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Archive for March, 2013

Bending the Knee Just Got a Little Easier

Friday, March 29th, 2013

Mr. Hate Gets a Miracle

Trying to catch up again.

Things continue to bloom in my life. There is no way I’ll capture it all.

My church is completely nuts. The Holy Spirit interrupts every service. We get prophecy and guidance, and now, even better, miracles.

In 1989, I went to Key Largo. My dad owned part of a condo at Ocean Reef. My friend–I will call him Elmer–came down from Massachusetts, and we spent a few days running around together.

Elmer is gay. In 1989, he was still denying it, but everyone who knew him from college realized it was a done deal. This was not a concern to me. As far as I knew, he was not acting on his urges, and anyway, I was not the strongest Christian around. I was about to fall away for a very long time.

We rented some jet skis. The water was rough. The machines were not maintained well. They were supposed to have rubber padding to help riders stay on their feet, but the padding was gone. As a result, the footing surfaces were slick fiberglass. It was very hard to stand up, so I spent a lot of time on my knees, trying to get up. The bouncing flexed my knees too far, and ever since then, I’ve had a little bit of stiffness that shows up at certain times. It’s a very minor thing, but it has been aggravating, and of course, I pray for God to get rid of it. I have always regretted renting that stupid jet ski.

It’s funny if you think about it. It was a winter day, and the water was not clear. I was bouncing around, on my knees, in rough water where I could not stand. The Bible says dark waters have covered the earth (Genesis 1:2). Waters represent speech. They represent blessings and cursings. Satan has wrapped the earth in a flood of lies, and the gay push is a big part of that.

On Tuesday, right in the middle of the gay marriage kerfuffle, I went to church. People were praying and praising, as usual. We went on for a very long time. The pastor and musical guest managed to do their jobs; God didn’t completely obliterate what they were trying to do.

While the pastor was talking, I felt something going on in my right knee. I felt a pulsing, massaging sensation. I knew it might be God, but I also knew it could be a twitch or some other purely physical thing. I moved my leg. The sensation returned. I moved it again. It returned again. I decided to accept it, and it kept going for maybe ten minutes. I don’t recall, but I was probably thanking and praising God the whole time, because that’s what I do in church.

We have to stand up and sit down a lot in my church. When I stand, my knees tend to get stiff, so I get a little pain when I sit again. We stood up for some reason or other, and when I sat, my left knee felt a little pain, and there was no pain in the right knew.

For the rest of the service, I made a point of standing and sitting over and over, to see what was going on. I would stand for a few minutes and then sit. And I always got the same results.

I got up the next day and got on the exercise bike. I felt a little stiffness in the left knee. The right knee? Nothing.

I can tell the difference when I go up and down stairs. It’s very obvious.

For a long time, I’ve been praying for God to manifest himself more powerfully in our services and our daily lives, and he has been doing it. The peace and prophesy and improved worship have been with us for a while now, but I’ve also been praying for him to heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out devils through us.

He has now covered “heal the sick.” He gave me a bona fide miracle. I didn’t think I’d be the one he chose, but I’ll take it!

And the funny thing is that he did it at the time of the gay marriage mess. I’m very outspoken in my opposition to this change in our laws. A total acceptance of sexual perversion will lead to increased persecution of Christians. It already has. It will prevent gays and those who support their bad behavior from getting to know the Holy Spirit. It will keep power out of their lives. It will keep things like healing and peace away from them. That’s how the Holy Spirit works. You can’t demand iniquity AND the Holy Spirit. You have to choose.

People are accusing me of “hate,” which is not only dishonest but idiotic. Some of the most likable people on earth are homosexual. It would not be easy to hate Nathan Lane, for example.

The healing fixed my leg, and it also gave me an opportunity to mention the circumstances. It’s hard for the liars to reconcile my willingness to spend a weekend with a gay man with “hate.”

I still hear from Elmer from time to time. He has no problems with me. Maybe hate doesn’t bother him! I keep praying for him. He is very angry and bitter. He talks about killing his ex-boyfriend. He made tons of money and lost it all, and then he got banned from the industry in which he made it. Life is hard for him. I would like to see God turn that around for him. He’s a hardcore atheist.

It’s funny. I’m standing up for God, over the dark waters. And he fixed one of my legs. What does that mean? Does it mean I’m part of the way to where he wants me to be?

The music goes well. I will probably repeat things I’ve written about earlier. I got a new digital piano. Sam Ash sold me a floor model. I tried to save money. At first I was just composing on it, so I didn’t work the keys much, and I didn’t see any problems. Then I started working on “Bumble Boogie,” which is something I really want to learn. A finger started getting sore. I discovered a chip in one of the keys. Because I was hitting the key a lot, it was hurting my finger.

I was within the return period. I figured the Sam Ash people would give me the runaround, but I prayed before taking it back, and they were incredible. They gave me a new piano for the same price. Now I use it all the time.

I’m playing again. I can play “Linus and Lucy.” I can play “Walking Bass Blues.” I am getting a few other pieces back. I found sheet music for “Roll ’em Pete,” which amazed me. I’ve always wanted to play this piece, but I thought no one had transcribed it.

My interval training has solidified to the point where it’s just maintenance. I can identify any interval within an octave by hearing it once, ascending or descending. I dug out some sight-reading software (notes without rhythm), and I’m doing really well. I’m doing rhythm training with two different programs, and it’s paying off.

In the past, I could not get all of my teaching software to work. It had MIDI bugs. When I dusted it off and got it going again, I found that there were updates that fixed the problems. Now it runs as it should.

I learned to play Clair de Lune a long time ago. I could not count out the notes. Not well, anyway. It’s 9/8 time. I just tried to play it the way it sounded on CDs. I sat down with it the other day, and now I have no problem counting them out. When I learned it the first time, I had to guess. My teacher was a great guy, but he really led me in circles. He didn’t know any better. Now things are working. The other day, my pastor prophesied that we would now be able to plant seeds, and they would grow. It’s not like the old days, when everything I did withered. I’m living in Joshua, not Deuteronomy.

If you want to learn an instrument, learn to sight-read. Learn to read rhythms, especially. Rhythm is much more important than pitch. Get it into your heart so you feel and hear it when you read. Otherwise, you’ll have to work by monkey-see-monkey-do memorization all your life, and when you forget things, you’re toast. The fundamentals matter. A drummer who can read rhythm patterns is a better musician than a pianist who memorizes.

Prayer in tongues continues to pay off. The message of tongues is confirmed over and over again by my experience. The growth never stops. It brings supernatural faith, revelation, correction, and miracles. Without it, you will be weak when the rains come. Right now, Satan is raining lies all over us, trying to promote gay marriage. Weak Christians who lack the Spirit are washing away, like houses built on sand. They will believe anything people tell them. They are herd creatures who can hear peer pressure but not the voice of God. They haven’t seen God work in their lives, so they feel he is far away and aloof, and that it’s okay to go along to get along. They don’t think he’ll show up to defend them or to punish those who go against him.

I can stand because God helps me through the Holy Spirit. He has shown me that by fighting habitual anger, I lose fear and anxiety. They are a package. You can’t have one without the other. When you’re angry or worried, you’re weak. Worry and fear counteract faith, which is the thing that gets prayers answered. I’m not as afraid as I used to be. People are small before God, and Satan is not a roaring lion. He appears AS a roaring lion, but he’s really a barking Chihuahua in a lion suit, holding a megaphone. He’s the weak one. He is a mere angel. He is nothing before the one who created him, or before those who are close to God.

We tend to think of the world as a place ruled by two great powers: God and Satan. That’s completely wrong. There is only one great power. Satan is puffed up with BS. He’s like Liberace. Take off the jewels, the toupee, the sequined suit, the cape, and the wire harness that allows him to fly, and what do you have? An old mortal man. A second-tier pianist.

When the time comes, God will send one angel to take him by the neck and dump him in the Lake of Fire. He could not do that to a God. Right now, Satan serves a purpose, so he is permitted to survive, but when his day comes, he will look as small as he really is, and people will say, “‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, Who shook kingdoms? (Isaiah 14:16).”

Eventually, the world will say that, but if you are strong in the Spirit, you can say it NOW. Satan will still be a problem, but he will be a problem of a much smaller scale. Jesus was not afraid of him in the least, and we are not supposed to fear him, either.

I hope people will pray that God will soften the hearts of homosexuals so they can be reached, and that he will help us to repent and pray so he can give us the supernatural tools we need to get people delivered from sinful compulsions. If we can give gays a real way out, many of them will take it, gladly. We have failed them by turning down supernatural power, whining about our unworthiness and how much we deserve to be weak. What we deserve is irrelevant. We are heirs, not wage earners, and if we turn down our inheritance, we displease the testator. Groveling and accepting crumbs is not the way to make him happy. You have to learn to accept what you did not earn.

God WORKS

Friday, March 15th, 2013

It’s not All Persecution and Fasting

Sorry for staying away so long. I will try to catch up.

The music is going incredibly well. I haven’t done much in the way of composing over the last week or so, but I have a good reason. I have realized I will never get anywhere until the music–notation as well as sound–is in my head. Therefore I am going back to various exercises intended to improve my ear, familiarize me with rhythm, and help me sight-read.

Sight-reading is important because, like transcribing, it helps you see music instead of notes when you look at a page. Some people get to the point where they hear music as they read it. That would be a great thing to have. Whether I get it or not, I am determined to get to the point where I’m not totally dependent on notation software to tell me what my written music will sound like.

I’m studying intervals, or at least, I was. I’ve been learning to recognize the twelve basic intervals by ear, using an incredible phone app called Interval Recognition. It plays an interval, and you have to push one of twelve buttons, identifying it.

I used this a while back, and it worked well, but this time, it’s going way better. Over the last week or so, I’ve improved a lot, and today I reached the point where I don’t get any questions wrong. I am also replaying the intervals forward and backward in my head after I hear them, involuntarily. I think that represents a big improvement in my musical memory. Things are going so well I’m going from 15 minutes a day to 5.

Rhythm…what a pain. The first time I studied piano, my teacher–swell guy though he was–did not push rhythm study much. He was a classical pianist, and although I may get yelled at for it, I’ll say it: I don’t think their timing is that good. I think you can learn a lot more from someone who teaches a drum line in a public school. I know that’s a horrible thing to say, but you CAN’T PLAY DRUMS IN A GROUP UNLESS YOU CAN READ RHYTHMS. Or you have to have a flawless memory. Am I right, or what?

My current teacher, who is, for good reason, incredibly opinionated, says the wrong pitch in the right place is a right note, whereas the right pitch in the wrong place is a wrong note. He’s right. Pitch is much more easily understood than rhythm. You can memorize all the intervals by ear in a couple of days. Try that with notes and rests. Good luck.

I fired up Musition, a training program made by the Sibelius people, and for the first time since I’ve had it, I got it to work with no latency. In the past, the sound didn’t work right, and the notes played late, and it was useless. I downloaded an upgrade, and I was off..

Musition has a PHENOMENAL rhythm-teaching tool called “rhythm tapping.” It shows you a few measures of notes (all the same pitch), and you have to tap out the notes as a “metronome” plays. You have to screw around with it to make it fast, so it moves from one exercise to the next quickly. Once you figure that out, it’s blazing fast. It has one major problem: the jump from the fifth level to the sixth level is impossible. You go straight from eighth notes to sixteenth notes, and it throws them at you in 9/8 and 12/8 time, at high speed. You can get around that by creating a custom level. Which I did. So now it’s perfect.

I happened to come across an old floppy containing a program called Note Play. This works with a MIDI keyboard. It puts notes on the screen (different pitches), and you have to play them back. It’s a game. You get a score, and you get bonus points and extra time. It’s highly addictive. My PC has no floppy port, but I have an old computer in my bedroom, and guess what it has? I easily defeated the moronic security measures intended to prevent people from installing it without the floppy, and now I have it on my regular computer. It’s very good. You can get it from Alfred Music. Presumably, they have a CD version by now.

I dug out my old piano sight-reading book. I finally realized you don’t need a piano to study rhythm reading. I take the hardest pages, and I sit down and tap them out with my finger, on the book itself. It sounds awful, but it’s actually fast and highly effective. It got me to the point where I could sort of handle sixteenth notes, and today I moved to the custom level on Musition.

I pulled out a few piano pieces I used to play, figuring it would help to look at them. I found out something interesting. I used to play a simple piece called “Walking Bass Blues,” which I really liked, and for which I wrote variations. A lady named Arletta O’Hearn wrote it. I used to think she was just some goofball who wrote practice books, but it turns out she’s a real composer. No wonder I liked that piece. I started fooling with it a few days ago, and my fingers seemed to remember nothing. Every day, I got better, and today I can play it again! I can even play triplets over quarter notes again. I got so excited, I dusted off the grand piano and went to work. I emailed my tuner, and he’ll be out as soon as he can make it.

I’m thrilled about the rhythm stuff. You can’t do anything with sheet music unless you can read and understand rhythms fluently. That’s just a fact. I have to be able to look at a rhythm and hear it in my head. I started by counting things out, but now I’m switching between counting and feeling the rhythms. I find myself going back and forth, doing one or the other. That suits me just fine, because I want to be good at both.

I’m also remembering measures well. When Musition gives me three measures to play, sometimes I find myself looking away from the computer before the third measure starts, because I know what it’s going to sound like. That’s something I need. You have to be able to look ahead when you read music, especially if, like me, you are having problems remembering pieces you’ve learned.

Franz Liszt could take an orchestral score, play a piano version of it at sight, and provide comments and alterations at the same time. I don’t see that happening to me any time soon, but it shows how far some people have gotten. I wish I had done this when I was six. Reading was a total breeze for me. I never moved my lips. When I was a kid, I had a bigger vocabulary than most adults. I read smoothly. I heard the words as I saw them. I would have been really good at reading music, had I started earlier. I’m hoping aptitude will provide some compensation for age.

I see the things that are happening to me as a release from bondage. Very powerful things are happening at my church. The push for prayer in tongues continues. People keep getting revelation. The other day my pastor prophesied that things would change for us. He said we should not hesitate to plant seeds, because this time, they would grow. Well, now. Isn’t that what’s happening to me? Over the last two weeks I’ve been beating things I couldn’t beat in three years of musical study. I have copyright registrations on the way for six pieces of music. I’m even exercising again.

Funny thing happened while I was using my pricey exercise bike. The pulse sensors never worked right, and Nautilus was not willing to fix them, and when I got on the bike the other day, one of the LEDs on the display had pooped out. Great. I prayed about it, thought. Now the LED works, and the pulse meter is working, too. How about that?

My pastor had a word for us. He preached about “Baal-Perazim,” which means “possessor of the breakthrough.” He told us we were going to experience breakthroughs. This comported completely with things that had been going on with me, and with revelations God had been giving me. I had come to see the earth as surrounded by the lies–the floods or waters–of the enemy, and I had come to see God as lifting me above them, into the area where he works miracles. I believe I have broken through.

My prayer life keeps blowing up. Sometimes it seems like it can’t get any better, but I know it will. The progress never stops.

I’ve learned a few useful things.

First of all, prayer in tongues continues to work. The more, the better. No denying it.

Second, the name of Jesus is important. No Biblical figure ever said God would not hear you unless you used it, but if you’re a Christian, and you are trying to serve, it helps. I’ve found that something very strange happens during prayer in tongues. If you pause once in a while to say you’re praying in the name of Jesus, faith will shoot up inside you in a sort of explosion. It’s wild. It’s as if prayer in tongues fills a bowl with gasoline, and adding the name of Jesus tosses in a lit match. You may not be able to discern it now, but I’m sure it will happen anyway.

Third, you should thank and glorify God throughout the day. In this way, you can hold the windows of heaven open. It’s a challenge to handle daily responsibilities and still stay close to God. If you thank God and glorify him, even a few times every half-hour, you will find yourself drawn back into his presence. It works. Try it.

We expect too little from God. Over and over, he tells us he will do things that far exceed our expectations, yet we think we make him happy when we brag that we don’t ask much. Life can be much, much better than it is. God is a good boss. He does not expect us to be like workers who have unsatisfying jobs they hate, and he is far more powerful than the enemy. A while back, I realized Satan is like a Chihuahua that barks very loud. He’s not a god. He’s not that smart. He’s not that tough. He has to be taken seriously, but he is not as strong as we make him out to be. All that barking has paid off. The Bible says he roams the streets AS a roaring lion. It doesn’t say he IS a lion. And besides, lions roar to make themselves seem bigger and stronger. They even have manes for that.

I think music is going to continue exploding for me this year. God is working wonders. I hope you get the same results, or better ones.

All Ears

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Cooking With Sound

I finished another piano piece yesterday and stuck it on Youtube. Here it is. Love those free photos.

I had about half of that when I got up yesterday morning, and I was having problems because the harmony is weird, but I knuckled down and got it done. I had a music lesson scheduled for today, and I did not want to show up empty-handed.

My teacher says this is written in G harmonic minor. I’ll take his word for it.

I think I would go to my lessons just for the conversation, even if I didn’t learn anything. My teacher is an extremely interesting guy, and we have a lot in common. He has a math degree, and his dad was either a physicist or an engineer. I forget which. He’s a conservative Christian. He has an “interesting” family, as I do. He spent years doing transcriptions for music publishers. If you see a “recorded version” book of some rock musician’s tunes, there’s a good chance my teacher wrote it.

He’s always telling me not to underestimate myself. That’s good to hear. I don’t have any real training, and I don’t have enough character to study theory with any kind of intensity, so I don’t know much about the technical side of music. It’s easy to feel like I’m not going to write anything worthwhile. But he keeps telling me the ear is what matters.

Evidently, a lot of tedious musical training is intended to give untalented or inexperienced people something many people already have: the ability to know what’s good when they hear it. I didn’t realize that. I thought everyone could tell what was good or bad, or what was discordant. My teacher says that is not the case. Today he told me it was a waste of time for me to study certain things, because they teach things I already have.

I studied under a classical pianist for three or four years, and while it was a great experience, I did not learn what I needed to learn. I learned a little bit of sight-reading, and I mastered (sort of) several tunes, but I never got to the point where I felt at home inside written music. I didn’t develop the ability to transcribe.

I got a lot of terrible advice. I talked to my teacher about it today. People told me that if I played scales, everything would start to make sense. I learned all the scales. I got to where I could play any major scale with my right hand while playing any other with my left, and I got absolutely nothing out of it. He says he’s not surprised. He studied guitar scales until he could rip them off at 10 notes per second, and he didn’t get anything out of it either. He says the main reason to learn scales is to learn sets of notes that sound good together. Some people are not born with this feel for harmony.

He says he gets in a lot of arguments with people who push the theoretical approach. They assume he’s against it because he doesn’t know anything about it, but then if they start quizzing him, God help them. He knows everything, backwards and forwards.

Today he told me he has taught a lot of people who got degrees in music and were still unable to write or do the other things they wanted to do. Apparently, many music instructors teach ABOUT music without teaching people how to make it or feel it.

This makes complete sense to me. Music existed before theory existed, just as the physical world moved and changed before physics existed. Notation and theory are very clumsy compared to music itself. It takes a great deal of knowledge to notate what people like Ella Fitzgerald have done instinctively.

Like I told him at my lesson, I can sit down and hear a SYMPHONY in my head right now. That’s not a problem. What I need is the ability to write it down.

Here’s what he told me today:

Sounded great, my friend and using harmonic minor and hearing it so well is something I hope you do not take for granted. You are cashing in on some great influences to hear something that isn’t easy to hear and most people struggle with it for a very long time before their ear can even come close to what you can already do. NICE!

If I were plodding along with a method or a course, I would not be writing music yet, and I would have no idea that I had any potential. It’s wonderful to get a little confirmation from a real expert.

I have two challenges to overcome, as far as I can see. First, I need to man up and master timing. Sometimes I avoid writing complex passages I can hear in my mind, because it’s too hard to do the notation. I think it would be smart to study drums, although I’m afraid I’d kill myself after a week. I really do not like drums. But drummers can–well SHOULD BE ABLE TO–play any written rhythm you put in front of them, so presumably, a person who studies drums will have timing by the throat. Second thing: I need to get intervals under control. If you know how intervals sound, and you know how to write rhythms, you can write music on the fly.

Right now I tend to write things with fairly simple timing, and I try to be somewhat repetitive. That’s because it’s self-indulgent to write one original measure after another. Nobody wants to hear that. If you hear a nice musical idea, you want to hear it one or two more times before the piece ends. If every passage is a fresh variation, the audience gets cheated. I try to keep things simple because I’m trying to write popular music, not Chopin, but sooner or later I’ll want to do something a little more liberating.

It’s good to have a teacher who believes in me. I love what I’m doing, but I don’t have his competence, so I’m not as good a judge of my ability. When I hear good things from a source that can’t be assailed credibly, it gives me motivation to do more work. I’m supposed to be doing written interval and key exercises. I actually did a little this week. He gives me great advice all the time, and I do about 10% of what he tells me to do, so eventually, I would like to start doing more.

It will be interesting to see where this goes. I have six tunes registered with the LOC right now. A year from now, it should be at least thirty, and they will be more complex.

God will give you the desires of your heart. He didn’t create you to be a cubicle slave, unless that’s your thing. He is not a bad boss. Trust in him, get to know the Spirit, spend time in prayer, and good things will happen. Give it a shot. You’ll be surprised.

Megachurches: Concentration Camps of the Soul

Monday, March 4th, 2013

Make Sure You’re Serving the One You Think You Serve

This morning while I was praying, I got a new revelation. Here is what it adds up to: today’s megachurches are really concentration camps where Satan puts Christians in order to keep them in slavery. I have written about this general idea before, but the notion of churches AS camps set up by Satan is new.

The only disclaimer I will make here is that I’m not suggesting the things that happen in churches are as horrible as the things that happened during the Holocaust. It’s not a literal analogy, so don’t stretch it farther than it should go.

A few years back, I visited the Holocaust Memorial in Washington. I’ve written about this. One of the exhibits was a large model of the death camp at Auschwitz. Looking at the camp, I realized it was Satan’s parody of the Temple.

At the Temple, clean animals (which are symbolic of the Jews) were killed in a way sanctioned by God, releasing their blood. They were burned, and much of them was consumed. And it pleased God.

In the death camps, Jews (and others, of course) were killed by asphyxiation. Their blood remained in them. They were then burned, like sacrificial animals. In Judaism, cremation is not permitted, presumably because God knew deniers would claim the Jews had never existed, had their bones not been preserved. They already do this with regard to the millions who followed Moses.

The Nazis mocked the Temple by burning Jews. They mocked the Torah by tattooing them. They mocked the Levites’ portion by taking body parts from Jews and using them for various purposes. Like animals, the Jews were consumed.

I went through all that in earlier blog posts. But I’m not sure I mentioned this. The Nazis liked to decorate their camps with signs reading “Arbeit Macht Frei,” which means, “Work Makes You Free.” This also has significance.

We are saved by grace. When we receive miracles, we receive them by grace. No one earns anything from God. To say God owes you a thing you’ve earned is to equate yourself with God and to declare the crucifixion unnecessary. Work does not make you free. In fact, work is a curse, as we know from reading Genesis 3:17:

To Adam he said, “Because you listened to what your wife said and ate from the tree about which I gave you the order, ‘You are not to eat from it,’ the ground is cursed on your account; you will work hard to eat from it as long as you live.

If you don’t think work is a curse, look at how Adam lived before he fell. God planted trees from which we were allowed to take fruit “freely,” and he gave us every plant for food. It is true that Adam was created to “cultivate” or “serve in” the garden, but the entire operation was built and prepared by God, and there is no evidence that life there was hard.

Satan loves to put us to work. He put Adam, Eve, and their descendants to work. He put the Hebrews to work in Egypt. He took soulish Jacob and made him a slave to Laban, who was a heathen. He put Samson to work at a grain mill. He made the Jews work for the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans.

Now he makes Christians work for things God wants to give us for nothing. “Work makes you free,” he tells us, while he holds back the things God wants to give us. He is like a Nazi guard, holding back Red Cross packages that belong to prisoners.

He has a wonderful strategy for making us go along with this plan. He tells us a few things that are true: we’re not worthy, we owe God, and we need to serve God. Then he adds some lies: God helps those who help themselves, God will not pay any attention to us if we don’t work really hard for him, and God wants us to have the satisfaction of overcoming through effort and sacrifice.

A lot of that stuff sounds so reasonable! We do terrible things, and then we come to God and ask for forgiveness and help. It seems only natural that he would want us to prove ourselves and purify ourselves through work. That’s what we would expect, if we were God. If we expect him to give us things for nothing, and to do big things for us, we’re spoiled! We’re abusing his grace! We’re selfish!

None of that is true, however.

Think about it. The Jews sinned, and God allowed them to enter paradise through a simple system of repentance and sacrifice. That may be harder than what Christians do, but it’s still very easy, compared to saving oneself. We sin, and we believe that simply by repenting and asking for forgiveness, we receive eternal life–ETERNAL, which means unlimited generosity–in paradise! That’s as easy as easy gets. Talk about spoiled. That is the epitome.

If we believe these things so easily, how can we be crazy enough to think God won’t do comparatively tiny things for us? If God will give you eternal life in heaven for doing virtually nothing, won’t he help you change here on earth? Won’t he fight your enemies? Won’t he heal you? Compared to eternity in paradise, making a leg grow back is, in mathematical terms, nothing. Eternal life is an infinite blessing. Shrinking a cancer is a tiny, tiny, finite blessing. Destroying an addiction? Same thing. Yet we think God wants us to earn things.

In the charismatic churches, we somehow manage to be spoiled AND deny grace. That’s a remarkable achievement of which Satan must be proud. We are spoiled because we clamor for money, money, money, and we don’t think about granting God’s wishes, as we want him to grant ours. We deny grace because we believe we have to shovel huge cash offerings into ministries in order to get God’s help. If we buy God’s goods, are we blessed children, or are we just customers?

We also deny grace by teaching self-help and positive thinking. Those things are for people who don’t have God’s assistance. You will never see a Bible passage about Moses sitting in front of a mirror reciting the Stuart Smalley affirmations.

When a fool preaches nonsense about money, Satan will help him grow a congregation. This is just like what the Nazis did when they built camps. They wanted to concentrate people in a place where they could do them harm. Satan will grow a big church for a Benny Hinn or a Kenneth Copeland, and then he’ll hold people captive with Ponzi-like promises of future riches. The pastors will become addicted to money, and once that happens, they’ll slap down anyone who brings healthy doctrine in.

This is what happened to me at Trinity Church. The pastors loved money and fame, and they thought these things were always just around the corner, if they kept up their program of twisting doctrine. The people gave and gave and gave, and once they had money invested in worthless get-rich promises, they felt that in order to get the “harvest,” they had to keep going, so anyone who contradicted the Steve Munsey gospel was seen as an enemy of prosperity. You need faith to collect the prize, so anyone who says the prize isn’t coming is effectively robbing you of your future.

The circle of rationalizations gets tighter and tighter until the church becomes a money cult.

This has happened all over the US. Satan has helped bad churches grow large, and once the people are there, he robs them of their money and teaches them they always need to give more and serve more.

Satan has to do this, because he is not omnipresent. God doesn’t need even one church. If he wants to, he can unite and teach all of his people through the Holy Spirit. He can speak to a billion people at once, whether they’re together or not. Satan has no all-powerful spirit to tie people together, so he has to rely on conventional means, and that means he likes huge congregations.

The big-church model is inherently carnal. If God is God, he can give the same messages and the same help to an infinite number of small churches. He’s actually doing that, right now. The idea that he “needs” big churches to get the message out is a denial of his power, and it is also the height of human pride.

It reminds me of a story James Thurber told. A man had a large tree moved to his yard, and someone said, “Shows what God could do if he had money.”

Right now, all over this country, there are huge churches full of neutralized Christians whose pastors serve primarily–PRIMARILY–to prevent them from getting to know the Holy Spirit. Some of the pastors are outright crooks, but others are just afraid that if they quit talking about money for ten seconds, the loot will quit pouring in. They feel they have to spend every available minute talking about carnal tools.

Guess what happened to Steve Munsey, who harps on offerings night and day? You already know if you read this blog. His church has been in foreclosure for quite some time. The court will not permit him and his cronies to run it! How’s that for failure? And now we have numbers.

Munsey’s church took in about ten million dollars per year. Munsey took $900,000 per year for travel and meals. I don’t know if he was traveling by space shuttle or what, and I guarantee you, he took offerings wherever he went, and he was probably given food and lodging, so you would think he could get by without travel money, but still, that’s the figure. He also took $500,000 per year for private plane expenses. Isn’t that “travel”? He and his wife also took AT LEAST $700,000 in yearly compensation. These figures fluctuated over the years, but they are true. He also had his own zoo. Look it up. I’m begging you. Don’t believe me.

His mortgage was about $100,000 per month, so that’s roughly $1 million per year. He found over $2.1 million for ghetto-rich idiocy, but he couldn’t manage to write a comparatively small check once a month.

This is the man who inspired the leaders of Trinity Church. Businessmen have gone to jail for doing things like this, and TBN was letting him appear and beg for cash as recently as four months ago. I guarantee you, if he walked into Trinity today, they would assign people to follow him around and kowtow and cater. There is no way they would take him in the back, like lucid people, and say, “What on EARTH have you been up to?”

If you’re in a big church where they talk about self-help, and you’re not hearing about the Holy Spirit and prayer in tongues, you are a slave. Your church is a cult. It’s a spiritual concentration camp. Satan is just waiting for you to die, powerless, so he can scratch you off his threat list. He’s probably not happy that you’re in church, because any church can be turned against him with God’s help, but as long as churches have to exist, he is going to take them over and use them to keep people weak.

If you’re determined to work, work in prayer. This is the most important thing you do. Prayer parted the Red Sea. Prayer prevented the extermination of the entire Jewish people in Exodus. It sets people free, and it makes them more powerful and more virtuous.

Don’t be afraid to go to a small church. The size of a church has no relationship to its power. My little church has started four other churches. My old church is huge, and it has accomplished virtually nothing. For God, I mean.

Work does not make you free. Work will never make you free. God’s work created the world. The work of Jesus freed you from sin and enabled you to receive the Holy Spirit. The work of the Holy Spirit, through you, will please God and solve your problems. Anything beyond that is garbage which will rot and be blown away in a generation.