Wednesday, April 30, 2008


The remainder of those things that JW's believe.

10. Heaven: Only 144,000 individuals go to heaven. This "little flock" began with the twelve apostles, and the number wa filled by the year 1935. Approximately 9,000 elderly JW's are the only remaining ones on earth today who will go to heaven, with the rest of the Jehovah's Witnesses hoping to live on earth forever.
11. Hell: Following the lead of its founder, Charles T. Russell, the Watchtower Society still teaches that hades is merely the grave, that the fire of Gehenna instantly disintegrates its victims into nothingness, and that there is no conscious existence for the dead until the time of their bodily resurrection.
12. Holidays: Celebration of any "worldly holiday" is strickly forbidden for JW's. This prohibition applies to U.S. presidents birthdays, Valentines's Dady, Memorial day, Christmas, Easter, New Years Day, Thanksgiving, Good Friday and so on, even Mother's day and Father's day! Even if a "pagan origin" cannot be researched as the basis for banning a particular observance, the simple fact that"worldly people" celebrate it is sufficient reason for the JW's not to celebrate it.
13. Holy Spirit: The HOly Spirit is neither God nor a person, according to Watchtower teaching. "It" is simply an impersonal "active force" that God uses in doing his will.
14. Hope: JW's believe that God stopped calling Christians to a heavenly hope back in the year 1935. Since then, he has been offering people the opportunity to live forever on earth. ("Millions now living will never die" is a familiar JW's slogan) God will destroy everyone else on the planet, leaving only JW's, and he will rstore a Garden-of-Eden paradise for them worldwide.
15. Jesus Christ: In Watchtower theology, Jesus Christ is a mere angel--the first one that God created when he started creating angels. Witnesses identify Christ as Michael the archangel, although they call Jesus "the Son of God"--because "the first spirit person God made was like a firstborn son to him" . They also call him "a god", and translate John 1:1 accordingly in their Bible.
16: Organization: Witnesses believe that God set up the Watchtower organization as his channel of communication to gather together those of mankind who will be saved. as the visble agency of the kingdom of God on earth, this organization exercises full governmental authority over believers--it promulgates laws, puts violators on trial, operates Kingdom schools, and so on--parallel to the secular government. If there is a conflict between the two, the organization is to be obeyed, rather than the secular rulers. (In the Witnesses minds, they are obeying God rather than men, Acts 5:29)
17. Resurrection: Concerning Christ, JW's believe that he became nonexistent when he died and that he was raised three days later as a "spirit" --an angel. They deny his bodily resurrection. Going along with their teaching that Christ returned invisibly in 1914, Witnesses believe that he raised dead Christians to spirit life shortly thereafter, and that the rest of the human dead will be raised bodily during the thousand year reign of God's kingdom.
18: Salvation: Although giving lip service to salvation through faith in Christ, Witnesses actually believe that salvation is impossible apart from full obedience to the Watchtower Society and vigorous participation in its prescribed works program. Even Individual JW's who are not sufficiently zealour for the organization may not survive Armageddon, and those who do make their way into the earthly paradise must maintain good works throughout Christ's thousand year reign before they can be sealed for life.

OK, my next blog will include some of those questions that need to be ask. I hope this is being helpful, if it is, tell me, I would like to know if you are really reading this and if it helps. If it doesn't help, then I need to move on to something that does.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What J W believes

Ok, I think I need to explain what JW's believe before I give you the questions to ask. If you know what they believe, you may think of questions to ask that I can't think of. So here in a nutshell is what I have learned that JW's believe.

1.Armageddon: God will soon wage war against mankind, destroying everyone on earth except Jehovah's Witnesses. The churches of Christendom, they say, will be the first to be destroyed.

2.Birthdays: Celebrating a birthday in any manner is strickly forbidden. Even sending a birthday card can bring swift action against the offender by an official "judicial committee". The punishment is "disfellowshiping".

3. Blood Transfusions: In actual practice, JW's view accepting a blood transfusion as a sin more serious than theft or adultery. Thieves and adulterers are more quickly forgiven by Watchtower judicial committees than individuals found guilty of taking blood. A Witness must refuse blood in all circumstances, even when this is certain to result in death. The organization also requires adults to refuse transfusions for their minor children.

4. Christianity: Except for a few scattered individuals who kept the faith, true Christianity vanished fromthe face of the earth shortly after the death of the twelve apostles according to Jehovah's Witnesses. It was not restored until Charles Taze Russell set up the Watchtower Organization in the late 1870's. When Christ returned invisibly in 1914, he found Russell's group doing the work of the "faithful and wise servant" Matt. 24"25 and appointed them over all his belongings. All other churches and professed Christians are actually tools of the devil.

5. Christ's Return: The Lord returned invisibly in the year 1914 and has been present ever since, ruling as King on earth thorugh the Watchtower Society. References to the second "coming" are rendered as "presence" in the Jehovah's Witness Bible. The generation of people who witnessed Christ's invisible return in 1914 will not pass away before Armageddon comes. (See Matt. 24:34

6. Chronology: Jehovah's Witnesses believe that God has a precise timetable for all past and future events, tied together by simple mathmatical formulae and revealed to mankind through the watchtower Society. The seven "days" of the Genesis creation account were each seven thousand years long, for a total "week" of forty-nine thousand years. God created Adam in the year 4026 B,C.. His creation of Eve a short time later marked the end of the Sixth Creative Day and the beginning of the Seventh. therefore, we are now approximately 6,000 years into that 7,000 year period--- which means that Armageddon will soon put an end to 6,000 years of human toil, making way for a Sabbath-like though-year reign of Christ. On the basis of this chronology, the JW organization has promulgated a nuber of specific end-times prophecies.

7. Cross: According to Jehovah's Witnesses, the cross is a pagan religious symbol adopted by the church when Satan, the devil, took control of ecclesiastical authority. It had nothing to do with Christ's death, since JW's maintain that he was nailed to a straight upright pole without a crossbeam. Witnesses abhor the cross, and new convertss are expected to destroy any crosses they may have, rather than simply dispose of them.

8. Deity: The Father alone is God, and true worshipers must call him by the name Jehovah. Witnesses are taught that Jesus Christ was merely a manifestation of Michael the archangel in human form---not God, but a mere created being. The Holy Spirit is presented as neither God nor a person but, rather, as an "active force".

9. disfellowshiping: This is the punishment for any infraction of Watchtower organizational regulations. It consists of a public decree, announced to the audience at a Kingdom Hall meeting and prohibiting all association or fellowship with the offender. Other Witnesses are forbidden even to say "Hello" if they encounter the offender on the street. The only exceptions are that family members may conduct "necessary business" with a disfellowshiped person, and elders may speak to him if he approaches them repentantly to seek reinstatement.

OK, this is half of their major beliefs that I know of. Because it is so long, I will give you the other half tomorrow or when I can get a chance to write them down. When we get to know their beliefs, I will give you some questions and some scripture that they use and scripture you can use to combat their unbelief.

What to do if they come a knocken

This is mostly in Beth's response to my last Blog. What she said was, I ask questions and they left and didn't come back. Obviously, that certainly solved the problem of them coming, "knocken on your door" but it didn't solve their problem.
Now keep in mind, that I was convicted about not knowing enough to even ask the questions. Beth is right in her response that rather than saying "I'm right, your wrong," "Jesus is God, no matter what you say", "I'm saved, your going to Hell"
It is much better to ask questions rather than having a scriptural "shoot out". When then happens, the wounded and bleeding JW runs back to his or her elder for protection and comfort. They patch him or her up by explaining away damaging verses and warn them not to listen to "argumentative" householders again in their door to door preaching. So they don't come back. You see the JW is taught that the human mind can only absorb a little information at a time and therefore, JW plan at least a six month study with people they are trying to convert. They don't try to bombard us with an "Adam to Amageddon" sermon on the first visit. Perhaps we could learn from this process and learn to ask questions that causes the JW to have to contemplate his or her answer. Remember, you are trying to teach a JW to "unlearn false Watchtower doctrines and relearn Biblical Truths." and they can just digest so much at a time. Jesus said in John 16:12 "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now." All of us are in this same position, we can just gather in so much information and be able to understand it. How many times as you read scripture, do you find Jesus asking questions to his disciples, to the people that were hearing him? We can tell them that they have been deceived, the Watchtower organization is a false prophet, you need to get saved, but until the Spirit of God convicts and convinces, they will just be offended by our words and they will conclude what they have been told, We are the deceived and we are the ones going to hell. Empathy is so very important when reaching out to these misled individuals. How would you want others to speak to you, if you were the one who was misled.

I will give you questions to ask in my next blog. I have to go to a meeting right now, but hopefully I will do this today.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Jehovah's Witnesses Is a Cult that's accursed

Well, I'm sure that each person who reads this blog will be able to relate to having two people come to your front door trying to peddle their false doctrine and give you information that is nothing more than idiotic propaganda. They always come at the worst possible times. They can flip through their bibles with amazing speed, quoting chapter and verse to "prove" that Jesus Christ is just an angel, that he died on an upright stake instead of on an old cruel cross, that accepting blood transfusion is as sinful as adultery, and the the Watchtower Society in Brooklyn, New York, is God's modern-day "prophet", his "channel of communication."
I would like to know how you respond to these intrusive knocks at your door?
Do you drive them from your doorstep with a harsh rebuke? Do you run them off as you shout, "Deceivers and Liars"? As they leave, do you condem them to hell?
Do you have apathy rather than anger by saying, "I'm sorry, I'm not interested" or I'm sorry, I'm busy? Perhaps, you respond by saying, "no thanks, I'm a Methodist, or Baptist. If you use the term, "I'm sorry, but" soso soso soso soso soso, they will politely respond by saying "I'm sorry too"! Then they will tell you to have a nice day and move on to your neighbors house.
How do you really handle this. You know they are persistant and will continue to come back and back and back. Do you know the reason they keep coming back? For one thing, they believe that you will be destroyed in the imminent Battle of Armageddon unless you come to Jehovah's organization for salvation. They think they are trying to save your life. But even more than that, they beleive that they will not survive Armageddon unless they engage in this door-to-door preaching work under the direction of God's organization.
Most Jehovah's Witnesses are, in all sincerity, doing their best to serve God. They are like the unbelieving Jews of whom Paul wrote, "...they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and goiing about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God." Rom. 10:2-3 They really are victims of victims---blind followers or blind leaders. They need to escape from the salvation-through works treadmill that makes them obedient servants of a multibillion-dollar religious empire. They need liberation from the oppressive yoke that wieghs them down on their shoulders; yet they have been led to believe that it is the very carrying of that yoke that will save them--and that anyone who seeks to dissuade them is a deceiver sent by Satan.
How will you handle this knock that will come to your door at some time or other?
I suggest you find out what they believe, then I recommend that you get more familiar with what you believe and be prepared. I thought I was, but I was not.
I have since decided I wanted to know more about what this "cult" believes and how I can bring glory and honor to Christ by sharing the "true gospel" with them.
How will you hanlde your next knock at your door?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Don't you just love your Bible

Today in my quiet time, I just come to the conclusion that I just love my Bible. The only Book that God ever wrote and It speaks to me as if God is right there speaking the Truths that His book contains. 1 Thessalonians 2:13 says; "For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the Word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe. This is the way I feel. I hear it, I read it and I know that it is God who is speaking and God cannot lie, therefore it is Truth and that Truth effects the way I act, speak and relate to others. Thank God for the Bible, God's Holy Word. It is a light unto my path, lamp unto my feet, I hide His Words in my heart so that I will not want to sin against Him. Do you love God's Word? Does His Word speak to your heart?Does His Word change your life? Let me know what you think about the Word of God.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Knowing God's Will?

Have you ever been guilty of saying, "I just don't know what God wants me to do in this case," or I really wish I knew for sure what God wanted me to do". I think we all occassionally say these words without really understanding the real meaning of what we want to know. Does it really make sense to you, that the God of this universe, the creator of heaven and earth, your creator has a plan for you and that He would hide it from you? We say that we know He has a plan but very few of us search out that plan and even fewer of us actually fit into His plan for our lives. So for just a minute or two, lets see what is God's will for your life. You see, I do believe that God has a plan and I believe that your plan is most likely somewhat like my plan but perhaps in some ways different. There are absolutes in God's planning for each of us and let's look at them and make sure that we are fitting into His plan for our lives. I don't want you to automatically or arbatriarily think that just because something happens, it is or is not God's will such as; "I've been offered this job so it must be God's will, I've been approved for this loan so it must be God's will. Circumstances occur and we must understand that just because they happen is not the plus or minus of God's will in our lives. Here we go;

#1. God's primary will for people is that they turn to Christ and be saved.
2 Peter 3:9 1 Timothy 2:3-4
Once we are saved, then God has certain things He wants us to do and things
He doesn't want us to do.
#2 He has actually laid out for us certain good works to do to His glory. God's
will is something for us to do, not just to believe or affirm. Ephesians 2:9-10
Mark 3:31-35 1 John 2:17
#3 What is to God's glory is also to our good. Matthew 16:26, Matthew 25:21
Luke 2:10, John 16:7, 1 Cor. 7:35, Ephesians 6:8 Your only going to be
satisfied being where God wants you to be.
#4 God gave us His Word so we could know His will. Then it must be His will
that we read His word to find out those deep, seemingly hidden things of God
1 Cor. 2:9-10; Psalms 119:105
#5 God wants us to be sexually pure, 1 Thess. 4:3-7, He wants us to flee from
Temptation, 1 Cor. 6:18; He wants us to keep our minds pure. Matt. 15:19-20
Matt. 5:28; Proverbs 4:23; Psalms 119:37 Phil. 4:8
#6 God says those who don't know His will are unwise, and it is God's will that
we be filled and controlled by His Holy Spirit. Eph. 5:17-18
#7 God says we don't have wisdom because we don't ask for it---so prayer is
critical in seeking and living the will of God. James 1:5 When we are
controlled by the Holy Spirit, we will not commit the acts of the sinful
nature. Gal. 5:19-21 We will produce the fruit of the Spirit, Gal.5:22-23
and we will worship the Lord, teach each other and give thanks to God
while serving others. Eph. 5:17-33
#8 God wants us to live in submission to God-given authority, so that others
may see our willingness to humble ourselves as servants. 1 Peter 2:13-15
This also means we recognize God as our highest authority and put
obedience to Him above obedience to men. Acts 4:18-20
#9 Contrary to false claims of the health and wealth gospel, sometimes God's
will is taht we go through difficult times, even suffering, to accomplish His
purpose in us and through us. 1 Peter 3:17. Never be surprised by suffering
1 Peter 4:19
#10 The Bible is the revealed will of God. If you want to live in His will, then
"Let the Word of Christ dwell in your richly." Col. 3:16 Fill your heart
and mind with the Word of God, trust in His empowerment to obey Him,
and confess and repent when you disobey and fail. IF you do all this,
you will be living in the will of God.

Finally, Romans 12:1-2 tells us that we should be living out Holy, sacrificial
lives, which is a very reasonable expectation from God and that we should not
listen to what the world has to say, but allow God to "Transform" us and we do all this to prove out God's will for our lives.
Hope this helps you find the will of God in your life and remember, you can't find the will of God until you first find God.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Is your spending out of control?

For many people, spending money is an addictive behavior. It's much like an alcoholic or a gambler. The issue with people like this is not the seductive power of "things" but it is the enemy that lives inside that person. Short term gradification needs to be replaced with self control. Galatians 5:22-23 says that self control is a part of the fruit of the Spirit. No where do I find that self gradification is a part of the Spirit, therefore, a person who has this problem is not walking in the Spirit and may not even be living in the Spirit of Christ. Proverbs 25:28 says, "Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man (or woman) who lacks self-control". When we allow the walls of our life to be broken down, then we are acceptable to any and all the wilds of the devil to enter our lives. How do we exercise self-control in the area of spending? Following, are 10 ways that we can exercise that thing called self-control in spending;
1. Realize that nothing is a good deal if you can't afford it. It's always a bad choice to spend money on a "good deal" we can't afford.
2. Recognize that God isn't behind every good deal. Even if you can afford it, doesn't mean that is God's plan for you.
3. Understand the difference between spending money and saving money. If you buy an $80. sweater on sale for $30 and we think we've just saved $50., we simply don't understand the concept of saving, Where is the $50. we think we saved? It doesn't exist. All we've done is spend $30. If you keep saving like this, you'll soon be broke!
4. Look at the long-term cost, not just the short-term expense. Everything we buy usually cost us more in the long run. Get a "free puppy" and see after two years how much you have spent on that free Puppy. Buy a new car thinking that it's better to buy new rather than used and see how much that new car actually cost.
(insurance, worry about the possibility of wrecks, etc'
5. Pray before you spend. Do you believe when you have a very legitimate need, God will provide it for you some how? Many times we take these matters into our own hands and never allow God to do only what God can do by impulsively buying before giving God the opportunity to provide through other means. Have you ever bought something to learn that 30 days later, God would have provided it free or at minimal cost if only we had ask Him.
6. Examine every purchase in light of its ministry potential. Everytime we spend money, we gain something and we lose something. What we lose isn't merely money but what could have been done with the money if used in another way. Treasures in heaven vs. Treasures on earth.
7. Understand and resist the nanipulative nature of advertising. Advertising is seductive and manipulative. It programs us. We must seriously reject their claims and counter them with God's Word.
8. Learn to walk away from things you want but don't need. What more can I say.
9. Realize that little things add up. I use to stop at Quick Trip and get a cup of coffer every morning spending a dollar every morning. Not much money you say, but think of it. $1 per day, $5 per week, $20 per month $240 per year. on and on.
10. Set up a budget and live by it. Imagine you entrust a large sum to a money manager, telling him to take out only what he needs to live on and then wisely invest the bulk of it on your behalf. A few month later, you call him to see how the investments are doing. Embarrassed by your call, he admits, "There are no investments. None of your money is left. " Shocked you ask, "Where did it all go?"
Sheepishly, your money manager responds, "Well, I can think of some expenses here and there, but for the most part I really can't say. There was this and that, and next thing I knew, it was all gone."
How would you feel, What would you think? How does God feel and what does God think? It all belongs to Him and He allowed you to take care of yourself and invest into His kingdom. This is serious and must be addressed by all God's children.

Hope this helps.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Well, I've always said that I wanted to use this blog to share my ministry with people who care to read about it. I guess in a way, what I'm about to share is also part of my ministry. As a real young boy, even before I accepted Christ as Savior, I just knew that God was calling me into ministry. However, all I knew about ministry was Pastors and I knew they were poor and didn't make much money. I didn't want to be poor so I just continued to say "no" to God and continued to be as bad as I could, believing He would eventually leave me alone. When I say bad, I mean bad, but I will leave that to your imagination. Some 40 years later, God never left me alone, He continued to call me. I answered that call as Director of Stewardship at my church. It's been a great ride and I wish I had never said no back there when I was young. That's another story and maybe tell it sometime. The first year was more than I could have imagined and I needed help within that first year. I was finally given the OK to hire a secretary. Now knowing me better than most, I decided I wanted to find someone at least in their mid to late 50's, way past the child bearing age, I wanted someone who was homely and unattractive but someone who knew computers because I was as dumb as a coal bucket when it came to computers. I had applications and was almost ready to hire that person and believe me she fit all the above and move especially when I speak of unattractive. A friend of mine, suggested that I talk to someone that he knows prior to hiring this unattractive lady that I was sure was the right person. I only agreed to interview this person in respect to my friend. The appointment was set up and she came into my office for the interview. Good grief! Here before my eyes was a young 25 year old girl, good looking, married but separated, two young children, struggling to make ends meet, shy enough to not speak unless you beat it out of her, but she knew computers. Almost everything, I didn't want. I had already made my mind up, but I had to interview her because I agreed to. We had our interview and I was glad it was over. Now I could move on to bigger and better things, besides, I had a ministry to run. Well, when I started to call the older, unattractive lady to offer her the job, it was if God said, "NO" I called, and I got the wrong number, I called again and I got a recording, I called again and I got a recording that said the phone had been disconnected. I had just talked to this lady the day before. What was going on, why was I having problems getting back in touch with this lady, I wanted to offer her the job. It was if God were saying to me, "NO' this is not what I want. I want you to hire this young lady, you know the one with all the issues. I didn't need issues in a new ministry. I created enough issues without hiring one. God would not allow me to hire anyone but this young lady. It was clear, it was not what I wanted, yet it was what God wanted. I argued with God, OK God, when I hire her and she has a divorce and she gone all the time and she needs to take her children to the doctor and she calls in and says she has to stay home with a sick child, then you just remember, I didn't want to hire her , you did. So I called this young lady back and offered her the job reluctantly. I was hoping she had found something that she liked better but she agreed and there I was. HOOKED. By the way, this young ladies name is Shelley. Shelley was shy, so I thought, but I quickly found out that Shelley could outtalk the best of us. Surprisingly, she knew scripture, she knew more than I did. It was obvious, that this young lady was more inside than what the outside showed. She spoke of faith, she was willing to take back her sorry old husband who had cheated on her. She really would. I quickly found out that the outside package of Shelley was very different than the apparent inside package. 1 Samuel 16:7 is very correct. I could only see the outside, but God was looking on the inside and was doing a great work. I would have never immagined Shelley being the beautiful young lady she is today. You see, God was protecting Shelley by bringing her to the Stewardship Ministry. I beleive that she was vulnerable during those days and God was protecting her by keeping her close to His people, His work, and His Word. Fast forward, Shelley found a drug addict at church whom God had radically changed and they soon were married. He loved Shelley's girls like they were his. They have since had a son of their own and he is a "hoot". He's not to fond of me right now, but hopefully that will change someday. Shelley has begun her own ministry and you can read about it at God is using Shelley today speaking into the lives of women. She is real in everyway and she is a great influence on those she comes in contact with. I really love Shelley in a special way because I believe God has His hand on her and I blelieve that our time together was God appointed. Today she calls me "Pops" and I am privledged to call her daughter. Oh yes, I know that her real parents are proud of her but I am too. God bless you Mrs. Shelley.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Which Kingdom do you belong to?

In my quiet time today, I was reading in Luke chapter 22 and 23 and I came across a word that confused me. Thank God for tools to help us understand. The Disciples were arguing among themselves as to which of them should be considered the greatest. Must have been Baptist! Can you imagine, grown men, trying to think of themselves as the greatest in the Kingdom. In fact, I'm certain that if the real truth be known, some of them were thinking that perhaps they were greater than Christ Himself. Yes I can imagine right now that your thinking, How could they? Yet, if the truth be known, most of us at some time think we are greater than Christ. You ask, How do we do that? Easy when we think we know more than Christ, when we are disobedient to Christ, When Christ says yes or no and we say the opposite. Hear what Jesus has to say about this argument that the disciples were having. In vs 25 And He said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called "Benefactors." That's the word that confused me until I read what it meant. Thought I knew, but apparently I didn't. A benefactor is an honorary title bestowed on kings or other prominent people for some meritorious acheivement or public service. The title in Greek is Euergetes and was held by some of the Hellenistic kings of Egypt. Wow! It's obvious that the disciples didn't understand this term either. They wanted to be the greatest, the over acheiver, the one in authority and over all others. In fact, one would not earn the title of "benefactor" from service rendered in the kingdom of God. In contrast to the conspicuous work needed to earn the title "benefactor", the members of the kingdom are to devote themselves to humble, obscure, and perhaps menial service. Guess that busted some bubbles that day. You mean that we got to serve rather than being served? You mean we are servants rather than kings? Jesus said, "But not so among you" If you want to be greatest, then be the least, don't aspire to be a king, but be a servant. why? Because Jesus saw Himself as one who serves. He came to seek and to save all that was lost. We cannot continue to think the way the world thinks and come close to where Jesus is. Ask yourself? Do I want to be a benefactor or a servant?

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Prosperity Gospel?

The prosperity Theology or the Gospel of Wealth is about as prevalent today as ever before. We hear this type of Gospel from "preachers" who stand before camera's and some even before their congregations and rebuke the "spirit of poverty". By doing this, they are assuring their audiance that material prosperity will come their way if they do as they are being told. We're told that we need to get into true biblical prosperity as the wise men did many years ago. We're told the money they brought literally met the financial needs of Mary, Joseph, and the child in their desperate hour. Now, by sending money to the evangelist in his desparate hour, according to their communication to us, one may expect to become materially prosperous, just like the wise men who gave generously to baby Jesus. You may say even right now, I haven't heard this before. Well, "preachers, evangelist" like this represent a large and visable segment of American Evangelicalism that subscribes to what is call "prosperity theology," or "the health and wealth gospel." This worldview thrives , in churches and in parachurch ministries, only because such men have willing supporters, eager to get their share of the prosperity pie. I'm not talking about someone outside the church but this seems to be very previlent inside the church. It addresses the attitudes and lifestyles of millions of mainstream Christians who, to varying degrees and sometimes without realizing it, have bought into a lie of prosperity theology.
Due to lack of time today, I'm going to let this stop right here, but if you would like to hear more on this subject and about what God has to say about this issue, then I just might take it even further. God bless and I'm wishing everyone who reads my blog, a very blessed day. Never forget, this day is a gift from God and God has a plan for this day for you.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

10 ways Materialism brings us to ruin

In my last post, I promised to share with you the ways Materialism creates ruin in our lives. Keep in my, that I am a Stewardship Pastor and so everything that I share with you is never original since most of what I write to you is from the Bible. I also quote and in some cases actually reprint what someone else wrote. So if you see something that you've seen before, just remember, I don't claim fame to any of this. I will let you know when I become original. OK Here we go.

1. Materialism prevents or destroys our spiritual life: In Rev. 3:17-18 Jesus rebuked the Laodicean Christians because although they were materially wealthy, they were desperately poor in the things of God. Just as in the Laodicean's, Materialism blinds us to our own spiritual poverty. Puritan Richard Baxter said, "When men prosper in the world, their minds are lifted up with their estates, and they can hardly believe that they are so ill, while they feel themselves so well."
Materialism is a friutless attempt to find meaning outside of God. When we try to find ultimate fulfillment in a person other than Christ or a place other than heaven, we become idolaters. In Jeremiah 2: 11-13 God tells us that materialism is not only evil, it is tragic and pathetic.
2. Materialism blinds us to the curses of wealth: In January 28, 1960 edition of the Washington Post, John Steinbedk wrote a letter to Adlai Stevenson which stated,
We can stand anything God and nature can throw at us save only plenty, If I wanted to destroy a nation, I would give it too much, and I would have it on its knees, miserable, greedy, sick. Ezekiel 28:4-5 says, "By your wisdom and understanding you have gained wialth for yourself and amassed gold and silver in your treasuries. By your great skill in trading you have increased your wealth, and because of your wealth your heart has grown proud." Hosea 13:6 puts it this way,
"When I fed them, they were satisfied, when they were satisfied, they became proud: then they forgot me." Mark 10:23-25 suggest that the possession of riches is almost always a spiritual liability. Jesus says that it is hard for a rich man to enter God's kingdom, and if being a part of the kingdom of heaven is the highest blessing a person can receive, then how can we imagine that having riches is always a blessing from God? Was God blessing the rich fool? the rich man who neglected Lazarus? the wealthy and wicked kings of Israel, Babylon, and Assyria?
3. Materialism brings us unhappiness and anxiety: Ever played the "If only" game? If ony I could get a raise, If only I could get a better paying job, if only I could buy a new car, if onlly I could get that boat, country cottage, dress, rifle, or toy, then I would be happy. If ony I had more money, I'd give more. These ideas are all contrary to scripture. Jesus says if a man is not faithful with little, he will not be faithful with much. Listen to what some wealthy men said, "I have made many millions, but they have brough me no happiness=John D. Rockefeller
"The care of $200 million is enough to kill anyone, there is no pleasure in it" W. H. Vanderbilt. "I am the most miserable man on earth" John Jacob Astor
"I was happier when doing a mechanic's job" Henry Ford. "Millionaires seldom smile" Andrew Carnegie. The wealthiest man ever to live was Solomon and in Ecclesiastes 5:12 he said, the more we have, the more we have to worry about.
4. Materialism ends in ultimate futility: The book of Ecclesiastes is the most powerful expose of mateialism ever written. Solomon recounts his attempts to find meaning in pleasure, laughter, alcohol, folly, building projects, and the pursuit of personal interests, as well as in amassing slaves, gold and silver, singers, and a huge harem to fulfill his sexual desires. He acheived the ultimate success and international fame living by this philosopy: "I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure" 2:10 The more Solomon had, the more he was tempted to indulge. His indulgence led to sin, and his sin brough misery. In chapter 5: 10-15 are statements that Solomon finally come to conclusion with. Everything was meaningless!
5. Materialism obscures many of the best things in life, which are free--including the gift of salvation: Did you know that some of life's greatest blessings are free to both rich and poor. Isaiah 55:1 says "come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come buy wine and milk without money and without cost." Rev. 22:17 gives that same invitation. The greatest thing worth having doesn't cost, in fact it's free to all. In fact it cant' be bought with money, regardless of how much you have. "ITS FREE!"
John Piper helps us envision the final irony of materialism:
Picture 269 people entering eternity in a plane crash in the Sea of Japan. Before the crash there is a noted politician, a millionaire corporate executive, a playboy and his playmate, a missionary kid on the way back from visiting his grandparents. After the crash they stand before God utterly stripped of mastercards, checkbooks, credit lines, image cloths, how-to-succeed books, and Hilton reservations. Here are the politician, the executive, the playboy, and the misisonary kid, all on level ground with nothing, absolutely nothing, in their hands, possession ony what they brought in their hearts. How absurd and tragic the lover of money will seem on that day----like a man who spends his whole life collecting trains tickets and in the end is so weighed down by the collection he misses the last train.
6. Materialism spawns independence and self-sufficiency, which are deadly to faith: Why have faith in God when you have faith in yourself? Why trust God when you have all your bases covered? Why pray when you have everything under control? Why ask for your daily bread when you own the bakery? Self-Sufficiency is the great enemy of faith and prayer, which are the hearbeat of the Christian life.
Alexander Maclaren writes: If we wnat to get needs supplied, our weakness strengthened, and wisdom to dispel our perplexity, we must be where all the pvovision is stored. If a man chooses to sit outside the provision shop, he may starve on its threhold. If a women willnot go into the ban, her pockets will remain empty though there may be bursting vaults to which she has a right. If we will not ascend the hill of the Lord and stand in His holy place by simple faith, God's amplest provision will be nothing to us, and we will be empty in the midst of affluence.
7. Materialism leads to pride and elitism: Deuteronomy 6:1-15; 31:20; 32:15-18 2 Chronicles 26:6-16; Psalm 49:5-6 52:7; Proverbs 30:8-9; Hosea 13: 4-6 are all references that prove our tendency in prosperity is to believe we deserve the credit for what we have and to grow proud and thankless. Paul says in 1 Cor. 4:7 "For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you di not? Paul tell Timothy in 1 Tim. 6:17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant. One of the uglier manifestations of pride is elitism, an illusion of superiority over others taht's held by a priviledged classs. Elitism is at the heart of racism, nationalism, and denominationalism. It is sometimes the driving force behind private clubs, restaurants,hotels, schools, fraternities, sororities, certain churches, and countless affiliations. Jesus came and died for every person of every social and economic level. Paul reminded the proud Corinthians that the Church is made up of the dregs of this world. 1 Cor. 1:26-31 Few things are more repugnant to the Lord than the rich despising the poor. Job 12:5
8. Materialism promotes injustice and exploitation: Money is power. Power is not intrinsically evil, of course, but it is intrinsically dangerous. Only God is all powerful, and only our all-good God can afford to be. James condems the rich, virtually assuming that anyone who is rich practices injustice to the poor and will come under God's judgement as a result. James5:1-6
Not in all cases, but in more than most, the rich man will usually be materialistic. The materialistic man will always be unjust. The wealthier the man, the greater his opportunity for injustice. Of course, the wealthy man is no more inherently sinful than the poor---he simply has more means and opportunity to subsidize and impose his sins upon others.
9: Materialism fosters immorality and the dterioration of the family: Motiveshaving to do with money or sex accouont for 99 percent of the crimes committed in the U.S., but those with mney as their object outpoint sexual offenses by a ratio of four to one. Materialism underlies the vast majority of illega activities. For years studies have shown that "among both men and women the indicence of marital infidelity rises in conjunction with an increase in income." Indeed, of men who income isn't far above minimum wage, 31 percent conduct adulterous affairs but of those with triple that income the number committing adultery increases to 70 percent. A consequence of adultery is often divorce, and the consequences of divorce in the lives of children are inesimable. Even when adultery doen't result in divorce, it destroys the fabric of marriage and prevents the home from being a moral sanctuary from the corruption of the world. Anything that contributes to an increase in immorality, as materialism clearly does, directly contributes to the breakdown of families and the deterioration of society.
10. Materialism distracts us from our central purpose: John Wesley complained that too few preached against the sin of loving money,which he believed hindered revival: Wesley note that in the old days of Methodism, the people were poor. But, he observed....many Methodists had become 20,30, or even 100 times richer than they were at first. With this increase in wealth had come a decrease in godliness. It seemed to him the more money the Methodists had, the less they loved the Lord. In Matthew 13 Jesus tells a parable about various kinds of people who respond to the gospel. He said that some seed "fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants" He later explained what this meant. The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. In the parable of the great banquet, Jesus describes invitations that went out to three men. All three declined. Why, because they had more important, more pressing concerns, more distractions if you will. They were not doing bad things, just more important things , a new field, a new wife, a new herd. They were preoccupied with their new treasures. Now we must ask ourselves this question: For what seemingly good, legitimate, and compelling reasons are we saying NO to God's invitation to us? Are your possessions and other pressing concerns causing you to miss the banquet?

Hope this has helped you as you determine if any of these issues belong to you.
Only you can answer this and only you and God know the real truth.