The Prosperity Gospel

I am so glad that someone finally shared something about this which makes sense.  For years now, every time someone has recommended that I read a book by Joel Osteen or Joyce Meyer I have politely smiled, but not known what to say.

During my senior year of high school I had Viral Menengitis.  I was sick for about eight months, two of which I spent in a dark basement because I was too sensitive to light and sound to be upstairs.  Once I was able to tolerate small amounts of light and sound, early in the morning I would turn on some Christian TV channel to hear sermons.  One of the preachers I listened to during this time was Joel Osteen.

I’ll admit that during this season of life I enjoyed turning on the TV to hear his sermons.  Really, I just enjoyed any form of human contact or something that made me feel connected to the outside world.  I liked hearing a positive message.  He seemed very friendly.  But even then, I knew that this guy’s preaching was not legit.  Every message was the same and every message was so surfacey that he might as well just call himself a Motivational Speaker, not a pastor.

Anyway, I share this story because this morning I read something and saw a video that explained some things about Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer (among others) that finally made sense.  This was not some kind of whiny article or anything meant to bash or attack them.  The truth is, what they teach is a lot easier to stomach than much of what is in the Bible, except that it’s not true.

This topic of the prosperity gospel has been something I have mowed over time and time again in my own personal experience.  Why is it that respected Christian theologians from the past few hundred years talk of a Christianity that is so different than much of the Christianity that is preached in the pulpits today?  This has always confused me.  The perspective on money and suffering seems to have changed so much just recently…

I remember hearing somewhere that if you can’t preach the same message to someone who is dirt poor in India as you do here in America, then it is not the gospel that you are preaching.  

The gospel is for everyone.  All peoples.  Period.

I’m certain I’m getting in a bit over my head, trying to share about this topic.  I am not a theologian by any means.  I struggle just to be a Bible reader at times.

But I felt this was important to share as best I could.  Really, you should just read the article that I read for yourself, since the writers are more credible than me and since most American Christians are affected by the prosperity gospel in one way or another.  And made sure to watch the John Piper video that is included too.

 

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11 Bible Verses For Someone Who Has Had A Miscarriage

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A week or so after the miscarriage, a cute package arrived.  It was from my sister-in-law, Renee.  Inside were some yummy fall treats and a bundle of small purple card-stock rectangles wrapped in a pretty purple ribbon.  I carefully untied the bow to see what was written on the cards.  What I found were eleven hand-written Bible verses.

After reading through them, I placed the cards in various locations around my home.  A few went on my vanity, two on my bedside table, more randomly placed in the kitchen, the bathroom, etc.

I’ve shared this with some people in my life, but not on my blog yet:  The crazy thing about going through the miscarriage was that never, ever, ever in my life have I experienced the kind of closeness with the Holy Spirit that I experienced in the two weeks leading up to the miscarriage and the week following it.  Here’s a short synopsis of what was happening in my life during this time:

-A friend came over to chat.  We talked about how another person we both know claimed that the Holy Spirit was her best friend.  I later pondered this thinking, “How?  I don’t feel like that ever been true for me.”  This conversation kept coming to mind in the days following.

-Pregnancy fatigue got worse.  My mom-in-law stayed with us for a week and then I decided to go back to Colorado with her for another week.  Because of the before mentioned conversation, I decided (not sure where this decision even came from) that while I was in Colorado I was going to become best friends with the Holy Spirit.

-While in Colorado I was too tired and sick to ever read the Bible, but I did have an ongoing dialogue with the Holy Spirit more than ever before.  When I’d lay in bed at night, without my husband to talk to, I poured out my heart to the Holy Spirit and I found that it felt wonderful to do so.  I drew near to Him and in return I felt that He was drawing near to me.

-When I returned home, this closeness remained; enough so that my husband even commented on how he’d been encouraged by my attitude lately and that my faith was inspiring him.  (When your husband says that, know something legit is going on.)

-A week later I started bleeding.  Despite my symptoms, I felt secure.  I felt sure that everything would be okay.  I felt close to God.

-The night of the miscarriage Jon, Cam and I drove to San Fransisco.  Most of the car ride was spent praying and talking.  The last hour of the drive I experienced painful cramping.

-When we got to the hotel, Jon went inside to check in.  While he was inside, my water broke.  There was a problem with our credit card so it took him about fifteen minutes to get the issue resolved.  When he finally returned, we parked and I used one of Cameron’s diapers to keep me from bleeding through my pants on the walk up to the hotel room.

-As soon as I got to the hotel room I went and sat on the toilet.  Almost instantly blood started pouring out.

-The rest of the story you can read here.

-Once we returned home I went through a week of grieving.  But not the despair kind of grieving.  It was more of a deep, peaceful sadness than an angry grief.

Like I’ve mentioned before, I don’t understand why the miscarriage happened.  But all I know is that strangely enough it seemed to me like God prepared me for it.  There have been countless situations in my life where I’ve responded terribly to difficult circumstances.  A miscarriage has the potential to wreck a person.  Yet somehow, promptings from the Holy Spirit lead me to draw near.  I didn’t do anything flashy or religious.  In fact, during this time I mostly laid on the couch because that was all I could manage to do.  I felt weak in every respect, yet the Holy Spirit was truly becoming my best friend.

I saw a quote the other day that said, “You never realize that Jesus is all you need, until Jesus is all you have.”  This was very true for me during this time.

So all that being said, there is a God whose love is strong enough to go into even the darkest of situations and who sits with us in our tragedy and offers us hope and healing.  I think the Bible verses from my sister-in-law are all great reminders of the kind of sweet relationship we can have with God in the midst of incredible pain.

And of course, there is no right or wrong way to go through a miscarriage.  We all do the best we can do.  If you’re someone who felt alone and hopeless after your miscarriage, that is understandable and that is okay.  There’s no shame or guilt for feeling angry at God or upset at what’s happened.  Sometimes it takes us a while to find peace in our hearts and to be open to healing.  But it’s possible.

Whether you’ve experienced a miscarriage or some other kind of trauma or tragedy, I hope these verses point you towards the one who cares for you the most.

  1. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  -Romans 15:13

  2. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  – 2 Corinthians 12:9

  3. The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love O Lord, endures forever.  – Psalm 138:8

  4. Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truths and teach me, for you are God my Savior and my hope is in you all day long.  – Psalm 25:4-5

  5. Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  – Lamentations 3:22-23

  6. The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made.  – Psalm 145:13

  7. …pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord.  – Lamentations 2:19

  8. Blesses is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.  – Luke 1:45

  9. I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.  – John 16:33

  10. You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry.  – Psalm 10:17

  11. For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, “Do not fear; I will help you!”  – Isaiah 41:13

Joy Through Pain – playlist

Here are some songs that have blessed me the past couple days.  These songs have helped me to put my trust in God and have ignited joy, even in the midst of pain.  Hope you enjoy as well!

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Your Love Endures – Darren & Jessie Clarke

Never Once – Matt Redman

Christ is Risen – Matt Maher

Second Chance – Rend Collective Experiment

Oh How I Need You – All Sons and Daughters

Sing My Soul – Sojourn Music

Spirit Break Out – Worship Central Live

How Great Thou Art – Resonate Church

I Love Your Presence – Vineyard Worship

Fiery Love – Samuel Lane

Back To the Start (God’s Great Dance Floor) – Martin Smith

Revival – Soulfire Revolution

Abortion A Symptom, Not A Solution To The Oppression Of Women

I’ve never been able to put some of my feelings about this topic into words, but I stumbled across an article today that beautifully captures it.

I understand that abortion is a complex issue.  One that is social, spiritual, political and personal.  But women fighting for the right to kill their own children just seems like they are fighting the wrong fight.

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Please hear me when I say that I don’t have some fierce hate towards anyone who has had an abortion.  I’m not trying to be self righteous when I say this, but truly my views on abortion do not come from a place of judgement towards those who have faced painful circumstances.  To be honest, had I found myself pregnant in high school or college I truly don’t know what I would have done.

But what I do know is that, my religion aside, watching throngs of women stand with picket signs demanding the Right To Choose has always struck me a bit funny.  Funny as in ‘off’ or as in ‘odd.’  There’s so much passion, so much conviction, so much anger towards anyone wanting to take away that precious choice.  But all I see sometimes, is a group of females demanding that their fellow independent women be allowed the right to kill their own children.

If the scenario was flipped and it was men in America picketing that they should have the right to have their unborn child aborted, despite what the mother wanted, don’t you think that women would be outraged?  Would it take this kind of radical scenario to help women see how ridiculous, and sad, their demands are?

Am I for making abortion illegal?  I don’t know.  Probably not.  Thinking about it all makes my head spin because it would be such a change in the structure of America that I don’t know where to begin… I don’t think legality is even where the conversation should begin.

But…I am not for abortion either.  For many reasons.

Anyway, that is all just my opinion, but you should read the article.

And if you don’t like my opinion, I shall respectfully say that this is my blog and I write what I want to.  Please leave a comment, but keep it tasteful.

READ THE ARTICLE

I Just Realized I’m An Introvert

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…with a few extrovert qualities as well.

I’ve read a few things before that have suggested I may be a part of the introvert crowd, but this article sold me 100%.  I scored 21 out of 23. It’s kinda cool when you read something that helps you have a better understanding of yourself.

Check out this Huffington Post article to find out if you are and introvert as well.

23 Signs You’re Secretly An Introvert

Sunday Morning In Bed


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Jon is recovering from Strep Throat.

I woke up with a sore throat.  (And a hundred other things from being pregnant).

Therefore, Cameron is all dressed for church and confused by why we are staying home.

I am so happy to be having another baby, but already ready to be done with being pregnant.  Despite the beautiful motherly glow, I’m remembering how awful it feels to have my body invaded by an alien fetus who dictates everything I feel from his/her little control center in my abdomen.  It might sound harsh or negative, but I think this time around since everything I’m experiencing isn’t new or ‘a first’ I’m a bit quicker to call it like I see it.

However, I will say that I am immeasurably grateful to not be spending this pregnancy working a desk job, which is probably the worst thing ever.

-rant complete-

So I started my morning with a few saltines and decided to stop scrolling Facebook (again) when I decided to listen to a sermon instead.

I found and listened to a great sermon called Audacious Community by Josh Martin in Pullman, Washington.  I’ve been really intrigued by this whole idea of community and church lately.  Like whenever I hear it being talked about my ears perk up and I listen a bit more closely.

How is the church supposed to be different than other types of community that you can find through a book club or a sports team?  That is what I’m trying to figure out; or more like what I feel like God has been wanting to reveal to me lately.  I think because I’ve been realizing lately that where community is lacking, sin prevails.  A person, myself for example, can hear a hundred good messages from a pastor, but without being a part of an authentic Christian community where the gospel can be lived out and experienced relationally, real growth and change is stifled and people remain lonely.  And God created it to work that way.

Anyway, Josh’s message is great if you have a chance to listen to it.

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Jon, even though he’s not feeling well himself, decided to give me a break by picking me up a chai latte and taking Cameron to the park.  My husband has always been sweet and caring towards me, but whenever I’ve been pregnant he is over the top.  My selfish self likes to say, “Hey, why aren’t you like that all the time?”  But when I really think about it, it’s very endearing and sweet that when I’m pregnant he naturally becomes more nurturing and wants to take care of everything for me.  He’s a really good man.

SIDE NOTE: Chai lattes are awesome when you’re pregnant because they only have *35-55 grams of caffeine per serving, while drip coffee has 100-150 grams of caffeine per serving.  Oregon Chai is the best chai if you ask me.  No matter how hard I try, I just can’t get used to decaf coffee.

K, time for a nap.  Peace.

*The caffeine content above is for Oregon Chai.  Starbucks Tazo Chai has more caffeine: Tall = 75 mg, and a Grande = 100mg

Nap-Time Project

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Yesterday during Cam’s nap I had a little arts ‘n crafts time.  And by the way this is not some kind of mommy-bragging thing where I am trying to act like I do something creatively fulfilling and relaxing during his nap time everyday.  Quite the contrary, actually.  In fact, it’s been SO LONG since I’ve done anything crafty like this that my doing so yesterday is what made me feel all proud and made me want to share.

I’ve had this white wooden frame hanging in my bathroom for so long with nothing in it.  Yep, just an awkward white frame on my wall for about three years now…

I finally found a nice little quote on Pinterest and an easy way to make a blank white frame look pretty.  So I turned on a little Colbie Callait and hummed myself into a creative happy-cloud for about twenty minutes.

The result: something pretty in my bathroom that reminds me of something essential for living my days in the truth and in a right relationship with God.

Gaining My Custom Weapons

My blogging is so sporadic these days.

I don’t really enjoy writing much at night.  After a long day it ends up feeling more like work than play and first thing in the morning I like to take my time to wake up.  Recently I’ve discovered what an undesirable trait this is.

If only I could be someone who pops out of bed in the morning with an eagerness to start the day.  But no.  I am the wake-up-slow type who needs a good long while to roll over and stretch and then do a little more light dreaming before I can be bothered.  Then I require a warm drink and a chair followed by thirty minutes of reading or just sitting.  Lately, watching a quick show with my Cameron will do as well.  Then we eat a little something.  Then a little more sitting is required.

Then, and only then, am I maybe ready to even think about chores or getting dressed or preparing for the day.  Truly, I believe this will be a disadvantage in my life until twenty-five years from now when I am an empty-nester and can afford this kind of leisurely morning on a regular basis.  I blame all this fully on my father who invented these kind of slow wake-ups.

But basically, that lengthy introduction was a very long way of getting around to saying that blogging hasn’t quite been on my priority list lately.

Different seasons are for different things and this current season has been full of wading through deep emotions and changes.  Some of it has been the beautiful kind of deep.  Others have been more of the murky sorts.  Really, it’s just been one of those times where God has been surfacing so much in my life.  Surfacing it for the purpose of healing me because His intentions are always so brilliant and pure.

I feeling like I’m being rather vague about it all, and I am.  I hope to be able to put certain aspects of this time into words in the future because truly God is giving me some great stories to tell.

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In church on Sunday, the pastor’s Daughter was speaking and she said that each testimony is like a custom weapon that God gives you for battle.  He doesn’t just give you a testimony so that you can remember a great time that you had or so you can have an inspiring moment to look back on (even though many testimonies are those things as well).  But your testimony is a custom weapon, given to you by God, for the purpose of taking territory for the  Kingdom of Heaven.  Nobody can take it away from you.  Nobody can deny it.  Nobody can debate it’s legitimacy because it’s a real, modern-day account of the power and the love of God.

So, I guess right now I am gaining a few special custom weapons to add to my arsenal.  And when the time is right, I hope to launch my testimonies out into bloggersville so that more people than I could ever see in a day can experience them.

Anyway, more to come, but I just wanted to say hi.

Half Marathon, check!

I arrived just before the race started.  Snapped a quick pic and didn’t even have time to stretch before the gun went off.  Oops!

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It was foggy on the beach the entire time and in the mid 60s – perfect!  The whole race took place on the beach.  12 miles on the wet sand and then a 1 mile loop through dry sand and on some pavement.  During the first half of the race I listened to some great worship music and during the second half I switched over to a an upbeat club mix.

photo (10) - CopyI finished in 2 hours and 15 minutes which was exactly my goal for the race!

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I absolutely LOVED this experience!  It ended up being a lot easier than I had anticipated:  I ran the whole way and I smiled throughout the entire race as well.  Might sound strange but smiling while you run actually helps you run farther and faster according to the world class runners.  Plus I think the smiling was in part due to the adrenaline and the fact that I just to proud, happy and accomplished just to be out there doing something I never really thought I could or would do!

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Not sure when, but after this I am seriously considering doing a full marathon someday!

Kid’s Church Is Inspiring Me

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Last week I attended a meeting about the Kids World ministry at our church.  Many college students and young adults gathered to hear about the heart of Kids World and to go over the classroom policies.

I left feeling so inspired.

Some people have grown up experiencing Sunday School as a boring or irrelevant thing.  A time when you’re simply taught to be nice and do the right thing and say you love Jesus.  So it was moving to sit in a room full of young people who want to create an environment for children to really experience God.  To hear from God.  To learn to love his Word.  To experience forgiveness and healing and freedom and purpose.

Probably the most impactful thing I heard at this meeting was that children who receive the Holy Spirit do not receive a portion of him or a child-size Holy Spirit.  They receive THEE Holy Spirit.  All of him.  The same Holy Spirit that any adult can receive.

I’d never thought about it in those terms before.

Wow.

The thought of children experiencing God is just such a sweet thing to think on for a while.