Brain Washed Robots

This morning, I was praying and thinking about the way I live my life, and I said that everyone can’t do things they way I do them–they couldn’t handle it!  I can barely handle it!  It’s only by His grace that I have been able to maintain the standards He set because, left to myself, I would have messed things up long time ago.  Then I started thinking about how a lot of people think that Christians are a bunch of brainwashed robots.  You know what I say to that?  Heck yeah!  With all the crap that goes through my head, I NEED my brain washed on a daily basis.  Think about it.  We live in a world that glorifies misogyny, illicit sexual relationships, murder, drunkenness, alternative lifestyles, disrespect, and deceit, but CHRISTIANS are the ones that are brainwashed??  The world could stand to be reprogrammed.

I remember when I first discovered what Psalm 37:4 really meant.  I, like the rest of moderately Biblical literate world, used to think that this was the Santa Claus clause.  You know, if I do what God says, then He’ll give me whatever I want.  I don’t know what God looks like, but I’m pretty sure He’s not a fat dude in a red suit!  Do you know what that scripture really means?  It means that if you delight (indulge, consume, make glad) yourself in the Lord (the things He says to do, His ways, His plan) then HE will PLACE in you your desires.  So, that means that if you make it your business to make God smile, then the things that you desire you didn’t even come up with those things.  Your life is truly not your own.  To be perfectly honest, I used to not like that.  Having some control issues in my life, I was like…man…I can’t even have my OWN desires??  What’s up with that?  I can’t even come up with a good idea on my own???  However, now that I think about it, that’s probably a good thing.  I remember my early college years being a very stressful and frustrating time of my life.  I was searching and seeking God for my lot in life.  I knew that I was created for something huge, but I had no idea what it was.  I felt listless and like my life was irrelevant.  What’s the purpose of existing with a purpose?  The only things that I ever wanted to do with my life was get married and have kids.  What happens after I can cross those off the list?  Life probably would go back to being irrelevant.  Why do I mention that?  I needed my life to be reprogrammed!  My life was meaningless before I accepted God’s terms for my life, and you ACCUSE me of being a brain washed robot?  I THANK GOD that He took control of my life because mine was going absolutely nowhere fast.  I mean, just to think of the things that I desire now…nobody but the Lord could have thought of such things!  People always that I dream too large.  Hey…I serve a God who is larger than life, so how small did you really expect my dreams to be??  I have large dreams that came from a large God!

The sad part about all of this is that you don’t have to be a non-believer to experience the listlessness in your life.  There are plenty of Christians, unfortunately, who have not delighted themselves in the Lord, therefore God has not placed His desires in them–and they wonder why their life sucks!  It’s no wonder we have so many Sunday-only Christians!  We’re a bunch of lazy bums who don’t study the Word enough to really understand what it means and it will take for us to live a life that is totally yielded to God–please notice I included myself in that bunch because I’m talking to ME too!

Based on Psalm 96 - singing a new song together

All I’m saying is that living a lifestyle of worship, purity, and surrender–what God really wants–takes work.  We have to do more than just go to church once per week, listen to a message that we never revisit, talk to God as we’re falling asleep at night, halfway read two scriptures before dashing out of the door in the morning, and expect things to be different in our lives.  God is not whore that we can just leave the money on the dresser and leave.  God loves quality time!  Let us be more intentional about embracing and delighting our God not just so He can give us our desires, but because we love Him and He is more than worthy of our praises, worship, and time.  Delight yourselves in the Lord!

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Singers vs. Artists

DISCLAIMER:  I know that this is MY blog and it is implied that anything I say here is MY opinion, but I’m going to keep emphasizing the fact that this is my own opinion so no one takes offense.  I know a loooooot of singers and some artists, and I definitely am not making a blanket statement.  However, if the shoe fits…wear it!  🙂

My brother is a fan of a certain contestant on this new talent search show called The Voice.  I won’t mention her name, but I’m sure you’ll figure it out.  She’s actually already recorded two albums, and my brother was confused as to why she keeps going to these competitions–this isn’t the first show like this she’s been on.  I thought the answer is very simple, but he’s so smitten he can’t see it.  I think that there is a huge difference between singers and artists, and frankly I don’t believe that she has what it takes to be an artist which is why her career hasn’t taken off like she wants it.

To me, all singers are not artists, and all artists are DEFINITELY not singers.  I think that artists have a few key characteristics that a singer may not necessarily have.  Artists have drive & some goal/mission in mind.  Some folks do it for the money which of course drives them to keep being more and more creative, edgy, or whatever their trademark is.  They don’t even have to be really good at what they do, and it’s amazing what a little guts and determination will do.  Artists aim to do something whether it’s just to be the best, be creative, spread a message, take you on a journey (musically), or even make the world dance as Jessie J says.  As with anything, it’s hard to progress or be driven to do something if you do not have a purpose for it.

Singers *heart* singing, and some artists do too.  They think about it night and day and do it as much as they can.  However, oftentimes singers just sing to be singing.  There isn’t necessarily a goal/mission in mind.  There was something this contestant said that confirmed to me that she may not be artist material.  They were asking her why she wanted this so bad, and why she should win, and she said that she knows God gave her a good voice.  I said to myself, “God gave me a good voice too!  Does that mean I should pursue a singing career?”  Is that the only reason?  If so, then everyone who can bring the house down should be given a contract, right?  I think that far too often we, especially Christians, get into this predetermined, semi-automatic destiny mentality.  You know how it is…if someone can sing, then everyone thinks they should be a singer.  If a man is tall everyone thinks he should play basketball.  If a woman is gorgeous we say she should be a model.  If you’re charismatic, love people, communicate well, and are Biblically well read, then you should be a pastor.  All of these are just stereotypes!  I would almost be willing to bet that the most beautiful woman in the world is not a model, and the tallest man is not a basketball player!  We need to remember that God has a plan for our lives, and it is up to us to consult with HIM to find out what it is.  Now, I’m definitely not saying that this contestant or anyone else who is failing at launching a singing career hasn’t sought God about it.  Everyone has a journey and has to go through things to earn their stripes.  However, their are a LOT of people out there who are not doing the right thing with their lives because they just assumed that because I’m x I should do y because that is what everyone is going to expect of me.  Man…forget them!  Besides, I think that we glamorize things too much.  Yeah, being a superstar looks good, but if everyone who can sing becomes artist, then who will be left to lead worship at church?  Who will be left to teach the music classes at school?  If everyone who thinks they are called to preach becomes a pastor and starts a church, then the things that are less glamorous such as prison ministry, campus ministry, Bible studies for the elderly, etc. will greatly be lacking.  I understand though.  Everybody thinks that God wants to bless them with what WE think is the best, but who says that being the best Sunday school teacher is not God’s best for your life?  Who are we to decide who needs to be ministered to more?  We all make these plans for our lives without permission, and then we get mad with God when we don’t think He’s working things out for us.  We can be such spoiled brats!

All I am really saying is that people need to get into the habit of recognizing their talents–ALL of them…not just the predominant ones.  I know all too well that the Lord works in extremely mysterious ways!  Take stock of your gifts and talents, render them to God, and ask HIM what you should do with your life.  He will be more than glad to tell you–when you’re really ready to know.  It just may surprise you!

My Easter Sermon

 

I’m going to try and keep this brief and to the point, but most of you know that I will fail miserably 🙂 

I tried to think up a cute story to tell, or some really awesome analogy, but I think I’m the most talented at sticking with the truth.  The radio station I listen to the most always has a topic for people to call in and weigh in on.  The topic on Friday was for parents:  since Easter is the Christian’s BIG holiday, how do you incorporate the importance while still keeping it fun?  Basically what they wanted to know was how do you balance Jesus with the Easter bunny?  Although I understand what they’re saying, I think it’s a pretty dumb question.  Kids believe what you tell them, and parents need to stop being afraid to tell their kids the truth.  Since when did it become important that the children feel accepted by their peers?  We’re CHRISTIANS!!  We’re not supposed to fit in!!!

Ok, that had nothing to do with what I was going to say, but it wouldn’t be called The Soap Box if I didn’t go off on something LOL.  Oh, one more thought about that.  I feel the same way about the Easter bunny as I feel about Santa.  So, without having to rehash all of that just go back and read what I said about the fat guy in the red suit.

Anyway, I originally was not going to dress up this year.  After all, what does a new, hot outfit have to do with the resurrection of our Lord and Savior?  However, I remembered a dress I got last year for another occasion that I haven’t worn to church yet; and I just so happened to get my hair straightened on Friday.  So, you know…I’m gonna be looking fly anyway, so I might as well go all out LOL!  Seriously though, I don’t buy into all this commercial stuff that has no basis in anything.  Well, actually there is some history behind all of this, but we’ll have to discuss that at a later date.  Maybe you’d think twice before promising your kids a visit from the Easter bunny next year.  But anyway, just like Christmas, Jesus gets squeezed out of His own celebration–again!  Except THIS celebration should be even bigger than His birthday party!  Christmas is awesome, but Easter is the hotness!  Jesus being born is great, but the whole mission was about Him dying to save us from death.  Mission accomplished!!  We are now all free to go to Heaven if we choose to live in the way that God ordained for us to live.

  As you are having fun with your kids today–and honestly there’s nothing wrong with a little fun–make sure they understand why we celebrate Easter with excitement and enthusiasm.  Honestly, even the name Easter has its roots in a “non-Jesus” origin.  So, during this resurrection Sunday, holy week, or whatever you want to call it, share Jesus with your children.  Make sure they know that hunting for eggs and expecting gift baskets from a fake rabbit is not the truth and something you all do for fun–if you chose to participate in that.  Make sure they understand that there is a very real God out there who has a very real love for us, and He sent His very real Son to earth to die on a very real cross to pay the penalty for our very real sin.  There’s nothing fake about that!!

God’s love is bigger than any power that any of the fictitious characters we believe in has.  His love is unexplainable!  I mean, tell me why would the creator of the UNIVERSE be soo concerned about the situation here on earth that He would sacrifice His ONLY son for YOU???  You weren’t even a thought in anyone’s mind yet!  However, God saw you all these thousands of years later right where you are right now and He loved you and had mercy on you.  He agreed that everything that you were ever going to do wrong He would forget about it and forgive you if you ask Him to because of His son.  That’s absolutely ridiculous!  It’s such a great deal, but we’re so self-centered we reject the deal every day in order to stay comfortable, maintain our status, have so-called fun, stay popular, or whatever it is that keeps us from accepting Jesus.

We have got to get over our skewed views of God!!  I know a lot of people don’t want to accept Jesus because they think His Father is some mean old man that’s out to catch you doing everything wrong.  I totally get that because I’m overcoming some messed up views of God myself!  Yeah…Christians have them too, and probably way worse than non-believers.  Would you believe me if I told you that God is not a mean old man?  If you do, great.  If not, then get this.  God actually loves you soooo much not only did He allow His only child to be brutally murdered for you, but He longs to spend time with YOU!  He wants to shower you with blessings and show you things that will just blow your mind.  He wants to be your BFF, and it has NOTHING to do with you!  He’s just so awesome, and goodness exudes from Him.  He wants to do it because HE is good–you are SO not good lol.  Neither am I.  None of us deserve the things He has for us compared to His own Son who was truly perfect and never did or said anything wrong EVER!  God is still crazy in love with us, and it doesn’t have to make since.  All you have to do is accept that He will never fall out of love with you, and live the way He wants you to live–that’s the least you can do to show Him you appreciate His love and sacrifice.   Whaddaya say?  Will you accept His gift?  I hope that you will.  You don’t want to find out what happens if you don’t!

Enjoy your family & friends today.  Find some eggs.  Eat lots of chocolate.  BUT…please do not forget about Jesus.  God bless!

 

Dumb Songs

This evening as I was driving to my business meeting, I found myself yelling at the radio.  Deitrick Haddon apparently has a new CD coming out, and CoCo Brother played the single.  I think he said it’s called Well Done.  True, I didn’t hear the entire song, but I heard most of it.  I’m telling you guys…that song got on my nerves!  I swear, the majority of his recent CDs have that one song on it that is the oh-crap-we-still-need-one-more-song-so-let-me-write-something-really-quick song.  You know…the lyrics are lite and almost unnecessary because either it makes no sense, or it’s like, “DUH!!”  And then the music is “safe,” simple, and unimaginative unlike the rest of the CD.  This Well Done track is that, although I have not heard the rest of the CD.  Anyway, so the reason I was yelling at the radio is because I think sometimes black Christians say things because they sound good without really thinking about what they mean.   This song was talking about how he wants to hear “well done” when he gets to Heaven.  That’s great.  My issue is with the rest of the lyrics.  There were a couple lines that pushed me over the edge, but the one that stands out the most was when he said that he’s working hard to get there, and all he wants is his name in the book and to hear well done–or something like that.  WHAT?!  All you want is to get your name in the book?!  That’s pre-school!  As soon as you accept Jesus, your name goes in the book!!!  Why would one have to WORK to get their name in the book when it’s already there??  AND if that’s all you’re working for, then isn’t your work in vain?  If that’s true, then that would explain a lot about his music–we can talk about that later!  I love his voice, and he can definitely lay a track down, but I have some issues with his content sometimes.  Anyway…so yeah, if you’re working hard to get something done that’s already done, then what are you really doing?

I forgot the other thing Deitrick said that made me yell, but then I started thinking about other dumb things that black Christians say.  The word inheritance popped into my mind.  I started to think about it, and then all of a sudden I disliked every song that talks about going to GET your inheritance.  Think about it:  an inheritance is something that is LEFT for you.  You don’t have to go get it because it is GIVEN to you.  Typically an inheritance is left after someone dies which implies a certain level of patience on our part.  So, if an inheritance is something that we have to WAIT for it to be given, then “going and getting it” wouldn’t be right, correct?  Isn’t this the exact same thing that the prodigal son did??  And how exactly does one “go get” their inheritance anyway?  I mean like, Jesus didn’t physically leave money and real estate behind, so what are we getting?  Well, actually He did leave some real estate behind, but it’s not for us because we’re not Jewish!  That’s another thing.  A lot of us church folks go around quoting scripture and claiming promises that don’t apply to us because the scripture/promise was not written to us!  That’s a whole ‘nother topic right there….

I was responding to my brother because he asked me why I was frustrated with gospel radio stations today–at least the one here in the ATL.  I could write several paragraphs, but I’ll just point out one thing.  Honestly, I’ve noticed that they are getting better about it now, but they still have a long way to go.  In the past, that station typically plays the same type of songs over and over and over again!  What kind of songs?  I’ll tell you!  These songs have the same ol’ tired lyrics:  “get me out, Jesus,” “fix me, Jesus,” “help me, Jesus,” “bless me, Jesus,” “work it out, Jesus….”  Is Jesus only good for what He can do for us???  I thought WE were supposed to be serving HIM!  That gets on my nerves.  I challenge you to listen to the words of the so-called hot songs and see if there are really all that.  And OMG, the screaming females!!  My God!!!!  That makes ME say HELP ME JESUS!  LOL, I mean, I know the Bible says to make a joyful noise, but I don’t think it really meant a joyful NOISE!!!  AHHHHHH!  All that screaming makes me want to SCREAM!  But anyway…I will come down from that.

There’s a reason why Fred Hammond is my favorite artist.  His lyrics are consistent!  Consistent with what?  They are consistently focused on praising and worshiping God for who He IS and not for what He’s DONE.  True, it is appropriate to praise God for what He’s done.  There are plenty of songs that I love that center around that, but if ALL your songs have to do with what God can do (especially for you), then I would question your motivation.  There is a difference between someone who used to run the streets and has been delivered from drugs, and the songs talk about how God delivered you and everything God DID for you.  I call those testimony songs.  Shoot…tell it!!!  Somebody needs to know about that.  Honestly, you could probably use that as a basis for your ministry to seek to reach out to a certain group of people.  DO IT!  That is TOTALLY different from some church folks who ain’t never been through nothin, ain’t never did nothin, and ain’t gonna do nothin (and that’s excellent English!) talking about “bless me bless me bless me bless me bless me bless me, fix me, bless me bless me bless me bless me bless me, get me out, bless me bless me bless me bless me, work it out, bless me bless me bless me.  Get my meaning?  Those lyrics are a cop out and is a result of sheer laziness in my opinion.  Why don’t more people tap into who God is to them and write NEW songs?  You know…like, ones we’ve never heard before?!

Of course, I’m not trying to put anyone down.  I’m just saying that I wish gospel music was a little bit more creative than it has been.  I WHOLEHEARTEDLY appreciate artists who always creative and have always made great music, and are just beginning too like Forever Jones!  Talkin’ ’bout straight from the Horse’s mouth??  Their songs come STRAIGHT from Heaven…no, seriously.  All the songs on their album were birthed from their family prayer time.  Awesome stuff.  Check’em out if you haven’t already.  The long and short of it is just to be more cognizant of what songs are actually saying.

How I Feel About Swear Words, Goshdarnit

Shhh

My business mentor said that when you hear someone swearing, that’s the sound of a fool drawing attention to himself…or something like that. When he heard that for the first time, that was the last day he ever uttered that kind of word. There may be some truth to that statement because you can tell that some people are swearing on purpose for the attention. You ever notice how when you’re in a public place, there’s always some loud mouth person on the phone or maybe talking to the person that they’re with, and every time they say a curse word they get loud? What does everyone else do? Turn and look at them. They want everyone around them to feel their frustration, rage, excitement, or whatever. Personally, I feel that cursing shows a lack of creativity–although some people use those words in very creative ways! But for real, there are soo many different ways to express yourself without offending everyone else in the process. Some people sound completely ignorant to me when they swear. However, those same people would sound completely intelligent if they were to choose other words to get their point across! Intelligence draws way more attention than ignorance does. Just think…that same loud mouth person in the store…what if they used a large, “$50 word” instead? Everyone’s eyebrows would be raised in shock, but in a good way. Wouldn’t you rather be noticed for saying something smart? So, I’d like to issue a challenge this week–too bad this wasn’t Plinky’s topic yesterday. Anyway, here’s what I want you to do. Today, I want you to think about all the ways that you use swear words and find other adjectives that can be used in the same way. Write them down! Then, tomorrow through Sunday, I challenge you to USE THEM in lieu of whatever you would normally say. Finally, if you remember, reply to this post with what you said so we can all add some new words to our vocabulary. Let’s start a new trend! Let’s make ENGLISH cool!!

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“Church Folk”

Church folk.

You get on my nerves!  With your lofty glances and self-righteous attitudes.  I get SOO tired of people coming to me with situations that aren’t necessarily bad, but because YOU think it is, they feel condemned and haven’t even said anything to you yet!  There are people in the church who are hurting and in dire of a miracle but are afraid to death to ask for help because YOU are going to make a spectacle of it.

Church folk!

You’re soo quick to judge and rarely take the time to actually listen.  Everything is always soo black and white with you.  Either you’re saved or you’re not.  You’re living right or you’re not.  True, there’s no such thing as straddling the fence, but whatever happened to grace?  Whatever happened to loving people through the process?  Do you really expect people who get saved to just automatically know what’s up and live right from the jump??  Where’s the patience?

Church folk.

You make my life and people like me miserable.  Because I am a Christian, I’m automatically associated with you, but I am not like you!  Just like Casting Crowns says, if we are the body, why aren’t His arms reaching?  Why aren’t His hands healing?  Why aren’t His words teaching?  Why aren’t His feet going?  Why is His love not showing them there is a way??  The “I got mine, so you need to get yours” attitude has crept into the church.  That is the saddest, most “oxymoronic” thing that could happen in the church.  People are supposed to be able to come to the church to GET healing.  Even some of our own need help.  But no.  In the process of attempting to be healed, you wound them even more because they don’t have it together yet.  We have well-intentioned CHRISTIANS leaving churches because they didn’t feel loved and did not get the care they need during their own time of need.  COME ON NOW, CHURCH FOLK!!

Now, of course, I’m not saying that we need to tolerate sin (or even the appearance of it).  I haven’t gone rouge.  Sin is sin, and it does not need to abide within the body of Christ.  However, what I AM saying is that we call ourselves correcting people, but we don’t do it with love!  And then there are the people who aren’t even in sinful situations, but because we THINK that is LOOKS bad we treat them like they have sinned, and they are wounded by that.  We have people who really really REALLY need someone to talk to, but because church folk love to run their mouths, they find it hard to trust and even meet new people!  It’s beyond me why cliques even exist in the church.  We need to get back to love and treating people how we want to be treated.  Loving people through their hurt, pain, struggles…just love them!    LISTEN to them before casting judgment.  Heck…we shouldn’t be judging ANYONE!  Everyone has junk going on in their own lives, and no one has room to talk.  It’s BEEN time for church folk to start acting like the Christ we say we follow.  So, close your mouth, listen up, pray, and LOVE!

His Money Is NOT Your Concern

I was talking to a friend last night, and we got on the subject of pastors’ money and affluence.  Today in church they touched on it very briefly as well.  I know this is a sore spot with a lot of people–mostly non-Christian, but sadly a lot of Christians too.  A lot of people don’t tithe because they don’t know what the church is going to do with the money.  They are afraid that it’s going straight into the pastor’s pocket.  That couldn’t be far from the truth–at least in churches that operate with integrity.  My response to him was two-fold:  1. only people who are spiritually immature are concerned about things like that, and 2. as long as you are doing what you’re supposed to do, then you will be blessed.

1. The Spiritually Immature

I was telling my friend last night that pastors have salaries just like we do.  Where the salary comes from, I have no idea and don’t care, but he has a salary nontheless.  So, just like you don’t think people should care about what you do with your own wages, what he does with his wages is none of our business!  I mean like, what sense does it make to be concerned about what he buys?  Check this:  When your boss pays you, does he get mad at you if you save your money and buy a nicer car than him?  Is he concerned that you are debt free and he is not?  No!  Once the money is in your hands it’s YOUR money to do with as you please (or if you’re a Christian what God pleases).  When you purchase a product are you hesitant to pay for it because you don’t know how that company manages their money, or you think the CEO is going to take it and buy a new yacht?  No, you purchase the product without any question.  Why?  Because you need/want it!  And because you need or want it, you don’t really care what happens behind the scenes.  It’s just like how people always say that the chicken at the Chinese joint is not real and might be some other animal like cat.  People sound concerned about it, but they still eat there!  We say we’re concerned about gas prices and say we’re gonna boycott certain places, but we still go there.  What’s the point?  When the demand for a product is great enough, or when the desire is great enough, the facts don’t really matter and we end up doing what we want or what is familiar.  The gospel is a product, and although the pastor is selling it (or shouldn’t be), we ARE commanded to tithe, give of our time (serving), etc. in a local church.  This is a good segway into #2….

2. Do What You’re Supposed ToDo

The Bible COMMANDS us to tithe.  It’s not a suggestion, a subtle hint, or even required extra credit.  It is a non-negotiable commandment!  What does that mean?  Whether your pastor has 14 Bentleys and 5 jets, is stealing from the church, or not, YOU MUST tithe!!  Why?  BECAUSE GOD SAID SO!!!  Period.  You don’t tithe because the pastor asked you to, needs you to, or wants you to.  You don’t tithe because the pastor’s wife needs a new mink and the kids need braces.  You don’t tithe because the church has a building fund.  You don’t tithe because you’re the highest paid person in the church and your money could help out.  You don’t even tithe because it’s a good idea.  You tithe because God expects it of you.  So, if your pastor’s bling is soo bright you can hardly see, tithe anyway.  If your pastor’s family seems to be flourishing while everyone else is struggling, tithe anyway.  If you don’t see ANY results and no one is coming to Jesus, tithe anyway.  Now, true, you may want to make sure you’re at the right church if the aforementioned scenarios ALWAYS play out at your church.  God called us to tithe, but He doesn’t want you to continue sowing seed on bad soil.  But that doesn’t mean that every pastor that seems to be flourishing is doing some under handed stuff.  Did you know that the Bible tells us that we should pay our pastors, and pay them well, if they are doing a good job feeding us the Word?  Yeah!  It’s right there in the book, but I’m sure most Christians don’t even get this far into the Book…but that’s another blog.  I Timothy 5:17 & 18 says, “Elders who do their work well should be respected and paid well, especially those who work hard at both preaching and teaching.  For the Scripture says, ‘You must not muzzle an ox to keep it from eating as it treads out the grain.’  And in another place, ‘Those who work deserve their pay!’” That was the New Living Translation.  I love how The Message translation starts v. 17 off by saying, “Give a bonus to leaders who do a good job,….”  So, let’s break this down for those of you who are still fighting this.  a. Is your pastor a leader?  Yes.  b. Does he work?  HECK yeah!  My pastor said once that preaching is a very taxing “job.”  He said that all of the studying that you do before you even deliver the message, and the actual delivery (which includes a LOT of talking–sometimes loud talking–and God speaking through you), one service is the equivalent of one eight hour workday!  So pastors that do more than one service per Sunday (like mine does four!) are working EXTREMELY hard!  But that’s only one part of their job.  A pastor who is doing his job right should be constantly praying for us and seeking God for direction of the body.  In laymen’s terms, he should be losing sleep over spending time with God.  Then he has staff meetings because he is the “boss” of the church office.  Then he has to go to the hospital, do marriages & funerals, preach on Wednesday nights, counsel members, collaborate with other pastors, etc.  On top of all that, he has his OWN family to tend to!  WHEW!  That makes me tired just thinking about it!!  Moving on. c.  Does he do his job well?  That’s a relative term, but you should know if he’s doing it well–and you can’t judge by how many people shout that Sunday, or by how many “amens” he gets!!  Is your church growing?  Are people getting saved?  Do people love and respect him without him demanding it?  If so, then he’s probably doing an excellent job.  SO, if you agreed with these 3 things, then guess what?  You should pay your pastor!  Why?  Because if you don’t, then as the scripture says, it’s like you are muzzling him.  How?  If the pastor is broke just like everybody else…if he’s worried about his lights getting turned off…if they are coming to take his car…do you think it would be possible for him to think clearly enough to deliver a message to you?  He probably couldn’t pray effectively for you with his own problems on his mind.  I am DEFINITELY not saying that pastors don’t have problems!  Pastors are followers of Christ first and a pastor second.  Who are followers of Christ?  Plain ol people (who are called Christians).  Do people have problems?  YES!  So, yeah…I’m not saying that pastors don’t have any problems, but I’m just saying that the church should take care of his basic needs so that he doesn’t have too many little distractions in his life (hmmm…..because of that I’m thinking maybe his salary comes from the offerings and not tithes…but anyway).  So, yes, don’t block your blessings (muzzling him) and your Word from God because your pastor is bogged down with the issues of life because you don’t take care of him.  When you really need to talk to your pastor don’t you want his undivided attention?  Take care of him, and you’ll have it.  Another thing about muzzling to continue that phrase, it says don’t muzzle an ox to keep him from eating the grain.  What do you think that means?  I’ll let you figure that one out for yourselves.  Finally, the scripture ends by saying those who work deserves their pay.  What does that mean?  In all honesty it means whether you like him or think he’s doing a good job, whether he’s blinging or stealing, if he preaches and that is his job, then you pay him.  Period.  Think about this.  For the most part, most working people are scheduled to work for eight hours.  Do most people WORK all eight hours?  No.  So what if your boss decides to only pay you for the hours you actually worked?  You’d be stark, raving mad!  Why?  Because you have to be in the building away from your family and things that are important to you for at least eight hours of your day and you think that you should be compensated.  For the most part the answer is whether you worked or not, you want to be paid for showing up.  SO…the pastors showed up!  Pay him!

To end this very long post I’ll say this:  a mature Christian is not concerned about this.  A mature Christian knows that not tithing is out of the question.  She knows that God will bless her faithfulness for being obedient.  What happens when the envelop hits the basket is out of her hands.  If the pastor wants to take it all, then the curse will fall on his house–not hers!  She knows that God sees everything and is not a dummy.  She knows that there is a method to His madness and that she plays a part in His plan some kind of way, and she is obliged to be in the number.   She’s actually quite glad to see that the pastor is doing well because she knows that God rewards faithfulness.  Because of that she is comforted because she also knows that the blessings fall from ABOVE.  Why is that important?  Because God is a God of order.  God deals with and blesses the head first.  So if the pastor is blessed, then the blessings can’t help but to trickle down the line.  That’s why membership has it’s privileges (you need a covering!).  So if the pastor decides that he can afford a new car…praise God!  If he can afford for all his kids to have cars (nice ones)…praise God!  Aren’t you going to do the same thing when your blessing comes?!  So, like I said, his money is not your concern!