Monday, August 31, 2015

10 Myths About Biblical Prosperity(contd.)

6. Prosperity is the right of all those in Christ.
It is high time we in the body of Christ go from a "rights-centered" gospel, which has its historical roots in the American fight for independence and Jeffersonian preaching, to a "stewardship-centered" gospel, in which we view our gifts, calling and resources as a responsibility to serve and bless others, not something handed to us because we have the "right" to it as a Christian.
Matthew 25 shows the great balance in this because it talks both about the command to properly invest our talents for an appreciation of assets that results in multiplication, and then illustrates that the reason for the talents is so that we can feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick, visit the prisoners, and be hospitable to the strangers and aliens (Matt. 25:14-46). This and other passages clearly show that the primary purpose of wealth is a matter of stewardship to serve humanity, not a matter of our "right" because we are Christians.
7. Wealth creation is the key to breaking the spirit of poverty.
Creating more money has never been the main key to breaking poverty. According to Genesis 1:27-28, the church must produce strong and stable marriages and biblically trained children, which is the first key to replenishing the earth, subduing our enemies and having dominion (great influence).
True prosperity is never only about money. Wealth creation is merely one of the by-products for people who walk in their assignment with integrity, humility, focus and diligence, all of which should be modeled at home by parents before a person reaches adulthood.
8. The only way to take a city is to buy it.
Although amassing great wealth and real estate holdings is something that will leverage great influence (for example, Robert Moses was the main powerbroker of New York because of real estate and other assets), one size does not fit all for every community and city. Something like this is much easier to accomplish in poverty-stricken areas where the civil government and community boards want to give or sell property to local churches so the neighborhood can be redeemed. (Some churches purchase whole blocks and open up numerous businesses in impoverished or needy areas.) But in high-end areas something like this can take a church multiple generations to accomplish.
For example, my local church in New York City sits on only a quarter-acre of land that is worth $4-5 million!
The easiest way for a local church to leverage great power, influence and transform a community is by loving and serving their community and city. When a local church has an army of paid and unpaid volunteers who educate at-risk children, help young people excel in the arts, sports and life skills, provide much-needed services for the poor, the fatherless and aliens, and minister to community leaders and elected officials, then God's favor rests on that church, which opens up more doors and buildings than money could buy! Community and business leaders will do whatever it takes to allow that church to have any facility and resource they need to further bless their community.
This was the primary method the early church used to spread the gospel. Instead of purchasing buildings, they filled everyone else's buildings (except the pagan temples) with loving, sacrificial Christians who risked their lives to care for the diseased, nurse abandoned babies, and bury rotting corpses left in the town garbage dumps. Truly, when the church goes after those nobody wants, God will give them those everybody wants! Taking a city does not just happen with a top-down approach of amassing wealth and speaking to power; it also involves a bottom-up approach with effective compassionate ministries.
9. It only takes faith to release prosperity.
Those of us who "named and claimed" prosperity found out the hard way that we not only have to speak faith and think positively, we also have to read books on wealth creation, work hard, and receive proper coaching from those who have already gone financially where we feel called to go. It is not just about faith and it is not just about sowing money; it is about working hard and learning how to get, how to manage what we get, how to save, how to invest money where it appreciates and multiplies the most, and how to disciple and empower others so they can also learn how to produce wealth for the kingdom.
10. Prosperity only relates to our present.
Most preaching today regarding prosperity only has an "I," "me," "my" emphasis which is a one-generation approach. God revealed Himself not only as the God of Abraham, but also the God of Isaac and Jacob (Ex. 3:6) because He has called us to plan for at least three generations in everything we do. I pray that the days will come to an end when the preaching is only on individualistic topics like "How you can write your own ticket with God" or "How you can receive your miracle"! Those of us maturing in the faith message and prosperity realize that God has called us to corporately think in terms of our present and future the same way He does (Ex. 20:5-6; 1 Chr. 16:15). We realize that God will transfer the wealth of the wicked only to those righteous who leave an inheritance for their grandchildren (Prov. 13:22).
After all, most of the money today is in "old" money, not "new" money (with the exception of Bill Gates and some others who have blazed the technological trail in this present information age), which means that wealth was accumulated over the course of multiple generations and kept in families (think of the Rockefellers for example). This is one reason why the Fifth Commandment (Eph. 6:3) tells us that if we honor our father and mother, it will go well for us and we will live long on the earth.
Those who only think in terms of their present life are no better than economist John Maynard Keynes, who influenced the present American economic strategy with debt financing. He and those like him were not thinking of future generations but only about indulging their lust for the temporal present. May God deliver the church from such a mindset!


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