|Posted - 01 Jul 2008 : 20:55:34 |
Jesus Joshua 24:15 Newsletter - July 2008
Bobby Shepherd: Drums
Steve Pettit: Lead Vocals
Jay Woody: Bass
Will Rauser: Guitars
Mark Bussell: Webmaster, Computer Tech, Photography, Roadie
Tammy Woody: Video Production, Wardrobe
Juli Rauser: Booking
George Sparks: Roadie
Having No Word
Welcome to the July edition of the Jesus Joshua 24:15 Newsletter. I realize that we are about to celebrate Independence Day (Well, here in the United States), but I want to avoid the typical, cliched articles on "freedom" and "liberty". Nothing is wrong with those subjects, mind you! It is appropriate to write and talk about them. However, I would like to deal with a rather sub-related topic: personal integrity. And, to be more specific, having and keeping one's word.
Some recent events have caused me to consider the value of one's word. There used to be a time when a handshake and a promise were all one needed to etch a deal in stone. Now, we have lawyers and litigants. Why? Because people apparently do not understand how to keep their word. Now, we Christians hem and haw over the world's lack of ability to keep their word, and we really aren't that much better at it.
What am I referring to, you ask?
Several weeks ago, the band made a two hour trip to an event hosted by another city. Of course, this event was city wide, although our part of it was really only a subset of that event. Some well meaning Christian brothers decided to use the opportunity of this event to stage a Christian concert, featuring some Christian metal bands, of the type that would appeal to both Christian and secular audiences.
Since the Christian organizers had to rent space, and be approved by the city, they had to abide by the rules of that city. Of course, the city government not being Christian, told the organizers that they could display whatever they wished, have any band play whatever they wished, and even pray and praise God all they wanted to. But, they were not allowed to preach. The organizers of the Christian event agreed to the conditions and restrictions put forth by the city, and thus were approved for the event.
Naturally, since the city policy is secular in nature, that automatically puts it at odds with Christianity. We know, as believers, that the world hates us because of Jesus. Jesus told us this. None of us should really be surprised by this.
Yet, we Christians also have a mandate from our Lord to preach the Gospel wherever we go. And since we serve a much higher authority than a city government, it would seem the choice would be fairly easy to make. As the Apostle Peter famously said in Acts, "Decide for yourself which is better to serve men or serve God."
However, one of our Lord's tenets was to live in accordance with the laws of one's country. Both the Apostle Peter and the Apostle Paul reflected that teaching in their letters. In Romans 13:1, Paul writes, "Everyone must submit to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God."
Peter writes, in I Peter 2:13, "Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and commend those who do right."
Paul further writes, in I Thessalonians 4:11-12, "Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders (i.e. non-believers - Ed.) and so that you will not be dependent on anyone."
Lead quiet lives? Mind your own business? Isn't Paul and Peter contradicting the Great Commission? And, what does all of this have to do with keeping your word?
Well, for starters, let's re-examine the city scenario. Our well-intentioned Christian organizers, though agreeing to the city's restrictions and conditions, decided to break their word, and do it anyway. As a result, they ended up having the police called on them. Fortunately, the police really couldn't remove them, since the organizers had a signed permission document. But, the Christian organizers lost their opportunity to have a part in the event next year. Their logic? Well, let's not be concerned with what man thinks! Preaching to the lost is more important than honoring our word.
Well, with all due respect, that logic makes about as much sense as screwing for virginity (please forgive the street lingo, but some of you need to be awakened and slapped silly). The Scripture is very clear; honoring your word is preaching to the lost. There are times and places where we Christians are going to have to make bold testimonies before the lost. However, those are going to be very extreme situations, requiring a clear stand for truth. Yet, we must learn to pick our battles.And most of the time, we are the victims of our own design, not the world's. Because we choose to operate outside of the tenets that are set forth in Scripture, with regard to our relationships with our fellow men, and we are stepped on and knocked over. Then we cry out like we're some kind of martyr, as if we were being stoned for our faith like Stephen.
The truth is, we get trampled because we didn't obey the Scriptures about honoring our word, and about how we should live by example. And then we expect the world to obey the Gospel rolling off our tongues? No wonder we Christians get laughed at and ignored. If anything, Christians should be the one's who understand the concept of honoring our word. But, in may cases, we simply have not learned that simple, yet crucial, lesson.
In an unrelated, yet starkly similar, situation; a person close to me had to deal with some customers who, though Christians, found themselves trying to weasel out of a contract they had agreed to and signed. The contract was worth a lot of money, money that the place of business depends upon to continue running. When confronted, the leader of the group gathered several of his fellow Christian leaders, in an effort to subtly intimidate the person enforcing the contract. When intimidation didn't work, they tried appealing to the higher calling of the ministry. "Well, this is for ministry, " they said, "how can you require us to pay money we do not have, knowing that the ministry might be harmed."
I have to tell you, holding the ministry emotionally hostage is not a valid argument for dishonoring your word. If anyone should understand the importance of honoring one's word, it should be Christian leaders (pastors, preachers, deacons, etc.). Unfortunately, many church leaders operate like Enron CEO's, only honoring what is needed to serve their own interests. Who cares what happens to the little people?
Yet, do we not operate just like the world when we don't honor our word? But, I guess it doesn't matter, as long as the Gospel is preached? That is absolutely ridiculous! It is a horrible example to the world that we do not keep our word. I believe that falls under the command of "bearing false witness." The Bible says, flatly, "Don't!"
I write this because we Christians are supposed to live to a higher standard. If we cannot operate in the simplicity of keeping our word, then how can we expect the world to believe us when we tell them about Jesus? Why do we always think that having to honor our word, a word that we gave freely, conflicts with spreading the Gospel? Why do we always act like victims and martyrs, when it was simply us Christians ignoring our word; and wonder why the people we gave our word to is upset with us, and don't want to deal with us?
In Numbers 30:1-2, Moses declares a command from God, saying; "When a man makes a vow to the Lord or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said." People of God, you might want to think about that the next time you make a promise you refuse to keep. In cases where one fails to keep their word, it isn't the devil who steals your lunch... it is you who give it to him.
News and Events
- Jesus Joshua will be sharing the Soul Joy Records stage at Cornerstone '08, with Wisdom's Call, Eden's Way, Lord Chain, and F.O.G, and several others TBA. This will be July 5, 2008, in Bushnell Illinois.Tentative show time for Jesus Joshua 24:15 will be 3:00PM to 4:00PM
- Be in prayer for Jesus Joshua 24:15, as they will be hitting the road July 4th, early in the morning, to make the 16-18 hour trip to Bushnell, Illinois, for Cornerstone. Pray that the traffic will be calm, the fuel as cheap as possible, and that God will provide both safe journey and protection over our families while we are gone. Also, be in prayer that God will use us, not to entertain, but to bring about what He would have us say to that audience at that time.
- A special Happy Birthday goes out to JJ24:15 bass player, Jay Woody! July 4th will be yet another year of life. Older and (hopefully) wiser!
- Continue to lift John Henton up in your prayers. As of last report, John is home, recovering. He has been diagnosed with a rare case of Avian Flu. Though recovering at home, John still has a long road ahead. John has many life changing decisions ahead, as a result of his condition and recovery.
- Let's give a "Happy Anniversary" to Will and his wife, Juli. They will be celebrating their 16th wedding anniversary on the 13th of June!
- If you have any questions for the band, or any single member of the band, send an email to Axeman2415 via the JJ24:15 website. Any questions are welcome, but the band reserves the right not to answer any questions of deeply personal or vulgar nature.
- Check out Jesus Joshua 24:15's Myspace site: www.myspace.com/JesusJoshua2415 . Come, hear the music, buy the CD's, leave a comment, and fellowhip with us!
- You can also check out Will's Myspace: www.myspace.com/axeman2415
Question for the band
In a recent magazine interview, Will was asked some questions regarding the band.
Here is one of those questions;
What do you have to say about how God will meet a person where they are in life?
Will: Well, I believe that the Apostle Paul was on his way to Damascus, with the full intent of persecuting the believers, when Jesus met him on that very road. I sincerely doubt that God has stopped doing that. I've met too many Christians who can testify that God met them right in the middle of the mess they were involved in. While I do believe that the Church is the best environment to foster the desire for God, God is not limited to a building, that smells free of cigarette smoke, alcohol, and unwashed bodies. Nor do I think that our Lord has virgin ears, and has never heard a profanity, including the times He spent physically on Earth, with the disciples.
Jesus said, "It is the sick that need the physician, not the well." Have you ever heard of a doctor saying, "I don't want to work in a hospital, because there are too many sick people there?" That would be ludicrous. If we are God's hands and feet, then it is time to get walking, and get working. That's how God meets people where they are. The lost are not going to come to the Church, because the Spirit is contrary to the flesh, and the flesh is contrary to the Spirit. But, if we are to reach out to the lost, then they are more inclined to at least hear the Gospel out, particularly if they can witness it in action within the lives of real people.
No, I am not suggesting that we commit sin to win people to Christ. No, I am not suggesting that we go places that a Christian shouldn't go. I cannot justify watching pornography to win a pornographer. I am not suggesting that I hire a prostitute to win a prostitute. There are legitimate ways to get alongside people.
However, I might remind Christians that the lost are not all pornographers and prostitutes. They are people with families, jobs, and responsibilities the same as we have. And we are alongside them all the time.
A Final Thought
This month's newsletter is somewhat abbreviated. The guitar articles will appear next month, due to preparations for Cornerstone. Also, my usual final thoughts will reappear next month. There will be some changes in the Newsletter, but they will be subtle and gentle. No sudden changes. However, those of you who subscribe to the monthly newsletter who wish to, send me some suggestions for what you might like to see in the newsletter. Until next month!
"C'mon Dave, Gimme a break!"
Edited by - AXEMAN2415 on 01 Jul 2008 20:59:16