Wednesday, April 23, 2014

WHEN DO I CRY WOLF? By Steven R. Catt

Meet Restoration Evangelist Steven R. Catt, who was in my Sunday school class in Lakewood, Colo., as a teenager. What an honor when students you've touched are used mightily of the Lord. -- Ada Brownell

Steven R. Catt, Christian recording artist and author of the book “When Do I Cry Wolf?”, is now in his 35th year of full time, traveling ministry.  Early on, he developed the reputation as one who was willing to step into difficult churches and boldly speak the word of God.  Steven quickly
became known as a “restoration preacher.”  His experience in dealing with these troubled churches has given him a wealth of wisdom on the subject .  Recently Steven was encouraged by four noted church leaders to write a book based on his teaching series entitled, “The footprints of Wolves.”  From this teaching, as well as real-life experiences, the book came into being.
The purpose of the book is to make pastors and their fellow church leaders aware of impending danger. “When Do I Cry Wolf?” is a valuable tool in identifying and uncovering the deceptive work of the enemy within the local church.  In the book, church leaders will find the answers to such questions as:   How can a pastor identify a wolf in sheep’s clothing?   What is the difference between a wolf and an angry sheep?   How can shepherds form a network of protection?  How can the wolf be uncovered and scripturally removed without destroying the church?  These questions and many more are answered in this book.

By Steven R. Catt
I was in Bisbe, Arizona, a few years ago when an aging crippled man walked up to me and placed his shaky hand on my shoulder. I turned to see a wrinkled-care worn face staring at a patch on my shoulder which read:  “I am proud to be a vet and a biker.”

 “Are you a vet?” I asked.



“ Yes.”

  I took his hand and said: “Welcome home soldier.”

  He broke into tears and said: “You are the first person ever to welcome me home from Vietnam.”

 I held him while he cried. He had been denied the honor due for his service to this country.

In Mark 5, we see three life-changing miracles. First, the deliverance of the demonic man possessed by “Legion” which means “Many.”  The man lived among the tombs and the word said: “No man could control him.” 

When Jesus came on the scene in verse 8, He said,  “Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.  Suddenly, the man was in his right mind.

Then we see, a leader from the Synagogue  named Jairus, who stops Jesus and asks him to come heal his dying daughter. But before he can get there a woman with a issue of blood reaches out of the crowd and touches the hem of his garment, and immediately she is healed.

  Jesus cries out:  “Who touched me?”

 “Everyone is touching you,” the disciples said.

But Jesus answered, “This was different, someone touched me with faith.”  Then he looked at her. “Daughter, your faith has made you whole; go in peace, and be healed of this plague.”

By the time Jesus reaches Jairus daughter, she had died.

Ever get the feeling Jesus was somewhere else when he should have been with you?

Mark 5:41 Jesus finally arrives, takes the hand of the dead girl, and says to her, “Talitha cumi; which is to say, Young lady, arise…and straightway she stood up and walked;”

But in chapter six, everything is about to change.
Jesus is coming home to Nazareth, his home town, to the people who know him, only as the carpenter’s son.

 In Nazareth, the next Sabbath He began teaching in the synagogue, and many who heard Him were amazed. They asked, "Where did He get all this wisdom and the power to perform such miracles?"

 Then they scoffed, "He's just a carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. And His sisters live right here among us." They were deeply offended and refused to believe in Him.

He came to deliver the word and heal their sick,  but they mocked him and showed him no honor.

 Jesus told them, "A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family."

Ever have someone close to you dishonor you? Maybe a family member or a close friend? How did you feel? Worthless?  Of no value?

Remember that feeling because that’s how the other person feels when you take away their honor with your words.  “A twenty second statement can make someone’s day or break their heart. The choice is yours.”

What was the result of this belittling of Jesus? “Because of their unbelief, He could not do any miracles among them...except to place His hands on a few sick people and heal them” (Mark 6:5).

Here’s my question: If their lack of faith and dishonoring words towards Jesus could prevent him from doing great things in that city, is it possible we could hinder what God is wanting to do by failing to give honor where honor is due?

 I believe that one of the best ways to change the mindset of a community is by treating people with respect.

There are two basic reasons people withhold respect or honor from others.

·          “Familiarity.”  ( His own hometown ).

            “Oh…I know him!
            “Oh…that’s just Phil….he’s been here for years.”
            “Oh…that’s  just A.J…I went to school with  A.J.”
            “That’s just Emily…I’ve known her all my life.”

They said, “That’s just the carpenter’s son.”
The second reason people withhold honor is: 
They know your past.
Someone finds out what you did ten or twenty years ago.
People search your historical closet looking for skeletons
In an instant…your honor  is questioned today because of who you were yesterday!
  Let’s start restoring honor.

Show honor to the leadership watching over you. 
Heb 13:17 (NLT)  “Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.”

Show honor to the Elders…they were appointed!
Act 20:28  "So guard yourselves and God's people. Feed and shepherd God's flock—His church, purchased with His own blood—over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as elders.”

Show honor to each other.

                        (Rom 12:10)  Be devoted to one another in love. “Devoted”  Dedicated…inseparable !
                         Honor one another above yourselves
                        Put their best interest ahead of yours.
                        Lose the  “It’s all about me attitude.”

Outside the church

                        Show honor to the lady serving your food.
                        Avoid dishonoring conversation: Telling lies about others is as harmful as hitting                          them  with an ax, wounding them with a sword, or shooting them with a sharp                                 arrow” (Proverbs 25:18).

David said this about approaching God:

“Who may worship in Your sanctuary, LORD? Who may enter Your presence on Your holy hill? Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts. Those who refuse to gossip or harm their neighbors  or speak evil of their friends” (Psalm 15:1-3).

Reckless words can hinder what God wants to do.

Let the transformation begin with us.  Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone” (Colossians 4:6 NLT).

Remember:    “To change a person’s mind…you must first win their heart.”