City Business Church

It is not by grace that one enters the kingdom of heaven, but by tithing. - Damazio 3:16

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Location: Washington DC, United States

Monday, January 31, 2005

JESUS TODAY (in a post Measure 36 world)

John 8:1-11 (NIV) But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. [2] At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. [3] The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group [4] and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. [5] In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" [6] They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. [7] When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." [8] Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. [9] At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. [10] Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" [11] "No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin." I would like to translate this into a modern day story. Lets pretend that Jesus was here on earth living with us today and he was faced with another sexual sin. But Jesus went to the Butte of Rocky. At dawn he appeared again in the former temple where all the people gathered around him, and He sat down to teach them. Then the pastors and elders brought to Him a man caught in homosexuality. They made him stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this man was caught in the act of homosexuality and would like to marry his sinful partner. Now Measure 36 has been designed to keep this man from redefining marriage.” “Will you vote yes on Measure 36?” They were using this question for political gain, in order to pass the measure. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the new and updated carpet. When they kept on questioning Him, He straightened up and said to them, “He who is with out sin among you, let him vote yes first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the carpet. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the man still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked him, “Man, where are they? Has no one voted against you?” “No one, sir” he said. “Then neither do I vote against you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” It is important to note that when Jesus was confronted with this sinner, he did not condemn her, but he also did not condone the sin. He said "Then neither do I condemn you, go now and leave your life of sin." This is grace in its truest form. Here was a woman who was caught in a sinful and immoral act. According to the law she should have been stoned. Her death would have been justified, however Jesus bestowed His grace upon her life. Can you see the parallel to what He has done for you in your life? Homosexuality is a sin, that should not be denied. I believe that homosexuals are sinful humans, but I also believe that Johnpaul Morton is a sinful human. Do I deserve more grace, because the sins that I have committed are more socially acceptable? No, I deserve hell just as much as the homosexual does. The difference is that God has revealed his grace to me and now I believe in the work and the cross and that has freed me from the penalty of death. The poor homosexual hasn’t had that revelation yet; but don’t think that God can’t forgive their sins the same way he forgave ours. The problem that I see with today’s church is that they have flipped Christ’s example around. Jesus spent his time on earth rebuking the church and loving sinners. Today’s church spends it’s time rebuking sinners and loving itself. Why are we trying to make the world a more “Christian” place? Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place." John 18:36 God has blessed us with grace to cover our sins, but this doesn’t give us a free pass to sin whenever we want. God is calling us to treat the worldly man with love, just has He treated the adulterous woman. We simply can not allow pride to get in the way of the cross. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin." Disclaimer: I do not approve of homosexuality or gay marriage, in fact from a political standpoint I support the Defense of Marriage Coalition. My main complaint is that this political battle was brought inside the church and turned into a church vs. gays battle. Jesus won people over with love and compassion not by lobbying against them politically. I simply wish that we would treat people with the same love and compassion Christ showed us. Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Joel Osteen

I had planned to use this time to write "Running Diary of a Gen Church Sermon Part II." But I got halfway through Doug's sermon, and I was so bored I could not bare to continue listening. Doug, please, you're killing me here. I know you are speaking to high school students, but, trust me, they are more intelligent than you think. And that girl in the front row can't keep up the courtesy laugh, she's gonna crack. I believe I have a prescription for what ails you. Allow me to prescribe two activities. First, watch Sinbad's Video Afros and Bellbottoms. It is the funniest hour of stand up ever. Second, read the Sports Guy Column on www.espn.com. It will change your life. So instead of discussing a CBC sermon, I am going to use this space to discuss an article I read in the Washington Post yesterday. The article examines Joel Osteen's rapidly growing church in Houston. Here is a link to the article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A47023-2005Jan29.html. I challenge you to read the entire piece. However, for me, one quote in particular stood out. Joel is discussing his prosperity and says: "I feel like God wants us to prosper," "My dad grew up in the Depression. . . . It is not God's will for anybody to live where you can't support your family. . . . [Houston Astros pitcher] Roger Clemens just signed for $18 million -- man, don't tell me I can't have a nice house and send my kids to college." I like Joel Osteen, but there are so many things wrong with this quote. I don't understand where this "God wants me to be rich" mentality is coming from? God does not necessarily want you to be prosperous, Joel. God wants you to be faithful. God wants you to be compassionate. God wants you to demonstrate his love to others. That's what God wants. Additionally, Joel, let me fill you in on a little something. In the Book of Job, God told Job he could not have a nice house and send his kids to college. And God loved Job. God called Job his most faithful servant. I am not saying that God is not concerned with your lifestyle, Joel. He is. It is just not his number one priority. And maybe it should not be your number one priority, either. Secondly.... ROGER CLEMENS! You're comparing yourself to a professional athlete, Joel. What are you, two years old? Just because a professional athlete gets paid a lot of money, does not mean you should be paid a lot of money. Roger Clemens throws a baseball better than anyone else in the world. You, Joel Osteen, preach God's Word. There are not a lot of similarities there. You really should be less concerned with how much professional athletes are being paid and more concerned with how well your congregation is growing in Christ. Anyway, that's my rant for the week. And I apologize to City Bible, apparently they're right. Apparently 390,000 out of 395,000 churches in America do preach the same way they do... ...its disturbing.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Why I Blog (again)

I spent 10 years in church asking the question “Why isn’t this working?”. “Why do I leave the alter feeling like I have changed forever; only to fall flat on my face 2 weeks later?” “Why can’t I stay close to God?” “What can be done to have a lasting change?” When I left that experience I felt like I was the problem; that I wasn’t good enough. In a sense it was true, the problem was me. I was putting to much pressure on myself to try to earn my salvation, but I could never live up to the expectations. It took along time to realize that it is only through the sacrificial death of Jesus and the grace given by God that I am saved. When you begin to understand God’s grace you realize that nothing else matters. God saved me while I was sinning. He didn’t wait until I was perfect and sinless to offer salvation. No, He came to me despite my sinful ways and brought salvation. It became clear to me that He loves me regardless of my faults. I deserve hell. We all do yet, God’s grace has saved me from that. This lead me to one big change: I now try to live a holy and righteous life because of my salvation, not in order to earn it. Here are some thoughts and scriptures that helped undo the damage: I am a sinful creature who deserves hell. There is nothing I can do to get to heaven, only through the sacrificial death of Christ and the grace of God can I be saved. Rom 3:23 All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Isaiah 53:6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way. Genesis 8:21 Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. I did not choose to be saved, but God chose to save me. John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit. John 6:44 No one can come to me unless the father who sent me draws him Ephesians 2:4-5 But, because of His great love for us God made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions Hebrews 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfector of our faith. Romans 9:11-13 Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad--in order that God's purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls--she was told, "The older will serve the younger." Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." God did not chose to save me because of anything I have ever done. It has nothing to do with my own personal merit or worthiness. Ephesians 2:8-10 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves. It is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. 2nd Thes 1:4 ….because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. Acts 13:48 And all who were appointed for eternal life believed. Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 9:16 It does not therefore depend on man’s desire or effort but on God’s mercy. Romans 11:5-6 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. Therefore, since I have done nothing to earn it, since I certainly don’t deserve it, and since God has saved me anyway, why would I feel as though one wrong step will cost me everything? John 10-28:29 I give them (my sheep) eternal life, and the shall never parish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. Romans 8:35-39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord Philip. 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. 1 Peter 1:23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. Hebrews 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." There is no need to worry about the status of your salvation when God says “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” It is important to understand that 1- we do not deserve to go to heaven and 2- that we can not earn our way into heaven. That is the beauty of grace. It is undeserved, unearned, and given freely by Christ. I have seen so many of my friends turn away from Christ because of a bad church experience and so I am writing these things to help show that there is truth in the Bible, that God is real, and that they need Jesus. I pray that those who no longer have a relationship with Christ, because of past issues with a church would find a way to forgive and understand that Christians can be easily deceived and make terrible mistakes, but God is not the one to blame. This is why I blog. I have seen two sides of Christianity. One which I hate because it only caused me pain; the focus was on me and not on Jesus. And the other I love, because it has freed me from myself and caused me to look to the cross. I apologize to everyone who wanted to read something funny today. If it’s humor that you are looking for try listening to Pastor Rick Snow’s sermon on the Generosity Factor @ http://www.citybiblechurch.org/Content/158.htm Even the most loyal sheep have got to be able to see through that message.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Christian Advisor

I received an email from my Christian Advisor today. Now, what is really interesting about this is that I don’t have an official “Christian Advisor”, so you can imagine my surprise when he emailed me. However, this is the month of prophecy so I thought it might be a special word from God and so I opened it. I was a little disappointed when I found out that all my Christian Advisor wanted to tell me was how to “Refinance my home the Christian way”. It was, in fact, not a prophetic word from my advisor; instead it was shameless advertising from Christianfamilyloans.com. Now, I don’t want to get to hyper-spiritual, but I don’t think there is anything in the Bible about which way to refinance your home. Nevertheless, should you be in need of a loan officer I suggest calling Ryan Callahan with HOMELOAN SOURCE @ 360-254-1500. With any luck he may even prophecy over you.

BITTERNESS SCALE

Here at City Business Church we like to put everything into certain categories. Everybody has there own little box that we put them in. There’s the Blind Sheep box for those still attending Megachurches, the I’m a sucker box for people giving money to pay for their church’s $80,000 lighting package, the I’m a yes man box for certain members in church leadership, the Bitter ex-Christian box for those still angry at the church, and the Damn, we sure are funny box for Catalyst and myself. And so, to help us decide which box things belong in, I would like to set up the first official BITTERNESS SCALE. We will rank things from 1 to 10 with 1 being NOT BITTER AT ALL and 10 being SATAN. I would like everyone to participate. You can rank anything you want; our posts, anonymous’ comments, or maybe something you heard during the week. For instance, today I asked my younger brother how he was doing and he responded “Terrible, now that I am talking to you”. I am going to rank that with a 3. You may think that is a low ranking, but if you knew my brother you would realize that he was really being quite nice there. So there you have it, bitterness in a box. Isn’t technology great?

Monday, January 24, 2005

Good Word Brother

This comment was posted by another Anonymous reader recently and I thought that it was front page worthy. From my perspective as a short-term PBC student, CBC seemed to be following a pretty simple formula. Not that of biblical church building and evangelism, but rather the economic law of capitalism. Though there are certainly believers in the church and people that genuinely love the Lord, the church itself has become a financial investment. Now instead of infusing the community around it with life by sending out others to plant and to serve, the bloated monolith sends out vans to pick up sinners and shuttle them to the safety of the hill, encouraging them to tithe so the church can continue it's programs. Promising extra blessing if they give more to fund their dramas designed to scare people into repentance. I met some awesome people at PBC, including my wife and best friends. But in the 6 months that I attended City Bible and heard Pastor Frank speak in PBC chapel, I heard him talk way more about church administration than about Jesus. This is what happens to mega churches. They become money vacuums, and sustaining the church and it's facilities and staff can take over for the spreading of the gospel. At least, this was my take on it. On a bitterness scale of 1 to burning in hell, I give it a 2. Well done sir, your heart appears to be free from the anguish that torments so many of us.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

I'M BACK BABY

I stayed away as long as I could. There are some things that will never change. - Youth group conferences and camps will always be filled with hype - Malachi 3 will continue to be misinterpreted - The Morton boys will always be offensive - People will think church = salvation - Others will think that pastor = God - Christians will use “Getting Offended” to avoid addressing issues - Sarcasm will never be funny - Questioning the church will be confused with bitterness - And, I will never be quite as mature as I would like to be I would like to begin by quoting one of our readers. You both should stop bitching about the church and actually do something. Take a page out of the anti-abortionist page and go block the church doors. Or better yet, maybe something from the Muslim Holy War, I believe in Arabic they say "Jihad". Some people just don't understand. -Christian Fun Thank you, Christan Fun, It seems you understand that sarcasm is a wonderful tool. And now on to my next post.

Generation Offensive

As a former member of Generation Dumb Sheep I have been to many conferences. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, sometimes the lights go out and you hear someone blowing into a large shell. Baarroooo. Baarroooo. For those of you who can't make it to the Generation I Won't Be Redefined by Homo's in 2005 conference, let me take you for a walk down “I will never be the same again” lane. It begins: The sanctuary is dark, but not so dark that you can't see the interns running around with their GU tags hanging around there neck. Suddenly a light appears on stage. "Is Jesus here already" you ask? No, it’s just the lead singer standing there with his hand pointed to the sky. Dunt,dunt dunt dunt, dunt dunt dunt, dunt dunt dunnnnnn. The music begins. First the drums then guitar, then...wait the lead singers wife is already crying. This is going to be the best conference ever. Worship is a wild ride filled with jumping and shouting and that guy playing his shell again. Baarrooo. Baarroooo. Baarrooooo. Then, just as quickly as it started, the music ends, and the hype is put on hold. It's time for THE WORD. (Quick editors note: It used to be THE WORD OF GOD, but now the bible has very little to do with it so we simply refer to it as "THE WORD") Some young pastor runs up on stage starts yelling at you. You yell back. He yells, you yell, he yells, you yell. OK, now stop. It’s time to get serious. After a quick and lame joke, the pastor makes his new wife stand up and he tells everyone that she is the most beautiful woman in the world. Nice try pastor, but you are still not getting any action. You married a church girl who was taught to protect her purity and you will never be able to shake that. Now, the sermon is ready to begin. Everyone get out your bible, hold it in the air, and look around at all the pretty Bibles. Great, now put them back under you seat. Today we will be speaking on……you guessed it, Purity. All the guys groan, the girls start crying, and now nobody is going to get any. Great work buddy. The sermon continues. Blah, blah, blah. Protect your mind. Blah, blah, blah Respect your gift, blah, blah, blah. Something about a rose, blah, blah, blah. Don’t listen to rock and roll music, don’t do drugs, don’t smoke, and for the sake of God don’t break the 6” rule. Here comes the Alter call. You are all sinners headed for hell, but God can redeem your soul if you come down to the alter now. Somehow you find yourself at the alter in tears, holding hands with someone you don’t like, singing "I will never be the same again". (No one ever is the same after surviving 45 minutes of "hands on prayer" where you can't breathe, you have to pee, and you are being groped by someone whose breath really stinks.) Amazingly enough, there you stand crying, hugging, and singing. At this point someone yells “Let’s go all night”, and you are ready for it. You leave the church later that night convinced that things have changed. You go home and tell your parents. This is followed by more tears, hugging, and perhaps even some singing. Unfortunately, life isn’t a generation conference and eventually you have to return to the real world you slowly get tempted back into your old lifestyle.

Don't worry, there is always next year.

Selling a Generation

In order to prepare for the upcoming Generation Unleashed Conference, City Bible Church has asked its youth to go on a media fast. Meaning the youth are to watch no TV or movies, and most importantly, they are to visit no Blogs. The youth are to do nothing that could possibly distract them from the Conference's message of hype and excitement. Not wanting to be left out, I decided last week that I would go on a media binge. And as such, I spent all week watching back-to-back American Idol episodes, paying especially close attention to the commercials. And most importantly, I also visited my favorite website www.genunleashed.com (notice the dot-com). Upon entering the site, I was delighted to find that City Bible had created a commercial for their newest Gen Unleashed Conference. The advertisement features such Church Superstars as Doug and Donna Lasit, Judah Smith and a crazy Australian. I wish there was some mind blowing revelation in this ad. But in actuality, the commercial is pretty innocuous. Doug is obsessed with generations and the commercial is just Doug inviting an entire generation to attend the conference. He specifically mentions those between the ages of 12-25. This caused me to pause. Hmmmm, by my calculations that generation would be everyone born between the years 1979 and 1993. I am not exactly sure which generation this is, since its too young to be Generation X and its too old to be the Echo-Boomers, Generation Y or whatever stupid name the marketing industry has attached to this most recent generation... Then suddenly, it dawned on me. This is a completely new generation. A generation of Christian Soldiers dedicated to hyping themselves... ...its Generation Tithe. And in the spirit of tithing, I want to be the first to wish all these future City Bible Givers a happy Gen Unleashed Conference. Perhaps in between all the jumping up and down and intense praying, you can find time to share Christ's love. Of course, requires you to think about someone other than yourself. And that can be tough, I know. But, as a member of Generation Think-For-Myself, let me tell you, this is a lesson that will last much longer than some cool Christian concert.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Slowing Down

I feel that I should probably inform the loyal readers of this blog that I plan on slowing down the frequency of my posts. I am running out of ideas, and my real life is keeping me from spending much time on this blog. I will try to add something at least once a week. Unfortunately, I can not really promise much more. Of course, the blog will always be here for that special "tithing" sermon that City Bible is just aching to preach. Also, if any readers have any submissions of their own, please feel free to email them to me at justin.morton@gmail.com. I am happy to post other people's thoughts and feelings. For example, perhaps the individual who mentioned "Ms. Callahan" in the previous comment section would like to submit something. One of my favorite stories of all time, involves a Mr. Morton, a Mr. Walker and both of the Callahan girls. I've heard the story 20 times, and yet I still fall over laughing hysterically. Finally, I'll leave you with this quote. "If its funny, people will like it." -Chris Rock in response to how the audience will react to him hosting the Oscars.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

MFI: Minister Fraternity International

Here is a quick thought about MFI. MFI is short for Minister Fellowship International (www.mfi-online.org), and it is an organization based out of City Bible that serves as an association for like-minded churches all over the world. Which is alright I guess. My only problem is that a minister of an average sized church would have to pay $400 a month to be a part of MFI, which adds up to almost $5000 a year. And what does the minister get for his $400 monthly payment. Well, here is what MFI says: MFI benefits the minister and it also benefits the congregation that member-ministers serve. It benefits the minister by:

  • Helping them to establish meaningful covenant relationships with like minded leaders
  • Providing resources to the ministers to enhance their personal life and ministry
  • Providing a sense of covering and accountability
  • Providing for the rejuvenation and refreshing of battle weary leaders
  • Giving each member minister a sense of connection to a larger family network and a worldwide vision
Hmmm, so not much. Sounds like they are paying for friends. Me and my brother are thinking of starting up Minister Fraternity International, and offering covering and accountability for half the price. Say $200 a month. I guess I tend to think that $5,000 a year could be put to better use, by say feeding the hungry or clothing the poor. But apparently, these ministers feel they need to be a part of some fraternity. And since that fraternity collects dues, what choice do they have. Honestly, is this really the best way to spend the churches money? Is it really necessary for a minister to pay $400 a month for covering and accountability? I don't think so.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

He did not just say that

Next week City Bible is holding its annual Prophetic Assembly conference. For those who don’t know, Prophetic Assembly is a conference where the leaders call up members of the church and prophecy over their lives. Ten years ago I had a prophecy myself, and that prophecy told me to no longer believe in Prophetic Assembly. Allow me to share. The year was 1995, I was in high school up on the hill, and as was customary, the school leadership had decided it would be better for me to sit through a Prophetic Assembly, than to learn something useful. I was sitting in the large dome, (which at this point did not smell of urine), when the prophets called up a young man named Quinn. (I know Quinn and he’s a great guy. He was one of the few leaders, who at that time actually treated me as an equal, instead of some kid they could manipulate. I’m mentioning his name, only because he recently found this blog and informed my brother that he enjoyed it. So, with apologies to Quinn…) They called Quinn up to the stage, and the four prophetic leaders all gathered around him and began praying for him in great earnest. After what seemed like forever, one of the older men on the stage, probably 50, declared, “I see a picture of you in the cold. Somewhere up north, perhaps Alaska. I see you working with Eskimos. I see you being a witness and missionary to the Eskimos.” Well, this prophecy perked me right up, because unlike the old man on the stage, I knew exactly where he was getting this revelation and it wasn’t from Jesus. He was just remembering an old Bob Dylan song, “The Mighty Quinn (Quinn the Eskimo)” He wasn’t hearing a revelation from God. He just had some thought come up from his subconscious. Only, he didn’t realize it. Upon hearing this prophecy, I sat straight up in my seat and begin giving everyone around me my patented, “Do you believe this guy?” look. I’m fervishly glancing around for someone, anyone else who caught this. But, of course, no one else caught it. They all bought it hook, line and sinker. I spoke with some people afterward and they claimed, “If that’s what God said, then that’s what God means.” Hmmmm, maybe. Or maybe, this guy isn’t hearing from God. Maybe he’s just very perceptive, and speaks well. And maybe he’s just saying whatever comes into his head whether that’s from God or not. And I think if you are going to claim to be speaking for God, you ought to try a little harder to be accurate. I am not saying God can’t speak through someone in a prophecy. I just don’t think you can organize God to four nights a week between the hours of 3-5 and 7-9. I think God works on his schedule, not yours. Oh, and if any Eskimo have seen a large white man preaching in their towns, please let me know. I am curious to know how he got there.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Patience

I apologize for not posting anything lately. However, contrary to popular belief, I actually do have a life. And that "life" is consuming every free second of my time. In the meantime, check out this website for ex-mormons. http://exmormonfoundation.org/ It is absolutely one of my favorite websites to visit. I love this site so much, it makes me want to convert to Mormonism, just so I could then quit and leave the church. Anyway, the stories are fantastic. And while City Bible is nowhere near as controlling as the Mormon church, there are some similarities. And again, thanks for your patience.

Update: Please check out this site:
I hope it makes you think.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Of those whom I love

Well, the pictures below are going to offend many. But I thought this blog was taking itself a little too seriously. So...


Equal Opportunity Mocker Posted by Hello

Remaining Irreverant Posted by Hello

How to Give Effectively

Here is an interesting article on giving and capitalism as it relates to the Church. It was forwarded to me by two mighty prayer warriors. It is a bit long... but still definately worth reading. Update: You can read the article or you can just check out www.whathavewedone.org "How to GIVE EFFECTIVELY - One Man's Journey" -by Doug Perry. If you have been blessed with money - any amount of money - then you are called to be a good steward of it. Somebody is going to have to stand before Jesus and explain why we bought a million dollar chandelier while His children's souls were being lost. The Bible says we're to store up treasure in Heaven where it won't rust and thieves can't steal. If we are to covet anything, it is this. The eternal treasure is the thing. Don't you get it? That's what dollars are for! If God has blessed you with more than your basic needs, every single extra dollar should be used to purchase Heavenly treasure. Any other use of them is selfishness, apostasy and ultimately, idolatry. Not my words.... I stand condemned the same as anyone else. But you can't leave the verses cited above out of the Scriptures and still honestly say your desire is to be like Christ. When God finally got through to me and helped me see this, all of my American business instincts kicked into overdrive. If every dollar is entrusted to me SO THAT I can use it to buy treasure in Heaven, then I want maximum return on investment for every single dollar. See? Makes perfect sense. So I went on a search to first see how my money was currently being used and then find who might be a better investment. As it turns out, the "stocks" I'd been buying through denominational structures and "Big Church" programs have a TERRIBLE yield in Heaven. I can't say they're all losers, but they were definitely under-performing their potential. I want to find those mighty warriors, those servants of the Cross, those who are truly being obedient and living like Christ; those who when they pray you just know God hears them; those who have eternal Fruit flying off of them like crazy; those who are caring for the poor and sick and lost; those who are storing up treasure in heaven faster than anybody else - then I want in on it.... I want to support them, urge them on and get out of their way. Our search for who is the hottest stock led us first to Gospel For Asia ( http://www.GFA.org ), although we are now finding others and will seek to highlight them at every opportunity. The native missionaries that GFA supports are amazing warriors of the faith, going out to hostile regions on a one way ticket with grim determination to win souls for Christ or die trying. They sleep on stone floors, live on one or two dollars a day, pray for hours, preach fearlessly and raise up mighty churches of fearless disciples - and when God thinks it will help, mighty miracles make their way easier. All for a total ministry cost of $1000 to $1500 per year in most cases. Western missionaries sent through our denominational structures often cost $100,000 per year. Average investment in one missionary family can exceed $500,000 with an average time on the field of just three years. Many prepare and never go at all. Private schools or tutors for their kids, healthcare, retirement funds, furloughs, maids, chauffers, security guards, language training, internet access and others - may all be required costs for these. Not to mention the lost potential in ministry momentum of having to come back to fund-raise periodically. (I don't question the motives of the missionaries. I speak from experience here, having grown up in that life.) Even with all of this, foreign missions is less than 5% of total church spending. The rest we spend on our local programs, buildings and staffs. Seven years ago I started what became BuiltToLastHome.com ( http://www.BuiltToLastHome.com ). Four years ago I turned it over to God and He forced it to expand exponentially (5000% in five years!). I had a chance to build a business from scratch and so I threw out everything everyone had ever told me about business and asked, "How would Jesus do it?" As it turns out, Jesus was a pretty smart guy and His plan works good. A year ago a pastor friend of mine told me about micro-enterprise lending and how you could start a business in India and Ethiopia and Myanmar for $50-$75 dollars and create jobs for Brothers and Sisters in need... Like a light bulb, it clicked instantly that I was to play a part in that. So on top of everything else we started " www.AcrossCountries.com " to sell products made by Christians in the 10/40 Window. The argument is simple. Christians give 2% to the church - of which 0.01% goes to reach the most unreached. But Christians in the USA spend 50% of their money on discretionary products - game boys, bass boats, massage chairs, big screen TVs, giant homes. So, if that's where their heart is, then we'll just SELL THEM STUFF - and take the profits and give it to God. I'm convinced business professionals are the key to remaking this sick, dysfunctional system into what God wanted it to be all along. Our website is just an expression of that yearning for stewardship and has become a place to educate about the HORRIBLE job we're doing in the American church of spending our dollars wisely to get maximum yield in Heaven. I urge you, test yourself, your company, your church, your denomination, your charities. What is their true yield in Heavenly treasure? Seek maximum profit in the eternal currency. I want my family, my employees, you and your family and a thousand thousand other Brothers and Sisters to be in a giant receiving line where we get to kiss and hug the souls brought into heaven by the labor of those on the field that we supported from the blessing of our wealth. If Heaven is forever, I want that line to stretch farther than I can see. I want that line to last for YEARS. Research the ministries. Be smart. Invest wisely. Demand accountability and efficiency. Visit www.ECFA.org and www.MinistryWatch.org [-These are financial "watchdogs" that report on the way that large ministries use their money]. If they can't be trusted with the little things, they can't be trusted with the big things. Would Jesus of Nazareth drive a Bentley or a Rolls Royce? There are some serious wolves out there amongst the sheep. Whether entrusted with a little or a lot, we'll all be called to account for our stewardship of God's blessings. ~Doug Perry Email - whwd@whathavewedone.org Website - http://www.WhatHaveWeDone.org

Monday, January 10, 2005

Listen all of Ya'll its a SABOTAGE!

Apparently, late last night someone repeatedly cut and paste an old comment into the comment section, making the comment as long as possible and preventing anyone else from adding a comment. I am currently working with Blogger to obtain this individual's ISP address. I will then "out" them and prevent them from posting a comment again. Thank you for your patience, and I apologize for the inconvenience. I can only assume that tithes must have been down yesterday. -Justin

Sunday, January 09, 2005

What I Believe

It has to come to my attention that many members of City Bible Church are “disgusted” with me. They do not understand my complaints, and they despise my method. And thus they have decided, “I am not walking with the Lord.” (Whatever that means) Fair enough. I did start a blog making fun of their church. Judgment is to be expected. But before anyone else judges me, allow me to share what I truly believe. Because despite my numerous faults, I still believe I am living a Christ-like life. First, understand that because I grew up in a Christian home, I have read just about every verse in the Bible. And while reading the Bible, I have become to realize that the Bible is a big book with a lot of verses. And there is a Bible verse to justify almost every action. I found this confusing and thus started looking for a core message from the Bible; the essence of the Bible. How do I summarize the Bible in one verse? Thankfully, someone asked Christ that same question. In the Book of Mark, a man approached Jesus and asked him to sum up all the laws in the Bible. Jesus responded with simply, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself.” Interestingly, in the Book of Romans, when the Apostle Paul was asked the same question, he only responded with, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Paul recognized that it is easy to say you love God. However, it is a lot more difficult to take that love and show it to others. The real act of loving God is showing compassion and grace to others. (I am pretty sure Paul is also a former member of City Bible Church). Anyway, that is my creed. In living my life, I am constantly trying to show compassion to others. So City Bible is free to judge me and my lifestyle. It is okay. I know what I believe. “Greater Love hath no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”-John 15:13.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Good Comment

This is a comment by Magdelon that I think is a pretty accurate look at CBC and Christian Culture in general. Its not exactly funny, nor do I agree with all or it. But it is an excellent reason why so many people are turned off to CBC and other churches. I will surmise that everyone who is on this blog has come to the conclusion that something is not right at CBC. Looking at this issue from the aspect that this particular church (CBC), it is a speck in a field of other churches being trained to run the same way. What we, I think, feel as former CBC'ers is that the future of the church is heading off into a direction in which one must conform to it or be thrown to the streets. The church is positioning its self to be at the forefront of the very process of raising a family, going to school, civic choices, private activities. The church lost ground after the fifties boom and now that our political leaders and our preachers have us on the fear-channel 24/7 they are not going to let us go. They must entertain us, show us that we are "members", we are patriots, we stand by our president, we speak a "common tongue". Its all control and if people like us don't like the people in control it is our obligation to make our opinions known. Being a true Christian is hard in a culture that tells you, you are not good enough if you don't have the nicest car. Its as if the Christian Church has replaced Christ's teaching with the doctrine of unbounded consumerism and forgivable capitalism. I believe most people attend CBC because they want to feel connected to anything, something and having the ability to go "up front" on Sunday morning to ask to be "renewed" or "washed clean" is very appealing to the man who just sold the old couple across the pew a box of Amway or the woman who, just the week before, sold a house to a first time buyer couple and knew that it wouldn't pass code. Our economy forces families to do immoral things in the workplace and as a consequence they need somewhere to go on the weekend to feel a little better about themselves. Who's wearing slave labor clothes right now??? Better get to CBC, tithe twice and send extra to missions for China! Catholicism for the new Century.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Just Found This

This post was slipped under my door last night. I don't know who wrote it, but it sounds vaguely similar to some previous postings... CBC recently changed their website for online giving. Gone are the promises that God honors online faith (everyone applaud). Online giving is now simply there for your convenience. We appreciate the change and feel that CBC is moving closer to connect with their congregation. However, nobody wants to read about that. So, here we go... Wow, Acts 2 giving... wait Acts 2 is about being filled with the Holy Spirit, but maybe by giving we can receive "The Gift". Its interesting how this all works. You know, they used to just surround you and scream "crazy talk" untill you felt so uncomfortable that you began joining in. Hhodabalacamatimo (read who - da - ba - la - ca - matimo) actually its really simple...try this slowly who - da - ba - la - ca - matimo....repeat who - da - ba - la - ca - matimo... now faster who - da - ba - la - ca - matimo, who - da - ba - la - ca - matimo ...mix in a shandi-bo-bo, and you've got it. I don't know why anybody would pay for that. (Although this flame above my head is really starting to trip people out)

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Why I Love Jon Stewart

Last night, Jon Stewart opened his program by showing a segment from the daytime talk show The View. The panelists were discussing the recent Tsunami disaster. In the middle of the discussion Star Jones interrupts her co-hosts to confess, “Well, I thank God every day, because one month prior, I was there.” (audience applauses) "That's right, you were there for your honeymoon." her friend adds. “God Blesses” Star Jones concludes. The screen flashes back to Jon Stewart staring into the camera looking incredulous and slightly disgusted. “God killed 160,000 people. Just because you weren’t there, that’s not him blessing. My guess is… that was an oversight.” I fell over laughing. I'll leave you with my favorite quote from noted-homosexual and poet W.H. Auden. "Of those whom I like or admire I can find no common denominator. But of those whom I love, I can. Each one makes me laugh." Update: I realize this post has nothing to do with church. But its kind of tough constantly coming up with anti-church posts. Anyway, I do mention God... so, at least I'm sticking to a religious theme... ....hmm, still not doing it for you... ....all right fine. City Bible Sucks! There. Are you happy?

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

City Bible Church vs.The Dreamcenter

Recently an ex-City Business member asked me, "Which do you think is better, City Bible Church or the Dreamcenter?" Like a typical heathen I responded, "What the hell is the Dreamcenter? Is it a mattress store? Because if you're looking for a good place to sleep, the City Bible pews are not the place; trust me I've been trying to sleep there for years." But no, I was told, the Dreamcenter is not a mattress store, it is in fact a large Mega-Church in the heart of Los Angeles. A church, huh. Immediately I was intrigued... A battle of the churches. Now that could be fun. And in pondering this great mystery, I realized that here was a question only a blogger could answer. Thus, for this next post, I am going to compare the many similar aspects of CBC and the Dreamcenter, and then pronounce a winner. Should be fun. Let's break it down: Dr. Jack style. Church Name The most important feature of a church is the name. And although I find the name "Dreamcenter" eerily similar to many amusement parks in California, I have to give the Barnetts credit for coming up with something unique. At least they didn't jump on the "city" bandwagon. Note to churches, just putting the name "city" in your church name, doesn't necessarily make you hip and cool. Edge: Dreamcenter Play I was reviewing the Dreamcenter website and I noticed they recently staged a lavish Christmas production. I believe the play involved a group of overly happy "toy dolls" becoming sad because their friend "toy soldier" was sinning. This was followed by a dramatic confession by the soldier and a subsequent happy toy dance. A rather unoriginal production, if you ask me. And in fact, the only play that might be worse than a "Happy Toy Christmas Production" is a play in which the audience is reminded repeatedly they are going to straight to hell. A play, I am pretty sure Jesus would walk out of. Again... Edge: Dreamcenter Pastoral Humor Due to the wonders of technology, I recently had the pleasure of listening to a sermon by Tommy Barnett. And I have to be honest, three minutes into his speech, I thought I had found the most unfunny person in the world. Honestly, Worst. Jokes. Ever. The only thing worse than tithing jokes, are jokes about how your wife is not subservient anymore. If City Bible Church is trapped in the 90's, then the Dreamcenter is trapped in the 50's. Someone has to introduce these mega-churches to the new millennium. Thus, while Frank Damazio is no Chris Rock, I've got to say, compared to Mr. Barnett he could perform Live at the Apollo. Edge: City Bible Church Message on Giving It is commonly understood that you can not be a megachurch unless you repeatedly hound your congregation for all their money. And, as we have discussed before, City Business is the absolute best at giving this message. As they should be, they've had 10 years of practice. However, in the interest of fairness, I listened to young Tommy to see what he had to offer. Well folks, he may be no Damazio 3:16, but this little soldier gave everything he had. He left it all on the court. He told his church that God would not perform a miracle in their life unless they gave as much money as possible. (Honestly, listen to the sermon). And so, right there staring at my computer, without even thinking, I stood up and gave little Tommy a standing ovation. It was no "putting a cap on God." But is was a phenomenal performance nonetheless. Edge: City Bible (though this was a close one) PROJECTED WINNER IN HEAD-TO-HEAD MATCHUP Did I also mention that the Dreamcenter has over 30,000 congregants, and their campus is a mere 20 minutes from where Linsdey Lohan lives? Hmmm, I guess I didn't. Well, whatever... Winner: Dreamcenter

Monday, January 03, 2005

Back by Popular Demand

Amazingly enough, this old Christmas Classic is a favorite song of the leaders on the holy hill. I am beginning to think my most faithful readers can be found residing in between the clevage of two large lopslided breasts in NE Portland. Also, my sincerest apologies to Joel Morton, I am sorry for ever doubting your humor. DOUGY THE BROWN NOSED PASTOR (Sung to the tune of Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer.) You know Scheidler and Mishler and Estes and Louman, Jaimeson and Rachinski and Joneses and Nashif, But do you recall, The most famous pastor of all? Dougy, the brown-nosed pastor Had a very dirty nose. And if you ever saw it You would even say it shows. All of the other pastors Used to laugh and call him names They never let poor Dougy join in any pastor games. Then one foggy Faith Harvest Damazio came to say, "Dougy with your nose so brown, Won't you guide my lexus home"? Then how the pastors loved him And they shouted out with glee, "Dougy the brown-nosed pastor, You'll go down in history"!

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Mostly Dead

Much like the blogfather, Jack Bogdanski, I am finding it difficult to stop blogging. In spending a week with the family and meeting with some members of City Business Church, I realized a couple of things about myself. First, I realized I need a 3000 mile barrier from my mother in order to accomplish anything slightly controversial. Three days with my mom and I was regretting I had ever heard the word blog. It is not that she wanted me to end the blog, she just would not stop talking about it. Literally from the minute I went to bed, to the minute I woke up, it was non-stop chatter. Several times I looked at my father begging him for support, but was ignored. He looked grateful for the reprieve. The other thing I noticed was that, personally, I have nothing against City Business Church. I have not attended a service there in over three years, and I should not focus specifically on them. Thus, from here on out, this blog is going to examine mega-churches in general. Mega-churches are the Paris Hiltons of the Kingdom of Heaven. They look good on the outside, but don’t really offer anything meaningful. For all you pop-culture fans, you are probably well aware of Paris Hilton's other exploits. I will let you find your own comparisons. Finally, please save me the “no church is perfect” line. I am well aware no church is perfect. But what is this, fifth grade? In what world does “I’m not perfect” absolve you of responsibility. I get it, you’re not perfect. Now try a little harder, will you.


If City Business is the Bride of Christ, then perhaps this is what she looks like.  Posted by Hello