Kings or Politicians 05: A Handy Dictionary

One of the things you must get used to when you are reigning as a king is being called names by the fruitless politicians who cannot deal with your authority.

I thought I would provide a handy dictionary to help you translate what people mean when they call you names:

  • You are offending me – the truth offends me, but I cannot say that out loud, people will realize how immature I am
  • You are harsh, abrasive, rude, uncouth, undiplomatic or unpastoral – I am really annoyed I can’t control you
  • You are not accountable to anyone – you are not accountable to me
  • You should think before you speak – you should think about how it affects me personally, and not the kingdom of God
  • I thought you were supposed to be a pastor – I don’t know a single thing about being a pastor, and I don’t know a single Scripture about pastoring, but you are supposed to do what I want
  • I thought this was supposed to be a grace church – I thought you were supposed to be doing what I want all the time
  • I feel my advice could help you here – Here is a nice suit of armour, David…
  • How dare you say xxx? – I can clearly see you never said that, but arguing with what you did say is too hard, so I will change what you said to suit my argument.

These are all simple politician tricks to make you feel bad about being fruitful and bring you down to their fears and neuroses about what people think of them.

Keep looking for the next post, it’s a big one, about how the statesman Moses could not get the people into the promised land, but the warrior Joshua could. It will sort out this all warriors need to become statesmen nonsense some are saying.

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Kings and Politicians 04: The Tyranny of the Majority

One of the concerns of a democratic system is often called the “tyranny of the majority”. It is the idea that the majority, because everyone has one vote, can easily outvote a minority, and impose their rule and their ways on a minority.

Healthy democracies have checks and balances to ensure this does not occur, to balance the desire for justice with the need to give every individual a vote.

When a church or ministry however is led by a politician, not a king, someone who leads through people pleasing rather than God pleasing, then sadly there are often no checks or balances, and then – and this is the ugly side of religion – the majority do rule, and they do become tyrannical.

The irony is the person who knows the people do not rule him or dictate to him, the person without a political bone in their body, the person who doesn’t care about pleasing people is the one who can actually help all people, including the minorities, the dispossessed, the powerless.The political leader on the other hand has to constantly divide people into groups and can only do what the largest group wants:

  • The pastor who cannot preach a series on loving others, evangelism, same sex marriage because it will upset the majority of the church. Now the majority are the tyrant shutting down the will of God in that church.
  • When a minister who would be a great blessing isn’t invited because many people, or even a vocal minority, object, then the blessing is lost because of politics, then there is tyranny there.

Sadly, what often happens in these situations is the ministry or church ends going nowhere. Imagine a bus that was run by democracy. You reach a roundabout and drive onto the roundabout. At the first exit, 25% of people want to take the first exit, but 75% want to stay on the roundabout. At the second exit, 25% of people want to get off that exit but 75% of people want to stay on. This goes on for ever, so a bus driven by a politician will never go anywhere. Resemble anywhere you know? Selah!

Kings or Politicians 03: Handling Conflict

When you realize that as a Christian you are a king, not a politician, how you handle conflict changes.

Politicians have to listen to everylone’s criticism, everyone’s concerns, because they need the applause of the audience. Kings do not.

This surprises and frustrates many people when you start living like a king. They are annoyed because you will not obey their orders or drop everything or do something just to please them. They assume that because they would do anything to please others, you should too, or you are
God

Lpd politician cannot grow a large ministry. If you are trying to plea _lol ok just ok hse everyone you will always eventually please no one. If you are trying to stand for everything, eventually you will stand for nothing. And ultimately the emptiness of it all is revealed. It was not ministry, it was crowd leasing hype and foolishness.

A king handles conflict differently. They know they only answer to Jesus. You cannot make them dance to your beat, because they are dancing to another beat! They are only concerned with pleasing and impressing Jesus.

Does this mean a king never listens to another human? No, not at all. But they understand the principle that Jesus taught so clearly: by their fruit you will know them.

Let’s say a king has a problem with one of their sons. They don’t go to anyone and everyone to get advice, they don’t listen to all the detractors and all the people telling them how to do ministry and how to parent. They go to another king who has fruit in the area of parenting and they listen carefully to the fruitful.

I reign as a king, and I refuse to listen to unfruitful critics. The armchair football players yelling at the television! The spectators telling the runners how to run!

When people criticise my social media strategy, and their social media presence is smaller than mine, I won’t listen. You don’t have to listen to every voice! Which is liberating! When I get parenting advice from people with no children, I don’t have to accept it, I don’t have to canvass for an election, I have to bear fruit. I will find people with adult children serving the Lord and listen to their advice.

The problem is that many people with the politician mindset think that if you don’t listen to them, you don’t listen to anyone. People say to me “you are not accountable to anyone” and what they mean is “you are not doing what I want”. There’s a huge gulf between those statements, but the politician cannot see it.

Politicians never ever stop and think: I don’t really have a clue here, I will just shut my mouth.

They never think “hey, I have never started a ministry, I should really listen to this guy, he started all this from nothing”, no, they say what needs to be said to gain approval, and if that means putting you down that’s fine by them. They never think: “I’ve never done that, maybe I should learn from someone who has”.

You have to learn to develop a spine! A royal spine. You need to learn to say no to every piece of advice you receive. You want to be a good pastor, you need to ignore the baying of people who have never pastored a church telling you how to run your church. Find someone more fruitful than you, and ask their wisdom!

Being a king means that you make decisions based on what you see, not based on democracy. In our Western world, everyone wants a say and wants to bring democracy to the church. But God decided to set up His kingdom on earth, not a democracy. Selah!

Kings or Politicians 02: Longevity

This is our second post about the difference between royalty and politicians. As Christians we are called to be royalty, to reign in life as kings. Revelation 1.6 describes Christians as “kings and priests”, not as politicians and priests.

Last post we looked at the difference in the source of authority between politicians and kings, for politicians it comes from people and pleasing the people, for royalty it comes from birth. And here is the stark truth: royals outlive politicians. The picture above this post is Queen Elizabeth and President Trump. He is the twelfth President of America that the Queen has met. I seriously doubt anyone reading this post could name all 12 of those Presidents off the top of their heads!

When you are a politician you will always become yesterday’s news. I remember in 1997, when Princess Diana tragically died. A lot of people said the Queen reacted poorly, and the current Prime Minister Tony Blair tried to manipulate public perception and use the death for political gain. In the short term, it worked, but over two decades on, the Queen has a public rating higher than she has ever had, and Tony Blair has gone down as one of the worst Prime Ministers the nation has ever had.

When you decide to reign in life, you realize something: political leaders in the church come and go. All the time!

Political Christian leaders are not going to be around long. The same people who cry Hosanna one week cry crucify the next week, and unless your source of power, your source of authority, is more than the people, you will be gone and not even know why. The reason is you never got grounded in Christ. You said what you thought the people needed to hear, not what Christ needed you to speak. You love the praise of man, you are a statesman, not a king.

Greg Mohr said at a pastor’s retreat I was at last week “You cannot bless those you are trying to impress!” And if you are trying to impress everyone, you are blessing no one, and so eventually people will stop coming to you.

I want you to have a long lasting ministry. I have people who tried to destroy me, tried to lie about me, gossip about me. They didn’t care about following Christ, and were prepared to ignore all of Christ’s mandates and instructions to get ahead and impress people. Most of those people are not in ministry! I am still putting out the Word and will be doing so until I die, because I only care about my Royal Family – the Father, King Jesus, and the Lord Holy Spirit. I am not trying to impress man. That means sometimes I look a little out of step with the crowds, but it means long after the crowds change, I am still plodding on, still walking in victory, still wearing my Royal Diadem.

I suggest getting on your face before God until the voice of the people grows strangely dim. Until you hear Him speak, then one I not matter what the people say. Just do it. Then you will be a king and have a ministry that bears fruit and lasts.

Kings or Politicians 01: The Source of Your Authority

Image result for elizabeth and jfk

For a while now I have wanted to do a series of blog posts on the difference between ruling as a king and ruling as a politician.  Since I was born again at the age of 16, I have seen in many different churches, denominations, Bible Schools and ministries, people who have the authority that they flow in through Jesus Christ and His life, and other people who are playing at politics.  I want to set people free from the need to be political and show them how to reign as kings, because that is God’s will for us, and that is where true authority comes from and that is how to win at life and build healthy churches!

The reason why this is so important is that there is a lot of teaching going around the body of Christ at the moment about the need to be more political.  Now if that means the church and Christians should be more involved in the politics of their communities, cities and nations, I am absolutely all for that.  I even ran for public office once!  I believe that the church needs to speak into national issues such as homosexuality, abortion and gender issues.  The church should have a public voice.  But, some of the people saying that churches and Christian leaders should be more political are not saying that – they are suggesting that the way we lead should be more akin to politicians than kings.  That we need to continually look at how people respond, how they react to judge how we should behave.

Now in one sense there is an amount of truth in that.  We should love people, we should not go out of our way to offend and upset people.  Our role as ministers and leaders should be to reign in life.  That ability to reign in life comes from the gift of righteousness (Romans 5.17) and over several posts I will explain how a revelation of our righteousness leads to us being able to lead properly as a king, and not like a politician.  Most Christians who lead like a politician, if you scratch the surface, you will find out they do not understand properly grace-righteousness and they think that their standing with God is something they need to earn.

So today, I want to start with a major truth that many do not realize.  And that is what is the source of our authority as Christians?  It does not come from how many people like us, it does not come from how many people follow us, it does not come from how many people attend our church, it does not come from how many people appreciate you, it does not come from how many partners you have.  No – it does not even come from he people.  Your authority comes from Jesus Christ Himself, as a gift.

Saul made this mistake and lost his kingdom.  He offered a sacrifice he was not anointed to make, he did something that he was never called to do, and when Samuel confronted him on it, Saul said:

11 “What have you done?” asked Samuel.

Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, 12 I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.” (1 Sam. 13.11-12, NIV)

Saul was the rightful king of the nation, he was not put in power by an election of the people, but by the selection of God.  But he was scared of what the people would think of him if he did not have an offering, and later on we find out that he let the people keep the sheep and goats from the battle fearing their anger if he killed them all.

Saul was concerned what the people thought of him.  That was the driving force of his kingship – he wanted the favour of the people, he wanted people to like him.  That stopped him reigning as a king, and started his career as a politician.  It was a very short career, as it is impossible to reign as a king and be a career-politician.  The way to deal with people, the way to deal with God, the way to handle decisions in both are too diverse, too different, too opposing for someone to do both.  God removed the kingdom from Saul because God is not interested in a politician having authority in His kingdom.  God appointed Saul not the people, and whoever appoints you to a position is whoever you should be looking to for leadership and guidance.

Now, what does that mean for us in the New Testament? 

Our source of authority as believers is Jesus Christ.  He appointed us to bear fruit, not people.  We are not elected.  Some churches hold elections, some of you have been employed by other people in a church or ministry, but ultimately as a believer your authority, your ability to rule and reign in life comes from Jesus Christ, not the people.  Politicians are elected and selected by the people, and kings are given their election by the family they are born to.  Your authority as a born-again Christian comes from your new family from the new birth, not the people.  This should be basic teaching, but sadly many churches and many Bible Colleges do not explain this to people.

We need to not run our churches and ministries like Saul and pander to people.  It is not the way forward, we are not running our race for people but for Jesus Christ.  We need to be free from politics when it comes to Christian ministry and free from being led by the very people we are called to lead.  You can gain political authority in ministry by crafting and changing your ministry to impress the people and you can gain a following by being subject to the desires and whims of the people.  But you do that, and you will not be able to reign as a king at the same time!  You will still have your God-appointed authority, but you will never bring it out in case it upsets one of those people whose “vote” you desperately need.  Politician preachers and ministers can have a following, but they do not raise the dead.  You need to make a choice – will I follow God or please men!  Paul had to make that choice:

Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.  My message comes from Christ (Galatians 1.10, NLT)

Everyone trying to be political as a Christian leader needs to examine this verse and see if they are not trying to win people’s approval, rather than serving Jesus Christ.  Our authority comes from being under the authority of Christ, not from the approval of people.

Recently, a large ministry that I respect a great deal has started teaching explicitly and powerfully what the Bible teaches about homosexuality.  The ministry believes that it has a mandate from God for teaching that.  I have seen a number of people tell me that they think that this minister has missed it here, not necessarily because they think what he says is wrong or incorrect but rather because teaching like that so boldly and clearly might cost him followers and people.

Those people are thinking like politicians, they are thinking about the following of the people.  They are thinking like Saul not Paul.  They are thinking like politicians not kings.  I asked the minister about it, and he said “I have lost people when I taught this, but I must obey Jesus over people”.  You know that is the truth, we must obey Jesus over people, and not care about the consequences.

As a pastor or leader you have to be very very careful about people trying to make you political.  Now, those people who do that have no God-given mandate to do that, so they will resort to manipulation and guilt to persuade you to be more political.

For example, they might hear a message you have preached and you have preached it strongly.  I like to be explicit about what I mean and they are concerned I have upset someone.  So they will come and tell me.  But rather than be direct with me, and deal directly with what I have said (it’s one of the traits of politicians not to speak directly) – they will tell me “your ministry will not grow if you say things like that”, “that kind of thing is not statesman-like”, “that kind of behaviour is not godly”.  They will want you to listen to the crowd.  Sometimes they even invent the crowd.

Once I preached a message called “Being Tribal Not Clannish”.  I believe that as church goers we should be tribal, our church should be our tribe, we should support our church, love our church like an extended family, and help them as much as we can – we should speak the same tribal dialect, and have the same culture and goals.  At the same time, we should not be like a clan, so wrapped up in our own stuff we do not look outwards, and cursing and attacking people who don’t look like us.  It’s a good message, and a great way of using language to define what kind of family we are as church.  At the end of the message, an African man came to me to speak to me about the message.  He said that I have offended a lot of Africans by using the word “tribe” to describe how the Tree of Life Church should function.  I asked him who, but he refused to name anyone specific and just said people might be offended.  I asked him if he was offended and he insisted he wasn’t (politicians will never admit to character flaws in case some people are upset!), but that other people might be.  I said I am not going to worry about imaginary people getting offended.   Imagine being so political you worry about what imaginary people think about you!  But people are!  Christian leaders are!

They ask you to think about the hundreds of people who are offended, but they are the only one, but that narrative doesn’t suit a politician, so they will tell you about the people who might be upset.

And you see, actually the reason you need to look to Jesus and obey Jesus and not the people is that Jesus loves people more than anyone who needs the approval of people.  In fact, you cannot really love people while you are trying to get them to like you and approve of you.

This weekend I was officiating at a wedding, it was a young man who has been in our church and just finished his second year at Bible College, and while there met another student.  It was a glorious wedding with people from our whole church family and a whole bunch of Bible College students.  One of the students was coming to a conference we are hosting and I asked which speaker they were most keen on hearing.  I was very surprised, and this is not a humble-brag, that they said it was me.  They told me that when I speak and speak clearly about things, and tell it like it is, it helped them believe that they could actually be in ministry, it helped them deal with things in their life and address things.  You see when you learn to reign like a king and do not care what people think of you – then you can actually say the things people need to hear rather than what they want to hear.  That way you can genuinely help people.

Now politicians get so upset at that, it shocks them that you do not care what people think, they do not know how to process it, and they will call you controlling, authoritarian, unloving, and all sorts of other names.  Just shake the dust off your feet and get on with the task of being fruitful, working miracles and changing the world.  All of us are performing for an audience of one – the Lord Jesus Christ.

Next post will develop this theme further!  Enjoy!