Monthly Archives: November 2012

James MacDonald

From everything that has been going on with James MacDonald there has been a confusion that has come up. And through this confusion it has also shown how far Christianity has gotten away from following the Bible when it comes to the workings of the bride of Christ, the church.

The confusion that has come up with James MacDonald is, people are starting to think that everything that has been said, done, or exposed, has been attacking his salvation. This has nothing to do with if MacDonald is still saved or not. This has everything to do with if he, James MacDonald, still qualify’s to be in the position of a pastor/elder, not if James will go to Heaven or not. With confessions from James himself, testimony’s from many others, and the fruit of decisions made by MacDonald, it is without question, he does not qualify to still be a pastor/elder.

There also seems to be no knowledge or little knowledge of the fact, if you become a pastor/elder, God has called you to a higher standard. Even though every Christian should be striving to this higher standard, which God has written for us through His Word, the Bible, what a pastor/elder should look like. And in James MacDonald’s case, he is an example of someone who does not look like a pastor/elder.

Yes, God does have a higher standard for pastors/elders in the church government, and I am personally happy for that! If there was not an explicit job description of a pastor/elder in the Bible, the church would be nowhere close to where it is now! It would be wild, to say the least!

If you are thinking that this is ridiculous or I am being legalistic, I understand why you would think that way. It is the norm of the Western church today. We have come from a very legalistic background of, you can’t do that, you can’t do this. But because of trying to get away from legalism, we have become unbalanced in the opposite direction of not calling sin, sin. We have also gotten away from the Biblical job description of a pastor, and are looking for someone who has a charismatic personality, who is good with words, visionary, who can make things happen, and the one man show type people who do everything so we don’t have to do anything or very little. Some of these might be good things, but in our churches today this has become what we look for, not what the Bible description says. Not what God looks for.

This would be a great time to pick up your Bible and read for yourself about what God says about church government. Check out 1 & 2 Timothy, and Titus. Remember, it’s what God says, not what we think, like, or see, but what God says about how a pastor/elder should look and act like. With what is happening with MacDonald, it is not about his salvation, but about him still qualifying to be in the position of a pastor/elder.

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Thanksgiving in a Check-out line?

I look at the ads for this coming Thanksgiving, and I am not sure if I see a time where family gets together in the dining room, or if we should just plan to meet at the front of the Best Buy, Wal-mart, Target, or K-Mart store? Being from Canada, but living in America and being married to an American, this is nothing new for me, except maybe a date change. For Canadians our Black Friday is on Boxing day (which is the day after Christmas to all my non-Canadian friends). In the World today it does not matter what holiday or what day of the week it is, we should never assume that we will get that holiday off or that certain day off. Our World is a 24/7 365 days a year kind of world. I remember when I was younger, doing anything on Sunday was held up there with murder! Well, maybe not that extreme, but you get my point. Being a Christian or not, should this really surprise us, that our World that we live in would move this far, that even Christmas day is not guaranteed as a day off? The simple answer is no. So often when it comes to different events in the calendar we assume that things are going to be exactly the same as the year before, when really God promises us that the world will become worse and worse. People of the World could care less about holidays, and what days of the week are considered “holy”. All they care about is money, and what better way to make money then to be open on a day that everyone else might be closed!

So when it comes to you having to work on a holiday or that other people have to work, don’t freak out and start a petition or quit your job! This is the World we live in. And money is what people want, especially in these days.

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Harvest-MacDonald

As I still watch and read more about the situation that is going on with Harvest ministry’s, I have a more deeper concern about the people that make up the church. With things that James MacDonald has said, it would make me very suspicious of what is really going on. There has been so many past members that have spoken against what was going on but it fell on def ears. Do I think that there was a lot of pressure to the point that James was forced to come clean, instead of wanting to come clean with everything? Well, it’s hard to not think that’s what happened. But even with coming clean, was it really enough with all the damage that has really happen. It’s a lot deeper then what really meets the eye. It was more then just him gambling and causing a deep debt. There was a lot of sin that has taken place, not to just certain people, but to the whole of Harvest. There has been deceiving action that has happened, and the misuse of trust by James MacDonald. There is also a point that you have to consider very deeply. It was during the beginning of the 5G campaign where he was telling people how to give towards the campaign. You can read all about it at http://www.theelephantsdebt.com

Should there be more action then what was said this past Sunday? I do believe so, but really do the people of the church know the truth? The whole truth? I am interested in what the elephants debt response will be to this past Sunday confession of James MacDonald. Until then, think about our own lives.

Do we have accountability or are we living in darkness, hiding the truth from people that love us? I know I have to pick up some areas in my own life.

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Accountability

As I think back about what has happened through out Church history, as soon as accountability is breached with the head pastor or ministry leader, destruction comes and the name of Christ is smeared across the news headlines. The one that is fresh as of right now is that of the Harvest ministry and James MacDonald. Because of a breach in accountability, MacDonald was able to gain more power and money through diminishing accountability. No one could tell MacDonald what was wrong or right. Gambling, gaining more power, causing millions of dollars of debt, 60 million to be exact, getting paid $500,000 a year, a 40% pay raise, and recently buying a $1.9 million mansion. What was the starting point of this? I think that it was because accountability was not there. If it was there, MacDonald pushed it away with a movement of raising senior pastors. The elder board, that was very prominent in the beginning, is slowly fading away, and they power of the elder board is not there anymore. Most of the power transferred to MacDonald. People tried to talk him about this, but they were met with the anger and bitterness of MacDonald. The Harvest ministry became a one man show, James MacDonald. I am concerned about this very much, because my wife and I attend a Harvest church when we are in Michigan. For now, we are living in Chicago. We tried the campus church, but I could not understand the need of it, and why is James MacDonald preaching at all of them. This view is the same for any campus churches. Why do we need them? Why does the senior pastor need to preach to all of them? There are many faithful men of Jesus Christ, that are more then capable of leading one of these campus churches.

I would really encourage you to read the very website that made me alert to all of this (www.theelephantsdebt.com). Anyone that goes to a Harvest church should read this, and understand what is really going on. Everything is not as it seems. I would then encourage you to watch James MacDonald’s sermon from November 17-18. He confessed most of what you will read on the website, but not all of it. He does not say anything about the $60 million debt. This link will bring you right to that sermon http://tinyurl.com/cl6ocbn. But I encourage you to read all that you can on the first website provided (www.theelephantsdebt.com).

I would also you to consider reading a book, that I personally have not read, but I have personally saw this happen through out my Church life, Pastoring with Elders by Kevin Mahon. Kevin Mahon has been my family’s pastor for as long as I can remember. He just released his book this past year.  This is the description on the back of the book:

Kevin is a preaching elder in an Associated Gospel Church in Canada (AGC). Their elders have had a growing influence on other congregations and have frequently been asked to share their effective shepherding-elder model.

So, how do you grow elders? Many pastors are looking for another program or quick fix to accomplish this end. However, the answer is rooted in the theology of ministry and the need to focus on the biblical mandate given to pastors rather than the tyranny of expectations inherent in pastor-led churches.This book is designed to help senior pastors walk through a process of deconstructing their understanding of pastoring and redirect them to a focused ministry within a plurality of shepherd-elders.

About the Author:Kevin Mahon has been the preaching elder at Peoples Church, Sarnia-Lambton, since 1999. At the age of thirteen, he made a bargain with God and promised to become a priest. He and his wife were born again during their university days and joined the priesthood of all believers. God was faithful in shepherding that youthful promise made by Kevin, who now makes his living from the Gospel as a preaching pastor.Kevin’s heart is for the local church, for preaching God’s Word, and for growing men as disciples of the Lord. He has been married to Charlene for twenty-six years and has five children and a daughter-in-law.

I hope you are more informed, and understand the importance of accountability. Even in our own personal lives we need accountability, and especially when you are in command or leading a ministry or a church. I would encourage to look at your own life and church. Do you have accountability? Does your pastor have accountability or is he a one man show? Does your pastor blow up and flaunt his personal freedom in Christ? Check the Bible for yourself about the qualifications for even being a pastor. Does he even meet these requirements?

Being a pastor, is a life lived in public. You do not have a private life. As a pastor, you are held to a higher accountability, like it or not.

The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseermust be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. 1 Timothy 3

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Chicago

Living in Chicago has been a great experience for Nicole and I. It’s been cool to get to know the city, and be in a very busy place. It’s very multi-culturally diverse so you get to experience a lot of things that you would not usually get to experience. Living here has been good but we both know we are city folk. Nicole has a harder time with it then I do, but sometimes I feel it as well. Nicole has been working very hard ever since we moved in to Chicago. Everything from setting up the apartment to finding a job, she has been hard at work. Without her attitude and work ethic I would not be able to study at Moody. God gave me the perfect person. Everyday I know I am loved and respected because how hard she works and takes care of me. To be able to go to class or work and not have to worry about Nicole breaking down or not getting out of bed is a blessing that I would not want to trade for the world. Nicole get’s up every morning before to workout and get ready for the day. She usually has time to come back to me and snuggle. One of the my favorite things is when she comes back. Then she heads off to Starbucks. She likes it, but it’s tough. We are never not looking for another job for her, but she is still faithful and hard working to that job. She make the most out of it, and tries to find a lot of positive. It’s difficult to work with people that don’t really work, and don’t really care what they might do it front of customers. I usually head to work a bit after her. I was able to find a job in the Campus Post Office,C-PO, as a mail clerk, the day after we moved in. It’s a great job for me because I can go and work anytime I want between 8 and 4 everyday. All the guys are great there, but the older lady’s that work there are rough and really hard to please and get along with. Friday is an awesome day because they do not work so it is just all guys working. I love Friday, not because it’s the last day before the weekend, because I can work that day in peace and it is always fun with just the guys. It’s a highlight of my week to be able to work on Friday. A couple Friday’s I skipped all my classes just so I could work the whole day on Friday.

As I write this I look over at her sitting on the couch writing in the journal that I got her on our honey moon. These past five months have gone by quickly. There has been some hard times, but a lot of has been good. Just being able to spend time together is one thing that we love. Before the wedding we practically were apart for each for the whole engagement. Being able to have the summer together was a very awesome and wonderful time. We had a lot of time together, but it was relaxing time together, before we moved to Chicago. I know for me it sometimes feels like we have been married for a long time, but for girls it’s different. I have to really remember that we have only been married 5 months, and that I am guy and have different needs then her.

As we sit here, we are waiting for my parents to arrive. I am excited to see them especially because I have not seen them since the summer. My dad and mom are very busy people but yet they still live a well balanced life with all of us kids. They are proactive at coming to see us even if we are not able to make it there way. Nicole and I moved to Chicago by faith that God would provide us with jobs which He has. We are still in the building and saving mode so we don’t have a lot of money to spend. My parents have been through a lot with all of us kids, but yet they are still solid as a rock.

With being newly wed, and new to the city of Chicago, we have not made a lot of friends. We have not been very proactive but to be honest we are totally OK with that. We want to spend a lot time together and we like it. And with both of us either working or going to class our evenings become very precious to us. We make time for my brother Travis, and his girlfriend Anne, because we want to make time for them and love being with them. We also meet with them for accountability every week.  Travis and I have a very strong relationship, and we both wanted to keep that going. We also meet once a week to talk about life and whatever might be going on in our lives. Nicole and I would rather spend time with them then anyone else here. Nicole and I both have been able to establish friendships with people at our work places. I am unsure of the girls names that she has befriended, but I know they get along great, and with her work ethic she has a great influence to the people around the. I have been able to befriend about 6 guys at work, and we hope to go and play paintball together in December. Aaron is married and a student and lives on our floor with his wife, Rachel, who also is a student. Rick works in C-PO full time, but is a part-time student and is engaged to get married in December. Sammy works full time, and has a wife and 2 kids who are home schooled. When he met me, it reaffirmed him that home schooling was the right choice, I do not know why lol. Tony works full time, and he is awesome guy to talk to about politics. Thomas who works in the copy center, is married and has two kids. He is also a pastor and looking to go back to India where he from and plant a church there. And Victor, who is married, works full time in C-PO and has been working there a long time is great. He is older then all of us but we love him.

We have been able to find a Church that we enjoy. It is also the same Church that Travis and Anne go to as well. It’s over in Oak park so a little bit of a drive but we really like that part of the city. We have been thinking about moving there but we don’t know if it would be worth it. We like Jenkins, but just being in the heart of the city is another thing. Oak park has a small town feel, and we really enjoy spending time there. So a move could happen but not much thought has been put into what it would be like or if it would save us any money.

So, in short it’s a little update on how life has changed for Nicole and I. We are unsure where we want to end up as God continues to lead us. I am wanting to pursue a Masters degree in teaching to be able to teach in the Christian school system. I have a burden for Christian school, with having a lot of friends that attended Christians schools, but have now walked away from the Lord. In this day and age, schooling is important, so it’s something that I want do.

It’s hard to understand, I think, that we will be living here for another couple years, and possibly somewhere else. We are so glad that we are not living this life alone, but have God, the creator of the world, guiding us. The World is a scary place and it is not getting any better. America will not last forever, but what a hope we have in Christ Jesus. And to be able understand what will happen in the end of the World with the followers of Christ, is something that keeps you going every day! Praise the Lord that He has not abandoned us and has everything figure out!

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November 17, 2012 · 1:08 am