Sunday, October 15, 2006

Style Over Substance Destroys

During the Jewish trial that led to the crucifixion of Christ we read this interesting verse:

"By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness the Jews did not enter the palace; they wanted to be able to eat the Passover." (John 18:28).

These religious leaders were greatly concerned to maintain their external purity while they were in the process of seeking the execution of the Son of God! They wanted to be able to participate in the sign of the coming Messiah (the Passover), but were blind to the very presence of the Messiah who had already come.

How easy this can happen. We concentrate on the superficial, external elements of faith while neglecting the primary issues of the heart. We can get caught up in the ceremony and the ritual of church and miss the internal transforming power of the Christ.

We are diligent to perform a weekly worship service but we pay little attention to Christ transforming our hearts in daily living.

We talk in spiritual "lingo" (ex. bless you my brother, praying for you my friend, etc . . .) and "look spiritual" to those around us, but we remain indifferent and unloving to those who are actually hurting around us.

We can smile and talk about loving one another from the pulpit, yet rip a brother apart with our pen or our words when we are outside the environs of the Church.

We can talk about the importance of putting God first in our lives but never even consider God's will in our decision making.

May God give us all the ability to put the focus on our own hearts, and avoid the trap of emphasizing the externals to the neglect of the weightier issues of life --- our own hearts.

In His Grace,



Stephen Pruett said...

Wade, As a layman I have always held pastors in high esteem. One of the things that has become evident to me on blogs is that pastors are no different from anyone else in being susceptible to these faults. This should not have been a surprise, because the Bible is very clear on the nature of all men. It just reinforces for me that it is a serious mistake to place a pastor on too high a pedestal and to be unwilling to confront him in love when we have differences or believe that he is harming others or himself or sinning. What is your take on this? Do you ever recieve "correction" from your flock and do you appreciate it or dislike it?

irreverend fox said...

Amen, Wade.

irreverend fox said...


I quickly remind such lay people that I'm the expert and the man of God around here. I'll say, "if there is anybody going to be doing correction around here it's ME!" Then I'll ask them something to make them feel bad like, "have you been tithing?" If they say "yes", I'll then ask, "ON YOUR GROSS?" Most of the time that ends their silly attempt to correct me. said...


I receive correction from many places, including my congregation, my wife, my kids, and my friends.

I am grateful for it all!

The correction comes in many forms --- words of praise, words of criticism, personal letters, phone calls, passing conversations in hallways, etc . . .

I constantly evaluate what I do, how I serve, and what I say by the good it produces in other people.

In the end, I do what I do because I believe I am led of the Spirit to do it, and no amount of human 'correction' will change that, BUT there are times when I am not being Spirit led and the simple words of my youngest child are often used by God for my correction.

In His Grace,


peter lumpkins said...


I could not agree more, my Brother. I think leaders--denominational as well as pastoral--are especially vunerable to this religious facade.

Busy attempting to relieve sufferings of others or "fix" systemic problems of our organizations, we too soon forget our hearts are putty needing a bit of its on prescribed (re)formation.

Thank you. Have a great Lord's Day evening, my Brother Wade. With that, I am...


davidinflorida said...

Pastor Wade... Well stated, especially where you said " we never ever consider Gods will in our decision making"....Two things that stir my spirit in this area are 1) The token scheduled church revival and 2) the weekly worship bulletin.... I believe that this is scheduling God instead of seeking Him.....

jasonk said...

Easy to talk about, tough to do.

Great post, and sorely needed, by me especially, and by our church leaders too.

I remember when I was a pastor, and would go to the annual meetings. The gossip that would take place in the lobby would rival any hair salon or bar in the towns we pastored. All while the Word was being preached thirty feet away.

Thanks for the reminder.