Sabbath Message by Wade Cox

New Moon 1/4/28/120

Dear Friends,

We are now at three months to Trumpets. All of us should be preparing for the Reading of the Law. Many of us are organising our transport arrangements and our accommodation.

There is much to do in preparation. Each area of the Church is very busy preparing for the Reading of the Law and the production of the works associated with that activity.

Please study the work the Ascents of Moses (No. 70) to familiarise yourselves with the procedures and the problems the congregation faced.

If you are placed in part of the work with others tasked with a large amount of work, you should all try to work together to make strength productive and weakness irrelevant. The Church is not a venue for elevation of the self above others. Esteem others better than yourselves and leave your egos in the wardrobe at home.

Remember that Moses was humble above other men. Christ himself was humble in the way he implemented the Laws of God. Oh, it is hard to be humble when you are perfect in every way, as the words of the song go. Even the world understands the need for humility and dislikes the proud. How much more should that be so in the Church of God?

Never slight those who are working with you. Never attack when you are trying to get the best out of each other. Correct one another with loving-kindness.

Many people purport to be Christian yet hold one another up to hate, contempt and ridicule, and think nothing of it.

The Churches of God have gone through a particularly stressful time over the last twenty years. God has allowed them to be sifted, and tested, and measured. What was developed over the previous thirty years has emerged through this period as a spirit of accusation and self-righteousness. The Internet has become a plethora of accusing web sites that spend more time writing slander and lies about others than concentrating on their own spirituality. It has become what we call the sludge of the religious world.

No person can engage in this behaviour and grow in grace and knowledge.

If we find ourselves working in a task group of the Church and we see error, then we should all reasonably and respectfully correct error. Each of us should be easily entreated. It should not be a major problem to get things addressed in a brotherly manner. Yet, it often seems to be the case that people hurt one another in criticism. How can we purport to love God and hurt our brothers and sisters?

The converse of this is that “iron sharpens iron”. Strong words do not do much harm to those strong in the Lord and the Holy Spirit.

How do we know when it is appropriate to use strong words? The guidelines are fairly simple.

Never attack the person. Never make defamatory statements about anyone. The world does not accept this; how much more so should it be with those of the body of Christ?

Never bicker over style. If someone does something one way and you prefer it another, do not insist on style and make changes for style.

Never embarrass anyone by making silly comments regarding their person or problems.

Always deal with facts. Confine yourself to the facts when commenting on anything.

Find positive things to say about the way someone has done something when you are commenting on aspects that should be changed. Always encourage when correcting. It is easy to tear down but hard to build up.

Often the people who can do something are getting on with doing it. The lesser able are often on the sidelines like little terriers barking at them to justify their own failure to perform.

The fact that the Churches of God are able to form and work together should be seen as a positive aspect of the work of the Holy Spirit among them. Many have errors of understanding and deficiencies in knowledge. The way to deal with that is to teach them by constructive criticism. Over time they will be exposed to the truth and the truth will set them free.

No one is won by railing accusations. People who make such accusations show thereby the limitations placed upon them and the deficiencies that they have in the Holy Spirit.

Criticism is to be of the act and not the person. All correction is to be towards rehabilitation. The end result is to make the person whole and able to be turned to every good purpose required by God in the Church.

The person being corrected must be able to take criticism and to be developed by it into a more complete and capable person. The methods of correction are changing over time also. Even the defence forces of our nations are changing the way they discipline and correct. An enlightened administration now seeks to involve people in the operations and the decision making process.

Delegation is important to the proper functioning of any healthy organisation. Delegate to the lowest decision making level. If the matter is performed at that level, let basic matters be decided at that level. Give good policy guidelines and let them get on with it. Correct the matter when it is obviously wrong.

Never assume you know all the facts. There are always things you don’t know. Much of the time you can’t be told everything for very good legal reasons. Assume you will be kept informed of the necessary aspects involving your responsibilities. If something appears wrong, ask about it immediately.

Often the problems in administration are to do with egos. Make sure your ego is small but healthy. If you can’t get on with anyone, ask why? Go to your brother and present them with the problem. Don’t assume because someone is preoccupied that they don’t appreciate you. They might just be busy. You are not the centre of the universe. Don’t make yourself more important than you are.

An encouraging word can go a long way to making people effective. If you see a need, then fill it. Good leadership is seeing someone in need and organising the solution. Do it in such a way that they are not embarrassed by it.

There is a saying that: “No good deed goes unpunished” and it seems to be so in the Churches of God. You make sure that it is not you that is not duly appreciative of assistance given. Only in helping others should you never let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.

Each of us can help others. Each of us has an obligation to get on with the work of God. We have to discern the body of Christ and to work for and in it. If we do not, we hide our talents.

Where you hold the Passover is where you have discerned the body of Christ to be. Some time ago, a local group met and were so divided that they had a number of different Passover times in the one group. Christ is not divided but they were. Needless to say, they did not survive and have done nothing to further the faith.

Many people in the Churches of God think that they do God a favour in attacking anyone who organises.

We have had reason to take people to court to force them to behave in a law abiding and decent way. In one case, a church organisation did not respond to our reasonable requests. When we issued writs in the Canadian Supreme Court they were surprised that we had done so, even though we warned them we would do so. Finally, when they could get no insurance because their actions were totally contrary to law, they pleaded with us to let them off and promised they would rectify the matter and would not do it again.

One of the things that is most mystifying about the behaviour of the people in religious organisations or who comment on them is that they seem to think that they are above the normal legal processes involving defamation and the torts at law among any civilised people.

If you are part of the Church of God, your behaviour towards one another should be higher than the standard of the civil populace and not lower than it.

It should be a matter of supreme disinterest as to what people do in the religious beliefs to someone who does not believe what they believe. Yes, for some reason the professing Christian, or Muslim, or Hindu, or Buddhist seems to want to destroy anyone who disagrees with them. Christians bicker among themselves and the Churches of God have their own little finger pointing underworld that simply can’t let others alone.

Do not be involved in the spirit-deficient of the religious finger pointers. There is something missing and unbalanced in what they do.

We have much to do. Do not attack one another and do not discourage one another.

We have much to do and little time to do it. Always encourage each other and ask what you can do to help.

If you want to know how you are doing, then look at what you have already done. Your record will tell you how well you have performed. If there is a task to be done, don’t seek to vary it. Produce positive suggestions but do what is required of you. Don’t seek to tear down those who work with you.

The aim of every one of us is to train our own replacements. Each person must be trained so well that they can do our job and do it every bit as well or better. When you have done that, you have served Christ well.

When you love one another, you rejoice in the triumphs of your brethren. There is no envy or jealousy. There is only joy. A Christian person is one who takes no offence and gives none to others, but loves all equally and sincerely within the Laws of God.

Wade Cox

Coordinator General


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