Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sheep Are Led, Not Driven by Untested Shepherds!

Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For he is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand, (Psalm 95:6-7)

Cattle are driven; sheep are led; and our Lord compares His people to sheep, not to cattle.

It is especially important that Christian ministers know the law of the leader--that he can lead others only as far as he himself has gone....

The minister must experience what he would teach or he will find himself in the impossible position of trying to drive sheep. For this reason he should seek to cultivate his own heart before he attempts to preach to the hearts of others....
If he tries to bring them into heart knowledge of truth which he has not actually experienced he will surely fail. In his frustration he may attempt to drive them; and scarcely anything is so disheartening as the sight of a vexed and confused shepherd using the lash on his bewildered flock in a vain attempt to persuade them to go on beyond the point to which he himself has attained...

The Law of the Leader tells us, who are preachers, that it is better to cultivate our souls than our voices. It is better to polish our hearts than our pulpit manners, though if the first has been done well and successfully it may be profitable for us to do the second. 

We cannot take our people beyond where we ourselves have been, and it thus becomes vitally important that we be ministers of God in the last and highest sense of that term. The Price of Neglect, pp151-153, by A.W. Tozer.

     There are thousands upon thousands of self-anointed Bible preachers and teachers on the Internet today, who (are most likely well intended) that have joined numerous social networks and are presenting their understanding of the Bible. Most of them claim to be evangelists or have adopted a religious title of sorts, and genuinely feel they are qualified to deliver God’s message to the masses. 
     Many of these folks claim their interpretation of the Bible truly represents what God intended in His written word. Their authority to preach or teach (they claim) comes directly from the Holy Spirit based on what has been historically delivered to them from this or that preacher-teacher of their experience. They use standard cliches like sola scriptura which basically means by scripture alone, the doctrine that the Bible contains all knowledge necessary for salvation and holiness. This is true; however, who truly knows or understands completely the message that has been put forth in the Bible. Mankind has historically attempted to discern the Bible’s message but, unfortunately, no one person alive (or now dead) has attained the complete knowledge of God. Those who claim thus deceive themselves.
     Yes! There are many scholars, preachers and teachers of God’s word that have preached for years, who have gained great popularity, but none can claim “their” interpretation would pass canonical muster. Sadly, the Christian religion, especially, is filled by millions who claim they present the Gospel as God intended, which is most often challenged by others with an opposing view. Surely someone has to possess the correct interpretation, right?
     No! No one can make such a claim. While there are many pastors, teachers, scholars and evangelist who are engaged in the ministry, the majority of professing Christians are perplexed by the reality that there exist thousands of interpretations, and no one to really trust to get precise answers.
     The Apostle Paul (frustratingly so) addressed this dilemma (or conundrum) when he spoke to the church of Corinth, as we read in 1 Corinthians 3:1-15. One of (if not the best) explanations he could provide the church is that basically, members of the body of Christ have been given specific duties (and or gifts) by God and confirmed by the Holy Spirit. In this group if scripture, Paul tells us that one person plants the word of God, and another waters, but it is God through the power of the Holy Spirit who gives the increase. Way too many Christians try to validate their relationship to Christ by how many tracts they pass out, how many people they believe they led to Christ, how many verses they post on the Internet, and even how many books they have written. We have no clue whether what we believe we do for Christ is approved or blessed!
     A person who plants (Greek word phyteuō) in essence is a broadcaster, in the classical sense, as was Johnny Appleseed, who sowed apple seeds over a wide area. For those who instantly thought that a broadcaster was solely a person who hosts a radio or TV show or reports the news, that label (broadcaster) actually came into existence to define these folks at the birth of electronic media. It was not used in any other sense before that, besides its application to farming. The media rendition came into existence as the new invention called radio was born. The word was first coined then because through that invention information was now going to be cast to a broader area than before possible, ergo the word broadcast. Actually, if you Google Johnny Appleseed, you will find the story of a young lad who went about casting and aspersing seeds in a widely disseminating manner. In essence Johnny Appleseed was the first renowned broadcaster we had in America.
     If you will examine both the regular and Greek dictionaries, you will find the same meaning for the word sower (Greek word speiro), which means to plantseed is the euphemism for the word of God (see in the Bible the story of the parable of the sower in Matthew13:1-9.
     Paul then follows and speaks of a person who waters (Greek word potizō,) which means to furnish drink, irrigate, and or metaphorically to imbue and or saturate one's mind.
     Therefore, the point Paul is driving home is that not all “ministry” is the same. In church settings, specific duties are assigned to the Bible teacher (seed planter), and one who waters (prayer team leaders) and of course the shepherd, who basically coordinates the duties and responsibilities of the various ministries.  
     However, on the Internet, there is no one really in charge of these ministerial duties. By “in charge” we speak of a person who can lead all of those who are involved in (what many perceive is) the Online Church. Most definitely, we are told that wherever two or more are gathered together in His name, Christ is in their midst. Sadly, what we have in social networks is not a true religious gathering, but a vehicle and a venue where bickering, quarrels, endless debates and the spreading of false doctrines are the norm. For that matter, anyone at any time can come and go into various social network sites as they please, drop their little anti-Gospel bombs (as terrorists do), without any accountability, and then flee the scene as quickly as they arrived.
     Many Christians who have become accustomed to receiving their seed food on Facebook or other social networks are in reality exposing themselves to great harm. I do not want to be viewed as a contributor to this dilemma (as I have been accused of numerous times). Many say that I am on Facebook to heap glory on myself for my past political and media accomplishments, and that I'm trying to prove that I know the Bible better that others. I emphatically rebuke this allegation. If anything, I have been trying to share the knowledge I have gleaned from God's word to alert my brethren (whom I love ever so dearly) that Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation and they are not prepared to do so! 
    Regardless I plan to devote my time solely to the original purpose for my joining Facebook, which was to promote my books. I was advised that starting a blog was also a good way to get exposure for my books, and it has been a redeeming exercise and therefore I will continue that endeavor as well.
     However, while the socializing and making many great friends on Facebook has been fun and worthwhile on many fronts, I recognize that too much of my time is being spent on meaningless debating theological points of view and this has become an exhausting experience. It has taken me away from my original plan; therefore I will be curtailing this activity to a great (at least 80%) degree. If anything, I will limit my Internet time to posting my blogs. If anyone wants to comment on them, they can either leave me a message directly on the comment section therein or email me directly at Joe.Ortiz9299@GMail.com. 
     As is evidenced by the recent earthquake in Japan, plus the other natural disasters that are perplexing every region in the entire world – plus the political instability and military upheavals in numerous countries – I believe it behooves us (who claim to be true Bible-believing, Holy Spirit-filled and faith-believers in Jesus Christ, that we reconsider our (sometimes incessant) involvement on social networks, engaging ourselves in meaningless and foolish debates (2Timothy 2:14-21, 2 Corinthians 12:20, Luke 22:24, Romans 13:13,  Philippians 1:15, Philippians 2:3, 1 Timothy 6:4, 2 Timothy 2:23, James 3:14, James 3:16, 1 Corinthians 3:3, Galatians 5:26, Titus 3:3), and be about the business of picking up our crosses, following Jesus and practicing the true religion (James1:26-27) that God requires. If one chooses to be actively involved as a minister to God’s people, especially on social networks on the Internet, so be it. But they first should seek approval from God and hopefully have met the spiritual requirements of a true shepherd to serve in that capacity.
     Concerning my decision to limit my time on Facebook, some may say “good riddance” and others may say (as many have told me) they will miss my leadership of bringing greater clarity to the word of God. However, if a true leader is one who leads by example and sets the pace for what we disciples of Christ should be doing, then I plan to devote less time to social networking and instead focus my time on prayer, studying Gods word and publishing my findings on my blogs.
     I have also begun writing my fourth (and probably my last) book while there is still time; old age and physical maladies are taking a bigger toll than I realized. More importantly, spending more time with Jesus in prayer and study will be more efficacious to my friends and family in my local community.  Hopefully, many of you will do the same, while we still have the time and freedom to do so.

Spiritual HUGZ!

Joe Ortiz

For information about the author's two books, please click on The End Times Passover and Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation. To access his blogs and web sites, please click on Joe Ortiz 


  1. I am still basically digesting what you have revealed above, Brother Joe. It is apparent that you are walking close to the Lord and desiring to please Him in all that you do. I am convinced that you are a true shepherd serving the Lamb of God who gave Himself as a sacrifice for our sins. As I see it, your goal is to see many drawn to Christ for salvation and service. The fact that you quote many Biblical references shows the value that you place on the eternal Word of the living God. My prayer is that your new book, which you said you are now working on, will be as readable and blessed as your other books and that the Lord will give you much wisdom as to the thoughts and material that should be included in it - and I for one am anxious to see the final results! Lord bless you, Brother. Terrence

  2. Thanks brother, I could not agree with you more. Personally, have canceled Face book account.
    Blessings to you.

  3. Like most in the American "endtimes" cult, he does not see it what this really is. He is practicing of form of sorcery, which is strictly forbidden.

    End Times are just a political tool used by the American political right to wage war in the name of God and of course believe God is on their side.