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I’ve got a telephone pole in my eye…

27 Aug

Todd Rhodes over at Monday Morning Insight had a post this morning that I think deserves some attention.  You can read the post here.  I’ll not comment on the people involved directly, but I do want to share some thoughts.

Now I really try to refrain from commenting on public figures and their downfalls.  But I’m so frustrated right now that I can barely speak.  I love the Church and believe it is the message of Christ fleshed out through the church that really is the hope of the world.  But things like this are why so many people don’t trust Christianity… why so many people don’t trust Christ.  We are a reflection of Him, and when we fall and don’t admit we’re wrong, or blame others, it’s a reflection of Christ.  Sometimes we chase our own ambition and motivations more than the glory of God.  I know, I’ve done it myself.
Here are a few thoughts I think we can learn from these situations:
  • If you can’t accept the responsibility of doing the right thing, don’t be a leader.  I was telling a friend this weekend that sometimes I wish I weren’t a leader, so the microscope wasn’t on me and I could do anything without anyone giving a rip.  But the truth is, I’ve chosen to accept the call to leadership, so I’m responsible for my actions.
  • If God blesses you with the opportunity to be nationally/internationally known, take it seriously and protect yourself at all costs!  We’ve all heard celebrities talk about how hard it is to have everyone looking at you, we see so-and-so in rehab all the time, they turn to drugs to deal with it, etc.  I know it’s tough, but it comes with the job.  You are in that situation, so live with integrity.  It’s just ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL, it’s NOT AN OPTION.  It’s the name and reputation of Jesus I’m worried about here.  Sure, it hurts me that your national ministry is on the verge of collapse over this scandal, and that the empire you’ve built might just tumble.  But what hurts me more is the fact that many who were teetering on the line of actually trusting Jesus might see these things and cause them to decide once and for all that Christ is not for them.  You are a reflection of Christ.
  • If you have placed your ministry over your marriage, GET OUT OF MINISTRY NOW, THAT’S IDOLATRY!!!!!  You’re placing your own selfish ambition above exalting God.  Yes, I know that sounds harsh, but just a few years ago I was in the same danger.  I was chasing ministry and my wife and I didn’t align on where we were going.  Fortunately God helped me see the error of my ways and step back and get on the same page.  If you are married, you are UNITED AS ONE.  To justify breaking up a marriage to chase a ministry endeavor, etc, IS NOT FROM GOD.  Let me repeat: if you divorce your wife because she’s not in step with your ministry or vice versa, you’re OUT OF THE WILL OF GOD.
  • If you find yourself in a position like this (placing ministry above family, foolishly believing that chasing ministry x is God’s will above your family), STEP DOWN FROM YOUR POSITION AND GET THINGS RIGHT!!!  For the love of God, why is it that the only thing non-Christ-followers see about big-name leaders who fail is that they REFUSE TO ADMIT THEY ARE WRONG or to humbly admit they are wrong and step down for a time.  Take some time off and get things right with your wife and kids.  The couple who said they were going different directions, getting a divorce, and he is staying in the pulpit and she is pursuing her ministry- please admit you screwed up and just step down for a while and get things right.  Don’t use this as a platform to be even more of a workaholic and such.  Model to your people that we don’t always have it all together, step down, and get some help.  This will bring God more glory than you rubbing it in the face of the world.
  • As a pastor of mine used to say, “If you mess up, fess up.”  Just admit you’re wrong.
  • Leadership is a privilege.  It’s easy at some point to think we’re entitled to everything we have.  I know.  It’s a privilege God bestows on us, and it takes great responsibility.  Don’t forget to keep the main thing the main thing.  I think of Paul when people tried to treat him like one of the Greek gods… he could have ran with that.  But he was always pointing people to Christ.
  • If you’re not going to live like a follower of Christ, don’t call yourself one.  Now before you get in a huff and start pointing fingers, I don’t mean that you have to be perfect.  I just mean that you have to be trying to be like Christ, and when you mess up, you simply humbly acknowledge that you messed up and work on it.  Don’t pretend you’re perfect.  Don’t pretend you have your stuff together when you don’t.  People appreciate candidness and humility.  It’s the air of perfection/superiority that pushes people far from God even farther away.
  • Don’t tell me that God wants us to be blessed, and that we can experience the favor of God, tie finances to it all, lead millions to believe that you are living what you are speaking, and you can’t even keep your marriage together.  Does God want to prosper you while your marriage goes in the toilet?  Is that abundance?  Is that the favor of God?
I’m begging you, church leaders and Christ-followers, to chase the person of Christ and the benefits that brings, and to do what you say you will do.  To acknowledge when you are wrong. To never lose sight of why we do what we do- to make Christ known.  Not my product, my cd, my TV ministry grow, to buy new houses, cars, etc, but to simply make Christ known. 
Yeah, I’m frustrated.  I know I appear judgmental.  I know I need to get the telephone pole out of my eye before I worry about the toothpick in yours. Sorry I’m irritated, but I have a feeling this stuff would drive the heart of Jesus crazy too.  Thoughts?
I want to close this long post with this thought.  Several years ago, I thought I was chasing the heart of God, but I realize I was chasing my career.  I’ll talk more about this in a subsequent post but essentially I was judging success by how many CD’s I sold, how large of an event I was doing, etc.  I had a couple of friends who were nationally-known worship leaders and I wanted to measure my impact compared to what they were doing.  It’s so foolish.  And I wasted some good years chasing building my kingdom rather than building His.  I have used the lyrics to a song by my friend Joel Engle to keep me in check on this… This is the chorus to Nothing Left of Me:
“Strip away all that remains, for Your glory and Your name, till there’s nothing left of me.
Burn the kingdoms I have made, that You would shine and I would fade, till there’s nothing left of me.”
May that be our prayer today.

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3 Comments

Posted by on August 27, 2007 in random stuff, rants and raves

 

3 responses to “I’ve got a telephone pole in my eye…

  1. davidbmclaughlin.com

    August 28, 2007 at 3:17 am

    crazy!!!!!!!!!!!

    i just posted on my blog and then came over here and read this.

    Wow.

    By the way-i went to high school with joel engle. Tell him hi from a fellow Moore-on!

     
  2. scott hodge

    August 28, 2007 at 5:33 am

    great post larry…

     
  3. LaurieJ.

    September 28, 2007 at 2:07 pm

    Yep, I agree that the message of Joel’s song is very convicting, even to the most conscientious of us. It IS all or nothing. The awesome thing is God’s forgiveness, and that He would die for me rather than live without me, even knowing what He knows about me!

     

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