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The Missing Ingredient

by Chip Brogden
“And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved” (II Corinthians 12:15).
Besides prayer, no other subject has been talked about more and practiced less than the subject of loving one another. We all know we are supposed to love one another. We have heard it preached a thousand times. But there is a difference between knowing the Path and walking the Path.

I want to speak specifically to the issue of love as it relates to “ministry”. That word “ministry” is a loaded word now, and we really need to question someone when they use that word so we can find out what they really mean. I think most people will agree that what passes for “ministry” these days is something very far removed from the ministry practiced in the New Testament. And I am not referring to some kind of method or technique that they practiced. The “missing ingredient” is not something so superficial as meeting in homes versus meeting in buildings. How far we have fallen to think that the secret of New Testament life is found in some way of conducting a meeting.

Leadership exists in the Bible, and leadership exists in the Church. There is no getting around that. Jesus showed us, both in word and in deed, that His idea of leadership is based on service to God and to others. The question we need to ask is what constitutes godly, Spirit-led, Christ-centered, servant leadership? What makes someone a spiritual father? What really qualifies someone as an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, or teacher?

You might say the calling of God is what qualifies someone. Perhaps, but many are called and few are chosen. Many are called but they fail to respond to the call. You need more than a calling.

You might say the gift of God is what qualifies someone. Let me tell you something, brothers and sisters. Gifts no longer register much with me anymore. Gifted brothers and sisters are really a dime a dozen. I am just speaking frankly. Often I will meet people and come away thinking how gifted they are, but they leave me hollow inside. They have a lot of potential but I would not trust them to watch my dog much less watch over people’s souls. Many of them claim to be in some kind of pastoral or prophetic or apostolic ministry. But that in and of itself does not qualify a person. I have seen gifted brothers and sisters with absolutely no wisdom, no maturity, and no spiritual discernment make a real mess of people’s lives.

You might say revelation from God is what qualifies someone. I absolutely believe that revelation is a necessity for teaching others because you cannot point the way to a place you have never been. But revelation by itself does not qualify a person.

There came a time in my life when I realized I was called, and I was gifted, and God had given me great revelation, but I still lacked something. Now when I was younger I believed that having a calling from God and being gifted by God was all you needed. Then I began to learn some things by revelation and thought that was God’s seal of approval upon me.

Even so, I could not get away from the fact that there were then, and there are now, lots of people in the world besides me who are called by God, have spiritual gifts, and enjoy an abundance of revelation. But God cannot trust them in any kind of a servant leadership capacity. They may have a title or a ministry but they are unqualified because they do not have the missing ingredient. I noticed they lacked something, and worse, I lacked the same thing. Eventually I discovered what everyone, including myself, is lacking.

What is the missing ingredient? The missing ingredient is LOVE.

Let me share something to illustrate what I mean. A pastor told me something that happened many years ago between him and his associate pastor. They worked together in the church but fortunately they were also good friends. He said his associate came to him one day with tears in his eyes and told him, “You’re the best preacher and teacher of the Word I have ever heard in my life. But you just don’t love people.” When the pastor shared this story with me he had tears in his eyes, too. It was a powerful reminder to him, and an important lesson to us. We can be called and gifted and full of revelation and still fall short because we are not walking in love with people.

Now we could go to many examples of love demonstrated and love commanded in the New Testament. You know them as well as I do. But when I turn to this little obscure passage in II Corinthians 12 I find something mostly overlooked. Paul writes, “I will VERY GLADLY spend and be spent for you; though the more ABUNDANTLY I love you, the less I am loved.” Now that is what qualifies a person. That is the missing ingredient.

Paul wrote this to the Corinthians. You know Paul had more trouble with the Corinthian church than all the others combined. Most people would have quit, but not Paul. Paul has the heart of a father. That is a real apostle. That is a real pastor. We know he was called, we know he was gifted, and we certainly know he had a depth of revelation. We could understand if he felt like he was wasting his time with Corinth and wanted to turn his attention elsewhere.

You see, that kind of thinking has the flesh all over it. I read something many years ago that I accepted at first as wisdom, but have since changed by mind. A man wrote, “Go where you are celebrated, not where you are tolerated.” At the time I was feeling very unappreciated so I thought this was sound advice. But God has been gracious to me, and He has helped me to see that this attitude is the whole problem with “ministry” today. We love people who love us, and we serve people who serve us, and we thank people who thank us, and if you scratch my back then I’ll scratch your back. What kind of Christianity is this? What if Paul only went where he was celebrated and avoided places where he was just tolerated? What a foolish statement, but this is the prevailing attitude among “ministers” today.

Paul gave us an example to follow. Don’t just look at his calling and his gifting and his revelation. Look at his heart of love. He gave all – not just for the Lord, but for the Lord’s people. And they were a most carnal, unappreciative bunch of people. Even so, the heart of a father is demonstrated. That is the reason he had authority. I tell you his authority was not in his title, his position, or his status as having taught the believers there. His authority was not in his calling, gift, or revelation. His authority was in the abundant love he showed.

Make no mistake: I am not there yet. I still struggle with how to be a good brother, much less a spiritual father with abundant love for everyone. I obviously have a long way to go, but now I see the missing ingredient and I am following after love. How about you?

You know, the days of a person just “showing up” to exercise their gift and do their little ministry event are just about over. I have been guilty of that, I think we all have either done it or seen others do it. Is that what Jesus has called us to do? Is that being an example? Hold some meetings, have some talks, shake hands and go home? It doesn’t mean a thing if we are not loving one another. It is all tinkling brass and clanging cymbals.

Paul saw himself as a father caring for the needs of his children. He entered right into the heart of God, because that is exactly the way God sees it. That is why Paul was able to love them more even as they loved him less. There is a vacuum of that kind of leadership in the Body of Christ today. We have people who cannot even be good brothers and sisters and yet they aspire to be spiritual fathers and leaders, apostles and prophets and pastors and teachers. Instead of serving people WITH their gift they expect people to serve them BECAUSE of their gift. It is seen in things so seemingly insignificant as the pastor’s reserved parking space right by the front door.

In recent months I have prayed, “God, take away my calling, take away my gifts, take away my revelation, but give me a heart of love.” Really friends, we have plenty of gifted brothers and sisters. But where are the Pauls and the Peters and the Johns of our generation? Where are the spiritual fathers, the leaders, the elders, the ones giving a godly example to those who follow after? An example is most definitely being given, but all too often it is an example of what NOT to do.

Where are the ones who will very gladly spend and be spent in the service of God and of others – who will love abundantly even when they are not loved in return? One father is worth more than ten thousand teachers.

All you who are called and gifted, hear me. Love is the missing ingredient. Follow after love and the calling, the gifting, and the revelation will find its deepest and fullest expression.

19 Comments

  1. Alicia

    This is one of the most profound teachings that God has ever opened my eyes to, and since I stopped going to church over two years ago, God has graciously been opening my eyes and growing me closer to Him. I want God to give me a heart of love. I don’t see many people since I stopped going to church. I went to a home group for a while, but it seemed as dry as the churches I had attended, so basically I have been spending time with my Lord in Savior in prayer, Scripture study and just learning to wait on him. I am with my family daily. I just have to thank my Father in heaven for this revelation. This is profound and the complete truth. God Is Love! How have we missed this for so long? It doesn’t matter, since the Lord God will teach us all things by His Spirit, Hallelujah!

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  2. Roger

    I have just read the above teaching – Bless you Chip in the name of Christ Jesus our Saviour and Lord – thankyou for the reminder of my own experience.
    In my early days after accepting Jesus as my Saviour, I struggled to speak in tongues, for 8 long years – I was prayed over, had hands laid on me, pushed over ’till I lay on the floor, counselled, admonished – I was told I was in sin, had pride, and so on. I was depressed, desperate and wrongly focussing on a gift not the giver. My eyes were blinded to Pauls teaching to the Corinthians.
    Finally, watching a TV program on the special Olympics where a leading runner stopped to pick up another, his friend, who had fallen, and so neither could win the race. Together they came over the line in last place – the crowd roared their approval.
    At that instant God revealed Himself to me in pure love. At that instant I learnt that Jesus is LOVE, and that LOVE is indeed Pauls “..more excellent way..” 1 Cor.12-14
    So, if the ‘called out ones’ are spiritually bound together by Jesus, then we are spiritually bound together in Love.

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  3. Thomas Varney

    Thank you for the missing ingredient study.I came to Christ 40 years ogo. At that time I was still certified insane,and just released on trial leave.I was facing an 11 years prison sentence,I had already spent years away,I was married and was a proclaiming athiest.But our Lord changed all that, and today I still have that hunger in my heart, more than ever. I was drawn out of the traditional churches 30 yrs ago. Today, is the best time of my walk with God.Love is indeed the greatest gift in a persons life.Yesterday was the first time I had heard of Chip Brogden, and what a blessing it has been. The Spirit of the Lord moved me to tears.Most of those who have known my testimony, they have read my life story “From Gutter To Glory” they praised God for years for my freedom in Christ, but today they have all but cut me off,now that I have real freedom! Thanks Chip for your obedience to God to come out from among them-better things are up ahead for all Creation,much love to all-Tom and Barbara Varney, Queensland Australia.

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  4. Joe Griffo

    I’d even say its the unused ingredient. Christ is in us, He is love. I have seen fear dissolve as I grow toward the image of Him. As we become one with Him we become like Him. Soon we can not help but to love, He becomes us, He becomes our nature.
    Reminds me of the yeast that had to be worked through the dough…

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  5. frank pytel

    Your fellowship reminds me of Peter after his denying Jesus three times. The restoration of Peter was all about love. Jesus asked Peter three times in different ways, “Do you love me?” (John 21:15-17). If you have love, then you can feed and shepherd others; no love, no service. May our love toward our Lord be channeled through us into others. May our love for Christ our Head who we cannot see, be displayed in our love for His Body who we can see!

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  6. Joan

    Thomas, God Bless You….You are not cut out from God’s Family….Love in Christ…
    Love, God’s love casts out all fear….Is the greatest, and heals and saves…..
    Here’s a story of God’s love. This happened a few years ago….There was a man, a drunkard of the worst kind, a pervert who liked to watch his stepdaughter bathe. God had always shown her to watch out for him….One day this young woman was to be married. She had no father. She prayed and God told her to allow this vile man to give her away at her wedding, against all warnings from family that he will ruin it with his drunkeness….
    He was also known for beating and fighting with this young woman’s mother, whom he lived with.

    The day of the wedding, he showed up with a new suit. No alcohol on his breath. Right to the last person that left the reception, this man did not have one drink. He felt honored, he acted humbly and did all the right things at the wedding. Not until the very last person left, did he have a drink.
    A week after the wedding, this man left this family, never to hurt them again, and no one has seen him since.

    I believe this man was helped through the love of a follower of Christ.. Perhaps Christ HImself .

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  7. Thomas

    Thanks Joan,yes there is a time when we least expect it, that the Lord touches the heart of a person and they are never the same again.I remember after my changed life when I returned back to the old home town, of which I was forbidden to do on my release from prison.And I met lovely Christian people who said to me, we were praying for you years ago.The power of prayer is wonderful-yours in the love of our Saviour,Thomas.

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  8. Jazmin

    “One father is worth more than ten thousand teachers.”

    That was deep brother Chip! Once again an AMAZING article!!! May the Lord continue to illuminate you! God Bless!

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  9. Rose

    I’ve been a Christian since 1977 and could never seem to read or listen to messages from John’s three letters. It was like I either shut down or got heart sick. So attending a webinar about them is a testiment to the Lord’s faithfulness. Like another commenter said, “How did we miss it?” But now that His love is flowing more freely to and through my heart, so too the revelation and fruit. I know I’ve got a lo-o-ong way to go but now that I even desire to embrace the truths in John’s letters, it’s a good start.

    Thanks Chip, for laying it all out there. It’s about time someone did.

    Blessings and prayers, Christ is our life.

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  10. Elton

    Is only Christ Who can raise brothers and sisters and fathers of the church. What we can do is like Ana said, just to admit that we cannot do anything without Him. There is only Him Who can lead us and makes us useful vessels for His Glory…….
    On …the other side, I agree with brother Chip on the reality of missing “fathers” in our generation. This is because to be a father you need to have two basic things: Love and the Cross. You cannot be a real father without loving your kids. And also you must be prepared that you may not receive this love back. This is a part of the cross: to love and not to receive the love back.
    Also the fatherhood has not a meaning without a family. You cannot be a father without having a family. The family is the ground where the fatherhood is born and is raised. You cannot be a father without being firstly a son and then a husband. This is the way how it functions in the natural life and it is similar with the spiritual life.
    The real problem is that the modern Christians (mostly in the protestant world but not only there) do not see the church as their own family. This is the reason why today the fathers of the church are so rare. The church life cannot be some background of the christian life, but it is the cradle where the christian life is born and is nourished. We learn there to be sons, brothers,sisters, husbands and wives, and then fathers and mothers. (Not only in the natural way, but in the spiritual way).
    I have seen recently the movie of the Father Pio of Pietrelcina. I think he is a real father of the church. He has raised many spiritual children and took the cross and followed Jesus step by step. I think we need many people like him. God has His lights on this dark world, may He open our eyes to see that these lights are there. These lights are the proof that the Christian life is not something that belongs only to the first centuries and then it was eradicated from the earth.

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  11. Melissa Barrett

    Amen Amen Amen….thank you for expressing the heart of God and the truth to tear down our “easy” ministry and walk us into the “demand” of the Spirit in this day to truly love one another. Though I have the gifts….etc and have not LOVE…1 Cor. 13 says it all and thank you Chip for once again confirming it!!!!

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  12. Joni

    Wow, it’s so simple isn’t it? We muddy it up with with thinking and words, but it’s really quite simple.

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  13. Heidi McClain

    I know you wrote this article some time ago, but it came into my email box today. I was convicted and thrilled all at the same time. Amen! a word I truly needed and so I’m writing to tell you that I receive it…. Right from Gods mouth.

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  14. Edie Hicks

    Excelent article one can get into a lot of trouble practicing this organized church these days sadly enough!!

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  15. Bettina

    “…rejoice! And again I say to you: rejoice !!!”

    Hello Chip,
    I’m quoting these words from Paul in the letter to the Philippians because the Lord is the best teacher we can have !
    I read your article yesterday and it touched me….but it also left some questions unanswered.
    I say this to encourage you because the revelation the Lord gave you lead to another revelation I would like to share with you.
    My questions were: How do I get this love and what kind of love is it ? Well, I know, only in JESUS I can find this love. And it can’t be the kind of “love” that is expressed in the world ! But how can we distinguish HIS love working through me from the “love” I think I have for my brothers and sisters ? I really cried out to Him and He lead me to 1.John 5;2,3:
    “This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and CARRYING OUT HIS COMMANDS. This is love for God: TO OBEY HIS COMMANDS.” HAllelujah !!! So, when I love God and OBEY then His love works in me to love the children of God !!!
    I remember the Lord telling me a few times NOT to help brothers and sisters because HE wanted to teach them and work in them in that situation of need. We always think it is love when WE want to do good. But it is still our flesh !! Some things seem very “good”, like teaching and preaching and knowledge and prophecy and faith that can move mountains (1.Cor.13), but using these gifts in disobedience (without love) we gain nothing !
    This was such a blessing to me and I pray that it will be also a blessing to you and my dear brothers and sisters ! AMEN ! JESUS IS AWESOME !!

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    • Macario Cadatal

      “to love God and obey His command” is am impossibility for me to do, of my own. I can’t do. So He has to do it through me. Paul said, “…not i but Christ…”. It’s some kind of God loving God and people or Jesus loving Jesus and people only that it is through a human instrument. So love by itself is still half. I think the other half to make it complete is a surrendered life, which only God can bring to pass. It’s like a husband is only half unless he has the other half, which is the better half (just kiding), his wife.

      Reply
  16. Macario Cadatal

    yes, love is the missing ingredient but that love is not mine otherwise it will be flesh love. Instead that kind of love is God’s love flowing through me going out to Him and to others. Paul said, “not i but Christ…” of my own i can’t love so He’s the one loving through me. Nothing to own really. That kind of love, I think, should be coupled with a surrendered life.

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    • Chip Brogden

      I agree. “Love comes from God” (1 John 4:7). It does not come from us.

      Reply
  17. Kendall Richard Albright

    the hard thing to do is to give up our own will and our own wants and our own way and allow
    ourselves to “gladly spend and be spent in the service of God and of others” we need to just give up we will eventually willingly be comformed to His will and His image anyway. Jesus said
    that if we really wanted to follow Him we needed to deny ourselves and take up our cross daily and follow.. it’s always our choice.

    Reply

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