Last night, Michael Mcleymore, and a couple of guys that live with and work with him came over and helped me build out my basement. And there have been many friends that have come out and helped us, and we are grateful for all of them, fir their time, their efforts, their skills and abilities, etc.

But Michael is a very special friend to me because he and I grew close enough while doing ministry together that we could find each other lovingly without offense coming into the picture (at least most of the time). And if there is anyone that I can say that I have walked “two by two” with, it is Michael.

Last night as we finished up our construction work for the night, he and I walked off into the dark night together, leaving the house, the men, my family behind us at the house — to talk about “real things” and to be “real” with each other about where we are spiritually and in our walk with the Lord.

And the one thing that was clear to us was that in this season, it is different than when we were both actively in ministry “side by side”. And we talked about the difference between still being called and active in ministry, working yourself through a particular “wilderness” with the Lord, versus being on the mountaintop where the anointing of the Lord is so powerfully present that it overwhelms and has your face shining with the glory of the Lord.

Sometimes it can feel like we are just busy Marthas, with very little time “left over for God”. And how painful that is for our ears to hear us say how far we have come from putting God first and chasing him with reckless abandon! I can remember our stepping out in leaps of faith, willing to be made fools for God’s sake, and seeing God move in powerful and wonderful ways. And it is hard not to look back and long for those days, when these days seem so practical, so responsible, so stable, so comfortable in comparison.

I pray that we both as friends, as brothers, as disciples in Christ will continue to spur each other on, even as we do our best not to forsake providing for our families’ needs. And I thank God for brothers like Michael who will not only “talk and debate” the Word of God with speech (hoping to teach), but will actually come into each other’s houses to live, love, help, rebuke, wound and heal each other with our actions of love (actually teaching).

Many are “eager to teach” with their words, and Paul warns that because of this, few should actually be teachers — but popularity, fame, and the hunger for the honor of men dictates that lots of charismatic people will stand up and “teach” that may or may not be operating “anointed by God”. Just like many people will get up and make a show and give “prophetic words” that don’t come true and never actually came from God. So how do the people try and test what they are being taught? How do the people know whether they are being shepherded or being freed upon by a wolf?

I would say first and foremost, do we care enough about the truth to seek out out for ourselves so we can ask the hard questions, be good Bereans, and ask for clarification FROM THE WORD OF GOD on anything that “doesn’t seem right” — or is all our trust put in a piece of bought paper entitling a man from a seminary of religious teachers as a teacher, father, reverend, etc.?

Right along with that, though, I would ask — what does the lifestyle teach? If you clicked mute on what they are saying, and only looked at what they are living and doing, does it bear any resemblance at all to Jesus Christ’s life, the life of his disciples, or the church we heart about in Acts?

Lord, help us to be true friends. Help us to seek out true leaders who are anointed and living the Word of God, not just participating in some religious, surface level, busy activities. Help us to be in your will and willing to get deeper to the things of the heart, to the things of your spirit burning inside us. Revive us, set us ablaze with love for you, all for your glory and honor. Amen.