Wednesday, February 13, 2013

SGM Chronicles: A Message to the Local Franchise

It has been many months since I completed a series of blogs on SGM.  Recently, I’ve sensed a strong leading to communicate a message to the local organization connected with this “church-planting ministry.”

My utmost desire is to see Jesus truly glorified, and to see His people conformed into His image. I trust that He will do that with His people--wherever, with whomever, and however He chooses.  Having said that, you should also know He zealously and jealously seeks our devotion to Him.  He does not wish to share that devotion, honor, and glory with people, no matter how gifted they might be.

Anything that deflects our gaze away from Him must be viewed as disposable.  We cannot expect that Our Consuming Fire will allow idols erected by men to stand.   Like the walls of Jericho and the Tower of Babylon, those idols (especially those propped up by men in His name) must fall.   Unfortunately, the SGM organization, nationally and locally, continues to resist His hand of discipline. For that reason, Jesus, in his love for His people has no choice, but to deliver His people from the bondage of this golden calf.

In a previous installment, I referred to the local organization as once a place of refuge.  However, it became a place of bondage, just like Egypt did for the children of Israel.  And I believe the Spirit of God is turning up the heat, and the volume to the leadership of this religious franchise with one message: LET MY PEOPLE GO!  

Just like Pharaoh, the entrenched leadership of mostly older men, have hardened their hearts.  And just as the Egyptian leader increased the burden on the Israelites once Moses proclaimed the prophetic directive to him, SGM leaders have attempted to shift the burden of their crumbling empire onto the people. 

Pharaoh demanded that the people gather straw to make bricks.  Religious tyrants, attempting to save their own Titanic, have pulled the heart-strings of the “passengers” (members), appealing to them to faithfully give to offset the astounding loss of revenue.  From the Lord, these leaders must understand one thing:

Resist this call to your own harm.   God will not be mocked.  Since you’re not inclined to trust complete “outsiders,” I would humbly suggest asking Joshua Harris to help you learn how to repent.   A time of refreshing is on the other side of door on which Jesus is knocking.  Though He will not force Himself on you, He will not allow His people to remain in slavery forever.

To younger leaders:
Some of you burn with a heart for your Father and His glory. You know something is terribly wrong with the direction the older and supposedly wiser men are taking this organization.  You are right. But you also face a sobering reality: you cannot truly allow the Spirit to fully lead you in your perspective in this ongoing crisis, because that will put you at odds with the misguided older men who are walking in the flesh.  Remember, God is faithful.  He will make a way.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  Matthew 6:33
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:19 ESV)

The same God who provided for you through the organization will provide for you outside this crooked religious system. 

To the “remnant” of members who remain within SGM, listen to the Spirit of God and His leadership.  Some of you haven’t heard Him in years because your ears have been tuned to the pitch of men rather than God.  Your first order of business is to recover your first love: the affection and attentive ear you once had for your Father alone.  The voices of men were once subordinate.  Now they have become front and center in your spiritual journey.   Repent, and be honest about your idolatry and trust Him to restore your gaze, your ears to hear, and your whole-hearted passion for the Father. 

Do not take on the burden of sustaining the organization. That burden belongs to the men who now insist on maintaining it, no matter how crooked their ways have become.  Don’t let them browbeat you into honoring and submitting to them as leaders, serving more, and giving more.  Truthfully, many of you are more mature than those you believe to be your leaders. Leadership is not measured by positions or titles, religious training or degrees.  It is measured by love for God and the appropriation of his love to others.  That love flows out freely, and never demands honor or submission.  It is willing to “spend and be spent” for others without a return. 

Many of you have been so institutionalized, you believe that in this current crisis, something is wrong with you.  While there are areas you may need to grow, your lack of “buying in” to the religious propaganda you hear is not a sign of something wrong with you.  It is evidence of a battle within. The Spirit of God is leading you to resist the bondage men put upon you.  But you wrongly believe the Lord can’t be leading you to disagree with your “leaders” on the fundamental issues causing turmoil within SGM.  HE IS.  Don’t resist the gentle call of the Spirit.

And finally, many of you are fearful.  You ask, “What would we do outside the “covering” of this organization?”  The answer is: FLOURISH UNDER HIS COVERING.  The truth is HE is all you need.  And He will also provide brothers, sisters, fathers, and mothers in the Lord to walk WITH you, not OVER you, in this Kingdom journey. 

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
(Romans 8:14-17 ESV)

He faithfully led His people out of Egypt and into the Promised Land.  He will also faithfully lead you as you dare to step away from the shackles men have placed upon you.

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
(Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV)

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30 ESV)

There is life outside the organization . . . ABUNDANT LIFE!


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