I have been thanking God for and will make the release of Pastor Andrew Brunson and our sister, Asia Bibi, from imprisonment for the faith this fall an important part of my Thanksgiving celebration. Brunson, an American Pastor, had spent two years incarcerated in Turkey after living with his family and shepherding a church there 23 years. He was freed after President Trump threatened sanctions. Bibi, a Pakistan native, was arrested and held on death row 8 years as a Christian for the charge of blasphemy against Islam. Prayerfully remember fellow believers suffering all over the world for the faith and give thanks for those God graciously delivers remembering next time, it could be you (1 Thessalonians 5:18; Hebrews 13:3, 23).1 Have a blessed Thanksgiving!
1 Read this article about the arrest of an American Christian anti-abortion activist and why.
As the Lord led, I wrote this edited 2010 Commentary in commemoration of serving Him in this Ministry He led me to found. In that mindset, I post it now to praise the God who saved and called me to His service through what have been many adverse circumstances since 1985 and to serve as yet another witness against the success mongers that have falsely made compromise of God’s Word a necessity of Christian service. I joyfully fear God and in it have led this Ministry to stand for the restoration of men to the ordained roles of headship He designed for them in this mortal age; the glorious destiny that belongs to all Christians who will let God conform them to the image of Christ!
Originally Published August 2010
In our success mad world that always judges it based on numbers, size and favorable outcomes, many of the Bible's most important figures would be deemed failures. Yet, time has proven their calling and service to God--where they many times stood alone against the tide of their day--was truly very successful as it concerned faithfully doing His will. Reflecting on the 25th anniversary since I was blessed by God to found Open Door Communication Ministries, Inc. August 12, 1985, I have faced the fact a later to be seen faithfulness as success may be my own spiritual legacy as also the majority of aspiring strong men of God in the image of Jesus Christ!1
Since the success model of the world has also firmly established itself in most of our churches and para-church ministries today, numbers, size and favorable outcomes determine whether a man or his ministry are successful. As a pastor, folk constantly want to know, "how large is your church" as if this one factor can really determine success or if God is involved. Many certified false teachers have followers in the millions. With Open Door Communication Ministries, Inc. the question is "what is your income?" In fairness, we report numbers small and large from events we sponsor in our monthly newsletter. But we give God the glory because His work is the point!
The God of the Bible does not often set numerical goals especially for work to be done with a prophetic emphasis. The question, “how many support your cause” asked in their times would have surely made the responses of men like Noah, Lot, Elijah, Jeremiah, the Lord Jesus and His apostle, Paul, failures in the eyes of their inquirer. Noah was called of God to build an ark for what turned out to be just for his family of eight out of millions of human beings. God gave this cause to Noah after announcing He would destroy the world with a flood. Yet, Noah preached righteousness while he worked a lengthy time building the ark, but none sought refuge until too late (Genesis 7:11-23; 2 Peter 2:4-5).
Righteous Lot lived in a wicked city like many in our nation today in which he had continually appealed for their restraint from evil. God sent angels to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah sparing only Lot, his wife and daughters for his sake. But even his wife perished after disobeying the command not to look back (Genesis 19:12-26; 2 Peter 2:6-8). Elijah the prophet stood alone to face down 450 false prophets of Baal and though he prevailed by the Lord, he felt abandoned by the people of Israel because they feared wicked Jezebel who had put a death sentence upon him (1 Kings 18:20-19:10).
The prophet Jeremiah warned of God's coming judgment and called the people of Judah to repentance for over 40 years. He was beaten, imprisoned, kept in stocks, dropped down wells and opposed by priests, false prophets and most of the kings. He stood virtually alone until the end when the judgment God had been warning of through him came (2 Chronicles 36:15-21; Jeremiah 40:1-6). After having the multitudes of Israel follow Him and enjoy His instruction and ministry of power, the Lord Jesus stood alone against His accusers and in His cause that led Him to the cross (Luke 23:33-49). Later, Paul, His apostle knew a similar experience (2 Timothy 4:9-16).
Thus, limited numbers and standing alone against the crowd typically in rebellion and apostasy is not new for God’s faithful. Indeed, every professed Christian man must decide if he needs a crowd or will he stand alone if necessary to do God's will? I made my choice 25 years ago and suffer the consequences. This Ministry is still small and I have never had a salary.2 I am scoffed at and ridiculed because I refuse to corrupt God's Word for the sake of success. Even so, the Gospel is preached, lives are being changed and souls are being warned! Like all of the Bible’s aspiring strong men of God, I have stood at times and will stand alone to faithfully do His will to the end (Ezekiel 33:1-9). The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
1 As a result, my sole focus is on finishing well (pleasing to God--2 Corinthians 5:9) and to let legacy take care of itself! Learn more about the aspiring strong man of God
in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics. It is available at all major internet booksellers, by order at your favorite brick and mortar bookstore or in the
Strong Man Store.
2 With all praise and thanksgiving to God, this changed in 2014 with the sale of property the Ministry received. I am trusting the Lord for what follows the exhaustion of
this diminishing provision and invite any faithful Christians looking for men of biblical truth and faithfulness to support to consider me through this Ministry. Contact the
Ministry for more information.
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