Affluenza among Christian leaders

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Affluenza among Christian leaders

By Mario Murillo 

 Something crazy is happening to high profile Christian leaders.  They are saying and doing things that are bizarre and in some cases tragic. I will not name names because I am praying for them to repent.  There will be a time when I will name names .  The mission of this missive is not to embarrass any leader or to make myself look holier than them…and it is most certainly not an attack on God’s promises to prosper us.

Here is a list of things said and done recently that prove something has gone very bad.

-“God has told me…when our Carolina Panthers win the Super Bowl, a time of major revival, awakening, moves of God are going to break out in America,” – Famous Pastor.  Well…now that they lost 24-10 is national revival impossible?  My real issue here is connecting football to revival.  Whether is was done in 1980 or in 2016 makes no difference…they are totally unrelated.

-“I need to get my wife her own jet.  Sometimes she wants to leave meetings before I do.”- Another famous pastor.

-I walked into a restaurant where the entire worship team of a famous revival church was bellied up to the bar sucking down cocktails.  This church also is fine with their women leaders dressing scantily: “we were now reaching a global culture and this look helps us relate.”   The alcohol is part of their new found revelation of grace.

-A very famous Spirit-filled female pastor stands with her husband and tells their congregation that Christian couples should watch porn together to strengthen their marriage.

-The daily broadcast of one preacher and his guest explaining how they needed private jets since they can’t communicate to God in commercial jets and it protects the anointing of God on their life. And one says: “because in this doped filled world … and you get in a long tube with a bunch of demons…it”s deadly”. And the other one chimes in …”and it works on your heart, it really does”.

-Silent night was given a cringe-worthy (well, you just had to see it) makeover by a global Church.  When the video went viral…a mainstream Christian magazine gave an equally cringe-worthy defense “they were showing how King Herod would do silent night…they did it the right way later in the show.”

-The most popular gospel artist of today suddenly leaves the church after making millions off of Christians… The former “Jesus Freak” is advocating that Jesus is as fake as the tooth fairy… Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. What? Yes! It’s true, as he admits “The concept of religion as we know it is a lie”.

These are all cases of affluenza and they have all happened in the space of a few months. 

Affluenza came on the scene recently when Ethan Anthony Couch’s attorneys used it as a defense for murder.  Ethan–a teenager, was guilty of four counts of intoxication manslaughter, for recklessly driving drunk on June 15, 2013, in Burleson, Texas. He was illegally driving on a restricted license and speeding, lost control, plowed into a group of people. Four people were killed in the collision; two passengers in Couch’s truck suffered serious bodily injury and a total of nine people were injured.

The formal definition of affluenza is:  the unhealthy and unwelcome psychological and social effects of affluence regarded especially as a widespread societal problem: such as: feelings of guilt, lack of motivation, and social isolation experienced by wealthy people  Anastasia Toufexis Editor in Chief of Psychology Today coined the term “Affluenza” in 1988.

Affluenza strikes a Christian leader who has too much time, wealth, technology at their disposal. It warps common sense and herds them into foolishness and in its worst form…self-destruction.   Here is what it looks like

Affluenza makes them blurt out heresy:   The sheer volume of material they must produce along with the continual need to hold people’s attention is a breeding ground for heresy.

One affluenzed leader diminished the Bible:  “Why do we trust in a book that the early Christians did not have more than in the Spirit that they did have?”  I promise you he doesn’t really believe this—in the heat of the moment and in the need to dazzle his audience—he just blurted it out.  Problem is it made into a book that is widely circulated and influences young fertile minds.

Affluenza makes sustaining popularity a priority over telling the truth.  Just as the newly rich athlete is insecure about his money and behaves in an irrational manner so these leaders suddenly display unstable pulpit and mood swings.   They say and do the things they think will keep their business afloat.

Affluenza puts them in a bubble.  They are detached from reality and have no clue of how they look and sound.  They are often surrounded by people who will not confront their aberrant behavior.

Affluenza gives them strange priorities and urgencies.  Think about it…we are about to lose our country.  America has sunk into unprecedented debauchery.  Many Christians face financial crisis.  2015 saw more persecution of Christians worldwide that any year in the modern era.   Does any of this subject enter their pulpits?  Do they see who what they say may hurt and confuse?  Does it move them to break before God?

Both for Ethan Couch and preachers, affluenza is not an excuse—it is an onerous moral failure.  For vessels called of God it is both inexcusable and disastrous.

Listen carefully: The consequence of a sin is amplified by the time, place and circumstances in which it is committed.    Probably the most compelling example of this in the Bible is 2 Kings: 5.   After Naaman was healed of leprosy he offered riches to Elisha the prophet.  The prophet refused his gifts.  Verse 20 says, “Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said to himself, “My master was too easy on Naaman, this Aramean, by not accepting from him what he brought. As surely as the Lord lives, I will run after him and get something from him.”  He indeed went and got the riches and hid them.

Verse 25 says, “When he went in and stood before his master, Elisha asked him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?”  “Your servant didn’t go anywhere,” Gehazi answered.  26 But Elisha said to him, “Was not my spirit with you when the man got down from his chariot to meet you? Is this the time to take money or to accept clothes—or olive groves and vineyards, or flocks and herds, or male and female slaves? 27 Naaman’s leprosy will cling to you and to your descendants forever.” Then Gehazi went from Elisha’s presence and his skin was leprous—it had become as white as snow.”

If you get nothing else from this message get this:  Against the backdrop of America’s doom…is this the time for silly prophecies?  Is this the time for fictional doctrines, prescribing porn, drunkenness and flaunting obscene lifestyles?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is why the 49ers lost: let it be a lesson to every preacher in the world.

Here is why the 49ers lost: let it be a lesson to every preacher in the world.

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Mario, have you run out of things to write about?  Are you seriously going to give us a message from the San Francisco Forty Niners?   Yes, because there are so many ladies out there who still have not gotten enough football and they are grieving that the season is over…not!

Seriously, I saw something very plain and simple in the closing moments of the most watched event in the history of the world.   The 49ers made a glaring and classic error when victory was assured.

First let me make the case from history.  Every general will tell you that the most overrated tactic of war is the element of surprise.  It is nearly impossible to truly surprise any army and more often than not the tactic of surprise backfires badly.

Even in the Old Testament God rarely led Israel to use to this tactic; Gideon being the notable exception.

It was in the 1960s that the Green Bay Packers faced the precise situation that the 49ers faced Sunday.  They were behind by less than a touchdown and it was fourth and goal from the 3 yard line.  There would not be enough time for the other team to score if the Packers scored a touchdown.

Everyone in that stadium knew which play that Vince Lombardi would call.  Every player on the field knew exactly what the Packers were going to do.  The Packers had perfected the dive play.  Bart Starr would hand the ball to Paul Hornung and the line would power an opening for him.

Let me rehearse something for you. Lombardi knew that his opponent knew exactly what play he was going to call.  It was the play that got him here and he were not about to abandon it.  Lombardi was making a statement: “we are not here to try and fool you; we are here to beat you.”

The Forty Niners had gotten to the Super Bowl, in large part because of the mobility of Colin Kaepernick, the power of Frank Gore’s running and the force of their offensive line.  I am not taking away anything from the Niner’s defense because it is also devastating.

Nevertheless, as I said before, they faced the same exact situation as the Green Bay Packers. They had first and goal from the eight yard line.  They had four plays to try and gain eight yards!

Jim knew that big brother John knew what the 49ers were going to do.  Everyone knew it!  That is when the brain burp hit the coaching staff.  “Let’s surprise them and pass the ball.”

There are million things wrong with that idea but one of the biggest is that you weaken your team’s confidence.  The unintended message is, “we can’t beat them with what got us here so let’s fool them.”

When they did it the first time, I was in stunned disbelief!  But then they did it again!

Now they faced fourth down and goal with only a few yards to go.  If the Forty Niners scored they would be champions!  Most of the known world knows what happened next; they passed the ball once more and lost.

Recently the anti-Christians forces have stolen the conversation to frame Christians as mindless, angry fanatics.  This poisoned narrative has shaken Pastors to wonder if they need to alter course and present a less potent Gospel.

Right now, all over the world there are preachers getting ready to either quit or radically change the way they do ministry.   They have suffered a setback and are wondering if the times have changed so radically that the old ways will simply not work anymore.

They are forgetting what made them successful.  They are foolishly tinkering with the place of the Holy Spirit in their services.

Instead of standing their ground and holding on to their convictions, they are frantically searching for a way to SURPRISE the modern world with the Gospel.

Get this: We are not going to surprise the Devil.  We are not going to surprise society.  Now is the time for you to see through the lie, stand your ground and remember, remember what got you here. Wait out this storm, it will pass and you will see the fruit of your faithfulness.

You must also remember what got the Church of Jesus Christ here.  She has weathered the greatest storms, despots, tyrants, persecution and rejection. Why?  Because before there ever was a Vince Lombardi telling his team “we will win with what got us here,” …Jesus said, “ON THIS ROCK I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH AND THE GATES OF HELL WILL NOT PREVAIL AGAINST IT!”

So God made a farmer.commercial: A Divine Interruption?

First there was what the Detroit Free Press said:

“Talk about contrasts.

There were no pretty women, comedians, babies, barking dogs or monkeys in Chrysler’s second Super Bowl commercial for Ram pickups.

Instead, Chrysler resurrected Paul Harvey’s “So God Made a Farmer,” an ode to the hard work and dedication of farmers in a two-minute commercial that aired during the fourth quarter.

“God said, ‘I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper, then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board,’” Harvey says in the stark, somber commercial as Ram aired as photos of tractors, combines, Ram pickups and gritty, hard-working farmers.”

“So God made a farmer.”

“So God Made A Farmer” Super Bowl Commercial Gives A Boost To Agvocacy- Farms.Com

Ram Pays Tribute to Farmers with Voice of Paul Harvey and Powerful Images

By Amanda Brodhagen, Farms.com

It’s the Super Bowl commercial that everyone in the agriculture community is talking about – Ram Trucks version of the famous 1978 speech with the voice of Paul Harvey known as “So God Made a Farmer.”

Not only was the commercial a great advertisement for Ram Trucks, but it also gave a boost to “agvocacy”. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term agvocacy, it’s the combination of the two words – agriculture and advocacy to create the word agvocacy. The whole purpose of agvocacy is to communicate about agriculture with the non-ag audience.

One of the biggest challenges to being an impactful agvocate is ensuring that you are engaging with the non-ag audience and not preaching to the choir. Ram’s commercial was able to reach that non-ag audience, which helps set the stage for agvocates to connect with the average consumer. The message was bold, the images were powerful and it was a positive message about those behind agriculture production.  Thank you to Ram Trucks for their tribute to the American Farmer!

And finally let me share:  A Divine Interruption?

Divine interruptions.

Now that you have read what others have said let me share a brief thought about this commercial.  I know that from a human standpoint it was a genius move for Dodge to totally contrast all the other ads during the Superbowl.  The other ads tried hard to justify paying millions for a few moments of your time and for the most part failed miserably because they merely fed us back the vacuous culture that dominates America now.

The voice and images in this commercial blended to evoke the America we lost and in eloquent language reminded us of how far we have fallen.   Imagine mentioning God in the first sentence of a commercial!  Even Churches don’t do that anymore.  Imagine showing a country church in all of its compelling simplicity!  Imagine honoring hard work, humility, sacrifice, perseverance to an audience that either cannot remember these qualities or never knew them or what these have to do with America.

Most of all it was the voice of Paul Harvey that went through my soul.  It convicted me because it reminded what voices used to sound like, before the whiny therapist voice, before the tedious activist voice, we had credible voices.  Harvey had such similar tones to the ones I remember from Billy Graham in the 1960’s: A voice that does not apologize for truth and is not ashamed of God.

I will not over spiritualize a truck commercial but it felt like reason interrupted insanity and in that quick moment people felt things they had not felt in many years or couldn’t explain.  So God made a farmer like Paul Harvey who even after he went to heaven could sow seed into the American soul.