AUTHOR – BILL TAYLOR
COPYRIGHT 2017 – BILL TAYLOR
PUBLISHED BY BILL TAYLOR AT Shakespir
Shakespir Edition, License Note
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Special thanks to Shila and Pragna for their encouragement and inspiration
I have mentioned in previous writings that those who communicate are responsible for their communications. That most assuredly includes me. By comparison I am a very small fish in a very big pond but never the less, if “one” is misled by what I say, that’s “one” too many within its possible dangerous ramifications!
On April 21 – 2017 I published a book entitled “Speck Inspectors” which has been well received with thanks. What I hoped would be understood, was my emphasis on those who “knit-pick”, thus the descriptive “Speck”, but since its inception I have had a haunting feeling that some may think I am against anyone who points out “flagrant” error. That’s not true and in fact I appreciate those who have the courage to go against the grain of popular thinking and speak out against the “non-speck” issues regarding the landscape of Christianity in the Free World.
We are “sheep” and as we all know “sheep” are not considered the sharpest pencils in the box. Without a caring and “appropriate” Shepherd, sheep due to their nature to “follow”, will invest themselves in all manner of insanity including walking off the edge of a cliff to their death while all the while being oblivious to the danger!
“Speck Inspectors” was a speaking out against the constant quibbling between denominational biases in public, thereby demeaning our relevance to a watching world. No more and no less. I apologise if it was interpreted in any other way and hopefully my apology suffices to correct all and any misunderstandings.
But not to be dismissed, the quibbling and smallness remains a problem and has tragically left an open door for others to profit from. They present a much more “quibble free” version of the gospel while lining their collective pockets with millions of dollars. Others, who are impeccably organized and don’t mind sharing the wealth as they promote each other as saintly. Others who are “selling” a gospel that is as far from scriptural as you can get “for profit”. ALL sizzle and NO steak is their key to success! Sheep like sizzle and these others know it!
Diabolically, they have studied their demographic well, and have professionalized the “formula” to getting “rich” on the back of Jesus and the backs of un-suspecting or un-learned sheep!
And what would the formula be? As far back as I can remember the formula has never really changed although at times it has experienced slight modifications as to appear different. Tell the sheep “what” they “want” to hear and sheep being sheep, will empty their wallets to hear it! Once the sheep have entered into this “cult” mentality, you can pretty well say anything and get away with it. In time the “Bible” in its entirety, becomes less and less relevant and what He or She says takes prominence in the sheep’s mind! At that point you’ve got them by the throat!
If you want to observe a parallel to today’s “prosperity gospel” you need only to google “The Secret”, which was a cult of the recent past. It’s identical in content less the Jesus part.
You see the profiteers know to include Jesus in the mix, makes the scam far more sustainable. They realize that no one likes to admit to being “taken”. But sheep even more so! To them it’s almost impossible. They will hold on to the very last minute as we all witnessed with the many ministries ( and I use that term loosely ) that have crashed and burned, with sheep having that shocked look of disbelief on their faces.
The PTL Club was perhaps the most vivid example. Obvious “red flags” for years for all to see and yet ignored by sheep to maintain their position in the “in crowd”. When that monstrosity mercifully ended, I truly thought: “This can never happen again”. Wrong! It’s almost forty years later and to be honest things are worse than ever. Sheep that don’t learn from the past tend to repeat the past! If sheep don’t co-operate, this insanity can’t succeed thus I don’t think of it as unfair to put the onus on us. We are the determining factor in the equation. If we won’t play “the game” then “the game” will move on to greener pastures!
The bible prophesises that what we are seeing would be so in the last days so being shockingly surprised isn’t really appropriate or legitimate as a response. To be angry makes less sense! I’m thinking: To read the Bible and embrace it as our final authority on all matters pertaining to our spiritual well-being would be far more productive. So, shall we?
2 Timothy 3 – 1 > 9: “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness, but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible woman, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone”.
My question: How bad does “their folly” have to get before it’s clear to everyone? I for one haven’t the time to obsess over it but my heart does go out to those caught in its tentacles.
I’m aware that Cult behavior, regardless of where you find it, is a very difficult thing to walk away from. Therefore I’m praying that the grace of God supplies the wherewithal to do so for those who are its victims.
A word for those “selling” such behavior: While not loving Him, Judas didn’t mean for Jesus to end up being crucified. His scheme and plan was to force the Lord’s hand into reacting to the Roman occupation of Israel thereby becoming Israel’s King. Judas then saw himself futuristically as being in line for a starring role in the new Kingdom along with the financial perks that would accompany his self-predicted position. Make no mistake, Judas was all about Judas, not Jesus.
Jesus was merely the means to an end. Judas loved money and the allure of prestige. When his plan, which included far more than thirty pieces of silver backfired, he threw back the money and killed himself! Why not keep the money and carry on?. He didn’t betray Christ for a small pittance. What he initially received was no more than pocket change to Judas. Judas had big plans that crashed on a cross! Thus suicide. What else would he do at that point?
What once was only worth “thirty pieces of silver” has now escalated in value to millions and millions of dollars, not to mention the unobstructed entitlement of mansions complete with driveways filled with luxury vehicles and the finest of pretty well everything imaginable. The massive indulgences we see flaunted today are without apology and with no accountability. What a “pay off” to deny the true gospel of Jesus Christ!
No doubt, today Jesus is most certainly “big business”. “Pick up your cross, deny yourself, and follow Me”, sadly seems like a distant memory taught by some irrelevant Jewish carpenter back in the day.
The “tickling of ears” would not be accommodated with that message so let’s just ignore it, is the status quo mindset in many circles. Also to be ignored is the lives the early disciples lived, most being executed for their faith. Fast forward to many geographical places on planet earth where following Jesus is more than likely a death sentence.
But that’s not us. We’re different, with our own unique brand of Gospel designed by us and for us to suit us! I look in the mirror at times and wonder who I think I’m kidding. I struggle mightily with North American Christianity being my example and standard.
With all due respect, I’m not totally sure it is Christianity! It’s very difficult to avoid its strange but accepted discrepancies to the biblically described ”real thing”! Jesus said: “They will know you are my DISCIPLES if”. What He didn’t say: “They will know you are Christians if”: keeping in mind the word Christian didn’t exist at the time. Perhaps our eventual re-branding allowed with it optional discipleship. Today, a Cristian can actually be anything you want it to be. Based on its thousands of denominations its definition is that vague.
On the other hand, “Disciple” is not vague in the slightest. Crystal clear in fact as it cuts through the fog. Jesus said: “Lay down your life and follow Me”. No inclusions, exclusions, or created illusions. Not him or her or them but Me! And here we find the problem. We, for the most part would prefer to attach our wagons to anyone but Him and that’s why we are “easy pickings” for others to take advantage of.
We are called by heaven to be conformed to our Lord’s magnificent image, not the image of the latest “ear tickler” we’ve discovered in our travels. That’s a truth we can’t avoid and continue to deem ourselves as legitimately Christ’s. “Sizzle” can be a very exciting sound, until you discover the sizzle you hear is you being fried in the pan.
Folks, we are “all” in our own way a part of the problem. The prosperity folks sell it because we buy it. Why would they stop? They’re making a fortune! But the real question is: Why would we consider “dying to self” when “self” is being taught as the paramount point?
That teaching is by design and works like a charm. They give you what you want and you in turn give them what they want. Sounds fair, but I’m suspecting that all who do buy in, realize in their heart of hearts that sugary treats do not a meal make! In the end, you get the sizzle while the seller gets the steak!
Here’s something Jesus said that you won’t hear at your next “Jesus wants you to be filthy rich seminar”: “It’s easier for a Camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven”.
I think of the ease in which Judas threw back the thirty pieces of silver. I wonder if it would be as easy to throw back millions? Could it be that some leaders has missed the plot so badly that they now find themselves caught in their own web? Have you ever watched a Camel trying to go through the eye of an needle? Me neither, but it must be interestingly frustrating for the Camel.
Illusions when promoted and paid for long enough by others become delusions. Delusions over time can become “truth” to the diluted and presented as such!
We need to take more responsibility regarding what and who we listen to. If those delivering the message would encourage that premise, then it’s very likely you will back it up with solid scriptural confirmation. On the other hand if you feel they would be offended, you might want to find the exit door as quickly as possible. “Cult thinking” is a gradual process and can be found in the least likely of places!
Hopefully this book has provided some balance to “Speck inspectors” if it was needed. My heart truly goes out to the thousands of sheep who have far too often been left drowning in the wake of a profiteers scam. As previously mentioned, even though the Bible tells us that these things will be prevalent in the last days, we so want to give people the benefit of the doubt, especially if they present themselves under the banner of Christian. However, our well-meaning desires can cause us to turn a blind eye and deaf ear to what we see and hear.
I’m not so sure that we have that mindset as a luxury to immerse ourselves in anymore. We are not Teflon and things do stick to us. That which does can be dangerous! So as a solution, may I suggest simply asking the Holy Spirit to guide us and as He does, agree to follow His lead. His is the voice we most need to hear. His is the voice that will never deceive us. His is the voice that has our best interest at heart always! Jesus said: “The Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth”.
He also said: Many will come on that day and say ”Lord Lord” and I will say “I never knew you”. Who do you think He was talking about? Some “street advice” from what I hope is considered a friend. If it tastes funny don’t eat it! You won’t die from abstaining but you might by ingesting.
Let’s Be Fair – Not All
Not all TV evangelists or mega church pastors are dirty. To be honest the ones that are, tend to be flagrantly obvious if we are paying attention.
To paint them all with the same brush of suspicion would be truly unfair. There’s no doubt that there are massive ministries that do amazing work for God and should be applauded. There is two gentleman that I find particularly edifying in my walk with the Lord. I’m not one who seeks to be medicated but rather educated, so I naturally lean towards the ones who accommodate.
My rule of thumb: Is it practical and applicable and does what I’m being exposed to enhance my heart’s desire to be more like Jesus, or is it simply “fluff”. The answer to those questions usually brings me to a quick resolve on the matter.
Each ministry must be evaluated on their own individual merits and should never be deemed as guilty by association. We must remember that “dirty” and “imperfect” are very different things. It’s up to us to decide for ourselves which is which. May God by His Spirit help us all in doing so.
The gospel of Jesus Christ has been used to justify the most ludicrous of behaviors over the centuries. About two thousand years ago, the Apostle Paul spoke of those who were “profiting” from the Gospel, so it’s not a new phenomenon and we shouldn’t react like it is. We must be on guard but not paranoid or obsessed, but nor should we feed the beast.
We have a “high calling” from heaven to represent the real Jesus to our world. The worst of all scenarios would be to find ourselves distracted from that calling. The Apostle Paul managed to stay focused in spite of the profiteering, as should we.
I find it amazing how the Bible never gets less true over time. It states: “The love of money is the root of all evil”. It doesn’t say money is evil but rather the love of it. Is there any of us that would peruse the landscape of life on planet earth and challenge that as being untrue? Not I, and I’m thinking if he were here, not Judas!
[FREE E-BOOKS BY BILL TAYLOR]
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK ONE
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK TWO
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK THREE
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK FOUR
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK FIVE
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK SIX
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK SEVEN
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK EIGHT
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK NINE
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK TEN
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK ELEVEN
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK TWELVE
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK THIRTEEN
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK FOURTEEN
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK FIFTEEN
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK SIXTEEN
THE ROSE AND THE THORN
WILLING HEARTS – NO LIMITS
THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED
THE SECOND CROSS
BULLS IN CHINA SHOPS
FAITH IS A JOURNEY
THE HEART IS SACRED
REJOICE – IT’S A NEW DAY!
BLESSED & CONTENT
MY FRIEND – MY PEACE – MY LORD
YOU DECIDE – CHOICES
THE REAR VIEW MIRROR
HIS LOVE MADE PERFECT
AMAZING GRACE – AMAZING SAVIOR
TALK AND WALK
GUIDE ME HOLY SPIRIT
GOD IS BIGGER
GETTING OVER “STUFF”
FAITH – GOD IS NOT INTIMIDATED
BEING LIKE CHRIST
I AM NOT THE POINT