Church Hype, Swamp Mentality and $100 Prophecies

To my dear friends in the Kingdom of God – this is a tough one – I hope it makes some sense
Here in my city I have been a part of a number of smaller projects with various ministries in the city – and of course I preach and teach the Kingdom where ever I can, motivating others to jump in and do something to promote Kingdom lifestyles, trying to enable people and equip them to get out of their comfort zones and minister and make a difference in people’s lives – and I have had a measure of success in seeing people move out and step into something that they never thought they could do or would even have the interest to invest the time and energy in it and are finding that the Lord truly is enabling them to make a difference in the lives of others.
I know for me there have been a number of ways that I have worked to invest in others and share, yet I feel like I am barely making a dent.  Its similar to my approach to praying for the nation.  I pray for the President, and the VP and the Senate and Congress, and various parts of the Government, and for the military and the war on terror and war on drugs and immigration and feel like I barely make a dent – but if I can see a city changed and transformed, then I can start believing for a state and a nation, yet I am not really seeing a city transformed.
Don’t get me wrong – there are some amazing things going on in Omaha – many of these things are light years ahead of other cities, yet we remain with many of the same difficulties that other cities of our nation experience.  Tonight watching 60 Minutes and the street kids and homeless families living in trucks and tents in Florida with the statistics stating that nearly one third of the homeless people in America actually live in Florida, makes me wonder, how can we really approach the elimination of systemic poverty in America and for me, here in Omaha, Nebraska.
And I understand that the Bible says not to compare ourselves one to another, but when I look at my own life and that of my family even in the midst of our problems with health, cash flow and other obstacles in our lives, we have it pretty good compared to many in America.  And I am blessed, and I have been teaching a lot lately on wells, swamps and rivers.  And meeting Jesus at the well is a great place to meet Jesus, but I don’t think he wants us hanging around the well, but rather staying away from the swamp mentality and getting to the river.  Our private conversations with Jesus are meant to turn into public proclamations for Jesus. 
And Jesus can indeed make money appear in a fish’s mouth, and supply small amounts of bread and fish to feed a large crowd, so I know He has the answers too.  So many churches have a swamp mentality, because in the swamp the animals devour one another, and while so many in our society are sighing, crying and dying, we have churches with people attacking one another and devouring one another and I know God is grieved.  We also see churches attacking other churches, and having protests, and marches to what end.  Nothing changes, except that the congregations become more cynical and skeptical. 
I am weary of people saying I planted a seed.  I want to see Harvest.  I want to see fruit.  Jesus brings the increase but from what I read in the bible I should be able to participate and experience the harvest too.  Aren’t you tired of just planting and then seeing the weeds and tares come up and choke out the harvest.  I am tired of churches saying that they are hospitals, yet no one ever gets well.  Who wants to check into a hospital and discover that the last person to be discharged from that hospital happened five years prior to that.  Get me to a hospital where they have a great track record of getting people well.  Churches should be full of life, and I am glad I attend such a church, but lets get real – to say a church is a hospital, but everyone has been and remains sick for years, then there is something wrong with that picture for sure.
There has to be outflow.  That is why the dead sea is dead because there is no outflow.  We are not to be “Well Dwellers” just hanging out where we met Jesus and always remembering that occasion, but rather like the woman at the well in John 4, she left her water pot after having a private conversation with Jesus and went and told many others publicly about her private meeting and how it influenced her life.  We too need to be proclaiming publicly about what Jesus has told us privately.  In John 18:20ff when Jesus was being questioned at the beginning of his trial, he stated that he preached and shared everything openly and that there were no secrets.  He spoke publicly to everyone He met after having private meetings with His father.  That has to be our aim and goal. 
Psalm One says that we are to be planted by the rivers, and then we will bear fruit and be prosperous in our season.  And we all go through seasons, some are easy and some are tough.  Some are trying and difficult while others are filled with joy and laughter.  And as we trust God, according to Daniel 2, he can change the season in an instant, and I understand and appreciate that, but I guess I would like to learn how to have a great affect and greater influence and greater impact to help others who are going through a tough season – and I know that we go through things to go to something – and I tell people all the time if they are going through hell, not to stop, and not to get a motel there, but to keep going.  but often in those times we need someone to go with us and to encourage us and help us in our time of need.  We are to be burden bearers according to Galatians 6. 
And that is a part of the steps of righteous people are being ordered by the Lord and our daily walk and process with Jesus.  But there are many who need help – assistance, – guidance – assurance, – finances, – and more than a fish, and even more than learning how to fish, but how to purchase the pond and rent it to others who want to fish – but putting all of those things into the hopper and helping those that are truly struggling and not making it – and simply saying – trust Jesus – just does not seem to be quite enough –
I really want to make a difference and have been blessed to help people in a variety of ways and won’t list those here because I am not trying to pat myself on the back -but I truly want to know how to move towards the elimination of systemic poverty in our city, and area – while also expanding the Kingdom of God to which I am called, but also truly and ultimately making a difference so that it influences our nation.  I also know that Jesus said the poor would always be with us, so I know the totality of the elimination of poverty is probably not within our reach, yet I want to try – and I hope you will help me with some ideas.
What are practical steps that you see churches, and ministries making in modern day America?   Not other countries where we have transformational DVD and data, but here in the states.  And not even prayer networks and churches and marketplaces like Elk River, but really making lasting change – what can I do – what can we do –
And this is not a seasonal Christmas urge that will fade after January 2nd – this truly has been on my mind for many months – – I have been working to connect in prisons, and locally with the black and Hispanic cultures of our area, but it is not just a culture either – there are plenty of white folks struggling too.  Even with medical issues.  I have been battling this rash for four weeks now, yet I had an open house this weekend for my 55th birthday, and we had a number of folks within the 40 some people who came out who are battling tough medical challenges, with poor health insurance, and/or medical problems with no answers, and so my heart goes out to them – I have friends who can’t drive to church because their car has broken down, and they can’t afford to fix them, and I want to help but don’t know where to start.  I have friends who live in really tough neighborhoods, in run down homes, and the list goes on and on – from joblessness, to illnesses, and brokenness in many forms.
The church as a whole just goes round and round with so much hype and so much religion.  I am sick of religion. I want to experience and see people in a relationship with God.  Religion seems to run rampant.  The same hype, the same myths over and over.  Exaggerated testimonies coupled with sensationalism and promises, promises and more promises, yet little bang for our buck.   How many times is the world going to end?  Next one is 2012.  When are we going to stop believing the peddlers with their holy water and $100 prophecies?  Why do we buy into the conferences that say this will change your life, or more recently, this will change your destiny/  I don’t want my destiny changed?  I know the road I am suppose to be on. 
 I am tired of the TV preachers offering trinkets to get finances, and the crazy books that are written to make everyone feel good in church. When did church evolve into feeling good?  Its suppose to be a battle ship, not a cruise line.  Remember the ministers that proclaimed back in 1998 that this was the year of jubilee with the 50th anniversary of Israel – and they preached that everyone would be out of debt – most of those same preachers are still begging for money.  This has got to stop!  I am tired of the ads in Christian magazines that promote the conference and shows the speakers as being the next greatest whatever, with little to no mention of God in the ads.  This it not the same Kingdom I read about in the Bible.
Everywhere Jesus went, He made a difference in someone’s life.  That’s what I want to do, and He said we would do greater things than He did, so if we band together, and join together, being His body across the face of the earth, it seems to me that we truly can make a difference.  I really don’t know how to end this letter, so for now it ends like this….to be continued – and maybe you will write it – I am ready for action. 
Thank you for your commitment to the Kingdom
of God and for your faithfulness to your call
from the Lord.

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