Sister to Sister: Oh Shepherd, Where Art Thou?

Headed-to-the-OfficeWhere? Where were the brave men in the church in Memphis, Tennessee who should have stood up and said, “We cannot bypass the expressed Will of God in First Timothy 2 by sanctioning the leadership of women in prayer and song in our worship? We simply cannot allow this to happen.”

Where were elders in Franklin, Tennessee during the years of digression that culminated in the hiring of the first woman pulpit intern at that church? Were there some who fought, at least for a time?

Where are elders in churches where groups of worshippers are clamoring for change; advocating the use of instruments in worship, the taking of communion on various days of the week, and  special religious observances on Easter and Christmas? Where are the shepherds?

Where are the bishops today when young couples are finding their way to divorce courts, young singles among us are openly living in fornication, and millennials are falling away in percentages that are taking our breath away? Are they going after them?

Some are. But in far too many churches, shepherds are not keeping the vigil. False teachers are allowed to bring heresy in and leaders allow Christians to scratch their heads and observe “Well, this is different than anything I’ve heard,” without coming before the people and refuting plain contradictions of the Word. So often, they fail to mark those who are causing division and, thus, churches divide and the Cause of Jesus suffers as communities see brethren who are splintering churches.

But, Cindy Colley, are you just ranting? This is a women’s blog and the sisters to whom you write cannot lead churches (except those churches you’re taking about which digress)!

There is something you can do. I would LOVE, through this blog to make a difference in the future of a congregation. What if we could do it through a book? I think we can. I want to encourage you to take a copy of “Headed to the Office” to your elders and respectfully ask them to let your boys take a quarter and study how to become faithful elders. What if you wrote your elders a note that  simply asked them to consider it?…

Dear Brothers,

Thanks for all the time spent in working to make our congregation pleasing to God. Thanks for protecting our souls. I hope you can take the time to look over this material. I’m praying for sound elders one day to take your places in shepherding this church. I think a quarter or two in a class of young men with this material could make a difference in getting there. Thanks for considering this! 

If your congregation is doing Lads to Leaders, your boys can enroll in the program through LADS. The material is here: http://l2l.mybigcommerce.com/curriculum/. But even if you’re not in the LADS program, this study is needed and may be the early intervention that gives your congregation the stamina to one day withstand the devil in a mighty way. I would encourage you to go order one copy…just one…to pass along to your elders. I’m convinced it’s a tiny investment that could keep congregations strong through what threatens to be an era of persecution.

Again, you can order from Lads to Leaders (not necessary to be a participating congregation) at the above link or, alternately, you can order from The Colley House at http://thecolleyhouse.org/store#!/~/category/id=3290179&offset=0&sort=normal. Nine dollars. Not much to invest in strong shepherds for the next generation in your congregation.

PS. An added benefit that we have seen is that men grow when they teach this material to boys. Some classes even include dads and mentors and it puts the church on a fast track to having strong qualified elders. I’m praying about this tool today. I’m praying for strong churches when today’s teens take the reins. They have huge potential handed to them by God and by an environment of available resources. We should challenge them to put  this potential to work in the only institution on earth that commutes over to the timeless side.

 

Questions and Answers: Should we say we are raising church leaders? Is that arrogant?

I have a question for you… Do you think it is arrogant for me to say that we are raising our son to be a possible elder one day? I’ve gone on to say that I think every parent should raise their daughters to be future elders’ wives and their sons to be elders. Not that they will all do that, but knowing the grave responsibility that is involved and the huge mistakes that can be made that can cost that possibility, I just thought as parents it might help us to make better decisions for our kids if we kept that in the forefront of our minds. Love you!

That is every parent’s responsibility, if he/she has boys…to raise them with the Titus 1, I Timothy 3 qualifications. Which of these qualifications is not expected of every Christian man? The answer: only the ones about marriage and kids. Thus, we should be raising our boys to be elders if they marry and have kids.  Let me say it again:  If you want your kids to marry one day and have kids, you want them to be qualified to be elders or wives of elders. Hello?!! Saying this is my desire as a parent seems very natural. It is simply confessing the truth…that as parents we are committed to the Christ. It’s one more way we confess Him before the world. What is arrogant about that? It’s a hallmark of submission; not arrogance.

"I guess I’ll just go to _____________."

Somehow I don’t think they said it in the first century. I don’t think when Peter and the other elders in the Jerusalem church approached a member about blatant sin in his life that the erring member responded, “Well, don’t worry about me anymore. I won’t be back at Jerusalem. I’m just going to place my membership at North Jerusalem.” I don’t think they had a North Jerusalem church in that particular metro area. But we have them today in big towns, little towns and all-in-between-towns. You know, it’s the church over there where you can go even if you are in an unscriptural marriage and nobody will ask any questions. Your attendance patterns don’t have to be so systematic; in fact they can be rather sporadic, and no one will visit your home to encourage or help keep you accountable. There’s usually a big crowd over there and it’s easy to get lost in it. If you’ve had a falling out with your current elders, go to North Jerusalem. Over there they just don’t get involved in those kinds of issues. In fact, if it’s complicated in any way, the elders at North Jerusalem just like to “avoid those sorts of discussions.” They simply had rather “let God sort all that out in the judgment day.” The sad fact is that, so many times, when people become caught up in doctrinal error, sins of immorality or lukewarm Christianity, they see North Jerusalem, the more “grace-based” church as an easy out. When people don’t want to be confronted by faithful elders who are serious about the shepherding business for which they will be held accountable (Heb.13:17), it’s just so easy to pack up the sin and take it over to the that other flock; where the shepherds are not so worried about the sheep, the entrance of the wolves or the return of the Good Shepherd in the final day. Ahh, but the final day…that’s what’s so uncomfortable about this church-hopping scenario we have created in the Bible belt. You see, so many times when Jan decides to divorce her husband and marry her co-worker, she may find it very “convenient” to start looking around for a church that will sort of look the other way; a place that has kind of gotten a reputation for peace at any price; a place where elders make decisions about money, buildings, programs, and preachers, but not so much about disciplining souls or the purity of the church. So, the first thing you know, when faithful elders sit down to meet with Jan, she just says it “I guess I’ll just go to ____________________.” Trouble is, the statement “I guess I’ll just go to ______________ ,” often has implications that transcend congregational choices and reach all the way to the final day. Often “I guess I’ll just go to ___________________,” really means “I guess I’ll just go to hell.” It means I know I am sinning, but I do not want to be bothered or approached about repenting. It means I want to be given an anesthetic that will make me stop feeling pain when I sin. It means I want to knowingly place myself outside the protection of those who care enough to intercede on my behalf and under the jurisdiction of those who are willing to watch as I am hurled into an eternity to meet the Judge of all the earth who will certainly ascertain or “sort out” truth exactly as he has revealed it. Sort of makes you a little confused now about which church really is “grace-based” doesn’t it? Grace means caring enough to do difficult things. Grace means rescuing those in danger and protecting the weak. Grace involves a willingness to get out of my comfort zone to save somebody else. All of that happened at Calvary. And all of that happens when godly elders lead faithful churches to practice discipline as prescribed in II Thessalonians 3:6 and I Corinthians 5. As for me, I want a REAL grace-based church. I guess I’ll just stay at _______________; happy that there are those who will come to get me if I walk away; secure that there are godly shepherds who will fight wolves for my soul. Because, in the final day, I want the word “heaven” in the blank.

Son, Read the Bible and Then Read This

I’m very excited to tell you about a brand new book that I believe can make a big and positive difference for the future of the church. Granted, I’m very close to the author and possible biases could be enhancing the way I view this book. But I don’t think so. I’m just one mom who has raised two kids in an era in which there has been a dearth of leadership in many congregations of the body. Often the biblically unqualified have been appointed to lead congregations. Many times, elders have failed to lead in important moral and doctrinal areas and many have abandoned the New Testament pattern for church discipline altogether. But, for my future grandchildren, I am counting on the boys of today stepping to the plate as men and rescuing their local congregations from this leadership crisis. I’ve read this book and I have seen no better tool for building the kinds of elderships that we so desperately need. While not every boy who studies this book will become an elder, it’s my opinion that all who study with interest will be better leaders, better husbands, better dads and better brothers in Him. How can our churches fail to immensely benefit from this study? Here’s an excerpt from chapter three. The chapter is entitled “He’s a Terrific Husband.” This is just a sample of what you will find. The best part, in my judgment, is the section in each chapter which facilitates discussion. The next best part is the section at the end of the book that gives our boys practical projects that will enable them to develop the character needed to lead God’s body today. Now, for the quote:

Live morally so you will be the best kind of husband.

There are advantages to saving yourself sexually for only one woman. First, it is unfair to come to the marriage bed with experience from other women with whom you will compare your wife. This problem will continue to increase with the number of sexual experiences a young man had prior to marriage, so even if you no longer can be a virgin when you marry, you should repent of your past fornication and become morally pure now to limit the damage (1 Corinthians 6:18). Second, the most intimate physical act between a man and woman can be kept very special and can be shared by you and your wife only. A man who has various sexual partners will never know the same intimacy as a man who, throughout his lifetime, has only one. And third, if you save yourself for your wife, you won’t have to live with the guilt or with the fear that she will ask you personal questions about this later.
You must avoid pornography altogether. Consider that “husband of one wife” can mean more than just the fact that you are not married to two women. It can also mean that you keep your heart and eyes for only one. The fulfillment of your sexuality is reserved for your wife only (1 Corinthians 7:1-6). Pornography for a man is as addictive as any drug I’ve ever seen. It is a magnet to his eyes and will thrill him and destroy him at the same time. It will fascinate and then assassinate. It is a sin. Here’s what Jesus said, “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28).
Pornography is like a drug in these ways:

1. It loses potency over time.The drug that gives a man a “high” today will eventually become ineffective and it will take different and stronger drugs to achieve the same high. So it is with pornography. More subtle porn sends electricity through a guy’s brain, but it won’t take too much time before he will crave harder, more deviant porn.

2. It is addictive. A man can’t easily say, “Life isn’t as good when I’m taking these drugs so I believe I’ll just not use them anymore.” Why is that so hard? Because drugs are addictive. So is porn. I’ve known many men who simply hated the day they first started looking at naked women on line or in magazines. But stopping is difficult. Strong, grown, Christian men have to have help to quit this addictive habit. Pornography affects the way a boy or man thinks.

3. It will destroy everything that really matters in your life.Illegal drugs affect your brain. People mean less and less to you, until you sacrifice old and good relationships—even with family—because of the effects of your drug use. So it is with porn. In Christian homes it shocks, hurts, and worries parents who discover their son’s use. In marriage, the foundation, which is trust, is rocked to the core and sometimes destroyed. It just isn’t in a normal wife’s psyche to tolerate a husband who looks at her and looks at other women at the same time.

You may never have viewed pornography, but you probably will encounter it at some point. You don’t have to go looking for it. It will come looking for you.

You may already be secretly viewing pornography online. You must ask God to forgive you and stop doing it immediately. If you go back to it after repenting, find a respected Christian man you can talk to about the sin. Ask him to question you every time he sees you, “Are you still clean from the sin of pornography?” to hold you accountable. Breaking this sinful habit may be harder than you think, but you can do it! Read slowly and deliberately the words of Solomon:

My son, keep your father’s command,
      And do not forsake the law of your mother.
      Bind them continually upon your heart;
      Tie them around your neck.
       When you roam, they will lead you;
      When you sleep, they will keep you;
      And when you awake, they will speak with you.
      For the commandment is a lamp,
      And the law a light;
      Reproofs of instruction are the way of life,
      To keep you from the evil woman,
      From the flattering tongue of a seductress.
      Do not lust after her beauty in your heart,
      Nor let her allure you with her eyelids.
      For by means of a harlot
      A man is reduced to a crust of bread;
      And an adulteress will prey upon his precious life.
      Can a man take fire to his bosom,
      And his clothes not be burned?
      Can one walk on hot coals,
      And his feet not be seared?
     So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife;
      Whoever touches her shall not be innocent.
      People do not despise a thief
      If he steals to satisfy himself when he is starving.
      Yet when he is found, he must restore sevenfold;
      He may have to give up all the substance of his house.
      Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding;
      He who does so destroys his own soul.
      Wounds and dishonor he will get,
      And his reproach will not be wiped away.
      For jealousy is a husband’s fury;
      Therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance.
      He will accept no recompense,
      Nor will he be appeased though you give many gifts.
(Prov. 6:20-35)
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The book is Headed to the Office by Glenn Colley. It’s available now at Colley Books.