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

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!