Archive for May, 2010

25
May
10

1500!

“Something is wrong in ministry.”Pastor Jonathan Falwell, Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at the Refuel Conference for pastors

“Fifteen hundred pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches.”From the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development

I want to write about this.  I desperately want to find something to say that adequately expresses how this breaks my heart, and how I believe it is breaking God’s heart.  I have sat here, staring at my computer screen trying to formulate the words.  I can’t.  All I know is that somewhere buried deep within these cold statistics is my name.  Somewhere within this reality is my destiny and God’s purpose for me.  I wish I had the skill to write volumes, but instead I am going to pray that the Holy Spirit will break your heart too.  Sorry if that discomforts or disturbs you, but that is my prayer.

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25
May
10

Jeff Kapusta…Pastor!

 

Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.  Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. – Ephesians 4:11-12 (NLT)

One of the very first times I laid eyes on my pastor, he rode a bright green Big Wheel into the church during a series entitled, “The Big Green Machine.”  When I was first introduced to him, he looked so young and hip, and I was so arrogant that my first thought was to say to him, “Son, did you ride your skateboard to church this morning?” (I’m glad I didn’t!)  All of that was before I discovered the true heart for Christ and for people beating within Jeff Kapusta.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Church at Ephesus, reminding them of the responsibilites of their spiritual leaders and their pastor, calling them “gifts” that God has given to the church.  Now, it may be a fact that in some churches their pastor seems to be more of a curse than a gift.  I am so grateful to God that this is not the case for Lifepoint Church or me for me personally, because in every sense of the word, Pastor Jeff Kapusta is a genuine gift!

Now, I am 55 years old, and I have been a pastor.  It may be that some might ask, “How is it that you are able to submit to the authority of and follow the lead and the teaching of one much younger and maybe less experienced than yourself?”  That’s easy to answer.  First of all, I see in Jeff all of the characteristics, not only as a pastor and leader, but as a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a friend and as a man that I have always wanted to be.  He has all the necessary energy, passion, compassion, willingness, desire, charisma and skills required to develop Lifepoint to its fullest potential.  But, most of all I love, and have never had reason to question, the unmistakable fact that he loves the Lord Jesus.  That love is what God has used to give him the vision that provides Lifepoint its purpose and identity to “Love God…Love others…Serve the world.”  That is more than a snappy catch phrase.  It is who Jeff Kapusta is and it is the model and standard that Jeff Kapusta sets for the rest of us.  How could I not want to follow a man like that?

Today is my pastor’s birthday.  I am glad.  I am glad he was born!  I am glad he’s my pastor.  I am glad he’s my friend.  I am glad for the privilege of knowing and serving Christ alongside of him.  I want to grow up to be just like him!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PASTOR JEFF!

20
May
10

TRUTH!!

I try really really hard to keep this blog original and straight from the heart.  But, today I read Pastor Perry Noble’s blog and it hit me so directly in the very area that I am called to serve God for the rest of my life, that I felt compelled to share it with you.  Folks, this is the absolute unblemished TRUTH!  I want to thank Perry for his straight forward, unapologetic and bold willingness to “let the hair go with the hide,” and say what MUST be said!  If I thought it was from any other motivation than the fact that this breaks his heart as badly as it breaks mine or that he was simply being judgemental, I would not put his blog on this page.  I am sick about what happened to me and to the people I harmed and to the church, but I am even more sickened each and every time I see another called out pastor and servant of the Kingdom fall in shame and humiliation to sin and immorality of any kind!  They say the truth hurts.  I hope it does in this case!  I hope this hurts so bad that it wakes us all up!  So, Pastor Noble, thank you for your breaking heart and for letting it bleed on the rest of us. 

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Pastors and Sexual Sin  May 20, 2010

Dear Pastor,

Sexual temptation IS going to HIT you…there’s nothing you can really do about it except deciding NOW to MAKE WAR and actually do what God commands of us in Nehemiah 4:14.  (I wrote an article a while back entitled, “Keep your penis in your pants” that may be worth reading if you haven’t yet.)

My advice for those facing extreme sexual temptation…

#1 – Don’t buy the lie – you KNOW that satan is a liar (Jon 8:44) and that all he is offering you is a counterfeit.  The “ideal” scenerio that you have in your mind in regards to that affair isn’t going to play out.  You’ve seen it in SO MANY PEOPLE…don’t allow the enemy to convince you that you will be the exception.

#2 – Don’t use David as an excuse!  If I hear it again I am going to throw up, “But David committed adultery and was called a man after God’s own heart.”  Uh…yeah…but he REPENTED (which means he turned away from his sin instead of diving deeper into it and then screaming that people needed to show him grace!)  He also had sexual sin in his family for generations, had a daughter raped and a son rebel against him.  You are a FOOL if you think that your children are not going to suffer the consequences all because you were more passionate about an orgasm than Jesus.

#3 – GET HELP!!!  If you are struggling with temptation…TELL SOMEBODY that you KNOW loves Jesus and loves you.  ”But Perry, if I do it may get bad.”  I would say if you DON’T it WILL get bad!!!  Get some great men around you, confess the problem and then submit to their leadership.

#4 – Don’t blame others for your screw up – IF you choose not to listen to men who sincerely love you and want to try to protect you, your marriage and your church then don’t scream that they and the church turned their back on you when it was actually you that decided to pull your pants down and put things where they did not belong.  You are not the victim once you decide to take this step…and sin has consequences.  And that’s not being judgmental…its simply declaring the truth!

BTW…your “friends” aren’t the one who rally around you and affirm your sin…they are the ones that DO love you, do beg God for you to repent, do speak truth and do hurt for you more than you know!  AND…the church didn’t turn its back on you when you sinned…you turned your back on her!!!

#5 – Don’t think your sexual sin is going to give you long term satisfaction – If you are a pastor and you have an affair with a lady in your church then you’ve GOT to understand that what attracted her to you (integrity, godly character) is now SHATTERED the minute you have sex with her…and sooner or later the blinders will come off of her eyes and she will see what you really are.

#6 – STOP expecting your wife to be impressed with you – bro, she’s seen you in the nude, there is NOTHING you could do to ever impress her!!!  Seriously…she is NOT your servant but rather your opportunity to SERVE.  If you want her to treat you like a rock star then you are on dangerous ground because you will hop in the sack with the first lady that does.

#7 – Set guard rails in place – Don’t travel alone…don’t ride in a car with a lady alone…don’t counsel a woman alone…JUST DON’T!  We KNOW the areas we are tempted in…and for us to NOT establish some sort of boundaries is simply stupid!  AND…if some people think that these kinds of things are extreme…it’s BECAUSE THEY ARE!!!

Can God forgive sexual sin?  ABSOLUTELY!  He is a God who loves unconditionally!  BUT…pastors/church leaders…PLEASE HEAR ME ON THIS ONE…God’s Kingdom is TOO important for ANY one of us to sell out for momentary pleasure.  We’ve GOT to fight…we’ve GOT to RUN FROM THIS TEMPTATION (I Corinthians 6:18-20!)

AND…one more thing, Jesus didn’t die on a cross so people that claim to follow Him could run around and screw whoever they want and then scream “grace” and “you’re being judgmental” when people point out the sin and plead for repentance!

We’ve GOT to fight through this men…we’ve GOT to ask for help and have integrity…our ministries and marriages AND THE CROSS are TOO IMPORTANT to sell out for sex…I’m praying Psalm 69:6 for all of us!

19
May
10

firm, yet mobile base

“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,  that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,  that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded [emphasis added] in love,  may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—  to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” – Ephesians 3:14-19 (NKJV)

Wow!  Totally dependant on what’s under you (your base) for your ability to remain balanced, upright, and moving forward!  What a unique concept….or is it?  What do you stand (or sit) on?  What is your base?  What keeps you upright….moving forward?  Just askin’….

18
May
10

Incomprehensible

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,  nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38-39 (NKJV)

We are loved with an incomprehensible love, by an incomprehensible God, whose incomprehensible passion and desire is only for a personal faith relationship, and an intimate fellowship with us.  He wants us to understand that there is nothing He will not give to make that happen.  Can you comprehend that?  He wants us to!

17
May
10

Follow your heart?

The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked.  Who really knows how bad it is? – Jeremiah 17:9 (NLT)

“Just follow your heart and you can’t go wrong.”  Have you ever heard this kind of statement before?  Maybe you’ve heard it couched in the form of well-intentioned advice from a friend.  Sure sounds right doesn’t it?  When faced with a perplexing decision of signficant importance that may have life changing implications and there seems to be no immediate answer,  how could deciding to follow what our hearts tell us be wrong?

Allow me to give you a possible reason, from personal experience, that may provide some evidence why such a sentiment may be deceptive and critically erroneous.  In 1999, I followed my heart’s desires and the tragic consequences were widespread and the ensuing heart-ache, to greater or lesser degrees, are still evident.  It is absolutely and only because of God’s grace and mercy that my determination to follow my heart, or rather what my heart told me was right for me has not ended in total destruction or ultimately death.  The sad fact is that I was so deeply convinced that what my heart was directing me to do was so right, that NOTHING any one advised me to the contrary was even remotely considered or heeded.  Because of this, I cringe every time I hear someone say, “Well, I just have to follow my heart,” in one matter or another.  And even worse, when I hear a follower of Christ say that they are hearing God tell them something that is obviously contrary to what His Word and teachings prescribe.

So, how can we discern without confusion the difference in what our deceptive heart is telling us is right to desire, and what God Himself is permitting or compelling us to pursue?  Or, in the words of a wise friend of mine, “How can we know that what we’re feeling is God and not just a bad bean burrito?”

In “Experiencing God,” Henry Blackaby’s wonderful teaching program about knowing and doing the will of God, he gives seven spiritual markers for the believer to utilize in determining that will.  The fourth of these guidelines assures us that God does speak clearly and indicates how best to know that it is His voice.  It says, “God speaks by the Holy Spirit, through the Bible [What does the truth of Scripture say…confirm?], prayer [Communication with God is two-way involving speaking our desires and hearing His] , circumstances [Are we attempting to control our circumstances or depending on God’s purpose and plan?], and the church [What kind of wise counsel are you receiving/heeding from trustworthy fellow believers/spiritual leaders within your circle of Christian fellowship?]  to reveal Himself, His purposes, and His ways.”  If this is sound advice (and I am convinced that it is), then what is intentionally missing from it is any conclusion to simply “follow your heart,” and let the chips fall where they may.

The counsel of the heart may seem efficient for Hollywood, or Dr. Phil or Oprah or even the best intentions of Lucy Van Pelt from her sidewalk “Psychiatry for a nickle” stand, but it is not sufficient to God and not His best for us.  The only means by which we may be assured that what the heart is telling us is verifiably true, is by unconditionally surrendering it to God and having that heart replaced by His.  Feeling your heart beat?  Make sure it is in cadence with the pulse of the Holy Spirit.  Following our heart is often the easiest thing to do…following Christ’s heart seldom is.

15
May
10

Foremost Ministries: Part 2

“It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.  Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.” – 1 Timothy 1:15-16 (NASV)

I cannot begin to describe how thankful I feel, knowing that “God’s not finished with me yet.”  Foremost Ministries is beginning to take shape and to take off.  I developed a powerpoint display and my precious wife, Barbara helped me with it and then produced it into a video.  It describes the vision, the purpose and the core beliefs of the ministry with Brandon Heath’s “Wait and See” playing as background music.  Hope you enjoy and will share it with others.