....those 25 years
So I went to work on that network of churches..... and I saw this problem. Pastors of the bigger churches didn't have time to mess with that and they could never get their people to do it either.... too many other things going on~! There were some churches where I couldn't get past the secretary! The smaller churches jumped all over it.... anything that would make the church look like it was growing. So I started taking the pastors out to lunch..... making sure they had their doctrine straight.... :)
Then I saw another problem. Pastors had no one they were in relationship with, no one to talk to, to be a friend, to be accountable to..... they needed to play let's pretend I have it all together to their congregations, put on the happy Christian face...no problems here... I am God's man and everything is just wonderful with me, my life and my family.
Some of them would play that game with me but most would get real and open up to me... then start bleeding all over the lunch table..... I was in shock. I asked the Lord...."You want me to send all these wounded, bleeding people from the 700 Club to be helped by all these wounded, bleeding pastors? What's wrong with this picture, Lord?"
Then Satan returned at the opportune time. I heard a teaching on the "Perfect Church"..... where everyone was totally, involved, living for Jesus, everyone caring for each other, no spectators, no more fellowshipping the back of someone's head on Sunday morning, sitting in neat little rows, stand up, sit down, listen to the preacher (maybe), forget what he said before you hit the door, apply nothing and live like the rest of the world on Monday.....
Here was my next opportunity for greatness. Of course....in God's perfect timing, eventually I would rise to the top of our heap and become Pastor of the Perfect Church! All this other stuff that had gone before was just to get me to the place where I could see the problem and now become part of the solution...... a big part of course.... :)
Then came my moment. I was offered a job as the assistant pastor of the perfect church. I gave away the empire I had built. One month later, the pastor decided to leave his wife and run off with the secretary. I was stunned.... (this was only the first of many such stories over the following years within the structure of the perfect churches).... but it was my destiny. I surely was Destined for Greatness this time. Unfortunately, we really believe this stuff.... I was set in as the Pastor of the Perfect Church in 1977.
After 10 years of greatness, God wrote Ichabod over the whole thing..... the organization was shut down.... the perfect church no longer existed.
Now.... someplace about this time, one would think I might see what was going on. Nope. It would take more than another 10 years to end up at that picket fence. More opportune times for the enemy to return with the next of those temptations, as he comes to steal kill and destroy everything God has created and called good..... especially you and me.
I guess I am sharing all these things, hoping it might help someone to avoid some of the pain by simply saying all that stuff you've heard for years about doing great things for God is a bunch of baloney.... and you know how much I hate baloney!