"And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people." - ACTS 6:8
Pardon me Pastor, but may I have a word with you about the late brother Stephen? You know Stephen; the good brother who was the first martyr of the New Testament Church of the Lord Yeshua Messiah (Jesus Christ) as recorded in Acts chapters 6 & 7. Stephen sat among the apostles from the very beginning and was chosen by these discerning men to be one of the first seven deacons, but the LORD had chosen him for much more. In the midst of all these powerful believers and great apostles was a man "full of faith and power" who "did great wonders and miracles" just like them but they didn't recognize or "sanction" him for his God ordained ministry (as I was once told I needed to be long after already being well seasoned and experienced in the ministry more so than the presumptuous "sanctioning" pastor). They did not fast and pray to choose the deacons based solely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit as the church at Antioch would later do before sending out Paul and Barnabas in Acts 13:2-3. Instead, they picked Stephen along with others to only "serve tables" based on the choice of people in need who they felt were a distraction from the narrow focus they had on their own ministries early on.
Pastor, in Acts 6:5 along with brother Stephen they also picked a man known as "Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch" who is believed to have later started a divisive cult called the "Nicolaitanes" whose doctrine Christ said he hated in Revelation 2:15. This isn't an attempt at a controversial criticism of the apostles of Christ. The Lord had this recorded in the Holy Scriptures as it is for more than just the simple historical view we often take of this passage, and contrary to the interpretation many pastors use to justify their positions. Pastor, you also claim to be solely dedicated to prayer and study of the word while others bleed to death for the gospel's sake under your watch, and you exercise very little to absolutely no discernment in knowing those who labor among you. What shortsightedness and presumption even on behalf of the great original apostles of Christ to have overlooked the gift of GOD right in their midst in the person of Stephen all that time. By leaning to their own understanding as if it was the leading of the Lord and thinking they were the only ones to give themselves to prayer and the word they missed it just like you do pastor. Stephen's ministry catapulted him to forever be remembered in scripture, and his martyrdom become the fertilizer that caused the early Church to spread and grow. How shortsighted have you been Pastor? The heathen ruler Pharaoh of Egypt acknowledged the Spirit of God in Joseph when his own brethren would not. Even the world recognizes Christ in those you overlook pastor.
GENESIS 41:38-39; "And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is? 39) And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art".
Pastor, what are you really doing? Are you just enjoying your title and perks the people you refuse to train and release heap upon you through intimidation, brainwashing, and self serving errant Bible twisting? When is the last time you celebrated the members in the congregation rather than wait for your bogus annual appreciation service or birthday to come around so you can rake in some extra cash and be told how great you are where folks give glory to God as a bothersome afterthought? While you sit on God's people to get money and accolades you also sit on Christ who has filled these same people with his Spirit to be "full of faith and power" to do "great wonders and miracles" just like Stephen. Your primary job pastor (or whatever you call yourself) is to nurture, teach, edify, equip, and launch. Nobody needs to sit up under you for the next 10, 20, 30, 40 or more years like many others have and then die serving your vision rather than fulfilling Yeshua's Great Commission by obeying his calling on their lives. Unlike those who mourned Stephen's death you hand out stones of discord, disapproval, favoritism, division, and slander among the saints to help stone anyone you think is a threat or won't bow to you while hoping to break their spirit to protect your position. You will never be Lord in place of Christ by making yourself a lord over his people who he shed his blood and died for as well as for you. Let's recap the Crucifixion narrative... I see Jesus Christ in between two thieves... looking... still looking... nope I don't see you pastor. Looking for you in that story only made me want to die just like Christ; with you and another pastor like you on each side of me so I can also die for God in between two thieves. What a way to go out!
1st PETER 5:2-4; "Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3) Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock. 4) And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away."
Pastor, in the previously mentioned passage of 1st Peter 5:2-4 the scriptures tell you that if you do it right there is a grand pay day coming for you that is eternally greater than all the stolen tithes and manipulated monies you could ever get from the flock of God. Not all shepherds/pastors are as trifling as you; Hallelujah! I truly thank YAH for the genuine pastors who are made so after his heart and not their own self serving gain in indifference to the flock of the LORD like you. If Donald Trump ever gets saved I hope the Almighty commissions him with a ministry to fire you immediately if you don't repent and do right. If this was the "Color Purple" you would definitely be "Mister" and this would be the part in the movie where "Celie" tells you everything you done to the members will be done to you until you do right by them. Pastor, how many "Stephens" have passed through your ministry that you didn't discern, or how many "Stephens" are among you now that you refuse to see? Pastor, is the reason why you don't obey the LORD and follow the pattern of Christ because you don't want anyone being greater than you? Megalomania, insecurity, envy, jealousy, selfishness, arrogance, ungodly pride, and narcissism aren't good looks for a pastor. You can't do it all and were never meant to. Christ alone did it all and even he didn't select "the twelve" to play "Tito, Jackie, and Marlon" as his background, but he identified them and then trained them to do what he was doing and continue on with the hopes of being greater in their earthly ministries.
JOHN 14:12; "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father."
Pastor, you don't pick the people's callings because the LORD already has long before you came along. You only identify the callings like a wise teacher identifies and builds up their students according to their individual personalities and potential. The LORD chose the people too just like he chose you; that is if you're truly chosen. All this sitting and listening to one person like you do nearly all the preaching and teaching was never the Lord's way but wayward people came up with that and etched it in the stones of man made traditions. Check the pattern in the scriptures and see for yourself; you are using a fraudulent set of blueprints from another source and not from Heaven pastor. The Lord will not trust you with more if you only plan to do less with them. Pastor, it's not too late to admit you made a mistake and be a good usher. In comparison to being a terrible unrepentant pastor ushering isn't so bad, and even King David said so in Psalm 84:10; "....I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness." Working the door just might help save your soul because pastoring like you are is sending you straight to hell. There are enough "people warehouses" wrongly called "churches", and the last thing the Body of Christ or the world needs is another one built by the shortsighted and feeble minded aspirations of frail sinful mankind. Good day pastor. ~ I.J. West aka "Hitman"