2 Cor. 4:2  But we have renounced disgraceful and underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.  (ESV)

Wow, this verse ought to be pretty frightening to many of us in leadership in this day and age. Who among us has not taken “God’s word” just a little bit out of context to suit our purpose or agenda? In this day of celebrity Pastors with carefully controlled images and pre-staged “spontaneity” in Public integrity_3circlesworship services, we are called that much more to be upright, full of integrity, genuine, honest, open, real. What we have to offer is not anything to do with ourselves, but only Jesus Christ as Lord. To be a leaders in Christ’s ekklesia is to be a servant of the people for Christ’s sake (v. 5). Self promotion has no place in the church of God. Rather Paul’s ministry is one of suffering and trials which by his strengthening in them (beyond his own human ability) brings glory to God (v. 7-12). As we receive sustainng grace, thanksgiving to God increases for His glory (v. 15). We can’t focus on circumstances that we see – sanctification happens internally (v. 16-18).

I wonder how much slick repackaging of God’s word we really need? Our message is pretty straight forward. Maybe what we need is simply an open statement of the truth, less smoke-filled back room decision-making by the leadership team, and zero underhanded trickery and manipulation in the name of “presenting the gospel.”

God help me to be this kind Christian, this kind of leader: filled with love, honesty, integrity, the real deal – simply proclaiming the straightforward message of God’s love for people and acting it out with our lives. God save me from religion. God save me from commercialism.

In Jesus’ name – Amen,