“So please don’t lose heart because of my trials here. I am suffering for you, so you should feel honored.”
Ephesians 3:13 NLT
What a preacher! Paul was so committed to the gospel of Christ that he was glad to suffer for it.
Many of our modern preachers/pastors spend there time telling us how to get the next rung up on the ladder of success. They tell us that God wants us to live a life free from hardship and suffering. This is a socially and politically acceptable gospel. However, it is clear in the scriptures that those who were dedicated to Christ suffered for it. “Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” 2 Timothy 3:12 NLT
We live in a time when people want to hear motivational speakers rather than gospel preachers. Multitudes flock to churches and Christian resource centers to get the latest "word" from the latest and greatest author. Everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon of success. Which church has the best band, the most in attendance, or the best programs for the children? Each of these are not evil or necessarily wrong. The problem is this: the absence of the full biblical message. When is the last time you heard a pastor speak against abortion, homosexuality, adultery, fornication, or teach on the reality of an eternal hell? Everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to suffer in the pilgrimage. The pomp and circumstance is great until someone says something that rubs against someone's lifestyle or political practices.
Brothers and sisters, truth is truth. We don't need to compromise the truth in order to be "successful". Success isn't measured by popular acceptance, rather God's acceptance. I'm all about promoting the health and growth of individual believers and the collective body of Christ. I have read books about church growth and strategies. I recognize the importance of needed and necessary changes to be relevant and effective. I am a preacher of grace, God's grace. I believe in the love, mercy, and the grace of God through Jesus Christ. He is a friend of sinners. In Luke 7:34 Jesus is called "a friend of tax collectors and sinners". The simple reality is this: God's Word is His Word. Preach and teach it all, not just the parts that make the masses feel good about themselves and their sinful lifestyles. The truth will set you free! (see John 8:32).
Even if we have to suffer for the truth, let us be joyful in the fact that we belong to Jesus and that we have eternal life.
Rev. Curtis Norris