more prosperity gospel

back to vitamin z for an update on Joel Osteen’s newest book.

check it out:

So, Joel Osteen sent us an email yesterday to let us know about his new book, It’s Your Time. Joel wanted us to know that we could achieve our dreams with his new book. That was the subject line, seriously.

Here’s more encouragement from Joel O.:

Get your hopes up. Raise your expectations. Expect the unexpected. In challenging times, it may be hard to see better days ahead.

You may feel as though your struggles will never end, that things won’t ever turn around.

This is exactly the moment when you should seek and expect God’s blessings.

It’s your time to declare your faith, to look for God’s favor and to give control of your life to Him so that you can find fulfillment in His plans for you!

Joel Osteen

here’s more disgusting bilge from the toothy spewer of sewer:

God wants to breathe new life into your dreams. He wants to breathe new hope into your heart. You may be about to give up on a marriage, on a troubled child, on a lifelong goal. But God wants you to hold on. He says if you’ll get your second wind, if you’ll put on a new attitude and press forward like you’ll headed down the final stretch, you’ll see Him begin to do amazing things.

Tune out the negative messages. Quit telling yourself: I’m never landing back on my feet financially. I’m never breaking this addiction. I’m never landing a better job.

Instead, your declarations should be: I am closer than I think. I can raise this child. I can overcome this sickness. I can make this business work. I know I can find a new job.

Take your dreams and the promises God has put in your heart, and every day declare that they will come to pass. Just say something like, “Father, I want to thank you that my payday is coming. You said no good thing will You withhold because I walk uprightly. And I believe even right now you’re arranging things in my favor.”

When you’re tempted to get down and things are not going your way, you need to keep telling yourself “This may be hard. It may be taking a long time. But I know God is a faithful God. And I will believe knowing that my payday is on its way.

Whenever life grows difficult, and the pressure is turned up, that’s a sign that your time is near. When lies bombard your mind. When you are most tempted to get discouraged. And when you feel like throwing in the towel. That’s not the time to give up. That’s not the time to back down. That’s the time to dig in your heels. Put on a new attitude. You are closer than you think.

God promises your payday is on its way. If you’ll learn to be a prisoner of hope and get up every day expecting God’s favor, you’ll see God do amazing things. You’ll overcome every obstacle. You’ll defeat every enemy. And I believe and declare you’ll see every dream, every promise God has put in your heart. It will come to pass.

emphasis added.  Our “payday is on its way?”  are you kidding me?  check out Matt Chandler right quick, “But you don’t put God in your debt. I know this because really really faithful men in the Scripture have it go really really bad for them.”

Do you believe the witness of scripture or do you believe the spewer of sewer with the big toothy smile?

what does God say in the Bible about our payday?  That we have earned the payment/penalty/wages of death:  “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

If we were to get our “payday” we wouldn’t enjoy it very much.

now just for comparison with the O man, go check out the last 6 or 7 verses in Hebrews 10.

Or, better yet, look for a minute at I Peter 4:12-19

12Beloved, do not be surprised at(A) the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13But rejoice(B) insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad(C) when his glory is revealed. 14(D) If you are insulted(E) for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory[a] and of God rests upon you. 15But(F) let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or(G) as a meddler. 16Yet(H) if anyone suffers as a(I) Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God(J) in that name. 17For it is time for judgment(K) to begin at the household of God; and(L) if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who(M) do not obey the gospel of God? 18And

(N) “If the righteous is scarcely saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”[b]

19Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will(O) entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

could the contrast be any more stark? What Joel Osteen is spewing is a lie from the Liar himself.

As Z says it is damnation with a smile:

What you preach is not Christianity. It’s motivational, positive sounding legalism. “Just follow these rules and you’ll be set” is essentially your message. This is not the gospel. As Michael Horton says, this is “law light”. Sounds good and very nice, but is just as damning. It’s damnation with a smile.

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I Peter 1:1-13

I have been spending a little time in I Peter again this week. I just love that letter and the more I study it the more that I see everything important is there.

Yesterday in Bible study we looked at the first 13 verses of the book.

Peter is writing to the elect exiles of the dispersion scattered in Asia Minor. These folks were uprooted from their homes in and around Jerusalem and forced to run for their lives around the time Stephen was stoned. see Acts 7-11.

The key bits are here in verses 3-9:

3(G) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!(H) According to his great mercy,(I) he has caused us to be born again to a living hope(J) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4to(K) an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and(L)unfading,(M) kept in heaven for you, 5who by God’s power are being guarded(N) through faith for a salvation(O) ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by(P) various trials, 7so that(Q) the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes(R) though it is tested by(S) fire—may be found to result in(T) praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8(U)Though you have not seen him, you love him.(V) Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9obtaining(W) the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

he reminds them of the work God did in saving them and the thing for which they have been and are being saved.  A living hope, to an inheritance of epic proportions.  Then he references the terrible things that have happened to them and will continue to happen to them (see chapter 4) because of their following Christ.  (as an aside, isn’t it interesting that he mentions that we are guarded by God’s power through faith for salvation.  Thank God and His mercy and grace that we had the faith to believe in Him when we woke up this morning.  what a wonderful blessed relief that my faith doesn’t depend on my power.)

then he gets to verse 13 which is one of my favorites.

13Therefore, girding up the loins of your mind, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

the italicized portion is the word picture Peter used to mean gathering up the loose ends and tucking them in your belt so that you are ready for action. Can’t be tripping over the dress tail of our mind as we engage in setting our “hope fully on the grace” that will be brought to us when Jesus Christ is revealed.

So here are my questions for the guys yesterday and for all of us today:

Is it even possible for us christians who make up the modern evangelical church in America to “set our hope fully on the grace to be revealed at the revelation of Jesus Christ”?

Can we do it if our faith hasn’t been tested in fire and found to be genuine?

Can we do it if we continue to be torn between our stuff here and our own vision of the way the world ought to be for us here and the imperishable undefiled unfading inheritance that is yet to come?

If so, how?

If not, what does that mean needs to happen to us?

different perspectives

Todd Bumgarner has posted a contrast in perspectives:

“If you will keep the right attitude, God will take care of all your disappointments, broken dreams, the hurts and pains, and He’ll add up all the trouble and sorrow that’s been inflicted on you, and He will pay you back with twice as much peace, joy, happiness, and success.”

–Joel Osteen, Your Best Life Now (New York, NY: Faith Words), p 77.

Now, contrast that with Jesus’ words to Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

for further comparison, if you have some time, check out these verses that I collected in response to a question:

Mt. 10:37-39; Mt. 16:24-28, Mt. 18:2-4; Mk. 2:17, Mk. 8:34-38; Mk. 10:42-45; Luke 9 esp v. 23-27, 46-48 and 57-62; Lk. 14:25-33; Lk. 21:1-4; Jn. 2:24-26 and Jn. 15:18-21.

the Good News of Recession

Matt Carter is doing a sermon series at the Austin Stone Community Church on the Biblical christian response to trials and suffering. I have listened to the April 26 message twice already and I highly recommend it. I have downloaded the May 3 one and I will listen to it on the way to work this morning.

Like Matt says. The one thing the believers have the power to do differently than the rest of the world is to “suffer well.” and like Piper says: that makes God look glorious.

thought for the day

here is a cheerful thought for the day from the Ikonograph.

The ironic thing here is that we don’t grow unless we hurt. Pain makes us evaluate what it is we cling to, and God wants to teach us to cling to Christ. Suffering forces the Christian to see that everything else is vanity, and that we have to look to “the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus” (Php 3:8).The more we suffer, the more we can see the foolishness of fixing our affections on things that will pass away. The more we suffer, the more we see that worldly affections can’t even make a return on investment before they pass away.

just a thought. go read what else he has to say about burning forests and lightning. good stuff.

Piper remembers Solzhenitsyn

John Piper has put up a remembrance of Alexander Solzhenitsyn with a quote from the Gulag Archipelago

here is a portion of the quote, but go read Piper’s post for the whole thing as well as John’s prayer of gratitude for this man’s life:

In my most evil moments I was convinced that I was doing good, and I was well supplied with systematic arguments. It was only when I lay there on rotting prison straw that I sensed within myself the first stirrings of good. Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either—but right through every human heart—and through all human hearts…. That is why I turn back to the years of my imprisonment and say, sometimes to the astonishment of those about me: “Bless you, prison!” I…have served enough time there. I nourished my soul there, and I say without hesitation: “Bless you, prison, for having been in my life!” (The Gulag Archipelago: 1918-1956, Vol. 2, 615-617)