Cold Hard Cash Church… BOOYAH!

If you’re a follower of Jesus, and this video doesn’t make you angry, one of these two things are true: Either you are WAY more patient than I am, or you are a goon. I’m guessing most of you are just way more patient than I am.

Usually this sort of thing just makes me say, “Oh man, there’s another one of those fake pastors peddling another fake gospel. So lame…“. But this one got under my skin for a couple reasons:

First, I can’t stand gimmicks in the Church. Hey pastors, I love you, and I want you to succeed. I want 6 billion people coming to church on Sundays (or Saturday nights). So listen: If you’re living out the way of Jesus, you don’t need to give away an Xbox. (Side confession: I’ve given away a few in the past, so I’ve got my own gimmicky sins to repent of).

The gospel has made it a long way without gimmicks. The Good News IS ACTUALLY GOOD NEWS, and it doesn’t need your sprinkles on top. If it’s the gospel, the real gospel, then people will rip a hole in your roof to join you. All sorts of people. Poor people, rich people, dirty people, clean people, presidents, peasants, and even teenagers.

Second, I can’t stomach this guy because he’s a false prophet. He’s worse than guys who promise temples that never show up… He promises hope where it can’t be found because HE WANTS YOUR MONEY. The downside for the “lottery winners”: next month’s bills are on the way! What is their hope built on? Winning again? Oh, and their church’s attendance is growing- so their chances of winning are decreasing, but that won’t stop them, will it…

And this is the garbage that CNN picks up to cover?

Jesus is enough.

Fell free to poke holes in my philosophy, I welcome it. But I needed to vent this one.

starting over

lonely-man

We’re nine months into our new life in California, and I’ve been carrying around a pretty unfamiliar emotion to me… loneliness.

I’ve tried to call it other things (a “funk”) but that’s inaccurate. I’m always giving myself counseling (the upside of being a pastor is the free counseling), and I think I have most of the answers to why I’m feeling lonely.

I moved from Arizona where I lived my whole life. I worked at a church as it grew from 500 people to 6,000 people. I had deeper roots than almost everyone there. The people I worked with were my best friends (all of my groomsmen worked there in some capacity at some point). I felt like I was really known and valued (except by that one guy who gave me the boot, but that’s a different topic for a different therapy session).

The thing about being new is that it is impossible to be known. It takes so long. You spend so much time figuring people out and being figured out. I have no idea how some pastors bounce from church to church to church every year or two. I can understand WHY they might, I just can’t imagine how hard that has to be.

I don’t think that loneliness has to be anyone’s fault. It can be totally natural. It can be a symptom of larger issues, but not necessarily.

I guess the best thing to hear when you’re lonely is that you’re not alone. So… is anyone out there feeling what I’m feeling?

Have you had a chapter or two in your life when you felt lonely, even when you were constantly around other people? Have you been in a situation like mine? How long did it take before you felt at home where you were?

broken

I have loved this Christmas vacation of mine, but I’ve also been haunted by a couple of tragic stories in the newspaper; stories of brokenness and pain that I can’t imagine witnessing. Stories of men dressed up as Santa murdering people… and kids playing in the park becoming victims of brutal attacks… sad, sad, sad stuff.

The more broken we are, the more grace we need… and I’ve experienced a truckload of grace.

Those men that did those wicked things were very, very, very broken… I just believe that they weren’t broken beyond repair. I’ve learned that God is not only good, but that He can actually renew, rebuild, and restore that which is broken.