Posts Tagged ‘Ed Young’

TV is changing the world, but is it changing the Church?

If you’re a football fan, you may have seen the megalopolis Jerry Jones erected in Arlington, Texas (outside of Dallas).

Some say it’s because God deserves a sanctuary that large to watch his favorite team. Others believe it’s some sort of obfuscated version of overcompensation. And then there’s that amazing video screen. Lord have mercy, it’s huge. And unfortunate.

Imagine sitting anywhere facing the sideline. Of course, you pay $400 for a glorified nosebleed seat and you are faced with two choices – watch a bunch of guys who look like ants on the field of green below or gaze upon the wonderment of a 159′ x 71′ TV screen. In HD, no less.

You bet you are watching the TV screen. Who wouldn’t?

You get back to your car and feel like you have lost five pounds. Your pants fit the same. You still look a little bloated in the cheek. And those $18 nachos you threw down your gullet didn’t help your GI tract. Then it dawns on you, with parking, eating and the seat costs, you are out close to $600… for watching TV. Think you’re going back after that epiphany? Me neither.

Considering that realization, I was reading the greatness of CNN Belief’s blog and found a nice opinion piece on a horse of a different color; yet, with the same flashy saddle – TV watching in church.

People listening to their pastor preach on Sunday morning may now ask a question that no one has ever asked before: Is this live or is this on tape delay? They are pastors like Rev. Ed Young, senior pastor of Fellowship Church in Dallas, Texas. Young broadcast videos of his sermons from his “mother” church to other congregations in Texas and even one in Florida.

Beam me up, Scotty. With the rapid growth of churches these days, the need for TV screens is a must because there is always that one seat in the back behind a structure beam. Well that, or some oblivious woman with her “crown of glory.”

However the issue is with the satellite congregation. Ostensibly, they are watching church on TV. Sure, there’s a live worship team and the occasional assistant pastor edifying folk and making announcements but when the senior chieftain takes the stage, it’s showtime. The lights dim, the crowd quiets and on goes… the TV?

Has this become the pseudo-church? We all experience fellowship of a different ilk watching a game and grubbing down on BBQ fresh off the grill at a friend’s house. So why can’t this be the same? Simple – it’s not.

That power you experience from above is not the satellite

Church is not meant to be entertainment. It’s a hospital for the hurting, a refuge for those reduced to tears. Church can be a fun, a blast even, but when the saints go into screensaver mode instead of the monitor they are watching, we have an issue.

Geoff Surratt, author of “The Multi-site Church Revolution,” said at least 3,000 churches nationwide use some variation of high-def video to spread their pastor’s Sunday morning sermons. Some broadcast hologram images of pastors that float suspended in the air behind the pulpit, while others project images of ministers on large video screens. Some sermons are broadcast live, while others are pre-recorded.

Even worse, “pre-recorded” church. What’s stopping people from mailing it in from Netflix or peeping TBN and DayStar for church? Who needs a church building anyway when you have DVDs and iSermons, right?

The Bible clearly shows that if we have fellowship with God, then we should have fellowship with his people. “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

Facebook is fun but a little disengaging with all that poking going on. Twitter is great to follow other people’s conversations (even though most well-known Christ followers don’t follow back). However, what is so social about social media is that it has limits in its socialism.

Can’t the same be said about satellite churches? You are together in the company of believers, but then again, not so much. Everyone is watching the TV, separate from any attachment and once the TV turns off, they all go home. Just as if they hit the remote control.

And if you don’t believe me… didn’t the Word become flesh and dwell among us? It wasn’t transmitted in HD. You know, like a football game.

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So, I’m reading WOW News’ CNN Belief Blog and I find a story that seems appealing. One sentence into the thing, I’m incensed and feel like dog cussing some folk… but for the grace of God.

Your child is following a “mutant” form of Christianity, and you may be responsible.

This is a must-read for any real Christ follower

To some, that sentence may not mean a thing and you’re thinking, “Grow up, HiScrivener.” To others, you are reading beyond the text and seeing the pandemic upon us – lukewarm pablum, uncommitted Christ followers and milquetoast preachers who the last time they experienced any “fire and brimstone” was slipping while placing a Duraflame in the fireplace.

[Author Kenda Creasy] Dean says more American teenagers are embracing what she calls “moralistic therapeutic deism.” Translation: It’s a watered-down faith that portrays God as a “divine therapist” whose chief goal is to boost people’s self-esteem.

Now that’ll preach!

And the girl is legit too. Dean, a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary and author of “Almost Christian”, is testifying about something many of us have been exclaiming for year. The Church has become a social club, not a hospital for the hurting. Why else do they call these big box churches “Evangelical Lite“?! Because there is nothing heavy being taught in these places.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with megachurches providing the pastors in charge are serious about teaching the Word of God the way it needs to be taught. However, if some of the altruistic benefactors of no condemnation and bumping up the church numbers to one-up the next toolbox are only interested in the weekly offering, then Houston, we have a friggin’ problem.

“If this is the God they’re seeing in church, they are right to leave us in the dust,” Dean says. “Churches don’t give them enough to be passionate about.”

Some do, but visit any “The Largest Megachurches” lists on the Internet and most of them are pioneered by guys who are very successful for rehashing and requoting Zig Ziglar, Sun Tzu and their grandmama. Their needs to be more passion about Christ, more conviction about living for Christ and honestly, if some folk warming a pew can’t take it – split!

The Church is a house of love, but we live in a world of hate. And if you aren’t getting some tough love and challenges on Sundays, what good is it?I would continue, but quoting her is too much fun:

Some adults don’t expect much from youth pastors. They simply want them to keep their children off drugs and away from premarital sex. Others practice a “gospel of niceness,” where faith is simply doing good and not ruffling feathers. The Christian call to take risks, witness and sacrifice for others is muted, she says. “If teenagers lack an articulate faith, it may be because the faith we show them is too spineless to merit much in the way of conversation.”

MEMO to Pastors everywhere: Get this woman to teach in your church the first Sunday possible!

Ed Young loves his jet as much as he loves the cash.

Your money at Fellowship is... leaving, on a jet plane...

Earlier this month, we spray painted all over the Wall the alarming tale of yet another megachurch pastor who can’t get enough of his private jet.

In fact, Ed Young enjoys the jet so much, he takes it to locals so novel for “evangelism” that he requires two floaties, suntan lotion and a rubber ducky. Case in point, the follow up story Dallas TV station WFAA-TV did on Ed Young that depicts a man who would rather get a lovely stamp on his passport than you know, do something for Jesus.

Ed Young — the pastor at Fellowship Church in Grapevine [Texas] —  may soon have to answer for the numerous trips by the leased church jet to resort locations.  It’s luxury air travel that costs tens of thousands of dollars per trip.

Tens of thousands?! Unless that dude is coming back to his church with countless tales of missiological exploits, something tells me folk tithe ain’t going to the building fund.And evidently, he’s feeling the heat from the first go-round:

While Young is not legally or professionally obligated to disclose anything to his congregants, he did respond to our report about his travel three days after our initial story aired in February. “This year I am flying commercially like a mad dog to places all over the world,” Young said. “I have also chartered planes.

“THIS YEAR”... as opposed to last year when he took his family to every island in the Bahamas via a church-paid-for jet?! I wonder how many of the church members get to ride that thing, seeing how they paid for it and everything.

Sorry? No one? Hrm.Yet, somehow, that jet is getting some mileage in the name of God:

Using dates, times and destinations dating back to March 2007 when the jet was acquired, we plotted the trips on a monthly calendar. The record shows the jet was used on 416 days in less than three years.

Among those trips were some well known missionary locations and evangelism hot beds, such as:

In addition to the trips to Miami, the church jet took Young on a five-day trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, where — in addition to visiting a few area churches —  fishing was on the menu for him and his attorney, Dennis Brewer.

We asked the church for a list of its ministries. None was located in Cabo San Lucas. Add to that six trips by the church jet to the Bahamas, one to Anguilla, one to Belize, and one to England. Again, when asked for a list of foreign ministries, none of those countries was mentioned.

I missed the DVD series that discussed and regaled about the lost souls Ed Young went fishing… er, sorry? Wrong kind of fishing? Well, I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt.

You know, in a day of necessary transparency, there are still a gaggle of ne’er-do-well preachers that is ostensibly in the dark. Their finances, their duties, their ministry needs – each are cloaked in “privacy” and the “Lord’s bidding.” I understand if you have some discretionary cash, and I’m not mad at you.

Write your books. Sell your software. Copyright your conferences. But do not sheer your sheep!

In a day when money is more of a commodity than anything, the last thing any good-intending Christ followers needs is for some fool to come around and treat their tithes and offerings like a free lotto ticket.

Of course, Young has an answer for that one:

‘When I do anything personally, whether it be on a commercial aircraft or a charter aircraft, I always, always, always pay for it,” Young said. “I have teams of accountants watching every single penny.”

Their watching your pennies… but who is watching them? And sure he pays for it… with whose money? Until those questions are answered, there will always be a lack of sincerity when it comes to “fellowship” with this cat.

Unless, of course he is outside a pool in the Tropics.

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)

Just when you thought some megachurch televangelical playas had seen enough of the brethren being shady, sucking their thumb in a fetal position and using hundreds of dollars for tissue – comes Ed Young, Jr.

Eddie is pastor of one of the largest – and most egregious milquetoast – churches in the country, Fellowship Church. He recently made national news (and got to chill with Stephen Colbert) by telling his congregation to have sex for seven days. No mention of differentiation between married couples and those just hooking up, but never mind that now.

Ed has an issue, aside from the fact he rarely mentions Jesus Christ from his production soundstageer, pulpit, he’s a flawed human who adores what cash can bring him. Yes, his church has five “campuses” – four scattered in North Texas and another in Miami (uh, like that’s not too conspicuous). Yes, he has written a few books. So yes, he deserves to have a salty income – but in this story, it’s $1.24 million. This reeks of pimpdom.

Now, I do understand why some global ministers have private jetsever seen an actor or an athlete fly coach, much less first class? No, you haven’t because they would get mugged right out of the terminal. People can’t handle fame. They’re dimwits who are attracted to folk who put on their skivvies like anyone else. But because their Fruit of the Looms are scattered on TV and movies, they must be righteous.

Famed preachers are no different. People can’t handle if their favorite global preacher stepped out of Daystar and TBN and off the runway and into their lives, if only for a while. And then there’s this pimp with his starched button down, Zoom-whitened grill and bedazzled jeans. He is no traveling evangelist. He is no global minister. And he apparently is no righteous individual, just flawed like the rest of us.

Only when he flat-out steals millions of dollars, it becomes national news. Enjoy.

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