MICHAEL ANTHONY BLOG

World Events

Leadership

Relationships

Personal Growth

Resources

We welcome your comments, knowing that your words could very well inspire others.

LIFE-IGNITING AUDIO

Advent

Special Topics

Life of Christ

Understand Life

Interviews

Vision of Life

Clean Sweep

Book of Acts

ignite your life!

subscribe to our mailing list and receive a free download of our featured product

You Need This To Succeed

FIND THE RIGHT WAY – AND LIVE IT Michael Anthony Godfactor Blog RSS “This book will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from this book.” This is the observation of D.L. Moody about the Bible, and he was absolutely right. I’ve been enjoying the book of...

CONTRADICTIONS IN THE GOSPELS?

contradictions in the gospels? Michael Anthony Godfactor Blog RSS Many people have tried (and keep trying) to discredit the Gospel accounts because they differ in detail. Some suggest that the differences are “contradictions” that demonstrate the Bible to be, at best,...
Page 5 of 28« First...34567...1020...Last »
Deal With This Or It Will Deal With You

Deal With This Or It Will Deal With You

Deal With This Or It Will Deal With You

Strife is part of life – but much of the strife we experience can be minimized. This is especially true if you’re a leader, in any capacity, because leaders have to deal with people, and people have a way of not always agreeing with each other. If you want to reduce the strife in your life, and in the lives of others, there is something you must address head-on, or it will play head games with everyone within earshot. Never – and I mean never – let gossip go unaddressed. If you’re going to ignore gossip, you might as well participate in it.

Proverbs 26:20 speaks about the destructive power of gossip:

“Without wood, fire goes out;
without gossip, conflict dies down.”
*

Gossip fuels conflict the way dry, seasoned wood feeds a campfire. Allow it to go unchecked and a small campfire can become a raging wildfire. While none of us can avoid all conflict in life, you are a poor (and foolish) leader if you don’t address the kinds of conflict created by the flames of gossip. Don’t debate the truth of God’s word. Gossip is a serious, destructive sin.

HOW TO PUT WATER ON THE FIRE OF GOSSIP

1.   Get your facts straight; don’t make assumptions. Before you assume things, do your research. Find out if your suspicions about potential gossip are justified. If they are, take action. If they aren’t, move on. 
 

2.   Be humbly courageous. Make the decision to confront the person/people involved. Remember, if you do nothing when you know gossip has occurred, you are deciding to risk the potential of a small fire becoming a raging inferno. If that happens, even more of your time, energy and resources will be taxed. Small sins, left unaddressed, grow (See James 1:15). The lack of courage is a reason for many leadership wildfires. Pray for courage, then lovingly, patiently and firmly approach the person/people involved.
 

3.   Begin by affirming the person/people. Then, ask questions; avoid making accusations. Let the person/people know you value them and their time, and care about their quality of life and the quality of the lives of others. Let them know the motive for your getting together with them, so they know you love them and people.

After doing this, ask questions about the details you discovered in your research. Allow them time to answer, and be open to the possibility that you may have received incorrect information. However, you must also be ready to confront the sin if your information is correct, and gossip did indeed occur. Good leaders don’t shy away from problems — they address them head-on.
 

4.   If the person/people are sorry, lovingly hold them accountable and help them repent. If someone has gossiped, they need to not only be sorry. They need to make amends. Gossip is a sin with tentacles. Those tentacles need to be lopped off. The way this happens is for the person/people who gossiped to approach those they gossiped to and say, from the heart, “I am guilty of gossip. I sinned. I sinned against God. I sinned against you, others and myself by doing so. I am sorry, would you please forgive me?”

Of course, there can be variants of this, but not significant variants. The core of the confession and repentance must be present: admission of guilt/sin against God and people. Remorse for the sin. Asking for the person/people sinned against for forgiveness. Without these ingredients, the person/people have not dealt with the fire they started. It’s very important that humble repentance is manifest by the gossiper, or else the damage they started will spread. We have God’s word on it. Don’t forget Proverbs 26:20.

5.   If the person/people who gossiped are not sorry and won’t take ownership of their sin and repent, follow Matthew 18:15-20. The Bible is God’s handbook for conflict resolution. Follow it. By doing so, you are following God, not just a book. Do the right things in the right ways. This is true when it comes to handling someone who has gossiped. Don’t skip steps and don’t compromise because to obey this process is to obey God.
 

6.   Follow up and make time to thank God, personally, and with the person/people who gossiped. If the people involved repent and follow #4, above, wonderful. You have followed the LORD well, led people well, and they have followed well (especially the LORD). The fire will be doused. Take time to stop everything and thank God for His goodness, and commend the repentant person/people for taking godly steps to correct a godless act.
 

Yes, there may be consequences for the sin of gossip even after the guilty repent and apologize, but all you can do is all you can do – and great leaders are responsible leaders who don’t shy away from conflict. If you are a leader, you must address conflict and its roots, because without doing so, you aren’t going very far. And, neither are the people God called you to lead.

We have to get to the heart of the matter, and the heart of the matter is the human heart. Each of us needs to participate in The National Week of Repentance, coming October 30 – November 6, the week before the election. You don’t have to travel anywhere to jump in. RevivalMatters.com provides all the information you need to invite the deep change of heart and lifestyle that only God can bring.

*Scripture taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB).

Are Control Freaks Killing Your Ministry?

ARE CONTROL FREAKS KILLING YOUR MINISTRY?

THEY’RE OFTEN SUCCESSFUL IN BUSINESS, WEALTHY, AND INFLUENTIAL WITHIN THEIR PROFESSION – AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT MAKES THEM DANGEROUS. They appear kind and generous until you get close enough to realize they aren’t. But by the time you realize this, it’s too late – deep damage has been done, and you will be left picking up the pieces.

They are control freaks – men and women prematurely respected and therefore often placed into positions of leadership in churches and ministries before their character can be clearly confirmed – and that’s where the real problems start.

For more than twenty years, all over the world, I’ve observed the spirit of control at work in people, churches and ministries as much, if not more, than the Holy Spirit. It’s outright diabolical – and it’s something you, as a leader, must not tolerate. If you tolerate the spirit of control it will not play fair, because it is the spirit of destruction.

THE WHOLE NINE YARDS
If you give the spirit of control an inch, it will take far more than a yard. It will take over. While the Holy Spirit liberates, the spirit of control imprisons. Next to the Holy Spirit, the spirit of control is the most active spirit in the body of Christ – and a good, godly leader must keep both eyes open, constantly, to ensure that control is dealt with the instant it raises its ugly head. Failure to do so can be . . . fatal.

In order to control someone, a control freak has to be a master at deception – and this is a huge problem if tolerated in churches and ministries because deception is the exact opposite of truth. To achieve their end – being in control – control freaks learn to look good on the outside so they can manipulate people and be respected.

A Spirit-led person, however, cares only about being controlled by Christ, not manipulating people. A Spirit-led person cares only about how Christ looks and is respected. The agendas of a controlling person and a Spirit-led person are diametrically opposed. They cannot mutually co-exist for long. One will win out over the other.

KILLING CONTROL
At the heart of a controlling person is a refusal to fully surrender to Jesus Christ. In other words, a control freak struggles with really loving Jesus. When such a person is placed in a position of influence (leadership), it’s like tossing a pebble into a pond. The ripple effects will eventually be felt throughout the team, organization, church and ministry. Those ripple effects are contrary to the work of the Holy Spirit. People who are not surrendered to Christ will make disciples who follow their example. That example is fundamentally flawed – the ministry that results is likewise askew.

If a leader is not fully surrendered to Jesus Christ, but they succeed in deceiving others into thinking they are, they will replicate the exact thing God does not want replicated: hypocrisy. Jesus said a lot about hypocrisy, and none of it was flattering.

At the heart of a controlling person is a desire to look good and be respected because they have a very low view of themselves. In a word, this is pride. This is what drives them to manipulate, seek the respect of others, and to gain status. If they can control people and situations, they temporarily gain a twisted sense of self-respect, power and worth – but none of this comes from Christ.

The control freak is destined to roam the earth with a deep, gnawing sense of emptiness because the satisfaction they receive from manipulating people and circumstances is not from God. True satisfaction comes from being fully surrendered to Jesus Christ. The control freak misses this because they are pursuing control rather than surrender.

A controlling person has a serious character flaw that must not be tolerated by anyone placed by God into a position of leadership. This is true in a family, a church and every ministry. The spirit of control steals, kills and destroys the work of God. These are the devil’s objectives (John 10:10), and they are utterly at odds with everything Christ wants to accomplish in a life, family, church and nation.

GOOD NEWS
The good news is that a
control freak can become a Jesus freak.
The antidote for the spirit of control is genuine humility and repentance. Martin Luther hit the nail on the head with the first of his famous 95 Theses: “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent’ (Mt. 4:17), He willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.” It’s just not possible to be a Christ follower if repentance is not our new way of life.

Since the spirit of control is so common, we need to deal it a death blow. This is why the upcoming National Week of Repentance, October 30 – November 6, is so vital. It will help you and the people you know discover and embrace biblical humility and a lifestyle of repentance in a day when control is . . . out of control. The National Week of Repentance is a simultaneous, historic movement of God and people you simply don’t want to miss. VISIT REVIVALMATTERS.COM now, and sign up so you can participate.

HAVE YOU USED THE WRONG CRITERIA FOR PLACING SOMEONE INTO A LEADERSHIP POSITION? IS GOD – OR SOMETHING ELSE – CONTROLLING YOUR LIFE, FAMILY, CHURCH OR MINISTRY? CAN YOU AFFORD TO ALLOW CONTROL, RATHER THAN THE HOLY SPIRIT, TO REIGN?

Pulling Teeth From a Roaring Tiger

PULLING TEETH FROM A ROARING TIGER

One of the reasons America is in such a mess is because we Christian leaders don’t seem to give a darn about the damned. The level of mistrust, competition and disinterest between pastors works against the unity that Jesus prayed for in John 17:23:

I IN THEM AND YOU IN ME, THAT THEY MAY BECOME PERFECTLY ONE, SO THAT THE WORLD MAY KNOW THAT YOU SENT ME AND LOVED THEM EVEN AS YOU LOVED ME.

In light of the moral decline, racial division, financial turmoil and political nonsense we are seeing this election year, I’ve been reaching out to pastors and Christian leaders, trying to get us all on the same page – God’s page – so that we can fulfill Jesus’ prayer in John 17 and actually reach the lost. Here’s what I’ve found: getting Christian leaders together these days is about as easy and comfortable as pulling teeth from a roaring tiger.

We don’t need the devil to derail us. We are doing a find job all by ourselves. Isn’t it ironic that we are pursuing church growth and “ministry” without prioritizing unity – the most important ingredient for church and ministry success? At the end of day, we’re shooting ourselves in our own feet by diminishing the importance of Christian unity. No wonder the world yawns when we open our mouths. Can you blame them? We don’t practice what we preach.

POWERFUL PERSUASION
We don’t seem to believe what Jesus taught: people are persuaded about the love of God in proportion to the unity among Christians. The greater the unity, the more irresistible God becomes. The more divided we are, the less people care about Christ. If our objective is to get people to follow Jesus, we have to start following Him ourselves. Until we do, we are nothing more than hypocrites. We want people to love and follow a Jesus we’ve left behind.

It’s not complicated. Our disunity reveals that we Christian leaders don’t seem to really care about reaching the lost. If we did, we’d be doing far more to be unified, because unity convinces people that God is real and the message of the cross is true.

MISSING IT
A few months ago, I asked my assistant to reach out to senior pastors from neighboring churches, asking if we could “set up a time to meet in regard to the state of the nation and how churches can cooperate together in unity.” Here is the ironic response of one such pastor:

From what I know about Mike, which is not a lot, he and I probably think differently about these issues and how churches should/can respond. So I’m not sure how fruitful a meeting about this subject would be. But if Mike wants to meet together as two pastors in the same community, to talk shop, I’d certainly be open to that. God’s very best to you . . .

Is that really God’s “very best”? We make false assumptions about each other that keep us at arms length – in the same city, at this pivotal time in American history. What is wrong with us? We leaders have lost our way. How is it possible to talk “shop” without the shop itself? If we keep talking about all the other issues we face, except the most important issues of the day, aren’t we merely postponing the inevitable day when the circling wagons will achieve their goal? Aren’t we wasting precious time – and precious souls – in the process?

We pastors and Christian leaders all need to repent – big time. We’re too divided to be of any use to the Jesus we say we want other people to follow. The National Week of Repentance is coming October 30 – November 6. Get involved and be part of the solution to the division that is so obvious within the Church. Visit RevivalMatters.com and sign up, now.

ARE YOU A CATALYST FOR UNITY, OR ARE YOU SHOOTING YOURSELF IN THE FOOT at this key time as history is being written? do you give a darn about the damned?

 

 

You Need This To Succeed

FIND THE RIGHT WAY – AND LIVE IT

“This book will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from this book.” This is the observation of D.L. Moody about the Bible, and he was absolutely right. I’ve been enjoying the book of Proverbs and I can’t tell you how much it’s been like fresh water to a dry sponge. This book is absolute must reading if you want to make the most out of your life.

Proverbs 16:25* says,

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it is the way of death.”
 

So true! The greatest need we have is for wisdom that comes from the throne of God. Too often, we settle for merely human wisdom, and fall far short of what we could have, if only we sought the heart and mind of God.

If we look around, it’s obvious that divine wisdom is the great need of the day, isn’t it? Is this the case in your life? Do you need wisdom? God offers it to those who will simply ask. Hard to believe, but foolish to ignore, God will dispense priceless insights to anyone willing to seek them throughout their lifetime. I don’t know about you, but I want God’s wisdom, not my own.

“Lord, don’t let me live without your wisdom! Please give it to me day by day, moment by moment. Do not let me be deceived into trusting in my own ways that I think are right but could be so wrong. Do not let me deceive myself, but let me lean on you – fully – so that I might live. But help me not only for my own sake, but also for the sake of every other person I encounter today. Help me to speak life, hope, love and encouragement into the lives of everyone I meet. Help me to live with your wisdom and then I know what happens in the overflow will be eternally significant.”

I cannot afford to go through this day without true, divine wisdom. Can you?

IS THERE A WAY THAT SEEMS RIGHT TO YOU? WHAT IF YOU ARE WRONG? ARE YOU LIVING THIS DAY WITH DIVINE WISDOM OR YOUR OWN? WHY NOT STOP, RIGHT NOW, AND ASK GOD FOR HIS WISDOM. SOME DAY, PERHAPS SOONER THAN YOU THINK, YOU’LL BE GLAD YOU DID.

The National Week of Repentance is coming October 30 – November 6. Get yourself and your people ready at RevivalMatters.com. It is time for the hope and change only God can deliver. The humble courage we so desperately need will only arise if there is a real move of repentance in America, and it needs to begin with you and me.

*Scripture quotations taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, Copyright 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission.

The Magic of Wisdom

THE MAGIC OF WISDOM

At the end of the day – this day – you will have had a good many chances to be a sexy, magnetic, a person of high moral character whom others find irresistible. You’ll also have many chances to be the exact opposite. Which will it be? The choice is largely up to each of us. Today, that choice is up to you. 

Wisdom is magnetically . . . sexy. Yes, sexy. It makes us irresistible. It transforms us. If you think about it, you’ll agree. When we detect wisdom in a person, we’re drawn to them with a magnetic pull that’s indescribable, likely because we each realize our own need for what they have.

We all want wisdom, and when we get it, we become the kind of person others seek. We become sexy – without doing a single thing to alter our physical appearance. Wisdom is a really magical thing.

Proverbs 15:2* says,

“The tongue of the wise makes knowledge attractive, but the mouth of fools blurts out foolishness.”
 

Throughout the Book of Proverbs, a foolish person is synonymous with the person who lacks discernment, knowledge, integrity and high moral character. It is the fool, for example, who is impatient and has a short tempter (Prov. 14:16, 17, 29) that drives other people away.

When we see people who lack intelligence, integrity and good moral character, we’re typically turned off. We find foolish people repulsive. Yes, certain celebrities and Twitter personalities have done well attracting a following precisely because of their deviant lifestyles and comments, but other people follow them not because they want to be like them, but because they are looking for a source of twisted entertainment.

Foolishness is a freak show. No one, for instance, fantasizes about marrying a fool. Wisdom is respectable.

HOW TO MAKE YOURSELF MORE ATTRACTIVE
No one wakes up eager to show the world their morning face. We all do our best to present our best face to the rest of the world, because we know that without it the day will be an uphill battle. Why add insult to injury by making life, which is already hard, more difficult? Looking good simply makes things easier, better, more enjoyable.

These days, wise speech is so uncommon that when we hear even mildly wise words, everyone sits up and takes notice. One of the best ways to make yourself more attractive is to make sure the words that come out of your mouth are words of wisdom. This is what Proverbs 15:2 is all about. There is nothing more attractive than wisdom rolling off the tongue of a mere mortal, no matter how otherwise unattractive he or she may be.

If you want to make yourself more attractive, consider the words that come out of your mouth. Are they self-centered? Do you tear down other people? Do you gossip or slander? Do you lie? Do you whine or complain? Do you do what Proverbs 12:16* says by showing your displeasure immediately?

“A fools’ displeasure is known at once, but whoever ignores an insult is sensible” – Proverbs 12:16*

 
Sensibility is another trait of a wise person. Every day is filled with opportunities to be sensible or to become incensed. Opportunities to become insulted abound – but if you are wise, you will not immediately show your displeasure, but learn how to master the fine and rare art of overlooking an offense, as Proverbs 19:11* reminds us:

“A person’s insight gives him patience, and his virtue is to overlook an offense” – Proverbs 19:11*

What kind of person will you be, today? Will you be wise and sexy or foolish and ugly?

WHAT’S ONE THING YOU BELIEVE YOU CAN DO THIS WEEK TO BE WISER, AND MORE ATTRACTIVE, LESS LIKE A FOOL?

TODAY’S TIP: Try one chapter from the Book of Proverbs each day, first thing in the morning. There are 31 chapters, more than enough wisdom for every month of the year. Proverbs will help you learn the traits of a wise person – an irresistible, intelligent, moral, magnetically attractive person – and move toward becoming one.

The National Week of Repentance is coming October 30 – November 6. Get yourself and your people ready at RevivalMatters.com. It is time for the hope and change only God can deliver. The humble courage we so desperately need will only arise if there is a real move of repentance in America, and it needs to begin with you and me.

*Scripture quotations taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, Copyright 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission.

 

CONTRADICTIONS IN THE GOSPELS?

contradictions in the gospels?

Many people have tried (and keep trying) to discredit the Gospel accounts because they differ in detail. Some suggest that the differences are “contradictions” that demonstrate the Bible to be, at best, an inaccurate account of the events surrounding the life of Jesus Christ – or at worst, an outright attempt at deception and lies.

A FEW GUIDELINES FOR INTERPRETATION
Here are two simple but vital guidelines when reading and interpreting Bible stories, especially in regard to the eyewitness accounts recorded by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John:

  • An incomplete account is not automatically a false account. A story is not false or inaccurate simply because it does not contain every single detail. Every historian writes from a particular perspective, with certain emphases, omitting certain details. This is impossible to avoid in any historical account conveyed by one person. Likewise, with Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
     
  • Differing accounts do not mean they are false accounts. For example, Matthew’s account says that Mary Magdalene and the other Mary “came up and took hold of his (Jesus’) feet and worshiped him” (Matt. 28:9), while in John 20:17, Jesus tells Mary, “Do not cling to me . . .” Which is it? Both. Upon holding Jesus’ feet and worshiping Him, Mary was told by Jesus to stop. More importantly, notice that in neither account were the women told it was improper to worship Jesus!
     

If the “logic” used by some people to discount the accuracy of incomplete or differing biblical narratives were applied in weighing secular history, we’d have difficulty drawing conclusions about many historical events we know to be true. Incomplete or differing accounts do not at all equate with falsehoods.

If you pay attention, you will find that there are many differences between, and many omitted details within, the gospel accounts, such as John mentioning two angels in the resurrection account while Matthew mentions only one. Matthew did not say there were not two angels – he merely records that there was one angel who spoke. If there were two angels, there was obviously one – and one of them was the spokesperson, with both angels appearing as witnesses.

The differing gospel details actually make them complimentary, well-rounded, emphasizing certain aspects that help us understand what took place as a matter of real history. Be careful you don’t doubt an account merely because it is different from another. Postpone final conclusions until you’ve done thorough research from multiple perspectives.

The most important thing to grasp is that the differing accounts present no contradiction or differences whatsoever in doctrine/theology, the identity of Jesus or how we should and must live as a result.

CONCLUSION
Rather than discrediting the authenticity and accuracy of the Bible, the different views of the resurrection and post-crucifixion appearances of Jesus presented by the Gospel writers demonstrate the legitimacy of there being multiple, credible eyewitnesses to the events. These aren’t made up stories at all. The ways in which they are told demonstrate the fact that there were real eyewitnesses telling what actually transpired.  

The different nuances and emphases in the Gospel accounts don’t discredit the Bible – they, help support the conclusion that it is reliable. When different people witness an unexpected, dramatic event, we would expect them to tell their stories in disorganized, different ways. Seeing a resurrected Jesus, after being beaten and crucifies so violently, certainly qualifies as an unexpected, dramatic event. It is the shock of the unexpected that led to the different ways of telling the story, as even then, the people were still processing what they had witnessed.

There would be no need for different writers if all of them told the same story with the exact same details. The differing details we wound up with actually provide credibility to the story.

If the Gospel writers were attempting to deceive readers, we would have most probably seen one uniform, sanitized story. If that were to have happened, we would most likely see the same people who insist that the Bible is only a book of fairy tales – a conspiracy – suggest that the uniform story were obviously crafted to mislead. It’s been said, “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion, still.” A skeptic, wanting to discount the identity of Jesus and the events surrounding His life and ministry – and looking for every excuse to continue life without any change – will find reasons to do so no matter how the story is told.

By the time we carefully compare all four gospel accounts, we see that they come together exceptionally well, and that they strongly agree on the most important fact in all of history: Jesus Christ was crucified, died, was buried and on the third day – exactly as He predicted – rose from the dead! The resurrection is God the Father’s verdict that Jesus’ sinless life and sacrifice was – and is – acceptable to Him for the forgiveness of every single sin committed by anyone who will simply accept Him.

That’s God’s story, and I’m sticking to it. You’ll find life will go much better if you stick to it, too.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? HAVE YOU LET YOURSELF BE DECEIVED, THINKING THE GOSPEL ACCOUNTS ARE DECEPTIVE?

 

For a more exhaustive treatment of the details and various explanations, please see John Wenham’s work The Easter Enigma.

 

 

Page 5 of 28« First...34567...1020...Last »