I wrote this 2 years ago and with everything that is still going on I feel like I wrote it this morning
It was the usual early morning Sunday service, a well dressed usher welcomed me with a smile and guided me to a seat. The atmosphere was charged with emotional expressions and outbursts from the people who had already assembled. As the music gathered momentum, the praise and worship leader spoke with such gusto: "He woke you up this morning! Give Him praise!! Praise the Lord somebody!!!"
A few people responded with the same enthusiasm.
"Can I get some worshippers in the house this morning?!!!!! Praise the Looooooorrrrrrrrd!!!!!" He continued.
He spoke in an unknown tongue for a few seconds with such a look of rapture on his face and as if on cue, the music built more momentum, and the people responded with even more outbursts and frenzied shouting.
As I looked around I thought to myself, "Is God really in all of this?"
Before now, I would never have permitted a question like this to cross my mind, but, recently Ive been questioning a lot of things.
Most things dont seem to add up any more. I didnt just want a quick fix, and a simplistic, well rehearsed kind of answer. I had mastered the Christianese and Church lingo and had become very fluent with the Pentecostal language but, I still felt like something was missing. I honestly felt like everything was like a well rehearsed show. I had come too far; I wanted something real not a substitute for a West end show. I guess I wanted God. My conclusion after a while was that everyone gathered for the same reason, hoping that they might perhaps encounter something bigger than them.
The man of God might have a "word of knowledge" for our situation that will solve our problems, we might "sow that seed" and "reap the harvest" we've been longing for, we might one day be blessed and ride that car the man of God drives, we might "fall under the anointing" or be "slain in the Spirit", or maybe "the wealth of the wicked that is laid up for the just" might become ours right after the service. God does move in mysterious ways after all
I guess ministers must be under a lot of pressure to "deliver God" to the people but the truth is God or "His move" cant be manufactured. God responds to something deeper. God responds to faith.
It is written of Moses that he endured as seeing Him who is invisible (Heb 11:27) Human beings however, prefer a more visible God not a God who seems too shy to be more demonstrative of His power. When you point people to the old rugged cross and tell them the cross is the ultimate display of Gods love and power you can almost hear people say, Really?
The saying that Christianity is not a religion but a relationship with God has almost become another cliché. "How do you have a relationship with someone you cant see?" some may ask. If only we were alive during the days of Jesus, at least the Word was flesh then, some others lament. Jesus was accessible, He even spoke with sinners. I guess this is why some people place "men of God" on pedestals. They cant see God but they can see the man. They are the visual representation of what most people in Church aspire to be like. If you are looking for evidence of God they are that evidence most times to devout believers, they are to them living proof, so much so that when its time to worship God, it becomes difficult. True worship is faith in God who though is invisible, is very real.
Have you seen how different the welcoming of a "man of God" is totally different from the welcoming of the God of the man? Its a hard pill to swallow but it is true! You hear the cheers and the applause veering to a point of adulation and adoration. We have, sometimes unknowingly put these men on a pedestal that puts them under undue pressure. We have given them more honour than they are due. We have projected our expectations and unfulfilled desires on to them and in waiting so long for our breakthrough which we normally only understand in material or monetary terms, it looks like the man of God and his gospel of prosperity is the proverbial carrot, held in front of the proverbial donkey.
"Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron and said to him, come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him" (Ex 32:1)
The Christ we believe in has ascended into glory and will return soon with a shout of triumph (I say soon because thats what the scripture says a thousand years to God is like a day it doesnt feel like soon to us!) He has left us His Spirit until He returns. I confess that like many others, I would love a more visible, more demonstrative God in the world. I would like it to be more obvious to everyone that God is real. When disaster strikes whether it is a natural disaster or one that is man made, I groan within and would love God to be more active in the world. Coming closer to home to my own personal life, I would love God to answer my prayers faster and supply all my needs according to His riches in glory but, like we know it does not always happen like that. The temptation is to try and help God or find a kind of short cut to what you feel is Gods blessing.
The children of Israel had encountered God beyond any shadow of doubt. They had just witnessed God bring them out of Egypt. They had seen miracles, signs and wonders that we will probably never see in this life time. They had seen God part the red sea and they had walked through on dry land. This is the kind of God we all would prefer to witness! A God that demonstrates His power, swallows up His enemies and shows up with mighty manifestations of His glory. But alas, their leader Moses was up on the mountain for too long as far as they were concerned. To them, He delayed coming down from the mountain When we think God is delayed or slow to come through, we feel itchy to do something to make Him feel more real and obvious to us. In this age of instant messages, instant coffee, emails and fast food we cant see why God cant get with the times. The children of Israel demanded a god and Aaron gave them one. They fashioned for themselves an idol made of gold, the same gold God blessed them with when they left Egypt! Such is the pressure on leadership to manufacture God or His move. Aaron gave into that pressure and gave the people what they wanted.
I look at the Church today and I see the same tendencies. We associate Gods blessing primarily in monetary terms. Being blessed equals being rich. If you are not wealthy or well to do you are not living the abundant life Jesus spoke about. We forget things Jesus said like, "a mans life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions" or "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" or "woe to you that are rich, for you have received your consolation". These are things Jesus said. We dont want to hear that because we have bills to pay! Buildings to build for God! Most of us are from poverty so the prosperity message is an extremely profitable product for those who propagate it. We want the crown without carrying the cross. Or rather I should say we feel we have carried the cross for too long and we want our crown NOW! Our fascination with material prosperity is almost the same way in hip hop culture young people are fascinated with bling bling.
The way people look up to Jay-Z and 50 cent is the same way people look up to men of God The only difference is that men of God are wealthy because they have, as most believe, tapped into the blessings of God (or maybe they have gotten wealthy off making the people believe that when they sow money into their lives we will reap financial blessings from God) while 50 cent says he will get rich or die trying even if it is through propagating a glamorised negative image to willing consumers and impressionable youth. In both situations people are buying into an image that carries the idea of what it means to be successful and prosperous. These images of success are all about getting rich when you get down to the bottom line.
We give tithes to rebuke the devourer, isnt the blood of Christ enough? The devourer has been rebuked! The blood of Christ, which speaks better things than the blood of Abel, constantly rebukes Satan and silences his accusations. We sow seeds of money into lives of the men of God hoping that the same anointing will rest upon us hmm! I recall in the Bible when a man named Simon offered money to some Apostles to receive the power of the Holy Spirit Peter told him, your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! You have neither part nor portion in this matter for your heart is not right in the sight of God (Acts 8:20&21) We already have an anointing from the Holy One is that not what the scripture tells us? so what is this making the FREE gift of God into a commodity all about?
Our minds need to be renewed and really know what the New Testament or covenant holds for all those who are now in Christ and for those who we seek to bring into the Kingdom of God. We need to go back to the word and be like the people of Berea who after hearing Apostle Paul preach received the word with readiness and searched the scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so ignorance is inexcusable. If Apostle Paul held a meeting I doubt if any of us would go back and search the scriptures though, we would probably just take his word for it!
The church of Laodecia in the book of Revelation was called lukewarm because they said, they have become wealthy and have need of nothing not knowing that in the Lords eyes they were wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked (see Rev 3:15-18) many of us are far from being rich and wealthy, having need of nothing but that is what we aspire to be. Dont get me wrong, I believe God wants to bless us financially, but the things we hold in high esteem are abominable to God. He counsels us to buy from Him gold refined in fire that you may be rich. I believe that represents THE FAITH once delivered to the saints. This faith is what will matter in the long term. This faith is what will last past this life into eternity. The genuineness of our faith is more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire (1 Peter 1:7)
I dont think God and faith is missing in the church. I just think the golden calf gets in the way sometimes. The golden calf of the promise of material prosperity is sometimes placed on the altar only God deserves. The "men of God" who embody this and espouse this "prosperity gospel" are propped up on a pedestal and worshipped with such blind devotion that it is digusting. The golden calf needs to be knocked off with the truth of Gods word, written on the tablets of the hearts of believers who keep their eyes and ears open to the truth.
Here is a song I did that goes with the blog above. It was something I released on my "Deleted Scenes Mixtape" that was originally on "just as I AM: The Prequel" but because I sampled Queen's "Let me live" I had to remove it.