Posts Tagged ‘Benny Hinn’

According to the generically entitled “theologian” Sam Storms, it is.

And to his credit, he brought up some salient points at Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City, Okla. about man’s plight into this eternal quest for a payday and the pablum that necessitates it.

“For most professing believers if God is love he must promise to minimize my struggles and maximize my pleasure,” he lamented. “Many believe it’s their spiritual birthright to experience comfort and prosperity and that it’s God divine obligation to provide it.

See, regretfully, this entire doxology has created a distorted view of the love of God. To some who attend certain megachurches or follow particular global ministries, that love is a credit card with no limit allowing God’s children to be footloose and fancy free because whatever happens, “God loves me.”

(NOTE: There is no generalization here. Many big churches and ministries are fulfilling God’s purpose, but it’s the snake oil salesmen that ruin it for everybody.)

It’s a brainwashing tactic, not a biblical exhortation, of which we have become all too familiar thanks to many misanthrope swindlers who have used it to their advantage and not for the benefit of their sheep (i.e. Kenneth Copeland, Rod Parsley, Benny Hinn and now entering the fold, Ed Young).

People give, give and give believing they are doing the right thing (admirable) and that God must give it back so “that I may lack nothing” because he loves me. See, it’s twisted because of three reasons:

  1. God does love us more than can we ever comprehend
  2. We are his children and because of that, why would he ever want us to suffer
  3. There is an enemy and “our Daddy can kick your Daddy’s tail in a minute”

All that is very true. However, what the sheep are not told before they are sheered is they may experience heartache despite the checks they donate. Essentially, God is the mighty purveyor of “Opposite Day” – if Satan wants me to experience lack, then God will cause me to experience abundance.

Yes… and a big no.

The so-called prosperity gospel that teaches wealth and good health is a sign of God’s favor and blessing is prevalent in the church, Storm lamented. Underlining the seriousness of the problematic theology many preachers have picked up, the Oklahoma City pastor called it a “corrosive and disintegrative pox” on the church and “a disease far more infectious and ultimately fatal to the soul than the worst bubonic plague and the affects it might have on the human body.”

Man, and I just want God to help me pay my light bill… now this?!

I see what he is saying. People are becoming sorely irresponsible with accountability, not just the malefactors exhorting but also the men and women experiencing. Aside from having favor, blessing, abundance or whatever words fit from the slimy televangelist thesaurus there, 2 Timothy 2:3 reminds us we still have an enemy because “you therefore endure hardship, as a good soldier in Christ.

The only check that isn’t unveiled at one of these pep rally for Jesus crusades is the reality check.

If you want to sum up this walk with the Lord in one sentence, try this: God hates sin and has provided Jesus to escape it, while Satan hates you and will do everything to make you leave God.

Help us to see what you have for us, oh God.

Raise your hand if you have suffered at all this last year. Well, joy comes in the morning and for many of us, it’s been one long night. We could all use a break, and thanks to God’s grace and mercy, we got more of those than we realize.

The suffering is the clue that a blessing is coming because God works to get stuff to us and the enemy fights it every time. Sometimes the fight is so quick, it doesn’t phase you. Other times, the fight is long because the enemy is real and he fights to win.

It’s a losing battle, praise God, but a battle nonetheless.

I once heard a stoic pastor say, “Good is the worst enemy of best, because anyone can provide good but only God can give you his best.”

The prosperity gospel shows us that you shouldn’t have to wait for that filet mignon God has intended for you because if you eat all that fat-induced ground beef, you still feel full… and isn’t that satisfying? Sometimes Wall Watchers, we have to wait… but it is so worth it.

We will endure hardship while still being favored of God. We will experience a rough patch before things get smooth. We will walk through the valley of the shadow of death… but at least we are walking. We will go through hell to get to heaven.

Use whatever axiom you wish. God is real and you aren’t him, so rejoice that there is a plan and when you give money to a church or a minister, do it not to buy God’s grace but because you have some grace to give to others.

Still don’t believe me? Take it from Peter who incurred a ton of heartache and he walked next to Jesus.

Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.

If you’re abused because of Christ, count yourself fortunate. It’s the Spirit of God and his glory in you that brought you to the notice of others. If they’re on you because you broke the law or disturbed the peace, that’s a different matter. But if it’s because you’re a Christian, don’t give it a second thought. Be proud of the distinguished status reflected in that name!

It’s judgment time for God’s own family. We’re first in line. If it starts with us, think what it’s going to be like for those who refuse God’s Message!

If good people barely make it,
What’s in store for the bad?
So if you find life difficult because you’re doing what God said, take it in stride. Trust him. He knows what he’s doing, and he’ll keep on doing it. (1 Peter 4:12-19 MSG)

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Humor me, Wall Watchers.

I have been waiting a while to post this. I have searched for high and low for this being fraudulent. I have exhausted every opportunity and turned under every rock.

Jesus NEEDS to take the wheel

Jesus NEEDS to take the wheel

Instead, I remember the faction between Jesus and jovial insanity is… the people. And then, I got it. Soooo, here we go:

Meet Bill Henderson of Fort Morgan, Colo.

Billy Boy decides he needs a filler and goes to a revival meeting and get his Holy Spirit on.

On he did, as he drove off from the church gathering and drove on the curb, on the grass, on the median… anything but driving on the road. And so, he gets pegged by the local finest and off to jail he goes.

“He was swerving all over the road, and laughing and staggering around when we got him out of the truck,” says an officer. Henderson could not stand on one leg, nor walk a straight line, and was thrown into the city jail for the night, where he giggled and spoke in tongues.

This has routinely been an obstacle in my own spiritual nourishment. I have attended megachurch revivals that have rocked the house (of God) for more than six weeks. I have sat front row during faith healing crusades and seen God in action (as well as some salty professionals, I might add). I have been to the “old rugged cross” type and seen the “Old Landmark” personally.

Despite the size of the fellowship, God can show up in a majestic fashion and rock your world.

BUT…

While the Spirit of the Lord longs for us to draw near, does he indeed make us act like dorks who have completely lost their God-loving mind?!

I am a loud and proud Acts 2 | Joel 2 child of God, but the day I am so sauced by the Holy Spirit that I can’t drive my car, I’ll find a Satanist (or at least an Atheist) to become my designated driver.

Seriously? And apparently, people who allow that flesh to get in the way and drive out the spirit post-Azuza-esque meetings are a frequent fishing post for local police.

Police perch near revival meetings to hand out tickets to erratic drivers. The city is also considering a law against “spiritual drunkenness among young people” which could land pastors and visiting evangelists in hot water.

Let’s keep it classy out there people. But just in case you’re too scared to have Jesus juice and drive, enjoy the beloved Rev. Cleophus James! Shat-ta! Haa-to-be-the-glory!

I once heard a pastor, whom I greatly admire, say something that made the “Great Commission” make all the sense in the world:

“The number one reason for Atheism in this country is the actions of most people who call themselves Christians.”

Amen! And evidently, a recent survey noted by USA Today suggests that to not only be prolific, but also prognostication.

A new survey of U.S. adults who don’t go to church, even on holidays, finds 72% say “God, a higher or supreme being, actually exists.” But just as many (72%) also say the church is “full of hypocrites.” Indeed, 44% agree with the statement “Christians get on my nerves.”

prayer-2You know, I should write this in ALL CAPS (and in bold) so you could hear my voice reverberating on these walls as I shout and yawp about the need for the whole Church to wake up, stand up and man (or woman) up!

And for the rest of us, we just need to pray like life depended on it! And it does.

There is no greater pool of humanity where the rotten apples spoil the proverbial bunch than Christianity, which is why the zealots, the realists, the devoted and the public need to be the best witnesses possible…

…and the televised, the cults, the sects, the fake, the rich and famous and the uh, “prosperous” need to realize the error of their ways.

Why? This is all your fault!

Huh?!

What does it say that “more than one in five” Americans would rather not go to church and humanistically believe in God than act like some of the fools and charlatans seen on a religious TV broadcast near you?! Don’t get me wrong, I thank God for Christian television – its premise, not what it’s become.

What it needs to be is a beacon of hope, the salt of the earth, a light in the darkness, a city set on a hill. It’s not.

Why? Consider the string of stories seen on TV that best represent God to the common person, the average believer:

Jim Jones, Robert Tilton, Warren Jeffs, Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker, Pat Robertson, Earl Paulk, Paula White, Todd Bentley, Carlton Pearson, David Koresh, Oral & Richard Roberts, Michael Guglielmucci, Mike Murdoch, Paul Crouch, Benny Hinn, Creflo Dollar, Kenneth Copeland, and on… and on… and on… and on… and on.

There’s a lot of faith in that dank room, a lot of influence and notoriety, and a lot of serious issues! However, these are some of the collective misfits folk call to memory when asked, “Who represents the Body of Christ?”

wwjd-for-realRight, wrong or indifferent: it’s always the vocal minority, the swarthy tail that wags the dog all day long. And they are it. To that end, it’s the mission of the real Christians, the living epistles to change those unfortunate and misguided perceptions.

It’s a dubious task, but if you’re up to it, our work could pay big dividends for the persecuted, the passionate and the pronounced in a world of people who really can’t stand us. Sure, we are nice people and folk in the workplace like us, they really like us.

But they watch us like hawks waiting for us to plummet in a whirlwind of sin that would take out a small village in Indonesia. And they would applaud all the while chalking up our names to the growing list of noteworthy evangelists and “other prominent folk who call themselves religious” all in the name to say, “I told you so.”

In other words, their actions aren’t doing us any favors. God is faithful but some of those who pass themselves off as “his people” are not so much.

God blesses us with money and sustenance, but those folk are chock full of greed. God gives us grace, but those nitwits with false humility ball that gift up and hurl it back into our faces. And what we have been attempting to tell the throngs quoted in this pathetic survey: God’s son is the way, the truth and the life but regretfully no one is coming to the Father because of “them.”

Most of the unchurched (86%) say they believe they can have a “good relationship with God without belonging to a church.” And 79% say “Christianity today is more about organized religion than loving God and loving people.”

Pastors and parishioners alike, if you don’t read a forsaken, plotted word I type, please read this: there is a distinct and incontrovertible reason why churches tend to be emptier these days… it’s the nasty church folk running all the good, unsaved folk out the door in the name of “being spiritual.”

Ever hear the adage, “You can be so spiritually minded that you are no earthly good”?

Yeah, neither have the people who have caused the 72 percent exodus of potential believers. Get real, Church. We have a job to do. You up to it? If so, see you in the trenches. Trust me, there will be plenty of room!

Peace.

“If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must man be of learning from experience.”

George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950)

Ah, man. Where’s a good playwright when you need one to talk to the Church? So, did TV land hear that adage? TBN? Daystar? Someone? Anyone?

It’s important to ask the two big faith-based networks because it’s their clientele pulling back the curtain and their shows for network TV.

Need I say more?

Need I say more?

Go ahead, name the preacher… to whom you used to give offerings? Jakes, Parsley, Meyer, White, Hinn, Robertson, Dollar, Long, Dobson, et al. According to this story in the USA Today, even the celebrities of Christendom are feeling the pinch in this economy.

The industry shows signs of contraction at a time when its future is fraught with uncertainty. And it’s not just the economic downturn that is causing turmoil: last year, a study found that the percentage of megachurches with a radio ministry dropped from 44% in 2000 to 24% in 2008. Likewise, the percentage with television ministries dropped from 38% to 23%.

When Christian television was created, its premise was to exalt God and see people edified. Nowadays, that formula for success is a bit askew as money seems to be exalted and preachers are deified.

To save on production costs and those picturesque, on-location remotes, these folk have made fewer shows for broadcast, which means the networks don’t get their coin.

See, it’s cyclical – you payer, donate to the ministry, they pay the network and a star is born.

In this economy, you don’t… and they don’t… and Christian television becomes a black hole.

You see, when folk presume you are dripping with cash, hand-made suits and all that bling, they keep their cash and you get stuck with a larger bill. MEMO to the megachurch megaminister: If perhaps you appeared more modest, people would find more than lint in that piggy bank bellybutton to give you. Just like it used to be. However…

“The industry is at a crossroads,” says Paul Creasman, associate professor of communications at Southern Wesleyan University in Central, S.C., and a former Christian radio personality and producer. “The audience is dwindling, and they have to figure out what to do. But the Web is not the answer because older audiences don’t use the Internet… and younger audiences will go to the Web for content, but they’ll probably be less likely to donate.”

Moving content online may be broadcasting’s future, but it’s a nerve-wracking endeavor that doesn’t necessarily pay the bills of the present. “Everyone (in religious broadcasting) is doing it,” he said. “And everyone is asking each other: ‘Are you making money at it? Because we’re not.‘”

Listen, in case it’s a news flash to some folk, ministries have to ask for money to survive. They rely on the kind hearts, open minds and yielding spirits of the Body of Christ to give. If the world can uphold causes like breast cancer, the MDA, HIV, Katrina and a tsunami, certainly a ministry shouldn’t be that far out of reach?!

The problem is that people don’t see the ministry being blessed, it’s the ministers. We have all seen the stories and heard the tales of woe. When those cease, despite the beneficence of some on TBN and Daystar who are doing it right, money will drop.

Kinda like pennies from heaven, and wouldn’t all of that be an experience man could learn from?

(Masonry shout out to Another Brick in the Wall, “Get Religion” for the nice magazine cover).


In Christendom, there are several arguments… er, healthy debates that will last until the rapture:

  1. If God wants his children to prosper while on earth, why is there so much ado about prosperity?
  2. Does being a real Christian mean living in poverty, or at least driving a hooptie?
  3. Glossolalia: Praying under divine influence or speaking under the influence?
  4. If Jesus healed people by faith, and we have Jesus’ power inside of us, then logic says… ah, you get it.
  5. AND, this one, as noted in the story from the Houston Business Journal:

Critics claim ‘big box’ churches are more focused on entertainment than religion, but today’s religious facilities are using technology and savvy marketing to transform themselves into community hubs.

It's the new Hollywood Squares. God help us.

It's the new Hollywood Squares. God help us.

So, are they? Many critics, pundits and Christians say a resounding, “AMEN!”

“The goal is to reach the ‘unchurched,’” says Pete Ed Garrett, Studio Red Architects partner. “The business side of that is to find out who your customers are and find a way to reach them. They want the exterior to inspire curiosity and draw people inside. This means the religious iconography is purposely left off. There are usually no big steeples, crosses or stained glass.”

Working in and with the media pays the bills for the HiScrivener clan, so this is a issue close to my heart. There is always a place in this world for the old rugged cross at the old dilapidated church.

Those picturesque houses of worship are the backbone of Christianity, but these days, some of the people leading those houses make up the wishbone… and honestly, it ain’t helping the whole Great Commission thingy.

And regretfully, as it appears in this riveting article, the wishbone is for plasma TVs over platforms for the Gospel; stained-walled frescos instead of stained-glass windows; and a good con game over righteous conviction. So, where did the design for the house of the Lord go anyway? What attributes are inside these “big box” churches – and the people inside them?

Coffee bars, book stores and even a bowling alley — leaders of large churches want their church to be an integral part of the community surrounding it, and they are willing to invest in it. Even smaller to midsized churches draw in outsiders through “fellowship” facilities. Megachurches take this to a new level with video games, concerts and food courts.

Question: Is the big box craze currently seen on TBNer, a neighborhood street near you truly a quest to become involved in the community, or is it a modern-day voyage upward in the Tower of Babel?

It seems we are more concerned about being “seeker-sensitive”  than being seekers of the will of God. There are several blogs dedicated the reality of Christ (note “Another Brick on the Wall” – just pick one), and many, many more readers of said blogs who carry the “Acts 28” message wherever they go (let it stew, you’ll get it).

Yeah, I thought so.

Yeah, I thought so.

What this article made me ponder is the very premise for “The Writing on the Wall”: God is desperately trying to get our attention despite the lukewarm pablum of some of those preaching his word.

We need truth. We need real messages that will empower us and make us agents of change. Do we get that when preachers would rather talk about married couples should have seven straight days of sex, convince their members to join multi-level marketing scams or even better, lie to the world about having cancer and then, uh really just have a hankering for porn?

Not so much. And it probably breaks his heart.

People, those big boxes full of fluff, pomp and circumstance are not the churches God envisioned when the Holy Spirit descended and the praise of the Lord ascended in Acts 2. Rather, WE ARE!

I’m sorry to still be steppin’ on my proverbial soap box, but we are supposed to be living epistles, not pseudo apostles. There is no problem with big boxes, if God is directing tens of thousands of people to be in one building at one time, sweet. Let’s just ensure through demanding more of Jesus, of his ministers and his people what is being shared inside that box isn’t just “jack”.

If you know what I mean. And I think you do. But if not, unfortunately, the “show” will go on.