Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The AMCC (Part 2: The Found Sheep)

In Luke 15:1-7, we find Jesus telling Pharisees and the teachers of the Law a parable about the lost sheep. Notice by the title, I’m going to reverse the parable.

The summary of the parable in Luke 15:1-7 is that one who goes looking for the sheep that’s lost and that heaven rejoices over the one sheep that was lost is found. Those in the AMCC rejoice more over the found sheep than they do the lost sheep. Remember in Part 1 (using myself as the example for this): the AMCC would consist of me, my family in my clique. The AMCC focuses on ensuring the safety of the 99 sheep that are found and let the one sheep that’s lost stay lost and they don’t even get prayed for (unless it’s someone within their own circle, then they’ll call everyone to prayer cause it’s part of their clique). Tragically, the one who’s lost and on their way to hell, doesn’t even get prayed for, and then have the nerve to point a finger when they don’t even go to church. I experienced something like this in 2011 when I had a heart for someone, and many people who are plagued with the AMCC mentality told me to let that person that’s lost go, we care about ensuring you remain part of the found sheep. Again, if it was someone within their family, we pray. It’s easy to be in the AMCC because is structured and comfortable. And if a person has a leadership role within the AMCC, it’s definitely a place of comfort and a position of power (and everyone beneath must submit).

The AMCC is one that is focused on ensuring that the gifts and talents of members who attend this church, stay in the church (for some churches, it’s called the law of consecration). All of your times, gifts and talents must be used for the service of the local church, denomination, and for the building of the local church (to make the church and the pastoral team look good). If you dare to step outside that box, you are set apart because you’re making an impact not only in the local church and environment around you (and you’re not looking for attention). But the pastoral team and leaders within the community aren’t getting the glory that they want – and that’s typically the mentality of the AMCC. My former church was a great example of this: they were focused on the found sheep and if we did go and witness to someone, it was to bring them to church and let the pastor indoctrinate them to his teachings (of course, his prayers for people who wanted to know the Lord were along the lines of submitting to his teachings – that men be the lord over the house and slap their wives if they don’t submit to his teachings).

In my current church, we had a guest preacher from New Orleans around November of 2012 and he talked about what I’m talking about since the last part of 2011 (I will focus on what he said in Part 3). The tragedy is that no one really wanted to talk about the lesson after the service after church; they were focused on ensuring that a seat was occupied, they had favor with the pastoral team and that they were on the role of attendance.

I will close Part 2 with something Joyce Meyer said (I don’t agree with everything she says, but she hit this on the nail). She said this, in quote: “there’s someone around you that you’re giving up on, don’t give up on them because it’s the most comfortable thing for you. Make sure you go to God and ask Him if He wants you to give up on them. Are you ready for me to turn my back on this person and walk away? We say we want to be used by God, but do we really? Do you really want a ministry? We beg God to use us for His glory, to show us our calling and our ministry; but we don’t want to be around sinners or anyone that makes us uncomfortable. We don’t want to stick with people that don’t just make us feel icky and give us goosebumps all the time! We have to get to the point where we say, I’m not here just to make myself happy. And you’re just going to have to be uncomfortable at times.”

She just told us how to break free from the AMCC mentality. Stay tuned for Part 3.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

What Breaks The Heart of God (Part 1: The Golden Calf)

I’m not going to cover everything that breaks the heart of God. I’m just going to cover maybe 2 or 3 things. This first one is really going to be something serious, so get ready to take offense (ha ha).

When Moses didn't come down from the mountain on the children of Israel's timetable, they got Aaron to make a golden calf & they worshipped it saying this is OUR god. No different than today, when God doesn't respond, we look to man or an image and esteem them as our god. This was something I posted this past Friday on my Facebook wall. Now let me expound on this one.

You see, Moses was communing with God during the time of the golden calf. But the children of Israel didn’t understand patience. Again, no different than us, we try to find our own savior (most of the times, through men). They arbitrarily assumed that Moses forgot about them so they decided to make a god who led them out of Egypt. It’s interesting they wanted to make a god that showed they were led out of Egypt, considering in Numbers, they were so ready to return to Egypt. They were the epitome of wanting to have their cake and eat it too. No different than us, we want to live prosperous, but at the same time, we want to covet anything that doesn’t belong to us, but will sure enough fight to have it. We want to have our cake and be able to eat it too; at the same time, be jealous when one person does it the right way but you’re stuck in the same situation. Aaron, giving in to these trifling people builds a calf. When confronted by Moses, Aaron blames them saying, “you know how determined these people are to do evil.” He should’ve manned up and said; I gave in to what they wanted. He blamed the children of Israel. No different than us, we’ll blame others for our own screw-ups.

Aaron said, tomorrow, there will be festival to honor the Lord. The following day, the children of Israel sat down to feast, but it turned to a wild party.

What’s the underlying message? Our culture is so numb to what’s right and wrong, that we’ll worship anything that pleases our flesh or gives us what our flesh wants (irrespective if it costs you your spiritual life). Do I fall guilty of this? At times I do. What we need to do is consider every action that we do. Who are we praising, God or man? Why do we get offended when we insult the golden calf and not take offense when we grieve the Lord by our actions? Why do we demand that the world stops to hear a golden calf speak as if the calf is God? I foresee many people falling to the golden calf (it could be a man, an image, anything that does not exalt God for who He is). Sadly, our actions determine who we are really serving.

Part 2 will talk about needed rebukes but not given due to ears being itched. Stay tuned.

The AMCC (Part 1: Its Origins)

Around November 2011, when my life was going down the toilet, God was speaking to me about many churches today. Yes, I’m in church, but I noticed a common trend occurring (and it tied into the state of the economy). Many people have asked me, what does the AMCC stand for? It simply stands for the American Middle Class Church. I took some heat from those in my current church, and I’m sure I’ll take some heat for this now. It doesn’t concern me in the least. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with the AMCC per se, when the mentality overrides the Bible, then there’s a serious problem (and I believe on some level, it has).

So, where does their origin begin? Well, in life, there are three classes of people and their economic state. You have the rich, the middle-class and the poor. I work in a system where the majority (if not all) would be classified as middle-class. There’s nothing wrong with that. Because of the pressures of the economy, what you find is that attitudes are based on what the economy is doing and not based on the word of God. The attitude I found to be true (especially in 2011) was this: I will do what I can to protect me, my family and my clique within my place of employment. You could call that the dog-eat-dog syndrome also. What you have here is nothing more than a middle-class fight. If you’ve been around me long enough, you would hear me say that the middle-class fight is going to get worse as the years progress.

What is sad is that we carry that same mentality over into the church world. If you have wealth, you’re frowned upon, and if you’re poor, you’re frowned upon as well. In the church world, you have many churches that you would probably call a middle class church. But because most of our demeanor has been protecting me, my family and my clique, that mentality carries over and we use that same principle when it comes to prayer, and if someone is in need. If you’re outside the circle, you’ll get help, but also be snickered behind your back (or they’ll internally gloat knowing that you need them). Heaven forbid someone outside a person’s circle is thinking about ending their life. The simple words “get over it” would be used. If they’re part of the clique, they’ll be showered with prayer and anything else that would show favoritism. If you speak out of this mentality or the schisms within the church that even look like this mentality, you’ll be called out as being cynical. Most people who cry “you are being cynical” are simply immune to it and are comfortable in this mentality. In this mentality, it’s real easy to become complacent and have your head stuck in the sand. It’s easy to identify someone in this church – example: you may have some that want to help others outside their AMCC wall (and that’s a good thing), but because they may feel trapped in the wall, they remain there and end up losing effectiveness because they don’t go down to their level. They’ll stay within those walls, and talk down to you when you don’t measure up to them. That’s not getting a full picture of where others outside your AMCC circle are.

Part 2 will discuss a parable of Jesus and how this ties into the AMCC. Stay tuned.