Saturday, July 28, 2012

REACHING FOR THE SUMMIT


REACHING FOR THE SUMMIT

I look to the summit of ministry Everest and recognize familiar faces, my heroes, the previous generations, who paved a way and a path I have yet to climb.

It will be easier for me because they went ahead. They are in no wise insignificant or of less importance to us because they came before and represent the previous moves of God, leadership roles and positions.  Actually, they inspire awe because their mettle is something seldom seen nowadays.

I look back down the slope from about mid-way, and there's a generation or two coming after me. I look at them with the same depth of affection that I do with the generations that came before me – it’s a sacred brotherhood, fraternity.  I am hoping to offer some help, impart inspiration, maybe some strength from my personal struggles unique to this elevation that I have experienced along the way.

I hope they don't try to rush past me. This culture's trends, fads and crush of life screams out for instant everything.  There are real dangers on these slopes, some they have not stumbled upon as of yet.  There are traps and pitfalls along the way.  They cropped up around this elevation and I can see more ahead from this vantage point – pitfalls, traps that they can’t see from where they are!

Lord, help them!  They just can't afford to rush it or be impatient. I'm fearful that if they do, and if they are even able to reach the summit, their time there will be jeopardized because we are conditioned for each new landing along the way and, for that, there is no shortcut or substitute.

Young Ministers, let's link hands with these older, wiser heroes and clasp hands together with a grip of honor, respect, trust, vulnerability and unity.  Let’s create a life-giving environment in the rigors of these hostile elements of ministry mountains, Everest.  We’re reaching!
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Bishop Freddie Steel – 04-26-12  © All Rights Reserved

Giving Up?! Good!


Ready to give up?  Good!

Those who have been to this place and are still around to talk about it know the value and benefit that this terrible / great place brings to our life and ministry.

As I listened to Dr. Raymond Culpepper’s powerful message presented at the General Assembly this week, I was particularly moved and touched as Dr. Culpepper paused near the end to give a timely, prophetic word to those who felt like giving up.  It stirred great memories in me of a time when I felt the same.

You could call it the ‘end of self.’  If that is one means of learning to deny one’s self, then one can rejoice because it is the uncontrolled or ill-controlled self that grieves the Holy Spirit and stifles life and our ministry. 

Associated with reaching this point and place in life or ministry are the wounds and disappointments that not only knocks the wind out of your sails but goes much deeper to bring real pain and hurt that makes life hard and successful ministry and leadership even harder. 

If there is anything that makes this place even harder, it is in being convinced that you have done something wrong to wind up here and that God is against you.  I believe that it is the highly principled men and women of God who go to this depth of regret or despair because they will not shrink or diminish the importance of the role they feel they played in coming here, to this open grave, this open-ended hell and self-torture.

If someone is not highly principled and governed by this degree of self-management and accountability, one can more easily (I imagine) work through these upsets, setbacks and tests of life and ministry and just shove the mental and emotional alarms, threats and attacks under the carpet and move on to the next assignment. 

To understand how God works and to minimalize the grief these certain seasons bring, one must understand the operations of the Kingdom of God by referencing the course of life of seed.

I have a belief and a conviction that every Promise of God, every calling, every gift, talent, grace or ability will have a season of death in order to enable it to be resurrected and sustained by the miraculous Power of God rather than by human efficiency.  Let me explain.

Scripture (John 12:24) says that ‘unless the grain of wheat (seed) falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone and remains as only one.  But, if it dies (just like Christ, Himself, the Seed of God), it is resurrected and sustained with God’s Power and His abilities.

I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains [just one grain; it never becomes more but lives] by itself alone. But if it dies, it produces many others and yields a rich harvest.  (John 12:24)

Additionally, it is, ultimately, a testing and a trying of one’s faith, as Abraham’s faith was tested and tried.  One will find himself/herself wrestling with the quandary as to whether or not they really did hear from God or not.  The enemy will frequently use the line, ‘has God really said?’ 

You will find yourself questioning your move or action or step of faith, made only after you were absolutely certain that it was, indeed, God Who promoted you and sent you.

Just as Christ, when He was in the grave and it appeared the Promise would not be kept and just like Lazarus who died and it appeared that Christ had missed the opportunity to heal him, this hopeless impasse is where you are on the very verge of stepping into the absolute miraculous provision of God – sustained and resourced by the supernatural ability of Father God.

Giving up?  Go ahead and enter into the rest of God, ceasing from the mental, emotional and spiritual struggling.  If you don’t, you will try to make it in your own strength and abilities.  It is not time to give up on your ministry, it is time to give up the struggling and enter into the Promises of God which will produce the results that each and every Promise holds.
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Bishop Freddie Steel  -  04-28-12  © All Rights Reserved