God Anointed Leaders Need Encouragement Right Now
Your God anointed leader needs encouragement right now! Recently, I attended a Thanksgiving Service and as I looked at who is currently leading our church community, I became discouraged.
God Anointed Leaders Aren’t Leading
There is a saying in corporate America: “cream rises to the top.” Multiple decades in executive leadership taught me the opposite is true. Those who executive organizational leadership like most are promoted regardless of competence.
I have been witness to the least capable, committed, and sincere often “rising” to the top of church leadership. Jesus called just such men to launch His Church and this Holy means of identifying His leaders continues to this day.
However, the difference is God chooses which “incapable” leaders rise while confused and ignorant church congregations choose their “Eliab” (let those who have an ear hear).
Back to the Thanksgiving Service.
As I noticed who was sitting in the leadership chairs, my heart became discouraged. It wasn’t that I didn’t know who these men were prior. As well, it wasn't all demonic because the host church's Pastor is a man I much admire and respect!
As a matter of fact, there were two (2) host churches for the entire week and both Host Pastors are worthy of commendation.
Nevertheless, over the last several years, my heart has been broken in ways I can scarcely describe. It began with watching the faith community LITERALLY being led to death’s doorstep.
My heartbreak is echoed on the pages of the Book of Jeremiah 8:18-22:
I do not say this with respect to, in any way, believing I am a man to lead our community. God forbid! But to see those men and understanding what they are, breaks my heart for them and this community.
I can hear the uber-religious respond: “His thoughts are not our thoughts neither are His ways our ways says the Lord God.” I have preached this hundreds of times, so I get it. However, and like the prophet Jeremiah, my discouragement makes my heart: "faint within me."
At this service, each got in front of the microphone, said all the right things, yet like demonic Pied Pipers, led God people to a place of “phony” and hypocritical worship. As always, the Lord had a "ram in the bush!"
The only sincere person up there preached the sermon and for that I bless the name of Jesus Christ! I am privileged to watch God exalt this young Pastor. Moreover, and though I am much older, when the Lord exalts him or other real leader, I will blessedly fall into line BEHIND them!
When I began to Pastor, these same men warned me to watch God’s people because “they will eat you up man.”
Years later, I am witness to the exact opposite being true. It is those who “warned” which are the true threat to the Kingdom of God!
I know, for a fact, that God anointed leaders are not the ones most often in-charge. This must be true because Pastoral Hiring Committees require the wrong “qualifiers” and ignore what really matters: call and integrity.
Further, the state of our country, and its spiritual condition, is part and parcel to this reality. This is not to suggest that the church is the answer to all the world’s problems. We are not sent to save the world only those that are willing to come out of the world.
To be a bit more revelatory: we are sent into the apple orchard to pick certain apples, not the entire orchard. Every apple is not fit to either be picked nor eaten.
However, as a preacher of the gospel, and prophet of the Lord, I see little difference between the church and the world. And it seems instead of the church leading the world, it is the world forming the church “into its own image and after its own likeness.”
Although the world wouldn’t be totally different were all of God’s true servants in charge, there would be a noticeable difference!
Jesus said (John 12:30:32):
This is not what is taking place in the body of Christ (Satan being cast out). The Prince of darkness is running wild and as the other biblical text declares: “my people love to have it so.”
Godly Leaders are Silent in the Face of Evil
There is this double-edged sword with “God-called” leaders. They have hearts overflowing with grace but it becomes “enablement” and morphs into cowardice.
As I write this, I can only think of two people who “abound in grace” and are NOT cowards in the faith. One (1) is not a Preacher rather a Deacon.
These grace aficionados are noticeably silent in the face of public evil from those they serve with. The silent, yet graceful, generally fall into three camps. First are those who believe, through their silence, they are showing “the grace of Jesus Christ.”
There is nowhere in Scripture when silence in the face of wickedness is ever correlated with grace. This deafening silence forgets, or is ignorant of the fact that God’s love was first shown through sacrificial discipline (The Cross).
The next group is those who decide to simply “stay away” and have nothing to do with the rest of the Christian community. Well, at least, not on a regular basis. The final group have addressed the wickedness, yet don’t on a consistent enough basis.
Their excuse for not “warring a good warfare is: “I said what needed to be said and don’t ever need to speak on it again.”
With respect to the final group, I am certainly glad that Ezekiel, Jeremiah, John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, and others didn’t take that worldview.
They confronted evil over an extended period, and in direct contradiction to those who “throw spiritual grenades” and run back into their “holes."
All three (3) groups are convinced they are following the Lord’s leading.
Admittedly, and in fairness to "grenade and retreat" Christians, getting spiritually "punched in the face over and over" is tough. I've confronted wicked Pastors over the last several years and it is beyond difficult.
Yet after having been halted from this mission by the Holy Spirit, and seen no fruit, I have been discouraged.
God forgive my selfishness.
If you aren't confronting evil regularly, directly, and boldly, you have become evil through "inaction." Let me guess how these sorts defend their cowardice: “I pray for them brother!”
James wrote WHAT about your “prayers” absent action?
Further, had Paul remained silent after witnessing Peter sin, at Antioch, he would have become just as guilty as Peter.
We mustn’t forget (2nd Timothy 3:16-17):
Here is a crucial question: “what if Jesus would’ve remained silent in the face of the temple priest and their error.” We have become efficient at avoiding the uncomfortable examples of Jesus while clinging to those we view as more “loving.”
As an example of this “cherry picking” view is - when is the last time you were taught Jesus Christ commanded His disciples to go BUY WEAPONS? In their time, it was swords, today it would be GUNS?
Yet, you are constantly taught the “turn the other cheek” Jesus, right?
I am so blessed that my mother, teachers, and neighborhood elders never “loved me so much” as to remain silent. Beloved, your silence is not the love of God, it is the HATE of Ha Shatan who celebrates it!
If you believe I am embellishing, listen to the words of Jesus (Matthew 12:30):
It is impossible to claim to love God, see someone in need of His truth, yet withhold it from them.
Discouragement Comes with Facing Truth
It isn’t always ‘truth’ about others that discourages real leaders either. The truth about us can be, and is, often even more discouraging. The reality is I would not be as discouraged if my faith was greater.
This is the area that challenges most of us more often than we would admit (faith). However, Jeremiah’s discouragement both in chapter 8 and Jeremiah chapter 20 resulted from seeing no results.
In a previous article, I spoke about the spiritual toll of watching a church schism occur when I was a younger preacher.
Although church break-ups aren’t a new occurrence, this was a new experience for me as an adult. Not just part of me, but all of me wants God to show up and deal with issues as they occur. The reality is God is dealing with them, just not in ways I understand.
Further, my greatest discouragement comes from watching church leaders literally feed on God’s people while they are yet living.
I classify these sorts as hyenas which are worse than wolves. Wolves, lions, and tigers kill their prey and then consume them. Hyenas don’t always kill before consuming.
I saw a documentary about a group of hyenas who caught a young heard animal. Unlike the cats previously mentioned, these hyenas didn’t kill their catch before eating.
They simply began to rip the young animals stomach out while it was alive.
There is something about wicked church leaders openly feeding on, abusing, and misusing God’s people that angers me to a place of near violence.
Watching this spiritual violence against God's people helped me better understand the murderous rage of Elijah at Mt. Carmel.
I understand the Prophets ZEALOUS RAGE against false prophets who encouraged people to worship idols. Also, violence of a young man named Phineas, in the Exodus story, also came into view for me.
At this point, I could be like other writers and say: “this is something I have to take to the Lord so he can remove this feeling from me.”
My prayer is much different. I plead with God to deal with those who are so openly feeding on His people not in His wrath but in His mercy!
In certain situations as well, openly hostile righteous anger is more than appropriate!
Here are biblical examples:
Jesus chasing the money-changers from the temple (John 2:15)
John the Baptist openly confronting wicked King Herod (Matthew 14:1-4)
Paul scolding a back-slidden Galatian church (Galatians 1:6-10)
Need I continue?
I also am openly hostile with those who may not be feeding on God’s people, directly, but allow the "table to continually be set." In their world, responsibility for God’s Sheep ends at the doors of the church they lead.
Never mind Paul’s description of the church as a wholly functioning body regardless of location.
Pray for Discouraged Leaders Often
What you may not know is God sent leaders get discouraged when evil seems to prosper. Sure, we have preached and often quoted (Psalms 37:1-2):
Yet putting this principle into practice has proven much more difficult! When I began this journey in ministry, I didn’t realize these evil doers were church leaders. I thought it was those outside the body and possibly even God’s Sheep.
Never, once, did I consider that those at the pinnacle of church leadership, were those Paul, Jeremiah, and Jesus Christ warned of.
If I can make that a bit plainer, both anacondas and pythons are dangerous. It is even recorded that anacondas have eaten pythons and vice versa. The same is true in these inner sanctums of religious leadership.
I have watched as these "constrictors" not only eat God’s Sheep, they swallow one another whole as well.
With all that is going on in the world, and possibly nuclear war on the menu, God anointed leaders need your prayers immediately. This is a desperate plea to the Saints of God who truly love Jesus.
Even for those God has allowed to see His Word in a supernatural way, we still struggle in our faith sometime. We preach the promises of God yet struggle to wait on them.
Yes, this does make me hypocritical at times! I have no problem admitting this shortcoming. The issue becomes those who are openly hypocritical, refuse to acknowledge it, and therefore never repent.
A final thing I would like to reveal is that I struggle with is something you might not have thought of.
While wolves and hyenas prosper, there is something else which compounds my heart ache. There are “men after God’s own heart” (not those who claim to be) following Jesus who have not, and may not ever, get the opportunity to lead God’s people.
They are suffocated, marginalized, and used to build the ministry of “reprobates.”
I know two preachers, here in the city, who are associate Pastors. They have shown allegiance to God for multiple decades yet sit on the sidelines and a forced to watch hyenas feed on God’s people.
I have invited several of them to preach for our church. I marvel at their character, love for Jesus, and humility! Knowing who these men are, I asked God: “how is it possible for these to not lead while those they follow are wolves and hyenas?”
Keep praying first, for yourself and always remember the God anointed leaders are struggling and in need of your petitions to God.
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