Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Five Dangerous Faults

Yesterday I started reading Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" which is from the 6th century BC.  I have wanted to read it for some time, but it is not my typical genre.  I am half way through and it has given me some insight as a leader of "spiritual warriors" but mostly caused me to look at how I am trying to go about starting a church.  I am aware that our enemy is not of this world, but have gained some personal insight that I am just going to share and hopefully it will cause you to think as well.  About half way through, he relates the 5 major dangerous faults of a General.  I have taken these each individually and applied them to the areas of ministry that I deal in.  I have not edited for spelling or content, so take these random thoughts as Joel's personal application and make your own.

There are five dangerous faults which may affect a general:
(1)   Recklessness, which leads to destruction;
Recklessness as a pastor would look like what?
                  Not preparing adequately
                  Not praying
                  Not planning a comprehensive preaching calendar
      Pastoral Care
                  Not watching what you say
                  Not saying thanks
                  Not keeping your word
                  Not feeling their hurts
                  Over extending with time, ministry or money
                  Letting anybody start whatever ministry
                  Not screening leaders
                  Not sticking to procedure
                  Not guarding your heart from sin
                  Being alone with a woman who is not your wife
                  Drifting from your time in Prayer and Bible Study
(2)   Cowardice, which leads to capture;
Cowardice as a pastor would look like what?
Not standing up for truth, and solid doctrine, and against sin
Pastoral Care
Not telling someone what you know they need to hear, but don’t want to hear.
Not stepping out in faith to obey God
Not leading your people to personally step out in faith
Not leading in your own home, with your wife and kids
(3)   A hasty temper, which can be provoked by insults;
A hasty temper as a pastor would look like what?
            It is easier to preach against sin than for holiness
            Don’t allow your pulpit to become a bully
            Never defend yourself when you should be preaching Christ
Pastoral Care
            Hurt people hurt people, don’t take insults personally
            Never add insult to injury
Do not allow the insults of your enemies to cause you to come down from your wall to fight on their turf.
Never make rash vows
Be motivated by love, not hate
                        The king of the mountain makes for an easy target
                        Be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath
(4)   A delicacy of honor which is sensitive to shame;
(Those who seek after victory should be careless of public opinion.)
            Tell it like it is, do not scratch ears
            Be Transparent, Nobody listens to an inexperienced expert
Pastoral Care
            Compliments, like perfume smells nice but don’t swallow it.
            Don’t drink from “The World’s Best Pastor” Coffee mug.
Pastoring is about the help of the sheep, not the honor of the shepherd
            Don’t be tempted to put on Saul’s shiny new armor
            Pride is what caused Satan to fall and Eve to bite
            Remember you serve an Audience of one
At the judgment you will stand before God alone, not the board, or the crowd, or your peers.
(5)   Over-solicitude for his men, which exposes him to worry and trouble.
(The danger of sacrificing any important military advantage to the immediate comfort of his men.)
            Do not be afraid of their faces
            Too much milk causes one to vomit.  They need meat too.
            Be careful preaching that causes people to think that they are holy.
            Be careful of setting goals that are too easily attained.
Pastoral Care
            Do not break up every fight and band-aid every scratch
            Do not pamper your people, provoke to love and good works
            Someone has to be on the front lines
            Don’t care so much for your troops that you forget the war
We are not here to build shelters in which to hide from the world, but bases from which to go into all the world
Never let church become about the church
            Be careful of the undisciplined life.
            Never ask more from your staff or people than you ask of yourself.