Category Archives: Joel Osteen

Saturday Sampler: September 25 — October 1

48a60-fourjoyfulladiesContinuing her new series in Beautiful Thing, Jessica Pickowicz gives us Portraits of Superstition: The Pagan Prayer Warrior as an encouragement to pray in ways that honor God.

As my readers know, I am no Beth Moore fan. But when I saw that Elizabeth Prata had written an essay called Jude’s dreamers and Beth Moore’s necromancy for The End Time, I wondered whether or not Elizabeth might have gone too far. Um…no. But click her link to  the YouTube video, and you’ll see that her critique of Moore is chilling in its accuracy. Ladies, Beth Moore is a very dangerous false teacher.

Fred Butler of Hip and Thigh has been doing a series on Christian liberty based on the apostle Paul’s teachings on the subject in 1 Corinthians. His forth installment, How Idolatry Ruined Israel, helps explain the difference between liberty and compromise.

The Biblical Woman blog, for this week’s Theology Thursday column, features Is It Greek to You? Interpreting Romans 16:7. Besides making a strong case for the complimentarian perspective on this controversial verse, Candi Finch demonstrates responsible Bible Study practices. I recommend her article for both reasons.

In  a blog post written for Parking Space 23, James Street lists 5 Things I Want You To Do For Me When I’m On My Death Bed. I question his understanding of Philippians 1:21 (though I recognize that his seminary degree makes him more knowledgeable in Bible interpretation than I), but I find his list very intriguing and practical. It challenges me in contemplating my own death.

John Ellis, writing for PJ Media, boldly names people that he considers The 5 Most Dangerous Wolves Preying On Christians today.  While I’d have a slightly different list, he definitely brings up people who are serious threats.

The author of One Hired Late In The Day answers the question What Is The Gospel? Yes, it’s basic Christian doctrine,  but we all need reminding of these foundational truths more of than we think.

 

 
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From Rancid To Wonderful

About a year and a half ago, John MacArthur’s Grace To You radio program highlighted various ways that Christians can, and should, bring glory to God. The Lord used those lessons back then to challenge the self-focused attitudes that I’ve incorporated into my supposed worship of Him. And since that time, His Spirit has faithfully reminded me of those challenges, especially lately as my pastor has been preaching through Luke 1. As much as I hate to admit it, far too often I have the same rancid attitude that Victoria Osteen famously touted:

I just want to encourage every one of us to realize when we obey God, we’re not doing it for God-I mean, that’s one way to look at it-we’re doing it for ourselves, because God takes pleasure when we’re happy.

Ahem! Mrs. Osteen and I  miss the entire point of serving God when we turn obedience into a means to self-fulfillment. Certainly, serving Him does lead to joy, but not the narcissistic happiness that she implies. If we obey Him for our own benefit, we betray a lack of concern for His glory. And that lack of concern misses the entire point of worship. Worship centers completely around Jesus Christ.

In the book of Revelation, the apostle John gives us a few glimpses of the pure worship that will happen in heaven. Let me give you one example:
11 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice,
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!”
13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying,
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”
14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped. ~~Revelation 5:11-14 (ESV)
None of the worshipers makes any mention of self, but rather total attention gravitates to the Lamb (Jesus Christ). He is the entire reason they loudly praise Him. They don’t do it to whip up their emotions so that Christ can enjoy their happiness, although they undoubtedly feel tremendous joy. Instead, their personal joy is secondary to the glory that rightly belongs to Him.
Contrary to Victoria Osteen’s self-centered declaration (which exposed how truly unbiblical her husband’s ministry is), we worship the Lord Jesus Christ solely because He deserves our praises. I wish time today permitted me to show you some of the many Scriptures that point to Who He is and what He’s done, just to deepen your understanding of why worship must focus entirely on Him. (Our Thursday studies of Ephesians 2:1-10 should help in that regard.) But today, let me simply get you used to the idea of worship being about Him.
Colossians 1:15-20 has probably been the most influential passage in helping me understand why everything (and most particularly worship) absolutely has to revolve solely around the Lord Jesus Christ.

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (ESV)

My beloved sisters in Christ, can you see how these five verses clearly establish Christ’s preeminence over His creation? Don’t you notice that He holds every molecule together? Won’t you tremble with adoration at the thought that our Creator, the sovereign King over heaven and earth, shed His precious blood to restore everything to Himself? What a magnificent God!
The Lord has used MacArthur to rouse me out of my self-centered attitude to remind me that God created me to bring pleasure to Him. May I start living with that frame of mind, knowing that He deserves all the praise. And may the joy I take in serving Him glorify Him all the more by demonstrating His incredible love and generosity.

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Why Do We Want Jesus?

Closed Bible and crossThe teachings on romance with Jesus stem from a greater problem within evangelical circles, as yesterday’s post on The Cripplegate reminded me. The Dangers of Man-Centered Theology demonstrates (in quite convicting ways) how easily we make the Gospel all about us. We may give lip-service to the fact that Jesus deserves all the praise, honor and glory, but honesty forces us to admit that most of the time we follow Him with the expectation of receiving goodies.

I can’t help thinking of this passage:

25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” 26 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” 28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” 30 So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”

35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” ~~John 6:25-40 (ESV)

The crowd wanted Jesus because He met their temporal needs, not because He deserved their adoration. He fed the 5000 to reveal Himself as the Almighty Creator, but the people chose to focus on Him as a cosmic Waiter Who bore the responsibility of satisfying their appetites.

We do pretty much the  same thing now. Maybe most of us have enough delicacy to avoid the blatant Name-It-And-Claim-It teachings of people like Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer and Benny Hinn, but how many of us fall for Beth Moore, Rick Warren and Sarah Young as they offer a watered-down Jesus that romances us, gives us purpose and whispers in our ear? Instead of physical bread, this man-made Jesus lets  us feel special about ourselves.

Certainly, the Lord loves His people, and He graciously cares for our needs. He does so, not because we deserve His mercy (we don’t), but because He is amazingly kind and generous in the face of our unworthiness. His kindness shouldn’t stimulate our greed, so that we constantly dream up new ways for Him to shower us with blessings. Quite the contrary, those blessings ought to cause us to shower Him with praise and adoration. They should place our attention back on Him.