GAMES PLAYED BY SUCCESSFUL AND SELFISH CHURCHES ACTUALLY DRIVE PEOPLE AWAY FROM GOD

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TIRED OF THE CHURCH GAMES BY CHURCH “LEADERSHIP”

 JUST TO GAIN HELP TO HELP THOSE IN NEED

 BY:  A. J. “THE RIGHT REV RHINO” WATKINS

“HEAR ME WITH YOUR HEART NOT JUST YOUR EARS”

Simonton Genesis Ministries © 2007

Everyone wants to be number one and when they get to number one, they end up really being ONE who has it all and no one really wants to deal with them when they get there.  They eventually end up that way because they have hurt, misused, and abused the talents of others in an effort to reach the pinnacle of success.  Many act hard and say well I got mine so they have to get theirs quickly forgetting that those who are still trying to get theirs helped you get yours because they “thought” they saw something in you that would “throw a rope back to “help pull them up” as they climb up to the next level in spirituality, health, prosperity, and in self -motivation. 

People can choose who to give back to in their communities and in their lives.  I have no problem with all who do.  I have issues with those who act as if the WORLD OWES THEM something and they step on, mess over, lie to, deceive, mislead, talk down to, and display a sententious and sadity attitude towards people who are helping in their success and exude the stench of  the “I am NEVER WRONG attitude.” 

Luke 12:16-20 addresses such a person.  It finds Jesus saying in this parable, “16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:  17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?  18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.  19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.  20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?  21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is NOT rich toward God.”

Don’t let people run you over “in the name of Jesus” as they reach for their success.  I have grown tired of the cloak and daggers, smoke and mirrors, and deceitful practices that I have witnessed over the last six years with alleged Saints and Secular people alike hurting and talking down to others while they rise to the top.  Life is too short, death is too sure, and hell is too hot for me to stand by and watch folks who mean well get treated ill “even in the name of Jesus” because folks feel they are owed certain things in life AND I KNOW I can make a difference by offering them the help they need.  DEUCES, is all I have to say to such people!  

Hurt church folk and those seeking truth get ready because there is SOMEONE who cares and we are on the way!!!  With that being said, I just wanted to let everyone know that I have moved, and to give you my new address. 

I have moved from Beggars’ Alley located on Poverty Lane at the corner of Bleak and Busted Circle.  As of today, I have a brand new home.   My new address is: Living Well Drive in the Abundance Subdivision, located at the corner of Blessings Street and Thankful Peak.   You get there by taking the Praising Him Interstate, which runs North, South, East, and West.   It’s a loop around the city of REFUGE, REVELATION, RECONCILIATION, AND RESTORATION where the Holy Spirit guides and directs all traffic of the residents in the area.   

No Longer will I allow myself to travel on Begging Peter to pay off Paul Route, because it’s located at a dead-end intersection called “I Don’t Have, that crosses Borrowers’ Junction.” I can no longer hang out at Failures’ Place near Excuses Avenue, next to Procrastination Mall.

I’ve moved on to an upscale community called Higher Heights with unlimited potential and opportunities for me to Succeed–look at me now because I am on my way up!! Please know that each day that GOD awakens me, I am thankful to be a product of my new environment.

All of my dreams are becoming MASTER TAILOR-MADE realities because I have decided to become more rich towards God. I am dressed in life’s finest.  Let me introduce you to all of my new neighbors: CONCEIVE IT, BELIEVE IT, ACT ON IT, HAVE FAITH IN IT, BE PERSISTENT ABOUT IT, AND ALWAYS BE PREPARED TO ACHIEVE IT.  Life is good because: GOD IS GOOD!!!!! I have accepted my God given assignment to assist those in the neighborhood that our ministry is sitting in to have pride, dignity, encouragement, and empowerment to DO SOMETHING about their situations to have a little more comfort in their lives IF THEY WANT IT.  HAVE YOU MOVED TOO???? If not I pray that you will be moving soon!!!!!!!! ALL THE BEST AND GOD BLESS.  MUCH LOVE!

Pastor A. J. “TheRightRevRhino” Watkins D.Min.   

Click here to join me on our internet radio broadcast and receive an encouraging message to help you through the week.

Talking About Nothing

GLACIER SAILS

Get some knowledge into your mind from as many cultures, countries, and customs as you can.  You will be able to have a greater appreciation for humanity if you do.  Just because people do not believe like YOU believe does not mean that they don’t believe.  Church folks are a “hot mess” sometimes.  Learn from others before you attempt to judge others by your insignificant standards.

What you gossip about in church and the negativity you engage in doesn’t have to be put on Facebook. People will find out about it anyway. Every church has at least ONE SOUL who announces all of the ‘church’ community “goings on”. They know who is going with whom; who is doing who; who is creeping with who; where they are creeping; why they are creeping; and still manage to keep their dirt under wraps.

So you don’t ALWAYS have to put your business on Facebook. Twitter, or any other SOCIAL MEDIA. Whether you believe it or not SOCIAL MEDIA is often late when it comes to texting and cell phones during and after service in church these days. By the time you get your ten church plates from the Church anniversary service and potluck to your car, pictures of you with captions have already been posted to the SOCIAL MEDIA NEWS FEED before you put your key in the ignition and start your vehicle. Be advised before it goes up on FACEBOOK or any other social media, it has already been sent in a “group text” to other busy bodies in other ministries and that is how people find out anyway. Watch out for them FB Family because the HELL-A-PHONE is a BEAST in the hands of a “HELLION.” I’m just saying….. a simple observation after service tonight.

TheRightRevRhino

Discipline In The Church (Something That Is Lacking Today)

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DISCIPLINE IN THE CHURCH

(Something That Is Lacking Today)

Pastor A. J Watkins M.Div.

Copyright 2006

Though church discipline is a very difficult area of doctrine and one hard to practice, it nevertheless rests upon the divine authority of Scripture and is vital to the purity, power, progress, and purpose of the church. The responsibility and necessity for discipline is not an option for the church if it obeys the Word of God, but a church must be equally concerned that Scripture is carefully followed in the practice of church discipline. The following summary is suggested for study and as a guide for this very important area of doctrine.

The Principle
of Discipline Defined

R.C. Sproul writes, “The church is called not only to a ministry of reconciliation, but a ministry of nurture to those within her gates. Part of that nurture includes church discipline . . .”1 The idea of church discipline is totally consistent with the basic purposes of the church—evangelism and edification. Evangelism ministers to those without the church who are in bondage to sin to bring them to faith in Christ where the transformation process begins. The edification process is designed to build up believers so they can be conformed to the image and character of Christ. Church discipline as a part of the edification process ministers to those within the body of Christ who are dominated by some area of sin so they can experience liberation from its power through fellowship with Christ.

How then do we define church discipline? Carl Laney states, “Church discipline may be broadly defined as the confrontive and corrective measures taken by an individual, church leaders, or the congregation regarding a matter of sin in the life of a believer.”2

Discipline in the church is not punishment. It is discipline and discipline is designed to train and restore.

The Pattern
and Basis for Discipline

(1) The discipline of the church is first patterned after the fact that the Lord Himself disciplines His children (Heb. 12:6) and, as a father delegates part of the discipline of the children to the mother, so the Lord has delegated the discipline of the church family to the church itself (1 Cor. 5:12-13; 2 Cor. 2:6).

(2) Discipline is further based on the holy character of God (1 Pet. 1:16; Heb. 12:11). The pattern of God’s holiness—His desire for the church to be holy, set apart unto Him—is an important reason for the necessity of church discipline. The church is therefore to clean out the leaven of malice and wickedness from its ranks (1 Cor. 5:6-8). A failure to exercise discipline in the church evidences a lack of awareness of and concern for the holiness of God.

(3) Church discipline is to be patterned after and based on the divine commands of Scripture (1 Cor. 4:6). We have numerous passages of Scripture which both command and give us God’s directives on the how, why, when, and where of church discipline. Again, a failure to exercise this responsibility demonstrates a lack of obedience and belief in the authority of the Bible (1 Cor. 5:1-13; Matt. 18:17-18; Titus 3:10; 2 Thess. 3:6-15; 1 Tim. 5:20; Gal. 6:1).

(4) Another basis for the necessity of church discipline is the testimony of the church in the world (1 Pet. 4:13-19). The world observes the behavior and life of the church. When the church acts no differently than the world, it loses its credibility and authenticity (1 Pet. 2:11-18; 3:8-16; 4:1-4).

The Purposes
of Church Discipline

(1) To bring glory to God and enhance the testimony of the flock.

(2) To restore, heal, and build up sinning believers (Matt. 18:15; 2 Thess. 3:14-15; Heb. 12:10-13; Gal. 6:1-2; Jam. 5:20).

(3) To produce a healthy faith, one sound in doctrine (Tit. 1:13; 1 Tim. 1:19-20).

(4) To win a soul to Christ, if the sinning person is only a professing Christian (2 Tim. 2:24-26).

(5) To silence false teachers and their influence in the church (Tit. 1:10-11).

(6) To set an example for the rest of the body and promote godly fear (1 Tim. 5:20).

(7) To protect the church against the destructive consequences that occur when churches fail to carry out church discipline. A church that fails to exercise discipline experiences four losses:

  • The Loss of Purity: Church discipline is vital to the purity of the local body and its protection from moral decay and impure doctrinal influences. Why? Because a little leaven leavens the entire lump (1 Cor. 5:6-7). This is the “rotten apple” problem or the “snowball” effect.An illustration of this is the Corinthian church which showed a lack of concern for purity. They neglected the responsibility to discipline and suffered as a result. Their insensitivity to one moral issue may have led to their compromise on other issues. Laney writes, “The Corinthians engaged in lawsuits, misused their liberty, profaned the Lord’s Supper, neglected the primacy of love, failed to regulate the use of their gifts, and questioned the resurrection.”3 Failure in church discipline in Corinth could be compared to a snowball tumbling downhill.
  • The Loss of Power: Sin in the life of the church grieves the person of the Holy Spirit and quenches His power. If sin remains unchecked by the loving application of church discipline in a body of believers, the Holy Spirit must abandon such a church to its own carnal resources. The unavoidable result will be the loss of the Lord’s blessing until the sin is dealt with.The defeat of Israel because of the sin of Achan in Joshua 7 illustrates the principle. This is just as true for the church today, especially when we know certain things exist but ignore them or simply look the other way because it is difficult to deal with or because it involves one of our friends and we do not want to risk causing problems in the relationship.
  • The Loss of Progress: A church that refuses to practice church discipline will see its ministry decline. The church may want to grow and reach out and it may try all kinds of stop gap measures, promotional campaigns, and programs in an attempt to turn things around, but if there is sin in the camp, it will all be to no avail. See Revelation 2:5 and 3:16 for illustrations of this principle.
  • The Loss of Purpose: As His ambassadors to a lost and dying world, God has called the church to be a holy people, a people who, standing out as distinct from the world, proclaim the excellencies of the works of God in Christ (1 Pet. 1:14-16; 2:9-15). If this is to occur, we must be different from the world and church discipline helps us to both remember and maintain that purpose. One of the recurring judgments against the church today as demonstrated in various polls taken across the country is the fact there is little or no difference between the church and the secular world when it comes to attitudes, values, morals, and lifestyle. We have lost our sense of purpose.

The Practice
of Church Discipline

The Manner

The above goals or purposes automatically govern the spirit in which all disciplinary action is to be given. Thus:

(1) Discipline must be done by those who are spiritual, truly walking by the Holy Spirit and growing in the Lord (Gal. 6:1).

(2) Discipline must be done in a spirit of humility, gentleness and patience, looking to ourselves lest we too be tempted (Gal. 6:1-2; 2 Tim. 2:24-25).

(3) Discipline must be done without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality (1 Tim. 5:21).

(4) Those who walk disorderly are to be admonished, warned, and appealed to in love (1 Thess. 5:14-15; 1 Tim. 5:1-2; Eph. 4:15; 2 Tim. 4:2). This admonishing, is not restricted to church leaders, but may be done by any person in the body with another if that person is Spirit controlled and spiritually minded (cf. 1 Thess. 5:14 with Gal. 6:1).

(5) If there is no response in repentance and obedience, then the sinning believer is to be rebuked publicly and members of the body are to withhold intimate fellowship through the process and procedure of group disapproval and social ostracism as prescribed in the next section, Procedures for Church Discipline below (2 Thess. 3:6, 14-15; Tit. 3:10; 1 Tim. 5:20). This action has a two-fold objective:

  • It is to indicate to the offender that his/her action has dishonored the Lord and has caused a rupture in the harmony of the body. The goal is always restoration and the person is still to be counted as a brother (2 Thess. 3:14-15).
  • It is to create fear in the rest of the flock as a warning against sin (1 Tim. 5:20).

(6) If there is still no response in repentance and obedience, the church is to apply the procedures of excommunication as directed in Matthew 18:17.

Several examples of church discipline are found in Scripture. The Corinthian believers were to be “gathered together” in order to take action against the offending brother (1 Cor. 5:4-5; Rom. 16:17; 2 Thess. 3:6-15; Phil. 3:17-19).

This is defined by Paul as “punishment inflicted by the majority” (2 Cor. 2:6). As a protective measure, we also find that the whole church in Rome and in Thessalonica were to take action with regard to the unruly and schismatic, not just a few (2 Thess. 3:6-15; Rom. 16:17).

(7) Finally, discipline in the name of our Lord always includes a readiness to forgive. The many or majority who discipline must also be ready and eager to forgive, comfort, and reaffirm their love to the sinning person (2 Cor. 2:6-8). (See Procedures for Church Discipline below.)

Reasons for Church Discipline

In church discipline we must exercise extreme care. Scripture does not warrant the exercise of discipline for an individual’s or a church’s taboos or pet peeves—the “dirty dozen” or the “nasty nine.” Scripture, not our opinions or dislikes, must be the guide for what is sin. Further, we must not become hypercritical or “speck inspectors.”

(1) General Causes: Disorderly conduct, conduct clearly out of line with the prescribed commands of Scripture and which negatively impacts the testimony and unity of the church (2 Thess. 3:6-15).

(2) Specific Causes:

  • Difficulties between members (Matt. 18:15-17).
  • Divisive or factious people causing divisions in the church (Rom. 16:17-18; Titus 3:9-11).
  • Immoral conduct; sins of the type mentioned in 1 Corinthians 5 such as incest, immorality, covetousness, idolatry, abusive speech, drunkenness, swindling, or idle busybodies who refuse to work and run around spreading dissension (1 Cor. 5:1, 11; 2 Thess. 3:10-15).
  • False teaching; erroneous teaching and views which concern the fundamentals of the faith and not lesser differences of interpretation (1 Tim. 1:20; 2 Tim. 2:17-18; also implied in Rev. 2:14-16; Phil. 3:2-3, 15-19; Rom. 16:17-18).

The key concerns that guide us in this are: (a) the holy character of God, (b) the testimony of the flock, (c) the effect upon the unity and purity of the flock, and (d) the edification and restoration of the individual.

Procedures
for Church Discipline

The scriptural procedure is clear and specific steps are prescribed as follows:

Cautions

If you see the offense or you have accurate knowledge of the sin(s), please note these cautions:

  • Be sure it is an offense which calls for discipline and not merely one of our pet peeves. Again, the Word must be our criterion.
  • Remember how we too have sinned in the past and heed the warnings of Galatians 6:1.
  • Bring the matter before the Lord in prayer before the confrontation takes place (1 Sam. 8:6).
  • Don’t procrastinate. The longer the delay, the more difficult the condition can become. Remember the consequences listed above.
  • Don’t gossip or even talk to others about it in the sense of Matthew 18:16 until you have talked to the sinning believer privately. We must guard and protect the person and the flock from rumors and a slanderous tongue (Prov. 6:19b; 10:19; 11:13; 18:8, 21; 20:19).

First Step

First, seek private correction and/or reconciliation with the offender (Matt. 18:15). In Matthew 18:15 many manuscripts have “and if your brother sins against you, go and reprove him in private.”

There has been no little debate as to whether the words “against you” are part of the original manuscripts. The words “against me” in verse 21 may have led a scribe or copyist to personalize the matter in verse 15. Or, one could argue the omission was deliberate in order to generalize the passage. While some important manuscript tradition lacks the words “against you,” many feel there is good evidence for their originality. First, the words, “reprove him in private,” and second, the question of Peter in verse 21 about forgiving a brother who sins “against me” suggests their inclusion.

Whether the words “against you” were in the original text or not, Galatians 6:1 teaches that believers have a responsibility to confront sin in general in the life of other believers and not just when it is an offense against one’s person. It would seem, then that there is a two-fold application:

(1) When the problem involves one believer sinning against another, there are two problems that need to be taken care of: reconciliation and restoration (Matt. 5:23-24).

(2) When the problem involves a believer overcome in or by some sin, as was the case in Galatians 6:1, the need is restoration.

Matthew 18:16-17 should not be limited to the problem of one believer sinning against another in view of Galatians 6:1. So, the one offended or who recognizes the offense or sin is to go privately and try to rectify the problem.

Please note these guidelines:

(1) Begin by expressing your genuine appreciation for the person and their good qualities to show you are genuinely concerned about their welfare. Then and only then bring up the matter which is of concern.

(2) In some situations the sin is apparent and there is no question, but we must allow for the possibility that we have misjudged or have wrong information. We must listen to the other person’s side of the story and seek the facts in the interest of truth and fairness.

(3) If the person fails to respond, warn them that, according to the instructions of Scripture (Matt. 18:16), you will have to get others as witnesses and return with them to deal with the problem.

Second Step

If the first step fails, take witnesses to strengthen the effect of the discipline, preferably spiritual leaders, so that if it has to be brought before the whole church it can be firmly proven and established (Matt. 18:16-17; 1 Tim. 5:19). The aid of church leadership should be sought if the problem involves an offense that is against the whole body or if it is a threat to the unity of the body.

These initial contacts, private and with witnesses, provide opportunity for loving admonition, correction, and forgiveness. On the other hand, if these first steps do not produce results, it constitutes a warning that further action will be taken and provides occasion for serious rebuke (2 Tim. 4:2; 1 Thess. 5:12-13; Titus 2:15; 3:10).

Third Step

If the second step fails, seek reconciliation and restoration through the whole body. If further action is necessary, it is to be taken before the whole church (2 Thess. 3:14-15; Matt. 18:17; 1 Tim. 5:20).

This action appears to fall into two stages when we combine 2 Thessalonians 3:14 and 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 with Matthew 18:17.

(1) The body is to exercise group disapproval by way of social ostracism (refusal to have intimate fellowship).

(2) If this doesn’t work, the local body of believers is to exercise excommunication: removal from church membership, loss of voting privileges, and continuation of the loss of intimate fellowship. This must be approved of and done by the entire congregation (2 Cor. 2:6).

This is, in essence, the Lord carrying out discipline through the action of the entire body under the leadership of the elders or the spiritually mature (1 Cor. 5:4). Similar heavenly authority is seen in the ratification of this disciplinary action as spelled out in Matthew 18:18-19.

Procedures for Restoration

Forgiveness

In keeping with the goal of restoration, the role of the church must change after there is repentance. This means accepting the person and forgetting the past (2 Cor. 2:7a).

But how do we know when repentance is genuine? What is our responsibility when the sinning party acknowledges their wrong and claims repentance? The following two passages answer this for us.

Luke 3:8, when they “. . . bring forth fruits in keeping with repentance.”

Acts 26:20, “. . . that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.”

Genuine repentance will make itself evident by its deeds and attitudes. The repentant person will:

(1) Freely acknowledge his sin (1 Jn. 1:9; Prov. 28:13a).

(2) Cease the activity for which he was disciplined or at least seek help if it’s a case of life dominating patterns (Prov. 28:13b; Gal. 6:1f; Jam. 5:19-20).

(3) Make restitution and/or ask for forgiveness from those hurt as it is applicable (Phil. 18-19; Matt. 5:23-24).

(4) He/she will demonstrate a genuine change of heart, a real concern and godly sorrow over his actions, not in order to be forgiven, but because of the harm caused to the glory of God and the hurt caused others (2 Cor. 7:8-11; Ps. 51:17).

(5) He/she will begin to manifest the fruit of the Spirit and a concern for the things of Christ (Gal. 5:22f).

Comfort

This means reaching out to them, assuring them of your support, and encouraging, exhorting, and challenging them to move on (2 Cor. 2:7b).

Love

This means including them, drawing them close, doing for them that which will aid their growth and complete recovery (2 Cor. 2:8). This would include encouraging them to get involved in ministry (Luke 22:31-32). For positions of leadership, there should be a time of testing to demonstrate their qualifications after the analogy of 1 Timothy 3:10.

For excellent and more complete studies on this subject, see (1) A Guide to Church Discipline, by Carl Laney, Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1985, and (2) Healing the Wounded, The Costly Love of Church Discipline, by John White and Ken Blue, Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, 1985.


1 R. C. Sproul, In Search of Dignity, Regal Books, 1983, p. 182.

2 Carl Laney, A Guide to Church Discipline, Bethany House Publishers, p. 14.

3 Ibid., p. 20.

RISE TO THE OCCASION

RISE TO THE OCCASION

Minister A .J. Watkins M.Div.

JOHN 5:2-8; LUKE 24:5-7; JOHN 20: 22, 27-29

KING JAMES VERSION UTILIZED

JAMES MOFFET & CHARLES ERDMAN SUPPLEMENTARY STUDIES

SIMONTON GENESIS MINISTRIES INC. COPYRIGHT 2005

In my many years as a US Marine, I have had the pleasure of experiencing an incalculable amount of ceremonies that has dealt with dignitaries, princes, princesses, dukes, ambassadors, queens, kings, sultans, and presidents all over the world.  I have had to show honor to our own President of the United States while serving on the security forces.  In the military we even have a general order that states to “Salute all officers, colors, and standards not cased.”  That means that we are to salute the high-ranking military official, the Flag of this country, and other high-ranking dignitaries that represent this country.  Now in doing all of this, there is one thing that we must do before we render that salute.  That one thing is to “rise” to our feet for the occasion.  The occasion could be an all night gala or it may be for a fleeting moment in which royalty, presidency, or superiority is passing by on their way into an event.

When you are in the courtroom, the bailiff will state, “All rise, court is now in session.  The Honorable Judge Joe Brown is presiding.”  When you are at a wedding you will “rise” as the bride makes her way down the aisle.  When you are at funeral you will “rise” as the coffin is wheeled out.  When you find yourself at a meeting for the local community you will “rise” and receive your council representative.  When you are at a black tie affair you will stop what you are doing and if you are sitting, you will “rise” to receive the dignitary that is throwing the gala.  When you have guests in your home for one of those holiday dinners at the dining table that you never use, you will call everyone together and “rise” when a senior member of the family takes the head of the table.  When you have a guest revivalist or evangelist in your church and they walk into the pulpit after the service starts, you “rise” to your feet to show respect to the man or woman that will bring the message.  When a guest minister is brought into town by a church, it is customary that the host pastor asks the congregation to “rise” to their feet as the speaker stands and takes his or her place behind the lectern to read the scripture.

Now you may ask yourself why do we rise?  It is because you are rising to the occasion.  These aforementioned scenarios are occasions that warrant such respect.  With the exception of having arthritis and can’t stand, people will look at you strange if you do not rise to the occasion.

In our text we have the very familiar passage of scripture that includes a dialogue between someone that is trapped in the world of redundancy and complacency and the one that can change your life so that you can work and move freely. Our text is a biblical story told over and over again with different lessons in mind.  However today we will talk about rising to the occasion. We notice that Jesus was passing by this particular day and, as always, he was handing out blessings and miracles.  When Jesus asked him if he wanted to be made whole, he began to come up reasons as to why he hasn’t been made whole.

Thirty-eight years is a long time to be in a predicament that you cannot control.  It is a long time to be in the mindset of a commitment to do something and never get it done.  Notice in the text he states he has no one to put him in the pool.  Yet with the same breath he states “but while I am coming.”  Now which one is it?  Is it because no one will put you in the pool or is it while you are coming?  Many miss what he stated here.  There is no one to put me in, but while I am coming others step down before me.  As we study this, you will see that he was obviously able to move.  He could move faster with assistance, but he was too weak in the legs to get in there before another person would get in front of him.

We see that the first thing missing is humility and faith.  He had been there thirty-eight years; this would tell me that he was highly familiar with the time and date that the angel would appear.  In his heart I can see with my spiritual eye that he thought to himself year after year that he would prevail.  However, God held him in place for thirty-eight years and would allow him to make progress toward his goal, but not achieve his goal.  Humility is not depreciation of us, but appreciation of God.  Thirty-eight years tells me that he had gained a lot of reasons but not answers.  When you state that you are humble and you have faith, you will perform acts as God’s Spirit tells you to do so.  You see his time had come after all of that suffering and he still was not truly ready to receive his blessing and this miracle.  He did not humble himself and say yes, he began to give reasons why he should not rise to the occasion.  He did not even try to rise before the Lord gave the command.  He was looking for the good (troubling of the water) and had the best right in front of him (Jesus).  He wasn’t even trying to hear Jesus at first.

People come in and out of your life daily, monthly, and yearly.  They come in the form of girlfriends and boyfriends, business associates, and acquaintances.   Most of the time, they start out meaning you well.  Yet as time goes by, you will find that they really want to see where you are going and either get with your program to gain experience for themselves or thwart your program.  That is why most people fail.  Their faith is placed in the wrong location.  We place people between our circumstances and ourselves.  However, Faith puts God between our circumstances and ourselves.  Placing faith in mankind to help you achieve your program is a dangerous game to play.  I am not saying not to seek help to achieve your goal.  God places those people in there as you travel to assist you along the way.  However most programs fail because we allow people that sound as if they are committed to our program to come in and go to work.  They will say all of the right things, make all the proper appearances, but when it comes right down to it, they’re looking for reasons for your success instead of answers and therefore they will begin to mess you up because they are looking at where you came from and how you got there instead of now that I am on board, what is it that you want me to do with the talents and skills that I possess?  That is another problem that our friend at the pool had in his possession.  He placed his faith in the wrong people to help him get in the pool.

Notice that Jesus did not say anything here.  He just waited for the man to finish his reasons as to why he was not whole yet.  Then he commanded him to “Rise to the Occasion.”  Take up your bed and walk and he immediately walked like he was supposed to walk.  He rose to the occasion.  Many times in our lives we hear and see people day in and day out telling us things about ourselves that we know are not true.  However, every now and then, the Lord will dispatch someone into our lives to add us, subtract us, multiply us, and divide us and sum us up to nothing.  That is the person you want around you.  That is the type of person that will tell you like it is and doesn’t mind receiving constructive criticism himself or herself.  However when we are read by total strangers, we get offended.  Total strangers only pass through your life for a short time, because they have other goals to accomplish as they pass over.  It is imperative that we listen to those that God dispatches into our lives to assist us in getting our heads on straight and pointed in the proper direction.  You will notice that these people are humble but powerful when they speak and even more powerful when they’re walking in their calling, into their season, and when you see their accomplishments.  I believe the first test of a truly great man or woman is their humility.  I do not mean by humility, not speaking their mind, or doubting their own abilities.  But really great men and women have a curious under-sense of powerlessness, feeling that the greatness is not in them but through them; that they could not do or be anything else than who God made them to be.  When God commands them, they move.  That is the difference in Saints that rise to the occasion and those of us that just lay by the pool waiting.

Competing with those that God has anointed and appointed is a losing battle.  In the text he competed with Jesus’ will with his own will.  However, Jesus could see the greatness in him when he couldn’t see the greatness in himself and he commanded him and he did.  When the spirit of God really moves on you, you have to move.  You must rise to the occasion.  People always state what they are going to do and never do it.  I have noticed in churches all over this city and nation, that many people have something to say and no one has anything to do.

People offend you and you won’t rise to the occasion to let them know it. People lie on you and you won’t rise to the occasion and them know it.  People get rumors started about you and another individual and you won’t rise to the occasion and let them know it.  People will use you and you will not rise to the occasion and let them know it.  People assassinate your character and you won’t rise to the occasion and let them know it.  People mess with your wife and children and you will not rise to the occasion and let them know it.  People say what they are going to do to help the church grow, but they won’t rise to the occasion and do anything.  People state we need, and God sends and they still won’t rise to the occasion and realize the need has been met.  Just like our friend in the text.

However, I know what happens when you do rise to the occasion.  You see on his way to Calvary, Jesus stopped and healed, listened, educated, changed ways, and left commands.  Jesus rose to the occasion when he called the Sanhedrin hypocrites for criticizing the disciples for eating without washing their hands.  Jesus rose to the occasion when he told them that they do things to be seen of man and not please God in their hearts.  Jesus rose to the occasion when he told them that they could destroy the temple and in three days it would be raised again.  Jesus rose to the occasion when he died for our sins and iniquities from the eternal past, to the eternal present, and into the eternal future.  Jesus rose to the occasion when they went to the sepulcher and they remembered his words in Luke 24:5-7 that he would rise in three days.  Jesus rose to the occasion when he left us a way to rise to any occasion from here until the future.  According to John 20:22, 27-29 he told them to receive the Holy Ghost.  After that he told Thomas in 27-29 put your hand here and touch my hand and then take your hand and place it in my side.  He went on to tell Thomas you had to see to believe.  He once again rose to the occasion.  Then one more time in Acts, he operated from Heaven and rose to the occasion in the second chapter in verses two through twelve and sent the Holy Ghost to all nations.  The Holy Ghost, which is the Spirit of God, is still here operating.

If you will allow the Spirit of God, the Holy Ghost, to dwell within your heart, mind, and soul, your body will be able to handle the mess and the stress and the fluff and stuff.  You will rise to any occasion.  Jesus rose to the occasion and then sent us help so that we may rise to the occasion like he did.  What occasion?  I am glad you asked me that question.  If you are impregnated with an idea, and that idea has become a dream, and that dream has become a goal, and that goal has become a passion, and that passion has become a calling, then you will rise to the occasion.

If God has called you to be a doctor and that is your dream and passion, then rise to the occasion and go to med school, go to the internship, and receive your medical degree.  If God called you to be a lawyer and that is your dream and passion; then go to law school, focus on the area you want to practice, rise to the occasion and receive your law degree.  If God called you to be a teacher in the school system and that is your dream and passion, then go to college and get educated on the psyche of children on all grade levels and achieve that teaching degree.

Most of all, if God has endowed you with the Holy Ghost and he has called you to be a Christian this Sunday, and that is your goal and passion to be the best Christian you can be for God and that is your true calling, then rise to the occasion.

A TRUE Christian will rise to the occasion to:  Give without griping.  Serve without grumbling.  Sacrifice without boasting.  Endure without complaining.  Help without “Bossing”.  Submit without resisting.  Pray without ceasing.  Why? It because you are walking in your calling.

A  TRULY called Christian will rise to the occasion to:  Be a good neighbor to their neighbors.  Not a nosy one.  Be a good doctor to their patients.  Not a judgmental one.  Be a good lawyer to their clients.  Not an arrogant one.  Be a good leader to their followers.  Not a selfish one.  Be a good businessman to their customers.  Not a crooked one.

Being a TRULY called Christian is not an easy task because the enemy is out there.  However, with the aid of God’s spirit  TRUE Christians already know:  There is opposition to overcome.  There are mountains to be moved.  There are disappointments to be endured.  There are hardships to be handled.  There are talents to be developed.

Therefore a Called Christian will be:  Consistent in their devotion.  Honest in their efforts.  Determined in their purpose. Ambitious in their opportunities.  Positive in their attitude.   Persuaded in their mind that God Is their foundation!  Persistent in their enthusiasm and optimistic in their views about life.

All the best and God bless,

 

Eld. A. J. Watkins D.Min.

Simonton Genesis Global Ministries

24 Hr Prayer Line (702) 560-4291