The Reverend

“Satan fell through force of gravity.”

~G.K. Chesterton

My Dear Hognut,

I’m certainly glad that our exchange has taken place via private electronic messages and not posted on an open forum.

Your questions and line of reasoning, in your email response to me, were nothing short of stupid!

It’s disgusting how much you need me and my guidance!  We can only be grateful that I’m here for you for such a time as this.

How wonderful, on the contrary, to hear that your client highly regards the clergy-laity divide!  

It exquisitely limits the Enemy’s workforce when the majority of “Christians” view themselves as passive pew sitters, punching a weekly time clock of church attendance—while the leadership is busy knocking into one another with puffed-up heads, useless debates, and endless divisions.

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Reinforce this concept of spiritual hierarchy wherever it may be found, whether in church structure or personal relationships, as it delightfully divides, discourages, and disheartens.

Overall, protect your client from recognizing the strategy of Jesus, who sought to revolutionize the world by creating a level playing field where any average persona non grata can become a public enemy of concern to our organization.

Arguments about titles, roles, and rules are to be strongly encouraged!  Emphasize and even overemphasize non-essential topics.  

“Overall, protect your client from recognizing the strategy of Jesus, who sought to revolutionize the world by creating a level playing field where any average persona non grata can become a public enemy of concern to our organization…”

Revise and re-revise the bylaws and policy manuals until the cows come home.  Underscore any religious pattern of thinking or behavior that will keep more players on the benches and little to none on the field.

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Your client seems a miniscule threat in terms of equipping, training, or mobilizing people to pray or work for the Enemy.  He’s securely self-focused.

His own theological training and experience nearly guarantee he will be looked to as an authority.  His personality is winsome enough that he will shepherd the flock in our direction without the sheep being any the wiser.

You will also do well to ensure that any passages, referencing humility or unity are relegated as compulsory for others and applied only to his personal advantage, while your client holds tightly to his own self-righteousness.

Another hilarious thing in the religious sector (if one is given to laughter) is that with one well-placed fear, doubt, or unnecessary concern one can spin an entire conversation, conference, or series of meetings out of focus into total disarray and ensuing chaos!

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Lest you doubt me, I will cite a case study.

I heard from one of our colleagues who inspired a group of church leaders to fully dissociate from one of their own and disregard this other’s so-called “success” because of his unconventional use of untrained “lay leaders” in public ministry.

This individual was part of a divergent movement, which I recognized as one of the blips of concern on the map.  He was gathering everyday believers for prayer, training, and deployment in what he termed “disciple-making,” which dangerously upset the religious applecart.

Our esteemed colleague, playing on the other leaders’ fears of becoming obsolete and further underpaid, inspired a discussion on traditional ecclesial titles and roles.  Those mentioned previously, like pastor and reverend, came up but even more like elder, deacon, bishop, overseer, et cetera.

This “friendly” conversation soon became a full-fledged debate with tempers flaring and increasingly more words flying.  Of course, this came with the inversely proportional amount of time spent actually listening.

As they heard one another less and less, their argument became more and more heated.  Lines drawn in the proverbial sand became deeper and deeper trenches between them.

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The division and distraction that ensued was delicious!

This pairs well with what I urged in a previous post about inspiring our clientele to focus on their differences and to quickly take offense.  In short, train your client to be quick to speak, slow to listen, and quick to outburst in anger, for this is near sure as Hell to bring about the outcome we so deeply desire.  

That turn of phrase has a ring to it!

“As they heard one another less and less, their argument became more and more heated.  Lines drawn in the proverbial sand became deeper and deeper trenches between them…”

In closing, be sure to keep on the forefront of your mind the fact that you are easily replaceable.  And if you fail or your initial attempts suggest that you might fail, I will recommend your immediate termination.

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There is a long line of underlings, who would be overjoyed to step into your strong-smelling shoes.

Tenderly yours,

“The Reverend” P. Sophresh

(honorary, self-awarded title included just for the dramatic effect of it) 

P.S. Those credentials are so easy to acquire online these days that as I wrote the closing words of this memo I went ahead and registered myself for one!  The official certificate I printed is prominently displayed on my home office wall.

Oh, what irony and hilarity!  You might well do the same if you think it would help you see from behind your client’s eyes. And who says our work isn’t fun?

If you’d like to talk more about disciple making that multiplies, reach out to us...

Roy Moran

Marcus Constantine

Alarming Spiritual Trends

“We must picture Hell as a state where everyone is perpetually concerned about his own dignity and advancement, where everyone has a grievance, and where everyone lives the deadly serious passions of envy, self-importance, and resentment. This, to begin with.”

~C.S. Lewis

Dear Hognut,

I cannot tell you how elated I am that my previous posts cast a long enough shadow, creating the buzz necessary to reinstate myself into a supervisory role in our organization.

It quite surprised me—as I am sure it did you when you no doubt heard—that I was to be removed from my post for an undesignated period.  

My theory, more well-informed of course than most, is that there was a jealousy brewing among some higherups regarding my capabilities and potential qualifications to be promoted to their rank (please keep this tasty tidbit to yourself and refrain from sharing it vertically or horizontally).

I have my finger on something that few others in our organization are aware of.

While some supervisors have their heads deep in the weeds of particular cases and others get bleary-eyed looking at the grander scheme, I have noted some dangerous blips on the map, spiritual trends you might call them, which if left unaddressed could present significant problems for our overarching initiatives and long-range organizational goals.

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When my findings are fully recognized, I will no doubt be promoted to a rank much higher than you could ever dream of attaining.

You may have heard it explained that the ranking system our organization employs was uniquely designed for us.  Of course, humans have attempted to implement our structure everywhere from their families and corporate org charts to their religious institutions.  

It is quite humorous (if one is given to humor) to observe the ensuing disunity, mistrust, and inequality that results.

Some have falsely attributed the origin of our organizational ranking system to the Enemy.  Of course, it was our Chief Operating Officer, our Father Below himself, who arranged the levels and ranks for us, with himself firmly fixed at the highest office.

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To say the least, I was elated, while reviewing your client’s file, to discover that he is a reverend.  And not just a member of the so-called clergy, but one who insists on being addressed by exalted titles like “Pastor,” which he finds ever so much satisfaction in.  What’s more, he revels in discussing his rank, experience, and education ad nauseum.

Your weak ramblings in your initial briefing and the lack of clarity in your client plan speak loudly and clearly that you have failed to grasp how simple this assignment can be for you!

This may very well become a backburner account that provides rich dividends, requiring only minimal maintenance—while you can give your attention to taking on additional clientele.  In this case, your perceived enemy can very easily become your ally.  In fact, he already may be an asset to our cause!

I hope you will soon wake up and smell the coffee in the fellowship hall!  Realize, my pea-brained compatriot, you have nothing to fear just because your current client is “religious.”  

The world of human religion is an opportunistic playground for us, as it often inherently embraces several foundational pillars, which our organization prizes.  A few of which are the love of power, manipulation, domination, control, wealth, rank… need I go on?

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If you have done your homework—which would be hard to believe—you may remember that our Enemy addressed this very matter during his incarnate years on this earth.

The Enemy instructed his disciples they were not to be addressed by honorific titles like Rabbi, Teacher, or Father.  This was important to him because he, dangerously, knew what was in a human heart.

He recognized humankind is given toward pride.  Thus, they jump when the opportunity presents itself to find identity or a sense of worth in position, power, or personal accomplishments.

“The Enemy instructed his disciples they were not to be addressed by honorific titles like Rabbi, Teacher, or Father.” ~Preptor S.

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Each of these pitfalls have the potent allure of quicksand, pulling hard and holding fast any who would stumble or stride into them.

Make sure that portions of the Book, like those aforementioned, are hidden from your client.  Of course, he can read and even teach them, but ensure they remain veiled.

He is free to explain them away by complicated reasoning, suggesting they are only applicable to the earliest disciples or via some other convoluted theological or, otherwise, logical arguments.

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If he is completely convinced in his own mind, those who hear his profound explanations will equally be either thoroughly convicted or confused.  Either is our delight!

More on this soon.  Keep me updated on your progress.

“If he is completely convinced in his own mind, those who hear his profound explanations will equally be either thoroughly convicted or confused.  Either is our delight!”

Breathing down your neck and looking over your shoulder (at times, quite literally),

Preptor S.

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If you’d like to talk more about disciple making that multiplies, reach out to us...

Roy Moran

Marcus Constantine

Declaration of Readiness to Receive the Word

In Acts 17:11, Dr. Luke records the account of the noble Bereans who were so willing to learn and grow.  They received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily to see if what Apostle Paul said was true.  I picture this eagerness as on-the-edge-of-your-seat readiness, with your spirit fully active and alert to receive everything Holy Spirit wants to say to you as you hear the Word.

Below is a declaration of readiness to receive the Word with eagerness.  I mined the gold of this declaration from the words of the Lord Jesus in Matthew 13:9-18, 35.  Apply this treasure by declaring it for yourself whenever you are preparing your heart to hear God’s Word, both before your own daily Bible study and in corporate gatherings.

In the Name of Jesus, I declare…

I have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to His Church.

I receive from Jesus the knowledge of the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven.

As I hear, I hear and understand.

As I see, I see and perceive.

My heart is soft.

My ears and eyes are open.

I see with my eyes, hear with my ears, and understand with my heart.

I turn to Jesus, and I am healed.

Blessed are my eyes for they see.

Blessed are my ears for they hear.

Blessed is my heart for I understand.

Many prophets and righteous people longed to see what I see and to hear what I hear.

I will listen then to what the Word means.

Holy Spirit, I ask You to seal this declaration of truth and cause it to become fully true in my life as I receive Your Word with eagerness.  In Jesus’ Name – Amen!

Head & Heart – Soulmates

“Would you quit your whimpering?!? I’m trying to think,” Mind growled with an intellectual indifference.

“I can’t help it. This is just so moving!” His companion, Heart, emotionally retorted, sniffling and wiping away tears.
I promise, my head and heart don’t have audible conversations within my soul; however, I’ve learned there must be peaceful balance between them. As a follower of Christ, I’m called to think and feel as the Lord Jesus does.
I remember learning in a worship music class in Bible college, about the balance between head and heart. Our music professor taught that the arts diverge into two branches: classic, which is orderly and logical, and romantic, which is free and more emotional. Head and heart have arm-wrestled throughout music history. Isn’t this the balance we seek in worship ministry today too?
In a preaching class, our professor taught that ministering the Word is both a science, involving mental discipline, and an art, requiring the Holy Spirit’s influence on the speaker’s heart. Head and heart must cooperate under the unction of the Holy Spirit to deliver an effective message.
John 1:12 speaks of both receiving Jesus and believing in His Name. The Lord, through John, explains there’s an experiential and an intellectual component to becoming born again as a child of God through Jesus Christ (Jn. 3). We believe the truth of the Gospel and turn from lawbreaking to follow Christ.
I was baptized as an infant and grew up in a church where I learned about the Bible. My head was full of knowledge, but I hadn’t encountered the Risen Christ. My heart hadn’t yet been pricked with a godly sorrow that brings repentance (2 Cor. 7:10). When I heard the Gospel call to repent and be saved, the Holy Spirit brought conviction of sin and my need for Jesus. I received and believed.
I heard Apologist Josh McDowell explain on the radio once that it was not just intellectual doubt that kept him from faith. Deep emotional wounds from his earthly father hindered his heart from believing in the Heavenly Father. He was convinced an Almighty Father would only cause him more pain. The Holy Spirit used both the love and the intellectual evidence of those who witnessed to McDowell to draw him to Jesus.
Everything done well in this life must involve a redeemed head and heart. When we act only from the head, we cause pain. When we’re simply moved by the heart, we cause trouble.
Everything done well in this life must involve a redeemed head and heart. When we act only from the head, we cause pain. When we’re simply moved by the heart, we cause trouble. The unregenerate “heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked” and the mind must be renewed (Jer. 17:9; Rom. 12:2).
Neither emotion nor reason is inherently evil. They are gifts of God, evidence that people are handcrafted in His Image. There’s an element of reason and emotion required for every wise decision, drawing from Scriptural principles and listening for the Holy Spirit’s still, small voice.
This balance between head and heart isn’t something I usually dwell on or am overly introspective about. Instead, we listen to the Holy Spirit and ask Him to convict us of any unconfessed sin. When we act unwisely or uncaringly, He graciously convicts. He wants us to be free (2 Cor. 3:17). When He puts His gentle finger on a specific sin, we turn from the sin toward Jesus and move forward in the freedom of His Spirit.
Will Head and Heart ever get along? Through the cleansing Blood of Jesus, they sure can. Let’s eagerly desire both Christ-like thinking and feeling. The head and the heart are, after all, soulmates.

What does this balancing act between intellect and emotion look like in your life and work?

Uncalled for: a call for discernment of God’s will

Junior year at our public high school, English class included a unit on media and society. I was surprised when my teacher, a Christ-follower, showed an episode of a popular cartoon television comedy.

As a young believer, I was appalled. The pseudo-humor denigrated women, depicted soft-core porn, cursed, blasphemed the Lord’s Name, badmouthed family, dishonored parents, and more…

After a conversation with her, I realized my teacher’s wisdom: what a clear way to portray the potentially poisonous effects of media on society. I couldn’t wait for group discussion; now my classmates would certainly understand.

However, to my utter dismay, the majority gushed about how they enjoyed the episode and hoped we’d watch another next class. After all, “it might not be good for children, but it’s perfectly fine for me.” I was troubled by their double standard.

Most of these class members were not believers in Jesus. But many professing Christians similarly lack discernment. It’s concerning and can be quite dangerous.

In Philippians 4:8-9, the Holy Spirit speaks through Paul: if it’s true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy let it into your head, so you can think about it (vs. 8). Whether we like it or not, what we let in our heads sinks down into our hearts and begins to flow out in what we say and do. When you put Christ-honoring things into your heart and into practice, there’s a promise: God will be with you (vs. 9).

Is this passage written centuries ago to a group of Philippians really intended to serve as a filter for modern-day Jesus-followers? That depends on whether or not we want God to be near to us. It depends on how much we desire to walk closely within His will for our lives.

Christian liberty and grace are not licenses to love the things of the world, pursue youthful lusts, or naively believe everything we hear (Rom. 6:1-4; 2 Tim. 2:22). I’d like to sound the alarm and call for discernment.

Discernment is not only required for entertainment choices. It enables believers to test teaching and counsel. We must hold every truth claim up to the standard of the Bible, as the Bereans did (1 Thes. 5:21). They didn’t even take Paul’s word for it; they tested his teaching according to God’s written Word (Acts 17:11). Let’s be wise and not believe all we hear. Let’s not do everything the world around us does.

If we follow Christ, let’s ensure His message is never compromised. Guarding our hearts yields clear minds to hear the Holy Spirit’s voice (Prov. 4:23). Then we can discern the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God (Rom. 12:2). When we discern His will, we ready ourselves to carry it out.  Let’s gear up for the journey!

What has your experience been like with hearing the Spirit’s voice and discerning God’s will?

Do you have any specific media intake boundaries that you’ve set for yourself or decided on together as a family?

We’d love to hear from you…

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