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3 Things I don’t want to hear in a sermon:

1. I don’t want to hear that I need to tithe or give money to receive God’s blessings.
2. I don’t want to hear that I need to be controlled by someone else to be healed.
3. I don’t want to hear that I need to be indecent or perform indecent acts in order to receive Christ into my body.

My dear friends, many false prophets have gone out into the world. So do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see if they are from God.

My dear children, you belong to God and have defeated them; because God’s Spirit, who is in you, is greater than the devil, who is in the world. 5 And they belong to the world, so what they say is from the world, and the world listens to them. But we belong to God, and those who know God listen to us. But those who are not from God do not listen to us. That is how we know the Spirit that is true and the spirit that is false.  ~ 1 John 4:1, 4-6

I don’t like sharing negative media, but I heard, read and saw some things this week that are completely against my belief, knowledge and understanding of Jesus Christ and the Word God delivered to us, His people, through Jesus.

There was a truly disturbing video on Facebook feed about a man people call a pastor (Lesego Daniel of Rabboni Center Ministries, in Garankuwa, South Africa), who put members of the congregation into a trance. While the people were entranced the “pastor” man hit some, punched some, kicked others, he even walked on a few. He instructed other congregants to do the same. He boasted that his sheep would not react unless he instructed them too. Then he told the entranced people to “AWAKE” and they jumped up like puppets yanked on a string. In another disturbing scene of the same video, the man called the people sheep and told them to eat grass. They did. {As of the writing of this post, the videos I saw a couple of days ago, have been deleted from YouTube, but articles and photos are still online.}

While I was researching the above story online, I came across another, impossibly MORE DISTURBING story about another man people call reverend (Rev. Njohi of Lord’s Propeller Redemption in Nairobi,(Dandora Phase 2), Kenya) who banned the wearing of undergarments (bras and panties, folks!) among the female congregants (both adults and children). In the article, it reported that he “outlawed” the wearing panties to church and insisted the women teach their daughters the same. Why? So that they can “receive Christ into their bodies easily”.

I’m sick. I’m outraged. I truly want to find these two men and beat them with my own hands for attempting to shame the Word of God in such a blasphemous manner. With some extra kicks for the mis-education of these people who apparently have some desire to know God. I want to shove grass down one throat while the other is forced to parade around him without garments at all.

I want to see done to them what they have done to others, but of course, I won’t. But it remains, as a Believer in Christ, I feel violated.

Where are the leaders in the congregations? Where are the leaders of the families? I want to know where the husbands and the fathers are in the congregation where the females are being prepped for sexual assault in the name of faith? What man in his right mind and his right faith would allow his wife and daughter to hear, listen and obey such trash? What true Brother in Christ would allow such for his unmarried Sisters in Christ? Where are the believers and thinkers in either congregation?

As horrible as all that is, it was nearly equal in offense to hear a pastor of a church I visited demean the congregation financially – calling them broke, telling them to call each other broke and insisting people stand up to announce how much they were giving in addition to their tithes to match a financial collection goal the pastor set himself – in order to “sow into another church” clear across the country. I literally sat back crossed my legs and my arms and said aloud, “This man is off the chain.” More astonishing still was that people continued to stand up to shout out how much they were going to give. What made this so disturbing? Hearing a pastor teach that people’s broken state was directly tied to the amount of money they gave or withheld from an organization. Hearing anyone teach people that the amount of money they give to a church organization directly correlates to how God blesses them, really infuriates me.

GOD’S GRACE CANNOT BE BOUGHT. It’s a gift. All you have to do to receive it is BELIEVE.

The fact that the pastor quoted Ephesians 2:8 to the people and they didn’t get the message of God’s word because they were focused on the messenger told me a lot about the ears and hearts of those who so desperately want to be numbered among God’s elect but they keep missing Him in the thunder of applause they praise men with.

I mean that you have been saved by grace through believing. You did not save yourselves; it was a gift from God. 9 It was not the result of your own efforts, so you cannot brag about it. 10 God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us to do good works, which God planned in advance for us to live our lives doing. ~ Ephesians 2:8-10

Chances are nothing significant will happen, here in the world, to men who are leading people astray in the name of Christ. The world is ripe for such. These men will continue to experience the illusion of success in this world. They will consider themselves successful because many people believe and follow them over God’s True, Free, Loving and Eternal Word. It should be enough for me to know that these false prophets will have an eternity to experience God’s judgement.

The beast was allowed to say proud words and words against God, and it was allowed to use its power for forty-two months. 6 It used its mouth to speak against God, against God’s name, against the place where God lives, and against all those who live in heaven. 7 It was given power to make war against God’s holy people and to defeat them.  Revelation 13:5-7

Jesus said to his followers, “Things that cause people to sin will happen, but how terrible for the person who causes them to happen! It would be better for you to be thrown into the sea with a large stone around your neck than to cause one of these little ones to sin.  ~ Luke 17:1-2

Referenced articles:

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Don’t Be Weak Minded… Please!

Okay, confession: I have recently discovered or rather acknowledged that I have little to no patience for timid or weak minded individuals. Pray for me – in all seriousness – because I need to work around my low regard and figure out how to effectively minister to such individuals within my sphere.

Let me be clear here, I am not talking about the average person who falls into sin and struggles out again. I’m talking about the person who is tormented in sin and lies there and accepts the torment as their due – primarily because they can’t envision anything else. Or the person who doesn’t cultivate their faith, but leans on what they are told about their faith. Or worst yet, the person with no faith at all. 

Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.    ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:14 NLT

I had a conversation with a woman some time ago who was speaking about how her night terrors were so bad, she rarely slept. They had been going on for so long she said she had basically adapted to not sleeping. It was just the way her life was – when the terrors came there was no sleep and that was “okay.”

I pieced together her story from several hours of group conversation. Towards the end of the gathering I turned to her and said, “May I ask if you’re Christian?”

“No, I’m not. I’m Jewish.”

“Where does the Torah stop in the Old Testament?”

She gave me a blank stare. “I’m thinking of some scripture to share with you,” I went on, “in Psalms, but I’m not sure if the Torah covers Psalms.”

“It doesn’t, it’s the first five books of the Old Testament, I think, but I don’t study the Torah.”

“In that case a scripture that helped me a great deal when I had fears was 2 Timothy 1:7, ‘God did not give us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love and a sound mind.’”

She shook her head at me as I spoke and told me in so many words, “I am not receiving what you’re saying. I understand it may have worked for you, but I am okay with where I am. I’m not interested in what you’re speaking to me. I’m not interested in being fixed. I’m okay how I am.”

Let me tell you, that had to be the first time I approached someone I had just met in an unfamiliar environment and tried to provide them with a healing word. And it so happened that it was the first time I got shot down in mid-word for my efforts! I was stunned. And I struggled to not be offended. Belief is a choice. Faith is a choice. Accepting God’s Word is a choice. I can’t be upset with how others choose, but I couldn’t help but think of the setting we were in at that moment.

It was a potluck with interfaith individuals at the home of a common associate. Throughout the afternoon we had discussed Buddhism, Hinduism, Catholicism, various forms of holistic care, faith practices and histories as well as lifestyle behaviors and opinions. I sat with very little to moderate comment through most of that, but the one time I uttered scripture I got shut down. In the next breath she said she enjoyed visiting churches, especially Episcopal churches – they were so pretty…. And she was still looking for faith practice that would work for her…. I wanted to ask her if she realized the Episcopal Church was a denomination of Christianity, but I let it go….

I think what stunned me most about this encounter was how some people are really eager to try any and every thing in the name of religion or “spirituality”, but they aren’t willing to even LISTEN to the pure, unaltered Word of God. They aren’t willing to LEARN it. And it’s in the Word that we find true life.

So, needless to say, I was flabbergasted. Here was someone who aggressively rejected the Word of God as it was spoken to her, yet felt comfortable speaking about walking into buildings dedicated to His worship. There was a huge disconnect to me. I didn’t feel right for the remainder of the conversation. I still don’t feel right when I think about her and that conversation. So, I repeat my request: pray for me that I have patience and grace in dealing with the truly lost souls, the timid and weak and underdeveloped souls – those stumbling in a darkness they consider to be self-awareness, but is as far from true awareness as the east is from the west.    

At some point the woman looped back to my comment about “when I had fears.” She looked at me sideways (we were seated on a two-seater sofa), “Surely you still have fears?”

Shaking my head, “Not one I can think of right now.”

“Spiders? Aren’t you scared of spiders?”

I laughed. “I’m not scared of spiders. I don’t like them. There’s a difference. I will kill them if I have to, but I’m not scared of them. I can’t think of anything that I fear so much that I can’t sleep. I confronted all the fears I had – in my waking life and my dream life.”

When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”   Mark 4: 39-41

Before that night, I had never met anyone who was so miserable in their life AND so comfortable in their terror that they preferred that misery and terror over change – over speaking over their own life, simply because they couldn’t envision their life any other way. Therefore, their constant terror was “okay.”

That is not God’s way, nor is it His preference for our state of being. If you are extremely timid and weak-minded, know that you only need enough strength and courage to trust in the Lord. He carries you from there.

I tell you truthfully, as I learn God’s Word, I learn His will for my life. Within His will, He outlines how we should live, what thoughts we should keep and what type of outlook we should have. He explicitly tells us that He did not give us a spirit of fear, but one of power. He tells us that our measure of joy will overflow in our lives. He tells us that the tiniest bit of faith will move mountains. But even if that is difficult to grasp, He tells us that He loves us and will never leave us. Having that knowledge in my spirit allows me to walk tall in the darkest streets and speak up in the largest crowds. If my God is for me, what does it matter what is coming against me? I’m already a conqueror. I am already victorious. Being afraid of anything diminishes God’s power in my life. My God is indeed mighty to save and I shall fear no evil!

The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul.

He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.    ~ Psalm 23:1-6

Get that into your spirit! Know it! Believe it! Live it! 


“Cheer up, Zion! Don’t be afraid! For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”   ~ Zephaniah 3:16-17 NLT

“Do not fear, Zion; do not let your hands hang limp. The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”   ~ Zephaniah 3:16-17 NIV


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Things Charlie Sheen Has Taught Me

Pop Culture vs. The Bible: Things Charlie Sheen Has Taught Me

1.      Never underestimate the redemptive power of full-time staff writers

2.      Getting off-script can destroy your life

3.      Self-idolization is just as destructive (if not more so) than idolizing others

4.      Self-delusion impedes good judgment

5.      Money and fame deludes one into thinking they are exempt from being a morally responsible human being

6.      Substance abuse deludes one into thinking they are more than they are and therefore indestructible

7.      When I have diarrhea of the mouth, it’s best to let it run its course in private (with no cameras or microphones… that means no web cams or tweeting either….)

8.      If I don’t learn from my last mistake, my next mistake is going to be much bigger and more damaging

9.      There will be many more people cheering on the road to destruction than there will be helping make corrections

10.  If my most ardent supporters are on my payroll, I really don’t want them to guard my back

So, I will:

1.      Stay faithfully focused on my one and only true God – the Most High, the Awesome and Marvelous, Most Glorious Creator of Heaven and Earth

2.      Maintain awareness of who I am in Christ, the one who strengthens me and the Holy Spirit who comforts me and my God who created me

3.      Continue to learn my script and perform my lines to the best of my ability (the Word of God, a.k.a. the Bible)

4.      Keep my Master’s instructions in my heart, my mouth, my mind, my spirit

5.      Be honest and truthful about my limitations, weaknesses, and failings

6.      Seek private conversation with God when I am overwhelmed, scared, confused, hurt or angered

7.      Be careful not to let the adulation, admiration, praise, kudos, accolades or other empty words leading to vanity go to my head and change my heart

8.      Understand that yes, I am special, but the world will continue to spin when I’m gone

9.      Never mistake popularity as favor

10.   Pray for the strength, fortitude, endurance and patience to win this race


Other Pop Culture vs. The Bible Posts

Whitney Houston & The Greatest Love of All
Amy Winehouse: When did she live?
For the Sake of His Praise
Pop Culture Messiah (Michael Jackson)