VOLUME II MEN'S MINISTRY NEWSLETTERS - MICHAEL MCPHERSON
When Jesus called his disciples it was with the invitation, "I will make you fishers of
men." This past week some questions were raised about how and who we should fish.
How do we fish for lost souls when some of the lost are in church, but don’t believe they
are lost? How do we express the love of Christ to gay men and women? How tolerant are
Christians to be?
Before we tackle these questions we must look at the example Jesus gave and also
consider what it means to be "saved." Jesus performed miracles for thousands. He fed
the masses, healed the sick, brought the dead back to life and even turned water into
wine for the pleasure of a few.
Most of those who received or saw and marveled at his miracles, did not profess him as
Lord. Jesus showed love to those who were still deep in their sins. And while many
received Him, most rejected Him. Without argument we can say Jesus showed love freely
to the "blind in truth" without condition or prejudice.
The Bible tells us "all have sinned.‖" There are no differences in the eyes of God between
a sinner who is homosexual and a sinner who is heterosexual. None. Yet many in the
Body of Christ would have us believe that the sinner who is gay is set apart from the
heterosexual sinner. Nothing in scripture supports this. All have sinned and are under the
sentence of death.
It is the natural man that discriminates. The natural man that is homophobic and
prejudiced by nature against all that is different from himself. Many people use the
Scriptures and pulpits to magnify the resident hate and fear which exists in the natural
man’s heart. Hate and fear that must be treated as a cancerous polyp.
All have sinned. When catching fish - people who are blind to the truth- we must be the
hand of the Lord and show his love. And in that love, the heart of the people are pricked
and some will hear the voice of the Lord. Some will sow the seed that pricks the heart.
Others may reap the harvest of those who sowed, by calling the lost to repentance. So
one fisherman removes the dullness from the ears and another calls them home.
And eventually the people who have a repentant heart will receive the gift of the Holy
Spirit. The result is a converted or regenerated heart set towards God.
The evidence of a regenerated heart is a compelling and unending desire to do the will of
God in the life of the believer. Salvation and the act of regeneration is a supernatural act
by God, freely given to those with a clean heart. A heart that has repented and is ready
to die to self. And in death, each becomes resurrected as a new man by a miracle of God.
Many people who call themselves Christian have never had a conversion experience.
They think they believe and think they have faith. But truly, they are not ready to go to
the cross with Jesus and die to self.
Now do you see the problem? Many fishermen try to skin the fish before they’ve caught
it. They try to dictate "Christian" behavior to people who have not been converted. In
Matthew, Jesus says it is impossible for a man to obey God and get into the Kingdom
unless he is born again. Yet many Christians seem to forget this and condemn people
while they are still in their sin. People who have never been regenerated by the Spirit of
Conversion is an act of God on those who come to Him in faith and with a repentant
heart; yielding their life as an acceptable sacrifice unto God. And when a converted
person does sin, he will feel broken and be led to confession by the Spirit. As Jesus
looked from the cross upon his accusers and executioners, he asked God to forgive them
because they were blind to the truth.
The love of Jesus is beyond comprehension. And so if you ask how tolerant should a
follower of Christ be? We should be the most tolerant people on the face of the earth. It
is the natural man that is not tolerant and seeks to condemn and look down upon others.
As fishermen we are to be vessels of God’s light and love to the world. A light tower in a
storm that delivers a message of hope to a world destined for decay and death. A vessel
of the lord without prejudice or condition. With the knowledge that many will remain
blinded to the truth we fish with sorrow, not with indignation and condemnation.
Sorrow because we know the fate that awaits most of the fish in the sea. We fish with gladness
that the Lord has chosen us for this task, but we are burdened with sadness for those
who we call but do not come.How tolerant should we be? Very tolerant, for there are
very few who come through the gate of the Kingdom.
Jesus as head of the church
There is another side to Jesus. The Jesus who is the head of the church. And in this role
he rules with a rod of iron over those who know the truth or should know the truth. For
narrow is the path to the Kingdom and not all who call themselves Christian, and say
"Lord, Lord" will enter Heaven.
To those who do profess "Lord, Lord" and are in church, we show love but also reprimand
and discipline. We are our brother’s keeper, helping each receive his full share of their
inheritance. We must shed light on those who still walk in darkness, sitting each week in
the pews. We must ask each to examine himself to see if he truly be in Christ Jesus.
Then our hands will be clean for we have done the Father’s will. As Dr. Charles Stanley
says, "Obey God and leave all the consequences to Him."
I am overwhelmed by His mercies on my life. I cry in thanksgiving. I preach the love of
God to all. Gay, straight, killer, robber, the immoral, banker, housewife, it makes no
difference – all are broken and deserve to know the love of God and have a chance at
redemption. My Lord, My God, may His holy name be forever praised.
The Love of God
How is the Love of God related to the will of God? That was the question asked this past
Sunday. We know that fear hinders our walk with God and that His perfect love casts out
all fear. We must choose our master, faith or fear. Our walk with the Lord is built on
faith. Faith expressing itself in love. Faith is the sole fuel of the gospel. Faith fixes what is
broken. We stake our life on faith. It is through faith that we get a hold of God and all
that He has promised to those called to him by faith.
Take confidence brothers that His will is done when by faith we have a radical obedience
to his every command. It is the natural man that hears the voice of reasoning
and hesitates when the mind is overcome with fear. The natural man hears the voice of
doubt and is resistant to the incoming voice of God. However, it is the man of God
who takes a leap of faith to jump over the reasoning of his own voice, even onto public ridicule.
Why? Because it his love of God that rules out his own sensibilities and voice of reason.
We must learn to hush the voice of doubt and through faith abide in the love and thus the will of God.
We’ve been delving into understanding God’s will the past few weeks. However, as we go
deeper we realize the largest impediment to God’s will in the body of Christ is self-will.
This is a form of godliness that affects most churches and is called self-willed
Christianity. We want to serve God according to our schedule, desires and priorities. We
are righteous according to our standards and what we feel is an appropriate relationship
with God. We dictate how we will serve, how much time to invest in church activities or
not, where and when God fits into our lives.
The biggest sin today in the body of Christ is this self-willed form of godliness which is an
abomination to the Lord.
What in essence we are doing is fighting God’s will and rejecting God. As a consequence
we inconsistently or rarely receive the fullness of his riches in Christ Jesus. We don’t get
the victories, our relationships suffer, we get depressed, we don’t feel the joy but we
keep going to church as medication to cover up the empty holes in the soul.
The good news or gospel of Jesus Christ is not about an event but about man’s access to
a covenant relationship (marriage) with God. It is abundantly clear in the Scriptures that
the relationship we have access to and what is God’s desire and will, is a relationship that
is sanctified or set apart. Holy, sacred, consecrated and dedicated are other words which
describe the same covenant relationship.
"I am your God and you are my people." The Lord wants a sacred or set apart
relationship with those called to Him. He wants His people to "come out of the world" to
be set apart for His glory and purposes.
However, most believers don’t want to be "used for God’s purposes." They want to use
God to bless their own plans, efforts, dreams, relationships, choices and priorities.
I’m sorry but that’s not how God’s will operates. And thus we find ourselves out of God’s
will, less than conquerors and rarely achieving the fullness of the Spirit of God which is
the reward and richness of revelation that awaits all born-again believers.
Most believers are trying not to be separated from the world, they fight sanctification. Yet
that is exactly God’s will - that all called are to be set apart for His purposes and
priorities. So in Men’s Ministry when we continually say each brother must examine
himself to see whether he be in Christ Jesus, it is because we realize the strength of self will
and this roadblock to living in the glory, richness and power of the Spirit of God.
God does not want lukewarm believers. The blood of Jesus was not shed to redeem or
purchase the souls of lukewarm saints. So great a price was paid so that your lives would
belong to Him, to be used for His purposes.
There are no lukewarm, self-willed, backsliding believers in Heaven. All bow down and
yield to the Lord. And if we believe the Kingdom of Heaven is here on earth, though a
mustard seed but evidenced by the presence of the Holy Spirit, awaiting the return of the
King, then we can only conclude self-willed believers cannot receive the full blessings of
God (Jeremiah, Joshua, Revelation).
We are no better off than people who are not set apart – and statistics bear that out.
Studies show about 80% of people who go to church live no differently than people who
don’t go to church or don’t believe in Jesus. In other words the only difference with many
believers and the world is that we go to church and they don’t.
Being sanctified or set apart brings peace, the blessings and promises of God. This is
God’s will that all those called are set apart, devoted, and serve according to His will.
This is the living sacrifice that must be made – putting our self-will on the altar and
allowing the Spirit of God to consume it until it is broken and no longer in control. That is
the challenge men. Will you continue to fight God’s will or will you become sanctified and
set apart by the grace of God to be used for His purposes?
This is the call for repentance. God’s own people are not interested in sanctification. We
don’t want to know or abide in God’s will if it means giving up control of our lives,
changing our routines, priorities, friends, jobs and comfort zones. However, God will not
be mocked. Thus saith the Lord to all Christians, repent for the Kingdom of God is here.
The real Jesus is not popular once the Scriptures are fully understood. Jesus came to
perform surgery on your soul. To remove the cancerous self-will and ego of man from
which all perversions, inequities and rebellion to God arise. And to replace it (your will)
with the will of God through the impartation of the Holy Spirit in each born again
But even with the Holy Spirit the ego dies slowly and thus self-willed Christianity must be
broken through continual self-examination, prayer and supplications. This is how we
grow in spiritual maturity if we be in Christ Jesus. As self-will is decreased, the Holy Spirit
increases. More revelations come from God, we get more intimate, we experience more
of the supernatural power of the Lord, we get to feel his presence (Shechinah - glory of
God), we start to experience the emotion of "falling in love" with the Lord as our soul
fuses with His Spirit.
We hear His voice more clearly and understand His will and purpose for our lives and
then live and act according to that purpose. It is when we finally are hearing,
understanding, living and acting to the specific call on our lives that we experience the
full richness and favor or blessings of God.
Examine yourselves to see if ye be in Christ Jesus or not. Ask God to forgive your
rebellion and self-righteousness. Pray for His will to be done, not your will. Repent and
turn to God. If you are not a vessel of salvation to the world, then you are not fulfilling
His will that you be a light unto the world. Repent and let the grace of God set you apart,
sanctify you and make you holy for He is Holy.
If we don’t have the faith to come out of the world and be sanctified how will God spare
us? What fruit do we produce for the Kingdom? We are dead branches on the vine. We
deceive ourselves with our self-righteousness, charity and works. Blessed are the meek
(humble, broken, completely yielded to the Lord) for theirs is the Kingdom – not the self-willed.
Will you do that today? Will you repent and ask the Lord to consume you wholly and
completely, to set you apart, so that His will and not your will be done. Praise God.
Thus saith the Lord
As we approach Christmas day we had a good reminder by Pastor Tyler, to the kids at
AWANA last Friday, to not forget whose birthday we celebrate and to give Him a gift on
Christmas. And on that morning the greatest and simplest gift to our Lord can be a gift
of praise and thanksgiving.
This reminder brought me to a phrase in scripture which has a lot of meaning and
reverence in my life; "Thus saith the Lord…" Thus saith the Lord precedes a declaration,
a proclamation, a commandment, a warning, a promise, a truth, a word of hope,
encouragement, or guidance. Thus saith the Lord, I am your God and you shall have
none other before me. Thus saith the Lord, I will always be with you. Thus saith the Lord,
love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul and strength. Thus saith the Lord endure
and I shall write my name on your forehead. Thus saith the Lord…
During this holiday season many people will be looking for a word from the Lord. They
may show up at church to hear the pastor, or more likely God will place them directly in
your path. Open your heart, mind, and soul in the next few days to be a vessel for the
Be ready to turn to your neighbor and with conviction say, "Thus saith the Lord…" Men
this is what we were called to do. May God bless each and every one of you and your
families this Christmas season.