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AN OPEN LETTER TO CHARLOTTE, NC

We are very grateful for Fox News publishing Mike’s open letter to the police and protesters in Charlotte, North Carolina. Here is the letter, as well as the Fox News link as it appeared today. We would love your thoughts . . . #prayforcharlotte AN OPEN LETTER TO...
Deal With This Or It Will Deal With You

Deal With This Or It Will Deal With You

Deal With This Or It Will Deal With You

Strife is part of life – but much of the strife we experience can be minimized. This is especially true if you’re a leader, in any capacity, because leaders have to deal with people, and people have a way of not always agreeing with each other. If you want to reduce the strife in your life, and in the lives of others, there is something you must address head-on, or it will play head games with everyone within earshot. Never – and I mean never – let gossip go unaddressed. If you’re going to ignore gossip, you might as well participate in it.

Proverbs 26:20 speaks about the destructive power of gossip:

“Without wood, fire goes out;
without gossip, conflict dies down.”
*

Gossip fuels conflict the way dry, seasoned wood feeds a campfire. Allow it to go unchecked and a small campfire can become a raging wildfire. While none of us can avoid all conflict in life, you are a poor (and foolish) leader if you don’t address the kinds of conflict created by the flames of gossip. Don’t debate the truth of God’s word. Gossip is a serious, destructive sin.

HOW TO PUT WATER ON THE FIRE OF GOSSIP

1.   Get your facts straight; don’t make assumptions. Before you assume things, do your research. Find out if your suspicions about potential gossip are justified. If they are, take action. If they aren’t, move on. 
 

2.   Be humbly courageous. Make the decision to confront the person/people involved. Remember, if you do nothing when you know gossip has occurred, you are deciding to risk the potential of a small fire becoming a raging inferno. If that happens, even more of your time, energy and resources will be taxed. Small sins, left unaddressed, grow (See James 1:15). The lack of courage is a reason for many leadership wildfires. Pray for courage, then lovingly, patiently and firmly approach the person/people involved.
 

3.   Begin by affirming the person/people. Then, ask questions; avoid making accusations. Let the person/people know you value them and their time, and care about their quality of life and the quality of the lives of others. Let them know the motive for your getting together with them, so they know you love them and people.

After doing this, ask questions about the details you discovered in your research. Allow them time to answer, and be open to the possibility that you may have received incorrect information. However, you must also be ready to confront the sin if your information is correct, and gossip did indeed occur. Good leaders don’t shy away from problems — they address them head-on.
 

4.   If the person/people are sorry, lovingly hold them accountable and help them repent. If someone has gossiped, they need to not only be sorry. They need to make amends. Gossip is a sin with tentacles. Those tentacles need to be lopped off. The way this happens is for the person/people who gossiped to approach those they gossiped to and say, from the heart, “I am guilty of gossip. I sinned. I sinned against God. I sinned against you, others and myself by doing so. I am sorry, would you please forgive me?”

Of course, there can be variants of this, but not significant variants. The core of the confession and repentance must be present: admission of guilt/sin against God and people. Remorse for the sin. Asking for the person/people sinned against for forgiveness. Without these ingredients, the person/people have not dealt with the fire they started. It’s very important that humble repentance is manifest by the gossiper, or else the damage they started will spread. We have God’s word on it. Don’t forget Proverbs 26:20.

5.   If the person/people who gossiped are not sorry and won’t take ownership of their sin and repent, follow Matthew 18:15-20. The Bible is God’s handbook for conflict resolution. Follow it. By doing so, you are following God, not just a book. Do the right things in the right ways. This is true when it comes to handling someone who has gossiped. Don’t skip steps and don’t compromise because to obey this process is to obey God.
 

6.   Follow up and make time to thank God, personally, and with the person/people who gossiped. If the people involved repent and follow #4, above, wonderful. You have followed the LORD well, led people well, and they have followed well (especially the LORD). The fire will be doused. Take time to stop everything and thank God for His goodness, and commend the repentant person/people for taking godly steps to correct a godless act.
 

Yes, there may be consequences for the sin of gossip even after the guilty repent and apologize, but all you can do is all you can do – and great leaders are responsible leaders who don’t shy away from conflict. If you are a leader, you must address conflict and its roots, because without doing so, you aren’t going very far. And, neither are the people God called you to lead.

We have to get to the heart of the matter, and the heart of the matter is the human heart. Each of us needs to participate in The National Week of Repentance, coming October 30 – November 6, the week before the election. You don’t have to travel anywhere to jump in. RevivalMatters.com provides all the information you need to invite the deep change of heart and lifestyle that only God can bring.

*Scripture taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB).

If you like solid Bible teaching and want to enjoy God fully, you’ll appreciate the Courage Matters App, available on iTunes and Google Play. If you’re near York, Pa, come visit us on a Sunday at GenesisYork.com— and be sure to introduce yourself. This is all made possible by generous listeners, readers, and supporters like you. Please consider giving towards Courage Matters to ensure our nation has the opportunity to hear the message of TRUTH and LOVE. You can donate by clicking the “Give” tab on CourageMatters.com or on the Courage Matters app.

Life of Christ #111: Supernatural (Part 2 of 2)

Are you really at peace with God? What about with people? Racism rages when we forget that God created us all. It’s time to settle your peace with God and people while you still have time. Why postpone peace? The alternative is misery. It’s time to settle the issue of being at peace with God and with people.

AN OPEN LETTER TO CHARLOTTE, NC

We are very grateful for Fox News publishing Mike’s open letter to the police and protesters in Charlotte, North Carolina. Here is the letter, as well as the Fox News link as it appeared today. We would love your thoughts . . .

#prayforcharlotte

AN OPEN LETTER TO POLICE AND PROTESTERS IN CHARLOTTE, NC

There are two things I am not, which I will not pretend to be: a police officer or a black American. I cannot, and will not, imply that I either understand all that is going through your hearts and minds these days, nor will I insult your intelligence by trying to suggest that the solutions to the deep issues that keep resulting in altercations and deaths are easy. They are not.

Charlotte, you’re not alone. In fact, you reflect the new, increasingly violent, divided America. Words fail to express my grief, anger and bewilderment over the death of Keith Lamont Scott, a black man who was killed a few days ago by a black police officer in your city.

CHARLOTTE, NC: Protesters and police face off after the shooting of a black man by a black police officer. Image courtesy NPR News. CHARLOTTE, NC: Protesters and police face off after the shooting of a black man by a black police officer. Image courtesy NPR News.

It’s nearly the same thing in a different city in America. Just a few days ago, Terance Crutcher was shot and killed in Tulsa, Okla., by police. It is reported that Scott was carrying a gun, while Crutcher had a gun neither on his person nor in his vehicle. In either case, death is always tragic, and is to be mourned.

In this day where so many are so polarized, and the spread of violence leaves the Zika virus in the dust, the ingenious words of Albert Einstein should awaken us: “Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.” It’s time to try something different.

“It’s time to deal with the root issues behind
the altercations, violence and death. It’s time that both sides –
and all of America – sit down and seek the real solution.
Until we become humble and bold enough to pursue it,
nothing will change.

Neither putting police officers on administrative leave, nor rioting in the streets, will remove the underlying mistrust, misgivings and misunderstandings that keep perpetuating the ghastly insanity that is the new normal in America.

It’s time to deal with the root issues behind the altercations, violence and death. It’s time that both sides – and all of America – sit down and seek the real solution. Until we become humble and bold enough to pursue it, nothing will change. In fact, I’m humbly confident that the insanity we’ve witnessed will only get worse and spread.

Here’s the truth we need to face: We’re all dirty. There are no exceptions. Our entire nation needs a bath. Not the kind where we draw up warm water and soak to remove surface grime, but the kind where we draw near to something greater and grander than ourselves and seek to truly remove the filth within. That’s the cure for violence; that’s the antidote to racism.

For some of us, Christians like myself, that will look like drawing closer to the God who recognizes all life as sacred, all people are worthy of respect, all hatred or fear rooted in skin color is a generational evil that must be eradicated.

This is why I, as a pastor, have put out the call for a National Week of Repentance, to be held Oct. 30 to Nov. 6 (Visit RevivalMatters.com to participate). It’s time we Christians really humble ourselves before Christ.

I understand this is not the path for all. But humility is something we can all pursue. For some this will look like stepping out of the comfort zones that surround you — visiting different communities, striking up meaningful conversations with different people, challenging yourself to think differently about what you have long considered “right” and “wrong.”

For others it will mean taking a serious inventory of what’s in your own heart before you point the finger. Maybe for some it will even look like spending less time plugged into social media that often perpetuates the divide so you can spend more time being social – and helpful – in person.

We’re unified in this: the insanity must stop.

We need to try some fundamentally different things. We have to get to the heart of the matter, and the heart of the matter is your heart and mine. A bit of humility at this vital time will go a long, long way.

If you like solid Bible teaching and want to enjoy God fully, you’ll appreciate the Courage Matters App, available on iTunes and Google Play. If you’re near York, Pa, come visit us on a Sunday at GenesisYork.com— and be sure to introduce yourself. This is all made possible by generous listeners, readers, and supporters like you. Please consider giving towards Courage Matters to ensure our nation has the opportunity to hear the message of TRUTH and LOVE. You can donate by clicking the “Give” tab on CourageMatters.com or on the Courage Matters app.

What do you think?

Are Control Freaks Killing Your Ministry?

ARE CONTROL FREAKS KILLING YOUR MINISTRY?

THEY’RE OFTEN SUCCESSFUL IN BUSINESS, WEALTHY, AND INFLUENTIAL WITHIN THEIR PROFESSION – AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT MAKES THEM DANGEROUS. They appear kind and generous until you get close enough to realize they aren’t. But by the time you realize this, it’s too late – deep damage has been done, and you will be left picking up the pieces.

They are control freaks – men and women prematurely respected and therefore often placed into positions of leadership in churches and ministries before their character can be clearly confirmed – and that’s where the real problems start.

For more than twenty years, all over the world, I’ve observed the spirit of control at work in people, churches and ministries as much, if not more, than the Holy Spirit. It’s outright diabolical – and it’s something you, as a leader, must not tolerate. If you tolerate the spirit of control it will not play fair, because it is the spirit of destruction.

THE WHOLE NINE YARDS
If you give the spirit of control an inch, it will take far more than a yard. It will take over. While the Holy Spirit liberates, the spirit of control imprisons. Next to the Holy Spirit, the spirit of control is the most active spirit in the body of Christ – and a good, godly leader must keep both eyes open, constantly, to ensure that control is dealt with the instant it raises its ugly head. Failure to do so can be . . . fatal.

In order to control someone, a control freak has to be a master at deception – and this is a huge problem if tolerated in churches and ministries because deception is the exact opposite of truth. To achieve their end – being in control – control freaks learn to look good on the outside so they can manipulate people and be respected.

A Spirit-led person, however, cares only about being controlled by Christ, not manipulating people. A Spirit-led person cares only about how Christ looks and is respected. The agendas of a controlling person and a Spirit-led person are diametrically opposed. They cannot mutually co-exist for long. One will win out over the other.

KILLING CONTROL
At the heart of a controlling person is a refusal to fully surrender to Jesus Christ. In other words, a control freak struggles with really loving Jesus. When such a person is placed in a position of influence (leadership), it’s like tossing a pebble into a pond. The ripple effects will eventually be felt throughout the team, organization, church and ministry. Those ripple effects are contrary to the work of the Holy Spirit. People who are not surrendered to Christ will make disciples who follow their example. That example is fundamentally flawed – the ministry that results is likewise askew.

If a leader is not fully surrendered to Jesus Christ, but they succeed in deceiving others into thinking they are, they will replicate the exact thing God does not want replicated: hypocrisy. Jesus said a lot about hypocrisy, and none of it was flattering.

At the heart of a controlling person is a desire to look good and be respected because they have a very low view of themselves. In a word, this is pride. This is what drives them to manipulate, seek the respect of others, and to gain status. If they can control people and situations, they temporarily gain a twisted sense of self-respect, power and worth – but none of this comes from Christ.

The control freak is destined to roam the earth with a deep, gnawing sense of emptiness because the satisfaction they receive from manipulating people and circumstances is not from God. True satisfaction comes from being fully surrendered to Jesus Christ. The control freak misses this because they are pursuing control rather than surrender.

A controlling person has a serious character flaw that must not be tolerated by anyone placed by God into a position of leadership. This is true in a family, a church and every ministry. The spirit of control steals, kills and destroys the work of God. These are the devil’s objectives (John 10:10), and they are utterly at odds with everything Christ wants to accomplish in a life, family, church and nation.

GOOD NEWS
The good news is that a
control freak can become a Jesus freak.
The antidote for the spirit of control is genuine humility and repentance. Martin Luther hit the nail on the head with the first of his famous 95 Theses: “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent’ (Mt. 4:17), He willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.” It’s just not possible to be a Christ follower if repentance is not our new way of life.

Since the spirit of control is so common, we need to deal it a death blow. This is why the upcoming National Week of Repentance, October 30 – November 6, is so vital. It will help you and the people you know discover and embrace biblical humility and a lifestyle of repentance in a day when control is . . . out of control. The National Week of Repentance is a simultaneous, historic movement of God and people you simply don’t want to miss. VISIT REVIVALMATTERS.COM now, and sign up so you can participate.

HAVE YOU USED THE WRONG CRITERIA FOR PLACING SOMEONE INTO A LEADERSHIP POSITION? IS GOD – OR SOMETHING ELSE – CONTROLLING YOUR LIFE, FAMILY, CHURCH OR MINISTRY? CAN YOU AFFORD TO ALLOW CONTROL, RATHER THAN THE HOLY SPIRIT, TO REIGN?

If you like solid Bible teaching and want to enjoy God fully, you’ll appreciate the Courage Matters App, available on iTunes and Google Play. If you’re near York, Pa, come visit us on a Sunday at GenesisYork.com— and be sure to introduce yourself. This is all made possible by generous listeners, readers, and supporters like you. Please consider giving towards Courage Matters to ensure our nation has the opportunity to hear the message of TRUTH and LOVE. You can donate by clicking the “Give” tab on CourageMatters.com or on the Courage Matters app.

Why I Hate Evil Far More Than the 2nd Amendment (And You Should, Too)

why I hate evil far more than the 2nd amendent
( and you should, too)

We’re grateful for Towhall.com, which published this article on September 19, 2016 . . .

IF YOU ARE AGAINST VIOLENCE, YOU HAVE TO BE IN FAVOR OF ITS DEATH.

The past 48 hours have been especially violent for America, with deadly attacks in Minnesota, New York and New Jersey. As much as none of us in our right minds rejoices in the death of anyone, there are times when the death of evil should – and must – take precedence over the death of the innocent.

I don’t love guns – but I do love innocent people. This is why I know how to use, and have been certified to conceal-carry, a legal firearm. It’s why I encourage others to do the same as a means of being prepared to stop evil when it rises up.

For the record, I’m a pastor — and since we’re talking about the record, let me set it straight, because so much of our thinking about evil is askew. Hold on a moment, because if you really think about what I’m saying you just may find yourself agreeing – all ideology aside.

PHOTO COURTESY OF TOWNHALL.COM, WHERE THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED. PHOTO COURTESY OF TOWNHALL.COM, WHERE THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED.

What happened at the Crossroads Mall in St. Cloud, Minn., on Saturday – a knife-wielding attacker stabbing nine, thankfully none fatally — supports my stance. It is a stance made continually by law-abiding, conceal-carry citizens who unabashedly love the Constitution and the 2nd Amendment. Our hatred of violence and love of a peaceful society where freedom, not violence and control, reigns, is part of what drives us. Sometimes, the only way to deal with violence is to use deadly force. Spare the violent and the meek can be murdered.

In a news conference, St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis provided a synopsis of the knife attack, and how it was stopped by a law-abiding, violence-hating, off-duty police officer who just happened to be carrying a concealed firearm:
 

“Jason Falconer, a part time police officer for the Avon Police Department, was shopping at Crossroads Mall at the time of the attack . . .

“Officer Falconer walked into the department store and identified himself to the suspect. The suspect then waved a knife and lunged at Falconer, quickly closing the 20-foot gap between them. Falconer raised his gun and shot the suspect. Knife still in hand, the suspect got up and continued to approach the officer and was shot again. The suspect tried to get up two more times before being fatally shot.”
 

Mayor Kleis and Chief of Police Blair Anderson credit the off-duty, conceal-carry-permitted officer with preventing further carnage.

What if Minnesota was a state where conceal-carry was illegal? What if we lived in a nation where the 2nd Amendment was marginalized or altogether eliminated? What if law-abiding citizens were restrained from restraining violence? You know the answers, and they lead nowhere good for a peaceful, lawful, free society.

THE UPPER HAND
If we keep rejecting common sense by villainizing such law-abiding citizens who hate evil and conceal-carry as a means of restraining it, evil will gain the upper hand. In fact, I think we’re already seeing this happen, thanks to politically correct people who are theologically incorrect.

You see, the sixth of the Ten Commandments is not, “You shall not kill” (Exodus 20:13). Better translations are “You shall not murder,” and “You shall not take an innocent life.” The proper translation is a game-changer. The truth is that innocent, law-abiding people have a right – and an obligation before God and each other – to do all they can to protect other innocent, law-abiding people and to strive toward a peaceful, free society. To not do all that is within our power to restrain evil is, by default, to promote it.

A FOUNDATION OF COMMON SENSE
Our Founding Fathers were men filled with common sense – a trait going the way of the panda bear in our modern times. It’s what led them to draft and adopt The 2nd Amendment, the right to “keep and bear arms.” Why? For no other reason than to restrain evil. The 2nd Amendment is not an endorsement of hunting, my friends. It’s a means to prevent the evil that is in the heart of every single one of us from gaining the upper hand. The Founding Fathers knew that the heart of man is dark, and when darkness reigns, freedom wanes.

We really are in a titanic fight between good and evil in America.  Good prevails when we are intentional about stopping evil. If we shrink from this responsibility, chaos, disorder and violence.

America needs a return to common sense, and a real spiritual awakening courtesy of God Himself. We have to get to the heart of the matter, which is the heart of humanity. This is why The National Week of Repentance, coming October 30 – November 6, is so important. If you’re against violence, then you need to participate and spread the word. Let’s stop dealing with the symptoms of our problems and get to the causes. Visit RevivalMatters.com and get yourself ready for the kind of hope and change that only God can provide.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? WHAT IF AMERICA BECOMES A NATION WHERE THE 2ND AMENDMENT IS MARGINALIZED – OR ELIMINATED?

If you like solid Bible teaching and want to enjoy God fully, you’ll appreciate the Courage Matters App, available on iTunes and Google Play. If you’re near York, Pa, come visit us on a Sunday at GenesisYork.com— and be sure to introduce yourself. This is all made possible by generous listeners, readers, and supporters like you. Please consider giving towards Courage Matters to ensure our nation has the opportunity to hear the message of TRUTH and LOVE. You can donate by clicking the “Give” tab on CourageMatters.com or on the Courage Matters app.

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