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Excellence of God’s People: Doing Our Best

I stumbled upon the below text in my studies. It orginates from a book called  “Excellence: The Character of God and the Pursuit of Scholarly Virtue” and thought..AMEN! See if you agree 😉

“In this spirit (of excellence), therefore, let us pursue excellence. As we have seen, far from being optional, excellence is in fact a divine mandate that applies to every aspect of our lives, for God himself is characterized by excellence. Mediocrity, sloppy workmanship, and a half-hearted effort do not bring glory to God or advance his kingdom”.

Powerful statement!

How many of us wake up with a focus to be excellent for God? The daily grind of employment, home-schooling, ministry commitments, and activities keeps us in a routine of tasks. Do we ever take a moment of pause and ask, “Am I doing my best?” More importantly, “Is my best a reflection of God’s glory here on the earth?” In the midst of the struggle to balance all of our activities, we often become distracted regarding our fellowship with the Spirit of God, especially throughout the day. He is our Beloved One, it is only fitting that He receives worship by way of mindful work in the Spirit of Excellence?

Included in Believer’s love for the Father through Christ our Lord, there should be a desire to do our best for Him; not from a works-based motive, but from a sincere organic closeness to engage with Him as the leader and active participant; and as the writer stated, of every aspect of our lives. If Emmanuel was with you every day, how would you operate? Would mediocrity be your norm?

The focus of Excellence in terms of it’s effect on the Church along with her individual members can be a bit blurry. Societial norms coupled with pride of life has had its effect on our efforts operate in excellence. The result is either an exaltation of excellence or a complete dismissal of the idea of Excellence in the life of the Believer. It can be viewed as legalistic, however, if we look closer to this idea we can soundly argue that excellence does not equate legalism.

For it is written:

Psalm 16:3 – As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.

Proverbs 12:4 – An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.

Daniel 6:3 – Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.

Secular vs. Sacred

Both secular and sacred(church) culture has provided contributions to the perversion of Excellence. I’m speaking specifically to the perception of our effectiveness in secular society, the tools we may use as expressions of worship, and our ability to execute in Faith.

Traditionally, secular society has tagged persons with exceptional abilities or talents as persons are “gifted”.  The same goes for American church culture. It’s often said that a person is “gifted” in things like accounting, or singing; we’ve even said that preachers are gifted. The perversion also includes exalting spiritual gifts above the Gospel. If we are truthful, God himself has not defined or delegated many of these skills as “gifts”. The result: A culture that exalts or worships exceptional skills, talents and abilities; or, we worship the person(s) with the skill. The perversion of Excellence happens when God the Creator and Soverign Lord is no longer the object of our affections.

On the flip side, you may have a church culture that unconciously surpresses the idea of Excellence, resulting in mediocrity. If Excellence is percieved as legalism the result will be sloppy workmanship and half-hearted efforts which can be as equally sinful. Mediocrity can’t be an option for God’s people….because He is Excellent!

Therefore, service unto the Lord and His people is done with joy and, with excellence. Whether working in secular society or ministry, inside the home or the Arts, the idea of serving the Lord and His people with excellence should be in consideration in all that we do. It’s a part of stewardship and it is worship!

 For it is written:

Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Lastly, the idea of Excellence in the preaching of God’s word is not left out of this equation. The same issues of idolatry and lukewarmness is evident when Elohim is not the object of worship. Preaching is worship. Excellence in preaching is achived when the Holy Spirit is in charge and there is a resolve to trust God’s Word. Faith in God and full confience in His word (logos) by the Power of the Holy Spirit is the foundation of humility. Preparation is a key component because we know that the those that preach (teach) the Word will be judged with more strictness (James 3:1). I’d like to think that most preachers and teachers of the Word rely on God’s grace, the Word and the Holy Sprit, however, I still have an expectation that ministers of the Word are dilligent to ensure proper preparation that includes sound doctrine.

The Believer’s decision to be Excellent isn’t based on how we do things; but who we do it for.  More importantly, Excellence is a vehicle by which we reflect his glory during our exile here on earth.

Selah

click Propaganda’s Excellent

To the Church of the West! A Parallel of Laodicea: Same Sex Marriage Is Not Our Issue

nhewy Prophets like the late A.W. Tozer and Leonard Ravenhill were spot on in their past observations of the American/Western churches. Below are a few observations I found applicable to today’s current climate.

“I’m concerned in my spirit (that) the reason the world goes to hell-fire tonight is because we’ve (the church) lost Holy Ghost fire”.

“God is taking His hands off of America. We’ve had so much light and we’ve(the church) rejected it”

“The early church was married to poverty, prisons and persecutions. Today, the church is married to prosperity, personality, and popularity”.

“I believe every church is either supernatural or superficial. I don’t believe there’s any middle ground”.

In light of recent events, it is important that the BOC remain focus on a few things:

  1.  Declare the message of the Good News. People are dead and we still have this task.
  2.  Continue to trust and obey the Lord. We already know what the result of this decision will be.
  3. Don’t get distracted and be quick to give an opinion. For the word instructs: “For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?”…additionally it says: Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.

With that said, it is now time for the Universal Church to clean house! History teaches us that a civilization that allows evil to prevail is a result of the Bride’s obedience and faithfulness to her Groom. We see this in the Church in Laodicea. The process of separating the sheep from the goats is being intensified. What side will you be on?   SELAH

The Hustle of the American(or western) Church: Part 3, The “Business” at Hand

And now…for the The following link from http://www.ecclesia.org was sent to me and I found it extremely helpful.

I’ve always wondered why churches operated as businesses. 503c status in churches seemed kind of off in my opinion because it didn’t seem practical and much of the standards contradicted or compromised the Believer’s ability to honor Elohim.

It is written: Study to show thyself approved, rightly dividing the Word of Truth. Initially when I read and studied this, I didn’t fully understand, but as I continue to strive for obedience in Christ I’m finding that there are so many layers to this onion called life.

I exhort the Body of Christ to continue to seek the truth only in God’s word. click here to read the article….good stuff! http://www.ecclesia.org/truth/501-church.html

LOVE THIS GUY!!!! Antics from the firebreathingchristian

Guest blogger Scott Alan Buss blesses us with some prospective on America’s every changing “strategy” for freedom!?.

Read more at http://www.firebreathingchristian.com

HOW “FREE PUBLIC SCHOOLS” MAKE US ALL RENTERS FROM THE STATE.

House for rentRemember when you could actually own a home in America?

The answer is: No, you do not.

Even if you think that something like true home ownership was recently or is presently allowed here in “the land of the free” and the home of the NSA, you are simply wrong.

As with most of the ugliest realities defining modern America, State ownership of American homes is deeply intertwined with the State and Corporate use of what they routinely pitch to us as the “free public school system”.

As if building our concept of education directly upon the serpent’s approach to the pursuit of knowledge wasn’t bad enough for the minds and souls of our children and culture, we’ve managed to throw the notion of true home ownership on the burn pile, too. Actually, it’d be more accurate to say that we’ve sacrificed home ownership as a sort of necessary kindling wood to accomplish the greater fire of State-controlled children’s “education”, which then feeds the all-encompassing inferno of State-controlled everything.

What we’re talking about here is the primary funding mechanism for “free public schools”. We will save deeper examination as to why “free” things require funding for another time. For now, let’s just settle in for a sec and soak in the truth and terrible reality of…property tax.

Property tax – the primary means by which your local “free public school” is funded here in the “land of the free” and the home of the NSA – means, in essence, that the State actually owns your home, land, and all taxable property.

You are a renter from the State, at best.

Even if you owe no mortgage, you owe the State.

Every year, you must pay your rent taxes, or you will eventually lose possession of your “property”.

Let that soak in.

Let it hit hard.

You cannot actually own a home in America.

You cannot actually own a home in America.

You cannot actually own a home in America.

The State owns your home.

The government owns your home.

All so that it can provide you with glorious “freebies” like…*drumroll*…State-controlled children’s education.

Still think you’re free?

Probably so, as long as the State-controlled “education” and Corporate-controlled pop-culture in which you’ve been purposefully immersed for your entire life is successful in determining the foundations of your worldview and way of life.

The NSA, IRS, Federal Reserve, perpetual warfare abroad, and perpetual loss of property and liberty at home aren’t just happening accidentally.

They are happening purposefully and systematically, with the multi-generational vision of the serpent guiding them along in what at least seems for now to be an effortless march from cultural victory to cultural victory en route to complete cultural dominance.

Proud idolatry of America itself has been fomented and deployed to blind and lead even the “conservative Christian” right into enthusiastic support of Statism. In their unwillingness to subject American tradition, history, and patriotism itself to biblical scrutiny, they have been led along by the nose in promotion of a State that is utterly opposed to biblical truth and even most professed values of “conservatives”.

How many planks of The Communist Manifesto are embodied in the American implementation and celebration of State-controlled children’s “education” alone?

Several.

Once upon a time, that would have bothered most, if not all, Americans.

But not anymore…and not for a loooooong time now.

American State-controlled children’s “education” inherently means increasingly pro-State children overall. That much should have been obvious from the start, yet even now the culture is loaded with proud, patriotic, denial of even the most obvious of connections and realities. Score one for Marx. And the serpent, of course.

Generation after generation has been programmed by these secular, serpentine systems to the point that now most elderly “conservative” Americans cannot fathom (or abide by) serious critiques of the American State and most young Americans cannot fathom a world in which the State doesn’t own, control, and determine everything of significance for its people…all for their own good, of course. These are the multigenerational consequences of a proud people rejecting Christ as King in practice.

Young men and women of today have inherited an absolute nightmare from preceding generations of enablers and game players. The generations who founded and reaped the unbiblical benefits of any number of inherently impossible to sustain Socialist schemes (like Social Security, Medicare, Public Schools, etc.) are now on the verge of heading off into eternity, leaving us behind to deal with this mess.

How we choose then to “deal with this mess” is vital.

Will we repeat the failed approaches of the past? Will we keep pouring our energies and playing the controlled political games purposefully designed to lead us ever-closer to the total tyranny of the State Will we keep trying everything but the Gospel-fueled Great Commission as our one and only true path to real cultural restoration?

Or will we finally repent, believe, and obey…pursuing that Great Commission so that one day we here in this land will once again actually insist on training children in the essential, life-enabling “fear and admonition of the Lord”?

I believe that we can and will find our way to that place in this land once again, by His grace and for His glory.

But only through repentance and submission to Christ as King in practice.

Only then will our serfdom to the Corporate State and its “money”-printing elites end.

Only when we repent and repudiate the profound delisions and destructive behaviors that we’ve personally indulged and enabled will we finally be on that path to true cultural restoration…one supernatural salvation and act of obedience at a time.

And, along the way, we will even be able to own homes again.

Won’t that be nice?

Soli Deo Gloria,

SAB

© 2015 Scott Alan Buss – All Rights Reserved.

Guest Blog: 3 FEMALE GHOSTS THAT HAUNT THE CHURCH

The following is from blogger Jen Wilkin of The Gospel Coalition. http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/3-female-ghosts-that-haunt-the-church

FEB 12, 2015

I will never forget the first time I met my pastor. Our family had been at the church for two years before a meeting with another staff member threw me into his path. The first words out of his mouth were, “Jen Wilkin. You’ve been hiding from me!” A giant grin on his face, he draped me in a friendly hug, and then proceeded to ask me about the people and things I cared about. He kept eye contact. He reflected back what I was saying. I was completely thrown off. I don’t remember what books were on his desk or what artwork hung on the walls, but I left his office that day with a critical piece of insight: this room is not haunted.

He was right—I had been hiding. Coming off several years of “part-time” ministry at our previous church, my husband, Jeff, and I were weary and in no hurry to know and be known by the staff at our new church. But as a woman with leadership background, I had other hesitations as well. Any woman in ministry can tell you that you never know when you’re walking into a haunted house.

If you’re a male staff member at a church, I ask you to consider a ghost story of sorts. I don’t think for a minute that you hate women. I know there are valid reasons to take a measured approach to how you interact with us in ministry settings. I absolutely want you to be wise, but I don’t want you to be haunted. Three female ghosts haunt most churches, and I want you to recognize them so you can banish them from yours.

These three ghosts glide into staff meetings where key decisions are made. They hover in classrooms where theology is taught. They linger in prayer rooms where the weakest among us give voice to hurt. They strike fear into the hearts of both men and women, and worse, they breathe fear into the interactions between them. Their every intent is to cripple the ability of men and women to minister to and with one another.

Though you may not always be aware these ghosts are hovering, the women you interact with in ministry frequently are. I hear ghost stories almost on a weekly basis in the e-mails I receive from blog readers.

The three female ghosts that haunt us are the Usurper, the Temptress, and the Child.

1. The Usurper

This ghost gains permission to haunt when women are seen as authority thieves. Men who have been taught that women are looking for a way to take what has been given to them are particularly susceptible to the fear this ghost can instill. If this is your ghost, you may behave in the following ways when you interact with a woman, particularly a strong one:

  • You find her thoughts or opinions vaguely threatening, even when she chooses soft words to express them.
  • You speculate that her husband is probably a weak man (or that her singleness is due to her strong personality).
  • You feel low-level concern that if you give an inch she will take a mile.
  • You avoid including her in meetings where you think a strong female perspective might rock the boat or ruin the masculine vibe.
  • You perceive her education level, hair length, or career path as potential red flags that she might want to control you in some way.
  • Your conversations with her feel like sparring matches rather than mutually respectful dialogue. You hesitate to ask questions, and you tend to hear her questions as veiled challenges rather than honest inquiry.
  • You silently question if her comfort in conversing with men may be a sign of disregard for gender roles.

2. The Temptress

This ghost gains permission to haunt when a concern for avoiding temptation or being above reproach morphs into a fear of women as sexual predators. Sometimes this ghost takes up residence because of a public leader’s moral failure, either within the church or within the broader Christian subculture. If this is your ghost, you may behave in the following ways when you interact with a woman, particularly an attractive one:

  • You go out of your way to ensure your behavior communicates nothing too emotionally approachable or empathetic for fear you’ll be misunderstood to be flirting.
  • You avoid prolonged eye contact.
  • You silently question whether her outfit was chosen to draw your attention to her figure.
  • You listen with heightened attention for innuendo in her words or gestures.
  • You bring your colleague or assistant to every meeting with her, even if the meeting setting leaves no room to be misconstrued.
  • You hesitate to offer physical contact of any kind, even (especially?) if she is in crisis.
  • You consciously limit the length of your interactions with her for fear she might think you overly familiar.
  • You feel compelled to include “safe” or formal phrasing in all your written and verbal interactions with her (“Tell your husband I said hello!” or “Many blessings on your ministry and family”).
  • You Cc a colleague (or her spouse) on all correspondence.
  • You silently question if her comfort in conversing with men may be a sign of sexual availability.

3. The Child

This ghost gains permission to haunt when women are seen as emotionally or intellectually weaker than men. If this is your ghost, you may behave in the following ways when you interact with a woman, particularly a younger one:

  • You speak to her in simpler terms than you might use with a man of the same age.
  • Your vocal tone modulates into “pastor voice” when you address her.
  • In your responses to her, you tend to address her emotions rather than her thoughts.
  • You view meetings with her as times where you have much insight to offer her but little insight to gain from her. You take few notes, or none at all.
  • You dismiss her when she disagrees, because she “probably doesn’t see the big picture.”
  • You feel constrained to smile beatifically and wear a “listening face” during your interactions with her.
  • You direct her to resources less scholarly than those you might recommend to a man.

These three ghosts don’t just haunt men; they haunt women as well, shaping our choice of words, tone, dress, and demeanor. When fear governs our interactions, both genders drift into role-playing that subverts our ability to interact as equals. In the un-haunted church where love trumps fear, women are viewed (and view themselves) as allies rather than antagonists, sisters rather than seductresses, co-laborers rather than children.

Surely Jesus models this church for us in how he relates to the role-challenging boldness of Mary of Bethany, the fragrant alabaster offering of a repentant seductress, the childlike faith of a woman with an issue of blood. We might have advised him to err on the side of caution with these women. Yet even when women appeared to fit a clear stereotype, he responded without fear. If we consistently err on the side of caution, it’s worth noting that we consistently err.

Do some women usurp authority? Yes. Do some seduce? Yes. Do some lack emotional or intellectual maturity? Yes. And so do some men. But we must move from a paradigm of wariness to one of trust, trading the labels of usurper, temptress, child for those of ally, sister, co-laborer. Only then will men and women share the burden and privilege of ministry as they were intended.

My most recent meeting with my pastor stands out in my memory as well. He’s often taken the time to speak affirming words about my ministry or gifting. On this occasion, he spoke words I needed to hear more than I realized: “Jen, I’m not afraid of you.” Offered not as a challenge or a reprimand, but as a firm and empathetic assurance. Those are the words that invite women in the church to flourish. Those are the words that put ghosts to flight.

“Five Marks of Excellence That Could End the Worship Wars” (in your church)

The following contain excerpts of an article written by Dr. Donald T Williams , PhD, is Professor of English and Director of the School of Arts and Sciences at Toccoa Falls College in Georgia. You can read the full writing on http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=22-06-019-v

“we cannot find, encourage, and preserve the best contemporary music without knowing those marks of excellence that made the best of the past stand out and survive so long.

What are those marks? There are at least five: (1) biblical truth; (2) theological profundity; (3) poetic richness; (4) musical beauty; and (5) the fitting of music to text in ways that enhance, rather than obscure or distort, its meaning.”

Please check out the full article..I particularly found the following to be true in many cases in today’s contemporary “gospel” or so-called “Christian” musicians and singers, and it reads:

“Fitness: A good fit between the words and their musical setting is essential to great worship music even when text and tune are both excellent in themselves. The most egregious violation of this principle may be A. B. Simpson’s “A Missionary Cry”: “A hundred thousand souls a day / Are marching one by one away. / They’re passing to their doom; / They’re passing to their doom.” If ever there was content demanding a minor key and a mournful, dirge-like tempo, this is it. But this song is set to a completely inappropriate snappy march tune, as if we were happy about the damnation of the unsaved!

Examples of a good fit between message and music are the quietly meditative, plainsong-derived melodies of Picardy in the contemplative “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” and Divinum Mysterium in “Of the Father’s Love Begotten,” or the sprightly and joyous rhythms of Ariel in “Oh, Could I Speak the Matchless Worth.” A contemporary song with a good fit is Don Francisco’s ballad, “I’ve Got to Tell Somebody.” Michael Card is especially good not only at writing worthwhile texts but also at giving them appropriate settings”.

For many of today’s American churches, Sunday services are a complete train-wreck when these marks of excellence are not recognized. Most do not feel the need to examine the process by which we follow. Tradition trumps scripture and the Holy Spirit is ignored. The result is performance and entertainment, which is idolatry.

Let’s tighten it up people and clean it up.

2015 FORECAST: BLOODY, VIOLENT PERSECUTION FOR CHRISTIANS

Originally published at Christian News Net by

Report: Global Persecution of Christians Reached Historic Levels in 2014

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A watchdog organization that releases a report each year on the global persecution of Christians states that 2014 marked the highest level of hostility against Christians ever recorded, but believes matters will only get worse.

Click http://standupforthetruth.com/2015/01/2015-forecast-bloody-violent-persecution-christians/ to read the article

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