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Category Archives: criticism

Relationships Can Be Very Messy

Please consider these biblical realities: Paul and Barnabas engage in heated disagreement that eventuates into two friends relationally separating, Judas plays the role of a frienemy and betrays Jesus, Diotrephes rejects relational accountability to the Apostle John and excommunicates congregants who do, the Corinthians mock Paul’s bodily appearance and inarticulate communication skills as grounds for refusing him as their founding father, Jesus has disciples who eject from following him due to one sermons  teaching content, and at the end of Paul’s ministry, his relational  friends have abandoned him.

Yep! Even the best relationships, involving some of the most charactered people in scripture, resulted in mental affliction,emotional pain, hurtful words and discouraging experiences.  Why? For such is the stuff of life in the Kingdom.

Paul Tripp gives  great perspective to the “relational messy stuff” we experience.

rgh

“Have you ever wondered if the people around you deal with the things you do in your relationships? Have you ever wondered if other marriages deal with petty differences or with the collision of differing agendas? Have you ever wondered if other parents struggle with resistant children and the impatience that greets you when it happens? Have you ever wondered if other people get in trouble with their neighbors or fall out of favor with a friend? Have you ever wondered if other people experience harmless conversations suddenly turning angry, or misunderstanding getting in the way of an otherwise productive friendship? Have you ever wondered if other people get as exhausted as you do with the mess of relationships? Have you ever wondered if other people say to themselves, “Christians; you can’t live with them and you can’t live without them?

Well, you should find comfort as you read Scripture because the mess of relationships that we deal with every day is on almost every page of the Bible. From Adam blaming Eve for his sin, to Cain murdering his brother out of jealousy. From Abram and Sarai colluding together for Abram to have sexual relations with the servant girl, to Rebekkah plotting with Jacob to deceive his father and get the blessing that his brother rightly deserved. From Saul’s murderous jealousy of David, to David’s murderous adultery with Bathsheba. From Delilah’s seduction of Samson, to Eli’s struggle with his wayward sons. From the inability of Solomon’s sons to get along, to the grief of Hezekiah over his evil son Manasseh. From the competitiveness of the disciples for a place of honor in the kingdom, to tension between Mary and Martha as to how to best serve Jesus. From the rejection of Christ on the cross by his own Father, to the divisions that wracked the New Testament churches. The Bible puts before you account after account of people just like you dealing with the same things you do as you live as a sinner, with sinners, in this fallen world.

Why do we have these gritty stories in the Bible? Because God wants you to know that you’re not alone in what you experience. And not only are you not alone, God wants you to know that you’re not left to your own wisdom and your own strength. The One who’s your wisdom and strength subjected himself to the harsh realities of relationships in a broken world so that he would be a sympathetic and understanding Helper in your time of relational need. But there’s more. He was willing to face the ultimate in relational suffering, the rejection of his Father, so that you would not only have the hope of acceptance with God, but also the hope of real reconciled relationship with your neighbor. He purchased our peace with God and in so doing made peace between us possible as well.

What does all of this mean? It means you don’t have to give way to discouragement, panic or hopelessness. No matter how frequent or complicated the mess is, there’s hope. Not because some day you’ll discover the key to perfect relationships or meet the perfect person. But because Jesus did what we couldn’t do, so that we’d be able to experience what we could never experience if left to our own strength and wisdom.

So don’t passively accept the mess and don’t run away when it comes. Determine to be an agent of hope, change, peace, and reconciliation. There’s probably not a relationship in your life that couldn’t be better in some way. Jesus makes that change and growth possible.”

God bless
Paul David Tripp

http://www.paultripp.com/

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Posted by on July 18, 2012 in Conflict, criticism, relationships

 

When The Minister Makes It Personal

 

The Pharisees Question Jesus

The Pharisees Question Jesus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A most troubling experience it is. Your congregants share how much they thoroughly enjoy the  ministry of  the word and affirmingly posture themselves as “happily fed campers” in the house. 

You instruct on the importance of “rebuke” as a means of grace to produce a mature faith.  lovingly but forthrightly you unpack  Matthew 18 to redemptively address times of relational conflict that lead to an offense and show them how to righteously walk it out in a Christ honoring way. 

As their minister, you feel some sense of fulfillment knowing that word-based equipping is common place with the saints you serve. But then it happens. One of the affirming congregants journeys into the realm of serious sin and now integrity calls you to make personal application of the truth that has gone forth.

It’s time to move from public pulpiteer to pastoral practitioner. As the shepherd,you insert yourself into their life and press for authentic repentance from sin. And the unthinkable happens!

                                                                                                        Ezekiel 32:33

“To them you are nothing more than a singer with a beautiful voice who sings love songs or a musician who plays an instrument. They listen to your words, but  have no intention of doing them.”
 

Ezekiel’s words become your reality as  “the luv” quickly turns into defiant resistance and you begin to endure relational rejection, and slanderous allegations.  What was once hailed  as a “good word”  is now accused of being abusive,legalistic, or even cultish.  The family leaves the church. How can this be?

Give  Spurgeon a read as he explains the cause for  such uncharactered things to happen.

 rgh

n religion men love far rather to believe abstract doctrines, and to talk of general truths, than the searching inquiries which examine their own personal interest in it. You will hear many men admire the preacher who deals in generalities, but when he comes to press home searching questions, by-and-by they are offended.

If we stand and declare general facts, such as the universal sinnership of mankind, or the need of a Saviour, they will give an assent to our doctrine, and possibly they may retire greatly delighted with the discourse, because it has not affected them; but how often will our audience gnash their teeth, and go away in a rage, because, like the Pharisees with Jesus, they perceive, concerning a faithful minister, that he spoke of them.

http://www.teampyro.org/2012/05/when-preacher-gets-personal.html

 

Is Mark Driscoll a Bully?

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

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The internet has been ablaze with Mark Driscoll being the lightning rod. Seems his convictional certitude regarding masculinity is not appreciated by a number of gender neutral proponents. Driscoll asked a “flippant” question about “effeminate anatomically male worship leaders” on  Facebook, and immediately drew fire from the offended.

Her~merneutics, a blog for women, posted this:

“The news of this post quickly drew responses from bloggers like Rachel Held Evans, who called Driscoll a bully, and Tyler Clark, who reflected on his own experience as an oft-labeled effeminate male. These responses consequently elicited counter-responses from writers like Anthony Bradley, who accused Evans of libel, only to be met with counter-counter-responses, such as Brian McLaren’s contribution to The Washington Post. The discussion finally culminated with Driscoll issuing his own response, admitting his comment was both “flippant” and failed to address “real issues with real content in a real context”

 Without apologizing, Driscoll responded by providing context for his question:

“I had a recent conversation with a stereotypical, blue-collar guy who drives his truck with his tools, lunchbox, and hard hat to his job site every day. He said he wasn’t a Christian, but he was open and wanted to learn what the Bible said. In that conversation, he told me he’d visited a church but that the guy doing the music made him feel uncomfortable because he was effeminate (he used another more colorful word, but that one will suffice in its place). He asked some questions about the Bible, and whether the Bible said anything about the kind of guy who should do the music. I explained the main guy doing the music in the Bible was David, who was a warrior king who started killing people as a boy and who was also a songwriter and musician.

I then put a flippant comment on Facebook, and a raging debate on gender and related issues ensued. As a man under authority, my executive elders sat me down and said I need to do better by hitting real issues with real content in a real context. And, they’re right. Praise God I have elders who keep me accountable and that I am under authority.”

http://theresurgence.com/2011/07/13/the-issue-under-a-lot-of-issues

http://blog.christianitytoday.com/women/2011/07/much_ado_about_mark_driscoll.html

http://rachelheldevans.com/mark-driscoll-bully

 

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C. J. Mahaney Steps Aside To Face Charges

Charlie and C.J. Mahaney

Image by six steps  via Flickr

John Piper demonstrated great humility last year when he announced he was taking a 9 month sabbatical to invest in his marriage. Francis Chan showed great leadership when he confessed to compromising the “hard sayings” of Jesus to make his message more appealing. Now we get to observe what true accountability looks like when patterns of uncharactered behavior are persistently observed  by other leaders around us. 

 C.J. Mahaney, apostlic leader of sovereign Grace Ministries, announced this week he is taking a leave of absence in order to allow others to redemptively assess his life and ministry relative to the multiple charges that have been levied against him. While this news is disturbing, his submission to the board of Sovereign Grace Ministries as well as  to seasoned trans-local veterans  is most compelling. Quite  a contrast to Eddie Long and the recent absurd remarks made by Creflo Dollar.

Read more details on  the site’s posted below.

rgh  
C.J’s public statement:

“Over the last few years some former pastors and leaders in Sovereign Grace have made charges against me and informed me about offenses they have with me as well as other leaders in Sovereign Grace. These charges are serious and they have been very grieving to read. These charges are not related to any immorality or financial impropriety, but this doesn’t minimize their serious nature, which include various expressions of pride, unentreatability, deceit, sinful judgment, and hypocrisy.

I believe God is kindly disciplining me through this. I believe I have by the grace of God perceived a degree of my sin, and I have been grieved by my sin and its effects on others.  I have had the opportunity to confess my sin to some of those affected in various ways by my sin. And I am so very grateful for their forgiveness.  But I want to perceive and confess any and all sin I have committed.  Although my experience of conviction has already started—and this is an evidence of God’s mercy—I’m sure there is more for me to perceive and acknowledge.  Even with the charges I disagree with it has been beneficial to examine my soul and ask for the observation of others. ”

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2011/07/07/c-j-mahaney-why-im-taking-a-leave-of-absence/

http://www.sovereigngraceministries.org/blogs/sgm/post/A-note-on-CJ-Mahaneys-leave-of-absence.aspx

 

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10 Reasons Ministry and Sissies Are A Bad Mix

Pastor Tom Schaller preaching at GGWO

Image via Wikipedia

“SBC Voices” tells it like it is! Realism vs Idealism. My own soul resounded with a hearty AMEN!Ministerial vocation isn’t for sissies, the weak of heart or the uncharactered.

rgh

“The blessings of ministry far outweigh the realities below; however, ministry is definitely not easy…If you enter pastoral ministry…”

10Not everyone will like you.
  9… You will make people angry regardless how godly you handle yourself; it comes with the position.
  8… You will feel like a failure often; and when you do appear to succeed, the fruit that is produced cannot be accredited to you. God alone gives the increase. Thus, there is little “sense of accomplishment in ministry” that you may be accustomed to in other vocations.
7 You will fight legalism and liberalism, along with laziness, ignorance, tradition, and opposition.
6  Not everyone will respond positively to your preaching, teaching, or leadership. You will bring people to tears with the same sermon: one in joy, another in anger (I have done this).
5… You will be criticized, rarely to your face, and frequently behind your back. This criticism will come from those that appear to love you, those that obviously do not like you, and pastors and Christians that barely know you.
4 You will think about quitting yearly or monthly, if not weekly or even daily.
3… You will be persecuted for preaching the truth, mostly from your brothers and sisters in the pews.
2… You will feel very lonely on a consistent basis, feeling like no one truly knows you or cares how you feel, because you do not want to burden your family, and trust-worthy peers are few and far in-between. Because of the “super-Christian” myth accredited to pastors literally, you will find it extremely difficult to disclose your deep thoughts and feelings to others. Thus, you will struggle with loneliness.
1… You will probably pastor a church that is barely growing (if at all), is opposed to change, doesn’t pay well, has seen pastors come and go, doesn’t respect the position as biblically as they should, doesn’t understand what the Bible says a pastor’s or a church’s jobs are, and will only follow you when they agree with you (thus, they’ll really only follow themselves).

related posts: http://redeemedministers.blogspot.com/2011/04/26-qualifications-for-minister.html

http://sbcvoices.com/10-reasons-why-sissies-and-pastoral-ministry-are-a-bad-mix

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2011 in character, criticism, influence, Ministry, quotes, Sissies

 

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Please Speak Into My Life?

President Barack Obama meets with Rev. Billy G...

Justin Taylor reports that  Billy Graham formed a personal friendship with Bob Jones Sr during his early ministry years that included an invitation for “Dr. Bob” to speak into his  ministerial life through criticism and guidance.

When Bob Jones acted on the relational offer and spoke  a cautionary word of wisdom into Billy Graham‘s life and ministry, the counsel of the seasoned veteran went completely unheeded.

A mistake Billy Graham now looks upon with regret.  

This illustrates the truism that a wise man  learns from experience, but a wiser man  learns  from the experience and mistakes of others.

rgh

 ” The following excerpts are from a letter to Billy that contains some helpful advice (May 22, 1952):

I would advise you to take a few campaigns in small towns and pull your budget way down. It will do your soul good to get away from the cities and into small communities where Americans live and where there is not so much glamour. . . .

Make it clear that you are not in the business to get church members, but to get church members converted.

Then Jones raised the issue of politics, a source of perennial fascination and power and temptation:

Now, politics has been my weakness. It is going to be a weakness with you. Watch about your association with politicians. If you are not careful, you will be used sometime when you are not conscious of being used. . . .

Recently—nearly 60 years after receiving this letter from Bob Jones Sr.—Billy Graham was asked about his regrets and what he would have done differently. In addition to spending more time with his family, he mentioned his association with politicians:

I also would have steered clear of politics.

I’m grateful for the opportunities God gave me to minister to people in high places; people in power have spiritual and personal needs like everyone else, and often they have no one to talk to.

But looking back I know I sometimes crossed the line, and I wouldn’t do that now.

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2011/05/09/bob-jones-sr-to-billy-graham-a-bad-prediction-some-good-advice

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2011/01/25/darrin-patrick-and-john-macarthur/

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2011 in character, counsel, criticism, influence

 

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Seven Predictors of Marital Divorce

Day 150: And that's that.

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John  Gottman is a Ph.D. psychologist known for his work on marital stability and considered to be one of the top 10 most influential therapist of the last century. He is also a Professor Emeritus of psychology at the University of Washington.

World renowned for his 35 years of breakthrough research on marriage and relationship analysis,  Dr.Gottman developed a model to predict which couples will remain married and which will divorce with a 90% accuracy.

Gottman says there are two major seasons when  marriages fail and couples opt for divorce. The initial season is within the first seven years and the second is between 16-20 years of marriage.   

After viewing a  program last night about the new existence of  “divorce insurance” companies,[see below]  maybe it’s time for us all to  undertake a relational  inventory of  our own marriage covenant and  sift through the baggage to see  where we are  in light of these seven indicators that reveal a marriage is  in serious trouble.

Review these observable  indicators and then  give a listen to Dr. Gottman:

1.Harsh Start Arguments that reflect sarcasm and insults

2.Criticism that attacks the spouse rather than the problem

3.Contempt  expressed through disgust,disrespect,sarcasm,eye-rolling and condescension

4.Defensiveness that conveys I am not the problem while justifying personal behavior

5.Flooding of physiological changes:  increase of adrenaline, heart rate,and respiration

6. Stonewalling by emotional, relational, communicational, and physical withdrawal

7.  Repair Attempts that Fail due to one trying to repair or de-eschalate tension but is ignored  

http://www.gottman.com/51326/Dr-John-Gottman.html

http://www.lisalundmft.com/The_Four_Horsemen_of_the_Apocalypse.html

http://www.wedlockdivorceinsurance.com/

 

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