Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Look Closer at Osteen's Handling of God's Word

Osteen's recent Tweet--
"Hebrews 4:16 encourages us to approach God "boldly" so we can receive mercy and grace. This leads to God's hand of favor."

Here is the verse in the immediate context--

Heb 4:14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
Heb 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
Heb 4:16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

What a difference just two verses makes! Osteen abuses the verse to be a "name it-- claim it" slogan. Osteen says--"This leads to God's hand of favor."

As usual Osteen masterfully uses a touch of truth--But the passage is not about manipulating God to get Him to do what we want. The entire book of Hebrews is about the glorious superiority of Jesus above anything and everything!

In chapter 4 there are warnings about "trifling with God" or dancing around the real issues of Lordship in light of the greatness of our Savior. The point of Hebrews is that we are utterly helpless and hopeless on our own so any thought of approaching God--on our own--with the expectation of Him forgiving us is out of the question.

BUT--because of who Jesus is, Because He is worth everything and has done everything on our behalf giving us his very own perfection, "THEREFORE" because of Jesus, we can boldly approach God's throne of grace with complete confidence that we will not be thrown out of His presence but will be embraced by Him. We will be seen in the perfection of Christ Himself and not our ugly sin! It is all about Jesus' GREATNESS not about giving God our wish list and expecting Him to jump!

The PROPER Pursuit of Prosperity explains this practically and beautifully to the glory of HIS praise!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Practical Wisdom for Occupy Wall Street

I find it providential that the release of my book, The Proper Pursuit of Prosperity, (http://bit.ly/rrXGGz) coincided with the protest movement called "Occupy Wall Street." As a Christian whose values and morals are ruled by what is good, right and true according to the dictates of the Bible, I have a difficult time taking the protest seriously. Not only is prosperity not inherently wicked, but many of the patriarchs of the Bible were 1%ers to use today's vernacular.

Personally, my expansive review of our nation's history has never lead me to the delusion that I have a guarantee of prosperity; only the guarantee of the right to strive to prosper. So when I was saddled with the reality that I could not afford to attend a four year college, I had the freedom to choose insurmountable debt or matriculate at a community college obtaining my core requirements for a fraction of the cost of attending a four year school. The thought of begrudging those whose parents were able to send them to a university never entered my mind.

When it was time to think about a four year school, I refused to amass a mountain of debt so I traded three years of my life to military service in exchange for the G.I. Bill. Not only was my time in service outstanding for my personal maturation, but it enabled me to obtain my first degree and later paid for half of my Master's. Both my undergraduate and graduate education were accomplished with a family in tow and a boat load of responsible diligence. I would not trade it for anything.

So if I seem insensitive to the djembe beating, obscenity shouting, hissy fits of those occupying Wall Street, so be it. Considering their demand for some ridiculous guarantee of a livable wage--however that is defined--and release from the consequences of their financial decisions, it appears their "education" has not served them well. It is everyone's constitutional right to pursue one's dreams through sweat and hard work; there is no constitutional guarantee of success.

Our system of capitalism is flawed, that is beyond cavil. That one of our nation's besetting sins is greed is equally strong. But what the protestors choose to ignore is that greed isn't defined by net worth, but the condition of one's soul. The single mom in a trailer park abusing whatever forms of relief she can pilfer through lying and deceit is no less greedy than the dad who is single because he carelessly exchanged love of his family for the sparkle of corporate acclamation. Both have greedy hearts and the answer to greed is not legislation but transformation. Charity issues from a thankful heart, not by legislated mandate.

At the end of the day one's net worth is not proportional to satisfaction with life and is often a detriment. So the only proper pursuit of prosperity is found when one orders their life according to Heaven's priorities. It surprises most people when I inform them that money is not the root of all evil but rather the Bible says, "The LOVE of money is…" (1 Timothy 6:10)

The issues of our nation's economy are complex and cannot be dropped in any one institution's lap. The whole foundation of our culture is floundering and the pernicious mindset of entitlement emanating from places of higher learning needs to be challenged for the resolute counsel of God's word admonishes, "…if anyone is not willing to work, then he ought not to eat." (2 Thessalonians 3:10) That one passage imparts much practical wisdom which if applied would clear the parks and protests in short order.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Book signings on the calendar--

Selah Tea in Watervvile;Nov.19th 2-4pm Main st

Lighthouse Bible and gift Fairfield Dec. 3rd 1-3 Ridge Rd.

C'mon out and keep me company! :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It's Official! October 4th, 2011

Today my book, The Proper Pursuit of Prosperity is released. You can preview it at Amazon.com http://amzn.to/pklBbo buy the E-book at Tate Publishing http://bit.ly/9DjiTp or obtain special edition hard cover signed books from the author--at PB@fefchurch.org

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

It's all about Him!

… the work of Christ is getting buried
beneath a culturally selective and self-centered message
that is misleading the masses with increasing regularity.
This must not go unchallenged. Men and women desperately
seeking the meaning of their lives, looking for
hope and truth deserve better; more importantly, Jesus,
Savior and Lord, deserves better."

The Proper Pursuit of Prosperity Pg 29

Friday, September 23, 2011

Here's what one VIP says about the The Proper Pursuit...

Here's what Ves Sheely--Superintendent of the New England District is saying about The Proper Pursuit of Prosperity!
"I found Bill's book to have wonderful insight into the proper pursuit of prosperity. Bill calls out well the charlatans of today who preach an unbiblical Prosperity Gospel. He also lays down principle upon principle from Scripture of how obedient discipleship leads to real blessing and needs being met by God in our life. Illustrations from Bill and Barb's life together really made the book riveting for me. Bill also has a real gift for writing and is able to weave stories and personal illustrations into principle and insight into many of the real critical issues of life. Problems of pain and suffering are dealt with within the book while integrating Biblical response to pain into good stewardship and Biblical lifestyle being lived out in a fallen world." To view samples at Amazon go to http://amzn.to/pklBbo

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Joel O says in "Your Best Life Now":

“Your victory is already on the way.”

"The Proper Pursuit of Prosperity" says--
The “prosperity gospel," promises heaven on earth,
presenting a god who exists to jump
to your side whenever you call, granting whatever whim,
wish, desire, or goal happens to be on your list at the
moment. The only thing that matters to the prosperity
god is that you are happy—however you define happiness—
and he cannot do enough for you to see that come
about. The so-called “good news” of the prosperity gospel
is simply that the reason you are alive is to be happy,
healthy, and materially engorged with all this world has
to offer.

I cannot deny that it is an appealing message because
it fits perfectly with the view du jour of who today’s god
is. It used to be that this god—purposely spelled with a
small “g”—was the preferred deity of the masses, whether
religious or not. Today, it is engulfing even those who see
themselves as members of mainstream Christianity.
So who is the god you worship? Is He the mysterious,
sometimes silent, sometimes gentle, sometimes
hard God of the Scriptures? Is He the God of the Bible
Who cares so much for you that He will, if necessary,
hurt you in order to help you? Or is he the god of a syrupy
love who abandoned his holiness with the passing
centuries, affirming, applauding, or even accommodating
man’s sinful choices? Whatever your dream, whatever
your want, your wish is his command. So who is
the God of heaven? What can we expect from the God
Who became flesh and lived in our place, and where is
the balance?
The balance is found in getting reacquainted with
the God of the Bible and His wonderful but sometimes
hard truth of what we can expect while living in a world
that is ravaged by the effects of sin.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


(This is my latest column from the Amy Foundation Writer's Syndicate)

The news release stated, several chandeliers were hanging from the ceiling lighting up a plush 5,000-seat auditorium. "A lady scrolls down the screen of her tablet PC as she reads the Bible along with the rest of the congregation, a huge diamond-encrusted ring shining on her finger." "A water fountain hisses in the distance…and millionaire pastors preach the Word." The story was about the increasing number of Christians who are followers of the prosperity gospel.

If this story originated out of Texas, it wouldn't be much of a story; if California, even less so. But the BBC report was about the masses of Nigeria's 70 million faithful who are getting hooked on the idea that lavish surroundings and obscene wealth are necessarily the sign of spiritual blessing. The story highlights one such pastor who "argues that prosperity is an integral part of the gospel. 'It is written about Jesus, specifically, that he became poor so that the believer might become rich, because he recognized that poverty is not part of God's plan for man.'" Really? Try selling that to the millions of Christians world wide for whom the norm, for generations has been living in abject poverty.

The message taking the world by limo is so demeaning of the God who exchanged His life for mine, that I took a break from my normal pastoral duties of my church and wrote, "The Proper Pursuit of Prosperity." In it I explain that our God is indeed a generous God. However, His kindness, generosity, and blessing do not exclude us from failures, struggles, or injustices in this life. The hard truth is that the tendency toward suffering in this life is more normal for the Christian than the realization of perfect health and extraordinary wealth which would seem obvious when gazing at other parts of the world.

Having visited Haiti, I was impressed at the integrity of the people's depth of faith and the true joy they had as they lived each day in this beleaguered country in hopes of getting just one meal. When asked by a Haitian pastor to address his congregation one evening, I tried to decline saying, "I have nothing to say to your people. I need to sit and listen to them."

Americans have bounty, and fashion, and virtually most of whatever we can think of yet when it comes to our "faith," our abundance hasn't exactly given us a greater appreciation for the love of God. If anything, it has paved the way for the foundation of the prosperity movement whose god is a celestial vending machine. One inserts the coin of faith and out comes one's wish. It is an appealing sentiment, but it is not the God of the Bible.

The truth is God does not exist for us—we exist for Him and until we get that straightened out, we can expect lives that are in constant disarray. Paul wrote the Christians in Corinth that, "they had been bought with a price." That price is seen at the cross. The prosperity gospel is just another version of a "different gospel" alluded to by the apostle Paul. He is beside himself as he writes, "I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ." [Galatians 1:6-7] Today's prosperity gospel is as appealing as the forbidden fruit but as Adam found out, not everything that looks good, is good for you.

Friday, September 2, 2011

More of the "Prosperity" Message's Problems!

Joel Osteen--Popular prosperity preacher--reveals his shallowness and his error in his Tweets. Here's just two recent ones:

"When you face the greatest pressure, remember that you are close to your victory."

What an encouraging sentiment right? The problem is, it isn't biblical; it isn't true. There are centuries of Christians--faithful, spirit filled Christians the writer of Hebrews calls "The great cloud of witnesses" who faced tremendous pressures and they ended in pain, sorrow, torture, and utter disarray. the biblical truth is that we live on a broken planet that is currently Satan's domain and bad things happen to good people all the time. It is isn't a new situation; read Asaph's complaints about it all in Psalm 73! So while Joel is out there filling people with hope, it is false hope and paints a very wrong picture of life and of God.

Again Joel Tweets:
"When God hears you speak His promises, He sets the miracle into motion. He changes and moves things on your behalf."

Seriously? Joel is a purveyor of what some call the "Name it, Claim it" brand of Christianity. It also is a counterfeit. All you need do is look around you and think of all the faithful, wonderful people of God who have been treated unjustly, even criminally, and never have received any semblance of justice. No miracles there. The problem is that Joel confuses the promises of the new heaven and new earth promised to every believer--in eternity!

So he sets people up for failure for when their miracle doesn't happen, they are left with only one answer; THEY are the problem. So the prosperity message sounds good, feels good, brings people in, but in the end is nothing more than a vapor that blows away when tried.

Many more answers to this heinous counterfeit in my book The Proper Pursuit of Prosperity!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pedro's god and Pastor Joel...

Joel's tweet today is as follows: God has all kinds of ways to bring your dreams to pass. He has ways you've never even thought of. Your job is to believe and lean on Him.”

Maybe you remember Pedro from the low budget, but very funny film, "Napolean Dynamite." Pedro decides to run for school president of his class and his campaign slogan is, "Vote fo rme and all your wildest dreams will come true."

Joel's god is pretty much the same; like a broken record Joel pushes a god who exists to bring about all your dreams and ambitions! It's a nice thought except the god Osteen preaches doesn't exist accept in his imagination and in his best selling books. The only dreams coming true are his with the millions he is making off of sincere people looking for real hope.

"The Proper Pursuit of Prosperity" brings clarity to the God of true hope and the God of the Bible with real promises, not pipe dreams. I highly recommend the book! Available October 4th at most major on line bookstores!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane Irene Aimed At Our East Coast!

It would be the fool who sat in his rocking chair on his porch in his home on the Outer Banks of North Carolina enjoying a crossword puzzle as the storm approached. "Mabel what's a five letter word for a person who ignores obvious danger? It begins with I D blank O T?"

I believe that perhaps the biggest reason for all the mystery and lack of specificity in the book of Revelation is precisely so that we don't know that the END is 7 years away, or 20 years away, or will not be in out lifetimes! Because God wants us living on the edge of urgency so that HIS purposes for mankind will be accomplished.

I say it without apology--that one statement is the wrecking ball of the growing sky scraper called the prosperity gospel! WE EXIST FOR GOD AND HIS PLANS FOR US, HE DOES NOT EXIST FOR US TO BRING ABOUT OUR PLANS! Joel Osteen and so many others just don't get that!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Inaugural Book Signing

Tonight at my church I will be having my first book signing. I expect it to be rather awkward. The whole idea seems to be a bit egotistical and/or self-serving and yet it is what many have been asking for. I delight in their excitement on my behalf but it still feels a bit weird, like, "Whew hoo! Look at me, look what I did!" The truth is, if people knew where I came from so to speak, it is nothing but evidence of the wonder working power of God to use a chipped and cracked vessel for His honor. Thank you Lord; I am nearly undone when I think about it all.

And then of course there are the obligatory joy stealers to borrow a phrase from Max Lucado. There was some flap after the first Sunday we allowed people to pick up their books. A scant handful of people were annoyed about "selling" MY book in the church. What is interesting and again typical, is that I personally had told the staff when asked before all this went down that we would not be selling my book on Sunday morning. I didn't want a circus environment distracting from what we do. But after the books came in people wanted to know why they couldn't just get their books when they came to church. Some people come quite a ways and having it available on Sunday when they are there anyway would be convenient. So with the blessing of the leadership we decided to make it easy for people; it just made sense and besides while we do restrict such activities we have also made exceptions in the past. Let's see, what's the adage? Damned if you do, damned if you don't?

My first reaction was to forget the whole Book thing and collapse to the vocal, and usually, invisible minority. But as I pondered it and sought counsel about it, I thought, you know, that would be no different than mimicking the high school that tells the Valedictorian that she cannot pray at her graduation or mention God in her speech because "someone" protested saying they would be offended.

Why do we always buckle to the 2 or 3 voices that have one opinion when there are thousands more that have no problem? Personally, I think it past time to stop catering to the minority hang ups while trampling on the desires of the majority.

Never-the-less, instead of pure joy, now there's awkwardness. Sigh... Maranatha!

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Proper Pursuit of Prosperity Pre-release offer!

Too many preachers today are avoiding the whole counsel of God's word proclaiming only the pleasant and positive. With their half truth declarations, many people are being conned into worshipping a god of the preachers own creation. Jesus is being stripped of His glory and turned into a vending machine.

This is a seriously important book as the Prosperity Gospel is truly infiltrating ALL denominations. While it is a serious book, I have used many real life examples of the particular essence of each chapter so that it doesn’t get tedious.

If you are interested in a pre-release copy, soft cover books are available through me for $12 and $16 for hard cover. Shipping will be only the actual charge to you for shipping.

Contact me at pb@fefchurch.org

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"Prosperity Gospel" and "Settling" Joel vs. the Bible

Joel Tweets--"Decide today that you are not going to settle but instead you're going to believe God to pour out His goodness and favor on every part of you."

Paul writes--
"Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:11-13

Some want more and more and see God as the instrument to that end. It is not biblical but utterly self-absorbed. Sometimes--often times?--Jesus wants us to "give up" not "gain more."

Paul writes more--
"More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ..." Philippians 3:8

Jesus said--
Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
Matthew 16:24-25

"The PROPER Pursuit of Prosperity" is in the printing phase! It can't be long now!

Friday, July 1, 2011

We have what it takes? I don't think so...

Pastor Joel's Tweet recently stated--
"Faith is all about stretching. Your obstacles may seem intimidating, but God already knows that you have what it takes."

Once again we have to ask--Is this true? While it sounds nice, the Bible teaches just the opposite. Even our praying is so feeble that we need help with that!

"In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:26-27

No, the clear teaching of God's word is that in and of our own abilities we are hopelessly lost. WE DON'T have what it takes! But thanks be to God that because of Jesus, and what HE is willing to do with us and in us if we allow Him to have HIS way with us, we can accomplish some good things. But even then, only as GOD determines is right and proper. Hopeful or wishing thinking, and even fervently praying in faith does not manipulate our heavenly Father to do what He knows is perfect! The "prosperity gospel" gets close to truth at times, but when it comes to eternity, close is hardly good enough.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

For Rob Bell, Love Wins And Truth Loses

After hearing the buzz--the negative kind--on the release of mega-church pastor, Rob Bell's latest book, "Love Wins," I reluctantly obtained a copy to read it for myself. I have been previously mislead by reacting to and even quoting respected Christians and Christian leaders taking their word for critical thoughts and accusations of such things only to regret it.

As a syndicated columnist, I know first hand the frustration of being misquoted, taken out of context, or someone making an unfair generalization of something I supposedly wrote when it seemed doubtful they even read the entire piece. So I sat down and read Bell's controversial little book in just a couple sittings--and I am not a fast reader.

It is a short read packed with mind boggling, exegesis-defying, systematic theology-ignoring assertions, sarcasms, and non-sequiturs. Bell's favorite method is to take what are clearly aberrant beliefs of "some" Christians and normalizing them to be what "many Christians" believe, especially evangelicals.

He is understandably critical of the speculations that occur from the pulpits of evangelical churches, especially when they pertain to heaven and hell, but then promptly offers his own speculations as to the "proper view" of the same subjects.
My wife asked one evening what Bell's book was about. I stared and just said, "I don't even know where to start." He is basically offering a brand of universalism--positing that everyone ever born ends up in a place, or state of mind, or participation in a good life, that goes on and on which some call "heaven." He likens it to a party where everyone attends but, like a party here on earth, some will not enjoy it as much as others due to whatever issues they bring to the party. In Bell's opinion, one problem with evangelicals is that we talk about entering heaven whereas Bell asserts it isn't about entering--everyone enters--it is about "participation." So over time--Bell's heaven (which reminds me of a "quasi-purgatory-like environment") gives everyone time to see what they are missing, jettisoning their issues, thus participating in the benefits and joys of heaven.

Hell is even more obtuse than Bell's conception of heaven. He writes: "We do ourselves great harm when we confuse the very essence of God, which is love, with the very real consequences of rejecting and resisting that love, which creates what we call hell." It strikes me as a repackaging of the old, "Hell is what you make it." Bell adds, Hell is also, "our [personal] refusal to trust God's retelling of our story." Attempting to paraphrase what he means--Hell is the consequence of living out what WE believe about ourselves rather than what God declares about us.

It is a solid point to consider if we are talking about orthopraxy or the value of walking in practical godliness in this life, by faith, rather than by sight. But Bell's hell is an utter bastardization of the etymological, theological, scriptural and historical understanding of "Hell." At the end of the day, Bell stumbles over a God who can be both loving, while also being just.

His use of the Old and New Testaments are generally spoken of in terms of "story" marginalizing any real connection to anything in our day and never approaches any semblance of a systematic theology. His interpretation of the sacrificial system of Judaism, for example, is a product of culture, space and time to which we cannot relate. After all, when, he asks, was the last time YOU slit the throat of a goat or killed a pigeon and laid it on the altar?

Bell has a very low view of inspiration and the bulk of the Bible is more metaphor and lesson rather than history connected to a loving--yet just--God who came to redeem us from our sins. Bell sees the whole progression of the evangelical "gospel" as one contrived, confusing package of thou shalts and thou shalt nots. Admittedly he hits on some deserved criticisms of a simplistic faith which is sometimes--oftentimes?--presented in a very formulaic fashion. No problem there, but his "correction" is far worse.

Finally everything always falls or stands on one's Christology. What is Bell's? It would be hard for me to articulate it, since I had difficulty pinning it down. What I can say with some certainty is that it bears little resemblance to the Immanuel--who came to save us, not from God, as Bell charges is the message evangelicals present--, but from ourselves; from our sin which condemns us before a God who also happens to be holy.

In any book of this variety, there is generally some value in straining out the dross and taking to heart the valid weaknesses of our beliefs or at least the weaknesses of our way of explaining our beliefs. For the scripturally astute, Bell's book is worth reading because Thanks to the level of biblical illiteracy today, I do believe (myself generalizing) he expresses what many people really do think about God, heaven, hell and judgment; even many in our Sunday morning worship.

But this is an exceedingly dangerous book for the masses as it appeals to the base instinct of man to assess God on the basis of the delusion of one's self-determined omniscience writing off any aspect of God's nature which one might find disagreeable or indefensible. As I stated in a recent sermon, it is profoundly arrogant for anyone to precede justification for their particular belief with the statement, "I can't believe in a God who…For in the moment they make that declaration, they have lost any reasonable basis from which to argue. Such a statement presumes that defining God, what He is like, what He thinks, what He might do, is entirely up to them. In short, it presumes that THAT person is in fact God. In the Bible, Love Wins--to be sure; but in Bell's book, TRUTH loses in a big way.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

It can't be too long now...

I received the PDF file of my book from the publisher with the layout of the book. this is the final step before I have a hard copy in hand. Once I give final approval of the hard copy, printing can begin!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Unveiling of My Cover!

As far as I understand it, the book may be available for pre-order in about 6-8 weeks. We shall see.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

More Prosperity Pap...

Here is Joel Osteen's tweet for this afternoon: "If you will release your faith, You will see God multiply your influence, strength, talent and income in supernatural ways. Just believe!"

This is precisely the kind of nonsense that motivated me to write The Proper Pursuit of Prosperity on which I am currently in my final edit.

It cannot come fast enough.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pastor Joel's 'Encouragement for the day...'

"Get up, each day, expecting God's far-and-beyond favor. Then you will see God show up and do amazing things in your life." (Via Twitter)

In his usual fashion, he sets up what are supposedly "biblical promises" presented in an "if/then" form. "You do this and I will do that." The majority of Pastor Osteen's "encouragements" are like this.

Granted there are promises of God which are in fact stated this way in the Bible but never to the exclusion of God's sovereignty. As he has stated it, God's actions in our lives are based on, and contingent on, OUR expectation and ability to "see" what it is we are demanding. (In his best selling book--Your Best Life Now--this is reiterated.) He equates this to "faith." This is not only wrong it is offensive to a holy God who does not operate capriciously or Who is coerced into action because of our demandingness.

In my forthcoming book--The Proper Pursuit of Prosperity--I give specific examples from Joel's writings showing the discouraging nature of what he advances as "encouragement."

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Proper Pursuit of Prosperity

As a columnist for the Central Maine newspaper group for nearly a decade my hard hitting, no holds barred, opinion column was the best read column (according to my editors)during the time my columns ran. As a committed follower of Jesus Christ, the Bible is my reference point for all aspects of the world in which we live.

My columns garnered 4 annual "Amy foundation" writing awards with their attendant $1000 prize the first 8 years of my column. Following my time with the Central Maine newspapers I syndicated with the same foundation that had recognized my writing with their recognition.

As the leader of a large church in Central Maine, fro twenty years, I have gained an appreciation for the dire need of teaching the Scriptures in the context in which they appear in the inspired, infallible, inerrant, authoritative Word of God. There is a paucity of exegetical exposition of the Word with the overwhelming majority of what is "out there" as little more than proof-texting. This is the common form of "biblical teaching" that has taken over the "Christian" church. It is the methodology that proves you can indeed prove anything you want from the Bible.

As I was approaching my first sabbatical of my pastoral ministry, I was being drawn to perversion of Scripture that essentially teaches that God is our personal magic man who exists to make us happy and fulfill all our wishes. It is not new. This "gospel of prosperity" was perhaps first popularized by the likes of Norman Vincent Peale with his power of positive thinking and carried on by Robert Schuller of The Hour of Power fame. Today it is present as the dominant message in the Church of Jesus Christ both here and abroad. While the more outlandish iterations of this gospel perversion are parodied in the characters of men like Andrew Wommack, Zack Timmons, and Leroy Jenkins but has gained tremendous"respectability" through the mainstreaming of the vending machine God by the popularity of Joel Osteen and the phenomenal success of his book "Your Best Life Now."

The Proper Pursuit of Prosperity is a balanced approach concerning the biblical teaching of a true prosperity promised by God but both His promises and His timing must be understood biblically, not on presumptuous, wishful thinking and worst the kind of demandingness taught by men like Pastor Osteen.

The Proper Pursuit will be released in the late Spring or early Summer by Tate Publishing Enterprises. I am excited to put this important book into your hands! It will be available through Amazon, Borders to name only a couple or directly from the publisher. It will also be available as an E-book. Visit my blog for updates!