Posts Tagged ‘bishop john francis’

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2 Peter 2:1,”… but there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”

What do you think it means to deny the Lord? Many would say that any person or group that doesn’t believe that Jesus was the Son of God would be denying the Lord and that would be true enough. False religions like Islam and Hinduism would fall into this category. Most orthodox Christians would include the pseudo Christian cults like Jehovah’s Witness’, Mormons, and others of that ilk. And they would be correct but are these false teachers Peter is referring to here?

If you look closely you will see that Peter says these false teachers will be “among you”. Since he was writing to a group of born again, Spirit filled believers, we must conclude that he is not talking about the obvious false religions or even pseudo Christian cults. The false teachers he is speaking of will be found within the Body of Christ.

Now how do you suppose that false teachers will get away with denying the Lord among a group of believers?

The word denying as it is used here is the Greek word arneomai {ar-neh’-om-ahee}. It is the same word used in Titus 1:16, “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him….” Used in these contexts, the word means to contradict.

So a teacher that contradicts the Lord is in fact denying Him. He may say that Jesus is Lord. He may speak right sounding words claiming to be born again and he may have the biggest Bible you’ve ever seen but if his works or teaching contradicts the words of Jesus he is denying Him.

For example, when Benny Hinn claimed in 1999 that Jesus would physically appear at one of his upcoming crusades, he was contradicting the specific words of the Lord Jesus.

Math 24:23 -26
Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.

By making the claim that Jesus would physically appear at one of his crusades Hinn contradicted (denied) the words of the Lord and proved himself to be a false prophet and false teacher according to 2 Peter 2:1.

The so called principle of seed faith giving was first popularized by Oral Roberts almost 50 years ago. It proved to be so profitable to him that he essentially based his entire ministry on it. As with any other profitable venture others soon followed. Today it is used by virtually every “Faith” preacher, the majority of Christian television networks, and almost all TV preachers in general. It has even found its way into many mainstream and denominational churches.

How does seed faith giving work. It is loosely based (very loosely as we will see) on the parable of the sower found in Matthew 13, Mark 4, and Luke 8. Using the illustration of sowing seed, people are instructed that if they will give money to the church, the ministry, the TV network, the man of God, etc, God will multiply it back to them 30, 60, or 100 times more than they gave. In fact now days, about all you ever hear about is the 100 fold return. The 30 and 60 fold returns have pretty much been dropped altogether.

That’s a pretty good deal wouldn’t you say? Give God $1 and get back $100. Give God $100 and get back $10,000. Give God $10,000 and get back a cool million. And not only that, but you can also sow money and get back other things. Things like salvation for relatives, healing for incurable diseases, and deliverance from various demonic influences! That’s right; all you have to do is send your seed (meaning money) to the man of God!

Is this really what the parable of the sower is all about? What do you think? Let’s examine this important parable.

Luke 8:4-8 NASB
When a large crowd was coming together, and those from the various cities were journeying to Him, He spoke by way of a parable: The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out. Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great.” As He said these things, He would call out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Jesus explains the parable

Luke 8:11 NASB
Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God.

Now right here anybody with even a minimal level of reading comprehension should be able to see that this parable has nothing to do with money. The seed is the word of God. Even a brand new baby Christian should be able to look at this and say “I don’t think these fellows are teaching this correctly”

Let’s continue with Jesus’ explanation

Luke 8:12-15 NASB
Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved. Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away. The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity. But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.

This parable is about what happens when the word of God is sown or revealed in the heart of a person. It may be the most important parable Jesus taught. Why do I say that? Because Jesus said this:

Mark 4:13
And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?

Jesus is saying that if you don’t understand this parable you won’t understand any of the parables he taught. This is a foundational teaching!

By misapplying the parable of the sower, these false teachers do great damage to God’s people. First, by falsely claiming that God works like some kind of cosmic slot machine, but the real damage is in the fact that believers are robbed of the true meaning of this teaching.

The parable of the sower is at work every time God’s Word is revealed to you. In fact it is at work right now in many of you who are reading this.

I know that many of you will read this and say “I don’t believe that. I don’t believe that my favorite preacher would preach a false message” You’ll reject what I’m saying. You’ll actually be rejecting the words of Jesus.

The devil has come already to steal this word from you.

Some of you will hear what I say and receive it gladly. “Glory to God” you’ll say, “preach it brother…. Hallelujah” But you won’t take the time to really meditate on this word. You won’t really apply it.

And then a testing will come, a test to see if you really believe, trust in, rely on, and adhere to what you claim to believe. Testing is because of the word sown in your heart. You’ll be challenged. God Himself will allow that challenge, that test.

Will you pass the test? Or will you revert back to your traditional thinking?

And of course some of you will hear and believe but you won’t give this word the proper place in your life. You’ll think about it for a while. You’ll decide that it’s right but then you’ll get on with your life. You’ll get busy with your job, your family, your daily responsibilities and it will recede further and further into the recesses of your heart until it has no real value to you.

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A lot of people think that today’s “Prosperity” teaching only affects those in the ‘Word-Faith’ movement. But it’s effects are felt far more widely than that. Jesus said, “A little leaven leavens the whole lump” and we find that this insidious teaching has infected large sections of the body of Christ in all kinds of ways. -Especially in America. One of the main reasons for this is because it has aligned itself so successfully with CHRISTIAN TELEVISION.

The fact is, Christian TV can be costly, so it helps to have lots of money. And the “Prosperity” teaching is a proven money-maker for preachers. It really gets people giving! And so these kinds of preachers thrive on television. But it sure is a sick kind of “Christianity” that is presented. And totally unscriptural, as we shall see.

The Prosperity gospel basically teaches that not only does Jesus want to take away your sins and heal your body, but He also wants you to be prosperous and even “rich”. -Not just ‘SPIRITUALLY’ rich, but actually blessed with all kinds of possessions, cars and houses, etc. Because, of course, any kind of poverty and suffering is a “curse”, and we know that Jesus came to set us free from the ‘curse’.

Now of course there is some truth in this. If there wasn’t, then this false teaching would never get off the ground.

But the Bible makes it very clear that Jesus’ followers can expect to SHARE IN HIS SUFFERINGS (Rom 8:17, Lk 14:27, etc). The Scriptures also speak again and again of Jesus’ affinity with the POOR and His opposition to those who are rich. In fact, the sheer weight of Scriptures on this subject is staggering. It is amazing to me that the Prosperity teachers can get away with the things that they say. Doesn’t anybody read their Bible any more?

The fact is, these people can find only ONE verse that mentions “Prosperity” in the whole New Testament (-and it is of dubious help, as we shall see). And there are dozens and dozens of verses in opposition! But which one do they choose to quote again and again? Here it is in the King James version (-which is the only translation that helps them in any way): “I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” (3 John 2). Now, it is interesting to note what this word “prosper” really means in this verse. Renowned Greek scholar W.E. Vine says that it simply speaks of “the prosperity of physical and spiritual health.” So it’s not about MONEY at all!

And thus we find that in all the later translations, this meaning is made clear. For example, the NIV translation says: “I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well” (3 John 2). Isn’t that interesting?

As I said, this is one of the ONLY VERSES that these Prosperity teachers quote in the entire New Testament. If they are honest, they will admit that most of the rest of the NT is squarely AGAINST THEM.

What I would encourage anyone to do, who wants to research this subject, is to get a Concordance and look up EVERY VERSE in the New Testament that contains these words: (1) Rich or Riches, (2) Money, (3) Poor, (4) Mammon (5) Possessions, (6) Treasure, (7) Sell or Sold, etc.

You will be absolutely amazed at how strong the NT Scriptures are on this subject. I did this exact search years ago, and was astonished at what I found.

When you look up the word ‘Rich’ you find Scriptures such as this: “Woe unto you that are rich! For you have received your consolation” (Lk 6:24) and “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Lk 18:24-25, NIV) and “People who want to GET RICH fall into temptation and a trap” (1 Tim 6:9) and “You rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you” (Ja 5:1). There are many more along similar lines. Go and look them up, and you will see!

We find that when Jesus was preaching kingdom principles he was very strong in this area. When the ‘Rich young man’ came to him, He told him: “SELL your possessions and give to the POOR, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” (Mt 19:21, NIV). He also told his own disciples to “SELL your possessions and give to the POOR” (Lk 12:33).

In my recent article on “Tithing” we discussed the whole issue of ‘Giving’ in the New Testament. The fact is, there is no “law” telling Christians to give 10%. In fact, what the NT makes clear is that EVERYTHING we have literally belongs to God. Many people claim that “All I have is God’s” but they do not act like it! In the New Testament it is clear that it was EXPECTED for Christians to sell any spare possessions, land or houses, to give to their needy brothers and sisters – especially widows and orphans. They certainly weren’t giving their money to wealthy preachers on TV! And neither were they giving it to erect a new church building on the corner! (-Such things did not exist). They were giving from their HEART – and while some of it went to support the ministry, MOST of it clearly went to feed and clothe the POOR. (See Acts 2:44-45, Acts 4:34-37).

Some people today want to go back to the Old Testament and use people like Solomon and Abraham as examples of RICH people to emulate. But what they fail to realize is that the Old Testament is a ‘type’ or a “SHADOW” of the New. (Col 2:16, Heb 10:1). The Old was a “physical” covenant, with a “physical” temple and rituals, etc. The “blessings” of God were also mostly PHYSICAL and material. But today we have a “spiritual” covenant – a “heart-based” covenant, with mostly SPIRITUAL blessings. That is why we should not seek Old Testament wealth today. -We live under a different covenant.

It is very obvious from the New Testament that there is NO SUCH THING as a ‘Prosperity’ gospel. In fact, it is the exact OPPOSITE. Jesus said, “Blessed are you who are POOR, for yours is the kingdom of God” (Lk 6:20). And James declared: “Has not God chosen those who are POOR in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?” (Ja 2:5, NIV). Jesus clearly stated that you “CANNOT serve God and Mammon” (Mt 6:24) and yet it is obvious that many Christians today are trying to serve BOTH. The ‘Prosperity’ teaching clearly encourages this. It is a very dangerous and harmful fallacy.

So does God want to bless His children or not? Of course He does! But He wants to bless us so that we can GIVE MORE AWAY – NOT so that we can hoard more luxuries to ourselves. How can it be right for some Christians to be wealthy and rolling in money and possessions, while just down the street there are Christians who barely have enough to eat? And what about our needy brothers and sisters overseas?

There is a prophecy about the coming move of God that one thing it will be built on is “Extravagant giving to the poor.” I truly believe this. I am convinced that it is something that is very high on God’s agenda.

“SEED-FAITH” GIVING

It is important that I make a few comments about the ‘Seed-Faith’ teaching here, because so many TV preachers use it to pressure people to give to their ministry. What it amounts to is a “Give-to-Get” doctrine that blatantly twists Scripture.

When a preacher says something like, “Sow a seed of $100 into my ministry today, and God will give you back 100-fold,” then they are operating out of this “Seed-Faith” doctrine. What they are really saying is, “Give to get”. The motivation for giving is not so much to bless that ministry, but to GET SOMETHING BACK from God. The motivation is all twisted. Do they really expect God to “bless” something so wrong-hearted?

But the TV preachers love this doctrine, because it enables them to gather huge sums of money. And surprisingly, studies have shown that it is the poor and needy who give most often to these TV preachers. Why is this? -Because these people often feel that only a financial “miracle” can save them. It is not uncommon for desperate Christians to give and give, well beyond their means, in the hope that God will rescue them. Some will even lose their homes. And the elderly and the sick often give sacrificially in the hope of some kind of improvement.

Many preachers are fully aware of the kind of people they are exploiting. How sick it all is. As Jesus said in Mt 23:14, ?Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses.? I shudder to think of the fate that awaits some of these preachers on Judgement Day.

Much of the reasoning behind this “Seed-Faith” teaching is a distortion of ‘Sowing and Reaping’, which is a biblical concept. But when it is distorted by preachers and sold as a means of “Giving to get” then it has gone well beyond the Scriptures. The purity of simply “giving from the heart” is lost and replaced with selfish motives. People give because the preacher “guarantees” they will get a ‘big return’ on their investment! The motivation is so wrong that it is no wonder that this doctrine has produced disastrous fruit in the church. It is one of the sickest things around.

So next time you hear a preacher using this kind of manipulation to get you to give him $100, make sure you rebuke the deception in the name of Jesus, and turn the television off!

We would all be far better off giving to the poor.

I have already expressed my disdain for a lot of so-called Christian TV these days especially when it comes to the Praise Tel Beg Fleece-A-Thons. I have talked especialy how biblical numerology is abused to manipulate the minds. I for one will continue to talk about these things that a lot of Christians want to sweep underneath the carpet at the expense of the poor and the desperate. These things are nothing more than a spiritual pyramid scheme where those at the bottom never really benefit but those at the top do. They add ‘testimonies’ on their website to show you that these principles ‘work’. They promote things such as prayer shawls and prosperity shawls but funny enough, these things never seem to work when they need money themselves, so who do they come to? The same gullible christians. J Lee Grady who also wrote the article, Say Goodbye to the Untouchable Preachers, exposes some of the gimmicks that are used.

Let’s stop the hypnotism, the guilt manipulation and the high-pressure gimmicks. It’s time to reclaim our lost credibility.

Normally I’d rather go to the dentist for a root canal than watch a telethon. But while channel surfing a few nights ago I tuned into PBS and discovered that Aretha Franklin, the legendary Queen of Soul, was hosting a fundraiser for the network. Seated at a piano, she was offering a 5-CD collection of classic rhythm and blues hits in exchange for a donation to public television.

It was simple. There were no gimmicks, no games and no strings attached in Aretha’s offer. If you gave the suggested gift, she explained, PBS would mail you a big slice of American pop culture—including songs by Gladys Knight and the Pips, Smokey Robinson, the Four Tops, Al Green and Aretha herself, singing her classic “Respect.”

My respect for PBS was still intact when the telethon ended, thanks to this low-key, no-pressure approach to fundraising. I can’t say that for some Christian networks, which have shamelessly extorted money from viewers over the years using heavy-handed guilt manipulation, hypnotic control and bizarre Scripture-twisting.

During the PBS telethon I wondered why Christian networks couldn’t simply offer music, books or other premiums instead of resorting to the typical arm-twisting and tear-jerking that we’ve come to expect. We need an overhaul in this area. Somebody needs to lead the way in pioneering a new style of on-air fundraising that doesn’t treat people like brainless zombies.

Here are five of my least favorite fundraising tactics. I wish all of them could be banned from the airwaves.

Gimmick #1: The magic Bible verse. You know the drill. The evangelist quotes Psalm 37:37 and then announces that if you will send $37.37 (“No more, no less!”) God will unleash all the blessings of King David upon you. (Hint: The phones seem to ring more frequently when the number seven is included in the Bible reference.)

Gimmick #2: The urgent, time-is-running-out plea. Before the preacher asks you to reach for your wallet, dramatic music is piped in. Then “Reverend Cheatem” talks about how the crippled man waited by the pool of Siloam, hoping that the angel would trouble the waters so he could be healed. “God is troubling the waters right now, my dear friend,” the preacher says with his eyes closed. “Go to the phones now, before it is too late. Only those who give in this holy, anointed moment will receive a supernatural blessing in return.”

Gimmick #3: The memorialized gift. One popular evangelist announced on-air that she needed thousands of dollars to build a prayer room. She promised that those who funded this noble effort would receive recognition with special brass nameplates that would be mounted on the wall of the facility. The implication was that people could buy prayer coverage, sort of like a spiritual insurance policy. (I’m not surprised—since this woman offered her loyal followers the status of “spiritual son” or “spiritual daughter” if they paid a $1,000 annual fee.)

Gimmick #4: The debt-breaking anointing. One preacher who specializes in telethons has raised millions by telling audiences that they are just one donation away from eliminating all red ink. All they have to do is give a sacrificial gift (usually four figures) to the TV network in the next few minutes. If they do this, God will wipe out their debts, no questions asked. No lifestyle changes necessary. (This technique was especially popular before the mortgage crisis.)

See how many times you hear the buzz word ‘anointing’ in the video below

Gimmick #5: The Day of Atonement offering. This particularly odd strategy has been popular in the last couple of years, especially among gullible Christians who believe God blesses anything and everything that has the word “Israel” attached to it. The preacher announces that if you write a check to their network, and wave it in the air before you mail it (preferably while wearing a Jewish prayer shawl), God will forgive your sins, restore your health, bring back your wayward children, provide angelic protection and bless you with more than a dozen other special favors.

I still don’t know what is more outrageous: That programmers allow such insanity on Christian television, or that gullible Christians fall for it year after year. Hopefully, emerging leaders in the religious broadcasting industry will restore our lost credibility by insisting on integrity, authenticity and good taste.

Here is the conclusion to this article:

From the “gospel” garnished American Dream, which is all about living in comfort, and getting your own, and enjoying life NOW. A “gospel” that tells us God wants to give us everything we ever dreamed about if we come to him Dream Career,Great Kids, Lovely Spouse, $$$$$. We have been so locked into that mindset and latched on like leeches that i wonder how many of us, would in the face of; trails, difficulty, persecution declare, like Shedrach,Meshac and Abednego, “even if he does not save us from the furnace”, we will not deny our God.. I ask myself that every so often.

I think that is something we REALLY need to come to terms with in the days that lie ahead for true Christianity in a God hating world.

A day and age, where one person can file lawsuits to take down a cross on public property,which the rest of the town likes

Remove the Ten Commandments plaques in schools and court rooms

Remove any identification of Christianity on public property

Be fired or sued for sharing your faith in your own business premises, when the other party initiated the conversation

Be ordered to take down bill boards that say “satan is not welcome in this town” – YES, that really happened

A day that all you have to do is mention you are a Christian and doors are slammed in your face.

When you can be fired, sued or arrested for sharing your faith. A pastor can be arrested in his own church, for “hate crime” or preaching intolerance, can be forced to hire a person whose lifestyle goes against everything the church against or be charged with discrimination.

We are not talking about iron curtain countries this is happening in “the free world”.

Things are not going to change no matter how we fast and pray.The current social,moral and political occurrences have been predicted in both the old and new testament. It’s said that the last days will be like the days of Noah. (read Matt 24)

Men would become lovers of themselves,Aren’t we in a time where it’s all about YOU, The adverts, the movies,the songs, the divorces(MY needs weren’t being met).

Like the people in Noah’s days, they denied and hated God. They disregarded morality ,silenced their conscience, and sin increased, they living hedonistic self-serving lives; they mocked Noah and his “fairy tale ” God. Noah lived in preparation for the flood, he was not concerned about having a mansion ,the best cars.

Does this mean we should fold our hands and resolve to be the bottom of the barrel in finances or our careers ? NO

Does this mean one should not be responsible, contributing citizen while on earth,NO .

Does it mean that we should abandon everything and all flock to a mountain resort and live like monks waiting for the Rapture. NO.

Does this mean we should live in mediocrity and not make an effort NO

The point here is , where was his focus, where did he channel most of his energy, and

WHO was he listening to? Societal expectations? Criticism/mockery from the ungodly?

Was he concerned with Impressing the sinners with “God’s material blessing”, so they could run to him for those things they are already chasing? NO.

His concern was with his assignment; building the ark, and warning, preaching, trying to save as many people as possible before the inevitable. But they went on ,acquiring, partying and leaving Noah to his ark building “Don’t worry, Live, there is no God” ,Sound familiar??

I may be wrong ,but It is quite possible that there were other men and women that feared God in that time. But they didn’t want to get involved in Noah’s “taking it too far and he’s making the rest of us look bad”. Maybe he was delusional after all that time in the sun, early stages of Alzheimer or something. Who wants to look like a fanatic after all ? .

So they carried on, business as usual, thanking God for the customers that made them richer, a large turnover, the new barns they built and livestock they’d bought. Perhaps even threw a party for a bountiful harvest. All while Noah, worked on that ark, babbling about some unheard of phenomenon happening . To destroy THIS WORLD!!!!, the one God had just blessed them with lands, livestock,vineyards and over flowing barns? NAH.That’s not MY God, The devil is a liar
(a parallel to those that were too busy with “taking care of business” to attend the great feast Matt 22)

Noah may have won most valuable customer 120 years running ,at the local B&Q of his day. Sadly the CEO,shareholders, board of directors,manager, check out boy and the staff watched their best customer sail off as they sank down to a lost eternity.

Once again,
This is not to say that we are only righteous or saved if we are poor or barely getting by.

This is not to say that there is anything wrong with earning well in our careers. Or

Having a business that grows phenomenally or even wanting to have more than enough for our spouse and kids.

BUT

Whether we admit it or not, When financial prosperity is our BIGGEST and SOLE goal,

When those are the only scriptures we know.

When building OUR Kingdom on earth puts on such blinders, that we can’t even see the world sinking around us in sin, and they march right pass us in gleeful conga a line to hell, and our eyes are so focused on ourselves or asset building, that we ignore them, THAT is a huge problem.

Jesus himself said “My Kingdom is not of this world”, why then are we so blinded to think he has promised us one HERE. Why aren’t we pointing others to him and HIS kingdom???

Im not going to pretend I have it all figured out(i haven’t even scratched the adamantium like surface ) nor i have reached that position like the apostles.Nor do i smile when i think about it or that i look forward to it.The possibility of being called to a life that is not cushy or flowing easy.Facing Constant conflict to my faith/life , swimming against the tide,as everyone else relaxes and seemingly “enjoys life” carried by the ebb. Believe me, i am still coming to terms with it all the time and it is HARD, Ko Easy.

Like most people, I have lofty dreams, goals, ambitions, I’m not a masochist, so im not venturing out looking for suffering or discomfort.

BUT

At some point we just have to surrender it all to the Lord, instead of wanting to Live La Vida ,spiritually living in comfort, in the sweet by and by, getting fat and lazy with no challenge or REAL building to our faith. We have to submit our ambitions, goals, dreams, intentions,assets. and ask the Lord, if all we are doing is IN LINE with what HE wants us to do.

“Our greatest fear as individuals and as a church, should not be of failure but succeeding at things that in Life, don’t really matter – Tim Kizzar”

We need to be the ambassadors that he called us to be. An ambassador does not try to establish his own embassy in the land he has been sent to, he is a representative of that from Kingdom, which he has been sent and his commander-in-chief makes sure that his needs are met at all times.

What should most concern us, is, when it’s all said and done,

After all the employee awards, mansion, 4 apartment building,tightest whip in the hood , 2 month global holidays, 40 page balance sheets, paid off mortgage , platinum album, appearance on the magazine front cover,blockbuster movie.

How would we answer when he asks,

WHY SHOULD I LET YOU INTO MY KINGDOM

I highly recommend the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan, It would help your ascertain where you are now.it would open your eyes into a new way of thinking about your faith , and walk with Christ. A true defibrillator and Challenge for anyone that reads it and TRULY seeks a deeper walk with God.

“ASK NOT WHAT YOUR COUNTRY CAN DO FOR YOU, BUT ASK WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR COUNTRY”-JFK

That is one of the most recognized lines in the history of speech making. Most of us don’t have to be told that it’s from John F Kennedy,one of the youngest Presidents of the United States of America. A speech to rally up the people to stop focusing on themselves, and think about how they can each contribute to the greater benefit of the nation. As later years would show , Kennedy had a lot of skeletons in the closet, that would follow him in presidential and private Legacy, but that was such a profound statement, that immortalized him.

Somehow and unfortunately we “modern day” Christians have gotten it twisted. We’ve flipped it round and it’s become

“Lord, ask me, not what i can do for your Kingdom, but what you can do to build MINE”.

The modern day “gospel” has become so focused on, How we can, Get our best life now, “Write our own ticket “, claim our inheritance NOW, that there little or no room in our minds , thoughts or desires to ask,

How we as individuals can further the Kingdom by bringing more people in. Just like the prodigal that demanded his inheritance before the appointed time, we. The consensus is,

“When we as Christians are wealthy, we can pay higher tithe, therefore , have more money to build bigger churches and send missionaries out”.

The truth is, if furthering the Kingdom was our REAL and number 1 concern, we’d ask for God to bless that ministry , and not be requesting him to use us as the financial conduit or middleman, who gets a 90% commission.

That big bonus, or huge salary rise would go to the building,missionary or homeless fund, and not to a brand new whip, or wardrobe upgrade. If the biggest reason for financial increase was the Kingdom. We’d give more of our time, skills and talent directly to the church or ministry , voluntarily ,so the church could direct funds elsewhere.

Our prayers would be “God, please supply just enough for my needs, so I’m not worried about money, but not more than i need, that my heart would stray from you”.

NOW, this is NOT to say we can’t aspire to be financially comfortable, own a big business, or succeed exceptionally in our chosen careers.

The point is, we spend so much time , claiming the wealth “promises” and what God can do for US, that we rarely turn and ask,

“Lord, what is it that you have set out for me to do for YOUR kingdom”.

We think, it’s the job of the pastor, deacons, ministers , elders etc. We rarely cry like Isaiah “Here i am, send me”. Most of our thoughts and actions go, “Here’s my money, send it..but don’t even think of asking me to go anywhere or do anything”

Once again, THIS IS NOT against , attaining success financially or otherwise, But i think we should just admit that we want wealth, success etc. for our own comfort , instead of the sanctimonious, “I’m praying for it for the Kingdom sake”.

We are not fooling GOD, when the Kingdom is just a very last, after thought for that wealth desire and we pretend like it’s the first .

Remember Annanias and Saphira??

I was listening to a teaching on the Prodigal Son yesterday, and it occurred to me, that with numerous teachings on how to have a ;best life now, and riches NOW. We demand our inheritance from God NOW, and want to go off and enjoy, while we leave the harvest and the building of the Family Empire(God’s Kingdom) to our more mature siblings i.e the missionaries,pastors, the evangelists. We aren’t concerned about the generations to come after us, all we want to do is grab as much of the inheritance right NOW.

This is NOT against having financial success, but it’s evident that it’s become a SOLE focus. A lot of us due to certain teaching, ONLY see God as a cosmic bell hop; there to respond to our chanting of twisted/mis interpreted scripture at him .Our thought patterns have made scripture an ATM pin code to Heavens bank account instead of “for reproof, correction and training in righteousness”.

In the past 40 years or so, Christianity has adopted the American Dream, and just tied a ribbon of scripture around it to pass it off as Gospel. A message that is so focused on a comfortable cushy problem free materialistic life, that the early church would spin in their graves ,if they found out what we are teaching, “is this what we were killed and fed to the lions for!!!”.

A lot of which sounds no different from what you’d hear at a secular Wealth Building/Self empowerment seminar, (a few of which have metaphysical origins). Our justification!! “The Lord promised me”.Now there is nothing wrong with personal development, but it should not be done at the expense of a person’s soul.

In fact, if you are familiar with personal development, you can hear some sermons almost lifted verbatim, from some self help books and tapes. This is not to say personal development is wrong, but we have to be aware that some of it , and it’s speakers also learn from new age and other questionable movements.

Some “pastors” have gone as far to say we should not pray “if it be thy will Lord”. They claim it’s a prayer of doubt. But isn’t that a HUGE contradiction to Jesus teaching the disciples to pray “Our Father………YOUR will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven”

Are we to listen to their method and not the Lord Jesus. You’d be surprised and frightened at who some of the people saying this are, huge and influential ministries for decades, but that is not for today.

Looking at the early church, the early apostles, none of them had a cushy, problem free lifestyle. None of them sat in their La Z boy ,saying

“That’s not my calling, I’ll lick a few stamps, and write a cheque but that’s it”.

Imagine if Paul,Peter, Timothy John the Revelator had many of our attitudes??

Too far back to relate to?

What would be of what we know of the Church today, if John Calvin decided all wanted to do was sign cheques. Or Martin Luther thought he’d leave the expounding to the Pastor alone. What if Charles Spurgeon or George Mueller,John Bunyan, Smith Wigglesworth, decided that, he’d chill at home and just send a love gift to God TV when the Dow Jones jumps a few points.

Still don’t know DO SOME RESEARCH ON THESE EARLY 20TH CENTURY REFORMERS

The Bible says “take on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand in the evil day” .It didn’t say, “contribute to the armor fund and watch the ship sail off then go home and lean back”

This is not saying that we are all going to be missionaries in the field, pastors or in a direct form of ministry. But regardless we are still asked to take on the armor, and not just those in the five fold ministry. We may not be in the front lines like the missionaries and the Pastors but we are the reserve army that could be called to report at any time. What if in the wealth we are claiming and fighting so much for, we get too fat for the armor.

We’ve consumed so much “good stuff” that when the battle-cry comes, we’ve gained too much weight to fit into the armor. We are too lethargic to even move.

The breast plate of righteousness, is bursting at the seams and no longer protects our sides , because we may have engaged in something dodgy to attain that “promised” wealth.

The shield of faith has weakened because after attaining the wealth or while seeking it, Church becomes mechanical, routine, if at all we go, and spiritual growth has become irrelevant.

As for the sword of the spirit, we have absorbed so many wealth and sweet by and by, “promises” that the battle preparation,spiritual war fare verses were neglected.

The verses that predict the inevitable are skipped over and downplayed as only judgement on the heathen not us “the saved”.

The verses that enable us to prepare for the battle, that is “not against flesh and blood” are glossed over.

How can we be battle ready if we have been so fattened by the spiritual equivalent of Twinkies,Ding Dongs and Dumplings, that we can barely fit into the armour(if we remember where it is and how to put it on)

Modern “gospel” is lot a more of ” Lifestyle of the rich and Famous” justified by twisting scripture,than it is truth .

We have been programmed in self preservation(physical,emotional,reputation) and many celebrity Pastors who “preach” messages that ; lack Repentance from sin,Remorse over sin,Holiness,Righteous living, passion for lost souls.

All in an attempt to be politically correct and avoid losing or offending their unrepentant fans(yes fans), who sit to hear all about how God is going to give them all the desires of their heart. but requires no change or sacrifice from them. They care more about being high on popularity and opinion polls, than they do do uncompromising Biblical truth on Sin and Salvation…

….but you may think, “they give altar calls and many people answer and are are saved, God is using them” . OK. But who are the people answering the altar call????

The people that want a Jesus upgrade from a Buick to a Mercedes, to move from The Projects to a Penthouse, from RV Holidays to Jet Skiing in Barbados.

Those “converts” don’t want Jesus,
They want what they can get by dropping his name in front of God.But he better not mess with their default settings.

At least those that go to Tony Robbins Wealth seminar are honest about why they are there, and to be frank experience more success, than those falsely converting ,and claiming promises with misinterpreted scripture.

MENTAL QUIZ: Think of this, how many people attend a seminar on

Holiness and growing in Christ, Being an effective witness

as opposed to the masses that attend a Achieve your destiny ,Enter your prosperity.

Believe me, I know, been guilty of it myself.

When many of these celebrity pastors are directly confronted by secular media, or non believers about sin or salvation, they water it down, or give the greatest single answer dodging line(s)

“it’s not my place to judge” , “i can’t tell you who’s going to heaven and who’s not going”,

OH, and here’s a big winner “Judge not, i can’t judge somebody’s heart, i don’t know their hear, only God knows it.”

YES, it’s not your place to judge,don’t give them your opinion, just tell them what the Bible categorically states on the issue of sin and how to assure salvation.

“..The heart of man is desperately wicked no one can know it…”- Jeremiah 17:9
“…you shall know them by their fruit”- MATT 7:18-20

“I am THE way the truth and the NO ONE comes to the father but by me” -John 14:6

.PRETTY CLEAR ISN’T IT

Instead they promote a cotton candy, lah lah land, Care Bear picture of God. YES, he is a Loving God, but he is also an incorruptible Judge, who will not acquit the guilty or those that wilfully and even gleefully break his law

They neglect the fact that people are living unrepentant and unwilling to change in sin and say “Smile God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life”.

Imagine that pasted over the side of Noah’s ark.

They paint the life a Christian is to live as some Shan gri La….A Paradise Island, .If you are not rich and completely healthy 100% , you either

1)Need to give more to their ministry
2)Buy their book and find out how to achieve it
3)Don’t have enough faith for 100% health and wealth,and you are a doubter

Quite a contrast from the lives the Apostles lived, or even the one Christ told us to expect in Matthew 10 & 24.

This is not about going out, like a suffer seeking missile, causing trouble and seeking persecution. We are not masochist. But we have to realize that the feel good message feeding the flock is no good. We want to be fed , stay at home and never be called or leave for the mission and battlefields, literally or metaphorically. Growing fat, like an over feed, yet under nourished hamster, protected from the world in it’s cage.

We all have seen, how a once magnificent athlete makes it big, becomes rich , comfortable , famous, dates and marries a stunner. Having struck career and personal gold, he gets distracted ,then adds weight and starts to perform poorly on the field, Letting down the team and the fans, eventually benched, not so long after being on the road to Legend status.

Imagine being an NFL quarterback and your two blockers have become over weight and can barely move, already wheezing in the huddle before the game has started. Would you want them, or feel confident with them having your back as you charge the opposition?

NOW Imagine that was YOU on the front-line of a battlefield, war, life and death situation, and those are the people giving you back up. Sword to sword combat, without the safety of long range weapons. There’s no mention of missile,Jet fighters or M16’s in the armour of God.We are in the thick of the battle, your only protection is your training, weapons and your allies. Getting the picture??

As we are meant to be soldiers for Christ and the Kingdom, what does this say about our state of fitness.

Fat and lethargic soldiers in the real world are useless and certainly likewise in the spiritual,they do the army of God no good. The opposition is well armed and fully aware of what to do . Nobody carries an overweight and lethargic soldier into battle , they get left behind in the base , miss the battle, and the rewards of victory, they most likely get a dishonorable discharge.

TO BE CONTINUED

PS- All this is as much and perhaps bigger challenge to me as it is to anyone else that remembers the importance of The Great Commission over The great 401k.

This note is NOT about being mediocre, poor and using Holiness as an excuse. But against an obsession with money that makes people pervert, misinterpret and twist scripture to justify greed.

How many times have I heard people say to me ‘Touch Not the Lords Anointed’ when I challenge their thinking about the doctrine of their favorite preachers. I have already been told that I shouldn’t speak against the ‘man of God’. Well lately I have begun to see a lot of people begin to question what they have been spoon fed on the pulpits or on Christian TV and are beginning to be a Berean and check out the scripture themselves. People are no longer staying silent on the issue and I thank God for this

J Lee Grady wrote this excellent article that I just had to share it with you:

God is shaking His church and removing corruption. But we share the blame for giving charlatans a platform.
Al Capone once controlled all of Chicago. The notorious 1920s gangster bribed the city’s mayor, bought the police and presided as king over an empire of casinos, speakeasies and smuggling operations. He dodged bullets for years and lived above the law—and earned the nickname “untouchable” because no one could bring him to justice.

Before Capone finally went to prison in 1932, he justified his crimes by saying: “All I do is satisfy a public demand.” He didn’t take responsibility for the pain he caused because he knew mayors, policemen, community leaders and bootleggers supported him the whole way.

I hate to compare any minister of God to a gangster. But the sad truth is that today there are a handful (well, maybe more) of unscrupulous preachers who share some of Capone’s most disgusting traits. They are notoriously greedy. They are masters of deception and manipulation. They have bought their way into the charismatic religious subculture and used their uncanny hypnotic ability to control major Christian TV networks.

And, like Capone, their days are numbered. Justice will soon catch up with them.

These false prophets probably all started out with a genuine call from God, but success destroyed them. They were lured away from true faith by fame and money, and when their ministries mushroomed they resorted to compromise to keep their machines rolling. Now, in the midst of the Great Recession, God is closing in on them.

But before we rejoice that these imposters are being removed from their pulpits and yanked off the airwaves, let’s hit the pause button and reflect. How did these false preachers ever achieve such fame? It couldn’t have happened without help from us.

We were the gullible ones. When they said, “The Lord promises you untold wealth if you will simply give a thousand dollars right now,” we went to the phones and put the donations on our credit cards. God forgive us.

We were the undiscerning ones. When they said, “I need your sacrificial gift today so I can repair my private jet,” we didn’t ask why a servant of God wasn’t humble enough to fly coach class to a Third World nation. God forgive us.

We were the foolish ones. When it was revealed that they were living in immorality, mistreating their wives or populating cities with illegitimate children, we listened to their spin doctors instead of demanding that ministry leaders act like Christians. God forgive us.

We were the naïve ones. When they begged for $2 million more in donations because of a budget shortfall, we didn’t feel comfortable asking why they needed that $10,000-a-night hotel suite. In fact, if we did question it, another Christian was quick to say, “Don’t criticize! The Bible says, ‘Touch not the Lord’s anointed!'” God forgive us.

We have treated these charlatans like Al Capone—as if they were untouchable—and as a result their corruption has spread throughout charismatic churches like a plague. Our movement is eaten up with materialism, pride, deception and sexual sin because we were afraid to call these Bozos what they really are—insecure, selfish, egotistical and emotionally dysfunctional.

If we had applied biblical discernment a long time ago we could have avoided this mess. There is no way we can know how many unbelievers rejected the gospel because they saw the church supporting quacks who swaggered, bragged, lied, flattered, bribed, stole and tearfully begged their way into our lives—while we applauded them and sent them money.

When well-meaning Christians quote 1 Chronicles 16:22 (“Do not touch My anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm,” NASB) to cover up corruption or charlatanism, they do horrible injustice to Scripture. This passage does not require us to stay quiet when a leader is abusing power or deceiving people.

On the contrary, we are called to confront sin in a spirit of love and honesty—and we certainly aren’t showing love to the church if we allow the charismatic Al Capones of our generation to corrupt it.

A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous. (Proverbs 13:22)

How many times have you heard this out of context to justify incorrect doctrine and the prosperity gospel? Pastor Matthew Ashimolow of KICC teaches this, Benny Hinn teaches it and many churches teach this lie. In fact, I just told a lie. There is a wealth transfer but it goes from the hands of gullible christians who dont take time to read the bible for themselves into the hand of fat preachers. See below for an example

Here is my advice if you want your debts cancelled. Work, save your money and pay off your bills. The problem is a lot of Christians dont think about being good stewards with their money. They get into debts by spending beyond their means on things such as  credit cards and catalogue bills and then expect God to bail them out. Henry over at Spirit of Discernment  also has some practical money advice which you will find helpful

  1.  Plan your spending by budgeting your money. Keep your receipts and on a weekly or monthly basis calculate how much you are spending against how much you earn. If you find you are paying out more than you actually receive then you will have to borrow to make up the difference.
  2.  Compare the prices of goods and services that you pay for and always look for cheaper alternatives. Shop around for a bargain. Most times there is always cheaper on the market. As the saying goes here in Britain, “take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves”. So it doesn’t matter how small and insignificant the savings appear to be take advantage of it as the pennies do add up over time.  
  3. If you get discount vouchers in newspapers or magazine, take advantage of them and don’t be ashamed to use them. Take advantage of any discounts and also store loyalty cards as you can get back a bit of money here.
  4.  Avoid eating out too often as it is cheaper to prepare meals at home from supermarket bought products. For example, the price you pay for a glass of wine at a restaurant would get you a whole bottle in the supermarket (not that I am encouraging drinking mind you). Remember you might be able to get restaurant discounts online also (at least here in the UK you can). Prepare pack lunches for work. You can save a fortune this way instead of buying lunches. 
  5. Travelling to and from work can be quite costly. Look for alternative routes which can sometimes be cheaper and if you are able and the way is not too far, walk. You could also break up your journey and go some of the way by walking. This also promotes a healthier lifestyle especially if you sit at a desk for most of the day.  
  6. If you own a car use it only for essential journeys as you can be paying out a fortune on petrol. Also depending on where you are going check if it is cheaper by public transport. A car can be high maintenance therefore when you purchase a car, use the review sites online to see the fuel consumption, insurance grouping, servicing etc. Bigger engine cars usually cost more to service, consume more petrol and attract a higher insurance cost. If you are struggling financially you might need to downgrade by selling the existing car and buying a much cheaper one to run. If you cannot afford a brand new car outright, buy a used one and avoid the car financing/leasing schemes as they will cost you in the long term. 
  7. Avoid name-brand clothing if you cannot afford them. Remember the Nike shoes you pay £60 (or the equivalent) only cost the equivalent of 0.50p to make in Pakistan or India. It is a scam!! These things only give one a false perception of esteem but all we are doing is making the corporation owners and shareholders richer and making ourselves poorer. We should not be buying our identity off the shelves. Give your children what you have, your love! Don’t try to please them with the latest gadget which you cannot afford. 
  8. Don’t fall in the debt trap. Avoid using the credit cards or pay-day loans where possible. If you need to buy something and you can’t afford it right now, make small sacrifices and save up for it. You won’t die without it if you don’t have it now. Half the time people can’t wait to purchase a particular thing and after a few days the novelty wears off and they no longer want it. Remember to also exercise prudence and save for a rainy day.