Thursday, September 29, 2005

Acceptance for the preacher

Every picture tells a story...various responses to the gospel, now and then, spot the difference

Face on the big screen,
acclaimed by the hordes

Name in lights
loved by thousands

Head on the floor
Abandoned and hated

Count yourself blessed every time someone cuts you down or throws you out, every time someone smears or blackens your name to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and that that person is uncomfortable. (Luke 6:22)


Peter said...

Don't think the 2 pictures are contradictory. After all didn't Jesus once preach in a stadium with well in excess of 5000 people. And when He entered Jerusalem didn't 100's & 1,000's line the streets chanting for Him and waving banners. David was adored by the people who would line the streets singing of his greatness.

Those men I know of who are able to draw crowds of 1,000's are usually extremely humble, obedient and have paid a high price (not beheading but often betrayal, back stabbing, gossip, malicious rumours etc). There are very people God know's He can trust them with that level of success and popularity ... I'm certainly prone to pride at much smaller accomplishments!

1Samuel 24:6,7. Philippians 1:18. Romans 12:15

Peter again! said...

The missing word is "few"!! ;o)

Dave said...

Hi Peter oh faithful blogger, good to see your comments. I think there is a debate going on about the pro's and con's of mega churches, I am not particularly aiming at that, others have written far more on this subject. I am concerned what effect a mega church will have on Christianity long term, but again time will tell.

The pictures I used were of Joel Osteen's church at Lakewood, I do not know the man so cannot comment on his life, I am not sure there is a need though to have your name emblazoned 30ft high on giant plasma screens, maybe I will get round to reading his 'seven steps' book one day, though again I wonder if the Spirit can be reduced to any multiple of steps for success, the apostles certainly never grasped this...

10We're the Messiah's misfits. You might be sure of yourselves, but we live in the midst of frailties and uncertainties. You might be well-thought-of by others, but we're mostly kicked around. 11Much of the time we don't have enough to eat, we wear patched and threadbare clothes, we get doors slammed in our faces, 12and we pick up odd jobs anywhere we can to eke out a living. When they call us names, we say, "God bless you." 13When they spread rumors about us, we put in a good word for them. We're treated like garbage, potato peelings from the culture's kitchen. And it's not getting any better.

(sorry Eugene, I like the Message, but 'potato peelings')...We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things ESV

I wonder what the supporters of these mega churches would think if after 3 years the pastor had lost all his followers, all his elders had left him and he was at odds with the recognised religious tradition.

Jesus stadium experience was short lived, and in the history of revivals and great men and women of God, recognition only comes after they are dead, whilst alive they are not usually tolerated.

Maybe this is more of a personal issue, as it seems that declaring the whole counsel of God reduces the number of people who accept us. You yourself will know how well children can accept the gospel as they have no religious baggae to carry, with unbelivers they either laugh at you and punch you in the face (metaphorically normally) or they accept the gospel. Mind you I would rather have a fist in my mouth than a knife in my back.

Apologies though, I should not have used Joel Osteen, it was just that it made the point more emphatic. It is slightly hypocritical anyway for I myself am pastor of a mega church (that is when I was in Manchester mega meant great and cool) and our church is certainly that. In that light church is mega full stop!

Peace brother

NPC said...

Another concern that I have about "mega" (both meanings :)) aspect of the churches is that people may join them for social, rather than spiritual, reasons... But that is also normal, I suppose, Jesus did warn us of wolves in sheep clothes, I just need to worry that I am not one of them.

Anton (aka NPC)

dinsy said...

Hi Anton, I like your blog by the way - the cool cyrillic writing on the right hand side - is that Ukranian?

While you keep being concerned that you might be falling into whatever error you fear (wolf in sheep's clothes), I don't think you will fall into it very far. It is when we come to believe that we have a particular problem beaten so we don't need to look at it again - that's when we are likely to fall (in a big way).

That would be arrogance I guess. Oh well , I'm alright there then - I'm not arrogant :-)

dinsy said...

Potato peelings from the culture's kitchen - would that be the verse about off-scourings in more traditional versions? Sorry, I don't instantly recognise the quote, I never learned the references for all those "verse of the day" things). I suppose potato peelings could be likened - with a huge stretch of imagination - to off-scourings - that's if I knew what off-scourings were :-)

I heard one of the seven step sermons last night (no, it was not Dave preaching it), it was the four "p"s, I think they were precondition, purpose, power and path of success. If only he had made it the 6 "p"s, he could have ended with "it's potato peelings for you if you do it successfully". Though as we were singing psalms without music instead of songs (it sounded like tuneful wailing), I wonder what the reaction would have been if he had delivered the reading from the Message?

dinsy said...

Back to the original thread, stadium events. Maybe I'm missing out cos I've never been to one, and never watched the God channel, but these pictures look to me far more like people enjoying a really good concert than listening to the word. I thought the "Joel" must be Billy Joel at first. It seems like a "travelling salvation circus". Dave, when our congregation grows to 10,000 (that's twice the town), I'm looking for a new whatever-we-are.

Peter, sorry but I don't see the relevance in your quote from Romans.

However, I read further and came upon the bit about doing practical good things for your enemy, thereby heaping burning coals upon his head (Rom 12:20 which is really Prov 25:21,22). This is a verse that someone I know uses a lot, but I've never understood it. It seems to contradict the spirit of the sermon on the mount, advocating an attitude of superiority and resentment to your enemy (I'm doing good to you so you'll feel bad, ha, ha kind of thing) rather than an attitude of love. Paul misses out the bit where Solomon says "the Lord will reward you" which also leaves me feeling uneasy (I'm doing good so you'll feel bad and God will give me a reward).

Is Paul only quoting Solomon because Matthew's gospel had not been written? Does Jesus mean the same as Solomon, or has He moved us a step closer to the way God really wants for us to live? Is heaping burning coals on people's heads really a good way to share the gospel with them?

Anybody help me out here?

shieldsy (nee Peter!) said...

Dinsy, Romans 12:15 ("Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.") relates to each of the pictures. We should be rejoicing when someone elses ministry is flourishing & growing & stadiums are being filled with people coming under the preaching of God's word. We should be mourning when our brothers & sisters are being persecuted, martyred & ill-treated or even if they're ministry falls on "hard times".

I think verse 20 isn't advocating "heaping coals on your enemies head" as a motive, merely a statement of fact. i.e. that's not why we should do it but that's probably gonna be the consequence. Just the same as forgiving someone can actually make them feel more guilty ... that's not why we should do it but that's often what happens. That's my reading of it anyway.


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