Don’t be there. I drove a six hour round trip before the lockdown to celebrate thirty years of ministry of one of my fathers in the faith. To not be there would be a mark of dishonour. If you want to dishonour Gates of the City next month, just do not turn up. Your attendance is a sign of your respect. If you only turn up at the sessions of the speakers you know, you respect those speakers more than the pastor who crafted the conference! Someone said to me after the Limitless conference last year, “Don’t worry, I listened to all the important speakers”, wow – that is a great level of dishonour. Absence is the easiest and most efficient way to show dishonour! The more important the function, the more dishonour is achieved by you failing to turn up
Another easy way to show dishonour is to completely ignore someone’s advice. I have given out great advice to people who then ignored it and got into trouble. I have told peopel – don’t get into more debt, don’t have a fight over this issue. I have told pastors how to start a church, how to solve a problem, and was totally disregarded. My experience and wisdom in that area was just ignored. Some people disregard all advice from anyone in a church, that means that they do not honour the whole church!
If you want to dishonour a church that is feeding you and loves you, just walk right out of the door. If the church is not giving you your inheritance right now, not letting you preach, not letting you have your own way, not letting you do everything you are called to do, not giving you free reign to prophecy over everyone, just wander off. Now the problem with this is although it is really easy, you will end up eating pig food, and eventually you will come to yourself, realize you have sinned against heaven and against the church and have to make a long walk home. But for immediate gain this is a great approach! I know plenty of pastors who are simply never going to make it in ministry because they have abandoned the spiritual house God raised them in. They dishonoured the house that trained them and raised them up! Prodigals don’t prosper!
Another really easy way to show dishonour is to lie through your teeth to someone. I mean say something with your mouth that just is not in your heart. Tell your pastor you will be there forever while you are planning to plant a church and take a third of his people with you. Not only does it dishonour the person through the lies, but this is a double dishonour because it assumes the pastor is so stupid they cannot see right through you. You assume they are a moron, and they are not! God never took it lightly when people honoured him with their lips and their heart is far from them. It always amazes me how many people lie to their pastors – they will tell me all the thing they think I want to hear, but as soon as the distance between us is enough for me not to hear they do not talk about God and church and ministry and world mission. Honour always involves being bold enough to be genuine and without pretence with people. Don’t insult someone by flattering them or idolizing them, unless you really want to dishonour them.
If you decide you do not want to show dishonour, and rather would want to show honour, why not click here and read about the ALARM of honour.
My next post will be about the dishonour of the dishonourable. It will really help you realize why we are talking about honour or dishonour.
This final way of showing honour will change your life forever. You show someone else honour by honouring them with your substance.
Proverbs 3.9 says “honour the Lord with your substance”. Now, you need to read post 1 and find out that you cannot do this if you do not honour with your attitude. But an honour that is attitude only is never full honour. An honour that does not become tangible is not full honour.
We will never outgrow the need to honour other people who are impacting our lives with substance. The Pharisees taught that you could if it inconvenienced you, but Jesus said no – that’s a tradition that kills the power of God’s Word. We still have people today teaching and preaching against honour and against tithing to the local church.
Our church family used to host a Bible College belonging to another ministry. We were always very careful to honour that other ministry, and the people who came to that college who were not from our church, we honoured them. One day I was in the college to pick someone up and there was a lady from our church came up to me to give me a testimony. On the Sunday I had a prophetic word for her about her finding a new job and getting a pay rise. this was only Tuesday evening and already every part of the word had come true and she was now earning a lot more than she ever had in her life. I praised God with her and another student came over, and pointed at me “Do not give this man or his ministry a penny from your increase. He is only a lowly pastor, give all the tithe to this Bible College, it is the true teacher in your life”. Well, there is so much wrong in that it would take a week to point out every deviation from Scripture, but the root of it was a lack of honour. If honour cannot turn into honouring with substance it is not real honour! Sadly, that lady listened to the voice leading her to show no honour. She gave a grand total of 3 pence (yes, I was accurate there) to the church that year. That is a failure to honour! Now that lady is not even going to church. That’s a tragedy.
It’s not even the substance that matters, your gift is something that matters to you. The substance is to you. Ministers with large ministries, with great book sales and CD sales, they probably do not need your gift. You are giving it because you honour them, the honour is the key!
God does not need your money! He is not hungry, he is not in need. But He receives our offerings anyway to enable us to honour Him! I don’t need any more food, in fact, I need less food, but when someone wants to bring me food, I receive it to let that person show honour. I have three sons in their late teens or early twenties, food does not go to waste in my house. You do not give to God because God is starving, God does not eat food! God does not spend twenty pound notes! Have you ever thought of that? God needs nothing we give to Him, He absolutely does not need your tithe. And I don’t either, I know how to abound and I know how to abase. You need to tithe to Tree of Life, Tree of Life does not need your tithe.
When you honour someone with your substance, make sure it is from the top not the bottom. In Malachi, people were bringing animals to sacrifice to the Lord that were blind, lame and sick. They were giving from the bottom, not the top. If you want to know what giving from the bottom looks like, tell your church you need new toys for the children’s ministry. Your church will become a giant skip for all the broken, useless, grubby, mangy toys that no one would ever give their own children. Malachi’s warning to bring from the top is still important to us today:
And if you offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And if ye offer the lame and the sick, is it not evil? Offer it now unto thy governor, will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person, saith the Lord of Hosts (Malachi 1.6-8. KJV)
Think about your offering – if it was how you acted and showed honour at work, would your boss appreciate it or not. It amazes me how people who can turn up for work on time five days a week stroll into church fifteen or twenty (or 30 or 40) minutes into the service all the time! They do not honour the church service or God! They just honour their boss and the money he gives them! Don’t give the church some broken piece of crockery, out of date chocolate no one can eat is not a suitable gift for your elders or pastors! If you don’t want an animal in your flock, why would you then give it as a gift? A lack of honour!
One of the greatest examples of honour in the whole Bible, if not the single greatest act of honour by a human, is when the woman with the alabaster box of ointment breaks it and pours it on Jesus (you can read it in Mark 14). That was worth a year’s wages according to the NIV Bible. The average London wage today is £37000. That perfume was worth tens of thousands of pounds and this lady showered all of it on Jesus!
Don’t wait until someone dies before having a no expense spared attitude to them. Give extravagantly today to honour the people who have influenced you and mentored you.
One thing we do at Tree of Life is we always give a generous honorarium to the ministers who come to the Tree to feed our people. The honorarium you give is a sign of honour! I have been in churches where I was given a can of coke for ministering. I had a precious evangelist come to us for a meeting and we raised an offering of several thousand, which I know will be used for crusades in much poorer nations. He mentioned he had just been in a much larger church than ours for a whole conference speaking every day more than once a day and they gave him £80. That did not even cover his expenses. That is not honour. That kind of action destablises a church.
Sadly, that much larger church has fallen apart, and Tree of Life is still giving. Again, it’s not about money, it is about honour. There are some speakers who normally have a minimum fee for speaking that right now Tree of Life Church could not afford, but they still come and waive that fee because we honour them. But for a church our size we punch far above our weight because we want to honour those ministers because we know what they bring to us and how they help all our people – especially our leaders. It’s like a whole Bible College for our leaders when we have guest speakers. It’s awesome!
The expenses, the rewards, the honorarium – all of that is an indication of the honour shown to you by that ministry. When there is no substantial gift there is no honour. I know one speaker who preached two nights in a church who told him “you are a man of faith, believe God to look after you”. That minister will be fine, but that church will not survive.
You need to think about the people who bless you and honour them with your substance. If you think that is wrong, you need to read your Bible. If you think it is inappropriate, that is because your thinking is based on ignorance.
In the next post, I will look at several signs of dishonour. Thanks for finding out about the five ways to show honour.
One of the key ways to honour someone is to be aware of them and pay attention to them! Conversely, one of the ways you can recognize or show dishonour is to disregard or ignore someone, to neglect them. If a pastor from another church takes the time to travel and visit one of our conferences or meetings, it is honorable for us to mention them and mention that they came.
Jesus was dishonoured in his own country. That is a really powerful principle we do not understand that much. He was ignored in His own country, they thought they knew about Him and they didn’t, I experience that, often people in the UK think they know how pitiful UK ministers are. No, they are judging me by their standards. If they realized the anointing on my life we would have some amazing miracles in their meetings. If you do not recognize someone, you do not notice them then you do not honour them. If you think they are just a carpenter and do not realize they are a pastor, you will miss out.
To dishonour someone is to fail to recognize what they have done in their lives, to fail to realize what they are carrying, to fail to appreciate who they are and what they are called to do. It is hard to have to self-promote why people should listen to you! It’s hard to deal with the dishonour of failing to recognize!
When dad comes home from work and mum and all the children do not even stop looking at their phones, that is a lack of honour! When couples walk around the house ignoring each other, there is a lack of honour! When the boss, the pastor, someone in a position of honour, is ignored there is no honour.
We have to learn how to recognize people. Say “hey I am glad you are here!”. Now we are online we often have other pastors join our services, especially those from other time zones. If I notice they are online, I always recognize them and publicly recognize them, which is a form of honour. They have honoured me by choosing to invest their precious time and have not just themselves but their entire ministry influenced by what I am teaching, so I should honour them!
Another way to recognize people, which can come across as a bit patronizing if you do not think it through, is to reward them in some way. Public praise, buying someone a gift, making the room applaud someone. Those are all ways of recognizing people and therefore honouring them!
If you want to honour a minister and you are a minister, the easiest way to do that is invite them to speak. When you are asked to speak at another church or ministry, that is a clear sign of honour.
Listen – if you go somewhere as a minister and you are never mentioned you are not recognized, when public acknowledgement of your presence is not made, you are not recognized. I know one ministry where they will only recognize I am there if certain other people are in the room to impress them, they will not do it just because I am there. They do not honour me. That’s fine, that’s their choice, but it is useful to know that in planning how I spend my time and where I give my money!
Honour is done through recognition. Selah.
This should help you both honour others and realize where you are not being honoured. If you are not honoured somewhere, you will have the same day Jesus did in Nazareth – unable to do any mighty work!
The word “alter” means to change in a way that is significant, a way that counts. You can change the paint colour of a building, but if you start dealing with the structure – that’s altering it.
To alter something to fit in with someone else is another way of showing honour. You alter the way you do things to be part of something larger than yourself, to gain access to someone, or to learn better from someone, that is a huge way of showing honour. Conversely, should you fail to adapt and alter yourself and insist on things being your way – that is a clear sign you are not honouring others.
When Joseph was due to appear before Pharaoh, we find out “he shaved himself and changed his raiment” first (Genesis 41.14). When you work for someone and you want to honour them, you need to alter yourself to fit in to their environment. The Egyptians did not like facial hair, whereas Israelites loved their beards. Joseph altered from what he wanted to what was the environment he was inside. It was a sign that he was honouring Pharaoh. He decided not to wear prison clothes in a palace!
When you are honouring your employer or pastor, or the head of any community or organization you want to be part of, it is important you learn that you are the one that alters. If your boss does not use WhatsApp but uses email, then email him! Find the technology that they are on and get on it. That is altering yourself to honour! Do not let stubborn pride cause you to stick with what you know, and keep your beard, shave it off if it causes honour! Do not care how important it is to you, honour is more important!
I have several friends and mentors in America, to communicate with them with the time difference I sometimes have to contact them at strange hours for myself, but I will alter my preferences and schedule for them. That is honour! I was part of a church once where the assistant pastor could not change his hours to help supporth the lead pastor, it was a lack of honour.
When I meet Robert Maasbach, I drive over an hour to meet him at a restaurant local to him, I am careful to go to places he likes to eat. That is altering, that is honour. Daniel altered his chocie of food to appear before the king. I know people who cannot alter their food choices. I have travelled the world and I find it honours people to eat what is set before you.
Talking of Daniel, he also went by the name Belteshazzar in Babylon, not Daniel. If you have to alter your name if you want to succeed in a strange land, or with other people. The king clearly could not pronounce or did not want to use the Jewish names so he just gave them his own names. That’s not really good leadership, but true honour does not wait for someone to do what is perfect before altering! It would have not been honour to reject the king’s name for you!
Altering is an important way to show honour. Being able to lay down your lifestyle to elevate someone else is one of the most powerful ways of showing honour.
In our last post, I shared that the foundation of showing honour to someone else is attitude. I also shared that unless we can show honour to someone we can never succeed in life. There are five main ways to show honour, that I use the mnemonic ALARM to remember. The first we know is attitude, the other four are Listen, Alter, Recognize and Money. ALARM!
So today we will look at how to honour someone by listening to them. In the book of Proverbs, Solomon tells his son to “attend to His Word” (Proverbs 4.20). You honour someone by attending to their words, by listening to them.
If you do not listen to someone, you do not honour them. I cannot make that any clearer or direct. Children, if you do not listen to your parents you do not honour them!
Paying attention to the words of your fathers in the faith is really important. Your attitude to someone’s words reveals how much you honour them. If you have a poor attitude to Jesus’s words you will have no honour for Him! If you have a positive attitude to His words, if you love listening to Him, you honour Him.
When I am preaching, those with their notepads and pens are the ones showing honour. Those who are playing Candy Crush on their phones – not so much! Paying attention to someone’s words and wisdom is proof that you honour them. Who you listen to is the way of finding out who you honour!
Remember in the last post, we discovered Jesus could do no miracles in Nazareth because of the lack of honour. Well, in the inverse of that, Jesus’ first miracle was done in an atmosphere of honour. Jesus’ mother said to the servants “Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it”, and Jesus told them to fill up bathtubs with water and serve it as wine, and they obeyed a strange, almost foolish, instruction, and in that atmosphere there was a miracle (John 2). Jesus’ mother summed up honour very well: listen to Him! Listen to what He says! And then do the instructions!
Listening carefully to someone’s instructions is a sign of honour. Many people will obey the instructions they like and ignore the others. That’s not honour, and will never lead to miracles. I have learned I cannot work miracles in a place where Jesus is not honoured and where I am not honoured. And the first sign of that is not listening to instructions!
Imagine if those people at the wedding refused to fill up bathtubs with water and serve it as wine. Imagine if they thought “that’s such a stupid idea, that’s not any sense at all, I think those instructions are dumb”. They would have dishonoured Jesus and missed out on a great miracle. One of the greatest signs of honour is to listen.
Every year I go to Andrew Wommack’s pastors’ conference, twice. I go the UK one and the US one. And I go for one reason. Not to meet others, not to be seen, not to this or that, but to listen to Andrew. I honour him and I honour the influence he has been in my life. How do I listen carefully:
I bring a notepad, and take notes. Recording what someone says is vital
I ensure there are no distractions
I make sure I get a good night’s sleep
I go over the notes and work out how to apply them to my life
I actively and deliberately listen. And it has never ever failed to benefit my life ever. One of the greatest points of honour is paying attention and listening. Let me give you a secret, pastors, I have never once been stabbed in the back by someone who takes notes when I preach. Listening leads to honour which leads to loyalty. Selah.
Jesus was going around the nation of Israel healing the sick. Everywhere He went thousands and thousands of people were healed and transformed. People loved him, they received divine truth, their lives were changed. They honoured Jesus and the anointing on Him flowed to them. How you honour someone depends how well your life goes. If you cannot honour your father and mother, you will never live long and strong in the life. If you cannot honour your nation you will not succeed in life. If you cannot honour your pastor, you will never prosper on any level. So many people fail in life because they cannot honour someone else.
So, to help you as leaders, I am going to show you how to honour others. All of the increase in my life is due to honouring others well. I have great relationships with people from all over the world because I know how to honour people on every level. The power of God flowing through me comes because I know how to honour others.
Now Jesus is being honoured and miracles are happening, until He goes to Nazareth, his home town. When he gets up to speak, rather than honour Him, they start talking about His past, His previous career before he was called to minister, they start chatting about his family while He is preaching the Word to them (it’s all in Mark 6.1-5, have a read of it!). Now if you do that to others, you will not prosper in life. If you let others treat you like that, they will not prosper in life in your church!
Jesus confronted these people in Nazareth: “A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. And there he could do no mighty work”. An atmosphere of dishonour will be an atmosphere with very few miracles, very little life and very few manifestations. And if you think that describes more than a few churches in the UK, there could be a reason!
The first way to show honour to someone is called attitude. This the root of all honour, if you honour someone with a gift, but have the wrong attitude, it is not honour, it is bribery! I have seen that, people giving gifts to ministers they do not respect to curry favour and gain influence. That is not honour, that’s selfish behaviour. So we must start with an attitude of honour!
Jesus was actually stunned that He was not being honoured. The people questioned His teaching – that is an attitude of dishonour. The people did not believe in His mission – that is an attitude of dishonour. The people got offended at Him when He did not even do anything – that is dishonour. The people were talking throughout His teaching – that is dishonour. The people were discussing and picking apart His family and His past – that is dishonour! Those people never received their miracle because He was not being honoured while He was preaching. I have seen this. Twice in my life I have stopped a service and kicked people who were dishonouring me out the room, and both times we had some remarkable miracles afterwards.
The people just did not listen to Jesus! They attacked His backgroud, His family, His calling, His sincerity, His anointing. That is dishonour. It is the wrong attitude to receive.
I still encounter that attitude today, and it is amazing the different ways it happens. Some people will compare you to a minister who is 80 years old when you are not even 50! Some people will attack me for being British, for being from Essex, for being white, for all sorts of background issues. I have had people fail to receive from me because of the way I drink water while I preach! That’s just not clever. It’s an attitude that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy! The people in Nazareth who said “Jesus’ ministry just is not that great” – they were proved right in their own lives.
I still have people who think their ministry is to relentlessly question my ministry! Who is your covering? What exactly makes you think you are a pastor? You are too young to be a pastor. You are too arrogant to be a pastor. You are too brash to be a pastor. Who appointed you? Which Bible College did you go to? Who do you think you are? Wouldn’t someone else do your job better?
Just this week I was told I cannot possibly have invited the right speakers to a conference because a certain person thought I should have brought other speakers. I offended someone because I asked them not to get up in the middle of one of Tree of Life Churches’ meetings and plug their own church. I was told by someone that because I disagree with someone else who believes something I don’t, then I cannot possibly be a good pastor. I was then told by someone else that by holding a marriage course not endorsed by another minister, I was vulnerable to deception and a bad shepherd. All of that comes from the same root – dishonour!
Some people think honour is all about money. Money is important and we will discuss that in another post. I often say honour is spelled c-a-s-h, and there is a truth there, you have to put your money where your mouth is, but you have to have the underlying attitude. You can give someone honour without anything tangible changing hands – that’s called an attitude of honour. We need to know what honour is!
To honour someone with attitude is to think well of them, to expect the best from them, to praise them. Questioning the person aggressively, suspecting a person, accusing them of trying to lead people into deception, saying they do not know how to run a conference because they did not invite speakers you know, all of that is a lack of honour. I am not saying we swing the pendulum to the side where we accept any behaviour without question, but when someone is serving you for month after month, bringing truth to you day after day, your default position should not be to suspect and doubt! That attitude of dishonour will lead to you spending your life spinning in circles.
When a son honours his father, you can hear it in the words. When he dishonours his father – you can hear that in his words. Accusing words, blame words, reproaching words. If you let a culture of dishonour sprout in your church or your living church, or your business, or wherever you are leading, then no one flourishes.
You need to learn to honour your pastors as a pastor, and you need to help your people know how to honour you. Honour starts with how you think about someone, and how you take control of your thoughts about them!