Saturday, July 23, 2011

Visiting Prisoners and the Modern Circus Driven Gospel

     "For I was hungry and gave you food, I was thirsty and gave you drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me...The King will answer them and say, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did to the least of these my brothers, you did it to me,'" Matthew 25:35-36, 40.
     A circus driven, I mean purpose driven person (pastor would be blasphemous), is known for telling his people that if that want to be his friend or really get to know him, they need to go to another church.  He even warns them that if they expect him to visit them in the hospital, they need to know that if he does in fact come, it will be serious and a casket will be following behind him.  This is a man who professes to pastor a flock.  Imagine that.  Now I am paraphrasing his shocking statements, but to actually see him speak them is ten times worse.  Now I will name names, so bear with me.  It would be irresponsible of me to keep the wolf hidden,  his name is Perry Noble and I believe he pastors in North Carolina and if you google him and something about what I just wrote you should easily find his ignoble video.  You can also visit the Museum of Idolatry  and you should be able to easily find the offending video(s).
     Now imagine a pastor who visits an older gentleman in prison faithfully.  The crime is not important and I am not using names here.  This pastor faithfully visits this man every week.  This man will never get out of prison, will never tithe and is not the father/husband of a young family.  He seemingly has nothing to offer a local church and nothing to offer a time challenged pastor with a family of his own.
     Certainly, if the modern circus driven church teaches us anything, it is that we have to pursue a certain demographic for our churches.  We need to get young families in and make sure that we have all the fun n' games, er ministries, expected for that crowd.  Maybe we need to market more toward young professionals!  They aren't tied down too much and they're loaded with dough.  Didn't the early church market themselves like this?  I mean, they must have, they grew so fast!  Yet, what did Paul say, "For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified," 1Cor. 2:2.  Peter's sermons pulled no punches and pierced people's pride and thousands were saved.  Paul's last letters, his pastoral epistles, constantly reminded his two young pastors to preach, exhort and encourage their congregations and to do away with idle babbling and the silly fads of the world.
     Silly fads and idle babbling are what so many churches are built on today and they would squirm at the idea of  faithfully visiting those in prison, the undesirables, who will never give a penny to the coffers.  Yet this faithful shepherd, who visits his sheep weekly, a sheep who has strayed far from the fold, does not worry about the reward he will get in his bank account.  No, he hears the voice of another shepherd.  "Feed my sheep," the voice says.  He obeys and his reward will be great.  He will be told, "Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world," Matthew 25:34.  God bless you all: learn, live and love the gospel.

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