Our lives are occupied territory…
occupied by a cacophony of voices,
and the din outdoes us.
In the daytime we have no time to listen,
beset as we are by anxiety and goals
and assignments and work,
and in the night the voices are so confusing
we can hardly sort out what could possibly be your voice
from the voice of our mothers and our fathers
our best friends and our pet projects,
because they all sound so much like you.
We are people over whom that word shema has been written.
We are listeners, but we do not listen well.
So we bid you, by the time the sun goes down today
or by the time the sun comes up tomorrow,
by night or by day,
that you will speak to us in ways that we can hear
out beyond ourselves.
It is your speech to us that carries us where we have never been,
and it is your speech to us that is our only hope.
So give us ears.
“A pastor who recently started a new church in Lone Tree left his former Castle Rock church in financial disarray after leaving there in December 2011, according to current leaders of Castle Rock’s Calvary Chapel.
Brian Abeyta, senior pastor at Calvary Chapel from 2003 to 2011, in April led the debut service of the Beauty for Ashes Fellowship in a rented space at the Lone Tree Recreation Center.
In January 2012, he gave his last address to parishioners at Castle Rock’s Calvary Chapel, asking forgiveness for his behavior there.
“I let my guard down,” he said in a recorded address. “I became self-absorbed, financially irresponsible, bitter, a liar, deceptive, even unforgiving, all within these last few months. And for this, I’m deeply sorry.”
According to officials at the Castle Rock church, they’re still paying back rent and property taxes on their building, left unpaid under Abeyta’s leadership. Senior pastor Dave Love and board member Dave Weston said that for the last three years Abeyta was at the Castle Rock church, it operated without a board, in violation of bylaws. Based on an independent audit, they believe Abeyta spent more than $200,000 for personal use in 2011 alone.
“The money we’re talking about is well beyond any benefit or salary,” Love said.
“It’s unambiguous,” Weston agreed. “People have gone to jail for less.”…
AS we confess that vain and rash swearing is forbidden Christian men by our Lord Jesus Christ, so we judge that Christian religion doth not prohibit but that a man may swear when the magistrate requireth in a cause of faith and charity, so it be done according to the Prophet’s teaching in justice, judgement, and truth.
The current cultural context has shifted the meaning of this article quite a bit. What do you think they meant when they wrote this?
We asked for your support if the Lord led you to do so.
I just got this report;
“You may have seen we are back in the villages. Please tell your people thank so very much for their generous support. The money that they sent was used to buy valuable medicines for the medical clinic we are doing this week. Our doctor was ecstatic that he had $500 more to buy medicines with. There was already one case in which those funds helped two kids with a certain disease that required an otherwise expensive anti-biotic that we would have not been able to bring had we not had that additional money.
I thought I should send this to you while we were still here so they can join us in prayer for the remainder of the week. I’m also pleased to say that God has blessed them with an unusual amount of rain this past week. This will help their crops get a good start. I am convinced God is blessing these people by a move of His Spirit, as I spent some time with other ministry leaders this morning talking and praying and hearing what He is doing in their ministries as well. It is very pleasing to hear these things.
Thank you my brother for extending this ministry to the blog and to all of them who are praying and giving according to what they purpose in their hearts.”
Folks, my heart is full of gratitude and love to all of you who have prayed and given to this work.
We made a little dent in hell together and some kids are being loved and cared for because of you.
Why do I encourage dialog with Calvary Chapel pastors?
The brand of churches named “Calvary Chapel” isn’t going away.
There are going to be good churches with the brand and bad churches with the same for the foreseeable future.
Their success will be solely determined by how many people in a local geographic area support them.
There is never going to be a central governing agency that can be “reformed”.
Independence is as important to these churches as any biblical doctrine.
Very soon, the singular authority that is in place in CC will be gone and the whole movement will shatter like an iPhone screen on concrete.
Change, “reform”, if you will, cannot be effected simply by demanding it happen… those demands have no power in free market religion.
It cannot be effected by an attitude of contempt toward every pastor with the brand.
The only path to reform is the same as in a Southern Baptist church or one of the multitude of other independent churches loosely affiliated under some brand.
One pastor at a time.
One congregant at a time.
Change in the free market church will only come when pastors are persuaded to insure accountability and congregants are educated in their biblical rights and responsibilities and the warning signs of abusive leadership.
Both will require relationship and communication.
We must have the ability to communicate in a way that we will be heard…we must appeal to conscience and biblical ethics with both pastor and pew.
It will not always be successful with those we speak to.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and it’s a race that will be going on long after I’m gone.
That’s the course we set a few years ago.
In my estimation, it’s the only way to see positive change in any of the independent denominations and I truly want to see those changes.
Unless a law is broken or civil rights abused, these churches cannot be forced to do anything other than what they are.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…nobody can lead if there’s no one following, no one can survive in the arena of free market religion without supporters.
The entire church must desire to be healthy.
Do we mark those who abuse their authority and bring shame and pain on the Body of Christ?
Absolutely…we have and we will…but that can’t be all we do.
With patience and grace and fortitude we must keep speaking, keep dialoging, and keep praying.
I may be wrong, but it’s the path I believe the Lord has given me here to walk both publicly and privately.
You may choose to disagree, but this is how I’m going to do the works that have been set before me here.
1. Those religious leaders who are more worried about financial liability than accountability before God are in danger of gaining the world and losing their souls. The church is commanded to value people over mammon.
2. A man with a family decides to walk across the Grand Canyon on a wire without a safety harness or a net and thinks God is in it. You bet.
3. So now the great American couch potato sport is to watch programs where there is a high probability of someone dying. Soon, we’ll rebuild the Coliseum.
5. I’m still not sure whether a pastor who falls into “moral failure” should ever go back into vocational ministry.
6. I have many pictures of Crater Lake…but none even come close to capturing the immenseness and depth and sheer grandeur of the place. Pictures are just tiny representations of what it is. So it is with what we see of people on blogs. Words on a monitor fail to capture much of the person that wrote them, but we act as if they do. In fact, we too easily forget there are persons behind the words at all.
7. From the information given by his daughter, I can easily extrapolate from my own experience how very ill Chuck Smith is. I’ve had the surgery they are planning for him…and it’s not an easy road ahead. Despite all of the profound issues I have with Smith, my heart and prayers go out to him and his family as they go through the shadow.
9. “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you,leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”(Matthew 5:23–24 ESV)
When we are satisfied with marking and exposing without reconciling, we have lost the heart and purpose of God .
10. The most difficult thing I think about is how to hold on to what I believe are biblical truths while having great empathy with people who believe those truths persecute them.