"For as many as are LED by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God." Rom. 8:14
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Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Life after Cornerstone...
The Open Road afterthe
"One Man Show"
After coming to the “Heart of the Matter” over the last 6 mos., I hope you have been blessed and encouraged in your journey forward. As I’ve said before, it’s “AS you move forward” that the Holy Spirit brings clarity and purpose to your season of transition. And now the time has come for us to bring you to the final chapter… what I’m about to share with you IS the sobering truth behind Cornerstone. It’s what all former members discover after leaving. It’s the “Crux of the Matter”… that answers the question of “What’s Next?”
With almost 7 billion people living on the planet, what is the value of… ONE LIFE? How much is ONE PURPOSE worth? The answer of course depends upon who you are asking. To that ONE PERSON… the answer would be INVALUABLE. And so to each man is given ONE life. We must enjoy it, value it… because “this IS it”. For the years of a man’s life are like grains of sand. They pass through your fingers ever so quickly, no matter how hard you try to hold on.
Acts 17: 26, 27 --“From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and HE DETERMINED THE TIMES SET FOR THEM and the EXACT PLACES WHERE THEY SHOULD LIVE. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.”
What a powerful scripture that testifies to the brilliant plan of predetermining the “set times and places” of every man that is to step foot on the planet. As believers in Christ, we know that each person is born with a divine purpose --a REASON for living in the “time” and “place” they were born into “for such a time as this”. And with every life is also appointed a number of years in which to carry those purposes out. To everything there is a season, and a TIME to every purpose under the heaven…
Along with PURPOSE and TIME, each man is also endowed with ABILITY -spiritual and natural GIFTS that were intended to be used to bring glory to God in the Earth. The greatest demonstration of a person fulfilling their purpose is given to us in John 17:4 --“I have brought you glory on Earth by completingthe work you have given me to do.” -Jesus
I believe all of us would agree to this:
As Christians, we have a personal responsibility to fulfill the Call of God upon our lives. Each of us will stand before God and give an account for what we did with the TIME & TALENT we were given. No one will be standing with you on that day. Not your Pastor, your Parents, nor your Peers.
Allow me to get right to the point.As much as I hate to disappoint the critics, this is not going to be a final “explosive article” aimed to “blast” everyone away by finally revealing all the shocking “inside” information that we have. Nor will this article be for the purpose of revealing the future “outcome” of the whole situation. The truth of the matter is… the future “outcome” is fully realized by EVERYONE after they leave. The “truth of the outcome” was there all the time… but often ignored, put off, or set aside. And THATTRUTH will do you far more “good” than the discovery of anything else. What am I saying?
Here is the CRUX:
Contrary to sharia law of Cornerstone,Michael Pitts was never the Gatekeeper of your Calling. Nor was he responsible for the fulfillment thereof. But at some point, we bought into that system of thinking through very persuasive indoctrination. We were apart of what became a cult in part, by the false teachings that stemmed mainly out of the "Shepherding Movement”.
In a nut shell --we were taught that God calls us to serve a particular Pastor, where we are to submit to him indefinitely by coming into a “covenant relationship” and in return…. we are provided Spiritual “Covering” under the umbrella of his network. It is through our submission to the “Bishop”, that we ultimately go on to fulfill our Calling, our Purpose. And so it goes... one could never leave their “Covering” unless of course the anointing of "Proper Protocol” is followed -aka- “They release you”. For all intents and purposes, we were REQUIRED to give the “Set Man” of the house…. completeand total submission without question. Reminds me of the song “Hotel California” --you can “check out” anytime you like, but you can NEVER LEAVE…
Eph. 4:11, 12 –“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, FOR THE EQUIPPING OF THESAINTS FOR THE WORK OF THE MINISTRY, for the edifying of the body of Christ..”
Now according to the above scripture,
we clearly see that 5-fold Ministry Gifts are for…
Who? The Saints
Purpose? For the Work of the Ministry
How is this whittled down to: "Feel your Faith, Find your PLACE... Heal the World?"
Hmmm... It's "catchy", but is it equipping THE SAINTS so that THEY can GO OUT into the world and do the work of ministry? Oh, that's right... We ARE doing the work of the "ministry" by $upporting and attending. Really?? But is this the "work" that Paul was talking about?
The superstar mentality in America today has caused us to elevate gifted individuals to the forefront of ministry. Instead of equipping others, such leaders and ministers really only strengthen their own positions of power and ministry in the Body.As a result, the life of the congregation is then primarily focused on and revolved around the Pastor/Bishop. They don't have a "life", they have "his life".Consequently, ministry ends up primarilydirected INWARD instead of OUTWARD.
It would appear that in a "One Man Show" or "Personality-Driven" church, the mentality and structure is actually the EXACT OPPOSITE of Ephesians 4. You are instructed to find your seat place and "submit yourself to CHRIST headship". Then give your time, service, and gifts and lay them at the feet of CHRIST the "Set Man of the House" so HE can fulfill HIS calling. Your calling is now his calling. But according to scripture -it's the other way around! It's the Pastor's duty to lay down his life, serve, and equip YOU for the work of the ministry. THATISHIS MINISTRY!
At the end of the day, our Charismatic Churches have become more "Man-Centered" than they are Christ-Centered.End of story.
Not to knock off your "Kingdom Authority" buzz but...
It has nothing to do with titles, positions, or education. It is granted by the Lord according to the measure in which he can trust us to wield it with humility. It is reserved for his bondslaves.
Just to clarify:
As I stated earlier, everyone has a Purpose… a “Call” on their life. And certainly God places 5-Fold Ministry relationships in the Body to equip and edify us for those purposes. Absolutely! THE PROBLEM is when those leaders set themselves up to usurp the role of Christ in our life. A genuine Pastor (who has the heart of a shepherd) will serve his people for the purpose of caring FOR and equipping THEM. So yes, on one hand he IS responsible for what he teaches and how he shepherds while he is assigned to our care. HOWEVER, it is OUR responsibility to listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying over OUR LIFE and obey -by following that Path and Plan accordingly. Which btw, does not always begin and end with one particular church.
Friends, much of what we’ve endured could have been avoided IF we took what we were being taught, sat down at our kitchen table and compared it with scripture. "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God... THESE are the SONS of God." NOT –Sons and Daughters “of the house”. Such philosophy is synonymous with the arrogance of a NarcissisticPersonality to say the least…
A note on “Covering”:
IF a Pastor/Bishop COULD provide his members with “Spiritual Covering”, then your continual ability to be “covered” would remain contingent upon his current level of submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Agree? So what happens if let’s say he “falls asleep” on the job and is no longer in fellowship with the Holy Spirit, as far as his own personal relationship with Christ? Being now that you have placed him as your mediator to Christ for blessing, protection, etc… then are you no longer covered? Friends, this doesn’t make sense because it’s FALSE DOCTRINE.
For the sake of those still trying to “sort it out”:
I have always felt that we should be able to learn from “what went wrong” while still giving credit where credit is due. For up & down the hallways of 1520 Reynolds Rd., walked 1000’s of gifted men and women of God over the last 25 years. In my humble opinion, I truly believe Cornerstone was intended to be a powerful “Pitt Stop” for many. In part, a place to be developed for a season and then sent out to begin new works of ministry. In the end, it turned into a deep pitt controlled under the guise of members remaining “in decency and in order”… all by two men who forgot where they came from. At the end of the day, what will be remembered the most is what was promoted and worshipped the most by everyone--His Gift. Was anyone able to get past the "brightness" of the stage, to see that something was terribly wrong? That's my observation for whatever it's worth. Nevertheless, we can still glean from the day when the Word of God was preached in a way that transcended all economical, social, and cultural backgrounds.
Unfortunately, false doctrine and spiritual abuse set her fangs in… our “beloved” became paralyzed and many fell asleep under her spell… all while clinging onto memories of past grandeur. You can shout and buck all you want, but if God removes His Spirit... it's nothing more than empty hands on empty heads -an expensive floor show at best. But as we’ve said before, there WILL BE much good that comes from your season at Cornerstone… you just have to take TRUTH with you and leave the rest behind. For those invaluable “lessons learned” were divinely given to you by the sovereign hand of God –for your good.
I remember “fire ball” Pastor Jim Hart once said,“You wanna know when it’s time for you to be released from your Pastor? When you’ve wrung him dry and there’s nothing more to receive from him.” I concur. Regardless of what's "said" over the platform, everyone knows that long-time, dedicated members never ran around "promoting" an agenda. Even for those who had 5-Fold ministry callings, it was abundantly clear that no real "Pathway to the Priesthood" ever existed. Those who were mature, knew that promotion comes from the Lord regardless -in His timing.So, when the day came for you to leave… it was becauseLEAVING was necessary for your future. In the meantime of course, we were trained to keep jumping through all the right hoops... and one day (IF DEEMED "READY")... we will let you do something GREAT to further HisOur Kingdom! At the end of the day however, we have to admit… putting the responsibility onto “them” was a whole lot easier than actually taking ownership of it for ourselves! You realize this too is the CRUX of the Matter…. My calling ismy responsibility.And THIS IS where the rubber meets the Open Road my friends!
So --“What’s Next?"
As you come to the end of the healing process, you will come to the beginning of a NEW “ERA” in your Christian life.Eras not only “birth” something new, but they also reckon past accounts. You will begin to see life as more of an “Open Road”. You will begin to see that your church relationships are more of “vehicles” rather than “destinations”. You will begin to realize that the decision itself to "leave Cornerstone" was really JUST THE BEGINNING of something much greater! Kind of like getting on a motorcycle and heading out onto the Open Road. What a breath of fresh air!And you WILL find that “leaving” itself, was really just the FIRST step toward discovering the “What’s Next?”that Godhad been planningfor YOU all along... Are you brave enough to embrace it?
I have found that even through my own personal difficulty in leaving -dealing with the disappointment, the loss, even filtering through the "ugliness" of spiritual abuse and false doctrine... was WORTH every moment of my wilderness season! The stripping process itself is never pretty,but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.... IT has made me a better person.You see, once you trust Him by fully surrendering to the PROCESS... you will discover how necessaryALL OF IT was in the preparation of God’s Plan for your life! It's funny that the #1 "villainizing label" given to discredit the mass exodus was -"they didn't get released for ministry". How ironic... for these very ones went onto finding the path of fulfilling JUST THAT! They went on to live out their LIFE! Why?? Because the Holy Spirit released them to. What a concept! You see, your departure from Cornerstone was actually an unforeseen promotion brought to you by the Lord Himself… but whatYOU dowith that journey forwardwill beup to YOU. Selah
As I asked in the beginning of the article... What is ONE LIFE worth among almost 7 billion others?? EVERYTHING. If it is yours of course. You get ONE life and we should be careful how we spend the years within it. Never ASSUME that the VALUE of your purpose, time, and ability is equally appreciated by those who currently need you. I call this the “sin of assumption”… for we are often quick to assume when we want something to be true. Sometimes our love for others blinds us from accepting the TRUTH. And sometimes the ability to PERSEVERE for them, causes us short sightedness too...
I would like to think that Michael and Robert realize the YEARS that have been given to their account. One may never know. I would like to think that those who were grouped into "less significant" cliques…were just as important too. For those who were never “privileged” to have keys, to those who never “fit in”, and to ALL who came and served years of their life tithing, teaching, and trusting.... this is a small token of gratitude for you. This is for those who spent PRECIOUS YEARS giving to the “vision” of Cornerstone… while raising their families and unselfishly supporting someone else’s dream (in faith) that theirs would one day come true also. The lives YOU TOUCHED over the years will remain long after "It is Finished".
And finally.... A man once told me that he was standing on top of a building looking out over downtown Toledo. Suddenly, God supernaturally opened his ears and he could hear demonic forces wreaking great havoc over the city. The Lord immediately spoke to him and said, “I have no one in this city that has the authority or power to come against them.” --I didn’t understand this at the time considering. Now after several years, perhaps I am just beginning to see the “bigger picture” of what he was trying to tell me...
A “One Man Show" will never be able to turn a city upside down for Christ, much less “Heal the World”. Why? Because Apostolic Power & Authority is not something that’s simply “decreed”, but demonstratedin love. TRUE Power and Authority in the Body of Christ only comes when we are UNIFIED. And UNITY will not come until EACH PART of the Body is equally strengthened and deployed to a world in need. To bring Glory to our King.
"You will find that LIFE after Cornerstone is nothing they said it would be, and everything HE has said --SHALL BE."