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Up Way Publications 35th Anniversary


Talk To Ministers

Followers of Jesus Christ Mionistries/ UP WAY PUBLICATIONS  •   P.O. Box 1015 . Kailua, Hawaii 96734 -1015
VOL.4                                                                                                                                                No. 3

Getting Our Priorities Straight

Dear Fellow-laborers in the Kingdom of God:

We MUST Get Our Priorities Straight!

As I sit to write this Talk To MINISTERS, I am battling fatitgue of this not-so-young-anymore body. But as a lesson to me as to the importance of what I am saying, the Lord emphasized that I need to set and be an example to other ministers. How could I lie in bed and think about writing an admonition, an exhortation to you about getting priorities straight if my own first priority is to get the sleep my body is demanding over and above my responsibility as a fairly senior minister and undershephwerd under my Lord Jesus Christ to share with you what the Lord is dealing with me about.
My heart cries when I see a fellow minister putting so much emphasis on earning a living at his secular job that the church gradually loses first one and then another member until there are none! What ever happened in our thinking — because yes, I am guilty of the same thing at times, but God has been dealing with me about it — what ever happened to “Seek ye FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you,” (Matthew 6:33)?

For several years, now, a very dear minister friend has been {up against it” financially. This dear brother used to be especially used in the ministry of helping missionaries and evangelists with airfares and housing when they were in his community and used to go every other month to a mission field, himself to preach and teach and supervise churches that looked to him for leadership, and God opened the windows of heaven and poured out blessings upon him that he could not contain. But I watched as this brother bought a fine home in the better part of town, and he and his wife spent more and more time working on improvements to the house and property. I watched their whole family get lackadaisical about church attendance, attending to the House of God and coming together to worship and praise Him regardless of the numbers of others attending. I saw both him and his wife, as well as their children, become sensitive to any criticism of their lack of faithfulness to the point of hostility to those who dared try to point out that their difficulties were precisely due to a lack of seeking FIRST the Kingdom of God. Their house and multiple automobiles and doing other things crowded out the worship and praise. Today, they know that they need to sell their house, though they are resisting. Their business has fallen away radically and more and more time is needed just to make the money to pay necessary bills. Gone are the days of freely giving to help other ministers and ministries — they are barely getting by themselves! And I have seen the effervescent joy that both parents used to have in the Lord fall away to thunderclouds.

Oh, Brother Sam! Look in the mirror! You used to take time to drive your taxicab from the Pearl Harbor area of Oahu across the mountain to Kailua to church on Wednesday and Friday nights although you knew the attendance might be slight other than yourself and you used to see God just seemingly placed passengers in your pathway as you put Him first. Now you hardly make it to any midweek services because you are trying to hard to pay your own bills. Ah, yes. How true. As I put the priority on my own ability to earn the money to pay the bills, God let me do it and I don’t do so well! Last night, I determined that although I had spent well into the time I usually go to work in preparing a gospel tract I had been inspired to do, I would still go to a Bible study. When I got there, the pastor in whose home the study was to be was alone with his family. None of the rest showed up for more than a half-hour after the announced service time, but I felt led to stay. When the service finally concluded, I was at least six hours late starting work, but God blessed me again and I was in the right place and right time to make much more — in just five hours — than I had any of the recent past same nights of the week. Two weeks previously, I had seen the same sort of thing happen when I really got in earnest with God about a need and after seven hours of fruitless toil as Peter and John experienced fishing, I had not had a single fare when suddenly in response to prayer, I earned the most I had made any night in months in just under four hours!! I still do battle with putting service ahead of making the necessary money to pay bills, but in just the past two weeks, I have been more determined to put God first and He has blessed whenever I did. Happenstance? Hardly!

Another very dear pastor who spends much time preparing masterful sermons and whom I know loves the Lord dearly has gradually fallen into the same pitfall. I have seen times when the rented church was packed and the power of God was moving mightily, but now there are a painful few who attend and some claim to have been offended by this or that that this dear pastor said or did or failed to do because he was too busy earning a living or even earning money to help pay church expenses to take the time to minister to a personal need of a lamb in his flock. A lamb perhaps figuratively bitten by a snake but who died for lack of caring attention. A person I know quite well and have ministered to as well as I can without ever having gone through what this person has been through and is still struggling with has been trying for several weeks to meet with this pastor because he has been through what this man is struggling with and was delivered mightily by the Holy Spirit, but somehow the pastor is always too busy to meet with the needy one and as a result, the person in need of deliverance has equally not made an effort to attend the church. As I write this Talk to Ministers, I am burdened with knowing that unless this pastor does get with this person within one or two more days, the person is desperate enough to go into a treatment center and let man try to deliver him — with great effort and struggle — when I KNOW that God can do it in an instant, as the pastor is a living testimony to.

So what is this pastor’s priority? Clearly paying the bills. Frankly, it is a failure to fully trust that “…my God SHALL supply ALL your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus,” (Phil. 4:19 [emphasis mine]). Oh, no! I am not guiltless, either! But whenever I have determined that I am going to do God’s work whether the bills get paid or not and when I am sure it was the Holy Spirit leading me to go and do whatever it was for God, whether a missionary trip or a Bible study or simply sitting in my taxicab sharing the word with someone at the end of a run while others approach the cab wanting a ride and end up catching another cab, God has always supplied all my need [though admittedly not always all my wants!]. 

And slowly, ever so slowly, I am “Learning to Lean, Learning to Lean, I’m learning to lean on Jesus! Finding more power than I ever dreamed, I’m learning to lean on Jesus!” as my good friend John Stallings  learned when his little girl was sick with a high fever and they could not get her to a doctor or hospital one night and they were afraid she would die. As they leaned on Jesus and His healing power, the fever broke and the little girl was healed. And he got his priorities straight. Honoring God and putting Him first was what gave him the victory.

Finally: DO NOT LOWER your holiness standard, but elevate, RAISE it to full agreement with what the Bible really says.

Yours for Jesus' sake,

Bro. Sam

   P. O. Box 1015
Kailua, HI 96734  U.S.A. 
Followers of Jesus Christ Ministries, Up Way Publications and Apostolic Internet Seminary are an Establishment of Religion as defined in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America and therefore, since Congress shall make NO law regarding this Establishment of Religion, we are NOT tax exempt under the Internal Revenue Service code.
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