October 28, 2008
Give us more, give us more....wealth? Comfort? Ease?
A friend of mine turned me on to a beautiful sermon that pastor John Piper preached this past Sunday. It's very appropriate to our current global economic disaster and it really resonated with me through and through. The title of the sermon is "Proclaiming the Excellencies of Christ, Not Prosperity, Among the Nations." This blog is just a simple encouragement to go watch/listen or read the Sermon. You won't regret it. Click on the Blog title or this link to view the sermon page:
I've been a huge fan of Piper's work since I read his book "Don't Waste Your Life". In all honesty, that book set me on a path towards utter ruin in terms of how unfocused I HAD been living my life (how small my focus was of the cross) and the way I've been living my life since. It's caused me to rethink everything; the way I live my faith, how I act as a Christian, how I view the world around me, how much God should be my EVERYTHING. God is far too big to fit as just a little piece of my life. After reading Piper's book I made the decision to make Christ my everything and I'm still feeling the tremors from the quake that took place in my life. I recently had the wonderful opportunity of meeting Piper and hear him speak on the topic of worship. Life changing conference. Sometime in the near future I'll share how much that event has continued to wreck havoc on my future. The friend that first gave me this book asked me during this event as to what portion of the book really impacted me. My response was "I can't really recall which chapter or page it was but about 3 or 4 chapters in, I was done with". After thinking that comment through, I would have responded with "The whole thing is what wrecked me". I think Chapter 5 is what really got me, though. It's titled "Risk is Right - Better to Lose Your Life Than To Waste It". If you haven't read this book, you should do yourself a favor and pick it up. Watch the sermon and then buy the book. I've only begun to skim the surface of where God has deeply inspired my life through, most importantly, His word, but also through this book.
My only comment against the false teaching of prosperity is that at the absolute base of the error are fingers pointing at something that distracts from, not towards Jesus. I'll just give you one example of my encounter within this world of Prosperity. In my college days I was part of a wonderful prison ministry. Before we would enter a jail we would be split up two by two with a partner. Prisons are obviously a bit scary but we'd always say that Born-again prisoners we met were far more free than most people we met at church. I was split up with a man who was much older than I was in age but was much younger in the faith. The first cell we came to was an African-American man that had stolen something and ended up in the slammer. My "partner" goes on to tell him that ever since he received Jesus he was given a new job, a bigger home and just purchased a brand new red Corvette. No lie. I took him aside and asked him what Jesus gave each of the apostles for following Him. He looked dumbfounded. Jesus actually did the opposite. He instructed them to leave everything behind and "Take nothing with you for the journey--no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic." He almost instantly saw my point and said "I've never really thought about that". Imagine that. You and a whole slew of Fancy Evangelical dressers. I believe we need a Jesus-sized reality check that we were never meant to be so possessed by our possessions. I'm not saying that God doesn't ever allow us to have anything and that it's wrong to own anything. I'm just saying it's wrong to be OWNED by anything other than God himself. It's just that we've replaced the word "need" with "want" and what we "want" we usually find a way to get. We're good at chasing down our wants. God redeem us.