Author Archives: deefduke

About deefduke

Pastor of Jefferson Baptist Church, ride a bicycle, fish, hunt, and have 25 grandchildren.

Authority and Submission

I wrote a week ago that what Governor Brown did in ordering us to have no more than six people in our homes at any one time was outside the jurisdiction that government has been given by God and therefore we are not obligated to be blindly submissive to the government when they go that far, and I personally will not.

I wrote about four areas of relationship that God has given authority to, the government, business, the church, and the family. I put verses from the Bible to demonstrate that principle, and you can go back and read that blog to see what they are.

If your boss told you that you couldn’t have more than six people in your home you would laugh at him, even if his motive was to keep you healthy so his business wouldn’t suffer if you died from the COVID. His jurisdiction as your boss does not extend into your home.

That being said, it is important for each of us to be humbly submissive to the authorities in our life unless they move outside their jurisdiction given to them by God. Often we are unsubmissive simply because we don’t like what we are asked to do or because of pride, not wanting anybody telling us what to do. I am often guilty of that.

Wise leaders understand the principle given in the Bible not to Lord it over those who are under their authority, because it always produces rebellion. Bosses often can’t seem to help themselves from being oppressive and domineering over employees, many husbands become abusive to their wives, parents often produce rebels because they go crazy with the rules, and Pastors become control freaks in their churches.

All that being said, as one of the Pastors at Jefferson Baptist Church, I would like to exercise some of the authority that God has given to me.

Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.

1 Corinthians 16:16 that you also be in subjection to such men and to everyone who helps in the work and labors.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.

1 Timothy 5:17 The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.

These passages are clearly talking about the leaders in a church, not bosses, governors, husbands, or parents.

So if you call JBC your church home I would like to make an appeal to you as a Pastor of our church. I am not ordering you; I am not even strongly suggesting; I am merely telling you what would make me very, very happy and asking you to consider doing this because I am asking you.

December 7th through the 11th is one of our ”Five Days of Prayer” events. We have four of these each year because we believe that God works in the world, in the lives of people including government leaders, and that darkness and evil are controlled and pushed back in our societies and cultures as we exercise the authority that God has given us as the Body of Christ in our world. We believe that the more people who participate the more power we have, and the more work God will do. At each of these events about half the adult attenders participate even just a little bit. Many are gone, sick or have other reasons why they can’t participate. But many don’t participate because it is uncomfortable for them, or they are busy and don’t want to take the time, or they don’t believe it makes any difference.

So I am asking each person in our church to participate in this upcoming ”Five Days of Prayer” sacrificially unless it is impossible to do so. The purpose of leadership in every area of jurisdiction and authority is to create unity. You can tell good leadership or bad by the unity or lack of unity that there is under a leader. God blesses churches on the basis and strength of the unity that is in them. So my appeal to JBC is let’s pray together with one heart and one mind and see what God will do. You can come and pray in person or via Zoom.

If you have little to no faith in prayer, I would appeal to you to come anyway just because I am asking you to, and see what happens to your faith level. The experience just might change your life.

There may be a few of you, even though I have tried hard to be gracious, have your back up and consider it your right to come or not to come based on whether you want to or not. I agree, it is, but I bet that if you came just because I asked, even if you don’t want to, that God will bless you with joy.

So, even after my appeal to you, and begging on my knees for you to sacrificially participate in our ”Five Day Prayer” event, if you choose not to, I will still love you, I will still go fishing with you if you ask me, I will not pray that gophers infest your yard, and I will not avoid you in the foyer at church.

Why Couldnt You Pray?

Just before Jesus was arrested and crucified He went to the garden of Gethsemane and prayed to know the Father’s will and for the strength to follow through on that will. I am sure that knowing that He would take on the sin of every person, and because of that sin the Father would turn away from Him, something that had never happened in all of eternity past, that Jesus was feeling great reluctance about going through with this. His words in His prayer were, ” remove this cup from Me.” He was in such agony over what He was about to experience that He literally sweat blood. Jesus brought Peter, James, and John with Him to pray, but they kept falling asleep. Twice He admonished them to stay awake and pray with Him, but it didn’t do any good. ”And He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Jefferson Baptist Church is having a ”Five Days of Prayer” from December 7th through the 11th. We will have prayer from 5:00 to 10:00 am and 5:00 to 10:00 pm each day. We will be in our old sanctuary, what we now call the Chapel, and we will also have Zoom set up so you can pray with us from home if you would like. We will take a fifteen-minute break every hour for people to come and go, visit, and get a cup of coffee. One person prays at a time, and everyone else listens and agrees with the prayer in their mind and heart. Whoever is praying at any given time is random; that is, we don’t go around the room, so if you are hesitant about praying out loud, that is no problem; there are plenty of people who will.

God admonishes us to pray repeatedly in the Bible. He has chosen to limit what He does by the amount of praying that the church does. Some people choose not to participate because of business, timidity, lack of faith that it does any good, and simply forgetting that it is happening. I am curious to know what Jesus would say to those people. James 5:16 says that ”the effective prayer of a righteous person accomplishes much.” A prayer principle that JBC has emphasized for years is that a group of people praying together in unity increases the results of a single person praying by themselves, exponentially.

We are two weeks from our ”Five Days of Prayer, ” so now is an excellent time to make a goal for what you will do for these five days, and remember, anybody can do anything for just five days; it is only five days. I look forward to praying with you, in person, or via Zoom.

The Skill of Praying

James 5:16 The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

”Effective prayer, ” it seems that prayers can be effective which also means they can be ineffective. Over the years I have prayed with some mighty prayer warriors. There is something about the way they pray, the words they use, the passion that they have as they pray, and the ”it”, that something special you can’t quite put your finger on, but it is there none the less. When you pray with those folks it does something to your own pray effectiveness, it makes it more robust, and they have a significant impact on your faith in the power of prayer. In 1990 I had the unique privilege of going to Argentina to a world wide conference on prayer and evangelism, and I got to pray with some of the prayer giants in the world. Those people who had seen and brought in great revivals through the power of prayer. That experience had a great impact on my life. I have never done anything like that since then, but I have an experience that is just as powerful in my life now every four months.

We have an event at JBC every four months that we call ”Five Days of Prayer”. We pray together for five days from 5:00 to 10:00 am and from 5:00 to 10:00 pm for five days, Monday through Friday. There is usually about 30 to 50 people in the prayer room praying in each of the 10 hours of prayer. One person prays out loud and the rest pray along with them in their mind and heart. There are some seasoned veterans and some rookies in prayer in the room every hour, and it is so fun to hear each pray. There are very few experiences that are more spiritually powerful than those prayer events. I believe that for those who are new Christians or immature Christians that no other event will have more power to transform them into mighty warriors for Jesus than these prayer times if they come.

The problem is that it is so hard to get people to come. People are busy, corporate prayer intimidates, our flesh is lazy and would rather stay home, our faith is small and we aren’t convinced that the time we spend makes any difference. But it does, it makes a huge difference all over the world.

Prayer for Everybody

I have the coolest prayer app on my Ipad. It is called PrayerMate, a guy in England designed it, and it is free. I send him suggestions periodically on how to make it better, and he always responds positively and often implements it into the program. One of my favorite things about the prayer app is I can have multiple lists. I have a list for regular attenders at JBC, a list for my family, a list for missionaries, a list of people that I know that aren’t yet saved, a list of people who are part of JBC’s family but have missed church for 2 months, a list of recent visitors to JBC, a list of staff and Elders, and a list of all those who are in my ”Leadership Classes.” That is seven different lists so it is a simple thing to organize them so that I pray for one each day of the week. The list of regular attenders at our church is by far the longest so I schedule it for Sunday afternoon when I usually have the most time to devote to prayer.

A second feature that I love is unlimited capacity for notes that I can write as I pray for each person, and read from previous prayer times. I often cut and paste prayer requests from the weekly church prayer letter into this place as well. Nothing helps keep me awake and alert when I am praying like reading and writing does.

A third feature is I can cut and paste pictures that I have taken of them and also pictures that I cut and paste from Facebook. In the gospel of John, Jesus calls Himself the good shepherd, and that He knows those who belong to Him by name. Having pictures really helps me remember every person in our church by name.

As one of the Pastors at JBC I believe God has given me extra authority with Him for those in our church. In John 17, Jesus says that He doesn’t pray for the world, but for those whom the Father has given to Him, speaking of His disciples. God is all powerful and can do anything in the life of anybody, but He has set up rules, in this world and in life, and one of them is that He has dramatically limited what He will do in a person’s life until someone prays for them. I truly believe that I have the most influence and impact on those in our church through the power of prayer. The great thing about this app is that it is a great tool to help me to be faithful to this discipline of praying for every person who is part of the JBC family.

Seeking Wisdom

Proverbs 1:5 A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel,

Proverbs 8:17 I love those who love me(wisdom)
And those who diligently seek me (wisdom)will find me.

The book of Proverbs has over twenty admonitions to seek wisdom from others. The obvious truth would be to seek it from wise people not fools.

I spend a lot of time reading and listening in my pursuit of wisdom. I read when I am sitting and I listen when I am moving. With a Smart phone that bluetooths with my hearing aids it is easy to listen a lot. I listen to sermons, seminars, podcasts, and audiobooks. Many of the authors that I read and speakers I listen to have been censored by Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube because they are writing and saying things that go against the mainstream accepted information and therefore get labeled as ”false information.”

It would seem evident that if dispensers of information and knowledge like Facebook restricted some information claiming that it is false because it doesn’t fit the agenda being championed, it wouldn’t be an excellent source for real wisdom but instead an excellent source for propaganda.

I regularly get stuff from people in response to my blog or things that I have read and shared on Facebook that contradicts what I have written or shared. What I get is almost always stuff that is in the center of the accepted agenda of the media. Organizations that give advice, opinions, and mandates that are driven by money are seldom driven by science though they claim that, but they are the accepted source of accurate information by most.

As I read and listen I know the difference between a kook and someone who is an independent thinker who is driven by a desire for truth rather than riches. The people I seek wisdom from often get labeled as kooks. That is the method of dealing with people who don’t agree with you nowadays, call them a kook or worse.

I just finished listening to a presentation on the negative effects and consequences of ”lockdowns”. Just a few on the list was a dramatic increase in suicides, depression, domestic violence, alcohol consumption, drug use, failure of small businesses, divorce, and probably many thousands around the world starving shortly because of significantly reduced production, and the overall rise in fear.

I knew all that before listening to the speaker by just talking to people in my life. So, why do we have these lockdowns?

Conservative vs. Liberal

In the Christian Church world the terms Conservative and Liberal are used apart from anything political. Every denomination and Christian group can be put on a line representing their position in relationship to others. The right side of the line would be the designated place for Conservatives and the left for Liberals. Some denominations and groups would be clear over to the right and some way over on the left and many scattered everywhere in between.

The most basic definition of a Conservative Christian is one who believes that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God in its original manuscripts and is our sole authority on who God is, how we can know Him and live with Him eternally, how we should live in this life, what is truth, what is false, what is right and what is wrong. The Bible is our sole authority and the only source of real truth. Approximately 35 different authors wrote the Bible over about 1,500 years. Conservative Christians believe that God the Holy Spirit ”inspired” each man as he wrote, allowing for each man’s personality, style of writing, and vocabulary to shine through so that the words are the very words of God, the mind of Christ spoken through and written by a flesh and blood man.

Liberals believe that the Bible does have errors in it, that God’s inspiration is much more general than specific in it’s content, that much of the instruction on how to live does not apply to today because the world and people have changed so much since the Bible was written, and that it is a source of truth amount many other sources.

Conservative Christians will spend much time in their gatherings and services, teaching the content of the Bible so that people know how to love God and love people in truth.

Conservative Christians are generally conservative politically because what God says is right and wrong in the Bible is generally what those who are conservative politically would hold too as well. The biggest issue is abortion. The Bible clearly teaches that life begins at conception, with Jesus Christ Himself being the main proof.

Luke 1:35 The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.

Abortion is murder in the eyes of God, and approximately 2,000 abortions are performed every single day in the United States in the name of personal rights.

I am a very strong, far-right conservative in my belief that Bible is the ”Holy Bible”, the living Word of God. I am also a strong, far-right conservative politically because I believe that abortion is wrong, evil, murder in the first degree.

God’s Todo List for Me

John 17:4 I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.

Jesus spoke those words shortly before He was crucified. If I were to die today, I don’t know whether I could say that or not. I want to be able to say that very much.

2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

Romans 14:10-12 For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. . . So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.

I will stand before Jesus Christ at the end of my life and give an account of my life, and be rewarded for what I have done. How am I going to do? I don’t know. Every morning I say to myself and God, ”today, I will live my life as if it is the last before I stand before You and give an account; I want to do super good Lord, please help me today to accomplish a lot for You. Guide me, lead me so that You can cross everything off on Your to-do list for me today, and if I am behind, help me catch up a little today.

I wonder the difference it will make in eternity between doing very well on the day of judgment and doing terrible. I am convinced the difference is enormous, and therefore I am highly motivated to do more, to give more, and to sacrifice more.

The cool thing about serving Jesus is that He says that if I abide in Him and His Words abide in me I will bear much fruit, He will see to it. Lead on, Jesus, my desire is to accomplish a bunch of good things for you today.

Relax, God is Sovereign

Isaiah 46:9-11. Remember the former things long past,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like Me,
Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things which have not been done,
Saying, ‘My purpose will be established,
And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;
Calling a bird of prey from the east,
The man of My purpose from a far country.
Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass.
I have planned it, surely I will do it.

Things are prophesied in the Bible to get worse and worse, the antichrist is coming, so I guess we should just hang on and let God do what He is going to do, and trust Him. That would be cool, it would take off all the pressure of feeling like I needed to be responsible and do something.

But then there are verses like this one that makes it very clear that responsible people have a role to play in God’s plans of reclaiming the people on the earth and establishing His kingdom on it.

Ezekiel 22:30-31 I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one. Thus I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; their way I have brought upon their heads,” declares the Lord God.

God looked for someone whom He could work through to save the land, God accomplishes His will through people who are responsible. In this case He couldn’t find anybody, so He destroyed the land, it is obvious that He didn’t want to, but there was no one who was available to work through and that is how God works.

It is very scary to me to be one who steps into that gap and says, ”Here I am, use me”. It is scary to stand before people and teach the Bible and say this is what the Bible says; this is what it means; this is God’s will for you. It is scary, because I could be wrong, but I can’t stay in my recliner all the time. I think I will work as hard as I can and trust God to work through me despite my problems and shortcomings. Scary but exciting, scary but fun, scary but fulfilling.

You Serpents, You Brood of Vipers, How Will You Escape the Sentence of Hell

Over the years I have adamantly taught in my sermons, classes, and blogs the importance of honoring our leaders, spouses honoring each other, children honoring their parents, and employees honoring their bosses. But I have also counseled wives to leave their abusive husbands and employees to look for a different job. I never did that without much prayer and thought, not wanting to encourage them to take the easy way and short circuit God’s plan of developing their character. I have not said or written anything critical about a government leader in my life, a few jokes maybe but nothing too serious. Over the last several months I have written a number of blogs very critical of government in general, our government, and especially our State government. As I said, that hasn’t been what I have done as a pastor in the past, ever, I have stayed away from anything political, so I have not entered this new campaign without a lot of fear of displeasing God, my Lord, and Savior, and of offending people who I want to influence for Christ. I was praying one night asking for wisdom and guidance on what to do and say as the Pastor of JBC, as this COVID thing started becoming more and more of an issue. I was writing most of my prayers in my prayer journal, and I wrote, ”Jesus, what would You do?” ”Please, help me to figure that one out, ” and then I turned to my Bible reading. In the passages that I was scheduled to read in my Bible that night was Matthew chapters 20 through 25. When I got to chapter 23 I thought, wow, You certainly were not very nice there, or honoring, or submissive. I read these verses over and over a dozen times, and each time I sensed more and more Jesus’s anger at the Pharasee’s for their oppressive leadership over the people. The Pharisee’s were the leaders in the days of Jesus, they ran everything; they were the ones who bullied Pilate into crucifying Jesus, and they bullied the people they were over, this is what Jesus said to them;

Matthew 23:13-33 But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive greater condemnation.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.
“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, that is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple is obligated.’ You fools and blind men! Which is more important, the gold or the temple that sanctified the gold? And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, that is nothing, but whoever swears by the offering on it, he is obligated.’ You blind men, which is more important, the offering, or the altar that sanctifies the offering? Therefore, whoever swears by the altar, swears both by the altar and by everything on it. And whoever swears by the temple, swears both by the temple and by Him who dwells within it. And whoever swears by heaven, swears both by the throne of God and by Him who sits upon it.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say, ‘If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ So you testify against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?

Jesus didn’t like bullies much.

After I published yesterday’s blog, I thought, ” I do not enjoy this; this whole thing makes me so uptight; how did this happen? I don’t like bullies much either.


					

Being Submissive to Government

A question that I get asked often is, ”Aren’t we supposed to be submissive to the government?” ”When is it OK not to be?”

God is all-powerful, He is sovereign over all. But He has delegated some of His sovereignty to four different human institutions.

The first institution that He has given authority to, and instruction on being submissive to is the family.

Ephesians 6:1-3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.

1 Peter 3:1 In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives,

The second institution that God has given authority to is business, the workplace. Obviously in this verse we can change the word slave to employee and master to boss. We all know that the boss is in charge and gives the orders.

Colossians 3:22 Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.

The third institution that God has shared His authority with is the church.

Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.

And the fourth institution that we are instructed to be submissive to is our government.

Romans 13:1 Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.

Each of these institutions has a realm of jurisdiction, that is, God has given them authority over a particular area of life. If they attempt to exercise authority outside the realm of their God-given place of jurisdiction, they will create rebellion, anger, and war.

Pastor Mike Dedera and I function as co-pastors. He preaches most of the primary weekend services, and I teach Leadership classes and preach at our Wednesday evening service. He leads the staff meetings, and I usually lead our Elder meetings. We meet almost daily to discuss and talk about the decisions and direction of the church. But I am still the Senior Pastor, the boss. I have pastored at JBC for 44 years, Mike, about 12 years, I am 72 years old, and I don’t think he is 50 years old yet.

So, let’s suppose as Mike’s Boss I order him to sleep in a different bed than his wife, even a different room because if he gets COVID she is almost guaranteed to catch it sleeping in the same bed with him. What will his reaction be to my command to him as his boss? It will be anger, resentment, and rebellion, and justifiably so. This example is laughable, it is so ridiculous. My authority as Mike’s boss doesn’t extend into his home, no matter how well-intentioned my motives are. My jurisdiction stops at the church.

Governor Brown of Oregon has attempted to extend her jurisdiction, her authority into our church telling us how many can meet together, and who can do what. She has attempted to move into my home commanding us, under the threat of fines and arrest, not to have more than six family members gathered together at one time. Giving her credit for having the noblest of motives does not matter one iota! She has no jurisdiction in my church or my home, and my resentment, anger, and rebellion over her attempt to control them is not being insubmissive to God’s will.

There was a very Biblical reason that our countries Founding Fathers put the First Amendment into the United States constitution. It basically means that government can’t boss churches around or tell them what they can’t do or have to do, the church is outside the realm of their jurisdiction.

Authority gone too far in the family is called child abuse, spousal abuse, and people are arrested, tried, and jailed for it. Bosses often become abusive, and overbearing, and you quit and find another job. Pastors often start thinking they are God and Lord it over people in their church, and those people then find another place to call their church home. So what do we do with this blatant abuse of power from our government? At this point I am just going to ignore it, see what happens, and go from there.

I invite you to come along with me on my adventure.