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Thanksgiving and Prosperity November 27, 2010

Posted by roberttalley in Prosperity Gospel, Psalms, Thanksgiving.
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THANKSGIVING IN PROSPERITY
Psalm 30

From Max Lucado’s When God Whispers Your Name: “We push back from the Thanksgiving table and pat our round bellies. ‘I’m satisfied,’ we declare. But look at us a few hours later, back in the kitchen picking the meat from the bone…

As a child we say, ‘If only I were a teenager.’ As a teen we say, ‘If only I were an adult.’ As an adult, ‘If only I were married.’ As a spouse, ‘If only I had kids.’ As a parent, ‘If only my kids were grown.’ In an empty house, ‘If only the kids would visit.’ As a retiree in the rocking chair with stiff joints and fading sight, ‘If only I were a child again.’”

God blesses us and yet we are not content. This psalm, however, describes a man who was not only content but thought he was self-sufficient. This man is David. We will see though that God brought him low and then lifted him up and that through being brought low and lifted up he learned thanksgiving.

A. God has lifted us up out of certain doom (verses 1-5). “Lifted up” here is the word used for drawing water out of a well. David found himself at the bottom of the well surrounded by enemies. He could not rescue himself and there was no one there to help him.

The plight of each individual is much the same. It does not matter whether you are king or beggar, preacher or prostitute. Each of us is doomed. We are surrounded by our enemies: sin, death, hell, Satan, the ungodly world in which we live, fear, doubt, suffering of many kinds, and darkness, which is ignorance of all that is godly as well as separation from God. That is the list of those with whom we are sharing the bottom of our well.

Then Jesus came…

a. He came to deliver us from death. Hebrews 2:14-17 says, “…He Himself … [became human], that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage…that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest…to make propitiation for the sins of the people.”

b. “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14).

c. He will deliver us from this evil world. “Our Lord Jesus Christ…gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever.” (Galatians 1:3-5).

B. God prospered us and then left us to our own devices (verses 6-7). Patrick Morley tells how that he “grew proud, not in [open] arrogance, but in subtly looking down on others, commending [himself] for superior accomplishment. One day God decided to get [his] attention…He put the business on its back. It was the best education and the most spiritually rewarding time of [his] life.”

The same thing happened to David. He had killed Goliath and had become a great military leader. He had fought overwhelming odds and won repeatedly. He had become a skilled manager of men. God prospered him and then allowed him to fall prey to his own success. We do not know the exact occasion but God began to multiply David’s enemies. David needed to be driven back to the understanding that he needed God.

As Anne Ortlund in My Sacrifice, His Fire wrote, “…I discovered that God’s leash wasn’t too tight-my heart was too proud! I thought I ‘deserved’ more; my self-image had greater expectations, and that attitude was the very grease on which I slid into self-pity, discontent, ungratefulness, misery.”

C. We committed ourselves to His worship (verses 8-10). Does God need us to worship Him? No, He is the Almighty whether we recognize it or not. You see, the purpose of worship is evangelistic. If what we do in here does not make a difference out there, then what we have done in here is not worship. For too many Christians, the church service is a spiritual comfort food.

Tim Keller, a pastor in Manhattan, in an interview years ago said, “I worship…when I realize I’ve been trusting in my own abilities, not the sovereignty and goodness of God. When I put my affections off the other things I’ve been trusting in – which is why I’m anxious – and put them on God…the truth will affect my emotions – and my will.”

D. God gives us joy so that we might glorify Him (verses 11-12a). God has not blessed us because we deserve it. God has not blessed us because we value religious freedom. God has not blessed us because we are democratic. God has not blessed us because we send missionaries. God has not blessed us because we tithe. God has not blessed us because we support Israel. God has not blessed us because we oppose abortion. God has blessed us for this reason alone, “So that we might glorify Him before others.”

“A man was standing behind a woman at the check-out counter of a local grocery store. He was well-dressed and his facial expression was quite stern. The woman glanced back at him a time or two as she finished unloading her basket. Finally, unable to restrain herself any long, she asked the serious-looking gentleman, ‘Excuse me, but do you happen to be a minister?’ ‘No, I’m not,’ he replied. ‘I’ve just been sick for a couple of weeks.’” (from Chuck Swindoll in Living Above the Level of Mediocrity).

E. Let us glorify Him in thanksgiving this week (verses 12b). God has saved you from a horrible pit. He has washed you from your sin. He has convicted you of your pride and brought you to salvation. You are committed to following Him. He has given you joy unspeakable and full of God. This thanksgiving, let people know from what God has saved, that you are committed to Him and nothing or no one else, and that you rejoice in Him.

Next week: “Preparing for the Dawn” Luke 1:67-80

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Is the economic downturn Osteen’s fault? (a link to an article in The Atlantic) November 25, 2009

Posted by roberttalley in Joel Osteen, Materialism, Prosperity Gospel, Religion.
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An interesting take on the prosperity gospel.

60 Minutes, Joel Osteen, and ESPN October 16, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Evangelicalism, Joel Osteen, Personalities, Prosperity Gospel, Religion.
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I did not see the 60 Minutes piece on Osteen but heard about it here on ESPN Radio. (UPDATE: The date to look under is 10/15/2007. The theme: Appreciate Greatness.) WARNING! You have to register for a podcast to play this. Basically Cowherd was making a point about the critical spirit of American society. He asks why someone is critical of Osteen when he preaches a positive message that gets people “under the tent.” Cowherd does not claim to be religious and his question is legitimate. The answer can be found in the links below but the short answer is this: “A message that sounds positive but is not true is not a positive message but a lie.” 

The post is about Osteen, the links about related topics (HT: The Shepherd’s Scrapbook)

There are a lot of connecting links here mainly to detractors of Joel Osteen but one video link where he speaks for himself to Larry King. Thanks to the fellows who gathered these links.

Links to Michael Horton (he was interviewed on 60 Minutes about Osteen) articles. (HT: Pastor and People by Dustin Benge)

Osteen’s newest book reviewed and a segment of him on Larry King Live. (HT: Expository Thoughts by Paul Lamy)

The Prosperity Gospel August 20, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in False Doctrine, False Teachers, Personalities, Prosperity Gospel, Religion.
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Especially look at the various links at Ron’s Reflections on this subject. I found the video very powerful but you should read Ron Ethridge’s post or Piper’s sermon first.

I get angry when people pollute the gospel of Jesus Christ. I remember when we were in Germany working with Iranians, how that a certain religious figure would ask the asylum-seeking Iranians (who were dying to find a country that would take them) if the believed in Jesus. They never understood, if he even explained to them, the gospel. If they said, “Yes”, he would baptize them and they thought that they were Christians or at least thought that they could pass themselves off as Christians. We have the most wonderful message of hope and love and freedom from sin and this man failed to communicate it. In fact, he communicated “another gospel” that is not a gospel. A verbal confession or a prayer without understanding and faith in Christ is nothing but empty words! Well, I’ve ranted enough. Look at the video and read the posts and the sermon and evaluate the “prosperity gospel” for yourself.

A Prayer Reminder of the Work to be Done in Resistencia, Argentina July 20, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Argentina, Biblical Ministries Worldwide, False Doctrine, False Teachers, Missionaries, Prosperity Gospel, Roman Catholicism, Steve and Becky Diem.
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Below is the blog of a young missionary couple preparing to go to Resistencia, Argentina. After reading the text, please write out a prayer for the Diems and for the work in Resistencia, Argentina.

http://carpediemargentina.blogspot.com/ 

Here is a link with general information about Resistencia itself.

Learn about Resistencia Argentina Steve and Becky Diem with Biblical Ministries Worldwide plan to begin language school during the first half of 2008. They will then assist a veteran couple in the church planting work in this city of over a quarter million people with a metropolitan area of over 350,000 people. The church is growing steadily. A facility has been acquired, renovated, and expanded to include a home, a guest house, and a large former warehouse that houses meeting and recreational space. A focus of this ministry has been to reach Argentine men. English classes are also used to make many contacts, as well as personal home Bible studies focusing on the Gospel of John. One of these currently being conducted has the potential of constituting the nucleus of a new church. Services and Bible studies have been conducted in a nearby fishing village with the intention of training an Argentine believer to establish and pastor a church there.

 

This work is part of a larger plan that includes Corrientes, which is across the river from Resistencia. In this city in a province of the same name, the flagship church was recently nationalized. Though it continues to struggle with the transition into autonomy, the congregation is seeking to establish several new churches in the city in the years ahead. Another small fellowship in the newer suburb of Laguna Seca serves as a training ground for emerging leaders from the main church. They currently have a single worker in Corrientes who is working with national believers and heavily involved in discipleship and leadership training. (Info from http://www.biblicalministries.org/countries/argentina.html)

 

General religious situation:  Resistencia is known as being one of the most evangelical provinces in Argentina but it is not certain if they are truly trusting the gospel of Christ because the methods used to see a truly phenomenal religious movement. These methods include playing down the “unpleasantries” of the gospel like eternal damnation and preaching what essentially is a “Prosperity”/”Name It Claim It” Gospel. This may have been easy in some groups because of the syncretism of various forms of Christianity with witchcraft and shamanism. In some ways, this may make the spreading of the true gospel more difficult in some cases because this has led in some cases (according to a Harvard researcher’s thesis that was available but no longer is at www.cid.harvard.edu/cidstudents/includefiles/thesis%202003/ThesisChapt2-2003.doc –, see especially pages 7 and 22) to a group of people who are nominally evangelical but who are not actually practicing their faith. The area is still overwhelmingly Roman Catholic in spite of the evangelical revival of the 90’s.

 

Don’t forget to post your prayer for them and this area of spiritual need in the comments section.

Nigeria, where Christianity is outgrowing Islam (a good thing?) July 18, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Character, False Doctrine, False Teachers, Nigeria, Prosperity Gospel, Quotes, Roman Catholicism.
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Christianity in Africa

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/july/12.22.html

Should we be offended by the Pope’s honesty?

Al Mohler is neither offended nor surprised at the statement approve by Pope Benedict XVI that the Roman Catholic Church is the only institutional form in which the Church of Christ subsists. On the contrary, Mohler appreciates the Pope’s candor and sees this as an opportunity to discuss one of the defining issues of our division with respectful candor and clarity. (Thanks to Justin Taylor).

 Are we a friendly church?

http://wabcmsal.org/pastorblog/?p=483

A Convicting Quote on Character

http://www.fireandknowledge.org/archives/2007/07/15/what-is-character-gladwell/