Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Heart of a Martyr

I'm preaching from Paul's farewell address to the Ephesian bishops this Sunday, and at the risk of letting the cat out of the bag, I'll make a few comments on it.

I've been following with great interest -- and sadness -- the sheer mess that is Calvary Albuquerque, and I can't help but note the stark contrast between the leadership there, and that of Paul in Acts 20:17ff.

Paul claimed that "from the first day he set foot in Asia" everyone knew (emphatic in Greek) that his conduct had been characterized by "humility, tears, and trials." His life had been an open book, for he "had not shrunk back from teaching publicly and from house to house."

Compare this with the secretive meetings and back-room deals that are going on in Albuquerque and the contrast couldn't be more evident. I mean, how many CABQ folks have ever spoken with Skip Heitzig, let alone been allowed under his roof?

So to those of you who are members of -- err, excuse me, attend -- megachurches with charismatic, rockstar pastors, may I ask, "Have you ever seen the financial statements of your church? And if not, then can you honestly say that your pastor 'has coveted no man's silver or gold'?" (v. 33).

What the church in America needs, it seems, is a little good ol' fashioned persecution. If the pastorate weren't so lucrative, we would be rid of those who see godliness as a means of gain.

(But then, would I be able to endure it?)

'Nuff said....