Monday, February 1, 2016

Into The Fray!

I consider myself as having pretty tough skin. Growing up as a fat kid who wore polyester pants made by his grandmother, one got used to insults, taunting, teasing, and an amalgam of other not-so-nice experiences. In many ways my childhood seasoned me and prepared me for adulthood, and so I am not easily offended.

Someone really has to go out of their way to offend me. I don’t take everything personally, I don’t try to find issue where no issue exists, but there are certain things that are like live wires for me, and after a handful of e-mails hitting one such live wire, I’ve decided to voice my opinion on a certain matter, for whatever my opinion is worth.

As some of you know I am scheduled to speak at a conference in March. It will be held in Dallas, and I received my invitation sometime after the entire fracas and drama unfolded. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s better that you don’t. If you know what I am referring to, then this post is for you.

I will not sit here and armchair quarterback what happened. What I do know from countless mediations and requests to counsel couples is that there is never one party who is exclusively innocent, nor is there one who is exclusively guilty.

The reason I felt I needed to write this post today and clarify the situation is because of certain assumptions that are being made as to my person; assumptions I will neither let stand nor abstain from calling out.

The first assumption that is being made by those of you bombarding me with e-mails demanding that I denounce this conference, remove myself from the roster, and vilify everyone who is connected to it is that I did not pray, seek the face of God, or receive a release to go before agreeing to appear as a speaker.

If you assumed this, you are dead wrong. I grew up traveling with a man whom I consider one of the most genuine men of God I have ever known. The fact that he was my grandfather plays no part in this, because if I had seen hypocrisy, doublemindedness, or inconsistency in his life I would likely be a very different person today, and not writing this post. It was his genuineness, obedience, and faithfulness to God that stirred in me a desire to grow and mature in the Lord. I learned a lot from my grandfather, including praying and seeking the face of God upon every invitation one receives to go and speak anywhere.

It has been my practice ever since God has called me into ministry, and it will continue to be my practice until either God releases me from this calling, or I go to my reward.

Whether a home group of five or a congregation of 5000, when I am invited to speak I take the time to pray, and do not agree to do so until I receive a release from God.

The second assumption that is being made is that I have to choose a side, do it now, and be vocal about it. Actually, I don’t. I choose Jesus, I will always choose Jesus, and I will always be on the side of Jesus. Big boys who have squabbles need to put on their big boy pants, and put the Kingdom of God before their own egos, taking the entirety of the situation into consideration and not their own agenda or proclivity.

As long as I am allowed to preach the Gospel of Christ, am not asked to tailor my message, or withhold what God has commanded me to speak, I will go and preach wherever the Lord releases me to go, and preach the Gospel to all who would hear it.

We must put souls first, and though there might be a hundred voices clamoring to be heard, the truth will rise like a phoenix, and the seeds of truth will be planted in the hearts of the hearers.

It saddens me that though the hour is so late we are still so childish in our thinking. It saddens me that though the hour is so late we are still more worried about our reputations and how we are perceived by one segment of Christendom or another than whether or not we are doing our utmost to trumpet the message of the cross of Christ.

Perhaps what saddens me most of all is the sheer relish and giddiness with which some purported believers are viewing this situation, trying to stoke the flames, and do what they can to create an all-out blood feud among the children of God.

The easiest thing to do is sit in the shade with a cold drink in your hand and comment on how poorly those laboring in the field under the hot sun are doing, or sit on the sidelines and either cheer or jeer while others are doing battle, bloodying themselves, and giving their last full measure. If you’ve never plowed, if you’ve never planted, if you’ve never prayed for God to send the rain so that the seed would take root, if you've never done battle and been on the frontlines, yet find it perfectly acceptable to sling mud every which way because you’re bored and have nothing better to do, then I beseech you, repent, and seek God’s forgiveness.

I could say more, but self-restraint is a gift I am learning to exercise more frequently of late. I will, however, leave you with this. In the early 90’s my grandfather was called by a representative of the Mormon Church to go on a speaking tour. After praying and receiving a release to go we went, did a handful of speaking engagements, and saw hearts turned to God, even though at the time some people declared that by agreeing to go and preach to Mormons we had effectively destroyed our ministry, nevermore to be revived.

Some twenty years later we are still here, still feeding the poor, still clothing the naked, still preaching the Gospel, and yes, still hearing from some of the individuals who attended those meetings and whose lives were forever changed.

Mark 2:15-17, “Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi’s house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, ‘How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?’ When Jesus heard it, He said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but the sinners, to repentance.’”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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