, you’re modeling that behaviour—and there is no sermon that will undo the bad example you’ve set. When a leader speaks untruth about another and passes it off to someone else, that behaviour should not be tolerated.

The first step in eradicating gossip lies in showing your church what healthy communication looks like. That means you need to:

  • Share information with only those who can legitimately contribute
  • Immediately shut down gossip when you hear it
  • Protect the victims of gossip

2. Define it

Identifying what is and isn’t gossip can be difficult. When your church has a working definition of gossip, it removes the mystery. By leaving it undefined, you give people an ignorance loophole to exploit.

Here are some definitions to help you get started:

  • Rumour: any unverified information
  • Slander: false or malicious information with the intent to harm
  • Gossip: sensational talk passed on because of it’s “juicy” nature, whether true, rumour, or slander

3. Communicate its significance

It couldn’t be more clear from the verse that opens that God takes the issue of gossip very seriously. In John 17, we see Jesus praying for the church, and his number one concern was that we would be unified. (John 17:22–23)

Leaders of churches need to be champions of unity and stalwart critics of anything that would jeopardize that togetherness. This means we need to preach strongly and often about the evils of gossip. Leaders should not encourage gossip and should put a STOP to anyone that approaches him.

Here are some Bible passages to use for inspiration:

  • You shall not bear a false report; do not join your hand with a wicked man to be a malicious witness.Exodus 23:1
  • If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless.—James 1:26
  • Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it.—James 4:11
  • He who conceals hatred has lying lips,
    And he who spreads slander is a fool.Proverbs 10:18
  • He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets,
    But he who is trustworthy conceals a matter.Proverbs 11:13
  • A perverse man spreads strife,
    And a slanderer separates intimate friends.Proverbs 16:28
  • For lack of wood the fire goes out,
    And where there is no whisperer, contention quiets down.—Proverbs 26:20

4. Make gossip a staffing issue

Your church leadership sets a tone that the rest of the church follows. The leadership must be blameless and upright before the congregation at all times. It really doesn’t matter how great anyone operates in their position if their presence undermines the church’s unity.

You need a staffing policy that elevates the significance of gossip. Not only should they be free from gossip themselves, but they also need to be equipped to shut it down when it rears its ugly head.

5. Cover gossip in your discipleship program

Gossip isn’t one of those things we just stop doing. We are set free from gossip at the place where information and spiritual empowerment intersect.

Keeping a rein on our tongues is such an integral part of our spiritual maturity that it’s worth creating a curriculum that everyone goes through. These classes can be used in the select committee for elevation, for ministers refreshers courses, and Sunday school classes.

The important thing is to ensure that you have a systematic plan in place to help your church members understand gossip’s significance and a safe platform to talk through its implications, Leaders must understand that the members of the church look up to them and they may not be the perfect example, but striving to be the best leader.

We don’t have to accept gossip!

We need to recognize that gossip is contrary to the gospel. It is love and acceptance that creates life-changing community. Whispered shame is a terrible motivator and a destructive habit. If we want to reinforce real unity, we need to work on talking up each other’s strengths and encouraging them when they’re doing well. We are to build up and not to break down.

COMING BACK AGAIN (Part one)

Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div

And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them–Luke 2:51

It Was Hard to Return to Nazareth after the Vision of Jerusalem

That visit to Jerusalem was one of the great hours in the life of Jesus. It must have moved Him to the depths. Often in the quiet home at Nazareth, His mother had spoken to Him of the Holy City. And the Boy, clinging to her knee, had eagerly listened to all she had to tell. Now He was there, moving through the streets, feasting His eyes upon the Temple. He had reached the city of His dreams. Clearly, it was a time of the vision. “Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? In that moving hour there broke on Him the revelation of His unique vocation. And the beautiful thing is that after such an hour He quietly went back to Nazareth, and was subject to Mary and to Joseph. He drew the water from the well again. He did little daily errands for His mother. He weeded the garden, tended the flowers in it, lent a hand to Joseph in the shop. And all this after that great hour which had changed His outlook upon everything and moved Him to the very depths.

Coming from Vision to Duty Was Characteristic of Jesus

That faithful and radiant way of coming back again was very characteristic of the Lord. We see it later at the Transfiguration. That was a splendid and a shining hour when heaven drew very near to earth. Such hours find a more suitable environment on mountain-tops than on the lower levels of the world. There Moses and Elias talked with Him. There was heard the awful voice of God. There His very garments became lustrous. After such an hour of heavenly converse, you and I would have craved to be alone. Voices would have had a jarring sound; the company would have been deemed intrusion. And again the beautiful thing about our Lord is that after such a heavenly hour as that He came right down to the epileptic boy. Instead of the voices of Moses and Elias, there was the clamor and confusion of the crowd; instead of the tranquillity of heaven–the horrid contortions of the epileptic. It was the way of Jesus, after His hours of vision, to come right back, whole-heartedly and happily, to the task and travail of the day.

HOW TO CONTAIN YOUR CHURCH CONFLICT

Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div

Conflict is a fact of life. Throughout the Bible, we see God’s people at odds with one another. And we’re no different today. Although there can be many sources of conflict within a church, the issues that most often cause conflict emerge from differences about beliefs, methods, factual data, budgets, values, change, policies, communication, and church government.

As long as people care, there will always be conflicts of this nature. So what’s the secret to resolving such differences? Containment.

CONTAINMENT BY THE BOOK

You can see containment applied in the secular world every day. For example, firemen contain a fire to keep it from destroying an entire building or spreading to other nearby structures. It’s also likely that you practice containment regularly on a personal level: Self-control is containment. Turning the other cheek is containment. Agreeing to disagree is containment. Speaking the truth in love is also containment. Keeping your mouth shut and speak only when you are asked to speak is containment.

Jesus put the principle of containment into powerful words in Matthew 5:23-24 “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” and Matthew 18:15-17,” Moreover, if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.  But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.  And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglects to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican.” giving us step-by-step guidance that will never become outdated. The core value of this biblical containment principle is that it keeps conflict at the lowest management level and focuses on the primary problem. Church conflicts can be resolved redemptively if leaders will faithfully follow Jesus’ guidelines step by step.

THE PROCESS

If someone has something against you, go to him (Matthew 5:23-25). If someone has wronged you, Jesus says to make the first step toward reconciliation (Matthew 18:15). Arrange a time and place to meet without surprises. Use wisdom as to whether to go alone or have someone with you.

If the individual will not listen, take others with you (Matthew 18:16). Always take someone all the parties know and respect.

If the person will not listen, tell the church (Matthew 18:17). At this stage and for subsequent action, seek outside intervention, but keep the principle of containment operative here as well. Depending on the nature of the conflict, taking it directly to the church at large may not be wise. Instead, take it to elected leaders: the deacon body or an established committee structure that the constitutional guidelines dictate.

If the individual refuses to listen, let him be like an unbeliever (Matthew 18:17) to motivate and bring him to reconciliation with God and the church. Again, contain. Remove the person from all leadership positions. If that doesn’t work, place him in a watch care ministry. If that fails, follow church policies or constitutional guidelines to revoke his church membership. This is what many leaders do not want to do with members and they eventually fall off by themselves. That way there is no one to blame but yourself.

THE MOTIVE

Redemptive solutions to conflict are motivated by love (Ephesians 4:15,29), driven by a desire for reconciliation (Matthew 5:23-25), and bathed in prayer (James 5:16).  Before you confront anyone, purify your motives through prayer.

THE TEMPERAMENT

The basic temperament to be used in solving conflict is found in the Golden Rule (Luke 6:31; Matthew 7:12). Remember, conflict in and of itself isn’t sinful, but a response to it can be. The following scriptural instructions, or as I like to call them, Be-attitudes of the Heart, are clear, concise, and easy to understand.

Be a confessor: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed” (James 5:16).

Be an edifier: “No rotten talk should come from your mouth, but only what is good for the building up of someone in need, in order to give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29).

Be a restorer: “Brothers, if someone is caught in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual should restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so you won’t be tempted also” (Galatians 6:1).

Be a forgiver: “And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another just as God also forgave you in Christ” (Ephesians 4:32).

Be a unifier: “Now I urge you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all say the same thing, that there be no divisions among you, and that you be united with the same understanding and the same conviction” (1 Corinthians 1:10).

Be an example: “Shepherd God’s flock among you, not overseeing out of compulsion but freely, according to God’s [will]; not for the money but eagerly; not lording it over those entrusted to you, being examples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:2-3).

Be a lover: “‘Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you should also love one another'” (John 13:34).

I do not own the Scriptures but I am a part-taker of these precious words when applied for the proper purpose. If we follow the wors as is written we will walk in the fear of the Lord. When we break the word, trouble meets us at any corner of our life. A man that keepeth his tongue shall save his soul.