Seven Scriptures You’ll Never Hear in a Prosperity Gospel Church

One of the ways you know you are in an unbalanced, unbiblical church is by asking yourself are there any Scriptures you would never hear preached, taught, or quoted there?

Prosperity Gospel churches have an extreme emphasis on being wealthy and being healthy. In a Prosperity Gospel church the chances of you hearing one of the Scriptures below is infinitesimal:

Proverbs 30.7-9

7 Two things I request of You
(Deprive me not before I die):
8 Remove falsehood and lies far from me;
Give me neither poverty nor riches—
Feed me with the food allotted to me;
9 Lest I be full and deny You,
And say, “Who is the Lord?”
Or lest I be poor and steal,
And profane the name of my God.

1 Timothy 6.6-10

6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Luke 9:58

And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”

Galatians 4.13-14

13 You know that because of physical infirmity I preached the gospel to you at the first. 14 And my trial which was in my flesh you did not despise or reject, but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.

James 1.9-11

9 Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, 10 but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away. 11 For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits.

Matthew 6.19-21

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

2 Corinthians 11.24-30

24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— 28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?

30 If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity.

What Will Bring Revival? It’s Really Quite Simple…

Now that I’ve been a Christian for 29 years as well as a pastor for 21 years, I have seen a lot of trends in American Christianity over the past few decades. One of the more disappointing trends has been the amount of hype surrounding certain books, movies, conferences, movements, Bible studies, and, even, “revivals.” I cannot recall how many times a of these various mediums were going to possibly usher in a revival which would transform our nation.

Let me mention a few examples. From each of these examples, God has certainly done a whole lot. People have been saved. Lives have been changed. I do not want to minimize that fact. Praise the Lord for how He used these tools to reach people!

In each of these cases I can recall Christian people enthusiastically suggesting, or hoping, that this particular “thing” would be the catalyst for national revival or spiritual awakening.

(1) 1990… A Bible Study… “Experiencing God” featured the teaching of Henry Blackaby, and consisted of a VHS video series matched with a workbook. The premise of the study is to find out where God is at work and to join Him there. Excellent counsel! But national revival from the study itself? Twenty-five years and counting… not yet.

Continue reading What Will Bring Revival? It’s Really Quite Simple…

Great Prayer… Wrong Verse?

In that classic film The Princess Bride, Inigo Montoya says to Vizzini, in regard to his frequent use of the word “inconceivable”:

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

I’ve increasingly been hearing evangelical Christians, in prayer, say something like this: “Lord, you told us to ask for the nations and You will give them to us as an inheritance, to the ends of the earth. Lord, we’re asking.” The point of the prayer is great: petitioning for global evangelization. Far be it for any reader to read into this post that I am not excited about this emphasis!

My point is that the verse referenced, Psalm 2:8, is the wrong verse for this prayer.

Psalm 2 is a prophetic Psalm that makes perfect sense when you see it in the light of God the Father and His Anointed, God the Son. When you read the whole Psalm you soon realize that God the Father’s offer to give all the nations to His Son is so that He might pour out His wrath upon them. Verse 9 is clear: “You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

This is a prophetic Psalm of the coming judgment of the Son of God when He returns in glory. Only those who fear the Lord and bow their knee to him now will escape His wrath, as verses 11 and 12 reveal:

“Serve the Lord with fear,
And rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son, lest He be angry,
And you perish in the way,
When His wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.”

So, as much as I love the spirit of this prayer I’m increasingly hearing, I must say to those who are quoting Psalm 2:8 in reference to global evangelization…

You keep quoting that verse. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Mother’s Day Pain for Women… It’s Very Real

My friend Christa wrote this yesterday and I was so impressed I incorporated into my message this morning at Harvest. I hope it will encourage you or someone you know as we close out this Mother’s Day:

Be aware that Mother’s Day can be a very difficult day for many women (women who are single; women who are trying to have children, but can’t get pregnant; women who know they will never have children; women who regret having had an abortion; women who have prodigal children; women who have lost a child to death; etc.). Be empathetic to these situations as you give your Mother’s Day blessings tomorrow. Be cognizant of the fact that, when only those who have physically given birth to children are recognized by way of their standing or being given a rose, it is awkward at best and painful at worst for those women left sitting, who are excluded. I love that our pastor…recognizes the nurturing gifts of all women on Mother’s Day. I find this to be very inclusive, redemptive, and right in line with the fact that some women are called primarily to bear spiritual offspring (Isa 54:1). And to you, my lady friends, for whom pain may threaten to undo you {on Mother’s Day}, the promise of God’s nearness is yours, as one who is broken-hearted! He hears the cry of your heart (Ps 34:18). Hang in there!” – Christa Friel (5/9/15)

Mark Bertrand on “Reference Bibles” vs. “Reading Bibles”

My friend Mark Bertrand has penned a column about a new niche of Bibles designed specifically for reading sessions. Perhaps you have given this subject little thought in the past. If you are serious about engaging with God’s Word I highly recommend you take the time to read, and think through, his points.

For those of you who are not sure what a “Reference Bible” is, I’ll explain. A reference Bible is one that has other Bible verses listed on the page so that you can easily “cross reference” other Scriptures which are related in subject matter to the verses you are reading. For example, here is a photograph taken of the TBS Westminster Reference Bible (can be purchased HERE):

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 12.22.54 PM

As you can see in the picture above, to the left and right of the Bible text itself, there are lists of other Bible verses that relate to the subjects presented in what you are reading. Many Bible readers love to pause and search out these other references to see what else the Bible says on this subject. It is an excellent tool for deeper Bible study.

However, aesthetically, when it comes to design layout, a reference Bible seems to have more in common with a dictionary or encyclopedia than a traditional book that you would read cover-to-cover. Hence, the recent trend toward producing “reading Bibles.”

Compare the image above with the new ESV Reader’s Bible from Crossway (available for purchase HERE):

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 12.34.14 PM

It makes for a dramatic difference in your reading experience. I encourage you to read Mark’s take on the impact of the design of the Bible you choose to read.

My Heart, Christ’s Home (Again)

I posted this previously on this blog (July 17, 2011) but in light of this week’s message on the 6th Beatitude, “Blessed are the pure in heart…” I want to repost…

Several years ago I read a little booklet by Robert Munger titled, “My Heart, Christ’s Home.” It’s a great tool for examining our hearts to make sure we are completely surrendered to the Lordship of Christ in all areas of our life. Click HERE to read “My Heart, Christ’s Home.”

The ORIGINAL Serenity Prayer

Many people are familiar with the “Serenity Prayer” in this form:

“God,

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

the courage to change the things I can,

and the wisdom to know the difference.”

But few people know the history or original version of this prayer. Reinhold Neibuhr was an American theologian, who wrote an embryonic form of this prayer in the mid-1930s and developed it to its current form sometime in the early 1940s. It is a prayer that was circulated among U. S. troops during wartime and adopted into popular use among various recovery groups. It is a prayer of trust and surrender to a loving Father who is providentially governing all things.

Here is the prayer in full…

“God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things which should be changed,and the
Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
Amen.”

Faith…Hope…Love

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