Men, Do You Worship Your Ministry?

Kind of an odd question, right? If you are a Christian, you worship God. Ministry is what you do in service to God. So how can you worship it? Let me explain by giving you a picture of my life, and how God has shown me where my worship lies.

I am a full time father and husband, as well as a full time employee. I am a part time evangelist, part time Sunday School teacher, and a part time Christian blogger. Now, if someone were to ask my friends and family what my full time work was, most would likely point to my “part time” work. That is because, were you to look at my life and what I am doing, that is what you would see. It is also constantly what I talk about and what is often posted by me in my social networking. In fact, while considering how to write this blog, I’ve been witnessing to a sixteen year old atheist on YouTube. It is a major part of my life. However, God began to show me something in the last year about how I view my part time ministries, as compared to my full time position as a husband and father.

If you are a Christian husband and father, your first and foremost ministry is your family. This is not even debatable. In fact, the standard for an elder in 1 Timothy 3: 2-5 tells us, “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?)”. In other words, a man should have his own house in order before even being considered to become an elder. Does this mean that every single person in every single ministry has to meet the standard of an elder? No. But as it is a good thing to desire the office of an elder, I believe this sets a reasonable measure that we should look at when we are involved in ministry. But, when I began to look at my home, I realized this was an area I was lacking in.

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Apologizing for believing a lie.

According to this article, an African pastor has apologized for believing and furthering Harold Camping’s false prophecy:

A pastor in Kasese District, who claimed the world would end on May 21, has apologised to residents. Pastor Isaac Muhindo, who has since early last year been moving around the district, spreading his doomsday massage, [sic] said he was ashamed of his act.

“I want to apologise to the people of Kasese and whoever heard my messages about the end of the world. I am very sorry for the inconveniences because I followed false prophets,” Pastor Muhindo said on Wednesday in his message sent to the media.

Many people in the district and the country at large spent the whole of Saturday waiting for the end of the world as presumed by Pastor Herold Camping, a California-based evangelist.

Camping’s followers had told people that at 6pm there would be an earthquake that would cause the world to end and usher in Judgment Day.

Repentance
Pastor Muhindo said: “I am ready to go back to my church and repent for misleading the people of God and I am now going to follow the scriptures seriously without wrong interpretations.”

Last year, Pastor Muhindo was denied airtime at most local radio stations in Kasese to preach his alleged end of the world on May 21.

Panic gripped some people in Kasese after the predicted doomsday was characterised by a heavy downpour that started at 2pm and ended after 7pm.

Ms Gertrude Masika, a shopkeeper in Kasese town, said she did not open her shop on May 21 out of fear that the world would end.

“I thought even customers could not come on that day and I decided to remain home because customers were unlikely to appear as they waited to see the end of the world,” she said.

Sadly, America has exported many of its homegrown cults to places such as Africa, and Harold Camping is no exception.

Thanks to the Africa Center for Apologetics Research for keeping us apprised of this news.

May 21, 2011 . . . much to do about nothing.

Since Harold Camping is once again predicting Judgment Day to arrive on a specific day (a day that even the Son does not know), I figured I’d turn on Family Radio this past Monday to see how those expecting the world to end in less than a week would spend their valuable air time.

Besides playing a lot of music, they had a vignette on how to help your children to stop focusing on the needs of today and instead look further into the future at bigger things like college and career, and they even had a radio appeal for more financial donors to help keep the radio station broadcasting.

I found all that to be very odd. Less than a week before the demise of the world and Family Radio is worried about finances to keep the station on the air and concerned about telling you how to get your kids to focus on their future?

Did I miss something?

And then there was the music. I don’t know about you, but if I knew that Christ was returning for His bride in less than a week, I’d be using the airways to deliver the Gospel message of repentance and faith, not playing music.

I wonder why the nonchalant approach toward such an impending day of doom. Do they not even take themselves seriously?

Could Christ return on May 21, 2011? Absolutely, for He told us to keep watch because He will indeed return. But not only did He say that no man knows the time of His return (Matthew 24:36), He also said He will come at an hour when we least expect Him (Luke 12:40).

ABC News has a piece on some Atheists who are taking this Sunday’s event more serious than Camping’s own radio station, even if it’s only to line their own pockets with the money of the gullible. Here’s a quote from the article:

Wondering about the fate of your pets after Judgment Day?
Well, for $135, a loving atheist will care for your animal if you’re not around anymore.

Eternal Earthbound Pets offers a service to rescue and take care of pets once their owners have been taken away to the heavenly realms.  Though doomsayers say this Saturday will be the latest day of reckoning that’s not expected to leave animals behind either.

Bart Centre of New Hampshire, co-owner of the pet business, launched it in June 2009. He has zero belief in Judgment Day, but began to see an increase in sales inquiries in December, which, he believes, is related to Family Radio’s heavy marketing campaign around the May 21 date.

The retired retail executive said he has sold 258 contracts so far.

ABC News also has a brief piece by Calvin Lawrence Jr. (reprinted below) on past judgment days that have come and gone, including predictions by the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Chuck Smith (yes, the Chuck Smith of the Calvary Chapel™ franchise).

No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

The Bible couldn’t be clearer, right there in the Book of Matthew: chapter 24, verse 36.

But doomsayers have sworn since at least Roman times that they’re better sourced than the angels themselves, boldly trotting out predictions down to the day for the Final Judgment, when, Christians believe, Jesus will descend to earth and set off a chain of events resulting in the end of the world and a new heaven.

May 21, 2011, is the latest attempt to get a jump on Judgment Day, courtesy of Oakland, Calif.-based Family Radio, a nonprofit evangelical Christian group. And, assuming we’re all here to follow up, it will make a nice addition on May 22 to this random list of predicted Second Comings we’ve survived so far.

1. Let’s start with Family Radio, whose president, Harold Camping, predicted the End of Days before: Sept. 6, 1994. Camping had been “thrown off a correct calculation because of some verses in Matthew 24,” a company spokesman told ABC News this month.

The Christian radio broadcaster is apparently more confident this time around, spending big bucks on 5,000 billboards, posters, fliers and digital bus displays across the country.

2. Edgar Whisenant didn’t get it right the first time, either, when he predicted a mid-September 1988 Rapture, even publishing the books “88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988” and “On Borrowed Time.” No Apocalypse, no problem. The former NASA engineer simply pushed his predictions off to three subsequent years and wrote books along the way, none of which reportedly sold as well as the first two.

He died in 2001. We’re unable to confirm where he’s awaiting the big day.

3. Jehovah’s Witnesses first anticipated the end of times in 1914, now noting on their official website that “not all that was expected to happen in 1914 did happen, but it did mark the end of the Gentile Times and was a year of special significance.”

4. In the century before, renowned New England Baptist minister William Miller triggered what ultimately became known as the “great disappointment” after his failed prophesies that Christ would return sometime between March 21, 1843, and March 21, 1844, and then on Oct. 22, 1844.

5. More recently, Pastor John Hinkle of Christ Church Los Angeles told a Trinity Broadcasting Network audience that the “most cataclysmic experience that the world has ever known since the Resurrection … is going to happen,” according to the Christian Research Institute, which is home to “Bible Answer Man.”

Hinkle said God, “in the most awesome voice,” told him that “on Thursday, June the ninth [1994], I will rip the evil out of this world.”

You might have missed it, however, because the prophesy came to pass invisibly, he said, according to the Christian Research Institute.

6. Chuck Smith, the prolific author and senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa in California, turned to scripture and simple math to prepare his flock for the Tribulation. “If I understand Scripture correctly, Jesus taught us that the generation which sees he ‘budding of the fig tree,’ the birth of the nation Israel, will be the generation that see the Lords return,” he wrote in his book “End Times” (1978). “I believe that the generation 1948 is the last generation. Since a generation of judgment is forty years and the Tribulation period lasts seven years, I believe the Lord could come back for His Church any time before the Tribulation starts, which would mean any time before 1981. (1948+40-7=1981).”

“I could be wrong,” he wrote in “Future Survival” (1978), “but it’s a deep conviction in my heart, and all my plans are predicated upon that belief.”

Smith was wrong and has not only abandoned his prophesying ways but since has looked askance at others who have gone down that road.

“The Jehovah’s Witnesses, for example, thought the world was sure to end in 1914,” Smith wrote in his book “Dateline Earth: Countdown to Eternity” (1989). “When it didn’t happen, they merely moved the date up a few years.”

7. The prophetic-sounding year 2000 inspired too many doomsday predictions to list here. Suffice it to say that, in hindsight, there was really no need to party like it was 1999.