Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Week in Review

Are you a Coat Maker? (part 2)

South Suburban Church of God
May 17, 2009

Destiny-Determining Coat Maker -

1 Samuel 17:38-40

And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail. And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him. And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.

We have here the story of David slaying Goliath. The warriors went for 40 days to the battle, took their places but as soon as Goliath came out, they ran and hid. Then we have David, this small shepherd boy stepping on the scene. He is outraged at the idea that Goliath would defy the army of God and says he will go to slay the giant. The king agrees and now we have the king placing his coat of armor upon David. David cannot use this because it was not made for him; it was made for someone else. David decides to take it off because it is weighing him down and decides to uses the giant slaying tools that he has, his stones and slingshot.

There are a few things we need to see in this interaction. We have the trained men that when faced with a Goliath of a problem, ran. Yet, here comes this small shepherd boy to take their places. I can see what the king must have seen. In one corner we have David, shepherd boy, not must battle training accept against a lion and a bear, weighting in at about a buck and a quarter soaking wet. In the other corner a giant over nine feet tall, covered in bronze armor weighing about 125 pounds and a spear weighting 15 pounds. The giant’s armor alone probably weighted more than David did. Do you know what the king must have thought? This boy cannot win. So, then why let him go to battle in the first place? Why give him this Goliath of a situation if you think he cannot win it? The reason is simple, because no one else wanted to do it.

Isn’t that true today? Sometimes individuals end up with Goliath assignments because those that have been trained to do it, end up running from the task when it gets too big. Oh they come, line up for 4 weeks, 4 months or 40 years but as soon as the situation is bigger than them, they run and hid waiting for someone else to take the task. So the king made the decision to give David his armor. He is the authority and he decides that David cannot win this battle without his armor. When he does this he can also take some of the credit if David wins. He could easily say, “If it were not for my armor he would not have won”. Or even if David had lost, he still could say, “I tried to protect him”. But the question is, why wasn’t the king wearing his own armor?

What then does this tell us today? God does not need us as to be ‘Destiny-Determining coat makers”. He does not need you or I becoming the king, the authority on what someone needs to win the battle. He does not need us so busy standing on the side lines because of Goliath situations and waiting for someone else to show up so we can give them the job we were trained to do. If we are busy trying to take off our armor that we should be wearing and give it to someone else, what is protecting us? When we do this we are doing two things wrong. First we are not covered and we become vulnerable ourselves. Secondly we burden someone else by trying to make him or her win battles our way, with our tools.

As a right kind of coat maker one that creates garments to help others, we are not asked to be a “king” or “authority” on what someone else needs to win the battles or to determine what others are to be and we are surely not told to make them into duplicates of ourselves. In fact, all we are to do is provide for them so that they can grow and become more of what God desires for them to be. Doing anything else and we are trying to either give them our responsibilities or we are burdening them to do things our way. Instead we must be like the king in the 2 Chronicles 26:14 were it reads, “Uzziah provided shields, spears, helmets, coats of armor, bows and slingstones for the entire army.” In this scripture Uzziah is said to be a wise military man. He knew in order for his army to be equipped for battle each of them needed to have their own tools. He did not choose to give one only a helmet and another only a shield. He gave each one complete armor so that they would have what they needed to use in battle.

As coat makers we are required to present each person with the tools they need and not our hand me downs, which are ill fitted at best and most assuredly burdensome and discouraging. God is the author and finisher of our faith, we do not get to write someone else script. God does not need destiny-determining coat makers. He needs discerning, coat makers that provide all the necessary battle tools for the army of God to be successful in battle. Come back next week so we can look at the right ways of making a coat.

The Week in Review

Cultural Trends

Written April 11, 2006 (posted 9/28/09)

Joseph M. Stowell, the author of Shepherding the Church, speaks to the changing culture and how it influences individual’s acceptance of God’s truth. Some of the influences are not always obvious, but they are in television, music, and magazines to name a few. The influence of television will be examined to determine how it changes individuals understanding of truth.

Carl Jeffrey Wright, the author of God’s Vision or Television states “We get more information from television than virtually every other media source. According to the Wall Street Journal, most people watch an average of 20 hours of television a week compared to time spent reading newspapers, magazines, or books, which averages about 2-3 hours per week. Time spent in church, prayer, or Bible reading doesn’t even compare since most people spend approximately 3 hours or less there as well” (8).

The belief that there are no absolutes is one of the messages passed through television. The newest craze of “reality shows” focuses on individual lifestyles and portrays them as successful and enlightened because of their choices. These shows, and others like them, support the belief that everything is relative to what you want and what is best for you. They also show that there are no absolute right or wrong ways of doing things or making choices. Following a set of rules or guidelines of correct behavior is considered weak. Stowell states, “We now must proclaim that there are absolutes in a world where relativism rules. It is our task to call people to something beyond themselves in a day when self-fulfillment has been elevated as the ultimate god. We must be willing to stand unintimidated for biblical correctness when it crosses swords with political correctness” (17).

A life of sexual purity is another message the television distorts and makes difficult for truth to be accepted regarding it. “In the world of television, love also triumphs. The Love Boat, The Newlywed Game, The Bachelor, and Ordinary Joe all take the love of men and women to absurd extremes. These shows exploit both the viewers’ and the participant’s obsession for ‘love’. However, much of the ‘love’ on television is really just about sex” (Wright, 29). Individuals have trouble understanding why sex outside of marriage is not acceptable. The messages brought forth are that sex or love is wonderful and expressing it is only natural. The minister, preacher or pastor that speaks out against fornication or adultery are sometimes looked at as being “outdated” because their messages does not fit the lifestyle of the people. This is a difficult situation, since this belief has made it into the church and into the hearts of some of its members. The images and messages of what happiness looks like in regards to sexual relations has caused some pastors to lose their place and standing in the church. They have not been able to withstand the pull of television, movies or other sexual material, thus causing them to move into sexual sins. “Purity is increasingly important in contrast to our culture’s disinterest in the theme…In our culture someone needs to stick up for purity. Spiritual leaders need to lead the charge” (Stowell, 228-229).

Work Cited

MacArthur, John, et. al. Pastoral Ministry: How to Shepherd Biblically. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2005.

Stowell, Joseph M. Shepherding the Church. Chicago, IL: Moody Press. 1997.

Wright, Carl Jeffrey. God’s Vision or Television? Chicago, IL: Urban Ministries, Inc., 2004.