Tis the season

Tis the season!

It’s the season for getting together, visiting with family and friends. Some people you can’t wait to see, others, well…  Sometimes, quite unexpectedly, you find yourself face to face with an old ‘friend’.

And so it was for me when I recognized an old acquaintance I’ve known for years. And even though he wears different faces in different places, I immediately knew who it was.

We’ll call him CRAM, because he is  a controlling, religious and manipulative spirit.

If you’ve had any kind of a forerunner ministry for any length of time, then you’ve met cram. Sometimes he disguises himself as common sense, or uses other ‘legitimate’ and reasonable appeals to work his way into our ministries. Before you know it, he’s working his way to the top, into a controlling ‘high priority’ position. If you are following Gods call on your life, you need to be vigilant, because no one is above being influenced.  Here are some things we need to keep in mind;

A religious spirit can be one of the most subtle. It comes in many guises, even masquerading as common sense and reason..

Once cram gets his foot in the door, he can become very quickly entrenched, and rather difficult to get rid of.

One of crams hallmarks is to ‘tone things down’ in the name of order and propriety.

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. The level of freedom you experience in worship is a good litmus test for cram.

Religious spirits can crop up anywhere. CRAM will even show up in the midst of revival to shut it down. We need to be diligent, because, as I said above, we can all be influenced, without fully realizing it.

So….run into any ‘old friends’ lately?

 

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CORE VALUES

I had a dream last night, and while that in and of itself  may not be a world-shaking event, it definitely gave me something to think about. You see, I dreamt that someone rather close to me had died, and the reaction that this death caused among family and friends was somewhat less than catastrophic. It seems people were more concerned with how this was going to affect their plans, and how they would fill this persons spot in ministry.

Right now, you’re probably thinking ‘Well, it was only a dream.’ But I believe this dream was showing me something very Important. Something that all Christians should be aware of. Namely our ‘core values’.

Do you know what your core values are? Most of us probably think we know pretty much what they are, but do we?

Let’s take a look at Jesus. I think it’s safe to say Jesus was consumed by doing the will of the Father, and serving and ministering to others. He never ever let His personal needs or comfort enter the picture. Everyone else ALWAYS came first. These were His core values. This is what He was about. As followers of Christ, we are supposed to have those same values. We at least need to be working on it, trying to be as Christ-like as possible.

These should be our core values. So far, so good. Now, to serve these values, It’s natural to want to grow your ministry, your church, your worship team, etc., and this is where it gets tricky. Let me explain. As long as you’re trying to do one of the aforementioned things  to serve others or to minister to them, or because you feel that’s what God is directing you to do right now, great. But the minute it sneaks into your core, and becomes a value in itself, it displaces the true values. In fact, It becomes an Idol. Now service and ministry are taking a back seat to, say, growing your church.

This is very subtle. It can creep in, and slide right under the radar, so to speak. Now your actions and your motives are driven not by the Christ-values you started with, but with the emphasis on the values that have taken their place. This is why even a wonderful ministry can become an Idol to the people responsible for it. What happens is the organization itself supersedes the primary reason it was created for in the first place.

And this doesn’t just happen to people with ‘ministries’. All of us need to examine the motives behind what we’re doing ‘for’ God. We all need to revisit and review our core values. What is most Important to you and me? What motivates and drives us, colors our opinions, attitudes, and actions? Is it the same values Jesus had, or is it something else?