Lifestyle Abundantly?

Posted: June 23rd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: My Thoughts, Spirituality | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

prosperity1I was surfing the “God channels” on my TV a few weeks ago and after skipping through a couple of the regular faces, I ran into an individual I generally enjoy, and though I only caught a snippet of what was said, John 10:10 was mentioned, followed by some pretty heavy prosperity doctrine.

Here is the verse in several translations:

NIV: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Message: “A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.”

NKJ: “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

The last version was the one used.

I have taken the time recently to listen to some of this theology (names like Dollar, Meyer, White, Roberts, and Robertson (I love how some of their websites are .org)) I would like to pose the question, Is Jesus saying that if we follow Him, we will have “life abundantly,” or “lifestyle abundantly?”

The consensus I have come to is that these individuals are teaching “lifestyle abundantly.”

prosperity-gospelHonestly, I’m glad they have succeeded in making some money, and I would say they are definitely gifted fund raisers, but do they honestly believe that is what God wants for his people?  Is it wrong for followers of Christ to have wealth? By no means do I believe that.  I just think that these preachers (as well as parishioners) need to be more prudent in explaining that in the Bible, God’s blessing is not equal to an overflowing checkbook.

Looking in the Old Testament, you can clearly see that one sign of God’s blessing is wealth.  The short list contains Abraham, Job, David, and Solomon, who all had wealth that few today have achieved.  But it is just as clear that wealth does not always follow a faithful servant of God.  I think this list is just as long, including most of the prophets and disciples.  Clearly individuals like Elijah, John the Baptist, Peter, and John the Beloved were following the ways of God, yet their life in no way reflects this monetary blessing.  I still believe however that they did have the “abundant life” that Jesus says will follow his disciples.

With titles like 8 Steps to Create the Life You Want, Your Best Life Now, Total Life Prosperity, Miracle of Seed Faith, and Rich Church Poor Church it’s pretty clear the message that is being sent.  Why they are pushing this agenda for personal gain, or out of a misinterpretation of what Jesus says of abundant life, I am not sure of their motivation.  God alone knows their heart.  But it is clear that they need to bring some balance to the message.

The blessed abundant life that Jesus speaks of is one of relationship, joy, suffering, obedience, and service. See Matthew 10, Mark 10, and John 15 to start with.

I don’t believe it is wrong for Christians to have wealth, but don’t let it be your ambition.  Seek God first, and He will provide your needs.

prosperity-dummiesAnd unless it wasn’t already obvious to you, sending some minister on TV your first paycheck of the month, sowing a seed of $500, and becoming a “Gold Member” of someone’s ministry will not guarantee you any sort of return or Godly influx of cash.  Listening to the Father and obeying Him will however keep you in His blessing, and I am sure that whatever He decides your blessing will be is worth it.

Lastly, Abraham first left all, Job first lost all, David first suffered all, and Solomon, well you can read Ecclesiastes to know his thoughts on wealth.


- mooney

By whose authority?

Posted: May 18th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Spirituality | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

law-gavel_and_scalesI was reading in Matthew today and something really stood out to me.  It’s at the end of the beatitudes in Matthew 7.  After giving this wonderful teaching of which our Christian life should be modeled after, there is this little diddy (verses 28 and 29):

“When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.”

Ouch.  It sounds as though some of what Jesus was saying was not overly revolutionary in that it had been said by others before him.  The difference this time was that there was something different behind His words: Authority.

It really got me thinking about many of the sermons and books that I have consumed and taken part in over the years.  I can remember few where I have said, “Wow.  That was powerful,” at the end of them. Maybe it is because of this very thing mentioned by Matthew.  Those few were delivered with the authority of God behind them, which leads me to consider the others.  By whose authority were they given?

I think of my writing, and the content of much of it is just ranting, which is something delivered of my own authority, and I will be held accountable for that (ouch).  But really, we must consider the motivation and origin of what we consume and deliver, even if from “religious authority.”

Since I cannot help what others do, it has to start with me.

- God, please help me to discern what is originating from my own soul, and what is coming from yours.  Let it not be said that anything I do is out of a spirit of manipulation, self, or of my own authority, because these are dead words.  But help me discern your voice, and only be a vessel your words pour from.

Sebastian’s Voodoo

Posted: March 19th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Spirituality, Videos | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

I found a link to this video at my friend Christopher Hopper’s website, and thought I would pass it along.  Watching it, I ask myself, “How far am I really willing to go to answer the call of God, knowing that there is a world in need of a selfless act of love?  (John 15:13)

It’s Dark.  It’s Deep.

Leave your thoughts.

Edit: The site only has a quicktime version, so I also found it on youtube for your viewing pleasure.

Click photo for video

Click photo for video

Are you for us or for our enemies?

Posted: January 19th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: My Thoughts, Spirituality | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Well, once in awhile something in the Bible really gets to me; not in the upset way, but the haunting, don’t let me sleep well kind of way.  Such is it lately with the following verses from Joshua:

Joshua 5:13-14 – Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”
“Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?”

It seems I ask that question a lot about people and organizations. Are you for me, or against me? It’s wrecking me that the “commander of the army of the LORD” wasn’t there to take a side, but to represent the Father. That is where I should be also.  How many times, whether in politics, religion, or just with friends, do I go into a situation with prejudice, always wanting to and forcing others to take sides?

Unfortunately, this mindset also makes it into friend and family relationships.  I find myself thinking, “you’re with me, or against me,” which is probably not the case at all.  Oh that I could get to this point where I step off my soap box and realize that as a representative of God, it is not always my duty to demand friend or foe.

The general here said, “I don’t take sides, I obey God.”  Unfortunately in this case, Jericho was on God’s hit list of cities to bury.  As I go forward, I need to remember to ask God what I need to do in a situation instead of drawing my own line in the sand.  Who knows, maybe instead of throwing stones, He’ll ask me to tell them, “Go and sin no more.”


- mooney

Please don’t send China “our gospel”

Posted: March 2nd, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: My Thoughts, Spirituality | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

I heard an ad on the radio the other day that bothered me, and I can’t get it out of my my mind.  Maybe writing it out will be good therapy for me.  Maybe I’m off base a little on it, but it irritates me none the less.

The ad was more a fund raising promo.   The radio station was raising funds to build a church in China.  Now, at first, this sounded like a great idea to me.   Their culture seems to me to be less financially able to support a large church building project, so why not send a few bucks their way to help them out, right?   I guess I’m not very educated on what the government of China allows as far as open Christian worship, but apparently they don’t have a problem with the church this group is trying to put up.

The radio host threw some numbers out like “10,000 people come to know Christ EVERY DAY in  China, won’t you help provide a place of worship for them?”

Give me a break!  If they are truly having that many converts every day, why mess it up by sending them “our gospel”?   Obviously they are doing something right.  Last I heard, the church in China was underground and under severe persecution.  Sounds a lot like the New Testament church to me.

Why send them “our gospel” of big churches with big budgets?  It doesn’t appear to me to be very affective in our culture.  Something deep inside me screams, “Don’t do it! Don’t ruin what they have by injecting them with what we have. We should be learning from them!”

I’m not blasting people with big, beautiful churches; after all, many of the temples were extravagant places of worship.  Just let’s not be so eager to say we can improve on what they are doing.  Let’s not try to make them like us.  Instead encourage them in their race to be like Jesus, even if they way they get there looks a little different than how we are.

Peace and God bless,

- chris mooney

A different gospel?

Posted: January 8th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: My Thoughts, Spirituality | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments »

I heard a sobering statistic the other day, (I wish I knew where you can get the information as I feel like I’m spreading a rumor without a way to confirm it.) something along the lines that 96% of the people who “get saved”, backslide. I look at the kind of men that Jesus’ life produced — Men who eventually gave their physical lives and gave up all they called their own just to follow His teaching. I know that God’s power to change us is eternal. I know that we are new creations and all things have become new. I have to ask myself then, why the difference between His converts and ours? I am left only with the convicting words that we are either not living the life He did so that men may follow that example; or God forbid, we are preaching a different gospel. We have either only lived a tiny bit of what He taught, or we have led others to the feet of our idol called “Christian.”

This goes back to my post about Paul telling Timothy to imitate him. Jesus said those words earlier in John 5:1, “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.”

 I need to go pray now.

- mooney