Saturday, August 22, 2009

Million Dollar Jesus

I am probably going to have many people upset with this posting, but just this morning I was thinking about when Jesus entered the temple and tossed the priests out for turning His Fathers house into a den of thieves in Matthew 21 and I wondered, what would or does He think about the way our world is leaning towards Him today?
There are mega churches with so many members, no one can even get close enough to the pastor and his wife to talk to them. There are the tiny churches so small, services are held in homes. Recently in our area, a local bar closed down and a local church moved into the bar as a temporary place to worship.
Have you ever wondered why when you are (watching a teleevangelist) in need of prayer, you can get it for the low price of $25. What? How would Jesus react to these people collecting money for prayers and what makes our society feel the only way our prayers can be heard is to pay for someone else to pray for us? I remember vividly years ago going up to the front of our church for prayer & I was asked if my tithes were up to date? I went home and wept that in order for my church to pray for me, someone had to make sure my payments were up to date!
Not only were they, but I had secretly paid for our church bus to be towed when it broke down one night when I was the on duty dispatcher.
Jesus told us how to pray: 'Our Father Which Art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy name....'. I didn't read anywhere where Jesus told us to pay someone to pray for us. Why would or should we believe our own prayers mean so little to our great Father in Heaven? I do not remember Jesus taking payments for anyone He helped, but I do know He paid the ultimate price for us!
Years ago my family and I attended a church in Phoenix...Family Harvest Church and it was run by Pastors Reggie and Sadie Vinson, a beautiful looking couple and a charismatic couple. Reggie had been writing songs and running with rock groups and the music crowd for years and gotten himself into some bad habits (drinking, etc). One night in a hotel room, Reggie allowed God into his heart.
Our family loved our church and we loved Pastor Reggie, Sadie and their family...Reggies mom and their daughter Joy. Sadly, life and stuff got in the way and we quit attending Family Harvest, now, the church is just a memory. I noticed Pastor Reggie and Sadie divorced some time ago and when you look up Reggie on the internet, his site is now more dedicated to his song writings and his rock era than to God.
Sadly, I saw Pastor Reggie several years ago in a local WalMart in Arizona and when I walked up to say hello to him, he did all he could to make a quick get-away. I don't know what happened to the church, to the pastors, but something tells me, they were into the church for what they could receive more than what God could do. If I am wrong and someone reads this and knows more, please, set me straight.
Jim many people died in the jungle believing this man had special powers from God?
I am NOT stating that all televangelists or mega church pastors are bad, I am just saying we must not be so ready to part with our money to these people. If you attend a mega church and you love it, that is terrific, if you attend a small church and love it, that is alright as well.
I agree 100% we should pay our tithes and offerings the way Jesus and the Bible tell us to and that should be paid prior to anything else. But, don't send a televangelist $500 if it is all you have believing that sometime next week you will received $5000 in a windfall. God is gracious and giving, but he doesn't work on our time.
I am just as guilty about it as anyone else is. Sitting on my desk along are 3 womans devotionals alone:
A Woman's Garden of Faith, Hope & Love
God's Little Devotional Book for Moms
Starting Your Day Right
I also own several different translations of the Bible:
The Study Bible
The King James Bible
The New American Standard Bible (NAS)
Spirit Filled Bible For Women
Not to mention I have a huge family sized Bible and a Bible with 4 different translations in it, so if I don't understand one, I can go to this Bible for clarification. Each one fits a different purpose in my life. I still compare everything to the King James Version. For church I love the NAS and for studying I use the others.
We spend hundreds of thousands of millions of dollars to find out how we fit into the world, what is our purpose in life (have we found it yet?), how to be a woman of faith, of excellence of simplicity, of the home. We buy books on prayer for our sisters, parents, wifes, husbands, sons, etc. We buy into things about positive thinking will attract more wealth to us.
Has any of it happened? My purpose in life as I have taken the course 3 times and once with a womans counselor and what do I find out? I am supposed to write...I blog. I am supposed to help others (I quilt). And when I prayed the prayer of Jabez, I was blessed with new wisdom and how to cope with 3 sons in prison at the same time. Needless to say, I haven't prayed the prayer again, just fear of what my next blessing would be.
I am NOT saying these are not good books or good people, all I am saying is that we must first believe in Jesus Christ and then more than anything, we must believe in ourselves and the fact that God does have a special purpose for everyone of us, but it doesn't mean we need to toss our money to someone to pray for us. There is a purpose under heaven for everything and I know that first hand. I also know I have prayed and seen God perform miracles and healings, but it doesn't mean I am taking a show on the road.
I watched Pastor Kerry Shook this week and I throughly enjoyed his teachings and I laughed and rejoiced and he has a mega church, but he was offering something for his audience and what caught my ears and heart was: 'for any amount you send us, you will receive and if you need prayer please call us.' Not once did he say send me this amount and we will pray.
There are those out in televangelist land that I have no problem sending monies to for something they are offering or a book they just wrote that will help me on my walk with the Lord. I have followed Joyce Meyer teachings before she was writing books and when she was offering cassette tapes of her shows. I enjoy Beth Moore and Elizabeth George and Dave Ramseys course helped me get out of debt...once upon a time.
I am NOT saying all mega churches are bad, all televangelists are bad, all I am saying is before you decide to follow someone or attend a church, don't go because of the donuts and coffee they offer during services, or attend a church where casual dress is the norm if you believe dressing up is for church. Get out your bible and ask yourself is this a church Jesus would feel at home in or not?
If you feel so led to pay someone to pray for you, please, I will take donations and I will pray for you and others (only joking people). Honestly, I am not so sure if Jesus came back today, he would be happy to see everything that is going on in His name. Then again, I am not a bible scholar, I am just a woman, who is comfortable enough in her own skin to place my neck on the line with this post!


Helene said...

I am a member of a "mega" church. However it started over 30 years ago with very few people and just kept growing. There are good things and bad about a church that size with 4 regionals.

Helene said...

One more thing :-) I was raised jewish. As I grew older I realized you weren't welcome to come to the holiest day of the year unless you paid several hundred for your ticket.

Rannyjean said...

Helene, I totally agree with you about there being good and bad in a large church. I am NOT saying all mega churches are bad, but if they are mega because of the pastor and not the Lord...I have also been a part of a church where depending on how much money you gave the church depended on where you sat in the church, what jobs you performed, etc. That to me is man and not Jesus.
Thanks for not ripping my head off!