Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Prosperity with purpose

"God wants to bless

We believe God prospers people so they can have enough for themselves and enough to share. We call it “prosperity with a purpose” After all, if we're broke, how can we be generous to others?"

Someone who listened to a speaker last week showed me this and asked me what I think. I have been mulling on it for a few days and it comes from the website of a church I like and a preacher who blessed me. For some, you will think this smacks of the prosperity gospel but let's be really honest- this theology is not in great danger of catching fire currently in the C of E. We lean in entirely the opposite direction and far too often have a prayer-less, faith-lacking poverty spirit that holds little prospect that God can and does provide for our needs and the needs of others.

As it happens, I have been summoned to hear of the dire financial trouble my own diocese is in and perhaps there is something for us to learn from this extraordinary city-shaping church (love the way they stamp 'DONE')? The word 'crisis' has been used. We're seemingly broke-ish or that's the way it's sounding and if so we don't then have enough to be generous with and that's a problem- a real problem. Do we opt for 'austerity' and cuts, as appears to be the gloomy plan, or go with the penty French and spend a bit to get a bit and pray a bit to get a bit? One may ask what on earth have we have been spending all the money on and why has it borne us such poor returns? And we are not the labour party on Question Time so please let's not blame the bankers for this. Only in the C of E can we organise a meeting to deal with a 'crisis' and have it in the diary for eight weeks time:)

It's also good to consider the C of E's purpose. The website is right in saying resource needs motion. Without a clear articulation of purpose you are unlikely to direct your resources with wisdom and effectiveness. Now might be good time for a fresh look at what it means to be a church on a mission and ask the question why, in so many places, do we not appear to be on one.

I have also been reading 'The blessed life' by Robert Morris which Craig Groschel says he recommends to everyone (penty prosperity literature as the title goes on to say '....: The simple secret of achieving guaranteed financial success' but it is an interesting read. You'll always sell a few copies with a title like that though). Fear not, I am not about to buy a white suit, a sports car and launch a telly channel and in truth theologically and temperamentally this sits uncomfortably with me but let's all have a think together and see where we land shall we?

Might it be timely for me to buy my Bishop a white suit and a copy of the book? Seriously, do pray for him and his team. He needs wisdom.

It's just a thought so don't bite my head off.


At the Head of the Valley said...

A bit concerned for the penty pastor who received a Porsche from his church(21st May) - can't get many of the church youth club in that. And I know from experience that the old folks will have trouble getting in and out of it.

I am interested in any further thoughts that you may have about impartation. Please continue to post about them. (Google spell checker doesn't seem to like the word impartation)

I thought that the Holy Spirit and his power are the gift of God. We need to beware though that Satan can counterfeit the gifts.

I am a little concerned about another trend in our church of so called prophetic word from the front (well in fact from anyone) that seem to be little more than words similar to those you might find in a Sunday paper horoscope (not that I have read them for a long time). Prophetic words should grab the church and power it into action. Words of knowledge should encourage, build up and maybe spur someone into corrective action.

R T Kendall spoke at The One conference (Ground Level leaders conference) in March. He said something like the Anointing will always take you outside your comfort zone, it is the ability to hear God speak. He also said that King Saul operated as king for about twenty years after the anointing was lifted, 1 Samuel 16. Now there's a thought. In addition, he pointed out that David had to wait about twenty years after being anointed before becoming king. Now there's another thought.

David Cooke said...

The Porsche comments made me chuckle!

Always an interesting area to think on and thanks for sharing the Kendall thoughts.

Si said...

The church even when poor has much to give - maybe more than if she were rich. Peter at the gate beautiful said to the cripple begging: “Silver and gold I dont have, but what I have I give to you, in Jesus’ name rise up and walk” - and the cripple rose, healed. There is a traditional story of the Pope saying to Thomas Aquinas, whilst counting a table full of money “See Thomas, the Church can no longer say “silver and gold have I none” – and Thomas replied, “True, and neither can it say, In Jesus’ name rise up and walk.”