Personal Reflection on Ethical conduct relating to Self-Care, Pastoral Care, Care for the Community, and Caring for one’s Family in safe Boundaries

Personal Code of Ethics

The code of ethics for ministers is the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments. In them is contained everything needed for the minister to be “complete, equipped for every good work.”[1] Any personal code that a minister may develop must be totally in-line with that which is God breathed[2]. Rest, diet, counseling, community outreach, spousal and child care, are all addressed in scripture; a minister must consider each of these things in light of scripture during reflection on ethical action.

Self-Care and Healthy Boundaries

 Resting

Physical Rest

            God rested on the seventh day.[3] This rest of God was “from all his work that he had done.”[4] Setting a schedule with time for rest is part of appropriate selfcare.

Spiritual Rest

Christ made it clear that the weary would find their rest in his yoke and burden.[5] Shubert Spero, says that Israel learned that in the Sabbath rest one could “taste … the goodness of God.”[6] Christ provides rest for the soul through the Holy Spirit and this rest is required on a daily basis. Setting time for resting in the word of God and prayer daily, is part of selfcare.

Eating and Diet

            The body of a Christian was bought with a price[7] and indwelt as a temple of God.[8] The tabernacle and temple of the Old Testament was to be maintained and clean,[9] and so is God’s temple in the New Testament. Health diet and exercise are a part of selfcare.

Pastoral Care and Healthy Boundaries

Pastoral care is the professional duty of the minister[10] and Christ’s call to church leaders.[11] Pastoral care requires attentive care for counseling needs of congregants including male and female. A minister should always remember that he is there to represent God, through Christ like actions, to the people.

Counseling or meeting with Congregants

Male Adult Congregants

For a male minister, counseling with male congregants can be done in private as long as a safe environment can be found.  A minister should never put themselves in any situation were there could be any accusation of misconduct. Settings and policy should be in place personally, and within the organization that the minister represents, to promote a safe counseling environment for the pastor and the congregant.

Female Adult Congregants

            A male pastor should never meet or counsel a female congregant alone or be alone with a female for any reason at any time, other than his wife.[12] Accusations of sexual misconduct would damage all involved and the organization as a whole.

Minor Congregants

A minister needs to be mindful of appearances when meeting with minors. It is advisable to never be alone with a minor of any gender.

Care for the Community and Healthy Boundaries

A minister should have a good report with the members of the community at large.[13] This is accomplished by caring interactions with the community. Through the organization that a minister represents many humanitarian endeavors are possible. However, community care should not be done at a cost to the minister’s organization. Pastoral involvement in the community can produce valuable results: in a study done by Joseph Murphy and Linda Holste, they found that when pastoral care was provided to a community of students their “identification with the school increased.”[14]

Caring for one’s Family using Healthy Boundaries

They two are one flesh[15], husband love your wife as Christ loves the church[16], those who do not take care of their families are worse than nonbelievers[17]; these are just a few statements in the Bible about conduct with family. The minister must exemplify the instructions in scripture of family care and that begins in prioritizing the family.

Care of His Wife

Washing the wife with the word[18] is the spiritual duty of the husband and the minister must prove his ability to do this before he would be qualified for church leadership.[19] Setting time for quality interaction with one spouse is needed for healthy relationships.

Care for His Children

            In the child care the husband must provide training for his children.[20] This training extends to not simply physical disciplines but in spiritual development as well. This is best accomplished by example as modeled in the relationship between husband and wife.

Conclusion

Rest is God sent, food needs to be used with wisdom, counseling is done as the representative of God, and family care involves setting time for family in the word, these are the fundamental bases for ministerial leadership and they are all covered in scripture.

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[1]. 2 Tim 3:17, all Bible citations are in ESV unless otherwise noted.

[2]. 2 Tim 3:16

[3]. Gen 2:2

[4]. Gen 2:2

[5]. Matt 11:28-30

[6]. Shubert Spero. “SHABBAT: THREE STAGES IN ISRAEL’S EXPERIENCE.” Jewish Bible Quarterly 32, no. 3. July 2004. 170

[7]. 1 Pet1:18

[8]. 1 Cor 6:19-20

[9]. 1 Chron 23:28

[10]. Joe E. Trull and James E. Carter, Ministerial ethics: moral formation for church leaders. Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Academic. 2004. 33, 37.

[11]. Jn 21:17

[12]. 1 Thes 5:22

[13]. 1 Tim 3:7

[14]. Joseph Murphy and Linda Holste. 2016. “Explaining the effects of communities of pastoral care for students.” Journal Of Educational Research 109, no. 5: 531-540.

[15]. Mar 10:8

[16]. Eph 5:25

[17]. 1 Tim 5:8

[18]. Eph 5:26

[19]. 1 Tim 3:2-4

[20]. Pro 22:6

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Bibliography

Murphy, Joseph, and Linda Holste. 2016. “Explaining the effects of communities of pastoral care for students.Journal Of Educational Research 109, no. 5: 531-540. Social Sciences Citation Index, EBSCOhost (accessed March 7, 2018).

Spero, Shubert. “SHABBAT: THREE STAGES IN ISRAEL’S EXPERIENCE.” Jewish Bible Quarterly 32, no. 3. July 2004. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed March 6, 2018).

Trull, Joe E., and James E. Carter. Ministerial ethics: moral formation for church leaders. Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Academic, 2004.

Hebrews, James, and 1 Peter: Christ’s Endurance is the Example and our Endurance Brings Rewards

Persecution was a reality of life for early Christians and the biblical authors did not leave their flocks without guidance about it. If there is one word that would sum up what Hebrews, James, and 1 Peter say about the subject of persecution that word would be endurance. To endure persecution is a goal in the writer’s minds. James is probably the most practical when he says that enduring trials “produces steadfastness” (James 1:3, ESV). Hebrews takes a very high theological position on persecution as the author says it is the will of God for his people to endure (Heb 10:36). Peter has a position between these two; a practical and theological position but also emotional. Peter, more than the other two authors, points to Christ and states that if Christ endured suffering so should we (1 Peter 4:12 – 18). Peter also makes the suffering of any saint in the church a matter for the church to be involved in, and not just the local church, but Peter exhorts and comforts his audience to remember that all over the world Christians are being persecuted (1 Peter 5:9). All of the authors also share a common message of reward for the endurance. James says those that endure will have “the crown of life”, Hebrews says that those who endure will “receive what is promised”, and Peter treats those that endure to images of a faith that is more valuable than silver or gold (1 Peter 1:6-7). The combined weight of these authors compels the reader to understand that persecution is within the will of God for his people, is good for building stronger faith, is no more than Jesus suffered as our example, is shared across Christian’s the worldwide,  and bears with it the promise of eternal reward when suffering is for righteousness sake.

The first-century church was facing opposition from two main fronts. There were the Jewish leaders that wanted all the talk about Jesus to cease: “So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus” (Acts 4:18, ESV). The Jewish leaders saw the followers of the way as blasphemers because they called Jesus God. The other persecution came from Roman sources. By the time the authors were writing the idea that the emperor was the son of god had become ensconced with the great Roman way of living and thinking. As Rome conquered new areas they would incorporate the gods from the area into the Roman corpus of gods. Each area would gain the Roman gods and with those gods came the worship of the emperor. Most monotheistic religions were outlawed as illegal mysticism, with one exception and that was Judaism. The Hellenistic way of thinking was that the older something was, the more likely it was to have some truth behind it. Judaism fascinated many Hellenistic thinkers precisely because of its claim to be the oldest religion. However, as the Jews distanced themselves from the Christians, which can be seen in the writings of many of the church fathers like Origen who said, “How is it that you take the beginning of your system from our worship, and when you have made some progress you treat it with disrespect”, the Romans began to see that Christianity was its own new thing (Origen, n.d.). Being a new monotheistic religion Christianity did not enjoy the acceptance that Judaism had. The cultural ridicule, talked about in Hebrews 10, led to Christians being secretive about their meetings which in turn led to greater rumors and misunderstandings of the new sect. Peter seems to directly address this cultural confusion about Christianity when he asks the reader to honor those in authority in order to “silence the ignorance of foolish people” (1 Peter 2:15, ESV).

The Lexham Bible Dictionary lists several types of abuse that the New Testament Christian’s would have faced: verbal abuse (Matt 5:11, 1 Pet 4:14), seizure of property (Heb 10:34), beatings (Acts 5:40), murder plots (Acts 9:23), stoning (Acts 7:58), unjust arrests and imprisonments (Acts 5:18), exile (Rev 1:9), execution (Luke 21:16), “made a public spectacle” (Heb 10:32–33, ESV) (The Lexham Bible Dictionary, 2016). There was cultural abuse, Peter talks about the believers being lied about: “they malign you” and Hebrews talks about public humiliation (1 Peter 4:4, Heb 10:32–33, ESV). There were physical persecutions. It is likely that Peter would be, shortly after the time the book was authored, crucified upside down in Rome (The Lexham Bible Dictionary, 2016).Accounts vary, however, according to Josephus James was tried by the Sanhedrin and “delivered them[James and his companians] to be stoned” Josephus, Whiston, 1987, p. 538).

The church reacted to these assaults as a whole by becoming more secretive and this, in turn, led to more unfounded rumors about Christian cannibalism and loves feasts. It can also be inferred from Peter’s statements about honoring those in authority that Peter at least was concerned that the church might show hostility towards the Roman leadership that persecuted them (1 Peter 2:13-17). There are also accounts of Christian living in caves, ostracized from society (Heb 11:38).

Peter is the most forthcoming with advice about what to do with persecution, however, all the authors encourage their readers to be patient and have endurance in the trials (James 5:7, 1 Peter 1:6-7, Heb 10:35). All the authors also talk about outward conduct. Peter said ” Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable (1 Peter 2:12, ESV). The last overall theme that can be drawn from all three authors is that of obedience to leadership (1 Peter 2:13-17, Heb 13:17). James does not directly speak on the subject of obedience to leadership, however, most of his letter is directed to the subject of Christian conduct that insinuates the proper treatment of all people in all walks of life. The authors of these three texts do not try to hide the fact that their readers would most likely have to face persecution for their beliefs. Instead, they encouraged the readers to understand that God had His very good reasons for letting them face persecution and they should endure that persecution with patience and joy because of the great rewards that would follow. James, Hebrews, and 1 Peter all encourage their readers not to let the persecution dictate their actions, but to rather change the culture by facing persecution with love and kindness to those committing it, the same way Christ did.

 

References

Hall, R. (1976). For to this you have been called: the cross and suffering in 1 Peter. Restoration Quarterly, 19(3), 137-147.

Josephus, F., & Whiston, W. (1987). The works of Josephus: complete and unabridged (p. 538). Peabody: Hendrickson.

Origen. (1885). Origen against Celsus. In A. Roberts, J. Donaldson, & A. C. Coxe (Eds.), F. Crombie (Trans.), Fathers of the Third Century: Tertullian, Part Fourth; Minucius Felix; Commodian; Origen, Parts First and Second (Vol. 4, p. 431). Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company.

Tabb, B. J. (2016). Persecution of the Early Church. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, … W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

 

Solomon’s America

According to Horton Solomon’s reign started near 930 B.C. (Horton, 1961,  p. 3). Solomon reigned for 40 years (1 Kings 11:42). That means he reigned until about 890 B.C. The physical thing that marked, or marred, Solomon’s reign and ended in dividing the country was taxes. In 1 Kings 10:14 it says “The weight of the gold that Solomon received yearly was 666 talents,”. The exact talent used in Israel in the time is not really sure but an Attic talent, was 57 lb, a Roman talent was 71 lb an Egyptian talent was 60 lb, and a Babylonian talent 67 lb. Taking the smallest one of these is 57 x 666 = 37962 pounds of gold Solomon collected each year. Solomon’s heavy taxes led the people to ask his son to lighten the taxes; Solomon’s son Rehoboam refused and the people revolted (1 Kings 12:1-24). This led to a divided kingdom. But those are just the physical happenings. Behind the scenes the spiritual battle had been lost long before.  Solomon had left his Love for Yahweh and started worshiping the gods of his exotic wives. Solomon was known for loving exotic women (1 Kings 11:1). When Solomon left God, God left him and took the kingdom from him. This was the real reason the kingdom was divided. It was the same reason Moses could not enter the promised land: “… This is what the LORD spoke of when he said: “‘Among those who approach me I will be proved holy; in the sight of all the people I will be honored.'” (Leviticus 10:3).

 

This exact scenario is being played out right now in the US. Never before has there been such a presidential race in US history. The seeds of the disaster that are evident today in the presidential campaigns were sown years ago when America left her first love for the very same gods Solomon fell for, the god of sexual autonomy and self autonomy.

Is there a connection between justice and righteousness in society and the Christian practice of worship in the United States?

This is a question that should be addressed in a book. First, you have to define worship. What is worship? Is it when we all get-together and sing songs? There are a lot of things we do wrong in that part of worship but that is not the worship we are talking about here; the worship we mean here is the fundamental reverence for God. Worship is someone humbles themselves in their heart before God. In other words, the fear or reverence one has for God is the fundamental worship and it comes out in many ways the like Romans 12:1-2 living sacrifice.
So let’s give this worship a definition. Our worship is directly proportional to our desire to fulfill Jesus’ command to be holy as God is holy (Matthew 5:48). There is a fundamental lack of this desire in the evangelical community in the US. Case a point would be that I could take 50 Christians line them up and ask each them to name 3 attributes of God and the verses where the evidence of those attributes could be found, it is very likely not one of them could do it. I cannot call myself in innocent here and I am not saying I would do better. Matter of fact I chose the number 3 because I was sitting here and 3 was the only ones I could remember. The point is that worship that is directly connected to our reverence for God and if we cannot even name God’s attributes how do we even know what we reverent for?
Alright, now that we see that real worship is at an all-time low in the US. We connect back one of my favorite quotes. Most often this quote is attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville. Some say he did not say it, however, I don’t really care who said it is really true and if you read Alexis de Tocqueville it is something he might have said because it fit his worldview.
“I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers – and it was not there . . . in her fertile fields and boundless forests and it was not there . . . in her rich mines and her vast world commerce – and it was not there . . . in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution – and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.”
― Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
Why will America cease to be great when she ceases to be good? This is tied to this question. Real justice comes from God. Most specifically from God’s attribute that he is just. The definition of justice is in God’s personal character. Anything outside this definition of justice not is just. So knowing God and imitating God’s attribute of justice is the only way to be just. This means that justice in the US is directly proportional to the US’ desire to fulfill Jesus’ command to be holy as God is holy. Justice comes from holiness and for greatness to exist in a nation if must be just. So as Tocqueville is said to have said, greatness is linked to the righteousness. If people that call themselves Christian’s are not worshiping enough to be able to name 3 attributes of God and justice is directly linked to imitating God, because he is just, then what chance does the nation who is reaching a majority of none Christians have to be just? None.

138539 black babies, nearly one baby in three were killed in the womb

In the wake of the brutal shootings this week there have been a lot of posts on Facebook and other places of people lamenting this violence and to that I say Amen. We should have a heart for those that are suffering. However, friends, truth is the Christian’s stock and trade. We must have truth and be dealers in it. The enemy is using lies from the media to distract us from the real genocide going on.

The numbers do not lie, black people are 3.3 times more likely to be involved in a crime than any other race, even though they are a minority. There are almost 3 times as many white people shot by police in a year than black people.(http://www.dailywire.com) DO NOT get me wrong, racism is evil and it does exist. There is a fundamental problem we are seeing happening right before our eyes and that problem is not police tactics, but rather our country has left its God. That is the real problem.

The enemy is blinding this nation with media attention. Let us talk about what is really going without the flippant melodramatics that this nation has become addicted to. While the media drums up your rage at the police in order to create ratings the real genocide is not being told. There is a systematic targeting of black people going on right in front of you that almost no one talks about.
• Blacks comprise only 13% of the population of America but account for 37% of all abortions.
• Black women are five times more likely to abort than white women.
• 69% of pregnancies among Blacks are unintended, while that number is 54% among Hispanics and 40% of pregnancies among Whites.
• Planned Parenthood, the largest seller of abortions in the United States, has located 80% of its abortion clinics in minority neighborhoods, disproportionally targeting minorities for abortion. (http://www.operationrescue.org/, 2016)

While we were watching TV and getting mad at police officers who, for the most part, are just trying to survive their job, the black community is being targeted from the outside as well as the inside. Let me be clearer “138,539 black babies, nearly one baby in three, were killed in the womb in 2010 (Blackwell, http://www.washingtontimes.com/, 2015).

Wake up American church because it just gets worse. 42% of abortion is in this timeframe were for women who claimed to have a protestant faith. (http://www.operationrescue.org/, 2016) Your faith, what the world sees in the church, has been hijacked by a liberal, non-biblical, reprobate, unregenerate populous that is dominating the church today. Look around us at the world, the problems we see, the sin, even the political nut house that is going on, all started in America’s churches. It started with us, because while we were watching TV and getting mad at what the media, led by Satan, wanted us to get mad at, Planned Parenthood started its genocidal campaign against the image of God found on every unborn human. While you slept in our comfortable houses watching our TVs, and our super bowls, and finding very little time to spend in prayer and in the word of God the enemy took our nation and destroyed it.

So, STOP IT! Stop being hand fed by a Satan controlled media. Stop playing around on Facebook and getting into buddy groups to pray for the suffering in the world. Instead, get in your closets and get on your faces and beg God to forgive your lethargy. Beg him for Justice. Beg Him for your nation. Then get in His word where truth and strength really come from and take that truth to this world. Make no mistake church, with all your outreaches, with all your friendly faces and programs the light of the Gospel that should shine from you is largely hidden. You have become powerless because you do not fear your God. You have become impotent because your God is not the Everlasting Almighty He should be but rather your god is your belly. You have forgotten your mission and you have denied your calling and when you look at this nation you can righteously take responsibility for the hurting and suffering you see. If you had fought it, if you had stood fast in the Word and in prayer then you could look with clean hands. But since you have slept all this time in comfort you must look and see that this is the price for your lethargy.

Make no mistake friends, I am not one writing as if I am not guilty. I must beg the same forgiveness. But as I beg, I will also be begging for the power to make sure that I am never asleep again.

Father, please wake us up. We need you now. In Jesus name.

Resources
“http://www.dailywire.com/news/7264/5-statistics-you-need-know-about-cops-killing-aaron-bandler”
“http://www.operationrescue.org/about-abortion/abortions-in-america/”
“http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jan/21/j-kenneth-blackwell-black-abortions-a-crisis-in-am/ “

I attended a “prayer” meeting last night.

I went to a prayer meeting last night. During that meeting I experienced rage and pain because the men were not praying God’s will be done, they were praying our will be done. As a drove away I realized why my spirit had been so offended, this was not a prayer meeting it was a political rally. As I listed to the 15 different pastors their pray, I was not moved. No, worse than that I understood just how much this offended God. His power being entreated for human purposes. I started to think just what do I believe? Do I believe that God is all in all and that I can really trust Him? Or do I pray selfishly for what I will, are my prayers really for his will to come? Then one man stood up, he was not a man that seemed in charge and I do not even remember his name, I only remember that he was a Hispanic pastor from my town. And he said lets pray like Daniel prayed and my eye flew open. I realized that all this time the group had been praying that Nebuchadnezzar would be a good king, instead of honoring our real King. This unassuming man went on and said let’s ask for forgiveness and again my eyes opened and the words flew into my mind “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”(2 Chorn 7:14). Notice it doesn’t say if the world turns he will forgive and heal, it says “My People” “Called by My Name”. That is you church. The church in America has put its faith in something other than God! We are worried about who gets elected next, worried about our economy, worried about immigration, and worried about Isis, we are worried about the policies our current president is putting in place in our school and we have forgotten that God Is Sovereign! He puts the leaders in place, he turns the heart of men where he wills them, he intends evil on those that do war with Him but on the humble His mercy is everlasting. It is God who visits evil on the evil doer for generations to come (Exodus 20:5-6). Wake up church, where is your hope? Wake up church, where is your faith? Wake up church, is it not when the world is the darkest that the light of Christ shines the brightest? Wake up church, is your goal a safe and easy life or is the will of the Sovereign LORD! Will you serve Nebuchadnezzar and pray that God makes your slavery easy? Or will you preach the Gospel, put your faith in God, and having done all stand! (Ephesians 6:13) Christian’s should not be seeking peace and safety, look at history, look at your predecessors, they welcomed hard times because they desired God to be glorified in the surfing as well as in their safety. That is all I hear from Christian’s these days, God heal me, God provide for me, God give me safety, God give, God give, God give. You trust him to give but not take away? You see a decision by the Supreme Court redefining marriage, I see God forcing His asleep church to take a stand or prove that they are not really His. You see a dictator using public funding to push the LGBT agenda and put boys and girls in the same restrooms, I see God given His people yet another chance to preach the Gospel with relevance. Is it a bad thing to seek peace and safety? If the peace that safety comes at the expense of one soul’s salvation, YES! Wake up church, your time is now, how long will you be lulled to sleep by fake peace and safety. They that overcome win the crown and that crown is infinitely more valuable than a super bowl ring (Revelation 3:21).