Our Witness Is On the Line (Feb. 8, 2016)

Our Witness Is On the Line – 1 Cor. 6:6

We had a great 16th Anniversary Celebration Encounter yesterday with Evang. John Ramirez. If you don’t know who he is, look him up on YouTube. God delivered him from satan worship and he has an incredibly amazing testimony and ministry. He was really a blessing to our fellowship yesterday and those who came to be our guests to partake of his ministry. Please keep him in your prayers.

But there is a delicate matter that happened yesterday that I am compelled to write about. Let me make a few disclaimers first. One, I am not interested in shaming, embarrassing or appearing to negatively disparage anyone. Rather, my aim is to give those of us who are in the Body of Christ an admonishment. Secondly, since this is not about casting anyone in a negative light, I must be somewhat cryptic, although for those of you who are familiar with our church’s current circumstances, somethings will become readily apparent to you. Here it is…

In the Body of Christ, WE MUST BE EXTREMELY MINDFUL AND CAREFUL OF HOW WE TREAT EACH OTHER – THE WORLD IS WATCHING. Our church rents space from a local VFW Hall in Hicksville every week. It’s a great arrangement (FOR NOW, NOT FOREVER!) as we continue journeying towards our Canaan. There is another ministry that rents the facility at the same time. Our hosts – the management of the VFW – have been INCREDIBLY good to us (it’s undeniably God’s favor). With each passing week, they demonstrate to us just how much they really love our church. They make accommodations and concessions to us that they are not obligated to do and often without any solicitation from us whatsoever. I am grateful to God for that because it is undeniably Him, especially in light of the fact that our hosts do not make a claim or profession to faith. However, they honor ours. I have a sneaking suspicion as to why, but that’s another post. When our hosts began to conceive and grasp the enormity of our day yesterday, they instantly swung into action, making observations and suggestions as to some things we should consider to make the event even more of a success. And then, they took it upon themselves to make some other adjustments as well without our asking. The adjustments they made were harmless, temporary and not disruptive to our ‘neighbors’. Unfortunately though, our ‘neighbors’ lodged a complaint. Our hosts were extremely perplexed and disturbed by their behavior and expressed two evaluations about it that were frankly – truthful, shameful, embarrassing, and negative reflections upon the Body of Christ. Now let me be clear; they were not disappointed with us. Just extremely disappointed with our ‘neighbors’. However, we have to get back to understanding and accepting in the Body of Christ the reality that we all win and lose together. A large part of our problem is the “us against them” mentality. So to not understand and embrace that our hosts’ assessment about our ‘neighbors’ affects us too, (because again, we’re all on the same team) is just as bad as the behavior of our ‘neighbors’. It was so bad that I could not even defend, justify or cover their actions. THEIR ACTIONS WERE NOT A PLUS FOR THE BODY OF CHRIST, PERIOD.

Here are my takeaways from this incident. First, if you have an issue with your Brother or Sister in Christ, PRAY! Sometimes we make nothing into something because of some ridiculously petty misconception and misperception within us. If we would pray first, God is able to show us that the issue is within and not without. For instance, if the truth be told, a lot of us are envious and jealous, and spiritually immature to see that when one of us succeeds we all succeed.

Second, be man and woman enough, and GODLY enough to go to your Brother or Sister directly. Often, we have issues with people and they genuinely, sincerely have no idea that there is an issue. One of the reasons this is so is that often our OFFENSE and its reasons thereof are, although real to us, just…well…really…NOT THAT SERIOUS, and furthermore an indication of something wrong in me not them. God will often allow things to happen, not for you to go off on a tangent about someone else, but to show you He has somethings IN YOU HE WANTS AND NEEDS TO DEAL WITH.

Third, IF AFTER HAVING PRAYED, you believe you are to take action, PRAY AGAIN, asking God to give you HIS WISDOM of THE WAY AND THE WHEN of how to deal with the situation. Sometimes, HIS WISDOM IS THAT YOU DO NOTHING. Why, because He wants to work it out Himself. Or you MAY NOT BE READY TO CONDUCT YOURSELF PROPERLY. Or the other individual IS NOT READY TO DEAL CORRECTLY WITH THE SITUATION. Timing is critical. All premature births have decreased chances of uneventful delivery and full-term survival. This is a life principle not mutually exclusive to the natural event of childbirth.

Fourth, be observant. If the incident plays itself out in an arena where unbelievers are involved, REMEMBER OUR WITNESS IS INVOLVED – THEY ARE WATCHING. Jesus, said it so clearly; “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” – John 13:35, NLT. How we conduct ourselves with each other before unbelievers is a CRITICALLY ESSENTIAL component to the effectiveness of our witness. And invariably it adds to or subtracts from our ability to bring them to Jesus. The world expects (and rightfully so) us to demonstrate the power of God so evident among us that we are able to resolve conflicts among us in a way that supersedes their conflict resolution methods. NOTICE, they do not expect that we will not have conflict; they just expect that we will handle conflict DIFFERENTLY with incredibly better results. Even if that means we agree to disagree. Before the world, that should be done peacefully, admirably, respectfully and lovingly.

Let’s make a determination this year in the Body of Christ that we are going to do better by each other. After all, we market to the world that we have the answers. Let’s not be guilty of false advertisement. Let’s be who we say we are and do what we are called to do. The world is dying, taking an express train to Hell. We don’t have time to fight each other. We only have time to win the battles assigned to us in this war against the enemy. LET’S DO THIS.

Humbly’
Darren E Butler Sr

Advertisements

You’re Disqaulified From Leading If You Can’t Be Led….

You’re Disqaulified From Leading If You Can’t Be Led….

This revelation came from one of the most startling conversations I ever had with God. It was over 17 years ago and I had been pastoring for over a year. I went through a very difficult transition and subsequently became disillusioned with the principle of accountability-covering. Here is the conversation….

Me: God, I don’t need none of these (slang term inserted here) over me. (I am real and transparent)
God: Ok, that’s fine. But remember this; the day you cannot be led is the day you are disqualified from leading.
*****CRICKETS*****

God knows how to get you together REAL QUICK and be so short and sweet about it, Lol.
He went on to tell me that human frailty and fallibility does not negate His principles. If He (God) set it into motion, then it will always work when it’s being correctly worked. Let me encourage you today as a leader. Do not abort your leadership destiny because people fail. God is still on His throne. Move on to the next place and the next person(s) He has as your provision so that you are in complete alignment with Him. I asked Him to provide covering and accountability to me. AND HE DID. Pastor Joshua and Min. Latricia Kelly came along and scooped me up and have been watching over me ever since. God has someone out there for you that you can trust, IF YOU’LL TRUST HIM.
Pastor Darren E Butler Sr

Be A House of Prayer….

On June 17, 2016 during our church’s Teleconference Prayer Encounter, the Spirit of God dropped an interesting revelation (well at least, I thought it was interesting). He said we often come to our dedicated places and times of prayer, make our request, petition, question and etc., of God and then after we’re done we move on. When we move on, there are times we treat the prayer time as a perfunctory task, not giving any further thought to what transpired between us and God during that time. This is due to a lot of reasons. However, one of them is when God doesn’t respond to us within the context of that particular prayer time. But the revelation that the Spirit of God dropped was “to be prepared for when the conversation continues..”!

Prayer will become more of a rewarding relational reality when we prepare ourselves to maintain an attitude and disposition of expectancy to hear from God beyond our dedicated, specific places and times of prayer. God wants to talk, and at times He does, beyond our “prayer closets”. But we have to condition (and in some instances recondition) ourselves to build a “prayer house” and not just a “prayer closet”. Just like we live in every area of our houses and not just the closet, so it is with how we live with God. You and I don’t ‘live’ in our closets, we live in our houses. The conversation of life extends to the entirety of the house, not just the closet. So it is with prayer and conversing with God. Prepare your heart for the continuing of the conversation beyond your prayer closet. Expect God to speak to you in some of the other ‘rooms’, places and locations of the ‘house’ of your life. Build a house of prayer AND BE a house of prayer. The conversation continues…

“For A Season, Not A Lifetime…”

Recently I had the chance to reconnect with a friend and we had lunch together. As we sat and talked I marveled at how much he had grown. Then God spoke to me right in the middle of our time together; “This is who he was all along – the environment was incapable of keeping pace with his capacity.” WOW!! So then I wondered, “why was he in that location in the first place? it would seem illogical to place someone in a space and place that is not going to benefit them…” Again, God answered; “I placed him there for a season, not a lifetime. That environment was for a particular time and PART, NOT ALL, of his growth.” WOW, AGAIN!!!

So I learned several lessons. FIRST, we really don’t know the constitution of the people we are around. David’s brothers only knew him as a shepherd – God knew him as a king.
SECOND, we are all on a journey. Therefore, we must be careful to not mistake a temporary stop for a final destination. The children of Israel were instructed to watch the direction of the cloud, not the designation of the camp. They had to be ready to move when God wanted them to move.
THIRD, learn the law of seasons. Don’t hold tightly that which God holds loosely; don’t hold loosely that which God holds tightly. Learn the season of a thing. Learn the season for that job; learn the season for that relationship (for instance, a marital relationship has a completely different season than a dating relationship); learn the season for that affiliation; learn the season for that task (some tasks must be completed within a certain season, a window of fulfillment). When you miss the season of the thing, it could cause many problems. It’s like dressing as if it’s the summer in the middle of the winter – you’ve missed the season and you will have serious consequences as a result.
FOURTH, put the environment you are in, in its proper perspective to the person you are within. Know the purpose of that environment for your life. When you stay too long in an environment that you are bigger than, it works against you. You stop growing; you stop learning. And in some instances, you can regress. When you don’t stay long enough in an environment that’s bigger than you, you miss the opportunities that have been given to you to be in that environment for the purpose(s) that God has determined to benefit you.

If I had to sum it all up, I would say it like this; Know who you are in relation to where you are and make adjustments accordingly.

Does the Picture Tell the Whole Story…?

Does the Picture Tell the Whole Story…?

I was looking at a picture I had taken and began some serious reflection. In the picture, my posture and countenance would lead you to inevitably conclude that everything is going well, I have no problems and even the moment captured by the picture is an accurate representation of the sum total of the entirety of my life. NOT SO. Because I knew factors about the picture BEHIND THE SCENES, I know nothing could be further from the truth. As a matter of fact, although I am smiling in the picture and presenting a posture of enjoying the moment and the circumstances of the picture, in fact I was not. I was just smiling because it was the nice thing to do. But I really did not enjoy the moment much less want to be where I was at the time the picture was taken. I PHOTOSHOPPED my disposition. You know what PHOTOSHOP is right? Technology that allows us to dress up a picture and present it to be something totally different than what it is.

Then it hit me. How many of us have PHOTOSHOPPED our lives? We’ve painted a picture that presents things to be that which is not accurate of the way things really are. Why do we do this? There are a host of reasons, some noble, some not so noble. But whatever our reasons, what is inevitably the effect? The denial of the truth, which is never good, which is never right. Now, I’m not suggesting nor advocating that you have to put all of your business out there. Some things about your life are to remain in the inaccessible vaults of privacy. But we should, perhaps must, be careful about the things we present about ourselves that have the potential to set into motion decisions, conclusions and the course of events that will impact us and others. For instance, a potential employee ‘PHOTOSHOPS’ their resume and credentials, leading an employer to believe they are the perfect candidate for said job. The employer hires the candidate. Sometime later a major incident takes place on the job that causes injury, damage and loss because the ‘PHOTOSHOPPED’ candidate presented themselves to possess skills, talents, abilities and expertise for the job which in fact they did not have. Subsequently, dire circumstances and consequences ensue for everyone involved.

There is a verse of Scripture that gives us grave perspective on this; “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.” – Hebs. 4:13, NLT
In a world and culture where image has just about become an idolatrous obsession, to the point where truth is only valued to the extent it serves our purposes, be they good, bad or indifferent, it is time for us to recalibrate our convictions according to the verse above, and subsequently all of The Word of God. When it is time to present yourself, are you providing the unedited raw, authentic version? Or are you giving us the one that is PHOTOSHOPPED? God has the EYES to undress every stroke of the PHOTOSHOP’S PEN. It helps to remember that whatever picture we give to others, we give to Him too. Let Him do the PHOTOSHOPPING through the process of righteousness, rather than you do it through the pride of selfishness. His way is longer, more painful and difficult. But the benefits are invaluable and eternal. The other way is a shortcut, but it always costs more in the end, sometimes a price that is too high to pay.

So I ask you again, DOES THE PICTURE TELL THE WHOLE STORY?

From Elusive To Inclusive; Unlocking the Mystery of Hearing God’s Voice

From Elusive To Inclusive; Unlocking the Mystery of Hearing God’s Voice

After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.” – John 10:4 – 5, NLT

One of the most intense struggles in the cultivation of a relationship with God is learning and knowing His Voice. At some point in their walk with God, every believer struggles with this. When you read the above verses and the contextual verses that go with it in this chapter, it becomes apparent that knowing God’s Voice is a critically essential ingredient for confidently and victoriously walking with God. Knowing God’s Voice is also very important to God since He uses the illustration and its language in Scripture to present it to us. But the reality is that the clarity of God’s Voice in and to our lives is often very elusive. So the enigma is intensified because God meant it to be extremely inclusive in our lives. What do we do?  For a brief moment, I would like to share with you a revelation God gave me this week about this through a series of experiences I had with Him.

I needed to get a particular task done. However, there were many approaches that I could take to complete it. The dilemma was in trying to figure out, what would be the best way to do it. The obligation was not earth-shattering, but it was something that needed to be addressed. As I began to ponder the option, God’s Voice clearly spoke to me and directed me to a particular option. His direction was not anything elaborate, actually rather simple. I decided to follow His direction. And guess what? God’s direction – that which I heardturned out to be the best way to do what I needed to do. Not only did I marvel at the Wisdom of God, but also at the fact that He spoke to me, clearly and in a situation that was routine. I thanked Him for His involvement and had great joy for the rest of the day basking in the glow of the beauty of the exchange that had taken place between us.

A few days later I misplaced an item and could not find it. It was something that I needed. So I began to diligently search for it. After a few minutes of intensely searching, I could not find this item. I began to get annoyed and perplexed about it. And then I heard God say, “It’s in this location.” I reasoned within myself that it couldn’t be there and that He had not spoken. I decided not to follow His insight, but to continue the futility of my efforts. After some time and energy wasted, I retraced my steps. And in so doing, found what I was looking for exactly where He had said it was before. I didn’t find it because I listened to Him; I found it accidently. I was upset afterwards for a while because although I did find it, I did not find it because I honored, respected and heeded His Voice the first time.

A day or so later, the Holy Spirit led me down an inward path of reflection of these two events. And then He spoke to me this revelation. He said, ‘Many people struggle with hearing my Voice because they don’t build consistency in hearing and heeding when I speak to them in the routine, seemingly insignificant and basic eventualities of life – the things that seem to be of small matters. He continued, “However, when you learn to hear and heed My Voice consistently in the seemingly small matters, you develop the skill of knowing my Voice, not only in the small matters but also in the large matters as well.” I was blown away!!! Through this, I came to realize how God takes us from the elusiveness of His Voice in our lives to its inclusiveness in our lives – through our consistently hearing and heeding Him in everything regardless of its perceived importance.

So if you want to move from a place of God’s Voice being elusive to a place where it is inclusive, the development of the skill of hearing and heeding His Voice is absolutely imperative. That development is accomplished through Prayer, Reading and Studying the entirety of God’s Word and Application – obediently putting into practice everything you learn about God through His Word, and subsequently acting on the things you hear Him say. Slowly but surely you’ll discover you’re not struggling as much with hearing His Voice – His Voice in your life will become less and less elusive and more and more inclusive.

One final note, God never says anything inconsistent with His Word. Therefore, get to know the Word and get to know it well. 

MY THANKSGIVING TRIBUTE TO MY WIFE, Patricia K Butler

MY THANKSGIVING TRIBUTE TO MY   WIFE,  Patricia K Butler

MY THANKSGIVING TRIBUTE TO MY WIFE, Patricia K Butler

The man who finds a wife finds a treasure,
and he receives favor from the Lord. – Provs. 18:22, NLT

The above verse is an incredible reality that intensifies in its manifestation to and for me each day I am married to Mrs. Patricia K Butler. There are many ways my wife has proven to be a treasure gift from Heaven sent to me and as such the presence of God’s loving favor in my life. I could not begin to enumerate everything in this post. Furthermore it would take many posts. However, I would like to share something with you about the way my wife has been a divine treasure and God’s expression of His favor in and on my life. I pray this encourages people in every relational stage (and other stages too) of life, but especially those of you who are, were and desiring to be married, and those of you dealing with the sandpaper side of the refinement of purpose and destiny. Let me caution you. This may be a little too transparent for some tastes. However, it’s difficult for you to identify with the validity of my victory when you cannot verify how I overcame the victimization that preceded it. So here it is…

December 2, 2012, I went into a financial wilderness. I lost 95% of my income in obedience to the will of God for the church I have been privileged to pioneer and pastor. For 12 years, our church had been meeting in the afternoons, subletting from another church. In the beginning of 2012, God made it apparent that if we were going to get to the next level, we would have to move to a morning slot for our Sunday Worship Encounter. So, I began to diligently search for a place for us to move to. Simultaneously, I also began to search for a different source of income. You see, my source of income was derived from having the privilege of working on Sunday mornings. Consequently, if we are meeting Sunday mornings, then I would not be able to continue working Sunday mornings and shepherd the Lord’s flock with regards to the ministry of the Word. So, while I was looking for a new location, I was also looking for a new source of income because I saw the handwriting on the wall. Well, we found a location the end of the summer (our present location) and negotiated to begin meeting there in December. However, I still had not found the replacement source of income. I LOOKED EVERYWHERE AND AT EVERYTHING, INCLUDING MENIAL JOBS. BUT NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, CAME THROUGH. Relocation day came and our church moved and had its first-ever Sunday Morning Worship Encounter. But that income WAS GONE. 1 month turned to 2; 2 to 4, 4 to 8, and then we were at 12 months where that income was not replaced. Again, I CONTINUED TO LOOK EVERYWHERE AND AT EVERYTHING INCLUDING MENIAL JOBS. NO ONE, ABSOLUTELY NO ONE WOULD HIRE ME. Broken and dejected, I accepted that for whatever reason, THIS WAS THE WILL OF GOD FOR MY LIFE AT THE TIME.

This kind of experience is extremely demoralizing for a man. MEN are hard-wired by God to measure our effectiveness and worth by TANGIBILITIES. The absence of a substantial physical paycheck was emotionally draining, spiritually challenging and at times painful. I put up as good as an exterior as I could but, inside I was in incredible turmoil. More months became more years. I got used to it and somewhat accepted it. And I really learned how to worship a life through it and not just sing songs of worship in it. (That’s another teaching and revelation!) Three things kept me; My sincere desire to please God (although I don’t always like what He does); a supportive church family; AND…THE ‘WORDS-ARE-NOT-GOOD-ENOUGH-TO-DESCRIBE- woman I am married to. Through this woman, Patricia K Butler, God ministered to me many days during that season. First, she took on the very arduous task of being the primary (in some instances SOLE) breadwinner of the family. Second, she never COMPLAINED, NOT ONCE. Third, she never CASTRATED ME AS A MAN AND HER HUSBAND. Whenever I would express my despondency, discouragement, disillusionment and defeat, SHE WOULD COME ALONGSIDE ME AND SAY, “OH NO BROTHER – WE ARE NOT GOING THERE. YOU ARE NOT GOING TO GIVE UP ON GOD AND GET US IN TROUBLE THROUGH DISOBEDIENCE. YOU ARE HERE BECAUSE YOU ARE FOLLOWING GOD AND THAT IS OUR SAFETY ZONE. GOD’S GOT US. WE ARE NOT HOMELESS, HUNGRY NOR NAKED. I AM WITH YOU DARREN, YOU ARE A REAL MAN AND EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE JUST FINE.” At times I would literally be frightened. But this woman, unbeknownst to her, would encourage the fear out of me. She would do things purposely to build my manhood – I NOTICED. And she refused to let me be embarrassed or humiliated. Fourth, I experienced some physical challenges because of the stress. And guess what? SHE LOVED ME AND SUPPORTED ME THROUGH THAT TOO! Many people have walked out on their spouses for a whole lot less. BUT THIS WOMAN STAYED!

Well, the end of August, I began to see daylight at the end of the tunnel. God lifted the veto and allowed me to secure Part-time work. And then, In October, He literally sent a full-time job to look for me AND IT FOUND ME, PRAISE GOD- LOL!

Seriously though, this Thanksgiving is extremely special to me because of the joy and honor I have of celebrating it with the INDIVIDUAL who has been my BFF, confidante, encourager, advisor, supporter, and BIGGEST cheerleader even though I felt like a loser after almost 5 years of the most difficult season in my life. Babe, you are A HUGE reason why THANKSGIVING DAY is a holiday, EVERYDAY in my life. I AM SSSSOOOOO THANKFUL THAT GOD ALLOWED ME TO BE YOUR HUSBAND AND THAT HE GAVE YOU TO ME AS MY WIFE. I am praying for the continued favor of the Lord so that I can be the husband that you more than deserve. Social Media is used for a lot of interesting things. I wanted to use it to tell the world how grateful and appreciative I am to God for blessing me with you. I pledge my love to you always and forever! HAPPY THANKSGIVING SWEETNESS!

With Much Love – Your Husband,
Darren Ellis