All Preachers Want Is My Money

preacher-with-raining-moneyThere’s an old saying that I have heard far too many times growing up in the Church regarding pastors, “We’ll keep him poor, and God will keep him humble.”

Even before I became a pastor myself, I found this to be very cruel andoffensive. It never sounded spiritual to me at all. Mainly because it’s not even close to biblical, and shows ones utter lack of care and respect for those who lead us. Yet it voices a false spirituality and line of thought that is still strong in many church circles today.

The truth is our attitude regarding money, whether the abundance of or lack of it, has a way of revealing where our trust truly lies. Money tends to be the area that Christians struggle the most to step out in faith in; both in our household finances and in our churches. Faith needs to go both ways. Living by faith is not just for Pastors, it’s for churches too. If a pastor steps out in faith to lead a church, then that church needs to step out in faith to care for them prayerfully and financially.

I really believe God wants his Church to mature in this. I know He has been challenging my wife and I a lot in this area of giving as of late, and we desire to grow in it for the sake of furthering the work of His Kingdom in the earth.

The kingdom key to putting actions to our faith can be found here in the words of Jesus in Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. The measure you use, will be measured back to you to give again.” Paraphrased: What would you like in your life? Then give it.

The following is actually what the Bible says about how we should treat our Pastors:

1 Corinthians 9:14
“The Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should earn their living by the gospel.”

1 Timothy 5:17-18
The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “Do not muzzle the oxen while he is threshing,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”

Now many like to note that Paul chose not to use this right, however he was the strongest defender of the right to use it. He even clearly states that it IS God’s ordained method of provision for those ministering.

Are there frauds out there who abuse this? Yes. Should we then hold back from supporting those who rightly lead us to somehow punish the frauds? No.

Copyright 2015  |  Permission to copy, print, or use material is freely granted. Provided that the integrity of the material is not compromised in any manner

Taking a Stand on the Stand

NoStandsJason Silver | Pastor, Author & Worship Leader

If you haven’t already gotten sucked into the hoopla as of late, a number of worship leading forums and blogs are abuzz with  discussions (even heated arguments) over whether or not worship teams should be using music stands on the stage? And to be quite honest, as a worship leader for over 25 years now, I’m kinda done with it.

Guess what? I use a stand, there I said it, “I use a stand.” Do I judge you if you do not use a stand? Nope. And in fact I think it’s cool if that works for you, in fact I admire that you can do that; but it doesn’t work for me. I have a very poor short term memory; therefore it helps me to have a reference if I should need it. Would it be a good idea for those of us who use stands to not stare at them the whole time, and look up at the congregation once and awhile? Absolutely! But on the other hand, it’s not a moral issue if we do not.

I remember being in a worship service years ago that was absolutely powerful, the presence of God was so strong in the place where we were meeting. And the worship leader, whom I knew as a shy individual, never looked up once from his music stand. Yet God moved powerfully; imagine that? Could it be that we have become so enamored with principles of performance, that we have lost touch with the principle of his Presence?

Here’s where I really take issue…. when people look down on you as “less than” because you use a music stand is downright silly. Yet it has happened to me personally. We need to watch that we are not given to a kind of snobbery, or a “better than” attitude, when it comes to our chosen methods of ministry. A method is just that… A method.

Would you go to a symphony and think, “Wow, obviously none of these musicians know what they’re doing, because they’re all using music stands.”? Of course not, in fact they are doing what they know how to do with excellence, yet they are using music stands.

One of the foremost reasons for getting rid of stands is based on the argument that you do not see the bands at concerts using them. Well of course you don’t because they tour, practice, jam, and record together day in and day out. That’s their lives, they’re a band. They eat, live, and sleep their songs. So one can expect that they will know them. This includes mega church bands that are on staff full-time as band members and singer-songwriters.

However, churches that aren’t mega, are using volunteers who work other jobs during the week; they have one night of practice mid-week before playing that Sunday. The glaring reality is that most Churches are not “mega” and do not have the level of resources to work with like larger Churches with staffing to “the nines” do.

Excellence is doing the best you can with what you have. Not frustrating willing volunteers with a goal beyond available time and resources.

Now here’s an honest question… can we just get to worshiping God, without arguing over how we should or should not do it?  We’re not all the same, God made us all different; all worship music is not meant to fit some strict “Mega Church” cookie cutter set of guidelines. Everyone’s expression is not meant to look the same. It’s the “manifold grace of God”, One source of inspiration, but many expressions.

This is what it all boils down to; if you’re church uses stands great! If they do not, also great! But let’s stop treating it like it’s a moral issue, instead of what it really is; a matter of preference.

Nuff said…. let’s move on with things that really matter, like simply having hearts after God, and using our talents to the best of our ability and resources to do it.

Copyright 2015  |  Permission to copy, print, or use material is freely granted. Provided that the integrity of the material is not compromised in any manner

50 Shades Put Him on the Cross

jesus-cross-crucifixion01Pastor Jason Silver | Speaker and Author

With all this talk among Christians about whether it’s right to read books like Shades of Grey, I just gotta say something…

I was in a theater many years ago, and the movie I went to see opened up with a pretty lucid sex scene. I thought, “Well I’ll just look away for this part, that’s the right thing to do, and maybe the rest of the movie will get better.” Then just 15 minutes in “Boom!” naked flesh starts flashing across the screen again, so I turned away.

But it wasn’t just fornication going on, the movie was pretty much based on jealousy, vengeance, and murder. In fact it would be fair to say that every lust of the flesh was represented somewhere in this film.

Then all of a sudden I heard the voice of Christ from within my heart, He asked me a question. He said, “Why are you allowing yourself to be entertained by the very things that put me on the cross?” It was like a bomb went off in my chest! Needless to say I immediately got up and left the theater. I didn’t even attempt to get a refund, I just left. You see my purity was worth more than a lousy 12 dollars. I chose to pursue excellence in what was good, and stay innocent of evil.

Now what I love about Jesus, is that I never sensed any condemnation in His tone when He spoke to my heart, only love and compassion. His goodness led me to repent (to re-think) my choice of entertainment.

So if you call yourself a follower of Christ  I really don’t think it’s that complicated or unclear. The question is simple, “Are you going to allow yourself to entertained by the very things that put Jesus on the cross?”

“Now the deeds of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, rivalry, jealously, outbursts of anger, quarrels, conflicts, factions, envy, murder, drunkenness, wild partying, and things like that.
I (Paul) am telling you now, as I have told you in the past, that people who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. Now those who belong to the Jesus have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, by the Spirit let us also be guided.”   (Galatians 5:19-25)

Copyright 2015  |  Permission to copy, print, or use material is freely granted. Provided that the integrity of the material is not compromised in any manner

The Danger of Elitism

leader1302131354Jason Silver | Pastor and Author

“For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” Galatians 6:3

One of the most detrimental mindsets in the Christian church today and throughout history is that of elitism, ie. “I hear from God better than you do.”

It splits assemblies, creates schisms in otherwise strong relationships, and starts unbiblical movements that can shipwreck people’s faith.

We become unteachable when our own pride leads us to believe that our knowledge of God is superior to that of others. Being unteachable is often manifest and identified in ones declarations and actions such as, “There’s no church anywhere that believes the way I do.” Or you view everyone else but you, as not having enough faith. People like this look to gather others around them to lead; mainly people that have been hurt, offended, or in a place of weakness that need your supposed deep insight into the ” things of God.”

What people like this seem to forget is that “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” The only way out of this mindset is humility through repentance. To open oneself up to be teachable; especially to receive correction from unlikely sources within the Church body itself. And to realize that no one individual has all the answers.

All who have believed and declare that Christ is Lord; are the Church. Despite our differences in method and practice, if not unbiblical, we can all learn something from one another, in fact, God wants us to.

Copyright 2018  |  Permission to copy, print, or use material is freely granted. Provided that the integrity of the material is not compromised in any manner

The Missing Factor in “Don’t Date Them If..” Checklists

Jason Silver | Pastor & Author

holding-handsThere’s been a number of Christian social media posts lately about the importance of only dating a good man or woman. And we see lists of points and criteria for what the particular blogger feels are good qualities, and what are bad qualities that we should avoid at all costs.

While to a degree this can be a good thing, and as Christians we should look for good qualities in the person we may one day marry, the reality is if we were honest with ourselves, we all fall short in at least one or more of the points on these lists. Why? Because we all have a sinful nature in our flesh that we must daily put asunder, and choose to walk after the Spirit. There is nothing good in our flesh. None of us are perfect. Jesus even said, “No one is good but God alone.”

So what’s my point here? Well I am certainly not suggesting that you just pick any old Jane or Joe to marry. But that our criteria should be based more on finding someone who loves God and who is actively PURSUING godliness. But at the same time avoiding the false presumption that you can actually find the perfect perfected person. Let me say this clearly…THEY DO NOT EXIST. But those who love God, and really do desire to become more like Jesus; do exist.

I can also promise you this… that no matter who you marry YOU WILL BOTH STILL HAVE ISSUES. Why? Because those who choose to pursue God are not perfected at the point they begin the pursuit, no they are perfected in the process. God is always at work in us, and He uses the weaknesses of our spouse to test and mature our love, acceptance, and forgiveness. The Bible describes it as “Iron sharpening iron.” In fact God uses all our relationships to do this, but the marriage relationship is far more intense due to the commitment level, time spent together, and having become one in fleshly union. This false concept of finding “the right person” has caused more problems in marriages than we realize. I have counseled many couples who after only 2-3 years of marriage begin to doubt that they married the right person. Why? Because they are now beginning to see their spouses weaknesses clearer than ever before.

Just look at who God considered godly in the Bible; David. God called him a man after His own heart, yet David had baggage, lots of it, he blew it BIG TIME many times. But because he was PURSUING God, and was sorry for the things he did, God never stopped calling him a man after His own heart. Look at Gideon; God called him “a mighty man of valour” yet he was found hiding in a wine press, he doubted and questioned God numerous times.

The woman Rahab was a prostitute, Jacob was a deceitful man, Jonah was rebellious, Peter acted cowardly and denied Christ not once, but three times and later as an Apostle acted the hypocrite between the Jews and Gentiles… I mean the list goes on; yet these all continued to PURSUE God in spite of all their issues. Their pursuit of God is what made them godly even amidst their failings..

So all things considered; I don’t think the criteria for your Christian spouse need be met by checking off every point of a lengthy and fully unattainable blog list. We all have issues and baggage. So if your goal is to cross off every issue from your perfect mate list, you will eventually be left with no one. In fact if you were honest with yourself, you don’t even make your own list.

It essentially all comes down to this: Do they love God, are they pursuing Him, and does their life show a desire to become more like Him every day? And are you willing, in spite of their weaknesses, to love them and extend to them the same mercy and grace that Christ extended to you? This was how I chose my wife of 14 years now. And even to this day we are daily faced with one another’s weaknesses, yet it is the basis for which we made our choice that keeps us walking out our love for one another.

Proverbs 18:22
“He who finds a wife, finds what is good, and receives favour from the LORD.”

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Does God Send People to Hell?

Jason Silver | Pastor & Author

hellThis question seems to be floating around a lot in social media debates as of late.

So…the biblical answer? Yes… BUT not willingly. The Bible tells us that, “God is not willing that any should perish, but that ALL would come to the saving knowledge of the truth” 1 Timothy 2:4

So to be clear… IT IS NOT God’s will for anyone to enter Hell. So why will anyone go there, if it is not His will? Because God gave us all OUR OWN FREE WILL. The same free will that got us booted out of the garden of Eden in all its goodness in the first place. But no one in their right mind would CHOOSE to go to Hell would they? No. But that is the only destination that matches their description of freedom. Freedom from what? Freedom from anything to do with God.

So Hell then… is God, after extending incredible mercy and grace through Jesus Christ during their lives on Earth, eventually giving those who reject the Gospel what THEY really want… complete separation from Him. Right now no one really knows what that feels like, because He is with us, and His presence is all around us in this present world, whether we believe in Him or not. And even though many God-haters are rigorously trying to get His people to stop talking about Him, that will not make Him go away, and we all will continue to experience times of goodness because of Him, whether He’s credited for it or not.

Matthew 5:45b
“He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

In the book of Genesis of the Bible, as God was creating the sun for light, land for living, air to breathe, and plants for food, it says, “And He saw that what He had made was good.” Why? Because He made it! And He is good! So don’t be fooled, if you reject God, you actually reject all that is good. And your unpredictable and short life on Earth will be your only taste of goodness at all. And unlike many who seem to think it so; Hell WILL NOT be some big party, now that God “the Kill Joy Rule Maker” is out of the way.

No… Hell WILL BE absolutely godless (void of good). Aside from the silly saying; there truly IS no such thing as experiencing “Hell on Earth”.  And although sinful men, with free wills are currently capable of doing terrible things; the full extent and torment of Hell, will be the complete and utter absence of anything good. And that’s because only God IS good, and He won’t be there. It’s simple really…no God… no good.

And lastly, another way to look at this is: God is the righteous perfect judge who must judge rightly. And you have been sentenced to death, because of your sinful crimes, whether you are willing to admit your wrong or not. However; the judge also being compassionate in nature offers up His own Son Jesus Christ for your release and full pardon. But you, for your own reasons say, “No.” And not unlike  any court case, if you refuse the deal, you pay the punishment. So from the reality of this perspective, it is your own choice that actually sends you to Hell, not God.

Deuteronomy 30:19 “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on Heaven and Earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!”

John 11:25 “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live forever, even after they die.” Jesus

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Believing in God and Believing God: The Difference

Jason Silver  |  Pastor & Author

god2“Abraham serves as an example. He believed God, and that faith was regarded by God to be his approval of Abraham.” Galatians 3:6 (Gods Word Translation)

There is a great difference between believing God, trusting in what He has said, and believing in God, or simply that He exists.

The Bible says that even the demons know God exists and tremble. James says it this way, “You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.” James 2:19 NLT

It’s very important to know, that believing in the existence of God, is not enough to save you. There is no saving faith in the belief that God simply exists. Saving faith is only found in believing that God will do what He said. The Bible tells us that, “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” Numbers 23:19

So when God  tells us in His word, “”That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” And you believe that He will do what He said… then you will be saved! WHY? Because like Abraham, you believe God, and that results in your approval before Him. “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.” Ephesians 2:8 NLT

This has really been on my heart lately, weighing heavily. Why? Because many times I ‘ve heard people say “Well I believe in God.” with a subtle confidence that it will be enough if heaven is indeed real. But the truth is… it’s not enough. It’s a false hope, based upon wishful thinking. So just so I am being very clear, believing there is a God, and doing good works, will not approve you before God and assure you of eternal hope. But BELIEVING God will!

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16  This does not simply mean in His existence, but in His words.

Copyright 2011-12 | Permission to copy, print, or use material is freely granted. Provided that the integrity of the material is not compromised in any manner