Saturday, February 27, 2010

Some People Get Tired Of "Light Bread"

The Exodus

Exodus 16:13-16 ~ "13-And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp: and in the morning the dew lay round about the host. 14-And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness [there lay] a small round thing, [as] small as the hoar frost on the ground. 15-And when the children of Israel saw [it], they said one to another, It [is] manna: for they wist not what it [was]. And Moses said unto them, This [is] the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat."

Two and a half months after being set free from the bonds of slavery abuse and misuse, Israel came to the wilderness of Sin. That parallel of language is telling because it was in Sin that the complaint was made:

Exodus 16:3 ~ "And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, [and] when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger."

In Sin not only was the leadership of Israel tried, but also the patience of God was put to the test. Here in just over 2 months the people had forgotten about their sons being made slaves, their daughters being raped and abused and their seniors being disrespected, not to mention their hopes and dreams being destroyed. So, strangely it seems, that they clamoured for the old setting and way things used to be in order to suit their needs.

In spite of it all, God by his mercy and compassion fed the people daily. He prepared a little white wafer that sat upon the ground after the dew rose. Noone knew what it was so they called it "Manna" meaning "what it is" ie: it is what it is. So what they received was sustenance for them and obviously had the ability to nurture their complete physical being. The problem is that even after being fed by the hand of God himself, the people lost interest and wanted variety. They wanted something other than what God was giving them. The late Bishop G.E. Patterson preached a message on this subject some years ago, and in that message he said that the people got tired of eating "light bread" and demanded that the Lord feed them something else. In other words even though God was feeding the people and meeting their needs in the wilderness, their appetite was greater than the manna that they were receiving from the Lord.


The WORD Is Essential

Job 23:12 ~ "Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary [food]."

The most important part of the church should be the word of direction and inspiration from the Lord. That is the bread that is partaken. If there's bad bread, there will be unhealthy Saints and stunted growth. Too often this part of the church is neglected and under served both by pastoral leadership and by the individual membership itself. Most services by tradition only offer the word at the back end of the service. In many cases some say that the "spirit is so high that the pastor can't preach!" Personally, I don't think a service can be that high, that the word can't go forth...I just know, no matter what, that's NOT the word at New Bethel.

Secondly, to be clear, I'm not talking about delivery styles or pulpit charisma. Those things have nothing to do with the word of God. For many those are the very reasons some people joined and support their church. Too many are enamoured with what looks successful, instead of what is successful. Personality is the only thing that drives some churches. Unfortunately, personality can also drive many right into hells gates.

Then too many churches have relegated the word of the Lord within the church to purchased literature such as Sunday school and bible study curricula. Those things are good in their place, but nothing replaces the council of the Lord, but laboring in his word does take time and harvesting his word does demand obedience to it.

Joshua 1:8 ~ "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success."

The Exit

Recently I had the opportunity to give a former member of the ministry an exit interview. Yes, you read it right, I interviewed a member who at least had enough nerve to inform me that she was leaving the church. Now, as any pastor will tell you, folk leaving church is not unusual. This happens with any ministry no matter what's being taught, said or done. The fact is that some people get tired of "light bread". I'll explain:

In my experience over the years, I have had individuals who have left the church and have rendered various reasons and excuses for doing what they do. In all circumstances, I've always tried to use discernment to hear the real problems, as sometimes people are reluctant to share their true feelings and I want to be aware just in case there was something that I missed or something that I may have done wrong. However, I have found a strange consistency in about 95% of the conversations that I've had. Because of this, I thought that it was good to share for the benefit of individuals in a similar situation and for those in church leadership who need to be encouraged about what they are experiencing as they serve the Lord with all that they have.

Remember this leader of God, you must be diligent about the manna of the Lord if nothing else, because only that really represents HIS body! It's not the choir that saves, it's not the building that draws the true people of God. It is God, by his spirit, through his word.  

Fortunately enough, I haven't had the opportunity to have thousands or even hundreds of individuals walk out of our church at any one time. I've heard testimonies from pastors, who in their sincere service, have had people just wholesale get up and leave. Then I've also heard various ones say that they wished certain ones would leave in order to help the church become better. In all we must keep in mind the church belongs to God, the people are his and both it and they are a valuable part of his plan and cannot be marginalized as it (the church) serves a great purpose and function. A wise follower must similarly keep in mind that the leader who truly labors in the word, is a vital and valuable part of the plan of God also. Some may think they can function without him, but the fact is that a God sent and ordained leader moves in the power of the Spirit and under the direction of the Lord and effects change within the community of believers and in the community in general.

Unlike the internet, the physical church serves the physical needs and provides physical interaction that can be both healthy and wholesome for the membership, individuals and the community in which the church serves. The physical church also fosters commitment as God is a committed God to his people, and teaches individuals how to persevere, unite and work together to accomplish the will of the Lord. The church is essential, but the manna must be delivered daily and that manna must be the prime focus of the church itself.

The condition of today's church is really telling. Because people have eaten so readily everything the world has to offer confusion seems to be the order of the day. Let me tell you a few stories of people who got tired of the "light bread" at out church and you can tell me what you think.

Member 1

This young lady came from the streets for real. In fact she had a tear-drop tattoo when we met and the hand of the Lord was upon her. She had 4 children and was about 21 years old if that. Times were tough. Her father and other family members had raped and molested her at a younger age, there was a rift between she and her mother and she was deeply effected both physically and spiritually as one might assume.

After praying in our living room on a Thursday afternoon, she came to the church the following Sunday morning. In our then store front church, this young lady repented, turned to the Lord in a beautiful way. In a year and a half of being faithful to God a transformation had taken place in her life. She was there at bible study and church services unless she had to work of was sick. The Lord gave her a good paying job, affordable housing and she began to deal with issues of forgiveness for past hurts. All was good and she was making personal progress in many different areas of her life.

What started with an invitation to another church by a friend soon became her undoing. Some "prophelier" who was a lesbian also, told her that "the Lord wants to bless you!". Well although, I think she knew that the Lord wanted to bless her, as she already was blessed, she was persuaded enough to give it a try. After a couple of visits, and seeing all the people and kids at the new church that could befriend her children and opportunities that were placed in front of her for new associations, she made the leap.

When we talked I asked her why she felt the need to leave...she explained that she felt that her kids had more to do and that she wanted them to be happy. I asked her about the word of God? I asked was she receiving it at our church and she readily answered,  "Yes!" So far as the new church, she stated that although the message was nothing like she was used to, she thought that she may be able to help the other church and persons that she had befriended and use what she learned to advance and help others.

Less than one year later...she had lost her job, her daughter became pregnant, she began to drink and smoke once again, and the pastor of the church paid for her daughter to have an abortion because the father of the child was his teenage son. 

She even went as far as relocating to try to deal with the shame of it all. Through many tears and promises to come back, she just hasn't been able to gather herself or to get free of what happened to her in that church. The hurt she experienced in the church was a greater bind upon her life than the hurt she experienced in the world before she knew Christ. On top of that she created a new spirituality that allowed her to yield to temptations of drinking and sex, while repenting and professing salvation. My last experience with her was helping to bail her out of jail. What was all this about? Simple: She just didn't want any more light bread!

Member 2

These particular members were husband and wife that had been in quite a few ministries before they came to us. The problem was that the husband was a drug addict. He would constantly repeat the cycle of spending the families money, binging on crack getting lost for 24 to 48 hours at a time and coming back with a sad story, and claiming that he would do better.

After about 3 times I asked his wife to set some appropriate boundaries and establish a new set of rules and acceptable behavior for the family. There was to be a new system of accountability established whereby he knew that he would no longer be rewarded for damaging the family and damaging himself. He agreed to this. After another predictable and painful incident the spouse couldn't follow through on the plan. They eventually left the church.

Months later he would call claiming that he was better and that all was well and he was faithful to xyz ministry. I asked him was he being fed the word of God? He declared that he was, BUT that it wasn't like what he was receiving at New Bethel, but that he was a better person now over time. A few months later he claimed the same about another ministry. A year later he claimed the same about another ministry. A few months after that I challenged him as he tried to claim the same about yet another ministry. After trying to dodge the issue, I asked him to affirm his position in the word, and challenged him to tell me what he was gaining spiritually through the word. I encouraged him to be more accountable to God. He was insulted for some reason and claimed that he was not the person I used to know and that his activities and church duties was keeping him going. ie: the word was secondary and wasn't in a preeminent position in his spiritual life.

A few months after that conversation, he had left that church, was strung back out on drugs once again and all the while his wife sat in her same condition of going along for the ride. What happened? Obviously neither one of them wanted the light bread that God was feeding them!

Member 3

The I've just got to conclude with this one who came as a visitor with one of our members. Previously she had a difficult and fast life. She had been a prostitute since a child, serving older men since the ages of about 12 or 13. Now she wanted to be saved, but she also wanted to be seen and known and in the leader's circle. the desire for attention can be a devastating thing when it's not dealt with. She enjoyed herself in the Lord and was blessed on two or three visits to the church, then all of a sudden she left and didn't come back.

She too went to yet another church, enamoured by their choir. You see, when she was asked was she receiving the word at our church, she claimed yes! But as to why she left our ministry she responded, "because you don't have a choir"...

Less than one year later her husband was arrested for beating up the church's minister of music. Why? Because the minister of music was a homosexual who had raped her son. The minister of music was tried, convicted and went to jail but the pastor has his own set of problems that I won't mention here out of courtesy. Nonetheless, the young lady, parties, drinks and smokes and believes it's all good in Jesus. 

Why did this happen? What happened was that this sistah, thought that light bread was best served with a heaping of show and frills of a choir!

In Closing:

In just these three cases, it is amazing that rather than eat the manna that God has given people would rather give themselves and their families back to the enslavement of the devil. Many, such as some of these have sacrificed their children at the hands of rapists, premarital sexual activity and plainly wanted to live in an unaccountable manner.

The fact is that the word of the Lord addresses the issues of life. Without it we cannot live. We can cover other things in our lives in effort of looking appealing, but light bread or the manna of God reveals all, sustains all and places all things in perspective. 

Pastor and leader, whatever you set forth in your church, that's what kind of church it will be. If you set forth silliness and materialism, you'll have a silly materialistic church. However if the church is centered on Christ, not only will the church be a victorious one, it will be a place where those who are of like mind will fit in like a glove. the temptation is to lower the standards of the word, or not to deliver the full council of God. HIS word must be preached, because it is only through his word that lives are changed and bondages are broken. 

Matt. 6:9-13 ~ " 9-After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10-Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as [it is] in heaven. 11-Give us this day our daily bread. 12-And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13-And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Blessed!

12 comments:

  1. If I didn’t know better I’d thought that you got this out of a book! But problem is that I do know better. It’s the carrot that is waved in front of the folks that would sway people from the true to go elsewhere, sad to say.

    Reading this was almost as if I were reading a play or part of a book, SMH

    You’ve got to stand true a continually ask the hard questions for every situation, and no you hadn’t heard it all yet, maybe close to it but there remains situations that will blow your hair back.

    Imagine praying for a pistol-whipped female that you thought had physical ailments.

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  2. This has blessed me tremendously!

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  3. What I've found people of God, is that some have been bound so long until freedom truely feels strange to them...

    Believe me, I could write a book on this. I've also learned that some don't care where Jesus is and or what's HE's saying...they'll make somethign up to suit themselves, until it's too late...

    Thank God for the remnant that do care and who are willing to sacrifice their life for him. Leader, lead until Jesus comes...Follower, follow Jesus until he comes...I believe we'll be glad, beyond gald, that we did!

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  4. WOW! Sad stories here!!

    I am looking for a church where I can get some "light bread". I am so tired of people trying to entertain me.

    I used to go to lakewood and after a while I was like what on earth is going on. I do admit that some of the indviduals teach different things but for me if the leader is not teaching the whole counsel of God and adulterating it how comes the other leaders are not saying anything? SEE YA!!

    Pastor we have got to the point where we want to be entertained and have a lot of activities but what a joy when you look into the word of God, it is that that brings true worship in song or otherwise.

    Churches try all sorts of activicties for children and youth and most still grow up without any desire for the Most High. I say preach the word and God will do the work.

    While reading John 6:41-71 the other morning some truths hit me for the first time.

    1 you have Jesus saying He us the bread of life.

    2 He tells the Jews to stop murmuring because you can only be saved if The Father draws you

    3 Christ then says you have to eat His flesh and drink His blood to be saved

    4 After this many "disciples" where offended and complained.(some really didnt believe)

    5. Jesus replies again to the complaining - No one can come unless the Father Draws them.

    6. Many stop following because of His "WORDS"


    What I got from this is that it is God job to save people. What I see in Churches is a lot of fluff trying to make sinners become saints by a simple prayer, thats usually comes after something that emotes the person, you know a nice seeker friendly message, "God will do this and God will do that for you". The true Word of God is not spoken in the hopes of not "offending" the sinner and turning them off of Christ!!! The FATHER DRAWS SINNERS not activities and items.

    Christ knew that many "disciples" would turn away but He spoke anyway, and He said His words were spirit and life(v:63) but they still left. Christ had all confidence that the Father would draw the true believers and that He could keep whom He drew.

    I say YES, preach the word leader, regardless of the season and leave the work the Spirit of God. He will transform, He will deliver and do what it takes. Those who are with Christ will stay

    James 1:21 (King James Version)
    21Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

    Thanks Pastor, this has been a blessing though sad in part.

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  5. I thoroughly enjoyed this message. God Bless you pastor.

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  6. I was blessed reading this! Awesome insight!

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  7. Thank you Saints of God for your encouragements!

    I was thinking that there were 2 and a half tribes that didn't want to enter the land of promise (Num.32)They had their own expectations and thing they wanted to accomplish for themselves.

    Like the old song said, "If you don't want to go...get outta my way!" I think that may be the attitude that we need to have in order to accomplish what God wants us to accomplish for HIS glory especially now because the battle is on.

    I feel like posessing the land! BTW, pass me some more "light bread" if you don't mind-LOL!!!

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  8. LETS POSESS THE LAND!!!

    Isnt it ironic that it is the "light bread" that keeps us anchored and satisfied?

    I pray for these people to get back to the place where the word is most important.

    After all good singing does not automatically equate to acceptable worship.

    Matt 15:8
    'THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.

    I have come to the conclusion that our lips should be a reflection of the heart or in the very least the desire of the heart. It is Gods word that transforms so therefore our praise will be genuine all the more.

    Blessings!!

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  9. I absolutely loved this Post Pastor Burnett.
    I've been in an "issue" this week with a family member that not only is tired of the "light bread", but twists the "deep bread" they are getting to justify fleshly desires.

    When someone can call themself a "minister" of the Gospel and begin to say that "by God telling Hosea to go marry a "whore" is "biblical" justification for a "so called christian singer" to start singing "secular" music, because it's a way that God can show his love for sinners" is beyond me! I guess God showing the world how much He loved us sinners by having His son Jesus shed his precious blood for us on the cross at calvary just isn't enough for today's "progressive saints" to win souls! Lord help today!!!

    Godlysoldier

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  10. Godlysoldier,

    Always glad to hear from you. Yes, when what God has done isn't exciting enough to keep people's hearts and minds, what more can be done?

    I'm studying for a post on a popular musician/singer who did exactly that. I didn't know it, but it's tragic. how can a person think that they are furthering the cause of Christ by becoming a sinner? That act negates the cause of Christ, but it's EXACTLY what the devil wants. I mean look at the temptation in the wilderness...what was the devil's deal? "Fall down and worship me and I'll give all this to ya." The thing is that the devil DID NOT restrict the preaching, message or anything that Jesus would have done, he wanted worship. He wanted the prostitution of the soul (that's what false worship is and becomes) that was his aim then and I believe it's the same now...

    These cats "think" they are furthering the cause of Christ, what they are really doing is prostituting themselves on the idolatrous alter of flesh, sin and false relationship. I believe this is why Jesus will say "depart"..."worker of iniquity, I NEVER knew you." the key here is that God has no part with idols and idolaters...he does not know them!

    That's a message sistah!

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  11. You better PREACH Pastor! That's EXACTLY what I told this "minister!" How can bitter and sweet water come from the same well? Can a good tree bring forth bad fruit? How can I sing "holy holy holy" unto the Lord on Sunday, and sing "Rhythem & Booty" in the club on Saturday, with the "possibility" of "saving a soul?" Is that not "strange fire?" Give me a spiritiual break!
    It seems like nowadays these "cats" love to do what the world does, slap a "Jesus" title on it and think it's supposed to be accepted in the body of Christ. May the real saints of the Most High continue to stand against such foolishness!

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  12. Oops, forgot to sign my name to the above post Pastor...Godlysoldier.

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