Daily Devotional for Friday March 13, 2009

Economic Decline

(Matthew 10:8)

"Freely you have received, freely give." Matthew 10:8

Economic decline? Not in the world of the motivational speaker who masquerades as a pastor, Joel Osteen, who is charging people ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY FIVE DOLLARS to come see him do his Tony Robbins routine at Yankee Stadium next month. I know Joel hates using the Bible, so he has probably never read today's anchor verse that says, "freely you have received, freely give."

He brags about never talking about sin, refuses to even say the name of Jesus in secular press interviews, and you will NEVER hear him speak out against the slaughter of innocent babies, the radical homosexual agenda and how they want to pervert God's Holy Institution of Marriage and the family, nor take a stand for Israel. After all, taking a stand on these issues would make it hard for him to sell his motivational books to the masses.

It is sad that despite the tens of millions of dollars Osteen gets from selling his motivational books, the hundred million plus budget of his church, it still isn't enough. He has to go around the country like he is the Rolling Stones or Britney Spears, and CHARGE people to come hear his motivational speech how everyone can be rich and happy like he is, on top of selling them an endless supply of Osteen books and tapes at each event.

Maybe Joel doesn't realize that everyone didn't have a father who spent his lifetime building up a church of 20,000 members and a national TV program like he inherited when his father died several years ago. Osteen's father was a no-nonsense Gospel preacher who boldly preached the unadulterated Truth of the Bible without compromise, and I am certain he is looking down with great sadness at his son who has transformed the ministry he founded into little more than motivational seminars that sell the temporal hope of this fallen world to the masses.

Also, will someone please tell Joel that the watered down "invitation" he gives means nothing unless you first explain to people WHY they need to accept Jesus. How is someone supposed to understand the commitment of their life they are making to the Lord or why they are accepting Jesus into their life unless you explain it to them? Let him know it is OK to tell people there is a very real place called hell where those without Jesus will spend eternity, and that is because of their...SINS. His "invitation" leads people to think they need Jesus so they can be rich and all of their problems will be taken care of since that is the crux of all of his messages, the typical message of the prosperity pimps who dominate the Christian TV landscape.

Osteen's brazen move to charge people $125 to see him, comes on the heels of a new study showing that 15% of Americans have no religion at all, double what similar studies showed just 20 years ago. I have been telling the Liveprayer family for years now, that the better percentage of 2 full generations have never even been to church. All recent studies are bearing this out as we are now seeing the empirical evidence of what I have known for years. This is no longer a Christian nation and is fast becoming a secular society much like Europe and Canada have become. This trend towards people with no religion is going go continue as the years go by.

A recent Barna study show that less than 1% of young adults between 18-23 hold a Biblical worldview. Barna defined a Biblical worldview as, "Believing that absolute moral truth exists; the Bible is completely accurate in all of the principles it teaches; Satan is considered to be a real being or force, not merely symbolic; a person cannot earn their way into Heaven by trying to be good or do good works; Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; and God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today." Once again, simply confirmation of what I have been telling you for years now.

Also, I recently read an article in the Christian Science Monitor written by Michael Spencer who made a great case that within 10 years, we will see a collapse of evangelical Christianity in this nation. As I read thru Spencer's article, it is like he has been taking notes from my Devotionals these past 10 years, as all of the cases I have made about why the church is ineffective in our society today and the problems we are now facing as a Christian community were laid out in his piece. You can read the Spencer article for yourself at; http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0310/p09s01-coop.html

What all of these issues today prove is that in our 21st century cleverness to amass numbers and dollars, we have done so at the expense of the pure Truth of the Bible. The seeker, purpose driven, emerging church marketing strategies that have been somewhat successful in attracting warm bodies, have been a failure at converting people to faith in Christ and having them grow into a committed servant relationship with Christ.

The motivational and prosperity preachers have done a great job at building their kingdom with glass buildings, huge staffs, mansions, luxury cars, and private jets, yet done little to build the Kingdom of God. The church has failed at leading the culture. Worse, the church has allowed the culture to influence it as many have rejected the Absolute Truth of the Bible and embraced gross sins like homosexuality and abortion.

This is a wake up call that if we are going to reclaim this nation for Christ, bring the lost to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, we have got to get back to the basics. There is no greater message than the Gospel of Jesus Christ and no more effective book than the Bible. Rather than relying on the cleverness of man, we need to get back to the simplicity of God's Word. The church is not grown through marketing strategies, but by bringing people to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Did Paul charge people to come hear him preach??? Those who serve the Lord are SERVANTS, not rock stars!!!

I love you and care about you so much. My friend, there is only one hope to save this nation and to see the lost come to faith in Jesus Christ. Those who know the Lord have got to get out into the hiways and byways and share the love of Christ with people and tell them that the answers and hope they are looking for in life are all found in the pages of the Bible. Our goal isn't supposed to see how many people we can fit into a building on Sunday, or how many people we can get to pay $125 to come here us speak, or what type of new private jet we can buy to fly around in.

No my friend, our goal is supposed to be to preach the Gospel, call this evil world to turn from its sins and to God, and share with the lost and hurting the hope and love of Jesus Christ. We are called to be bondservants of the Lord Jesus Christ and as His servants, to serve others. It is the power of the Gospel that brings men to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. It is the Truth of the Bible that contains the answers men are looking for. It is our humble service that allows people to see Jesus in our lives. I wonder how much Jesus charged the people to hear Him give the Sermon on the Mount?

In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ, Bill Keller