Celebrity Substitutes

26 11 2013

Sheep need a shepherd to lead them to green pastures. Without his/her assistance, these animals will stay in the same area and eat the grass down to the roots. In a short period of time, a lush, green pasture becomes a dust bowl.

Perhaps this is why Psalm 23 says, “He makes me lie down in green pastureS.”

See the plural?

This leads to the question:

Where do you, as one of God’s “sheep,” feed?

Do you only eat in one pasture…the one in your church?

Or do you “graze” in other locations as well?

I am not suggesting “church hopping,” but if we are to receive a balanced diet, we need to be fed in more than one location…from more than one source.

Podcasts are a wonderful way to do this during the week. I listen to several preachers, myself: our own J. S. Park, Louie Giglio from Passion City Church, Steve Berger from Grace Chapel in Lieper’s Fort, and Levi Lusko from Fresh Life Church in Montana to name a few. These are men through whom the Lord is teaching me about Himself.

My list changes from time to time…one is dropped, a new one is added.

This is a sure way to keep from being lulled into a stupor, or led into deception.

When all the messages mesh with personal Bible reading and study,

and give a larger view of God,

it is a beautiful thing!

The most important reason for doing so is to avoid elevating our pastors and spiritual mentors (in any capacity) to “celebrity status.”

This isn’t a new problem, for apparently the folks in Paul’s day were star-struck with their leaders, too. We read in 1 Corinthians 3:4-7:

For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not mere men?

What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one.

I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.

So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes growth.

When we find ourselves holding up our pastor, counselor, teacher, or spiritual mentor as the only one with THE  truth, we are on dangerous ground, for this smacks of idolatry.

For heaven’s sake, God spoke through a donkey! If you ever receive insight and instruction from this blog it only proves that He continues to use them today!

How have we become so celebrity oriented?

Why must the messenger be a “somebody” before we are interested in listening to the Message?

I grew up in an era where the people from our congregation were our Bible teachers. These gifted folks spent many hours in preparation for each class, sought the Lord, and shared His Word with us in a way that was specific to our group. We matured spiritually under their care.

Sadly, many who have the gift of teaching are “unemployed” by our churches. If they offer a class, very few attend…most are flocking to the latest video presentation by the “stars” of Christendom.

Many of these “stars” are excellent teachers. There is nothing wrong with their doctrine.

(While they may have a “general” word for the church at large, it may not be the specific message God has for our smaller fellowships.)

What concerns me is that we seem to have become “groupies;” we follow these celebrities everywhere, and hope to bring them to our town so we can say we met them in person. We know all about them…and even attempt to emulate their dress or hair style!

Really? Is this the purpose of Bible study?

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a particular style of teaching, but when the teacher becomes the focus we’ve missed the point.

Equally disconcerting is the elevation of our counselors and spiritual mentors to god status. If we are not careful, we may decide that we can do nothing without first consulting them. We believe that they have all the answers, and can become attached to them in an unhealthy way.

The primary goal of any good pastor, teacher, or spiritual leader of any sort must be that of pointing those in their care to the only One who has the power to change their lives.

Louie Giglio said:

“Our thirsting, searching soul,

and God’s thundering passion

collide in one awesome purpose:

God wants us to know Him intimately.

For this we have been created.” 

Instead, we look to certain spiritual gurus for guidance, or a word from the Lord.

Did you know that the Lord wants to tell you – Himself?

We go to the “prayer warriors” to get God’s help. They’re so “mighty” that God will answer them long before He’ll give our puny little prayers an audience.

As a parent, are you more likely to respond:

to your child’s requests…

or would you rather one of their friends asked

on your child’s behalf?

Hmm.

As we consider this obstacle to intimacy with God, it becomes clear that it is possible to replace God with a human substitute…someone with “skin” on.

This is easy to do – I know, for I have been guilty of this myself.

We feel good when we gain the attention of someone “important” – someone we see as a celebrity of sorts.

It is time to repent of the sin of idolatry,

to turn our eyes upon Jesus

– the Author and Finisher of our faith.

May it never be that I should boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.  (Galatians 6:14)

Let’s quit boasting in our preachers, our teachers, our spiritual giants

– and get about the business of seeking God for ourselves.

Jesus longs to talk to us. He has much to say. Just ask Him!

Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near.

Isaiah 55:6

*****

You’ve dropped in on the series Intimacy with God. It begins here: C’mon In…

This week’s series is about obstacles to intimacy. It begins here: A Clogged Conduit

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16 responses

27 11 2013
Shannon Marie

Reblogged this on Random Ramblings.

27 11 2013
writerwannabe763

I believe it to be so true that you can gain new insight and perspective and something new when you listen to different sources…. ‘even bloggers on workdpress’ have given much food for thought… Diane

27 11 2013
lessonsbyheart

I completely agree. I “graze” here daily! 🙂

\o/

27 11 2013
melwild

Great insights here. I really liked how you treat this as an obstacle to intimacy with God. You said, “As we consider this obstacle to intimacy with God, it becomes clear that it is possible to replace God with a human substitute…someone with “skin” on.” How true! While we need good leaders to help us on our journey, too many opt for an indirect relationship with God through their pastor/church/Internet, instead of a personal one. It’s like going to a really good school to have a relationship with your spouse! It just isn’t the same. 🙂

27 11 2013
lessonsbyheart

I’ve been guilty of opting for an indirect relationship myself. It’s still easy to slip into this, I find.

At the same time, it’s a great responsibility to stay off others’ pedestals as well. After all, I certainly cannot “save” anyone.

If my name is the only one people know when they meet the Lord, it’s not going to go well for them. :-0

\o/

27 11 2013
butcheringsaint

Nice job presenting this as a very well written piece! i’m not placing you on a pedestal so don’t worry! I think you have hit the nail on the head however. the concept of grazing elsewhere is good also. So often, churches are viewed as competing teams in a sports organization. One likes the Vikings only and one likes the Bears but in reality, believers should just like the game itself. Cheers and blessings.

27 11 2013
lessonsbyheart

It fascinates me to see how God directs me to various speakers and books. They all fit together with the same message and give a larger picture than what I would have if I restricted myself to my “team.”

You’re so right about the competing teams…and it should not be so. We’re all on the same team and part of the same body. What benefits one benefits all eventually.

Happy Thanksgiving!

\o/

26 11 2013
inthepottershands988

“Do you only eat in one pasture?” Wow! Great challenging question! Thank you for this post, Tami! It’s been awhile since I’ve been on here, but I’m back…for awhile til my next semester starts. Then it’s back to the books! 🙂 Good to be back and reading your encouraging posts!! 🙂 Blessings in Christ!

26 11 2013
lessonsbyheart

Yeah, I’ve been hitting the books too. Doors opened and I’m studying music theory…and understanding it for the first time in my life!

I’ve missed you. So glad to know you’re still alive and well. Best wishes for your education.

Blessings to you as well!

\o/

27 11 2013
inthepottershands988

Awww! Thank you! Hey, that’s great about God opening a door for you to study music theory! Praise God! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

27 11 2013
lessonsbyheart

🙂

\o/

26 11 2013
loopyloo305

Reblogged this on The Christian Gazette and commented:
Our Pastor encourages us to check out some churches, if they are Pastors he knows, or visitors that he thinks we will benefit from hearing. He also encourages Pastors to visit is speak at our church. He introduces videos, and newsletters. It is wonderful that we do not have to be limited. But, the best place is indeed, in the Word itself! Great post my friend! God bless!

26 11 2013
Steve Rebus

Reblogged this on iChristian.

27 11 2013
Shards Of DuBois

WOW loved this…especially her comment about God speaking through a donkey!!! reminded me SO much of me! lol

27 11 2013
lessonsbyheart

{thanks for reading!}

29 11 2013
Steve Rebus

lol, yeah i loved that part too!!
I had to Reblog as soon as i read it! Glad it spoke to you too!
Hope you have a blessed weekend?! 🙂

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