Helpful Articles: A Godly response to criticism by Ben Pierce of Steiger International

 

Recently ran across this article by Ben Pierce, a member of No Longer Music and part of the Stieger International team.  It really points to need for humility and trusting in God for defense.  These are words that are worth sharing and reading. Hope you are challenged and blessed. 

A Godly Response to Criticism

Written by Ben Pierce   
Friday, March 05 2010 02:09
Being a human being is a strange thing. If we dare to be different, stand out from the crowd, try something new, or take a risk we will inevitably face criticism. No one is immune to criticism, deserved or otherwise. In ministry the intensity and the frequency of the criticism can be even greater. The bible is full of examples of this. Noah was ridiculed for trusting God and building the ark, Moses was mocked by his own people for attempting to lead them out of captivity, and of course Jesus was constantly criticized by the religious leaders of his day. Criticism is to be expected. 

The bible is very clear about how we are to handle criticism. Our response to deserved or undeserved criticism is crucial. In Romans Paul writes  “never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God” (Romans 12:19). It is clear throughout scripture that God will speak for us, defend us, and stand up for us, so we should not.Wrath is often a misunderstand term. Literally it means righteousness anger. God’s wrath is His rightful anger towards things that aren’t right. We are going to encounter all kinds of situations in life in which the world’s way of operating would entitle us to retaliation. It is in these situations we need a major paradigm shift from a human response to God’s response. What Paul posits in this part of his letter to the Romans is that we need to leave making things right to God. Ultimately, it’s an issue of faith and surrender. Do we trust that God is ultimately in control of justice or do we feel that if left to Him nothing will be made right? 

The highly influential theologian A.W. Tozer strongly urges us never to defend ourselves. He writes: 

“What do we defend? Well, we defend our service, and particularly we defend our reputation. Your reputation is what people think you are, and if a story gets out about you, the big temptation is to try to run it down. But you know, running down the source of a story is a hopeless task. Absolutely hopeless! It’s like trying to find the bird after you’ve found the feather on your lawn. You can’t do it. But if you’ll turn yourself wholly over to the Lord, He will defend you completely and see to it that no one will harm you. “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper.” He says, and “every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn” (Isaish 54:17). 

So when confronted with criticism, how do we respond? First, it’s important to realize that in any situation we are rarely completely guilty or innocent. When approaching any situation in which you have been criticized it is important to be humble and realize that you most certainly have something to learn.  

It is obvious that we are not to defend our reputation or our image. So what do we do? Turn to the bible. Jesus gave us a model for dealing with criticism. When the religious leaders of his day criticized Him, He turned to scripture. 

2nd Timothy 3:16 says, “all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, and for training in righteousness”. Paul encourages Timothy to see the Bible as a tool for character shaping and reproof. I believe when faced with criticism we need to take it to God and ask Him to reveal what truth, if any, can be extracted from the experience. We need to humbly search the scriptures for any “training in righteousness” that needs to occur in the process. If we choose not to defend ourselves when criticized, but rather see it as a chance to grow, I believe God will shape us into people who He can use for any noble purpose, we truly would be vessels of Gold. 

No one can avoid criticism, but we can all choose our response. Sometime criticism is warranted and other times it can come out of nowhere. In either case we need to respond as God would have us respond. Let us choose humility. Let us leave our defense up to God. The alternative will stop what God wants to do in your heart and will limit what he will be able to do through you. 

Tozer put it frankly when he said, “if you insist upon defending yourself, God will let you do it. But if you turn the defense of yourself over to God He will defend you” 

That certainly seems like an obvious choice to me. 


Ben Pierce has been a member of No Longer Music since 2007, co-leads a local Minneapolis outreach ministry, and works as the assistant development directory for Steiger. The views expressed in the following blog are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the complete views of Steiger. See Steiger’s Statement of Faith and Values in the ‘About Us’ section of the website.   

No Longer Music: On church planting tour to Middle East

Hey folks, really neglected to inform readers of what No Longer Music is currently up to.  They currently have started a new tour to middle east and doing some church planting.  In order to find out more about their ministry see this post: https://peacebringer7.wordpress.com/2008/07/17/ministry-spotlight-no-longer-music-steiger-international/.

An update on their current tour can be found here: http://www.steiger.org/2008/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&layout=blog&id=8&Itemid=113. They can also be followed on twitter via the account: adpierce.

For more information on the tour objectives please go to this site: http://www.steiger.org/2008/index.php?option=com_content&view=frontpage&Itemid=1

Keep this ministry and thoughts and prayers as they are under a ongoing spiritual battle.

Here is a list of the current prayer needs for Steiger International, even beyond the No Longer Music Church planting tour: http://www.steiger.org/2008/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=64&Itemid=86

Current Steiger Prayer Needs   

Hi Everyone,

Thank you for praying for the needs we have in Steiger. We would encourage you to fast a meal and pray through the needs listed below. If you know of someone who would like to partner with us in prayer please send us their e-mail address. If you have recently posted a prayer item that God has answered, write us back to let us know what God has done!

Here are the prayer requests for this week:

1. Praise God that most of the money for the No Longer Music tour has come in!  We are still about 4,000 US Dollars short, so pray that the rest of it would come soon.

2. Please pray for Drew Wade from Australia and Christian Faber from Sao Paulo, Brazil.  They would both like to work in our International Office in Karlsruhe, Germany, but both are having difficulty getting their visas.  Pray for supernatural intervention and favor in the eyes of the officials.

3. Please pray for Davor Edelinski and his family, who may need to leave the apartment they are living in.  Their landlady said she is leaving her husband and may need to move into the house where they are living.  The three room apartment they have now is priced under market value and they don’t have enough money to pay for a similar apartment.  Please pray that God would make clear where He wants them to live, that He’d provide for their housing and cost of living needs, and that they would be witnesses to their landlords, who are going through a difficult time. 

4. Pray for the NLM promoters and local teams in the Middle East, Croatia, and Finland.  Pray that God protects them and gives them favor with city officials and the media.  Pray for good weather for the outdoor shows and that God puts His angels around the stage and keeps people away that would come to cause trouble.

5. Pray that there is a great response to the NLM concerts and that hundreds come to Jesus.  Pray that we have wisdom on how to support those who respond in the Middle East and that the new church is firmly established.

6. Pray that David Pierce and the whole NLM team would be bold and courageous for Jesus and that everyone would stay healthy and safe.  Pray for team unity and wisdom in every situation.

7. Pray that David Pierce will know how to end each concert, what message to preach, and the best way for people to respond. 

8. Pray that all the NLM gear clears customs easily in the Middle East, that the drivers will have no problems at any of the border crossings, and that the van doesn’t break down.

9. Pray for Derek de Glymes who is at Free Zone, a Christian music festival in Sweden.  He is an American currently volunteering with Steiger in Germany.  He is running a Steiger booth and speaking there.  Pray for the right words as speaks and good connections with people he and the rest of the team meet at the booth. 

10.  Please pray that God would open up an opportunity for NLM to play in a club called Mochvara (“Swamp”) in Zagreb, Croatia.  The city square concert location had to be changed due to lack of money, but this location is even better and would reach more of the people from the underground scenes.  Pray that God would touch the hearts of the club owners and that they would let NLM play in their club. 

11. Please pray for the SHIFT Discipleship School from Steiger Minneapolis.  Pray that the Lord would give the leaders wisdom and discernment as they organize the curriculum, staff, and living situations.  Also, pray that He would lead the right students to the school.

email: prayer@steiger.org

Ministry Spotlight: No Longer Music & Steiger International

I wanted to let some people know about a evangalistic outreach ministry that reaches out to people and youth in some very dark places. The ministry is Steiger International and the main outreach tool is a band called No Longer Music fronted by David Pierce. I first became aware of David Pierce and a montly men’s prayer breakfast at the local church I attend. I was impressed with David’s heart for God and heart for the lost. He is someone who God has used to build the Kingdom of God. They currently are in the midst of a tour in Europe and Middle East. They recently finished an outreach during the SLOT music festival in Poland. They are headed to Lebanon and Turkey. Here is there planned stops for this outreach tour:
Steiger International: No Longer Music
2008 Evangelistic Church Planting Tour

Poland July 12 (SLOT Art Festival)

Lebanon July 24, 25, 26, 27

Turkey July 31, August 1, 2, 3

Croatia August 7, 8, 9, 10

Finland August 15, 16, 17, 18

Iceland August 22, 23, 24, 25

USA August 26-31 (Life Light Festival)

 They certainly can use both prayer and finacial support. I have a link to their tour blog under my blogroll. If you want to support this ministry with prayer or in other ways please check out to this website: http://timetoact.steiger.org/A_Time_To_Act.html.

In terms of better understanding this band and their ministry I will post some of their promotional videos. 

These four videos gives you a good idea of the ministry. If you want to see more about the band and ministry search on You Tube under No Longer Music or David Pierce. There is at least one segement of David Pierce teaching.  Also check out their main website www.steiger.org. I will leave this post with a music video.