Fellowship Church pastor Ed Young called on church leaders to bring back honor to their ministries and in their lives Wednesday evening at the start of the C3 Conference in Dallas.
"Today we dishonor honor and honor dishonor," opened Young.
Just as a sick person becomes a carrier of the flu virus, he said, Christians, likewise, who receive God's unmerited grace become carriers of "charis" or grace, and are called to bring honor to every situation, even to dishonorable ones.
"As believers we should penetrate every situation, every conversation, every opportunity ,every exchange with honor," said Young.
"Let's bring honor back," he urged. "Somebody honor somebody."
During his animated address on C3 Night, an event open both to conference participants and the public, the Dallas pastor contrasted the life of Saul with the life of David, explaining that one was about dishonor – going from the top to the bottom – and the other was about honor – going from the bottom to the top.
Young recounted Saul's first failing test of honor as illustrated in the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel, where he takes credit for Jonathan's defeat against the Philistines and also offers the burnt offering ahead of prophet Samuel's arrival.
Taking a lesson from Satan's fall as an angel of God as recorded in Isaiah 14, the descent into dishonor begins with, "I, I, I," he said. Instead of worshipping God, Satan brings disorder with his rebellion and worships himself.
"Honor is a feng shui of faith. Order effects outcome. Disorder leads to disarray," he pointed out.
Saul also displayed this "narcissistic, me-istic mentality" and is drawn into dishonor, the Texas pastor continued.
"I saw, I thought, I felt" are the steps into dishonor, said Young. "The Bible doesn't talk about feelings. The Bible talks about obedience and the feelings will follow."
Young went on to show that Saul also fails his second chance to display honor when God commanded him to wipe out the Amalekites. Saul, still plagued with his "I" mentality, didn't fully obey.
"To obey is better than sacrifice. That is the key to the Christian life."
The Fellowship Church pastor urged church and ministry leaders to "smell out" dishonor among their members and colleagues and drill into it with inquisition, saying they should "make them fish or cut bait."
"People who are honorable will go to another dimension. Those who aren't will go somewhere else," he said.
Young said some people may leave the church as a result but "it's cool." Over the past 20 years, there are people who have left Fellowship Church, he said, with some cases due to honorable charges, honorable discharges and dishonorable discharges.
In the case of David, he started from the bottom but went to the top because he lived a life of honor, continued Young. Even when Saul, filled with envy, attempts to kill David by throwing a spear at him, dishonor didn't even cross David's mind.
"David can't even wrap his brain about dishonor. There is this spear hanging by his head and he can't even think about it," said the pastor.
Referring to 1 Samuel 26, when David's men retreats with him to a cave, Young noted that in leadership there are people who are with you, for you, and those will use you. He said the latter will disguise themselves as the with-you people but then turn on you.
Even when David gets a chance to kill Saul as he relieves himself in the cave, David shows honor. His reason? "Because of the Lord."
Why honor your spouse, parents, staff or pastor? asked Young.
"Because of the Lord," he repeated. "Our God is a God of honor. We are carriers of his grace. Let's bring honor back."
"Too often the church's structure is about dishonor rather than honor. The church is structured many times to expose the wolves instead of protecting the shepherd," he added.
In his concluding statements, Young called on followers to support leaders with trust and encouraged the leaders who feel they are not being honored to honor someone.
On Wednesday, Grammy-award winner Israel Houghton led worship during the C3 Night.
The 2011 C3 Dallas/Fort Worth Conference will go on until Friday, with day sessions led by some of the most influential church pastors today, including Bishop T. D. Jakes of the Potter's House and Elevation Church's Steven Furtick.
The C3 Nights, which are open to the public, will be led by Joyce Meyer on Thursday and Brian Houston of Australia-based Hillsong Church together with Judah Smith of Seattle-based The City Church on Friday.
The theme of this year's conference is "Exc3ed: Go Beyond What is Allowed."