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.   

2010 Objectives and Prayer Requests

The purpose of this article is really to put down the things that God is doing in my life and the areas where hope for blessing and productivity. In this article, first I will list me objectives and desires for 2010 and then a list of general prayer requests. Feel free to contact me personally if you want any further details.

        Objectives:

Grow in my relationship with God and show love that is more complete.

Follow Gods leading over my own ideas, wants, or desires.

Be intentional in actions and choices.

Grow in showing, speaking, and reflecting God’s love in relationships around me.

Be productive at current employers. I am working for two employers, one doing crisis evaluations at a local hospital. The second is providing counseling/psychotherapy services at a local clinic. These employers provide a sound base and I want to do my best to glorify God at the places where I work.

Establish private practice. This is a key goal for the year ahead. It requires lots of steps and investment in time and money. It is one thing that really is at a beginning.

Find ways to serve God in the church congregation he has placed me. My heart right now is to be involved in some way or fashion with Men’s ministry. Currently waiting as the church and pastor know my desire to be involved in some way.

Write more intentionally and with greater consistency.

Completed planned article series such as Foundations of Strong Delusion.

In God’s time, work on becoming a father with wife.

               Prayer requests:

Brother and his family: Pray for strength, comfort, and healing. They have undergone a long ordeal of loving and caring for someone who is dying, Nancy Kimmey. The trial the have gone through during this time has been extremely difficult on them all. Pray for a sense of God’s peace during the time and that they come through the ordeal ultimately stronger and that their mourning does turn to dancing as the ordeal brings them a taste of the Joy of the Lord.

Mother: As posted on the blog before she has encountered vision lost and diagnosed with rod dysphasia. She is moving in to a new time of life. She is a strong, independent woman who know has to increasingly depend on others. Pray that she grows in being able to reflect God’s love to those that assist her. Pray that her eyes, ears, and heart be opened to see in new ways God’s glory and find ways transcending beyond self to communicate and give voice to what God stirs.

Father: Pray he gains sense of God’s leading and direction. Pray for strength and faithfulness in following God’s lead beyond own ideas of what God is leading. Pray for God ordained appointments while waiting on God’s move and direction. Pray for God’s directions to be clear and that of self to become small. Pray for provision to do what God calls and directs.

Step-mother: Pray same as above but in addition continued strength in battle. She had a victory over cancer, yet the battle continues as she has three lesions in her brain and will need further prayer. Pray for discernment and for any root cause of the cancer to be dealt with and disabled in prayer.

Step-brother Tim: He has been serving God in mission field. Pray for His service to be rewarded with fruit, whether he sees fruit or not. Pray for Him to be further built up, rooted in God’s love, and able to share God’s love with others. He is leaving on January 12th for a 2 month stay in Mexico helping build a church. He will return to North Pole, Alaska to serve an outreach radio station.

Wife: Pray for God to continue to work in her life with restoration and healing. She is working on losing weight, a difficult battle with medical conditions that complicate. Pray for strength to continue to fight the battle. She desires that we try and have a baby before the year is out, so pray for God’s will and leading on that front in His time. Pray for strength, as she is often tired. Pray for her to find joy at work, as the job is tough for her and stressful. As she is at work, pray for God’s light and fragrance be evident to all around her.

Mother-in-law: Pray for her to grow deeper with God. For her wounds to be filled with God’s love. Pray for her to be filled to the brim with God’s love to touch those around her with love both in terms of family and those around her in Maceio

Father-in-law: Pray for God to touch his heart as he serves and loves others. Pray for God to touch whatever wounds are within his heart and to see fully God at work in those around him.

Brother-in-law Lon and his family: Pray for strength, wisdom, and guidance. He is pasturing a church in Maceio, Brazil. He is pulled in many directions and the church needs to move from dependence on Him and grow in dependence on God. Pray for all of His family to grow in loving God and others. Pray that the pull and desires of self and world diminish and appetites for the Kingdom of God grow.

Brother-in-law Leo and his family. Leo is not following God and walking in the darkness. He is ruled by lusts and pride. Pray for God to send the Holy Spirit to convict and draw him to repentance. Pray for his wife and daughters, that in the pain and heartache of betrayal that they get drawn into deep relationship with God and his love. Pray for their wounds to be healed and for their hearts to be touched with the love of God.

Other family members and friends: Pray for God to move and touch them where they are, in their pains, struggles, joys, and journey of life. Pray for God’s love to be made clear and deeper in all, whether they know God or chosen to walk away from God.

Pastor Brian Sinclair: Pray for wisdom and strength to lead New Joy Church with the vision of God. Build him up with words that build up the congregation in the faith. Pray for protection for Him and His family related to the wiles of the enemy.

New Joy Church: Pray that ultimately God brings a work that frees His New Joy amidst the congregation as the church becomes further rooted in the truth of God’s word and obedient to His call. Pray for wisdom, clarity, and vision for what God has ahead. May ideas of self be clear and reduced and may we all hear and see what God is directing.

Steiger International: Pray for God to continue to use them to reach those in the darkest places of the world with the Gospel. Pray for protection, wisdom, guidance, and provision.

The Livesay’s and Heartline Ministries Hati: Pray for God to continue to reach others with God’s love in gospel in that poor and hurting country. Pray for provision, wisdom, guidance, and protection.

The Hensel’s: Pray for God to grow the new Ministry and to touch the lives of the people where they are serving. Pray that they are able to help build others in the faith and draw others unto salvation.

The Gross family: Pray for God to bless them as they serve God. Pray for healing, strength, and renewal.

Simeon’s Cry: Pray that God uses them mightly to reach Jews and Muslims for Jesus. Pray for wisdom and open eyes and hears to see and hear what needs to be seen and heard. Pray for continued and ongoing discernment.

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem: Pray that those of the nation of Israel grow in awareness of the Gospel and be brought to true wholeness as the recognize Yeshua as Mashiach.

Pray for Missionaries the world over, that they are able to draw others to turn from self to God and bring in a fruitful harvest.

And the requests for self: Pray for wisdom and guidance. Pray for ongoing growth in voice. Pray for growth in intentionality and consistency. Pray for God to draw those that he wants to use me in their lives to draw them into greater peace, learn of God’s peace, and receive restoration of heart and soul. Pray that I grow in loving God and others deeply. Pray for the blog and forum, that is serves to build others up, spread the light of the Gospel, and as led expose the workings of darkness.

    Prayer for 2010

Lord Heavenly Father, you who are the beginning of all things, you who set all things in motion. Touch the lives of all who read this that they may grow in knowledge of you. May each person who reads this blog grow in his or her response to you. May their walking in love of God and others be deeper and clearer. Open the eyes, ears and hearts to greater knowledge of Your love and your ways. Bring people into a greater sense of Your Peace and Joy. Heal the wounds of the broken, set the captives free, bring restoration to those in need. Transform each of our lives to reflect you greater. Bring us into greater awareness of our own sins and selfishness and help us to walk in repentance. Make clear to each one of us the areas of refinement you are leading in for this year ahead. Bring forth fruit as people serve you in love. Bring wisdom and discernment. Open eyes and ears of each to the ways accepted or walked in not of you. Expose the deceptions that have been embraced and the roots of the deception. Build each of us up in You. May your Kingdom grow and expand and be more visible to each of us. Help us to forgive as You call us to forgive. Help us to love as You call us to love. Bring the prosperity of further knowledge of your love and pushing forward in your ways grow with eyes toward treasures in heaven and not on the ways of the world. Thank you for the provisions that will come in the year ahead. Give each person the wisdom needed to make the choices as they come. Give strength, peace, and comfort in suffering. Give light and hope in darkness. Give clarity in fog. Give strength and direction in waiting. Pour out your love and light as all who serve you. Build what you have established, break down all that is not of you. Bring forth your harvest and fruit. Lead us in the sure path and sure ways and help us to return when we stray from your path. We thank you Father for all that you have done, for your gift of Salvation through Jesus, our messiah. Thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit and the ability to draw near to you, as you are on the throne. Thank you Jesus for Your love and mediating before the throne on our behalf. Thank you Holy Spirit for your ongoing presence even if at times we are muted in awareness of Your presence. We look forward to all that is ahead in 2010 and we thank you for what you have worked in our lives up to today. Above all, may Your will be done in our lives here on earth, as we seek to serve your Kingdom. All glory to your name. Your will be done. Amen!

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.