The longer I am in ministry, the more I see pressure increasing upon people in the body of Christ, and more people succumbing to that pressure. It results in the compromise of principles, integrity, character, truthfulness, practices, and eventually, their soul. We’re talking about eternally dangerous compromise.
I was thinking about a ministry, yesterday, that I have loved and even worked with, at times. The people at the top of it, love God, have a heart for revival, have a strong work ethic and perseverance, have a compassion for souls, and will not quit. How I admire all of those characteristics! Yet, the day came a few years ago that I felt compelled to write a letter and tell the person why I could no longer minister for them, unless some things changed. It broke my heart to write the letter because I love that person and the people around him. I was hoping to get through to him. He would not allow me to talk about these issues in person, when I tried. It left me no alternative, except to write the letter. It was one of the most difficult things that I have ever done. I had the opportunity to see him again at an event a few months ago. I was being so moved by the presence of The Lord, that I knew I had to say something to him. I leaned over and told him that I never wrote the letter to hurt him, and that if it did hurt him, to forgive me for that. I knew that I was taking a chance on him thinking that it meant that I was wrong and he was right. However, I knew that I had to do what was right before God, and let the chips fall where they may. He looked at me and told me that he forgot. Apparently, he is still deceived and cannot, or will not see what he is descending into.
In his case, as for so many, he feels the financial pressure bearing down on him to fund a large international ministry. I cannot give more details, for I have no desire to reveal his identity. I know that his burden stems from wanting to reach more people, that the hour is late, that Jesus is coming, and he will have to give an account of what he has done on this earth. That’s the point of this blog. He will not only give an account of how many souls he has reached, but how he conducted himself in the process. How did he treat others under him? How did he raise his money? What kind of respect has he given God’s people? Does he pay his bills and tell the truth? Does he cut corners? Does he think the end justifies the means?
In his case, one of the primary places we part ways, is in fund-raising. The irony is, I have seen him at minister’s conferences and camp meetings where he is saying amen and nodding his head to the man of God teaching against using gimmicks in fund-raising. I find myself thinking, “Are we all that blind?” He may think that he has a special license to manipulate and use these gimmicks because of where he lives, the culture, the enormous bills, etc., but he does not. No one does.
Many of you have heard Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne, my former pastor, and the one I was an associate evangelist of for many years, use his gifted humor to deliver some powerful and serious rebukes to people. He talks of ministers using gimmicks and people being manipulated by them. He mocks people saying, “For your love gift, I will send you a piece of the old rugged cross, a shower cap with the hand of blessing on it, water from the Jordan River, oil from Israel, a piece of my sweaty, anointed shirt that I pray in, a life-size poster of me for your refrigerator, etc.” We laugh at the absurdity of these gimmicks, while part of us wants to cry at how often they are used, and how gullible the body of Christ is to them. This ministry that I wrote to, uses these. I have seen them promise people a small statue of a warrior if they give so much. They have talked about letting them buy so many feet of the floor of the building. The worst is, a false prophetess in a back room prophesying what will happen to the one giving their home, their vacation cabin, etc. I would teach what the Word of God has to say about giving and a camera would switch to that lady prophe-lying. Then, I have made myself a part of that and people think we are associated. I cannot! It may cost me for awhile, in the natural. I cut myself off from certain invitations and influences, but heaven is pleased when I say I can only do what I see the Father do, and say what I hear the Father say. I will not play the big-boys ministry games to go “higher”. Promotion does not come from the north or south, the east or west, but from God almighty.
I have seen people exaggerate when talking about healings and miracles. I have been in the meetings they are referring to. They say, “the blind eyes were opened”. In reality, a man squinted and said he thought he might see a little more clearly out of one eye than he did before. I want to gag!
There are those who pat each other on the back, again, in the “big-boys crowd”. They know that the other one has gotten off doctrinally or drinking alcohol, or committing adultery, but because they are somewhat famous, it is excused, while others who do far less, and are held at arm’s length. It all has to do with the crowd’s perception. Sometimes it has to do with blood being thicker than water.
Then there is the matter of preachers watering down the Word of God to grow a larger church. They take a subject like grace, so wonderful and vast, and turn it into a cheap license to sin in this hour. They know the people have itching ears and will not come back if the truth is spoken.
2 Timothy 4:2-4“Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”
There are others who have been touched so marvelously in the move of God. They swore they would never turn back I am thinking of pastor friends who were some of my best friends. I have wept when remembering the precious moments that they were touched in. Some said they never knew what pentecost was until that moment. They swore they could never turn back. Yet, over the years, church political pressure, the need for family security, the loss of their close friends, and the promise of promotion in their denominational ranks have caused them to deny that they were ever touched. I wonder if I am feeling just a little of what Jesus felt when he looked at Peter or when Judas kissed him.
We cannot bend or bow, now or ever. We must be as the Hebrew children when facing the fiery furnace. Daniel 3:17-18 says, “ If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” Also, James 1:12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Mark 13:13“And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved”.