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Wednesday, 24 September 2008
Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge
"For this cause many are sick and weakly among you.."
These speak to the modern church but most will not recognize the meaning even though the destruction is right in front of their very own eyes. HOW are Gods' people being destroyed and what knowledge do they lack? If you will stay with me and read the amazing words of scripture that apply, your view of Gods' kingdom will change as you repent.
While we were "in church", at the end of service, most of us were far more interested in getting over to a restaurant and fellowship with other church families than fooling around with some needy man or woman hanging around after service trying to get help. We would quickly brush them off by giving them a phone number to call, passing them off to the Financial Minister, or the couple in charge of the Food Pantry.
Since we had just paid our tithes and and offering, duty was fulfilled, and we wanted to go on our way. We were way more interested in growing church membership, improving the building, fundraising, and expanding our influence in the community than we were in getting our hands dirty with the poor.
Yes, once a year or more, we delivered some Thanksgiving turkeys and Christmas packages out of our benevolence, but as any honest preacher or staff member will admit, the bulk of church income went to the overhead and support of a minister as we were trained to fill the offering plate rather than hungry mouths.
Church people are well trained to follow this manner of supporting their assembly. The leadership measures their spirituality by the degree they are involved and their financial support. The poor and needy among us were marginalized for their inability to fund our "vision" and for their lack of attractiveness in appearance.
Gods' people (the poor) were destroyed by our "vision" and the two-edged sword of Scripture saw to it that many among us were "weak and sickly" because we did not discern the Lord's Body. Funding the organization is robbing God, not, as many teach, witholding tithes.
1Cor 11: 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. 30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 22 What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not?
Can you see the "destroyed" here are the ones giving to "the church" rather than ministering to the needy?
Do you a connection between the "weak and sickly" in church and our treatment of "them that have not"? Our church told the poor to tithe and give (to our church preferably as the reminder was usually given at the "offering" time as the plates were passed) in order to be blessed.
Here's one you won't hear at offering time in the typical American church:
2Cor 8:14 ..but by equality: your abundance being a supply at this present time for their want, that their abundance also may become a supply for your want; that there may be equality:
"Equality" among the brethren? Do you mean we are called to share our "blessings" and "prosperity" with needy brethren? In the New Testament church, giving went to meet needs not to buildings, organizations, and personal kingdoms called "ministries". Perhaps someone could kindly "share" this with Ken Copeland, Paula and Randy, Brother Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar, and a few others that missed that verse in their morning devotions as they made their way aboard their personal jet...
The problem is this materialistic, flesh-pleasing gospel has been broadcast around the world by satellite and has corrupted much of the evangelical leadership around the world.
Jesus said this: Mk. 14:7 For ye have the poor always with you, and whensoever ye will ye can do them good
God help us to do so:
2Cor 9:9 as it is written, He hath scattered abroad, he hath given to the poor; His righteousness abideth for ever. (giving to the poor equated with righteousness)
Daniel 4:27 Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by showing mercy to the poor; if there may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity. Do you see it? ministering to the poor had to do with overcoming sin and iniquity. Kind of like the verse that says "charity covers a multitude of sins".
Mat 19: 21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wouldest be perfect, go, sell that which thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. give to who?
Gal.2:10 only they would that we should remember the poor; which very thing I was also zealous to do. Paul was instructed by the apostles James, Peter, and John to remember who?
James 2: 5 Hearken, my beloved brethren; did not God choose them that are poor as to the world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he promised to them that love him?
6 But ye have *dishonored (despised) the poor man. *From G820; ἀτιμαìζω atimazō (by implication) contemn or maltreat: - despise, dishonour, suffer shame, entreat shamefully.
James 2:2-6 should be very convicting to the average church goer and Armani suited "leader' as we focused on the nicer dressed and appearing folks who visited our churches.
More from scripture:
Psalm 41: 1 1 For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. Blessed is he that considereth the poor: Jehovah will deliver him in the day of evil. Did you ever hear a song in church about that?
Psalm 112: 9 He hath dispersed, he hath given to the needy; His righteousness endureth for ever:
Prov. 14: 31 He that oppresseth the poor (ex. pay your tithes) reproacheth his Maker; But he that hath mercy on the needy honoreth him.
19:17 He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto Jehovah, And his good deed will he pay him again.
28:27 He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack; But he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.
Dan. 4:27 Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by showing mercy to the poor;
2Cor 9 9 as it is written, He hath scattered abroad, he hath given to the poor; His righteousness abideth for ever.
Rev. 19:8 8 And it was given unto her that she should array herself in fine linen, bright and pure: for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
Have you made the connection between giving to the poor and "righteous acts" of the saints? When is the last time you heard a sermon on this subject? We heard PLENTY of exhortations to tithe, give , and "sow seed" into someones ministry, LOTS of them, how about you? We heard messages on prosperity and having abundance, we heard the 30/60/100 fold blessing was for material wealth God wanted us to have. But we never heard the truth about ministering to the poor and needy among us was near and dear to the heart of God.
Meeting needs among the brethren was a God priority all along, not in buying the comfortable pews, sound system, cameras and big-screen monitors, or funding the pastors latest and newest "vision for the kingdom" which resulted in one failed church growth program after another and the wasting of huge amounts of time and finances.
Why not give that un-necessary "church" building away and meet in homes like they did in Acts? Can you imagine? -no overhead, no need for administration, no need for fundraisers, and the people benefit by closer relationships, fellowship, and growth Why not just flat admit to God we have been so terribly wrong in the way we have conducted church?
Scripture never says we were to tithe or give to pastors and if they mis-spent it God would punish them. WE are called to be stewards, may God Himself direct our stewardship for we have mismanged terribly both as individuals and as corporate bodies called churches.
"For this cause, many are weak and sickly among you... (Christians, that is.) ....".
Maybe you will forward this to others, I pray it gets into the hands and heart of many pastors. I pray it gets into our hearts as well. Radical thoughts I admit, but then again, look what happened in Acts.....
As Gods' judgement continues to fall on our financial system, many in the church will learn what was in the scripture all along, and we will share and meet others needs out of our personal storehouses.
In January 2008 the Lord gave me this Word: ( http://www.preparehisway.com/weekly_blog/?y=2008&m=1)
"Because my people have not used my blessings of abundance to meet the needs of their brethren, they will learn to meet the needs of others from the little they have left. When they had much, they gave little, and that into the hands of those who decieved them.
Now I will fill their world and their eyes with those in need and thus will they be purified of their greed."
2008 Rory Moore www.preparehisway.com
This article may be reproduced and distributed free of charge as long as it remains in its original form.
Wednesday, 17 September 2008
House of God or "Den of Robbers"?
And he taught, and said unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations? but ye have made it a den of robbers.
The "church" building was arguably one of the greatest mistakes Christianity fell into. The typical "church" spends 96.5% of what comes in on overhead which includes a hired pastor, mortgage or rent, upkeep, advertising, carpet, electronics, and other furnishings. It also makes sure the average Joe Christian gets a weekly "shakedown" to support the thing as the plate goes by.
Since "churches' and their organizations are always in "need", fundraising and other means of what Paul called "extortion" are used to generate additional cash flow. If you doubt this, send a dollar to several TV or radio ministries and see if you start getting regular requests for more money. We heard pastors complain "only 25% of the members tithe' as they imagined the financial bliss the church would enjoy if all did so.
We ourselves participated in countless fundraisers over the years such as chicken dinners, selling peanut brittle door to door, portrait sales, enchilada sales, valentine sales, bake auctions, raffles, multi-level marketing schemes, barbecues, church yard sales, tapes, cd's, car washes, halloween youth carnivals, and more that I cannot recall. Ask the typical church tamale fundraiser sellor what the money is for and they will answer "it's for the church".
These are the ministries that build their kingdoms on sand (Gods' people).
Most of the proceeds went to fund youth trips, church building repairs, the expense of visiting ministers, or on a rare occasion help someone with a medical need, but most was absorbed by the routine of running the church. (In our church, the pastor collected 100% of the tithes which was never accounted for, and they also administered the general fund). Records were kept of member giving but the pastors giving was never disclosed, neither was the amount of tithe he collected.
You would be "Hurricane-Iked" to realize and know how many "churches" are run by a pastor who administers both a tithe account and a separate General Fund account. This is ESPECIALLY true in the Charismatic/Pentecostal/ Spirit-Filled/ and many Independent churches. Many with boards are no better because they are dominated by a strong-man pastor who appoints favored people to the board. Ours had the pastors own brother appointed to the church board.
What happens is the financial lines of distinction are blurred between the various church accounts.
Pastor needs a home computer for "church business", so the General Fund pays. Pastor eating dinner at a fine restaurant and meeting with a prominent family or a visiting minister out of town becomes a General Fund expense, never mind the Tithe Account is for his living expense. So we have travel, meals, hotels, and many like expenses paid for from the General Fund. Meanwhile, the supportive and loyal folks sell peanut brittle, raffle tickets, and/or sacrifice in their giving to the General Fund AFTER they already gave their "mandatory" "in covenant" tithe of 10%
Don't think we are disgruntled "murmerers, we saw this kind of stuff over the years but were blinded by love and loyalty to those who were also blinded to their plundering of the flock. Read what Paul told the "overseers" (bishops) of Ephesus: Pauls Leadership Conference.
This man was disfellowshipped for questioning the tithe and how it was used in Northern Calif. Very interesting story and typical of the modern church. Hydesville
One year my wife and I took over the General Fund management, only to find we were thousands in debt and behind on a large stack of bills. We found we were hundreds and hundreds of dollars in debt to some of the local restaurants (pastoral meals, and for visiting ministers), the floral shop (flowers for funerals and gifts), grocery stores (where the "church" charged groceries (we never knew to whom), and other places. We brought our corporate financial mess to the church body, and in a few months the Lord helped us to retire all the debt we had been saddled with.
Later, as the church prospered, visiting preachers were entertained lavishly; air fares and travel expenses, golf, restaurant meals; $1,000 "honorarium"s were paid for a Sunday Sermon. As we were staff, we also partook of some of those meals, golf games, and cushy perks.
Another time we attended a James Robison fundraiser at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco. Because we knew someone on Mr. Robison's staff, a suite at the Hyatt was offerred to us if we wanted to enjoy ourselves there. (We declined). If I recall, that one evening at the Hyatt brought in over $50,000 to Life Outreach.
(James Robison receives an annual salary from Life Outreach International of $159,000 and Betty Robison receives $128,000, they also receive standard benefits. -Wikipedia)
Once a church reaches 100-200 members, it is typical for the ministerial lifestyle to also go to the "next level". From what we observed in our own assembly and that of numerous visiting ministers, some of whom we became friends with, there is a very different lifestyle being lived than most people imagine. Being church insiders, we saw nothing wrong with the odd hours, frequent vacations, and regular meals at restaurants (3x a day in some cases) lived as a ministerial lifestyle. It was all part of church life and we just attributed these things to be Gods' blessings and normal Christianity.
How wrong we were.
There is not a single verse in the New Testament instructing any minister to take tithes, nor a single verse instructing any church or Christian to tithe in the New Testament.
Furthermore, there is not a single verse authorizing any pastor to take a tithe from anyone, (nor a salary for that matter).
Tithing was never said to be "a starting place" for our giving, any Christian who puts a tithe in the Sunday plate has been deceived into doing so and is missing the blessing of allowing the Holy Spirit to tell them how much and to whom they should give.
All of the above stories, (and we saw them and many more for 24 years), are true and a witness to the corruption of the leadership in Christianity that have been deceived into believing that "gain is godliness", -(gain i.e., as a sign of blessing).
Teaching the poor and needy brethren they must tithe is robbery and extortion. We were supposed to be helping them in their need, not funding the organization, but most Christians are trained to feed the offering plate, not the poor..
2Cor 9:9 As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever.
The average church sees the poor as an annoyance. They are passed off as quickly as possible to the "Food Pantry" deacon, the "Benevloent Fund" minister, or to one of the local institutions serving the poor such as The Salvation Army or HomelessShelter. But in New Testament scripture, giving went to meet the needs of the poor and needy brethren, not buildings, not affluent preachers, or their organizations. As church goers, we were taught, conditioned, and brainwashed into giving first to the weekly plate that was passed around.
A corrupted clergy seeks to build their ministry and organization on a membership of middle class substance. When a visiting well-to-do rancher or business owner was seen out in the sanctuary, the excitement level and hopeful anticipation of "winning" those people to our church was tangible to the leader.
The poor and needy are fortunate to have their call returned by the busy pastor-administrator in stark contrast by the smiles and glad-handing shown to people of means. The favor and attention given to the "quality* people" types does violence to what scripture says "have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ with respect of persons".
*quality people were defined as business people, corporate executive types, successful working people.
God have mercy on us.
In part 2, we will provide the scriptural witness for what giving should be for a Christian.
Friday, 12 September 2008
Dear friends, these are some ponderings from the wilderness... God bless you as you "study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman who need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of God". -Paul, an apsotle.
In John 17:20 Jesus prayed "Neither pray I for these (the apostles) alone but for them (future believers) also who shall believe on me through their (the apostles) word."
print this page and keep it in your Bible as you study God's Word
1. Can you show from the New Testament scriptures a single pastor given sole authority over a local group of believers?
2. Can you show from the New Testament scriptures a "church" building program or property purchase for a group of believers?
3. Can you show from the New Testament scriptures the typical pre-programmed formatted church service?
4. Can you show from the New Testament scriptures any Christian or church receiving a direct instruction to tithe?
5. Can you show from the New Testament scriptures any woman given authority over male Christians or named to ANY titled position in any church? (apart from the teacher-prophetess Jezebel in Rev. 2)
6. Can you show from the New Testament scriptures an example of a "church" fund-raiser"?
7. Can you show from the New Testament scriptures where Christians are encouraged to accumlate wealth and material goods?
8. Can you show from the New Testament scriptures any verses calling the NT church the "storehouse"?
9. Can you show from the New Testament scriptures the doctrine of a minister or pastor being our "spiritual covering"?
10. Can you show from scripture any minister using any capitalized title "Reverend, Doctor, Apostle, Prophet, Pastor, Evangelist, Bishop" in front of their name?
11. Can you show or demonstrate an "altar call" in the New Testament?
12. Can you quote the verse for "come forward and accept Christ as your personal saviour" or words close to it?
13. Can you show an instruction to or an example of a "decision for Christ" for salavtion?
14. Can you find anyone using the phrase "going to church" "go to church"or similar in the New Testament?
15. Do you know what the word "church" means in scripture?
16. Any church taking financial support, land, or property from the government of that day?
17. What verses specifically mention any pastor receiving tithes?
-You may be astonished!
1 John 2:26 - These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.
Colossians 2:8 - Beware lest any man spoil* you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
(*spoil: to lead away as booty, tradition: especially Jewish precepts such as sabbath observance, tithing, circumcision, etc.)
Part 2 A very simple test: (most Christians will fail this test!)
This verse refers to what is known as the "five-fold" ministry. These are the gifts to the body, not bartered, paid for, hired, or salaried. The phrase "He gave" means without charge. The apostate clergy expects to be paid with tithes or a salary. The un-hired, five-fold ministry of scripture had "oversight" of the local churches, and the overseers were always elders.
Eph. 4:11-12. " And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:"
Question #1 ? Which three of the Ephesians 4:11 ministries are mentioned most in the New Testament?
Question #2 Which two of those fivefold ministries are mentioned least in the New Testament?
Question:#3 When the early church gathered in the Jerusalem Council where the "elders" and the "apostles" gathered to determine doctrine and teaching in the churches, were ANY women named or included in that leadership meeting?
The answers may shock you. They indicate how far the contemporary church has apostasized from the original leadership that Christ established on the earth, and is modeled in the book of Acts.
Answer to question #1:
? The word "apostle(s)" occurs 85 times in the New Testament.
? The word "prophet(s)" occurs over 150 times in the New Testament, about 20 of those occurrences referring distinctly to prophets in the Church Age.
? The word "teacher(s)" occurs 125 times in the New Testament.
Answer to question #2:
? The word "evangelist(s)" occurs only 3 times in the New Testament.
? The word "pastor(s)" occurs precisely one (1) time in the entire New Testament! Not a single pastor is mentioned by name.
Answer to #3:
God did not ordain or name a single woman to the ministry of elder, apostle, teacher, pastor, evangelist. There is not a single reference to any woman as an elder in the Book of Acts when the churches were founded.
The apostate church practices the opposite. "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, and is become a habitation of demons, and a hold of every unclean spirit, and a hold of every unclean and hateful bird. ...And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all that have been slain upon the earth."
2008 Rory Moore www.preparehisway.com
This article may be reproduced and distributed free of charge as long as it remains in its original form.