12.3.05

About Friday...

When we arrived at the ministry there were actually more people than I expected. They usually do the preaching outside, but, even with the larger crowd, all the people could fit in the building- so I asked them to move everything inside (it is a shell of a room, in an old storage building converted into a food bank and ministry.

We began with my friend and co-laborer Bobby leading worship. No one really joined in except me, but I knew what kind of crowd we were dealing with before I went in. They like the loud stuff (those that claim to be Christians), the others like the show the former "pastor" put on. I call it "jumping jacks for Jesus." No substance, just fluff. He prayed and then my wife (who works with the ministry- a volunteer leader) introduced me. She called me "pastor," but I do not claim that title currently. I think it is given out too freely. The former "pastor" was not a pastor, but someone who wants to put on a "Jesus show." I call him Pedro, not "pastor Pedro." He did not earn the title of pastor. When there was work to do he would disappear along with most, if not all, of those who claim to be Christians. Good testimony.

Anyway, I did not make a big deal about the title, my wife was meaning it respectfully and as a contrast to the former. As an aside, I may sound bitter, I am not. I do, however, resent that the people who came after I did were forsaking ministry for prestidigitation and hollow words.

I preached on 1 Timothy 6.20-21: "O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge-- by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith. Grace be with you. Amen."
I tied in 2 Timothy 4.1-5 also: I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry."

I named names and Biblically criticized false doctrines and false practices in the "church." I made truth the main focus. I probably preached for about 40 minutes when I was supposed to preach about 15 to 20. I preached until I felt God wanted me to wrap it up. I made things clear: reject Christ and His Word and hell awaits, embrace Him and His word with true repentance and become His child. I think some were in stunned silence. When I prayed to close the service there was a loud "amen." It sounded more like a relief than agreement from most of the people. Some people would not speak to me, some would not look at me. But those who did speak to me (two were new to the ministry and one was a long timer) were encouraging. They were not offended. That was better than I hoped for.

Anyway, I know that I said what God directed me to say. I gave Him total freedom in my heart to change the message. He only made it more clear that I need to preach this message to this crowd. I had the boldness I needed to take on the task. God is good!

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