Posts Tagged Preacher
He was casually sky gazing so I said “You mean on holiday, in a plane?” I responded. We have been planning a trip, and it will be his first time flying so I assumed this was the foundation of the question.
“No,” he said “I mean go straight up, like in a helicopter”
I felt I knew what he meant since I had been listening to Perry Stone preach on the rapture, and watching the latest news on Syria. I had a feeling the answer was ‘soon’, but instead I said “why honey?”
His answer astonished me…
“Because we are stuck in the present down here, aren’t we?”
He is 6. Wow. I agreed we were.. and I thought…
“And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.” Joel 2:28
Pat Robinson calls it the law of use. Secularly we say “use it or lose it”.
In the bible Jesus explains it via the parable of the talents and it is of course where we get our notions of talents and of “god-given talents” from.
First of all lets remind ourselves of what Jesus actually tells us in the Word:
15And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
16Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
17And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
18But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.
19After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
20And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
21His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
22He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
23His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
24Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
25And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
26His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
27Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
28Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
29For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
30And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” Matthew 25:14-30
For a long time I really wasn’t sure what to make of this story, it seemed so harsh on the poor servant with nothing. I read as much as I could about it and I have come to the conclusion that it is about faith. We have talents, gifts which maybe abilities or actual riches. Its no good to the Lord if we let fear stop us using these gifts. Fear is of the enemy not of the Lord. We must trust, have faith in the Lord,that when we use our talents all will be for the good and grace of God. What matters is that we use them in the service of the Lord, getting the Word of God to those who otherwise would be destined to perish.
How do we do this? Well I personally have always found writing easier than standing in front of people and preaching so that is what I do and here you are experiencing it at your leisure via the internet. As you read this I am touching a life, using many gifts: reading and writing, my laptop, my internet connection, this wonderful WordPress blogging space…. Potentially and with God’s Grace we can reach billions around the world in this way. With Google translate we can reach them in many languages.
Everyone will have different talents and the holy spirit is there to guide you in their use. Some may be brilliant fund-raisers and help finance the missionaries who are able to touch many lives in many lands. Others are gifted orators and can preach to crowds and millions by TV and radio.
What is this to do with my Business though? Well your Godly business’s role is to give people jobs and opportunities, to raise money etc etc But it is also vital not to waste the resources you have been given. I believe that we are called to be productive. Production is the key to everything. You can’t rely on service economy without somewhere someone producing (building,farming, mining, fishing, etc) something which needs services. And this is where everything seems to have gone awry. We need to get back to basics, we need to be productive and we need to USE the resources we have been blessed with!
When I wrote my last blog about tithing I purely conceived it as a little example simply of my own experiences of tithing and the outcome of my own heavenly guidance from the Lord regarding tithing. I did not expect it to be so controversial a topic as I view it as a personal decision for each Christian, based on their understanding of the Word and their own conviction on the subject.
I was grateful to receive lots of very interesting feedback from the blog and was very happy to leave it there. Then the Holy Spirit began convicting me to write a follow up to make a few more points, two to be exact. Of all the feedback I had there was one issue that I thought was important and it was this from a comment on my last blog:
“Jesus did not tell us to tithe. Jesus told the Scribes and Pharisees they ought to tithe because they were under the Old Covenant law. Jesus was born, lived, and died under the Old Covenant. The New Covenant didn’t begin until after Jesus died on the cross.”
This was an interesting point but then a couple of things started to niggle at me.
Firstly, you could say the same thing about virtually everything Jesus is quoted as saying in the Gospels, ie. that it was said before the New Covenant began and so doesn’t apply to us under grace today.
But, Jesus didn’t come to destroy the law but to fulfil it, so I view his statement about tithing as His taking an opportunity to confirm the principle.
Secondly, many times in the Gospels Jesus takes the opportunity to correct religious legalism, for example:
What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them. (Matthew 15:11)
So we see Jesus challenges aspects of the law at some times, but on this issue it is confirmed (my emphasis):
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. (Matthew 23:23)
What I find so striking is that while many, many times Jesus rebukes the Pharisees for legalism, however in this verse (given to me in response to specific prayer asking for guidance on tithing), He takes the opportunity to reinforce a practice.
I’ve ordered my five fundamental F’s in my daily order that I attend to them, and noticed that it makes them alphabetical and easy to remember. Score!
The first thing I do every (weekday) morning is get into the Word. Sometimes this is not easy, especially in winter in the dark, and of course the enemy will try anything to stop you so that you find yourself tempted to just press that “snooze” button a few times. It takes just a little push to get past that, but the rewards are immense. I get up early so that I can concentrate and meditate before the children get up looking for breakfast, P E kit, lunch money. This two hour session sets me on my path for the day. I read the Word, pray, confess the Word and sip coffee watching Godly TV.
After a couple of hours in the Word, I am Much more able to greet my 3 boys in a positive, encouraging, patient and loving way. They tend to wake in a good mood and we have a happy breakfast before they all get off to school. I walk my little one to school, and I thank God for everyday I have that I can give him a loving little kiss on the forehead before he gets to the “Mom, get off,not in front of my friends” stage. Back home I get straight onto the washing, cleaning, tidying the garden… Looking after my nest.
I check my finances daily. I went through a horrible stage of thinking I was entitled to my every whim and I paid the price in a mass of consumer debt for stuff that didn’t bring me the happiness or satisfaction the advertising man had promised! What astonishes me now is that I would make the same mistake over and over and over and still not learn my lesson. It took years to fight my way back out of the pit of debt. It is a hard slog paying off debt, but it is truly amazing what you can achieve with very little cash as you do it. I might not be completely debt free now, but my head is well above water and I have learned to handle my cash responsibly. And now if I run out of cash I just make do until I get some more!
I am fanatical about business and I truly believe that a business founded soundly on Christian biblical principles can not fail to succeed. This is because any business based on helping others to solve their problems and which is grown organically (i.e. without borrowing to finance growth), has no seeds of failure in it.
Once the chores are done I head most days for the gym. If I get there early it is quieter, I am still fresh and awake and I make the most of it. If I have time I can also follow a workout with a relaxing hot tub session.
If I can I also work a walk into the day. This is a good time to meditate, pray and or pray in the spirit. Filling your lungs with oxygen inevitably increases the oxygen to your brain and aids clear thinking and de-stressing. This is a great time to literally walk with the Lord.
The rest of the day is filled with blogging, writing, speaking, working with others, growing things, people, organisations and businesses.
After school is break-time for me and the kids. A session in the family hot tub is a great time for family communication. Cooking the daily family meal together is another chance to bond. Plus I want to know my boys will all be equipped to feed themselves and their own families when the time comes.
The evening is wind-down time. Light reading. Godly TV. A family film….
Thank you prayers and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
I’ve been a Christian for quite a while now and I must confess to being very confused by the mega minister issue.
What have some Christians’ got against living well in this world?
Well if there is one thing I have learned it’s to check it out with the Book.
Matthew 7 has a lot to teach us about how to regard these worldwide preachers and teachers.
Judge not, that ye be not judged Matthew 7:1
ABC, in 2007, in a piece of seriously biased reporting called ‘Fleecing the Flock‘ went on a rampage against some mega preachers purely on the basis that they have nice homes and planes. And all the networks seem to love to attack mega preachers for having nice lives. But why on earth shouldn’t they? Their job is to go to many nations and preach the gospel and be an example to people, so that people will actually want to get saved! If Joyce Meyer preached in old rags and lived in a shack I can fairly confidently say I wouldn’t have thought she had anything much to teach me that would do me any good, and I wouldnt have been saved.
I believe the Lord values the saving of even a single soul well above the $100,000,000 or so annual turnover of Joyce Meyer’s ministry.
So, if people choose to freely support ministries, and in turn become less sinful and turn their broken lives into healed ones, surely the government should be celebrating the tax-savings they accrue in not having to support social services, health care etc. for millions of deadbeat, smoking, drinking, drug-taking tax-wasters who instead have been convicted by the Lord of their wasted lives, and transformed into model citizens?
How is freely giving a few dollars to a mega minister more concerning than giving a few dollars to a mega corporation that sells you carbonated water, colour and sugar in a tin can for a truly unholy mark-up? How is it worse than giving a major corporation hundreds of dollars for the right to use some infinitely replicable computer code called software? Or a giant corporation some dollars for some other digital code called music or game, delivered electronically? We can happily waste billions upon billions of dollars on rubbish that rots our bodies and our minds, but not financially support a gifted minister in their teaching?
That is warped.
Is it maybe because if everyone were saved, and living the good life, investors would lose a lot of money? Hmmmmmmm. Well the holy spirit has certainly done a job on my personal spending habits in the last year or so. I no longer smoke, don’t drink much, have lost my shopping habit (doh, it was just a habit!).
Back to Matthew 7 and our Lord:
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? Matthew 7:11
So these preachers, having learned this scripture, applied it to their lives, transformed their lives and freely share the fundamental truth with others, um, how could that be bad?
15Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Matthew 15-18
So I would think that there are two ways of testing mega preachers against this scripture. What fruits do they gather for the kingdom? Well millions come to Christ through them via personal appearances and television/radio/new media, and they touch lives in the developed and underdeveloped world. And if they can do that more quickly and efficiently by private jet, if that helps them to get enough rest and spend time with their family, I am not in the least surprised the Lord would furnish them with such a tool. And if you are surprised, I would be concerned for you that you are faith deficient beloved.
What fruits do they bring in their own lives? Decent homes, cars, families. Good examples of what is possible with Christ.
And what does the bible tell us to do with regard to travelling missionaries and teachers?
For these [traveling missionaries] have gone out for the Name’s sake (for His sake) and are accepting nothing from the Gentiles (the heathen, the non-Israelites).
8So we ourselves ought to support such people [to welcome and provide for them], in order that we may be fellow workers in the Truth (the whole Gospel) and cooperate with its teachers. 3 John 1:7-8
I cannot account in any way for the outrageously hard time these people get from the media, both within and without the church, without reference to the work of the enemy: Envy.
Oh ye of little faith. What does it matter, so long as souls are saved?
Paul said:”... The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.” Philippians 1:18
But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today. Deuteronomy 8:18
The enemy doesn’t want you to succeed and he knows the only way he can stop you is by attacking your faith in the promises of God. It will look sometimes as though there is no way your business can survive, but there is a way. Push through. Pray. Listen to the Holy Spirit as He guides your steps. Be obedient and trust.
In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ Acts 20:35
The whole point of getting wealth is to give it away. It can do you no good whatsoever as wealth. It cannot buy you security. Your very house could be taken away, in theory (think Zimbabwe farm owner). Inflation could erode it. Its not coming to heaven with you. Do you really want your legacy to your children to be idle wealth or productiveness? So as it comes in give to the poor as much as you can. Yes its a publicity opportunity but that is a bonus sometimes its never why we give.
“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ Matthew 25:21
“Oh, but I am no one’s servant, I’m self employed” I hear you say. But you still have stewardship responsibilities. Your employees’ wages, corporation or other taxes, your have to account for every penny earned and spent and it is a solemn responsibility. Doing a few black market cash jobs may seem like its not hurting anyone but it is stealing from your fellow tax payers and your business will not thrive in this sin. Your sin allows the enemy a door into your business. Keep your business as sin free as your body, your marriage and thrive.
The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity. Proverbs 11:3
Joyce Meyer is of course rich source of advice but one bit I’ve really latched onto is whatever the date is, read the proverb of that number. Proverbs is brilliant and clear and this verse is no different. Be guided by the Holy Spirit in every business decision. The answer to every dilemma is in the heart of the believer.
You don’t have to be a Christian to know that sitting on stock will kill your business. As will holding onto unproductive employees. Two pieces of advice from running successful businesses I would pass onto everyone are:
a) the best time to fire someone is the very moment it first crosses your mind (subject to labour law procedures etc)
b) if its not selling or helping to sell something else get rid of it!. Clearance sales, ebay it, give it away – anything! Turn assets that aren’t earning their keep into cash and put that cash into something useful and/or saleable. If it means admitting a mistake and swallowing your pride, good! Take a big gulp, you’re growing!
Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. Matthew 25:24-27
The parable of the talents was a mystery to me for years til I understood the law of use. Our Lord tells us that not using our talents is a sin.
6. Borrowing and lending
The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Luke 6.35
So the bible is pretty clear. Don’t borrow unless you want to be in bondage. Bondage is the territory of the devil. And loan, yes by all means, but view your loans as gifts.
7. Treating People Well
It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household! Matthew 10:25
Being the head of the house is like being the head of the business. Everyone looks up to you and follows your example. Be the best. Be the best supplier, be a great customer.
Purging Your House, Pruning Your Family Tree, Perry Stone, Charisma House
I liked this book, a lot. This is how much I liked it… It arrived by post at about 11am, by 2pm I was on my 3rd coffee, still with it in hand. I speed read most of it the same day and then spent the last few days reading it again properly. I learned a lot about demons and I learned quite a lot about Perry Stone, who turns out the be very likeable. There was no questioning he was oft quoting scripture to support is work. All good so far…
The only thing I didn’t like was it wasn’t enough of a “how to…” manual for me. I’ve got some stuff going on in my life and a part of me wanted this book to give me permission to make some radical changes as well as give me step by step guidance on making those changes. Clearly that was an unfair expectation, and had it been fulfilled would most like have left Mr Stone wide open to all sorts of “I read your book, did what it said and it wrecked my life” allegations and probably potential legal actions. I’m not at all sure about the relevance of the chapter on new and full moons that sits a little awkwardly near the end, like a slightly embarrassing distant cousin to the rest of the chapters.
If your family has some very odd or destructive branches that need radical pruning, this book sadly doesn’t give you enough surgical knowledge… not sufficient to do what it says on the cover, safe in the knowledge that you will do no harm. Other than that it is well worth a read.
So its Sunday morning.. Have you been to Church?
No? Church is boring… You think??
Allow me to introduce Bishop G E Patterson…
Halleluja, Praise the Lord!
If you need this kind of uplifting worship, find a good gospels based church in your area and get uplifted…
Read Part 1 first (Here)
Ned looked upon his wife. Nell was dishevelled, her hair a nest upon her head. Her dress stretched across her swelling middle. But what shocked Ned the most was that her eyes had no life in them. She was a mess, her life had little meaning. She looked as though all hope was gone. He supposed he looked the same to her.
It struck him as a blow to the very pit of his stomach that his family was neglected. What was happening here? Did he not give his wife money each week for food? Did he not work hard for them? He didn’t beat them. Was this not enough?
Clearly it was not. They needed his care, and attention too.
He ate in silence, his mind turning somersaults. He wanted to get up, and go back to the pub, forget all this. But that never helped for long. Instead he reached in his pocket and gave his wife the few pence he would have spent in the pub. He spent an unaccountably restless night in bed.
Next morning Nell couldn’t wait for her husband to leave for work, the few coppers jangling in her pocket made her heart sing. She had things to do. First she got the kettle on for some hot water and got her and the little ones scrubbed up as best she could. Then she tried to get a comb through their hair. Finally they got into their best clothes… cast off from other families and mended many times but relatively presentable.
The Friday market was bustling and she had a job to keep hold of her wild little charges but she did. She ignored the derisory looks of the ‘respectable’ women with their heaving baskets of goods. She couldn’t wait to get back home and get stuck in.
It was wages day, all the lads were off to the pub. Ned trooped along with them but his family was still on his mind.It was as though he’d really seen them for the first time last night, at least the first time in a long time, and it unsettled him. The men he worked with teased him about his mood and this time he had no patience with them. He made his excuses and left early.
The house was quieter as he approached it down the path in front of the seeming unending row of two room cottages. He felt the warmth and peace as he came in. Nell looked different tonight, with a little glimmer of light in her eyes. She smelled different too. The cottage was cleaner warmer and brighter. And there was the unmistakable smell of a bacon joint boiling on the hob.
He slept well that night, holding his warm wife to him. In the morning the children landed on him and for once he didn’t seem to mind. He felt a little stab of pride at his son’s strength. As he left for work Nell enquired whether he would be coming straight home. “Lets see shall we?” he said and off he went.
Over the next few months the pub became less important. The coppers saved were put to good use by Nell and the cottage was warmer, the food a little more filling, the children grew like weeds. The new baby took it out of Nell so Ned put more time into helping out. Strangely he found he liked it. He found he started talking about growing food with the older men at work and learned a lot. Eventually Nell asked whether they ought to start going to church. Mainly for the Sunday School of course, some children were learning to read there free of charge!
Within a few years Ned’s newfound respectful attitude and appearance earned him a reputation for reliability and a promotion to overseer. Nell’s smile was back, the whole family went to Church regularly. Ned’s daughter read to him from the gospels and he knew his children were blessed with a future.
Everyone marvelled at how ‘lucky’ the family had been. Ned of course gave all the credit to God, and His travelling preacher, for helping him do the right thing, just once, just one small decision one day after work, and giving him that tiny seed of strength that was just enough for him to heed the little voice setting him, and his whole family, on the right path.
“Never mind turning water into wine” Ned would say “He can sure turn beer into food and clothes”.
Once apon a time, well in the 1880’s actually, there was a general labourer who lived in a fairly average town somewhere in northern England. His name was Ned.
Ned had grown up in a fairly rough family, fourth of nine children living in a tiny cottage. As a boy he remembered being mostly cold, hungry, dirty and being scolded by his mother and, on the odd occasion that he didn’t manage to avoid his father, “feeling the back of his hand” searing across his head.
Ned had an ambition to have a better life than this and to give his children a better life. Nothing grand maybe but decent food, warmth, safety and security. Ned couldn’t read or write but he was strong and he could work. With the advent of the railways Ned decided to become a Navvy (navigational engineer) and be involved with building the new railway! He worked hard too. He also drank hard. He was ‘a good lad’ he liked the pub, he liked that beer stopped his aching limbs ache quite so much. He especially liked the warm softness of a lass in his arms.
Ned eventually had a wife and a child on the way. Clearly he couldn’t follow the railway with this ‘ball and chain’ so resentfully he found a labouring job and a small cottage to rent. By the time his third child was on the way, Ned saw that his children’s’ lives were now pretty much the same as his had been. He still liked the pub after work, the comradeliness of the working lads there. It made it easier to go home to a whining wife, and generally his children were at least asleep before he got there so he didn’t have to deal with them. That was his missus’s business anyway.
He couldn’t believe how much she’d changed in only five years. She always used to be up for a laugh and a cuddle. Now all she did was moan about not having this or that. On and on she went. And more often than not when he climbed into bed she’d turn her back to him.
One evening after a long day he popped into the local tavern on his way home, as was his custom. And why not? He worked hard,he deserved a drink or two. As usual the lads were bantering by the bar. Their talk was, well pretty base, and tonight he found it tiresome, perhaps because he was tired, worn out well before his thirtieth birthday. A travelling preacher sat at the window table, having a meal, reading what Ned thought must be a bible. Ned thought preaching must be a good job as the man was about his age but looked ten years younger. He was clean too, and looked decently fed.
The preacher noticed Ned too. He motioned him over, offering him a seat. ‘May as well take the weight off my tired legs’ Ned thought and sat down. The preacher asked Ned about himself, his story and nodded with understanding. He listened to Ned’s complaining. He even told Ned a bible story or two. He knew a lot about men like Ned, he was a travelling preacher, preaching to the Navvies. Ned like him.
The following day the preacher was in the pub again having his evening meal. Again Ned sat with him and the preacher told him all about how God could help him get his dream back on track, how his marriage could be healed, how his little ‘uns could have a better life. This seemed pie in the sky to Ned, but he liked the preacher and he did enjoy his time with him.
On the third night, the preacher’s last night in town, Ned prayed with him, quietly at a corner table that Jesus would save his soul. To be honest he didn’t hold out much hope, and he was very glad ‘the lads’ never saw!
The next night he was on his way from work to the pub when a little inkling at the back of his mind prompted him to think he might just as well go home and see how his wife was, pregnant and all, and maybe see just how his kids were.
He heard the shouting and whining as he turned into his row of cottages. His two were running riot in the kitchen, grumbling about their bellies. He was surprised how scruffy they were though, and thin. The cottage looked pretty tatty too. What did his wife do with all their money???
Nell saw her husband coming in and panicked… He never came straight home, something must have happened. Nell braced herself for bad news, or at the very least a hard time off him for the state of the place. She knew he wouldn’t understand she had no soap to clean anything or anyone never mind clothes and that. The fire was tiny but it was all that they could afford, tea was a stew with barely any meat in it, mostly just onions which were cheap at the minute and there was no bread left.
Nell backed into the shadows of the fireplace as Ned came in.
To be continued… (part 2 here)