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True Ministry Is Costly

The Line of Fire / Dr. Michael Brown
The Truth Network Radio
September 7, 2021 5:00 pm

True Ministry Is Costly

The Line of Fire / Dr. Michael Brown

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September 7, 2021 5:00 pm

The Line of Fire Radio Broadcast for 09/07/21.

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The following program is recorded content created by the Truth Network. We often look at ministry and, oh, the famous names and the big reach, friends.

Ministry is costly. It's time for The Line of Fire with your host, activist, author, international speaker, and theologian, Dr. Michael Brown, your voice of moral, cultural, and spiritual revolution. Michael Brown is the director of the Coalition of Conscience and president of Fire School of Ministry. Get into The Line of Fire now by calling 866-34-TRUTH.

That's 866-34-TRUTH. Here again is Dr. Michael Brown. Welcome, friends, to The Line of Fire broadcast.

This is Michael Brown coming your way live from Fort Worth, Texas. This is our first time broadcasting from a new studio that has just been put together so we can broadcast while I'm doing classes for the Spiritual Leadership School. First birth, today was the very first day in the history of the school where we came together for chapel, and I did an opening teaching and plan to be pouring into the students here on a monthly basis. So in order to do that, we put together a studio. The team here built the studio for us. This is our very first day broadcasting from here, so there may be some glitches.

We've got our team here in Fort Worth connected with our team in North Carolina, our two teams in North Carolina. So God helping and everybody doing well, we'll get this out without a glitch. Everyone listening sounds exactly the same on radio or podcast, but if you're watching, it's a different look at the studio here, and if we've got any streaming issues, we will hopefully get them all resolved for you.

So thanks for being patient with us as we broadcast for the first time ever from a brand new studio. Here's a number to call, 866-34-TRUTH, 866-348-7884. Any subject of any kind that you want to talk to me about, I'm going to be focusing on some really important truths regarding ministry, regarding serving God, but if you have any question of any kind, Bible-related, theology-related, especially ministry-related, if you feel called or if you're struggling with ministry-related questions, I'd love to help you with those today in particular, 866-34-TRUTH. Also we may be doing some book giveaways, so stay tuned. The first book ever wrote is now the newest book that we just put out in a beautiful, brand new, updated, revised edition, Compassionate Father or Consuming Fire, Engaging the God of the Old Testament, beautiful hardcover coffee table-type book, and really getting some great responses as the book is just getting out, so I may do some book giveaways as well.

The number to call, not for book giveaway, not yet, just with questions 866-34-TRUTH. Okay, so here's why this topic is on my mind today. Here's why I'm thinking about this today, about the costliness of ministry. I have been teaching ministry school students since 1982 with very, very rare break over the years, over the decades.

It's something I have done with regularity for decades, and the Spiritual Leadership School is not just for those called to vocational ministry like pastoral ministry or missions or evangelism, it is more broadly for those called to leadership, be it in the business world, or be it in media work or teaching children in a public school, as well as mission field and other things. So over the period of years with internships and other things, people get to express those. But I felt it was so important on the very first day to say, look, it's all about land foundations. It's all about laying solid foundations. If you want to build a tall building, you need a deep foundation. If the foundation cracks, the building crumbles. You see a tree that withstands a massive storm, a hurricane.

How did this happen? How did this tree stand when all these others are blown away? Look at the roots.

The roots are underground, which you don't see. That's what really matters. And public ministry, friends, is simply the extension. Whatever you do in front of people, that's the public extension of your private life. So the real question is not what are you doing in outward ministry, but who you are in private, who you are when no one's looking, how you live your life, the condition of your heart before God.

That's what matters most. And often, we see, especially these days, with so much mega ministry, with people who are relatively young in ministry, with massive online audiences, with the lights and the cameras. You can get a certain impression of ministries like being famous, or ministries about being prominent, or ministries having big budgets.

It's really quite the opposite. Ministry is about service. Ministry is about sacrifice. Ministry is about bearing the reproach of the Lord.

And most of the ministry that takes place around the world is not in front of a camera. Most of what God's doing is more hidden. Some of the greatest work that God is doing around the world is by people whose names are not known to us, who are not prominent in the eyes of people, but who are great in the eyes of God. Look at what Paul wrote. You tell me, aside from the Lord Jesus, the Messiah himself on the earth, the living God, darn it, you tell me about a human being who did more effective ministry than the apostle Paul.

There's not anybody. I mean, he writes almost half of the New Testament, so used by God he is. But very few people have ever lived who paid the price that Paul paid, have suffered what Paul suffered, endured what Paul endured. I tweeted out last night that it makes a massive difference in your mentality when you understand that you're called to be a servant, not a superstar, and that your task is to make God's name famous, not your own.

It makes a massive, massive difference. As I have prayed for many years that God would expand our reach to minister to more people, it's so that he can be exalted. Lord, amplify my voice so I can glorify your son. Look at what Paul writes, 1 Corinthians chapter four, beginning in verse eight, 1 Corinthians chapter four, eight in the Corinthians somehow had this idea that being in God's kingdom now that they were supposed to live like kings and some of the false apostles were feeding them this this false information as well.

So he writes this. Already you have all you want. Already you have become rich. You have begun to reign. And that without us, how I wish that you really had begun to reign so that we might also reign with you. And then he says this, for it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. So we're not the ones, the megastars, the superstars, the exalted ones, we're the ones going to be brought in to be killed by wild beasts or gladiators in the arena for everyone to cheer on.

And that's the way it seems to me. And we've been made a spectacle, he says, to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings. He says, we are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ. We are weak. You are strong. You are honored.

We are dishonored to this very day. This is Paul. This is Paul, OK? Nothing I do, nothing you do will compare to the way God used Paul and the way his words are read as part of God's word to this day, all right? This is Paul. To this very hour, he says, we go hungry and thirsty.

We are in rags. This is Paul. It wasn't a lack of faith on his part, it wasn't, oh, Paul, you don't know your authority in God?

No, Paul understood his authority in Jesus. To this very hour, we go hungry and thirsty. We are in rags.

I mean, think of Paul, Paul's not exaggerating, this is not some preacher's hyperbole. This is literally what he had to live through. We are brutally treated. We are homeless.

He said we work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless. When we are persecuted, we endure it. When we are slandered, we answer kindly.

We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world, right up to this moment. Oh, I want to be an apostle. Paul said, well, this is what you're called to. Oh, I want to be used by God with a mighty ministry.

Well, you may have to go through this. Now, Paul said, I know how to have abundance, I know how to have little, I know how to abound and I know how to be abased. God blesses you with good things, beautiful things, wonderful, possessions, fine, gives you an audience of millions, fine, but remember, we're called to be servants. We're called to be servants, and the greater the calling, the lower we must go. No one is more highly exalted than Jesus with the name above every name.

No one went lower than he went. Let me read another passage to you, this time from 2 Corinthians chapter six, just so you can see again what Paul lived through. And he said, 2 Corinthians 6, three, we put no stumbling block in anyone's paths that our ministry will not be discredited.

He said, rather, as servants of God, we commend ourselves in every way in great endurance, in troubles, hardships, and distresses, in beatings, in prison and riots, and hard work, sleepless nights and hunger, in purity, understanding, patience and kindness in the Holy Spirit, and in sincere love, in truthful speech and in the power of God with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left, through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report, genuine, yet regarded as impostors, known, yet regarded as unknown, dying, and yet we live on, beaten and yet not killed, sorrowful, yet always rejoicing, poor, yet making many rich, having nothing, and yet possessing everything. That's what ministry life was like for Paul. And to the degree that we give ourselves to God as servants, then he can use us in any different way.

To the degree that we say, Lord, this is about you, not about us, then he can use us in any kind of way. To the degree that we think ministry is the way to make money, or ministry is the way to be famous, or ministry is the way to have influence and power over people, to that extent, we don't understand the work of ministry. I have colleagues who pastor some of the largest churches in the world. In the world, they are men of God, they are men of integrity, they are men of high character. That's one reason God has entrusted them with what he has. I have other colleagues who pastor unknown churches, work in unknown small group networks, they're doing phenomenal work in prayer and in service behind the scenes, and nobody knows their name. And it's all the same, everyone is in it the same way. Serve God. Again, if you've got a ministry related question, I'm going to take some calls shortly on that.

I want to share more about this with you. If you're just tuning in, if you've been watching online and anything's kind of in and out, we're broadcasting from a brand new studio that I'll use when I'm down here in Fort Worth, Texas. It's the very first day. A lot of our teams, North Carolina and here have really been working hard, checking, double checking, triple checking.

But I've been doing this daily live for 13 years, and it's not uncommon that an issue comes up during the broadcast, either our studio in Winston-Salem, the home studio elsewhere in North Carolina from which we broadcast or something else. So we're getting all the glitches out. Thanks for being patient with us. But let's just do this really quickly before we take our first break.

Door number seven. We'll tell you what, we'll do this when we come back. Thanks for joining us, friends from Fort Worth, Texas, from a new studio that's just been built, put together for us so I can broadcast when I'm down here monthly teaching students at the brand new Spiritual Leadership School. We moved our entire school, Fire School of Ministry, moved it completely online two years now.

So I haven't had the joy of sitting with students, pouring in, getting to know them. So so thrilled to have this connection, this opportunity in Fort Worth. But to do it, we got our our studio set up. So God willing, each day we'll get this smoother and smoother.

And I appreciate the team running hard to make this work. All right, eight, six, six, three, four truths before I go to the phones and take your calls about ministry related subjects, eight, six, six, three, four, truth caller number seven. I want to give you a free copy of the new edition of my very first book, and you'll find it super relevant compassion father. We're consuming fire, engaging the God of the Old Testament is the God of the Old Testament, the same as the God of the New Testament. What do we do with all the verses where God smites and destroys? Is that in harmony with the father of Jesus? What about the call to kill the Canaanites?

What about what happened with Job and things like that? So those are some of the questions we address in the book, and we'll give away the caller number seven, eight, six, six, three, four, eight, seven, eight, eight for a free copy of the brand new edition of Compassion Father or Consuming Fire. Okay, with that, let us go to the phones, starting with Jake in southeast Michigan. Welcome to the line of fire. Hey, Dr. Michael Brown, thanks so much for taking my call.

Sure thing. It's been a while since I've called in, and I'm dealing with what seems to me like a dire situation. A brother in the Lord, a brother in the fellowship, he's dealing with persecution from his own family, so he was actually put out of his own home because he came out of the Torah group that they were part of, and now he is being told, well, hey, you can't even come back in your own home, and as a matter of fact, you are worse than an infidel because you're on the streets preaching the Gospel to people, but you're not able to even take care of your family because you don't believe what we believe. So how do I encourage the brother, and how do I edify him, and what advice should I give him as far as the big issue, of course, is doctrine, right?

And so they hold to this book called The Suffer by Steven Pigeon, and it really changes, it changes a lot to the Bible and changes a lot, and since he's broken free from all that, and he's struggling to even communicate doctrine because they just have totally different sources. Right, so the first thing is, he needs to be rejoicing in his freedom. That's the first thing.

Yeah. That's 99% of it. He's free, he came out from bondage, he came out from deception, he came out from wrong doctrine, he's free. He needs to be praying for the others for their eyes to be open and pitying them and feeling bad for them that they're still in bondage, okay?

So that's the first thing. It's persecution for the Gospel, it's persecution for religious liberty, it's persecution for obeying Jesus and taking the message out to the lost, so as painful as it is, it's positive, but his whole heart, his burden should be for their wellbeing. His burden should be, they're the ones that are in bondage, they're the ones that are hurting, he's the one that's free.

The fact that they have kicked him out in their own way of trying to follow the Bible except they've got it backwards, they're the cult-like group kicking out the believer as opposed to the believers kicking out the cult-like member. It's grievous in terms of it's painful, but that's their choice. If they're saying, well, you can't take care of your own family, you're worse than an unbeliever, that's completely bogus. That shows how completely abusive they're being.

It's like this, it's like I tie you up and throw you in the trunk of a car and say you're irresponsible because you didn't go to work today. That's their doing. Anything that they are making difficult for him to do with his own family is entirely their own doing, and their responsibility. He honors the Lord, he does what he can, if God enables him to minister to his family and help them, great. Should he keep on preaching the Gospel, just sharing the Gospel? He's worried that he wants to do everything he can for his family, and he's worried that sometimes when he's out sharing the Gospel, that his family might be looking down on him, you can't even take care of us without sharing the Gospel with homeless people or whatever it might be. If he is willingly neglecting the needs of his family, that they need them there to care for them, and he is willingly neglecting them to pour himself out on homeless needy people, that's a problem. If they have kicked him out and disfellowshipped him, they've closed the door. By all means let him go to the homeless, let him go to the needy, let him go to the poor, the hurting.

By all means, that's a virtue, that's a good thing, that's a positive thing. What was it that helped him come out of this group? He was really just, they grew up as Baptists, and Southern Baptists, and then very fundamental, and he started seeking, reading the Bible about the gifts, and so he started seeking after that, and it kind of went down a weird path towards the Torah movement a little bit, and then his family, his spouse, and some of their inner circle got set up in that, and he was still on the sidelines on that, and he finally just decided, I'm just going to seek after what God is talking about in the Bible, with following and leading the Holy Spirit and being led by God, and so he repented and turned to the Lord and said he wanted nothing to do with going back under the law, and so that's kind of what he, what happened.

Yeah, so, look, the whole thing is, he blames himself for the situation. Right, well again, it's bigger, I'm not in a position of giving pastoral counseling in a situation that I don't know up front and personal, obviously whatever he can do to be reconciled with his wife and family is important to do on every level, but not, you cannot change what you believe about God in the Bible, so if someone finds meaning right now, we're right in the midst of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, which is the biblical day of the sounding of the trumpet, you know, we're right in that very, very day right now, and if someone finds it meaningful to look at the prophetic meaning of the feasts, if someone finds it meaningful to obey certain, you know, say, hey look, God gave dietary laws to Israel, no reason why we shouldn't keep them, et cetera, that's fine if it's just a positive ad, when it becomes we are coming under the Sinai Covenant, we are coming under the Torah, if we don't live by, you know, if we're not celebrating the new moons, if we're not scrupulously celebrating the seventh-day Sabbath, if we violate the dietary laws and God's hanging with us, displeased with us, or we're out of his will, or in disobedience, that's when it becomes really dangerous. That's when it becomes- Their group changes, yeah, their group changes the idea of the new covenant, and it's a renewed covenant, so they take out the new covenant all together, and say it's just the renewed old covenant. Right, so that all it is is the old covenant now written on our hearts. And you know, a good question to ask folks like this was, well, in Hebrew or Greek, if God wanted to say new, how would he say it? In other words, for example, the Hebrew Hadash, the Greek Hadash, Jeremiah 31, verses 31 to 34, where God says he'll make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, and it's called Hadash, well how else could God have said it?

What other word would he have used to convey that? And since he says I'll remember your sins no more under the new and better covenant, then you obviously don't need everything that you had under the Sinai covenant with regard to sin. For example, Hebrews tells us in the seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth chapters that there are changes that have come.

It even says explicitly there had to be a change in the priesthood because it is a priest from Judah after the order of Melchizedek in Psalm 110, as opposed to the priestly line through Aaron, and Hebrews says the Torah doesn't say anything about that. So that's a change that is being brought about, and then sacrifices, offerings, where Hebrews says those aren't needed anymore because there's been the once for all sacrifice of the Son of God. So of course changes have come in significant ways, and we've watched over the years, the Messianic Jewish movement where we're Jewish believers who felt, hey, we identify with our people, we continue to live as Jews, we want our people to know you can be Jewish and believe in Jesus, and there's been beautiful expression through it and rich understanding of scripture, then you end up with other people joining in and then going further. And now it's known we must come under the Sinai covenant, or it's just a renewed covenant, and all of this is mandatory on all New Testament believers. And then if you watch, inevitably, I'm sure you've heard me say this many times, the focus gets off Jesus, Yeshua, the focus is on Torah and commandments. There's very little outreach, there's very little worship.

Even the idea of the deity of Yeshua gets lost more and more, and you see people basically dry up and spiritually die. The warning God gave me all the way back in 1984, that this whole temptation to be more Jewish is in the soul realm, it will fascinate, stimulate, complicate, suffocate, therefore be on guard. So Lord, may grace be poured out on this man, may his whole family come into freedom and liberty. We'll be right back. Thanks for joining us on A Line of Fire. We are broadcasting from our brand new studio at Mercy Culture Church in Fort Worth, Texas. I'll be here, God willing, once a month teaching at the Spiritual Leadership School. Today was the inaugural chapel service, and I got to pour in about the importance of building long-term foundations. The tree is as strong as the root system, the building as strong as the foundation.

Who are you really on the inside? That's what's going to matter for long-term successful fruit-bearing public ministry. We're working on a few audio-video glitches, but hopefully everything will be coming your way smoothly. And as we're here regularly, we've got a great team here, a great team at home in North Carolina, and they will be on top of everything. If you have a question, especially relating to ministry work, 866-34-TRUTH, 866-348-7884 is the number to call. But let's do this. Let's give away a copy of my newest book. It's actually my oldest book.

And we're really pleased. It came out in a brand new, beautiful edition. I updated it. I revised it.

It answers a lot of big questions that you will be asking and have asked and will be asked about the God of the Old Testament. And I want to give it away for free, Compassionate Father or Consuming Fire, caller number three. So this is a quick one, 866-348-7884, 866-34-TRUTH, caller number three.

Want to send you a free copy of this book. With that, let's go to the phones, and we will go to Sterling in Charleston, South Carolina. Thanks for calling The Line of Fire. Thanks for taking my call. I actually just stumbled across your channel on YouTube. Well, sweet.

Glad to have you stumble our way. Yeah, you know, I read the caption and it said something about the cost of ministry, and then I read the description about the price that Paul paid. And I assumed that, you know, well, I had a general question about martyrdom, because, you know, just because that there are martyrs doesn't necessarily prove that the religion is true, right? I mean, for example, like the 9-11 terrorists would have considered themselves to be martyrs, right? Right, in a way that utterly perverts the whole idea of laying down your life to save the lives of others, laying down your life and loyalty to God. It's a complete perversion of the concept of martyrdom. In fact, there was even debate in the Muslim world as to whether suicide bombers were true martyrs or not, as opposed to, you know, invading armies marching to your city, and they put a gun to your head and say deny Jesus or die, and you say I could never deny the Lord, and they shoot you. Okay, so that's a martyr, as opposed to someone blowing themselves up and killing men, women and children. And many Muslim scholars said, well, as long as it's for, like, for the cause of Allah or fighting for the occupation in Palestine, you know, lines like that. But right, the fact that people may die for a cause, you may have an atheist that'll die for a cause, you may have a freedom fighter for some perverted cause and they'll die for it.

That is not the proof of faith. But if you are called to follow Jesus, we're called to follow him by life or by death. We're called to follow in the matter of the cause to the consequence.

What he says when he calls us right out of the bat, and you'll find it, for example, in Matthew 16 and Mark 8, Luke 9, if anyone would come after me, let him do what? Deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me for whoever saves his life will lose it. So if I say, well, it's too costly to follow the Lord, I'm going to lose my friends, I'm going to lose my business, I'm going to lose my reputation, or I'm going to get thrown in jail, you lose your life in doing that because you are now living as a slave of people and opinion.

You are now living to get ahead in this world. You are not free to obey God. So if you save your life, you lose it. If you lose your life, for the Lord's sake and the gospel, now you find it. Now you're free because you live and die to God. And when he says to all of us, take up your cross and follow me, that means that we go to the place of death, we go to the place of reproach, we go to the place of rejection.

And out of that, God may give you a ministry where you're the most famous person on the planet, or God may give you a ministry where you're tortured in prison for the gospel. Either way, we live to do the will of God. And everything we do is an expression of our love for God and our love for others. We're not trying to be martyrs, we're not trying to be persecuted.

We're not troublemakers, we're peacemakers. But we know, for example, John 15, Jesus said, if the world hated you, know that it hated me first. Or 2 Timothy 3, 12, he says, know that everyone who lives a godly life in Messiah Jesus will suffer persecution. So there's always going to be some level of opposition, difficulty, challenge for those of us who follow Jesus.

And in some cases, it leads to physical martyrdom and others, it's death to reputation, death to our plans and our future. But the good thing is, we live to God. John 12, unless a grain of wheat falls in the ground and dies, it remains alone.

If it dies, it bears much fruit. Is that helpful for you? Yeah, thank you. Yeah, no, I think we agree that there can be martyrs, and there probably have been some examples to some degree of martyrs in each religion. We may or may not disagree with that, but basically, the martyrdom doesn't prove truth, and it sounds like we agree. So thank you for taking the call. Yeah, yeah, absolutely.

Let me just say this one other thing. The word for martyr, in Greek, it's the word from which we get martyr in English. That word itself means to be a witness.

That's where it starts. The same, the Arabic word for martyr, shahid, comes from shahada, which is also to be a witness, and the same in Aramaic. So the point is that initially, with the gospel, it was so common that to be his witness meant you'd be killed. That to be a witness often meant being a martyr, that that word for a witness actually became martyr and then made its way through Aramaic into Arabic, where that concept is. But you have people around the world willing to die for their faith, willing to die for their conviction.

It doesn't make the conviction or the faith right when you join together right faith with a sacrificial lifestyle, Lord, work through me, whatever the cost, the consequence. That's when you find some real beauty and liberty. Hey, thank you for the call.

Let's go to Betsy in Ozone Park, New York. Welcome to the line of fire. Thank you, Dr. Brown. My question to you is, just to get your opinion.

I think that I know what I should do, but I really respect your opinion. Thank you, sir. I'm part of a very small ministry where the leader is a woman, and she has undoubtedly a call of God to minister. She has a strong prophetic gift, and she's a woman of very strong faith, and she believes that God called her to New York City to raise up some leaders to transform, and all of that.

She has some innovative ideas that include combining faith with economic empowerment and things like that. I have been in this ministry now for about four years. I had left a large Assemblies of God church where I had been a member of for 10 years, I was just really drying up inside, my gifts weren't being used, and there had been some changes in the leadership that really were not good. And it took me a long time to realize that I needed to leave, and I prayed, and the Lord clearly told me to come to the ministry that I'm in now. But I've been in a serious dilemma because the pastor, despite her giftings, she's really harsh, and she has no board, she doesn't believe in traditional church structure, she makes decisions just on her own, and there's very little planning. And she has truly controlling tactics, and everybody in my life wants me to leave, and I've been wanting to leave, but I've tried to leave several times, most recently about a month ago, and upon my decision to leave I came under a lot of spiritual attack against my mind, and I think, well, either it's the enemy that doesn't want me to leave, or it's the Lord that's telling me not yet, and I'm stepping outside of his will and the enemy's attacking me.

Let me ask you this. Is her method of leading, let's put aside the question of whether we can be pastors or ministry leaders, let's just put that aside entirely, okay, let's just say that they can or they, whoops, don't know what happened, lost our connection there, okay, Betsy, hopefully you can still hear me. So we put aside entirely about women in ministry, women in leadership, and just ask, is this woman functioning in a biblical way? Put aside the question of whether women should be leading ministries, because there'll be debate over that.

That's not the issue. I think God raised her up, is she functioning and leading in a biblical way? Is there biblical accountability?

Is there a team of elders for unanimity before the Lord? What accountability structures are based or found in her life, and does she conduct herself in a Christ-like way of gentleness and grace, et cetera? If the answer is no, then you got no business being there, and if you come under spiritual attack, it could very likely be the enemy or just your own mind or some type of controlling aspects in her life, but no matter how gifted she is, the gift is not the issue, the character is the issue, and the leadership structure is the issue, and the doctrinal things that are being put forward. A lot of people have gifts, and sometimes what happens, ah, is that, all right, is that, have we reconnected, Betsy? Yes.

Okay. Well, what I was saying was, her gifting is immaterial to me. That's from God. That's immaterial, and whether or not she should lead as a woman, let's just say God raised her up, so we put that aside. The way she's leading is not biblical, based on your description, right? So of course, we don't know names, details, that's why I couldn't speak freely. There's no accountability, there's no team leadership structure, even if she's the leader, team leadership structure. Forget a traditional board, you need to have a team of elders, you need to have other leaders with you. Your ministry is one expression of other expressions. There needs to be that accountability. How do you know where finances go?

How do you know how things are used in that regard? And in terms of being harsh, that's un-Christ-like. So I want to send you a free copy of my book, Playing with Holy Fire, I'm assuming you don't have that. I want to send it to you, I have a chapter in there about abusive leadership, and I give you, okay, is it this, if it's this, if it's this, get out of there, flee. It would not surprise me if it really is abusive, that that's some of the oppression that you're coming out from, that the person's control and way of doing things can be oppressive spiritually. And then you'll have this thing, oh, you disobeyed the anointed woman of God, or how don't touch the anointed, or God's angry, just dismiss that.

It's just, look at it like static that's in the spirit that has to be tuned out. So listen, Betsy, stay right there. We're going to get your address, and I'm going to send you a free copy of Playing with Holy Fire.

Anybody else in an abusive leadership situation, or dealing with unaccountable leaders, I really encourage you to read that. Playing with Holy Fire, we'll send it out your way, Betsy. It's The Line of Fire with your host, activist, author, international speaker, and theologian, Dr. Michael Brown. Your voice of moral, cultural, and spiritual revolution. Get into The Line of Fire now by calling 866-342.

Here again is Dr. Michael Brown. Thanks, friends, for joining us on The Line of Fire, our premier broadcast from our new studio in Fort Worth, Texas, where I'll be broadcasting God willing on a monthly basis as we're here pouring into students in the spiritual leadership school in Mercy Culture Church. Yeah, we've got a couple of glitches we've overcome, but amazingly smooth thus far. Hopefully everyone listening on radio or podcast, everything has sounded totally normal.

Everybody watching, we worked through a couple of little glitches and some dead space, but I think we're all good. 866-342-866-348-7884 is the number to call, especially with ministry related questions. I want to go over to 2 Corinthians 11 as I've been talking about the costliness of ministry. I heard a story years ago from the ministry of Catherine Coleman.

I was not there to see it, but I heard this from someone that was there. She was speaking to a group of pastors and Christian leaders and said, how many of you would like to have the ministry that I have, the healing gift that I have? Who wouldn't want to have a wonderful healing gift like that? Think of the people that are touched, that are suffering and pain and dying and think of the expression of God's mercy to them and think of how Jesus is exalted through this. Who would not want to have a ministry like that or a gift like that?

All the hands went up. She said, well, let me tell you what this ministry has cost me and what it presently cost me and what it meant in her life and the price that she had to pay. You don't earn anointing, but with great gifting is great responsibility, with great gifting is great accountability, with great gifting is often great attack.

After she described the way she lived and everything she's been through, then she said, now how many of you would like this ministry and then a hand went up. So think of Paul and think of how the power of God works through and even raised the dead. Think of the authority of God that was on him. Think of the fact that he was so full of the spirit that in Acts 19, it says, God did extraordinary miracles through him.

So he is making tents and maybe he's got a sweat rag around his forehead or on his wrists and they take those and put them on sick people and demonize people and they're set free. Wow. How extraordinary and the intellect and the insight. I mean, think of the theology he writes in Romans, the theology he writes elsewhere in the New Testament, his understanding of justification by faith, his understanding of the atoning work of Jesus, his understanding of life in the spirit. The only Bible he had was the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament.

And I'm sure there were teachings of Jesus that were passed on to him, otherwise he received things by revelation. It's extraordinary. But look at what he writes when he talks about his own life. So he's dealing in Corinth with these super apostles, like the mega apostles.

Look at us. They come up in today's terms, like in the limo and open the door with the entourage and the slick outfit, like the superstar, the movie star, and almost like the red carpet kind of thing and ooh, all powerful, so smooth and so eloquent, it's whoa. Paul said, okay, I'm going to do something crazy.

I got to be out of my mind to do this, but they boast, I'm going to boast. Well, what's he going to talk about? All the people he raised from the dead, all the miracles that God did through him, all the prominent people that came to faith through him, is that what he is going to talk about? Look at this, 2 Corinthians 11.

He says this, beginning in verse 21, partway through, he says, whatever anyone else dares to boast about, I'm speaking as a fool, I also dare to boast about. Are they Hebrew? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham's descendants? So am I.

Are they servants of Christ? I'm out of my mind to talk like this. I am more. Okay, prove it, Paul. Show us how big your ministry budget is. Prove how anointing you are. Show us how many people you're reaching on social media every week, Paul. Prove how anointing you are. Tell me how many New York Times bestselling books you've written, Paul.

Show how powerful you are. Now, God may give you a budget of $100 million for your ministry to feed the poor and the needy around the world. He may give you a New York Times bestselling book every week. He may use you to reach hundreds of millions through social media, but that's not the proof of anointing or grace or favor because there are plenty of companies with big budgets of billions of dollars. There are plenty of people with bigger social media followings. There are plenty of better selling authors. So none of those things are necessarily proofs of success or of God's hand.

It could just be totally natural. Sometimes the devil can even be behind it. I mean, you think of some of the most famous people in the world, and some of them are pretty rotten. So Paul's going to boast, oh yeah, are they servants of Christ? I am more.

How so, Paul? I've worked much harder. I've been in prison more frequently. I've been flogged more severely and been exposed to death again and again.

Not like these superstar apostles. Five times he said, I received from the Jews the 40 lashes minus one. Five times.

He was involved in enough controversy in enough cities with Jewish populations, because he'd go to the synagogue first, that on five different occasions he was beaten, received 39 lashes because of the Jewish tradition that even though the law said 40, you don't want to go over that, you go one under, and you don't want the person to be despised even more. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was pelted with stones. That's Acts 14 where he's left for dead. Three times, not the one that the book of Acts records, three times I was shipwrecked. And here is recorded in Acts, I spent a night and a day in the open sea. You want to see my credentials? Here they are.

Look at what he says here. I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles, in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea, and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep. I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food.

I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I have faced daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak? And I do not feel weak.

Who is led into sin? And I do not inwardly burn. This is this. If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I'm not lying.

And Damascus, the governor under King Aretas, had the city of the Damascans guard it in order to arrest me, but I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall and slipped through his hands. He said, that's what I'm going to boast about. You know, I joke with folks, hey, my goal is the day comes when you can introduce me like that. Oh, not to have the privilege of everything Paul went through there. But hey, I've been blacklisted by this group, this organization, that one. I've been slandered, maligned by this one, that one. I was arrested for the gospel here. I risked my life preaching there.

And you know, I got a few of those. I do have a few credentials I can boast about, like Paul, I mean, for his for his thousand to get like a three, you know, but hey, that may be more proof of obedience to God and living for God than all the positive testimonies and fruit we can point to. The bottom line is this, and I say it in all seriousness. Every real effective ministry is costly because you love people and you carry burdens for people. And even if you're not in, quote, vocational ministry, love is costly.

I want to say this to every one of you listening, every one of you watching. Love is costly. There's no way that you can love people without suffering pain. There's no way you can love people without carrying burdens. There's no way you can love people without having the repercussions in your own life. And you don't love.

You don't care. You know, for for some years when we lived in Maryland and I led a school there, Messiah Biblical Institute and Graduate School of Theology, our offices, the congregation and the school, they were directly across from a funeral parlor. And some days when I'd be driving by, there was a funeral taking place or the service was just letting out or people were just gathering. And I'd see people weeping in his other's arms or friends or family members running to each other and embracing and crying, maybe just a sudden death or a young person or something that was heartbreaking. And I prayed. I mean, I saw it and I prayed for comfort, for grace, for God's redemption. But then I drove on and I was pretty much unaffected because I didn't know the people. I didn't have an investment in their lives.

Their pain was not my pain. But when you do the work of ministry and when you just love as a parent, as a friend, as a coworker, as a sibling, when you love, love is costly. Following Jesus is beautiful and wonderful and glorious.

Nothing like it on the planet. Nothing more wonderful, nothing more fulfilling, nothing that will bring more eternal fruit than following Jesus. But following Jesus is costly.

It means being rejected as He was rejected, misunderstood as He was misunderstood. And it means sacrifice for dying, hurting, lost world. So may God entrust us with more of His heart. As we started spiritual leadership school today and these things have been in my mind, as I prayed about the broadcast today, I didn't want to get political, I didn't want to talk about any of these other things, I thought let's just talk about the cost of ministry but even just the cost of following Jesus, the cost of love. And let each of us say, Lord, here I am, send me, here I am, use me, Lord, I want my life to glorify Jesus. I want people to see me and when they see me, they see Jesus. They learn about you, Lord, through seeing me, my life, my example, and the good news, love never fails. All right, friends, we will be back with you, same time, same place, right here on the Lifeline.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-02 17:58:20 / 2023-09-02 18:17:28 / 19

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