Saturday, March 15, 2014

Taking out the Trash

A word for the men at my church in the Cayman Islands
When I first came to the Bahamas, and to a lesser extent, the Cayman Islands, and looked at the streets and beaches, I noticed something.  It saddened me.  It was trash.  Trash on the street, trash on the beaches, trash in people's yards, everywhere.  Trash is a reproach to any people and it is a sign of the health of a culture.  Cayman is probably one of the cleanest of the Carribbean countries so its not something that is exceptional to Cayman - its just a sign of the health of a culture.
Men are the drivers of culture.
The nations are ruled by governments.  The governments are influenced by the culture.  The culture is influenced by entertainment, the media, the educational system and the Church.  The Church is the only institution with the spirit of God poured out to empower it to bring the culture in line with Gods will.  The other sources of cultural formation are usually under the control of the prince of this world.  They generally constitute the enemy.
The churches are influenced by their leaders and of key importance are the men.  I think men in general don't realize the power and influence they wield.
Don't get me wrong, women have their place in leadership and in church service, but the men are the rock upon which the church gets its metal to function in a confused and suffering world.  Men are the structure of the church. Women can dress it, nurture it, love on visitors and each other, beautify it, worship God in all manner of talents and wonderful gifts, but men hold it together. Men hold the walls up and the foundations.  Without the bones, the muscles and skin have little to contribute.
Women are very powerful but it says in Genesis 3:16 that the woman's "desire shall be for her husband and he will rule over her".
What does this mean?  Now that I have been married for a few years, I think it means that she needs security and a covering and so will marry a man to obtain it.  She wants you men to be there.  To be present, mindful, listening, understanding and overall to rule over her so she can feel safe.  Not a harsh overbearing rulership, but like Christ, a servant ruler with strength, truth, honor, and wisdom.
This is why, when I see men not leading in the Church generally, I always see the culture sliding in the wrong direction.
This is because when women don't have leadership and don't feel safe, they will take responsibility and leadership to get that safety.  They know when there is a void in leadership and they will correct it any way they can to feel secure.  This is also just plain natural.  A woman likes to lead and men like to follow - that is our natural fleshly tendency (recall Adam and Eve) but it is not what we are called to.
This does not mean that women should be prevented from leading.  It means the men aren't leading or doing it right.   All aspects of the church need men there, behind the scenes and standing out in front as well.
Supporting your pastor.
You have an incredible pastor here.  He runs circles around me and truly leads as a servant.  Like Moses, holding up his hands during the battle, this man needs your help.  He needs your participation and your presence.  Imagine the stress that comes with responsibility.  It is much easier to support your pastor than to have to replace him.  When I get weary of helping at church, I think of what it would be like to be our pastor.  Then I am thankful for the light task I have.
Many pastors these days have so much to worry about.  They need the numbers so that the offerings are sufficient to pay the bills.  To get these numbers the church works overtime entertaining its members when it needs to be teaching and preaching them to repentance and good works.  Sermons get compromised and the leaders become fearful.
The pastor is your lead elder who is commissioned to glean the will of God from the word and from prayer and to give it to the congregation.  To do this he needs men to stand by him no matter what.  He needs men that will lay down their lives for the church and for him if necessary.  This is how it was for the early church that was under heavy persecution.  Leadership had such a great cost, but the men took the mantle and marched on.
When the Word of God is truly preached, tears flow, knees knock, and men fall on their faces in shame and fear because the Lord God has spoken and called for repentance.
You men are the gates through which Satan must pass to reach your wives, children, grand-children and older parents.  You, not the police.  You, not the school system.  You, not some neighborhood watch guy.
So what does a man do? 
He stands.  He serves.  He walks with his children and teaches them when he rises, walks and goes to bed. (Deut 6:7) He occupies and sits present with his family and community.
He basically takes out the trash.
Men take out the trash at home and at work.  And their chief job when employed as a civil servant in government is to take out the trash as well.
Look what it says in Romans 13:For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil.
The trash of society is taken out by government or at least it should be.
But look what we see happening.  The government is now our father, protector and provider.  It is "public safety" that dominates its reasons for existence.  It is "crime prevention" that fills its thoughts.  It is "public education" seen as its way to a better future.
I was reading in the Cayman Compass the other day some statements from the independent candidates.  All of them said the same thing - public safety, security, prosperity and education.
Men, when you see governments doing this you can see that the men are  not taking leadership at home.   They are not protecting their wives and ruling with truth and love and teaching their children.  Fear is gripping the women and they are voting in these surrogate fathers and husbands for their protection.  Men are not doing the job. It's not like this happened over night.  It took several generations of sin and error to get us here.
The real solution lies in men listening to God and doing His will regardless of pain, cost or embarrasment.
Take of the mantle of father-hood and husband-hood.  Love your wives in thought, word and deed. Teach your children well and personally.  Guard your families physically, intellectually and spiritually at all times.  Don't let women or government do your job for you.  Be vigilant and do not grow weary for when this short life is over, God will have judgement to pass on what you did and how you stood.  Let us all hear "well done good and faithful servant" when that time comes.

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