Time to Flush
Life just gets more and more interesting.
Maybe instead of a relatively cohesive narrative, I should go over some highlights.
I had tendinitis in my left hand. It was caused by guitar practice. There is no cure for tendinitis. It is one of the most annoying ailments there is. You have to stop whatever it is that caused it, and then you wait. If it goes away, great. If not, there is nothing you can do.
I quit playing for a few weeks. The tendinitis didn’t go away. Of course, I prayed, and my faith said it would be healed. In my prayers and in my mind, I always said I was healed. I never went back on that.
Last week I started talking to the musicians at my new church. They may want me to play guitar. I don’t talk about this a lot, but if I could choose any career, music would be it. And you know God. He gives us the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4). I have some material to study, and we’ll see how it goes.
At around the same time I connected with the musicians, I resumed serious practice. I figured there was no point in waiting. Resting didn’t make the tendinitis better, and practicing didn’t make it worse.
Late last week, the tendinitis started going away, even though I was practicing again. Now I can barely feel it. God really does hand out miraculous healings, and I’ve gotten a bunch of them. My sister had extensive small cell lung cancer, and I fasted and prayed, and she’s still alive, with no detectable disease. Don’t ever think God doesn’t heal, or that it’s unusual when he does. You just have to know what you’re doing.
In other news, I started thinking about a mission my old church is pursuing. In 2010, the pastor got on stage and told us he had a “2020 Vision.” As I recall, he said God had told him to get 100,000 people saved by 2020. You can read about it on the web if you look.
I’ve seen so much cynical preaching at that church; they copy other people’s material and present it as though the Holy Spirit had just jerked them out of bed and dictated it to them. I thought about that yesterday, and I had to ask myself how likely it was that the 2020 thing was legitimate. So I entered “2020 vision” and “church” in the Google box. I had to exclude “vimeo” and “schools,” and after that, I got so many links to churches with “2020 visions,” it amazed me. And of course, my old church wasn’t the first one to get the idea. I found one outfit that has been preaching about it since 2001.
So discouraging. It makes you wonder if they ever believed ANYTHING they said. If they were willing to steal other people’s ideas and claim they came from God, were they totally incapable of getting a real message from the Father? Maybe so. There are plenty of preachers who hear from God in real time, but I guess the rest just steal from them.
Are they even Christians? If you are willing to make up doctrine, and you don’t mind stealing other people’s stupid gimmicks, can you honestly claim you believe in God? Could a real believer preach that garbage in front of Jesus, if he showed up in person and sat in the front row? Sometimes I tell myself the problem is that they’re not grown up in the Spirit, and they have a hard time discerning the things that really come from God, but that would not explain cribbing and fabrication. A person who lacks discernment may be fooled easily, but lacking discernment won’t cause you to lie.
I shouldn’t say they’re pursuing the mission. When I left the church in April, we weren’t hearing much about it. They have a way of getting very excited about things and then forgetting about them. That happened after the Haiti earthquake. We were TBN’s earthquake nerve center. Everything went through us. The pastor was on TV. We helped send a freighter to Port au Prince. We kept hearing that our church would be committed for the long haul, not just during the initial excitement. Then the cameras went away, and after a while, we didn’t hear much about Haiti. Even though the congregation is mostly Haitian.
The pastor may be moving on soon, to resume work as a traveling evangelist, so I don’t think the 2020 thing is going anywhere.
What else is going on? I’m angrier than ever at preachers who teach the get-rich gospel. It’s pure crap. I believe God gives people financial prosperity. I believe he rewards people with shalom, especially for giving to the poor and for helping the Jews and Israel. But I know he doesn’t make people rich just because they throw money at morons. Every Christian knows someone who has given money to ministries and ended up poor. It’s time to man up and admit it.
A couple of things occurred to me this week.
First of all, it makes no sense to go to God and tell him you gave stupidly and ask him to honor the offering anyway. You can’t ask God to honor your good intentions when you give money to an idiot.
Hosea tells us God’s people perish for lack of knowledge. The people who came before us lost a lot of knowledge, so now we walk in ignorance, and we do unproductive things. Then God lets the consequences fall on us, even if it means doing nothing while people die.
Why doesn’t God come in and teach us what our predecessors lost? Because that’s not his job. We are responsible for running the earth. We are responsible for teaching future generations. The system is set up so our failures can hurt our descendants. That’s just how it is. God isn’t going to round us up once a generation and tie us to chairs and teach us. We suffer because we don’t know what to do, even when our ignorance is not our fault. If you give to a fool, God isn’t going to come in and pretend the offering was a good idea, because to do that would be to permit the fool to manipulate God.
God is not all that interested in your intentions. Saul was trying to do a good thing when he took the place of the priests and offered a sacrifice, but God cursed him for it. Eve was trying to do a good thing when she tried to get wisdom from eating the forbidden fruit, and look how that worked out. Your good intentions don’t matter when you don’t do things God’s way.
This sounds pretty bad. But here is the other thing that occurred to me: God is a redeemer. He restores things that have been taken from us. He even restores things we’ve thrown away in stupidity. So there is no reason you can’t go to God and ask him to restore what you gave to greedy parasites. Tell him you were fooled and robbed. The way you characterize your prayer matters. God is a judge, and judges require people to ask correctly.
Here is something else: God DOES return to us once in a while to teach us the things our predecessors discarded, even though it’s not his responsibility. If you look at the story of Josiah, you will see it. The ancient Hebrews became extremely ignorant. They even forgot what Passover was. But God gave them new teachers. Lately God has been doing the same thing through the baptism with the Holy Spirit and tongues. John, a man who knew what it was to be in the Spirit (Revelation 1:10) said, “You need that no man teach you.” If you get into the Spirit every day, consistently, over time, God will teach you the right things to do. Like Jesus said, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled, and as James said, if you ask God for wisdom, he will give liberally.
While this stuff was on my mind, I started to understand a strange scripture from the book of Mark:
“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched— where ‘Their worm does not die And the fire is not quenched.’
And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched— where ‘Their worm does not die,
And the fire is not quenched.’
And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire—where ‘Their worm does not die And the fire is not quenched.’
This stuff has been the justification for a lot of horrors. Men used to castrate themselves based on this passage. I believe it actually refers to the body of Christ: the church.
Jesus has parts, according to scripture. Some of those parts become corrupt and cause others to become offended and fall away.
Greedy, lying preachers tell people God will make them rich for giving them money, and when people comply, the money doesn’t come. What happens then? People get offended. They decide that if they were lied to about one thing, Christianity itself must be a lie. Crooked preachers drive people away from God.
I believe that when Jesus talked about cutting off body parts, he was referring to preachers he would cast down. This is something I pray for every day. I really don’t care if a corrupt preacher loses his job and his reputation. That’s tough. If you’re stealing from the poor, you need to be stopped. You’re harming thousands or millions of people. What do I care about one selfish man? Let him eat from a dumpster and learn something. If it will save one family from giving themselves into the street, then praying for the crooks to fall seems like a good thing. Sure, I pray for them to be corrected and restored. But I don’t pray for God to keep them in their pulpits while he straightens them out. They are doing too much damage, too fast.
So that’s where that sits, at the moment.
I applied to be a member of New Dawn Ministries. These people are flat-out nuts for the Holy Spirit. I don’t want to expect too much of them. I don’t know them that well, so I don’t know who is really hooked up and who just goes to church to dance and yell. Experience tells me not to assume everyone there is a modern-day apostle. But it’s an amazing church, and I’ve already met more Spirit-connected people there, out of maybe 200 people, than I met in several years at my old church.
I want to do things for the church, but I’m going to take it easy. My prayer life is going crazy. A bad day contains only two hours of prayer. A good day goes over three. That, in and of itself, is a ministry. I can’t spend twenty hours a week at church. So I will pray, pick, and choose.
I believe we are headed into a new age when Holy-Spirit-empowered people are going to have more prominence. I think we’re going to see a lot of pampered preachers with hair plugs and pompadours leave their ministries. I believe God will drive them out, as Spirit-filled people rise up and ask for his help. Cliques and guilds will dissolve. Surely God will not let his people chase mirages forever, at the mercy of men and women who are so stuffed with the wealth of the poor, they’re like stiff, swollen Thanksgiving turkeys. When that happens, we’ll see people get restoration and healing, and they won’t have to go to ridiculous crusades to get them. These things will happen in people’s homes, as they happen in mine. That’s my impression.
I guess that’s all I have time to write. I hope this is helpful.Stumble it! Save This Page