Building Churches or Centers of Convenience by Dr. Terry Anglea

May 4, 2015 by  
Filed under Sermons

“And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David: If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah. Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan. And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan. And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi. And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made. So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense.” (I Kings 12:26-33)

Israel, God’s chosen, is now a divided kingdom, just like God prophesied because of their sin and idolatry. Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, became the king after his death, and preferred the influence of his young punk friends over the wise counsel that was given to him by the older, wiser, more experienced statesmen. When Rehoboam allowed his pride and arrogance to threaten and burden the people with a heavier load and even higher taxes, a rebellion took place that tore the nation in two.

Remember that it was the result of their sin which resulted in the dividing of the kingdom into two nations. You’ve got the northern kingdom that was made up of ten tribes and it retained the name of Israel. Jeroboam, a long-standing enemy to Solomon’s kingdom, became its king. Then you have the southern kingdom made up of two tribes, Judah and Benjamin, and it took the name of Judah. Rehoboam was its king.

For the first time as king of the northern kingdom, Israel, Jeroboam had a crowd. He had ten tribes under his leadership. He was excited. Many people were calling him king, maybe, “Your Majesty,” and no doubt that pleased him immensely.

But for all of his excitement, Jeroboam was still uneasy. God’s designated place of worship was Jerusalem. There was a Temple there and God had designated that all of the worship, the offerings, the feasts, and sacrifices be centered there at the Temple in the city of Jerusalem. God has always had a designated place of worship. That was God’s appointed place for them. In the New Testament, God has given us the local church. Though you can worship God in more places than just at church, you cannot scripturally worship God without a right relationship with His church.

The problem Jeroboam saw was that Jerusalem was located in the southern kingdom of Judah. Jeroboam began to contemplate this situation, and he thought, “You know if the people in my kingdom here in the north continue to travel to the south, to Rehoboam’s kingdom, in order to worship God, celebrate a feast, make a sacrifice, all those things that are so much a part of life for Israelites, there could be trouble for my kingdom.” He decided that something was going to change.

The Bible says in I Kings 12:28 that he took counsel. Though it doesn’t say with whom he counseled, obviously he didn’t receive good godly counsel. Like most people I know, Jeroboam probably asked counsel of people that would give him the advice he wanted to hear. I’ve learned that’s what happens most of the time with counseling. People don’t want the preacher’s counsel or advice unless he agrees with what they already want to do.

After the counsel he received, Jeroboam decided how he was going to ‘solve’ this problem that might threaten his reign. He took two calves of gold, two idols. He put one in Dan and one in Bethel. Then he told the people of his kingdom, “You need to worship here,” and they began to do so.

I’m sure that the people were not without blame. They knew better than to worship golden calves. Their forefathers had done that when they came out of the land of Egypt, and they were well acquainted with the history of the judgment that fell because of it. They knew better than to go to Bethel. They knew better than to go to Dan. They knew God commanded them to go to the Temple in Jerusalem. I don’t think the people are without blame, but I believe with all of my heart that the greatest blame falls on Jeroboam. He was their king. He was their leader. He had a self-centered motive for not wanting them to worship in the place where God had commanded them to worship.

CONVENIENCE RATHER THAN COMMITMENT

Once Jeroboam decided that he wanted the people of the northern kingdom to worship at Dan and Bethel instead of going to Jerusalem, he made a plan to convince the people that this would be better for them, and here is how he did it. He offered the people convenience as opposed to commitment. He said in verse 28, “…It is too much for you…” It involves too much commitment. It is too much work. It’s too far. It’s too much labor. It’s too much sacrifice. It’s too costly. It takes too much time. It involves way too much commitment.

Now friends, preachers especially, I guess that is where my burden is with this message today. We need to understand that a life of following Jesus Christ will never be convenient. It always has, it does now, and it always will require commitment. Let me ask you which one of these terms would better define Jesus’ life and ministry on earth — convenient or commitment? I think it is pretty obvious the answer to that question. His was a life of commitment. I remember Jesus saying to us, recorded for us in the Word of God, that the servant is not greater than his Lord. If the Lord Jesus Christ lived a life of commitment as opposed to a life of convenience, then what is expected of His followers? We are never going to build followers of Jesus Christ by offering them convenience as opposed to commitment.

It takes an extremely principled person to say, “No” when they are offered convenience as opposed to commitment. Most folks could not make the right choice. It’s too easy to want easy. That’s why I place the greater blame for this on their leader, Jeroboam. He was the leader, the king. He offered the people convenience as opposed to commitment, and most people can’t turn that offer down.

Brethren, we cannot build followers of Jesus Christ and by the way, that is our goal. As preachers, our job is to build up, edify, strengthen, and grow saved people, from the point of being a new convert, a baby Christian, to the point of maturity where they become strong in the faith, becoming more and more like Jesus Christ. I am for building our churches, our ministries, as big as we possibly can, provided that we do it God’s way. I’m for reaching as many people and keeping as many of them as we can, and becoming as big as we possibly can get, but I am not for doing that at the sacrifice of building followers of Jesus Christ.

Preachers, we need to stop and ask ourselves what goal we are pursuing. Are we laboring together with God to build His church, or are we simply chasing big numbers by building centers of convenience? Our nation has many huge centers of convenience being established all over this country, in every major city, and even in a lot of small towns. No matter what vicinity you travel to, there are at least one or two centers of convenience where a pastor, a leader, has decided to major on attracting a big crowd. Many of them have succeeded. There are a lot of resources out there at your disposal, if all you are interested in is drawing a crowd. At least one of their number, from one their flag ship ministries, has publicly admitted that they have succeeded at attracting a crowd, but they have a failed at building committed followers of Jesus Christ.

My great concern is that I’m watching independent Baptist brethren copy their ways and adopt their philosophies and their methods. Preacher, and especially young preachers here today, don’t get your eyes on their huge buildings and complexes and their beautiful landscaped properties and their paved parking lots and their huge crowds. You sit there, maybe in a smaller building with a gravel parking lot and half the lights are working and half the lights aren’t working, and you get your eyes on that, and you begin to wonder how he got all that and how did he get to that point and how did he get that many people. When you begin looking at the methods he used to attract that crowd, you understand that he offered them convenience rather than commitment.

Maybe you are a young pastor, and for the first time after starting a church or taking a small work that was struggling and had problems, after you began to win souls, and visit, and work and you began to have successful outreach ministries, now you have finally got a pretty good crowd. You begin to think to yourself, “You know I’ve got to keep this crowd.” In order to keep the crowd, you begin to make things convenient for them, because you don’t want to lose your crowd. It doesn’t take long for the shift to take place. You begin to build a center of convenience rather than a center of commitment.

That’s what Jeroboam did. That’s what, I’m afraid, many preachers in America are starting to do. Let me show you some things that Jeroboam did in this kingdom to build a center of convenience as opposed to a center of commitment, some of the same things that we, as God-called preachers and leaders, need to guard against.

#1. HE DESIRED THE PEOPLES’ LOVE AND LOYALTY. Look at verse 27. “If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam…” He was worried that the peoples’ hearts would be turned to Rehoboam instead of him. He didn’t want that. In fact, he was more concerned about their love for himself than their love for God. Brethren, what he should have been concerned about was turning the heart of his people to the Lord, building their devotion and their commitment to God. I don’t know what you think, but I believe with all of my heart that we are living in the last of the last days. I believe that Jesus could come at any moment. I believe with all of my heart it is high time for us to build folks who are committed to the Lord Jesus Christ, people who want to serve Him and carry His Gospel message around the world. But Jeroboam was much more concerned with their loyalty to him, so in order to get the people to love him and remain loyal to him, Jeroboam catered to convenience over commitment.

I think I’m like most any other normal pastor in this room. I hope the people of Faith Baptist Church love me. I even hope the people of Faith Baptist Church like me! I’m not of the sort that wants everybody to hate me. I don’t believe there is any merit in making enemies on purpose. But I decided a long time ago, I will not, by the grace of God, hold back on the truth in order to win their favor. Pleasing God has to come first before pleasing people. We have to be careful.

I was at the national Revival Fires! conference a few years back, and I heard Brother Fugate and Brother Corle both say something like this. I’m not quoting exactly, but paraphrasing. “Preachers, don’t plan your church schedule and calendar to suit your carnal people.” That registered with me. Because I think all of us, pastors, when we are getting ready to plan a church calendar or plan some things throughout the year at our church, when we begin to think about doing this spiritually minded event or activity, conferences, or soulwinning outreaches, or special soulwinning emphasis days, prayer meetings, revival meetings, we begin to think, “How many folks will come? How many guys will show up? How many of our people will participate and get involved?”

If we are not careful, we will neglect to schedule spiritually minded activities on our church calendar because we don’t want to make it inconvenient for the carnal people. Brother Corle has said, “Your spiritual people cannot survive on what your carnal people will tolerate. You have to plan and provide what your spiritual folks need, and the carnal folks are going to hit and miss anyway, so they will get some of it, too.” Friend, if you make all your plans based on the carnal, or less spiritual, Christians, you’ll begin to cater to convenience. “It’s too much. It’s too hard. It’s too much work. It’s too much this. It’s too much that.” We make a big mistake when we cater to convenience over commitment, trying to get the people to like us, trying to get them to build their loyalty and allegiance to us. It’s not about us, preacher friend. It’s about their allegiance and loyalty and faithfulness to the Lord Jesus Christ.

I was in a meeting not long ago and heard one of the preachers say, “Two or three times a year we’ll have an all night prayer meeting at our church.” The Spirit of God spoke to my heart and convicted me. I was part of some all night prayer meetings when I was in Bible college, though they were not structured or scheduled. Sometimes they just kind of fizzled out and men would fall asleep. I had never done an all-night prayer meeting. The Spirit of God said, “You know, you ought to do that at Faith Baptist Church.”

When we planned our calendar, we scheduled two all night prayer meetings for this year. We had our first one in March and I was concerned about how many men would come. We prayed from 10:30 at night to 5:00 in the morning on Saturday. We had it structured, with a Bible lesson on prayer, then 45 minutes of prayer for specific things. We broke it up into seven categories. We prayed for specific things and specific purposes and specific people. We prayed for many who are unsaved. We prayed for our college kids. We prayed for our teenagers. We prayed for our church families. We prayed for the men of our church. We prayed for our missionaries. We prayed for the state of Illinois. We broke for 20 minutes at one point and had some refreshments. Then we came back and sang some songs and had another lesson on the subject of prayer.

Honestly, the night just flew. We started out with 28 men and had as many as 35 different men come and go throughout the night. Some of the guys couldn’t come because of their work schedule. I understand that. We ended up with about 22 guys who stayed all night from 10:30 at night to five o’clock in the morning. We’ve already seen unbelievable answers to prayer from that prayer meeting. I never will forget the fight, the war, that took place in my heart to even put it on the calendar. “They won’t come. They won’t participate. It’s not convenient to pray for six hours through the night.” Following Jesus Christ and having the power of God on our churches has never been a matter of convenience. It has always been a matter of commitment.

The truth of the matter is that the activities and events that require the greatest commitment, those produced the greatest joy and the greatest satisfaction. I have found that the closer a person’s heart grows to their Lord, the more they appreciate their pastor. That’s not the goal, that’s just a by-product. You can cut out some things to try to gain this and that, but when you start catering to convenience as opposed to commitment, preacher, you are making a bad trade. If you develop a calendar for the carnal folks and you cater to convenience in order to win their loyalty to yourself, you will disappoint and deprive your spiritual people, and those carnal people will still pick you apart in the end.

King Jeroboam, their leader, desired their loyalty for himself, so he appealed to their desire for convenience over commitment.

#2. HE LOWERED THE STANDARDS FOR LEADERS. I see a second thing that Jeroboam did in his kingdom to make it a center of convenience. He diluted the requirements for leaders. Look at verse 31. “And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi.” Don’t tell me Jeroboam didn’t know God’s requirements for those who were to serve as priests. They had to come from the tribe of Levi. God set that up. Even for the Levites, God gave many specific commands. He had established that many years earlier. The whole tribe of Levi had been given to the Lord, the priestly order.

Now there is no difference in the worth of every soul in our churches. The worth of their soul is not determined by the color of their skin, their educational opportunities, their financial standing, or their place in the classes of our communities. The worth of every soul is found in the fact that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. There is a difference in the amount of dedication and commitment that people will put forth for the Lord Jesus Christ. If someone has a desire to serve God, then they need to grow and commit and become what God says His leaders are suppose to be. We have to be careful as pastors that we don’t dilute the requirements for the leaders, teachers, and examples in our ministries.

Paul gave Timothy a charge to commit leadership to faithful men. “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” (II Timothy 2:2) Paul also told Timothy, “Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.” (I Timothy 5:22) I’m glad that doesn’t mean you can’t that you can’t pop somebody in a hurry when it’s necessary! Seriously, when he said, “Lay hands suddenly on no man” he was instructing Timothy to be careful about who you laid hands on to ordain them to the Gospel ministry. Don’t make those decisions in haste.

You make sure he is a faithful man. You see, a preacher must be wise about the people he puts in positions of leadership.

Let me give you the wrong philosophy. The wrong philosophy is this. “In order to keep people, I’ve got to give them something to do. Unless they have a position, they won’t stay.” Listen very carefully. There are some responsibilities that any new Christian can just jump into and grab hold of. Get them involved in the soulwinning outreach. Even if all they know how to do is put some tracts in their pocket and go stand on the corner and pass out Gospel tracts. Get the ladies involved in serving in the nursery. There are work days and cleaning responsibilities and times to work on the buses or make repairs or paint in the buildings. There are places where new Christians can jump in and help serve and be a blessing, but there are some positions that obviously should be given to people who have exhibited some degree of commitment. A center of convenience will give people a position to try to make them committed, but the right thing to do is to give a position to people who have shown they are already committed to Christ and and to doing right.

King Jeroboam decides to change where the people worship, gives them some idols to worship, and he lowers the requirements for those who are the leaders in his new ‘convenient’ place of worship. “Oh, you want to be a priest. Where are you from? The tribe of Naphtali? Not a problem,you can serve. From the tribe of Dan. Not a problem, come on. Where are you from? I’m from the tribe of Asher. Not a problem, you can be a priest, too.” He diluted the requirements for leaders. Pastors, you are going to have to decide. I don’t know what you are going to do, but I decided a long time ago. Even if I have to do a lot of things myself, I’m not going to turn over positions of leadership to people who are not committed. I’m not going to offer positions to try to keep people in the church. I’m not going to do that.

We had a fellow who called the church. “I’m moving to the area. I’m staying with my mom and dad and looking for a job. I want to check out your church. Would you mind coming by?” We got his address and went by to visit with him. He was from the south previously and was a Southern Baptist man. He began to ask me about this and that at the church. I kept hearing the statement, “When I come to your church and I sing..” “When I sing at your church….” You do whatever you want to do, but I called his name and said, “Sir, let me tell you where there is a good church for you. It’s called Bethel Baptist Church, over on Bethel drive in Bourbonnais. It’s a Southern Baptist Church, like the one you’ve been a part of. Maybe you should just go over there.” That’s where he is today.

I’ve done that with charismatic folks, as well. They visit our church and then I go to visit them in the home. They say, “I’m looking for a place where we are going to praise and worship and glorify God in tongues,” and all this stuff. I say, “Sure. Just go up highway 50 to North Street, make a right, then make a left on Cardinal Drive. About a half mile down that road on the right you’ll find the Bradley Assembly of God Worship Center. I’m sure that would be a great place for you.”

“But Brother Anglea, I thought you were trying to build a church.” I am. But I’m not going to promise charismatics and compromisers and carnal folks and people who don’t even believe the Bible is the Word of God and people who won’t be faithful to the services any kind of place or position in our church just to get their carcass in the pew. I’m not interested in building a center of convenience. I’m interested in building a center of commitment. I’d much rather go out and find an old long-haired, dope addict and lead him to Christ, someone who knows nothing about God, nothing about the Bible, nothing about anything, and let him get saved and listen to Bible preaching and grow into a servant of God. Let him just get like that fellow from John Booth’s church who is so eaten up with Christianity and being saved, I’d much rather have a house full of those folks than a bunch of charismatic, compromising people that I’m just trying to put together so I can build a center of convenience.

You are going to have to decide what you are going to do. We decided a long time ago, people who are part of our platform ministry, people who teach classes, people who sing, people who play instruments, people who are part up in front of folks as leaders, I’m talking about Sunday school classes and bus routes, I’m talking about anybody where they stand up with a Bible in their hand and teach boys and girls or teenagers or senior citizens or whatever, brother, they are going to have to exercise and display some form of commitment to Jesus Christ.

There are people in our church that have beautiful voices, but they don’t sing in our choir, because they don’t want the dress standards. You say, “Brother Anglea, good night. Shame on you. You won’t give people a place to serve.” Excuse me. I say, “Shame on them.” You mean you are letting a piece of cloth, some worldly garment, stand between you and serving God? That’s more important to you than serving Jesus? Shame on you!

Not long after I arrived in Bourbonnais, there was a guy who showed up who had been at the church for years and had gotten disgusted and disgruntled and left the church. He had left for about three months and couldn’t find any other church he liked either, so he came back. He was the wealthiest man in the church. He had a big development going up outside of town. One day I was sitting in the office, and he called. The secretary told me who was calling, so I picked it up and said, “Hello.”

“Are you in your office?” That’s how he started.

I said, “Yes.”

He said, “I’ll be there in a few minutes.” He came in and sat down. I was sitting behind the desk, 33 years old, still young as a pastor. Here is an older man who has a lot of bucks. He sat down and said, “Well, what’s the problem?”

I thought to myself, “I think I’m supposed to be asking you that question!” I said, “What are you talking about?”

He said, “I’ve been here now five or six months. You haven’t gone out to eat with me one time. You haven’t let me and my wife sing, not even once. What’s the problem?”

I said, “First of all, there are fellows who were part of this church when I came here that I haven’t had a meal with yet. I’ve been working like crazy to get this thing back on its feet. Second of all, nobody is going to sing who only comes to church on Sunday morning at 11:00, and isn’t faithful to come to Sunday school, Sunday night or Wednesday night.” It was only about a month and a half later, he was gone. Friend, I am not going to create a position to keep somebody at a church, or create an opportunity just to keep Mr. Big Bucks around.

Has this ever happened to you? You’d be visiting. Knock on the door, “Hi. I’m Terry Anglea of Faith Baptist Church in the neighborhood passing out some literature, and I wanted to invite you over to our services.”

“Yes, I go over to Zion Lutheran. I teach Sunday school over there.”

“Oh, you do. Okay. How long have you been a member there?”

“Oh… I’m not a member. I just teach Sunday School there.”

I’ve got a man right now that wants to do something so bad for our church, but he’s not a member. He’s been coming for six months. After six months, if you can’t make up your mind whether that’s the place where God wants you to be or not, there must be some kind of problem. He doesn’t understand why I won’t let him do what he wants to do in the church. By the grace of God, I am not going to dilute the requirements for leadership in our church.

Preachers, keep your leaders in line with what the Bible says. Make sure that you give positions only to committed people. Number two, he diluted the requirements for leaders.

#3. HE DEVISED CHANGE OUT OF HIS OWN HEART. Look at verse 33. “So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart;…” We read that too quick. “So he offered…” Jeroboam is no priest. Jeroboam is a king. Jeroboam has got no business making an offering. Then it says, “…the fifteenth day of the eighth month,…” Reading that text in devotions, I just felt something didn’t sound right about that. So I began to study when this feast was initiated. In Leviticus 23, God set it up on the 15th day of the seventh month. Just a small change. Just a little different, but it was not what God said.

The Bible says that he devised that change out of his own heart. I don’t even need to go into why did God put it on the seventh month as opposed to the eighth month. I just need to know that God said to do it in the seventh month, not the eighth month. I wonder and am amazed sometimes, that we are so full of pride that we think we have the right to demand an explanation from God. Let’s just do what God said to do in the way that God said to do it.

I know there are established preachers here, older than I am, and you fellows have paved the way for us. God bless you and I look up to you and admire you, but let me talk to the young preachers just for a minute. There are those in independent, Baptist circles today who have made a lot of changes to the old time religion that was handed down to us by the last generation. It used to be you could pick up the Yellow Pages if you were on vacation and choose an independent, Baptist church in just about any location, and you’d be okay. My, but how the times have changed! There are those in our ranks who are encouraging us to ‘think outside the box.’ Excuse me, but while you are thinking outside the box, be careful that you don’t think outside the Book!

You have a community to reach. I am not afraid of new ways to reach people, as long as it’s not in violation of scripture. I’m not against that at all, but you’d better be carefully examining and asking yourself this question. Am I thinking outside of the box, or am I thinking outside of the Book? When you start thinking outside of the Book, then you’d better leave it alone. Be careful you don’t devise change out of your own heart, or just follow some evangelical compromiser in independent Baptist clothing.

Lots of things are changing at a rapid pace. Today you can go on independent Baptist church websites and read where on Sunday night we have cell groups on the first and third Sunday nights, and on the second and fourth Sunday nights, we encourage the parents to have a date night and let us watch the kids. I can understand when you are starting a church, maybe having only a service on Sunday morning and gradually adding Sunday night and eventually Wednesday night services, but if you are getting together in cell groups, why don’t you just get together at church? There are established churches with a good many people already coming to a Sunday night service who are changing over to that kind of philosophy.

Church means called out assembly. I went to public high school where we had assemblies, where, instead of being broken up into smaller classrooms, we all came together. I think the very nature of the word ‘assembly’ means come together, not break apart. When we had high school assembly, we all left our small classrooms and got together in the main auditorium for an assembly. What is the church? Ecclesia — a called out assembly. You can justify that by saying you are thinking outside the box, but the box is not what I’m concerned about. You’ve gone beyond the Book.

Jeroboam devised change out of his own heart. Change is a dangerous word. What’s wrong with the old time religion? I like what the brother said last night. Some of these older men who have paved the way before us, they have reached the end of their ministries. We’ve watched them. We know where they ended up. We can see their example of faithfulness from beginning to end. What in the world are we doing looking for some other new way of doing things, when these men have paved the way before us. Don’t devise change out of your own heart. Even if you think outside the box, make sure that you think inside this Book, or you are going to get yourself in trouble with God.

In chapter 13:1, “And, behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of the Lord…” You know, those old-fashioned guys that are always meddling with the new ideas in fundamentalism and waving their fingers in disapproval, saying, “Ah, ah, ah, ah…” Yes, God had some of those back in I Kings 13, too. He sent a man of God over there who waved his finger in the face of Jeroboam and he cried against all that. He cried against that altar. He cried against that form of worship. He cried out against those idols. He cried against the 15th day of that eighth month. He cried out against all of those unscriptural leaders in their worship. He cried against all of that. He said, “God is not in this. God is not within a thousand miles of all this.”

I’m all for building as big a church as we can build for the glory of God. But I am not for building a big crowd that doesn’t qualify as a church scripturally, perhaps one that may bring glory to a man or a movement, but does not bring glory to God and stay in line with this Book.

I’ll be honest with you. I’m probably not as goal-motivated as I ought to be and need to be. I remember when we got ready to build that our auditorium, I asked Dr. Hyles to come and spend a few minutes with me because I knew he travelled and saw so many churches and buildings. In the middle of the conversation, I think he may have gotten a little fretted or frustrated at me. He said, “How many are you going to run here?”

I said, “Preacher, I don’t know.”

“How many are you going to run?”

“I don’t know.”

“How many…”

“As many as I can.” I didn’t know. I probably should be more goal-motivated. But if I am goal-motivated in any fashion, it is not to just big. I’m not near as concerned about the size as I am the sort, and I’ll just let God take care of the size. I don’t want to be guilty, in these last days, of building a center of convenience, as opposed to a church of commitment for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Young preachers, I hope you will just stay on course. Don’t become a Jeroboam. Don’t cater to convenience and downplay the importance of commitment. Don’t water down the Bible’s principles as a requirement for leaders. Don’t devise change out of your own heart, and turn away from ‘thus saith the Lord.’ If you do, don’t be mad when some old gray-haired preacher wags his finger and says to you, “That ain’t of God. Shame on you!”

Let’s check up on ourselves, preachers, and promise God that we are going to stay on course and stick with the Bible. We need to remain faithful and keep doing things God’s way, and remember that it is His church, not ours, so we don’t need to come up with something new, or follow the example of some other guy that claims he’s found the newer, bigger, better way to do things. Since it’s God’s church, we just need to closely follow His instructions in the decisions that we make, and continue to do God’s work God’s way. “…Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)

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