Posts Tagged ‘confession’

I started writing this some time back but couldn’t finish it and didn’t feel comfortable posting it (hence why I have been quiet on the blogging front) as I was still processing a lot of stuff but I think it is important to post it anyway as I hope that my transparency will help someone. Me and my Christian friend were having the exact same questions and going through the same frustrations with God. Anyway, things have changed for both of us since, so I have put an update at the end.

I’ve lost my confidence in God. Yeah I said it

One of things that we as Christians are very good at is putting on a mask and showing the ‘good’ side of us as if we have it all together but we are terrible at showing our bad side.We don’t like to show any kind of weakness or doubts in our faith. But the bible is full of characters who have fallen, verbalised their struggles, been upset with God and scripture does not try to hide that fact. One person who is very transparent about his Christian journey is Michael Patton who has recently blogged about his addiction to pain killers and you only have to read some of his subsequent posts to see how he is getting on in rehab and how God has used this situation. Kind of reminds me of Paul in prison but I digress.

This year, I have seen quite a few people now beginning to question the norm in churchianity which I think is a good thing because it means that they are not just blindly swallowing anything that they are being fed.   This includes one of my favourite UK (ex-gospel) rappers Jahaziel who has unfortunately now publicly now renounced his Christian faith. And even though there are a lot of things that he has posted on his instagram that I do not necessarily agree with, there are difficult questions that I’m sure, a lot of us as believers do ask, which are at the back of our minds and those questions never really go away because we never really get a satisfying answer.

So what is my struggle? In a nutshell, I struggle in believing that God is interested in my personal desires on earth. The big stuff like creation, salvation, the resurrection of the dead, judgement etc is not a problem for me but little ol’ me who wants ‘X’ which is not sinful, and never seems to be in reach after praying for it, yet an unbeliever who is not praying at all, gets it without nearly as much as a struggle does make me question things. I’m not talking about the one offs but I’m talking about it almost becoming the norm up to the point where you almost expect God NOT to give you the desires of your heart.

Now as I have been in the Christian thing for quite a bit of time, I basically know the standard responses but I will type up everything that basically goes on in my head and the typical responses (TR) that I expect to get.

Me: Why is it that when I pray for ‘X’ which is my personal non sinful desire, more than likely, I will not receive it? Whilst the other unbelievers don’t pray at all and seem to go further than the believers. If that is the case, what exactly is the benefit in praying for my earthly desires?

TR: Remember what happens to the end of the unbelievers as spoken in Psalms 73

Me. I understand their end but I am talking about the here and now on earth.

TR: God is developing your character. Be patient. He maybe saying ‘wait’or ‘no’

Me: Well I have been trying for ages and and nothing is happening or I get near and then constantly come against a brick wall. Its almost as if I am being teased only for the rug to be swept under my feet on a constant basis. How long do you keep trying before you decide to give upon your personal desire/dreams and come to the conclusion that its a no?

TR: Maybe God has something better for you.

Me: If you mean something better within the field I want, then see my previous answer. If you mean something else which means that I shelf my desire, then it goes back to my original point where I do not believe that God is that interested in my personal desires on earth

TR: You asked with wrong motives

Me: Nope.There was a time that I did ask with wrong motives when it was all about me, and God pulled me up about that . This time, I have examined my heart and I know it is not the case

TR: Faith without works is dead. You can’t expect God to do everything for you.You have to do your part

Me: This is a very true statement. If someone wants to pass their exam.They cant expect to pray to get an ‘A’ grade without revising and studying first. But this does not apply to me

TR: You are saying what YOU want a lot and it may not be God’s will. Remember Jesus said to the Father “Not my will, but thine be done”

Me: If this is the case, does God not care about my personal will at all then? I know that everything we do should be for the glory of God but does that mean that I am not allowed to have earthly desires? If not, then why bother pray

So as it stands, I still have unanswered questions here. If person A keeps praying for earthly desire X with a right motive and doesn’t get it. Yet unbelieving person B (and C and D) doesn’t do any praying but gets X,what is the benefit in person A praying for X. Shouldn’t he just have a ‘whatsover happens happens’ attitude? Especially when he gets so close only for a brick wall to be placed in front. It almost comes to the point that you prefer to aim low and more likely hit the target than continuing to aim high in prayer, only to be constantly disappointed with the outcome which is emotionally draining

Why not just forget the ‘prayer part’? I mean, persons B, C and D don’t have to go through it and in general, they seem to be more successful in getting results.

Prayer is not like the War Room movie which although it was inspirational but totally unrealistic compared to real life. I can’t go into it but basically, I agree a lot with this article where Jesus is basically reduced to a genie. Unfortunately, you will find that life is not like that, even when you pray.

My conclusion is that God is more interested in HOW we respond when we get (or don’t get) our answers prayers and is not as interested in the prayers getting answered in and of themselves because he is more interested in our character more than anything else

Is that a satisfying answer? Probably not. Am I wrong? To be honest, I’m not 100% sure. What do you think?

UPDATE: I think God must have heard me and my friend’s sincere prayers and questions, because both of us have had answers to our prayers ‘out of the blue’ which we both did not expect and these were BIG prayers. Not that the object of the prayers were big but big in the sense that if you can’t have confidence to trust God with the ‘small’ then it rocks your prayer foundation. This has definitely made me get my confidence back with God especially where prayers are still ‘outstanding’, where I am not so worried about them now and feel comfortable leaving it in God’s hands. However, my view of the nature of prayer has definitely changed and at the moment, I am still sticking with my conclusion above. Even when I look at scripture, overall, I don’t see that believers ‘get more stuff’ than unbelievers. I recently heard on TV from a ministry that believes that this is ‘The Year of Divine Favor‘ and that many will get money via Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) mis-sellings and they need to ‘speak things into the atmosphere’.  I thought “Really? Do you really think that Christians will have an advantage in claims over non believers”.

Like I wrote before,the reality of being a Christian is that life is life.

So as I asked above, am I wrong in my conclusion? What do you think?

Hi everyone. I know some of you have been wondering where I have been and why I haven’t been blogging as much as I used to. The honest answer is that I believe that God is transitioning me (again) through various experiences and while I am going through this process, I didn’t want to write too much but to just ‘sit back and think’. I do not believe that I am through to the other side yet so my blogs will not be anywhere as frequent as they used to be. But one thing that has been pressed upon me for a few years now is getting out of the Christian bubble. What do I mean by that? Well before I explain, please watch this video

In most of my Christian life, I believe that I lived in this bubble. I went to church on a Sunday, went to Christian conferences and conventions, went to Christian parties, watched Christian TV and films, listened to Christian music and the list goes on (not that any of those are bad of themselves). You get the idea. But I never really engaged with the culture around me. I found it hard to relate to them on certain things. I wasn’t brought up in church so I know how it is ‘out there’ but somehow, I lost touch. I was comfortable in this bubble and my goal was almost to get unbelievers into this bubble also.

I am part of the first generation children to parents who came over from the West Indies. Our British subculture was different than the normal British culture (even though we were born here) and unless you were part of my culture, the average British people could not fully understand and appreciate Lovers Rock music (which I love) because it was distinctly British but also linked into our reggae heritage. I am also part of the hip-hop culture in the 80s. We were a sub culture with a make up of MCs, DJs, grafitti artists, rappers and break dancers and body poppers (I was into the latter). Likewise, I believe that the Christian bubble has also become a sub culture, but where we (a lot of the time unintentionally) alienate others who do not participate in our bubble and we have no meaningful relationships or understanding of or with the outside world. Sometimes there is a bubble within the bubble with black/white churches.

I am at a place in my Christian life where I love and have a deeper understanding of Christ but if I am honest, can sometimes become bored of the Christian bubble and sometimes feel as if I lost who I really am. I have almost become shaped by what is expected in the bubble more than who I should be in Christ. I see so many things that happen to people in real life, then I see Christians almost ignore it because they are so busy with their praise parties in the church building and all this talk about blessings, breakthrough, divine favour and walking into your destiny etc etc. Yet those who do not step into the building (which are many) are oblivious to us. They are busy going through their own stuff or busy ‘living it up’. There is simply some things that I don’t want to be as a Christian.

I touched on this in one of the things that I learned in 2013 which was that:

People go through some really hard things in life and sometimes, it can be so comfortable to live in the church/Christian bubble without ever really engaging in the culture or the real world with real people who have real problems. I don’t want to be so involved in churchianity that Christ is in the background and is not relevant at all to the man on the street. I want Christ to be seen in me IN ALL of my daily life and that may mean sometimes doing stuff that traditionally ‘church folk’ don’t do. God is interested in the whole man.

Recently, I sat with some old friends for a cup of coffee. We first ‘met’ up on the now defunct United by One Christian website where we discussed many topics on a forum and since then we have always kept connected via social media

UB1 Massive

Going from left to right is Karl Nova (a frustrated artist), myself, George Luke and Dave McQueen (who once described himself as a Christian but now describes himself as an agnostic. See his reasons here in his own words).

Apart from David, the rest of us are Christians. Now this is what we could have done. David could have been our little project to ‘win him back to Christ’ and put another notch on our belt. But we just sat down and not only talked about issues of faith but about life in general and politics. We were also very honest with how we felt about issues in Christianity and asked some difficult questions. In fact, just simply stated, we just talked as friends and our faith journeys never was an issue. It was a very enriching evening where we could just be ourselves and learn from each others experiences which included us learning from Dave. None of us had any ulterior motives.

Now if I am honest, the place where I am is foreign to me and a bit uncomfortable as I am still in transition and I am not sure what the final outcome will look like. But what I do know is that ultimately, I want to be a good witness for Christ, whether that be overt and explicit or covert and implicit. I want to be salt and light to those around me and be a positive influence. I am not the average Christian because I like to ask challenging questions and say things that other Christians are also thinking but for various reasons, do not outwardly express it, sometimes because of fear of a backlash of going against the tide or they are blinded by loyalty.

I have no idea where this transition will ultimately lead me as I am still learning but I am asking for God’s direction on this journey

Let’s see where this goes

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care – Theodore Roosevelt

 

In this post, I wrote about my reservations about God TV and unfortunately it has come to light that Rory and Wendy Alec’s marriage maybe over because of Rory’s ‘moral failure’. Wendy Alec explained what happened in a statement on the channel and you can see a small portion of it in the video below.

Now matter what your views are on them, we have to keep these two in our prayers because at the end of the day, these are two human individuals (plus their families) who are going through a very difficult time and it cannot be easy especially not only being in the limelight but being in the Christian limelight. Especially for Wendy now who has to carry on. It is hard enough dealing with this in private and they need God’s strength. HOWEVER, there is an underlying problem which is the real issue with God TV. The article below was taken from Christianity Today and was written by David Robertson

rory-and-wendy-alecThe news that God TV co-founder Rory Alec has been suspended from his post as presenter and head of the organisation, because of ‘moral failure’ has come as a shock to some in the Christian world. Others have a resigned sense of ‘oh no, here we go again’, while still others are quick to point out that we are all sinners and we should pray for and extend the grace of God to Rory and Wendy. All of these reactions are understandable but I would like to suggest that there is a danger that we won’t see the wood for the trees. The problem here is not primarily the adultery of one man, or the schadenfreude that critics of God TV might delight in. The problem goes much deeper and is something that the Church in the West really needs to get hold of.

I am not surprised at all by Rory’s ‘indiscretion’ – nor by the continual account of Christian CEOs or celebrity mega pastors being caught with either their hand in the till or their bodies in another’s bed. Why? Because whenever I have watched God TV, what comes across to me is that it is primarily about money and power. And when you have those two at the centre it’s not long before the third part of that particular unholy trinity, sex, rears its ugly head. Despite the fact that there were some occasional good things on it, I had to stop watching God TV because I used to get so depressed and angry. I have spent a great deal of time helping people whose faith, though initially boosted and encouraged by some of what they saw, eventually was battered, bruised and severely damaged by the theology and practices espoused on much of God TV. Take the example of so called ‘Missions’ weeks. They were nothing of the sort. They were purely and entirely about raising money. Now I realise that Rory and Wendy would tell us that it was about reaching one billion souls. That was hyperbolic sales talk, confusing the possibility that God TV “could” be seen on several million TV sets, with the idea that they “would” and that then all would believe. The manipulation, sales talk and constant pleading for money “for the work of the kingdom” was nauseating.

And the power. I have yet to see a God TV programme which extolled the virtues of weakness. Everything was about strength and power. Power-dressed shiny happy people beamed out of our TV screens a picture of wealth, health and success. Continually we were assured that somewhere out there was someone called Marge who had just been healed of cancer, or Tom whose marriage was about to be restored, or Dave whose business had just been boosted because of the cheque he wrote. There was nothing about Bill who had just lost his job, Susan whose daughter had just died, or Tim who went bankrupt after he mortgaged his house in order to give money to God TV. I even watched complete charlatans like Todd Bentley kick a woman in the face because ‘the Holy Spirit told him to’ and then pronounce that he had raised several people from the dead – however he could not name them because of ‘patient confidentiality’! He too of course fell into the money, power and sex trap – before GodTV, ‘graciously restored’ him and gave him yet another platform for his aberrations. And yet I know churches in the UK who were so desperate to ‘catch the anointing’ that they bought into all of this guff. This kind of TV is of more use to the New Atheist movement than it is to the kingdom of Jesus Christ.

After speaking at CLAN (the largest charismatic conference in Scotland), I was interviewed by God TV. The producer told me that he loved the interview but that there was no way it would ever be broadcast. When I asked why, his answer revealed a great deal about God TV: “Wendy wouldn’t like it”. God TV was not about what God wanted, or what the Church needed. It was the Rory and Wendy show, and the show of all those tele-evangelists who were wealthy enough to buy into it. The language was always hyper spiritual, the onstage hysteria real, but behind the scenes there were the usual power games and struggles associated with secular corporations.

And therein lies the problem. The Church is not a corporation. Nor is it an entertainment or an advertising agency. Godliness is not a way to get wealthy. Or famous. Or to have your own ‘ministry’. The Church is to be the pillar and ground of the truth. Much of modern corporate Christianity has become pillarless and groundless. As a result it has also become brainless, banal and spiritually bankrupt. And it is certainly not harmless. I was visited this week by a friend who has just returned from six weeks real mission work among the poor in Africa. In some of these really poor countries, the world of corporate, commercialised Christianity, imported from the wealthy West, has taken root. There are mega pastors selling holy water for $1000, stealing money from the old, the sick and the poor, in order to pay for their mega mansions and luxury cars. The problem with God TV is not the moral failure of Rory’s adultery. It is the moral failure of associating the Good News of Jesus to the poor with the prosperity gospel and health and wealth blasphemy of Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn and Joyce Meyer.

When I write like this the objection immediately comes. Don’t be so harsh and hard. Why are you speaking against a brother and sister like this? How is that like Christ? Well – did not Jesus call the religious hypocrites of his day “white-washed tombs, twice dead”? Did not Paul tell the Galatian false teachers to go the whole way and emasculate themselves?! I have a genuine concern for Wendy – as I watched the cruelty of her live ‘revival alert’ which was much more like a Dr Phil confessional, I was so saddened for that betrayed woman. And angry with the people who continue to feed the illusion that she is the anointed one to save a billion souls. At best it is delusional, at worst it is a horrible blasphemy to have an American ‘prophetess’ screaming down the phone at her that the Lord told her directly that the endtime harvest was coming through Wendy. And it is oh so cruel. Far crueller than my words.

But some will say – “It has helped me…God spoke to me through it.” I don’t doubt that. Poison is always far more effective when coated in sugar.

Some will warn me “Don’t criticise the work of the Holy Spirit”. I totally agree. But is it not a false assumption to declare that everything that claims to be of the Spirit is of the Spirit? Is it not wrong to attribute the work of the Spirit to the delusions and manipulations of man? We are to test the spirits. And how do we test? If they glorify Christ, speak according to the Word of God and exhibit the fruit of the Spirit.

Rory Alec in his statement says that we should not look at him, but look at Christ. But TV says “look at me”. This is not to say that TV cannot be used as a medium to proclaim the Gospel. There are Christian TV stations that do a good job. But it is a medium that it is very difficult to use. The Christian evangelist, preacher, TV personality must be someone whose aim is to point away from themselves and towards Jesus Christ – and not just when we have a ‘moral failure’. We exist to serve Christ and His Church. They do not exist to serve us. Like John the Baptist we declare, “He must increase, I must decrease”. Ironically even as I write this I am listening to a preacher on God TV tell us “no, no, no – he wants us to increase!”

The simple truth that we need to grasp is this: The six billion souls will be reached, not through the slick marketing, self-promoting, mega powerful corporations; nor through the hysterical delusions and manipulation of self-appointed ‘apostolic-prophetic’ ministries, but rather through hundreds of thousands of local churches humbly and lovingly proclaiming and living Christ in local communities, with the Word of God, by the Spirit of God, through the people of God. It’s basic Christianity!

what-is-churchNo doubt, today many christians all over the world will attend a church building but what exactly is church? As many of you know, I am always banging on about being a Berean and have witten a few posts about How to be a Berean in practice. One thing that we as Christians are scared of is having our normal way of thinking challenged biblically. We hear so many times that ‘we are the church and not the building’ and most christians would not disagree with that. However, if we are honest, most believers center their christian life around the building and not around the people. We have a ‘Come and See’ mentality. We invite people to the building, we go to conferences in the building, we encourage people to come to the building for various meetings, people feel guilty if they do not go to the building on Sunday. But what about those people who never want to step foot in the building? How do we reach them? Most of what I have learnt in my Christian life has not been in a building but has been through me searching the scriptures through myself and allowing the Holy Spirit to enlighten me through correct interpretation and rightly dividing the word. Once I did that, I was able to filter out a lot of garbage that I heard whether that be in a building, on TV, on the radio or anywhere else. I’ve mentioned them before but my friends in America host a radio show called Real Talk Radio  and they address real issues and topics that your average ‘church’ do not talk about. None of them attend a church building but do participate in christian fellowship. 

Below is an article written by one of the hosts about ‘Church’.

The Greek word for church is “ecclesia”. Ecclesia, in the original Greek means “called out ones”, “congregation” or “assembly”. Every instance in the KJV where the Greek word “ecclesia”, is found, it’s translated as “Church”, (in most other versions as well) EXCEPT in 3 verses, in the 19th chapter of the book of Acts.

Act 19:23-41 (KJV)

23 And the same time there arose no small stir about that way. 24 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen; 25 Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth. 26 Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands: 27 So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth. 28 And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. 29 And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre. 30 And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not. 31 And certain of the chief of Asia, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring him that he would not adventure himself into the theatre. 32 Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the “ASSEMBLY” was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together. 33 And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made his defence unto the people. 34 But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. 35 And when the town clerk had appeased the people, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter? 36 Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly. 37 For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of “CHURCHES”, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess. 38 Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies: let them implead one another. 39 But if ye enquire anything concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful “ASSEMBLY”. 40 For we are in danger to be called in question for this day’s uproar, there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse. 41 And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the “ASSEMBLY”.

Here they are again:
Acts 19:32 some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the “assembly” was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together.
Acts 19:39 But if ye enquire anything concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful “assembly”.
Acts 19:41 And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the “assembly”.

Also, please take notice of the following verse:

Acts19:37 “For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of “CHURCHES”, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess.”

The actual word CHURCH(ES) is used here, but it is NOT, I repeat NOT translated from the Greek word, “ecclesia”. So WHY is “ecclesia” translated as “assembly” only these 3 times? Remember, every other instance in the KJV when the word “church” is mentioned, it’s translated from the Greek word “ecclesia”. The meaning of the “ecclesia” does not change. Let’s use the word “church” in acts 19 and see it makes sense.

Acts 19:32 some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the “church” was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together.

Acts 19:39 But if ye enquire anything concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful “church”.

Acts 19:41 And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the “church”.

Do these verses make sense to our western mind? If not, why? It’s because the term “church” is a mistranslation. Now let’s look at some verses where the word “church” is used in the KJV and see if it makes sense when we use the words assembly, congregation or called out ones. (unlike using “church” in acts 19)

Mat 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my “congregation”; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Act 2:47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the “congregation” daily such as should be saved.

Act 8:3 As for Saul, he made havock of the “congregation”, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison

1Co 11:18 For first of all, when ye come together in the “assembly”, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.

1Co 14:4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the “congregation”.

Gal 1:13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the “congregation” of God, and wasted it:

Phm 1:2 And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the “congregation” in thy house:

3 John 1:9 I wrote unto the “assembly”: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.

Rev 2:8 And unto the angel of the “assembly” in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;
Rev 3:1 And unto the angel of the “congregation” in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.

I could go on, but you get the point. The word “Church” is a mistranslation of the Greek word “ecclesia”. William Tyndale was killed because he translated the terms “church,” “priest,” “do penance” and “charity,” to “congregation,” “senior” (changed to “elder” in the revised edition of 1534), “repent” and “love,”. Why was he killed for these translations by the Catholic Church? To protect their established religious order, and their power OVER the people.

Please don’t believe me, do your own research and ask God to reveal the truth to you.

So I did exactly what they said. I reseached this myself and found it to be true. For those who want to (and should) do their own research, you will find that all places which use the word ‘church’ and the three examples above in Acts 19 use the greek word ‘ecclesia’ and if you want to check the Strongs concordance number it is 1577. However, in  Acts 19:37, where the it states “For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of “CHURCHES”, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess.”, the greek word ‘hierosulos’ is used (Strongs concordance number 2417) which means temple depoiler.

Now am I saying that ‘church’ as is commonly know in and of itself is necessarily bad? Not at all. However, what I would say is that the heavy emphasis that we seem to put on the building seems to be unbiblical and you cannot help but wonder, like William Tyndale, why those words were changed and what was the ulterior motive.

Following on from my post on Biblical Preaching or a Self-Help/Motivational seminar disguised?, I found a post from Dan Delzell on the Christian Post addressing this very topic. Because it articulates the differences so well, I thought I would post the article in its entirety. Please read and then examine the sermons that you are listening to

There are tremendous differences between “motivational speaking” and “biblical preaching.” In America today, many churches offer one or the other. One approach leaves people “encouraged” in their emotions and in their “self-esteem.” The other builds up Christians in the Gospel as the Holy Spirit applies the Scriptures to the hearts and minds of the hearers.

Motivational speakers tell a lot of stories and seek to sway through emotion and pop psychology. Biblical preachers tell some stories, but above all seek to have people influenced by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God. Motivational speakers may or may not throw in a few Bible verses to “salt” their main topic. Biblical preachers rely totally upon the Scriptures to “drive” the content and to feed God’s sheep. The Bible is the basis of their message.

Motivational speakers seek to never speak of things which might offend anyone in attendance. Biblical preachers seek to proclaim God’s Word with a loving heart as they rely upon the Holy Spirit to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” That is, to apply the message of forgiveness to those who are repentant….and to apply the weight of the Law toward anyone content to continue sinning. After all, if I am never offended by my own behavior, I am certainly not growing in Christ….and I am living in denial. Motivational speakers do not tend to think about the Law and the Gospel when presenting a message. Instead, they attempt to persuade people to change their behavior.

Motivational speakers are good at knowing how people think and behave….but not good at “rightly dividing the Word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) They reach the level of man’s emotions with their appeals, but they are not equipped with the proper biblical knowledge to lead people into the realm where souls meet God and then grow in Christ.

Motivational speaking tends to be man-centered and people-pleasing. Biblical preaching is Christ-centered and God-honoring. Motivational speaking is often aimed largely at unbelievers. Biblical preaching typically aims where St. Paul aimed in his epistles….that is, it aims mainly at believers.

New Testament worship services are designed for believers….with a loving and open heart for unbelievers to also attend in hopes of them receiving Christ as Savior. Motivational seminars are aimed at anyone who will help to fill the auditorium.Motivational speakers are reluctant to say, “The Bible says.” They realize that many of their hearers don’t believe in the inerrancy of Scripture. Biblical preachers have taught God’s people to trust Scripture to be the inerrant “God-breathed” message of truth from the Lord. (2 Timothy 3:16)

Motivational speakers need to have personal charisma. Biblical preachers need to be humble in order to be anointed with the power of the Holy Spirit. Charisma influences emotions in the direction of self-actualization. The Holy Spirit influences the soul in the direction of godliness.

Biblical preaching lifts up Jesus Christ. Motivational speaking tends to exalt man’s ability to fix his own issues. Biblical preaching proclaims the Gospel message of Christ’s death and resurrection for our salvation. Motivational speaking might tack on “the sinner’s prayer” at the end of a “how-to” message.

Biblical preaching produces a holy awe of God and a deep respect for His Word. Motivational speaking tends to be light, fun, humorous, and entertaining. It’s “showtime” when the motivational speaker steps to the podium. It’s “flow time” when the biblical preacher steps forward. He has spent much time in prayer asking the Holy Spirit to fall upon his hearers and speak to them when the Word goes forth.

Motivational speakers usually have a certain number of steps they want you to follow to improve your life. Biblical preaching is not that simplistic. St. Paul explained biblical preaching with these words: “When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” (1 Cor. 2:1-5)

Biblical preaching freely discusses heaven, hell, and the immortality of the soul. Motivational speaking never addresses hell….and if heaven gets discussed, it is done so in a way that suggests most people of many religions will eventually make it to heaven.

Motivational speakers tend to deliberately or unintentionally place the spotlight upon the messenger. Biblical preachers want the hearers to celebrate Jesus and Him alone. As Oswald Chambers wrote, “Anything that flatters me in my preaching of the Gospel will result in making me a traitor to Jesus, and I prevent the creative power of His redemption from doing its work.”

Does this mean that every minister who attempts to engage in biblical preaching is doing so with a loving heart and a life filled with the fruit of the Holy Spirit? No. If a minister is living “in the flesh” by intentionally feeding his sinful nature, his message will not be saturated and dripping with the grace of God and a Spirit-wrought love for the hearers. This is why St. Paul told Timothy, “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (1 Timothy 4:16) Notice that his “life” was highlighted even before his “doctrine.” It is easier to present messages that are doctrinally correct than it is to live a holy life, but both are necessary in the life of a pastor and preacher.

There seem to be many more Americans today who hunger for motivational speaking than for biblical preaching. A taste for the Word can only be developed by regularly feeding on the Word….and by holy living….and most of all, by a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. A love of the world produces no such hunger. We are all sinners, and prone to love the world far more than we love the Word. D.L. Moody said this regarding the Bible: “This Book will keep me from sin, and sin will keep me from this Book.”

The temptation for the minister in America today is not only to water down the message….but to change the message altogether. The test for all of us who have been called by God to preach the Word is to do so faithfully and with a heart full of love for God, for believers, and for the lost. If we do this the right way by God’s grace, then unbelievers will be moved by the Holy Spirit to believe….and believers will be moved by the Holy Spirit to love the Lord and to serve others with their gifts.

When we get charged up by a motivational speaker, the results tend to be superficial and flimsy. When you and I are motivated by the Holy Spirit through the faithful proclamation of His Word, the results are spiritual and eternal.

God will help us to rely upon “the sword of the Spirit” (Eph. 6:17) rather than upon a slick and popular presentation of humanistic moralism. One approach equips the saints for works of service. The other approach strokes the ego of the speaker and the attendees.

God is not interested in our ego. He wants His children to “live a life worthy of the Lord” so that we “may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened will all power according to His glorious might.” (Colossians 1:10,11) There is no room for ego in biblical preaching. There is plenty of room for ego in motivational speaking.

Humanistic motivation cannot produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Only God can do that….and He does so largely through the teaching and preaching of His Word, as well as through one-on-one encouragement, assistance, and prayer.

St. Paul instructed Timothy: “Preach the Word.” (2 Timothy 4:2) This is what is needed in America today….preachers of the Word whose hearts are filled with the love of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.

God will help those of us who are pastors and preachers as we proclaim the message of the apostles. Not one of us is sufficient for the task. Only His grace can accomplish the work in us and through us. Here is tip for all of us….read Paul’s letters….and then go forth to motivate people with those words and with that approach to encouraging the saints. The world is filled with motivational speakers….God’s church deserves to have biblical preaching. That’s why He ordained it for His people.

Notice how Paul’s letters tend to always begin with many examples of what God has done for us in Christ….rather than jumping right into a “quick-fix” of what we get to do for Him. That’s the right order. That’s the biblical order and emphasis. God’s work is what matters….both in our salvation, as well as in our Christian life of discipleship. It’s “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27) Motivational speaking jumps right into what you need to do to get right in your behavior. The Bible presents a far better approach than “self-help.” The Scriptures deliver Jesus to us. The Bible is the “manger” in which Christ is laid before us so that we can gaze upon Him and be filled with the life of God.

Self-esteem is sought by those who have not yet “died to self” and risen to live for Christ. Healthy believers, on the other hand, hunger for God’s Word like a baby hungers for food. “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (1 Peter 2:2,3) Jesus never seeks to build up a person’s self-esteem. That is a dead end street as far as God is concerned. St. Paul said it best: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20) That experience is a far cry from a life of self-esteem that needs to be constantly propped up by a motivational speaker.

May the Lord open our eyes to see the huge difference between these two approaches….and may He then empower us by the Holy Spirit to do God’s work in God’s way. Anything less is just a cheap counterfeit, and is has no business being performed in the church of the living God.

If you haven’t noticed, a lot of what is known as preaching today is no more that ‘self help seminars’ masquerading as the gospel. A lot of this self help is how a person can have a financial breakthrough and will tell lies about supernatural wealth transfers and/or debt cancellations as can be sen below

Unfortunately when things do not materialise, many Christians turn a blind eye and do not ask questions.

On the BBC, there is a story titled ‘Who wants to be a millionaire?’ where it states:

In these tough economic times, thousands are flocking to wealth creation seminars and purchasing their products in the hope they will unlock the key to becoming rich and “financially free”, like their gurus. But are these courses costing attendees more than they are worth?

“According to the plan, I will be a millionaire in 10 years’ time.

“I owe £4,000 on my credit card, but I will be financially free. It’s going to happen,” says Janice Geddes, a 38-year-old nursery nurse from Ilford, Essex.

She has an unshakeable belief that the wealth creation courses she has paid thousands to attend will teach her the skills and mindset she needs to be rich.

Every day she wakes at 05:45 and spends her time doing a series of exercises known as “wealth conditioning”, before leaving for work at 07:00.

If you want to read the full article and see the video, click here.

The sad thing about this is that though this article is nothing about Christianity, you could easily go to a christian conference and you wouldn’t notice any difference. You will be told to decree and declare, and to speak positive confessions which in most cases give people false hope.

Unfortunately, there is truly a famine for the word of God all over the world. Yes we have many churches and yes we have many sermons but it really does take discernment to wade through the mess to know what is truly a word from God and the only way to recognise the fake is to know how to study the truth

2 Corinthinans 11:12-15 makes it VERY clear that Satan will come in the Christian arena disguised as the real deal with all the christian jargon etc but under it all, Christ has nothing to do with it.

12 And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

This is why one of the best litmus tests that I use is when someone is preaching, who is at the center stage. With the ‘gospel of you’, it is very man centered and even though this is expected in the secular world with their self help gurus and seminars, this should not be the case with biblical preaching and teaching.

One of the worse offenders of motivational speaking disguised as biblical preaching is Joel Osteen and you just need to put his name in the search bar on this blog to see some of my blogs about him. But if you think that his (and other self-help/motivational messages are biblically sound, click here to take part in a bible quiz.

Remember, at the end of the day, its all about Him and NOT you.

To be continued……

10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. (Acts 17:10-11)

Continuing on from my last post, I watched Bishop Tudor Bismark preach in the video below, compared what he said to the scriptures and found that a lot of what he stated was unscriptural and basically tickled the followers ears. We would put so many of these ‘preachers’ unemployed if we just took the time out to study for ourselves. The bible instructs us to test EVERYTHING. The fact that after Tudor Bismark spoke, people would be ‘amening’ in agreement with what he was saying sadly speaks volumes that most Christians today lap up these teachings and dont question what he said and like to have their ears tickled

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. (1 Timothy 4:3-4)

So let’s watch the video, and then afterwards, we will look at what is said, look at scripture (whwnever it is used because he hardly uses any in this video) and then measure up the two

There so much here which isnt true but i will attempt to go through some of them

0:05  In the month of April and May all kind of options and blessings are coming into your life. – This is just blatantly not true and gives everyone in the congregation false hope. So you are trying to tell me that EVERYONE will get blessings coming into life in April and May. What about June? What is his definition of blessing?

0.31 He talks about the law of expectation. If you don’t know what you want, you get what you don’t want. What you expect God gives you. If you expect nothing, that’s what you get. The law of expectation means you always get more than you expect. – So does that mean that if I expect a large car, large house and lots of money that God will give it to me? There is no where in scripture (when taken in context) that states that God will always give us whatever we expect. Scripture also does not state that we get what we don’t want if we don’t know what we want. I’m sure when Paul suffered for the gospel, it was not something that he wanted but he got it anyway. There is nowhere in scripture that talks about a ‘law of expectation’ that always give you more than you expect. Again, this panders to the ears of the congregation and of course, who wouldn’t want more than they expect?

1.15 Don’t ask God for pair of shoes, ask for a shoe factory (gospel of you). Don’t ask God for a house, ask for the whole street. Dont ask God for a car, ask for shares in Mercedes Benz – The focus here is all about YOU. When preaching is man centered as this is, it focuses on earthly possessions which is exactly where the bible tells us NOT to set our minds (Colossians 3:2)

2:05 Revelation Knowledge comes in companies. If God does one thing ‘here’, he will do another thing in the same pattern over ‘here’. My question is where in scripture does it say any of this?

2.44 In next 21 days, God is going to give you access – Here is false hope once again. So what happens to a person if after 21 days, God doesn’t give you ‘access’? This stuff makes me mad because it deceives many but even after 21 days, many Christians will still not ask questions when nothing happens or if things get worse.
3:54 God said I cannot hide anything from Tudor, I’m about to give him access . RED FLAG, RED FLAG. Did God actually say that? Now if there is anything in this sermon that should have got your attention, this should have. God will NEVER say that he cannot hide anything from Tudor. That would put Tudor above God. You will see that after this God is telling Tudor a lot of things and there is also a lot of shouting but no substance

6.36 He compares himself to Stephen who was full of the Holy Spirit in Acts 7:54-59. However, if we look at that text, this was just before Stephen got stoned to death. But Tudor talks about how his life is full of blessing, of the anointing, of power and of money (it’s everywhere).

7:08 Don’t criticize what you don’t understand because what you criticize, you can never get. Don’t criticize rich people because you can never be ‘one of us’ and don’t criticize that Mercedes or Bentley because you will never drive it. This is simple manipulation where questioning the man of God or what he has, is discouraged.

7.46 Bless those who are being blessed. The more you bless, you get full of what they have – Again this is manipulation and encourages people to give money and to tithe thinking that God is like a slot machine and they will get back what they have given.

You can see in this video, how much (little) scripture was used versus how much of his own words and thinking was used. And any scripture that was used was basically butchered and eisegesis used instead of exegesis i.e reading THEIR OWN meaning INTO the text instead of letting the meaning come OUT of the text.

Now you can understand how important it is to listen to what you are being taught and not just swallow what you are being fed from the pulpit. Unfortunately, you can see from the video, it is so easy to just follow the crowd and not to follow scripture

There is very little understanding or desire for biblical truth and theology even among Christians. The Bible is not being expounded in many pulpits today. Christian radio saturates the airwaves with talk shows and psychology experts. Christian magazines aimed at the laymen are full of testimonies but devoid of solid spiritual food, and so few believers study the Word for themselves. As a result, we are a spiritually starved people who are no longer able to discern truth from error – Gary Gilly

Look out for Part 3

Related Post:

What does it mean to be a Berean in practice? – Part 1 (Paula White)