In Suna-Migori ,Kenya, Living Sacrifice Ministries long-time Ministry Partner, and friend, the Congregation of God, under the leadership of Pastors Jared and Charles Siso, were blessed with an opportunity to bring Christian leaders and future leaders from the community together for a conference that blessed all and further glorified the Lord!
The church itself has had many struggles as we have reported them here and elsewhere, as death has hit the family twice in less than a year with their father going home to be with the Lord most recently. In a time when Kenya and the rest of East Africa are struggling with drought and famine, please lift these saints of God up in prayer.
If you feel led to partner with the Congregation of God in their efforts, you can contact Pastor Charles at email@example.com, or Pastor Jared at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Serving Him through Serving Others,
Reverend James M. Dakis, D. Min
Abraham, Authority, Belief, Bible, Biblical Principals, bishop, brother, Catholic Church, Christ, Christian, Christian Denominations, Christian education, Christian Living, Christianity, church, church leadership, Confussion, deacon, elder, faith, High Priest, Jesus, priest, reverend, title
When defined by Wikipedia, “A Christian denomination is an identifiable religious body with its own beliefs and practices within Christianity. Divisions… between one group and another are defined by doctrine and church authority. Issues such as the nature of Jesus, the authority of apostolic succession, eschatology, and papal primacy often separate one denomination from another.” Fair enough I thought, there must be what, a couple hundred or so, if you count even the divisions within the Lutheran church, Methodist Church, Baptist Church, and even count the Serbian, Greek, Russian and other Eastern Orthodox Churches separately. After all, with 1.2billion Roman Catholics in the world according to the same source, and many of the world’s people not even Christians, how many other denominations can there be, right? Are you ready for this…the “incomplete” list reports 41,000! How many did you guess? Were you even close?
Since this blog isn’t about the different denominations within Christianity, their differences, which ones I agree with or don’t disagree with, the only reason I point that out is to show that one thing we can see is that in all the differences there are, one thing is for sure, we don’t all call the people who lead our congregations by the same name or give them the same title. Now, duties are an totally different subject, and a thesis could be written on that. (I may consider that for graduate school). For today, though, let’s address the names/titles of the men and women who teach and preach to us from the pulpit. What do you call him/her? Why? Did you ever stop to think that it mattered, or what the origin of that name or title was?
I was raised in a Greek Orthodox family where the priest was called “Father—” followed by his given first name. We later attended an Episcopal church where again, we called the priest “Father—“, but this time it was his surname. In a military chapel I would have “Chaplain—“, later it would be “Brother—” or “Pastor—” (sometimes first, sometime last name). Was the man a priest, pastor, or minister? Did it matter? Did the church have elders or deacons who assisted in the running of the church? If so, what exactly did they do? If not, why did the last church but not this one? Who is my bishop? What do you mean this church doesn’t have one?
Does this sound more confusing than it should be? Well, it is only because, thanks to the beauty of man getting involved in complicating the things God put in place, it certainly is. It may be simpler to do what is best anyway, and look to Scripture, (wow! What a concept!) and see what names and titles are used to define and describe the clergy anointed by God, what their duties are or were, and if we have a call for them now. Also, we will see if we have, in our ingenious ways as humankind, bestowed titles on our clergy that are nothing more than secular.
First, the title of Priest-At first every man was his own priest, and presented his own sacrifices before God. Afterwards that office devolved on the head of the family, as in the cases of Noah (Gen 8:20), Abraham (Gen 12:7; Gen 13:4), Isaac (Gen 26:25), Jacob (Gen 31:54), and Job (Job 1:5). The name first occurs as applied to Melchizedek (Gen 14:18). Although Moses, himself was of the tribe of Levi, he was not called to be a priest himself, but the Levites were called to serve in this Holy order, and it was Aaron, Moses’ brother, who would serve as the first High Priest. One key thing that separates a priest from the other titles of clergy we will examine is that they represented the people before God, and offered the various sacrifices prescribed in the law. This means that the people are not able to communicate directly with God through prayer, or have God commune directly with them, but must have intercession through the priest. As we know from Scripture, we are not only allowed to pray, but instructed to do so.
1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 (KJV)
Pray without ceasing.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Matthew 6:5-7 (KJV)
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
The above mentions of prayer are only two which could not be done if a priest were needed to intercede on the behalf of the believer. Therefore, the duties of the priest, while very much a calling and anointing in the Old Testament, have changed. We are now all priests in the Christian church, so to speak, with Jesus as the High Priest
To assume the role, or give the title of priest in the same manner in which it was given in the Old Testament, whereby the member of the clergy is the sole individual with the ability to have communion with God, to forgive sins, to read or interpret Scripture, or to have special powers or authority almost deifies our clergy. Granted, all members of church leadership are called upon to be of a sense of character above reproach, to have knowledge of Scripture which allows us to answer questions, teach and preach truthfully and wisely, and to be able to give counsel when needed, but never should this be done in any way other than the most humble, as a servant of the Most High.
Elder– A word still used in churches today, but rarely in the context of the first century church, and elder, as explained in Paul’s epistles. Listed almost hand in hand with Bishops, the biggest difference is not duty, but seniority. Elders were to be the spiritual leaders of the church, with not all necessarily having the same spiritual gifts. For example. Elder John may be a wonderful Bible teacher, Elder Franklin may be an excellent expositor, Elder Stephen a caring counselor, and Elder Jim able to discern Scripture. Of these, due to the spiritual maturity, Elder Stephen may be elected Bishop over the church, or “Senior Elder”. It may even be that there are several churches in the church family, and now “Bishop Stephen” is Bishop over all of them. (I, for example, was elected Bishop over the churches of Grace & Truth Ministries last year).
Deacons-Anglicized form of the Greek word diaconos, meaning a “runner,” “messenger,” “servant.” For a long period a feeling of mutual jealousy had existed between the “Hebrews,” or Jews proper, who spoke the sacred language of Palestine, and the “Hellenists,” or Jews of the Grecian speech, who had adopted the Grecian language, and read the Septuagint version of the Bible instead of the Hebrew. This jealousy early appeared in the Christian community. It was alleged by the Hellenists that their widows were overlooked in the daily distribution of alms. In essence, they were responsible for many of the fiscal duties of the temple, and now the church. One way to compare or contrast the duties of a deacon with that of an elder would be to assume that a church was considering implementing a new Bible study program. The elders would be the ones to consider and pray about the spiritual content of the material. Is it Scripturally correct and accurate? Does it fit the doctrines of the church? Is there any deviation from the teachings of the church, or worse, any heresy in it? The deacons, on the other hand, are likely to be the ones to asses the financial feasibility of purchasing the new materials, how many copies can or must be purchased, and from what source.
Special directions as to the qualifications for and the duties of deacons will be found in Acts 6 and 1 Tim 3:8-12 From the analogy of the synagogue, and from the scanty notices in the New Testament, we may think of the deacons or “young men” at Jerusalem as preparing the rooms for meetings, distributing alms, maintaining order at the meetings, baptizing new converts, distributing the elements at the Lord’s Supper, although these are not always adhered to in all churches today.
So, what does this do to answer our questions about names and titles for all clergy today? Do you call the person who leads your worship “pastor”, “minister”, “Father”, “Brother”, or some other name? As you can see, none of these names are even mentioned as titles to be used in the new testament, and the use of them in any way is interesting at best in the Bible. The word “pastor”, which means to shepherd or lead in a protective or guiding manner, certainly would describe the duties of the lead clergy of the Christian church today, but never appears in the Bible as a noun or verb. The word “minister”, which can be a verb, when describing the act of performing an act of ministering to someone, or as a noun when defining the person, is found over eighty times in the Bible, but never as a title in the New Testament Church. An example of both is easily found in Exodus where we also see an Old Testament reference to elders, generally the older, wiser members of the congregation:Exodus 24:13-14 (KJV)
13 And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God.
14 And he said unto the elders, Tarry ye here for us, until we come again unto you: and, behold, Aaron and Hur are with you: if any man have any matters to do, let him come unto them. (Notice that this is a reference to “his minister”, not Joshua, with a title of “Minister”).
Exodus 28:1 (KJV)
1 And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons. (that he may minister unto me…the act of ministering to the leader. Note how it takes place to the leader of the people, including the priest).
We are all brothers and sisters in Christ. If your church uses “Brother Johnson” to a leader, and it is also the man who is charged with leading the church in worship weekly, don’t think that this author is saying that this is not scriptural. If you refer to him as “Reverend”, and someone says, “Nobody is reverend but God, Himself”, I am not going to say that is wrong for either of you. The truth is, my own business card says, “Reverend James M. Dakis Founder/Director Living Sacrifice Ministries” People call me everything from “Pastor Jim”, “Pastor Dakis”, “Bishop Jim”, “Reverend Dakis”, “Brother Jim”, and just plain, “Jim”. My only issue is when we start awarding titles and names to people which imply a position above that of other men, and a holy status which gives the indication that some kind of power or authority has been granted that God never intended.
After all, we may all be created in His image, but we are all sinners saved by His grace, and in that, we are all the same.
Bible, Biblical Principals, Christ, Christian, Christian Living, Christianity, Christianity in Crisis, church, Church Family, Doctrine, Education, faith, Feeding, God, Gospel, Grace, India, Jesus, Living Sacrifice Ministries, Love, Orphans, Prayer request, religion, supported missions, theology
Home for Orphan Children: I have been providing shelter, food & Education to 24 orphan children in our Orphan home since two years with little donations. Kindly help us in the name of Jesus Christ to our Orphan children.
Children home meets the spiritual, physical, emotional, & mental needs of homeless and abused children in Guntur district.
We are suffering a lot to feed Orphan Children in our children Home. We need your special Prayers and support.
I am spreading Gospel to people in villages and conducting prayers in their villages regularly. Kindly bless our children in the name of our Lord Almighty and sponsor to these beautiful kids.
I humbly beseech you my dear generous brother have a heart for this letter of mine and please drop a line of communication by e-mail.
Thank you so much.
Your beloved brother in His Ministry,
Andhra Pradesh, India.
PH:91 9440282960 email@example.com
Africa, Bible, Christ, Christian, Christian Living, Christianity, Christianity in Crisis, church, Church Family, Doctrine, faith, God, Grace, Jesus, Kenya, Living Sacrifice Ministries, Prayer request, Rejoice, Sacrifice, supported missions, theology
Located in Busia, Kenya, almost at the border of Uganda, Gospel Light Evangelical Mission has the daunting task of bringing the Word of God to a population that not only if filled with a number of indigenous tribal religions, and about 11% Islams, but also over 60 spoken languages in addition to the officially recognized national tongues of English and Swahili. Many of these are spoken so regionally that to even go from one county to another may pose a challenge in communication.
A country that just over fifty years ago was under the rule of a foreign government for almost a century, they have been stricken with internal conflict ever since. Even today they face challenges from pirates and terrorists who would challenge their sovereignty.
Coupled with the constant battle of drought and monsoon (one will stop just in time for the other to start), there are constant challenges for farmers to keep the people fed.
It is no wonder people of faith have a need to have strong leadership, and why the challenges of the leaders of Gospel Light Evangelical Mission in meeting the needs of the unchurched are that much greater in a nation where doubt and fear run deep.
Pastor Davis Juma Ochieno, and the faithful leaders with whom he works have done remarkable things to bring the Gospel message to all who wish to hear in their little corner of Kenya. If you wish to stand with them in partnership, or learn more about the work they are doing, please feel free to contact Pastor Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Serving Him through Serving Others,
New well being dug.
Africa, Bible, Christ, Christian, Christian Living, Christianity in Crisis, church, Church Family, Education, Exodus Ministries International, faith, Flood, God, Gospel, Grace, Jesus, Living Sacrifice Ministries, Love, ministry, Prayer request, religion, supported missions, Tanzania, theology
In a small town in England in about 1680, perhaps as late as 1690, nobody is sure about the exact year, lived a man known simply as Mr. Luther. Luther was his first name, and it was estimated that he was no younger than 90 years old. In fact, nobody in town could recall a time when he did not live there. Anyone over the age of twenty, however, remembered that the only day he ever broke from his daily routine was twenty years ago when his wife was called home by the Lord. Even then, he kept to himself for only two days before returning to his daily duties.
Luther had been the caretaker of St. Catherine’s Church, the large church in the center of town, for as long as anyone could remember. Not an educated man, but a godly man, he had a routine that never deviated from one day to the next. Morning started at 4:30 a.m. when his eyes automatically opened. His first duty was to hit his knees in prayer, open his Bible and read for about thirty minutes, then tend to his small brood of chickens he kept.
By 5:45 he was dressed and walking out the door, waving to neighbors as he headed into town. A stop at George’s pastry and candy shop for morning coffee and an exchange of news always worked its way into a game or two of backgammon, but with a schedule to keep, Luther headed off. Passing by Three Brothers Watch and Clock Shoppe, he would always pull out his pocket watch and check it against the beautiful grandfather clock in the front window. Steve, the middle brother, had once told him that it had been made by William Clement, credited with inventing the grandfather clock. The time was so precise it was a work of art and science all in one piece.
Pacing himself so as not to tire himself, but also so that he would reach the church on time, Luther would get to the church in time to speak with Rev. Theodore about the day’s duties and see if anything special needed doing. The morning would then go on until the most important part of the day. At 11:45 a.m. work would have to stop, no matter what Luther was doing.
Climbing the bell tower, Luther would take out his watch and stare intently at the minute and even the second hand. Then, at exactly the stroke of 12:00 noon, he would begin what would be the most important part of his day. 1,2,3,4,5 tolls.6,7,8,9,10,11,12. Timed perfectly so that everyone in town new that it was noon. It was the only way people for miles would know to set their clocks. Homes, businesses, farms, schools, everyone relied on Luther, although he saw this as just a minor part of his day.
This had gone on for yeas, and then one day, as he was carrying out his morning walk to the church, he walked by Three Brothers Watch and Clock Shoppe and noticed that the grandfather clock was missing! Stopping inside to see where it was, he was greeted by Chris, the youngest brother. “Where is the beautiful grandfather clock that use to sit in your front window? It kept such perfect time, and I always loved looking at it when I walked by?!”
“Oh the grandfather clock that was up front?” Christ asked, “I know the one, my wife Michelle has been admiring it for so many years that I gave it to her for her birthday. Besides, the only reason it kept such good time is because we always checked it against the church bells at noon every day. To tell you the truth, I think it ran a little slow”.
This is not a story about a grandfather clock or an old man who worked in a church. In fact, I first heard this story over forty years ago. (I have added the names and some details to make it more interesting), but the point is about much more than a man and a bell tower.
Luther, admired by the community for his loyalty to the church, was visible in his service apparently in a number of ways. We probably all know someone like that in our own church community. I can think of a few off the top of my head from every church I ever attended in my half century of living. I am pleased to say that one of them was my own Papou, which for you non-Greek speakers, means “Grandfather”. However, what about the brothers who owned the clock shop? They may not have known that they played any part at all in the smooth running of the church, or the lives of the townspeople at large. What about the people of the congregation who came to church on Sunday to hear Rev. Theodore’s message? Keeping in mind that the community is full of people who all interact with each other, some while at church, (for those who attend), and also outside in the social and business community, every part of this body depends on every other part. This can lead to positive or negative impact, depending on the health of each part.Romans 12:3-5 (KJV)
3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
When you have a headache, do you walk more slowly, even though your feet and legs are find? When your back hurts, do you limp, even though your knees are healthy? If you lose sleep, do you have trouble with mental functions? Romans 12:-5 tells us, Romans 12:3-5
For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
In remembering this, we can all remember that we all have distinct duties in God’s kingdom, some of which are described further as some of the Spiritual Gifts listed in the same chapter, but, as Paul reminds us, none are any better or superior to others.
Serving Him through Serving Others,
The following is the sermon outline from Rev. Bushebi’s message this Sunday. Located in Bungoma, Kenya. More about their ministry can be found on their web site at http://gbfchurchministries.webs.com/. As long time Ministry Partners with Living Sacrifice Ministries, they are also featured on our web page under our Ministry Partner tab if you go to http://livingsacrificeministries121.webs.com/.
Ephesians 6:12 says, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but rather against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of the age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
(1 Pet. 5:8), and his evil spiritual forces which he dispatches and assigns to perpetrate his wickedness throughout the world.
1. AUTHORITY — Every believer has the right to use the authority of Jesus’ name to bind and by His blood take authority over Satan’s activities. (Mark 3:27).(Mark 16:17).
2. INTERCESSION — Come together with other believers to pray and intercede against strongholds until you get results. (Matthew 17:19,21).
3. DISPLACEMENT — Establish the presence of God. (2 Corinthians 6:14).
4. RESISTANCE — Submit yourselves and draw close to God. (James 4:7).
5. OCCUPATION — Give no place or vacancy to the Devil. (Eph. 4:27).
6. FORTIFICATION — Clothe yourself with God’s armor. (Eph. 6:13-17)(Ephesians 6:11).
PLEASE CONTINUE PRAYING FOR US!
1. Bibles for new Believers and Bibles Class 2. Orphans & Street children 3. Medical Centre 4.Ministry Sustenance 5. Diploma School Training 6. Rural Church construction program.
Thank you so much for your continued prayers for Ministry and Africa.
We love you and our prayers continue for you daily, looking forward for greater things!!!
Brother Bushebi and Ministries.
By Dr. Charles Stanley
How does the Holy Spirit guide us? How much does He control our actions? Does He still speak to believers, or was personal communication only for Biblical times?
God does not want us to be confused about this vital area. In talking to His disciples about the Holy Spirit, Jesus said, “When He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come” (John 16:13, emphasis added).
Let’s consider four key truths about the leadership of the Holy Spirit:
1. The Holy Spirit will guide us.
Jesus doesn’t promise that the Holy Spirit will control us. He says He will guide us.
Granted, there are times when I wish the Holy Spirit would control me. For instance, when I am tempted. Or when I become so task oriented that I become insensitive. Or when it’s a beautiful Saturday afternoon and I need to study, but everything in me wants to grab my camera and head for the mountains. Life would be much easier if the Holy Spirit would take control of me.
But He is our guide, not our controller. We never lose our ability to choose to follow His leading. As a result, we are always responsible for our words and actions.
2. The Holy Spirit is a trustworthy guide.
The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, helps believers discern between what is true and what is not; what is wise and what is foolish; what is best and what is simply OK. Each day is full of decisions. Most of our decisions concern issues not clearly spelled out in the Scriptures, for example, where to attend school, whether to hire a particular applicant, how much to budget for vacation, on and on it goes.
As you are inundated with the details of everyday living, the Holy Spirit will guide you. He will give you that extra on-the-spot sense of discernment you need to make both big and small decisions. As you develop a greater sensitivity to His guidance, you will worry much less about the decisions you make. Why? Because the Holy Spirit is a trustworthy guide.
3. The Holy Spirit is God’s mouthpiece to believers.
The Holy Spirit does not speak on His own. Like Christ, this member of the Trinity has willingly submitted to the authority of the Father. Everything He communicates to us is directly from the Father: “He will not speak on His own initiative” (John 16:13).
Our heavenly Father has chosen to communicate to His children through the Holy Spirit (Acts 11:12). He is God’s mouthpiece to believers. When the Father chooses to speak directly to you, it will be through the Holy Spirit.
When you think about it, this really makes perfect sense. After all, where does the Holy Spirit reside? In you! And in me! Therefore, He is the perfect candidate for communicating God’s will to Christians. Living inside us, He has direct access to our minds, emotions, and consciences.
4. The Holy Spirit speaks.
The question of whether God still speaks today is one that has spawned numerous books, articles, and lectures. It is not my purpose to present a tightly woven argument about why I believe He still speaks today. Suffice it to say, I do believe God, through the Holy Spirit, communicates directly with believers. No, I don’t write these revelations in the back of my Bible and call them inspired. Neither do I run around telling everybody what “God told me.”
My experience is that the Holy Spirit, at the prompting of the heavenly Father, still communicates with believers today. How does He do that? The Holy Spirit indwells me. He doesn’t need my ears. What He needs is a listening heart and a renewed mind.
The book of Acts records several occasions when the Holy Spirit spoke to Paul and Peter (11:12; 13:2; 16:6; 20:23). It can’t be denied that those men had a special gift and call on their lives. But the same Holy Spirit who indwelt those men indwells every believer. Just as they needed divine direction at critical times in their lives, we need it today.
In his letters to the Christians in Rome and Galatia, the Apostle Paul refers to believers as “led by the Spirit” (Rom. 8:14; Gal. 5:18). If we are going to be led by the Holy Spirit, we can only assume that He is willing (and able) to communicate with us.
How does God communicate with us today? The Lord speaks through the voice of His Spirit, who resides within us. We may have to seek His face for a season; other times, we can sense His direction immediately. No matter what, the Holy Spirit is a trustworthy guide.
Adapted from “The Wonderful Spirit-Filled Life,” by Charles F. Stanley, 1992.