Ministry Confusion – My Personal Journey

I guess I should interject here that this is not my autobiography, just a blog to highlight various spiritual encounters that shaped who I would later become. The 1970’s was a blessed decade for me. The emergence of what was termed “The Charismatic Movement” gave me an opportunity to see the Holy Spirit in operation outside of what I was raised to believe was only in my own denominational boundaries. It also gave me an opportunity to perfect my teaching gift outside of my racial and denominational restrictions.

By the mid-seventies I felt like a yo-yo pulled on a double string in opposite directions. In the Black church I was becoming popular as a keyboard player with Gospel music and in mostly Caucasian churches a developing bible teacher around the country. In fact, at times I felt like I had a double identity. A “superman” complex began to emerge. As “Clark Kent” I served as a musician and as my alter ego, I was becoming a gifted teacher. Ultimately what should I do? How could I balance music and ministry? Was there a balance or should I replace one for the other?

I have to confess here that it was my “Charismatic” worship experiences that began to put my spiritual gifting in perspective. So as I traveled around the world with various “Charismatic Teachers” of the day and increased my personal and professional bible study, a new man was emerging. While at the same time I was serving various ministry functions within the Black church. It was during this season, my ministry developed from imitating preaching styles I was accustomed to – to initiating a unique teaching style of my own.

This is Part 9 of the series “My Personal Journey”

To start at the beginning click here – http://dmgolphin.me/2013/07/24/how-it-all-began/

Cultural Shock – My Personal Journey

I spent a lot of time in my teens building my library from the local “Baptist Book Store.”  Seemed strange since my classical apostolic background was anti-Baptist. But I was really led to Church History and Biblical Interpretation. So while my musical skills were growing and I played the organ regularly in churches around town, my hunger for God was being pursued in my private prayer and study times.  

I have at admit my real introduction to life outside my small church and social community in Baltimore in the 1960’s was being drafted in the Army. I had few friends; I was a loner and deep thinker; and my dad’s church had done a good indoctrination job on me. I had more questions than those around me could adequately answer. So I entered the military with a limited world view of society at large but I got a quick education in people, relationships, and religion.

My best friend in Basic Training was a red neck from Kentucky who had never personally interacted with Black people before.  We seemed to be drawn to each other out of the shock of the new environment we found ourselves ultimately having to adjust to. Our favorite pastime was singing “Sly Stone’s ‘60’s hit, “Don’t Call Me Niger, Whitey.” It really didn’t take me long to score high with a rifle and become an expert in hand-to-hand combat. So while the army was molding me into a soldier, I was also developing discipline that would shape my ministry career for many years to come. All the while trying to figure out where I should go from here.

This is Part 7 in the series

To start at the beginning click here – http://dmgolphin.me/2013/07/24/how-it-all-began/

Or continue on to Part 8 here – http://dmgolphin.me/2013/08/03/providence-before-academics-my-personal-journey/

My Indoctrination – My Personal Journey

The summer of 1963 was a summer to remember. I had my call into ministry, participated in the Civil Rights March to DC, and heard Martin Luther King, Jr. give his famous “I have A Dream “ speech and get my first job. Which by the way was as a dish washer making $35 a week. I would give my mother $20 and pay my tithes of $3.50 to my dad’s church and use the rest for myself. I was not permitted to minister outside our local church yet that would come later.

So for the next few years, all that sticks out to me was a pattern of work and attending church every opportunity that arose. Raised in a church environment where everything was sin, from the music you listened to – to killing the infestation of roaches that filled our home, it was difficult distinguishing what sin really was. All I can remember is that we could do nothing right and beat ourselves into an emotional frenzy in church to kill the flesh. While any form of entertainment or enjoyment outside of attending some church event was opening up to the devil. Children were not permitted to have fun.

We were small in number because we had the “Truth,” and any form of “large” church activity was viewed as not preaching the truth. No church was right except the “Apostolic” churches we fellowshipped with and other churches who did not believe in the Oneness of the God head or the right baptism in Jesus name were in error. The word “Trinity” was a dirty word in our circles and anyone who used it was referred to as “Three God people.”  I got the impression from Sunday School that there were the bible days and then there is the present times. No link between history and the scripture. All I knew was from the pages of scripture to every day life today. So by the time I was drafted in the Army and entered Basic training, I was a mixed up young man.

This is Part 6 of a series entitled “My Personal Journey”

You can read Part 1 at:
http://dmgolphin.me/2013/07/24/how-it-all-began/

Or continue on to Part 7 at – http://dmgolphin.me/2013/08/02/cultural-shock-my-personal-journey/

The War Begins

We are in a war between “rights” and “morals” and it obvious who is winning. America has a history of making what Christians have called in the past “vices” legal. When gambling became legal we got the lottery. When alcohol became legal we got state run stores. When churches became legal we got tax exempt status. What do we do when sin in general becomes legal? Constitutionally, we are enforcing the very core of this country’s real purpose. We were not formed to make a Christian nation, but a nation of individual rights. Everything in between we owe God praise and honor for the breathe He allowed us to experience. Government of the people, by the people, and for the people. A melting pot of culture, religion, and the right to live my life my way. If institutions interfere with my rights then we just have to change the institutions.

We really can’t expect the world to comply with what they have not embraced. Jesus command was to “Go make disciples.” The Church needs to return to evangelism. When was the last time you heard the terms “repent”, “sin”, even a call to salvation in churches? We have become so self-absorbed in marketing our empires all we worry about is getting enough money to, as they say. “Advance the kingdom.” But don’t we really care who is populating the kingdom as long as they have a contribution to make. Have they been discipled or merely celebrated because of their contribution?  We even have this attitude in churches and congregations are running the vision and mission of the church in the name of the people.  We have rights – yes – the right to live and die. Everything in between we owe God praise and honor for the breath He allowed us to experience.

The “Light” is getting dim in America. Who has the courage to flip the switch back on to the “Light” of God’s Glory? Who is on the Lord’s side, let them come forward and pray not fight.

Enough Is Enough

I discern that at some point, we have to stop going outside the present Church and starting new churches. We have to step back and stop reinventing and start maintaining. Churches are not man-made but God-given, and they are God-given through an actual historical tradition of faith and order. In fact, The real Church is hidden under, a mass of social, cultural and theological debris. To rediscover this ‘one true church’,which is there in all the three traditions of the Church, Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant, one must bathe in scripture, prayer, and tolerance for other expressions of worship pursing toward the same goal.

Talk Is Cheap

We talk unity but practice division every day. The practice of Christian unity is a difficult task for the church. Many things divide Christians from other Christians—gifts, doctrine, church government, mode of baptism and so on. Whether we like it or not, divisions have occurred, and we must live with them. But we must be inspired and guided by Scripture and prayer to do better or things will only get worse. But real unity is not unity in sameness but unity in purpose and function. We must all be united in the fact that God is God; that Jesus Christ is Lord; and that the Holy Spirit is present today in the believer’s life. How that works out in every day practice is the struggle of sameness, not unity. What we believe ought to be consistent. How we practice what we believe is the question.

Unity Through Diversity

As Christians, each of us is given a valuable spiritual gift to build and edify the body of Christ. But these gifts should always be developed in the context of community—the harmony of many voices. Working together to develop team ministry and team participation. It is in effect unity by diversity. Our differences should bring us strength not weakness. We should learn how to celebrate and support each other.  As Christians, we should celebrate our differences and not discuss our weaknesses with those who don’t offer positive reinforcement in your life.

The Troubled Church

The body of Christ is in trouble. When I view the competition in ministries, the jealousy regarding spiritual gifts, and the lack of participation among believers to witnessing, I know that we need to recoup our attention. We have enough external problems without creating internal conflicts among ourselves. I wonder sometimes with all the bickering over doctrine, worship, methods, and style when can we hear a fresh word from the Lord regarding direction and purpose? When will we overcome the handicaps of the past while we prepare for the mandates of the future? When will kingdom building and demon chasing become the focus of attention again in the body of Christ?

Three Misconceptions About Worship

Jesus pointed out three misconceptions regarding worship to the woman at the well in John 4:21-24.

(1) KNOWLEDGE– Jesus began with the woman’s comprehension of what she practiced or knew (knowledge) as “worship.” That is the problem, many of us are trapped in traditions that were never fully explained or validated as scriptural or biblical. It is because we don’t take the time to study and research for ourselves that we come up with wrong conclusions to right ideas.  Relearning what God really wants from us in worship must be sought and not imagined.

(2) LOCATION – Jesus then redefined the location of worship (the place) from a geographical structure to a supernatural reality.  His attempt was to release one from the visible reality of a manifestation of God’s Glory; and then transport them to a faith-walk imprinting the presence of God in our minds. We have gotten so accustomed to physical structures that reflect worship (i.e. tabernacles, temples, sanctuaries, and churches); and mark time and space to capture the Glory, we are in essence lost in our own inventions. So we never journey to the supernatural because we see too much in the natural.

(3) PATTERN – Jesus then moved to the pattern of worship (Spirit and Truth). We must journey between the visible to the invisible and back again. In other words, our worship must invoke the presence of God as we assure ourselves that our prayer language is reaching the Throne Room. We really can’t have one without the other. The Holy Spirit is activated by the personification of Truth in the person and work of Jesus Christ. The need for Jesus Christ to become Truth, not just give truth. We are too factual and not focused on essence of truth because the wisdom of truth has not invaded our knowledge of truth.

Balancing A Worship Atmosphere

The pattern of worship is (Spirit and Truth). We must journey between the visible to the invisible and back again. In other words, our worship must invoke the presence of God as we assure ourselves that our prayer language is reaching the Throne Room. We really can’t have one without the other. The Holy Spirit is activated by the personification of Truth in the person and work of Jesus Christ. What we know has to supersede what we comprehend with our human senses. That is the problem, many of us are trapped in traditions that were never fully explained or validated as scriptural or biblical. But it is because we don’t take the time to study and research for ourselves.  So in an effort to release one from the visible reality to an invisible reality of a image of God’s Glory; and then transporting them on a  faith-walk imprinting the presence of God in one’s mind. We have gotten so accustomed to physical structures that reflect worship (i.e. tabernacles, temples, sanctuaries, and churches); we then mark time and space to capture the Glory, we are in essence lost in our own inventions. So between our own selfish natures and demonic influences we are struggling to maintain a worship atmosphere.  An atmosphere of power that must propel us beyond icons and monuments that trap us into the now; to the freshness of God’s Glory filling the earth with the fragrance of the Holy Spirit.