Contrasting Wealthy Evangelists (so-called) with how we know it ought to be

I have just finished reading ‘Cold Case Christianity’ by J Warner Wallace and I hope to post a review here soon. For now I’d like to comment on a passage I recently read in the book.

The passage below so stood out that it deserves a post on its own. Wallace is showing how the motive of the Apostles was not financial. Crime has at least one of three motivations says Wallace. They are Money, Relational / Sexual and Power. If the Apostolic writing was false it would reveal itself through a motivation to fabricate the truth by any or all of the above. Wallace clearly showed there was no hint of financial motive (or the other two). This is in stark contrast to popular so-called Christian ministries that we see today. The whole motivation is clearly financial. If these ‘Jet-Setting’ ‘Evangelists’ were the writers of the New Testament the charge of a financial motive would be easy to make. Thank God the New Testament writers were men motivated by a love for Jesus Christ and the Truth of the Gospel instead of money.

There’s much more, but here’s a lengthy paragraph from Cold Case Christianity exonerating the Apostles, but at the same time condemning much of what passes for Christian ministry today.

There are many ancient accounts describing the lives of the apostles following the period of time recorded in the book of Acts. Local believers in a variety of ancient communities wrote about the activities of the individual disciples as they preached the gospel across the region. None of these texts describe any of the disciples as men who possessed material wealth. The disciples repeatedly appear as men who were chased from location to location, continually abandoning whatever property they owned and vacating whatever homes they were borrowing. The disciples were accustomed to living in this manner; they decided to leave their homes and families when they first began to follow Jesus. Peter acknowledged as much when he told Jesus, “Behold, we have left our own homes and followed You” (Luke 18:28). The disciples rejected all material wealth, believing that the truth of the gospel provided eternal life, something that was vastly more valuable. Paul described their impoverished financial condition many times, reminding his listeners that the apostles were “both hungry and thirsty, and [were] poorly clothed, and [were] roughly treated, and [were] homeless” (1 Cor. 4:11). The apostles lived “as unknown yet well-known, as dying yet behold, we live; as punished yet not put to death, as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things” (2 Cor. 6:9–10). If the disciples and apostles were lying for financial gain, their lies didn’t seem to be working. Those who watched Paul closely knew that he was dedicated to spiritual life rather than material gain; he “coveted no one’s silver or gold or clothes” (Acts 20:33). Cold Case Christianity p. 241. (Kindle).

It’s a common accusation that Ministers of the Gospel are in it for the money. This is partly why many congregations have stopped having an offering that passes round the ‘money-bag’ – and rightly so in my opinion (But, we ought o incorporate thanks to God). We do not want the un-believer or visitor to think we want their money. I believe we ought to be careful not to give the wrong impression. I definitely do not believe the Ministers or Pastors of our churches should be on the edge of poverty to have any credibility, but neither should they be living in the lap of luxury. I remember some years ago our Pastor (not my current Pastor) went to Australia to minister and the people I worked with saw this as proof that he was in it for the money. It took some doing to persuade them otherwise – but it can be a hard case to make. Ministers or Pastors if at all possible should not be overtaken with cares for the phone bill or the electric bill or car repairs or other bills in order to concentrate on ministering the Word of God to the local Church. Dealing with people on a regular basis and expounding the scripture is care and responsibility enough, without having to be forever worrying about the next bill to drop through the letter box. We should care for our Pastors.

It is challenging. But in the circles I move in, I can’t think of a single Gospel Minister that I personally know who is in it for the money, but are zealous for the Gospel, have a heart for the lost, care for the people of God and are workmen that need not be ashamed (2 Tim 2:15), are worthy of their hire (1 Tim 5:18) and are not lovers of money (1 Tim 3:3).

What the contrast shows is that the wealth & health prosperity preachers and their acolytes at best have completely misunderstood the Gospel, or at worst are charlatans, pretenders, distorters and blasphemers: and may not even be Christians at all! Didn’t Jesus say ‘Depart from me, I never knew you’ (Matthew 7:21-23) to those that claimed to be doing wonders for God. Terrible words. Be sure it isn’t said of any of us. All of us need to hold onto what the Lord have given us with a loose hand – and by His Grace we will.

Mudeford – Order is everywhere!

Took this photo at Mudeford beach on the South Coast a few days ago. I really like it. Everyone likes it that I’ve shown it to. Why? I think it’s because we are naturally attracted to order. There is order everywhere you look. There is order everywhere because God has made it to be so. This is an example of how presuppositionalists view evidence. Everything points to God!

Mudeford Beech Huts
Mudeford Beach Huts

We have been visiting the Lymington & Milford-on-Sea area for years but for some reason have never been to Mudeford Quay. We have been many times to the beach – a short walk along from the Quay. Just missed it I guess.

 

Looking towards the Key - Beech huts behind me.
Looking towards the Quay – Beach huts behind me.
Lobster pots stacked on the Key.
Lobster pots stacked on the Quay.

Going to Woodstock

Going to Woodstock. No, not the Woodstock of festival fame, but the Historic small town of Woodstock in Oxfordshire, England. There’s shop there that sells specialist paints and renovation products for older houses – Oldhouse.

It’s about an hours drive away. This was our second visit but haven’t had the time so far for a good look round. It was the first visit when I found another entrance to Blenheim Palace is actually in the town. I discovered it completely by accident looking for somewhere to park – a busy place on a Saturday morning.

Old House Store
Old House Store
2014-05-10 11.22.19
The Woodstock Arms

Just a couple of pictures. Above is a pub just down from the The Old House Store. And below, judging from this entrance,  is an old Coaching Inn, The Feathers.

Coaching Entrance
Coaching Entrance
The Feathers of Woodstock
The Feathers of Woodstock

A picture looking down the street over the road from The Feathers.

Looking down the street
Looking down the street

Behind me and down the street is the entrance to Blenheim Palace – picture next visit!

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Ready for Winter!

Bought a trailer load of wood from the farmer. it’s now either chopped or stacked for drying. Couldn’t have done it without my two boys. They worked really hard to get it all cut. BTW, When they started cutting for real they did wear the right gear. They had just been out and bought two new Stihl chainsaws from Tudor Environmental – nice!

Dude, that's a lot of wood!
Dude, that’s a lot of wood!
Note appropriate PPE!
Note appropriate PPE!
Mostly Ash, Cut, chopped and ready to go!
Mostly Ash, Cut, chopped and ready to go!
Beech I think - cut and staked to season.
Beech I think – cut and stacked for seasoning / drying.

 

The rhyme / text below is Pasted from Stoves Online. From the same site there’s a link to the different woods and their burning qualities – wood as fuel chart.

As for the best types of wood to burn, in your woodburner, these old rhymes are as good a guide as anything to the best, and worst, sorts:

Beechwood fires are bright and clear
If the logs are kept a year.
Chestnut’s only good, they say,
If for long ’tis laid away.
But Ash new or Ash old
Is fit for a queen with crown of gold.
Birch and fir logs burn too fast
Blaze up bright and do not last.
It is by the Irish said
Hawthorn bakes the sweetest bread.
Elm wood burns like churchyard mould,
E ‘ en the very flames are cold.
But Ash green or Ash brown
Is fit for a queen with golden crown.
Poplar gives a bitter smoke,
Fills your eyes and makes you choke.
Apple wood will scent your room
With an incense like perfume.
Oaken logs, if dry and old.
Keep away the winter’s cold.
But Ash wet or Ash dry
A king shall warm his slippers by.

Oaken logs, if dry and old,
Keep away the winter’s cold
Poplar gives a bitter smoke
, Fills your eyes, and makes you choke
Elm wood burns like churchyard mould
, E’en the very flames are cold
Hawthorn bakes the sweetest bread –
Or so it is in Ireland said,
Applewood will scent the room,
Pearwood smells like flowers in bloom,
But Ashwood wet and Ashwood dry,
A King can warm his slippers by.

Beechwood logs burn bright and clear,
If the wood is kept a year
Store your Beech for Christmas-tide,
With new-cut holly laid aside
Chestnut’s only good, they say
If for years it’s stored away
Birch and Fir wood burn too fast,
Blaze too bright, and do not last
Flames from larch will shoot up high,
And dangerously the sparks will fly…
But Ashwood green,
And Ashwood brown
Are fit for Queen with golden crown.

Moving House

The last few weeks have been pretty hectic as we have been in the process of moving house. And it’s not something I intend on doing very often. It’s taken us about a year to get it all sorted. Only just got the internet on again so I hope to get a couple of posts in soon.

I must have packed nearly 40 boxes of books and I don’t think I’ll be seeing any of them for a while.

We moved into our last house nearly 30 years ago as newly weds but I’m staggered at just how much ‘stuff’ we have accumulated.

In a funny sort of way I’m really grateful that on my final move out of this earthly life I won’t have to pack and take it with me. We came into the world with nothing and that’s what we’ll take with us when we leave.

European Union Exit

European Union
European Union (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The US commented last week on the UK leaving the European Union. So this is just a brief comment to any American friends that may have wondered what this is – if it registered at all over there.

Look at it this way; how would American friends like all major American decisions to be made in Toronto or in Lima, Peru or some other city on the continent. I don’t think this would go down well. Well being governed by Brussels to a very large extent, and growing, might be a good comparison. Many of us want the promised referendum so we can say ‘no to the EU’ and get back to governing ourselves.

Since starting this post (last week) President Obama has weighed in on the issue and I was pleased to hear a member of the Question Time audience last night talk some sense. That is, get out. There is talk of ‘Drifting towards the exit’ or ‘Sleepwalking towards the exit’ but let’s ‘March towards the exit’.

Not sure we’ll be allowed to though.