Monday, November 22, 2010

Spiritual Mannequins: The Pinchbeck Churchgoers

Hey everybody...yeah, I's been a minute. But better late than never, right? Been ripping and running. Please pray for a long as you're not one of the prayer warriors in the last entry.
How about this for a subject? Spiritual Mannequins. I actually wrote about this in my second book in the Church Folk series, Church Folk: What's Love Got to Do With It? What better place to revamp it than the blog?

Question. Have you ever noticed a mannequin from a distance and mistook it for an actual human? If you don't wish to admit it, I'll put myself out there. Been fooled a couple of times. Unless we're up close, sometimes it's hard to tell we're looking at something plastic. It's similar to the love of some church folk.

Fakers have the "appearance of love" from a distance. But it takes us getting closer to find out just how plastic they really are. Yep, plastic. They claim they love you, but it's all counterfeit. Love doesn't look for something in return, it always gives. But I've come across a lot of church folk who want to know "What's in it for me?" Just like a no good joker giving a woman flowers and treating her to dinner, because he expects dessert. Some church folk are the same way. It's what I call a "pinchbeck" churchgoer.

Merriam Webster defines "pinchbeck" as an alloy of copper and zinc used especially to imitate gold in jewelry. It isn't REAL gold, it's FOOL's gold. An alloy is a compound of MIXED metals. In it's archaic form, a WEAK metal is mixed with a more DURABLE metal to give some desired quality. It adds up to something of worth being closely imitated.

Enter the Spiritual Mannequin: The Pinchbeck Churchgoer.

Phony and counterfeit love is a mixture of the PURE love of Christ ( the VALUABLE ) metal and the fake love of the churchgoer ( the LESS DURABLE) metal. So, what we see from a distance in church is nothing more than an alloy - FAKE LOVE. And much like a mannequin, some church folk are hard and heartless. Mannequins look real, but how many of us can share an intimate moment with them? Try to kiss one...see if it returns the smooch. Embrace one...see if it returns the hug.

Same result - hard and heartless.

Let me encourage yawl. Be careful getting intimate with spiritual mannequins. They act like they love us, but they're waging war in their hearts against us. Just like Judas...betraying the Lord with a kiss.

1) They'll tell all your business.
2) They'll try to steal your spouse.
3) They'll mooch off you....and won't pay you back! ( And will get an attitude with you and THEY'RE the ones who owe YOU.)
4) They'll cuss you out when the mood strikes.
5) They'll turn others against you.
6) They'll take credit for the work you've done in ministry
7) They'll lie TO you and ON you...deliberately

Can we hang out with some REAL folk? Please? Church DOES have them, but you have to search far, wide and deep to find them.  KEEP SEARCHING. The Lord will put them in your path.

Don't sell out looking for love in all the wrong places. The devil loves church. His minions love church. Fallen spirits hang out in the church.

But God is still on His throne. He has His own disciples in His house. Find em and hold on tight.

Much love,

Your bro.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Please Don't Pray For Me

Hey everybody. Been away for a minute, especially since I focused a lot of my attention on responding to comments made on my last blog. Minister or Maniac stirred up a hornet's nest, but God is still good. His Word always prevails.

Back with an interesting post here. "Please Don't Pray For Me." What in the world is the Scribe talking about on this one? Everyone needs prayer, right? I agree. As long as the prayer is for God's ears and as long as the prayer is sincere. But I have had the displeasure of hearing some church folk drop the goods on someone else in the form of a prayer request. Clever way to disguise gossip, isn't it? Let me illustrate.

Say we're all in a circle, preparing to leave the worship experience and it's time to close out in prayer. "Any prayer requests?" the religious leader asks. Someone in the audience raises a hand. we go.

"Pastor...I would like the church to pray for sister so and so and we must pray earnestly. The devil is busy! We need to pray that God convicts her, because she's living with a man and has been in that state for a while. Shackin' is wrong church, so we need to pray that God speaks to her heart, turn her from her wicked ways.  Those who know the worth of prayer, pray her strength in the Lord. Amen."

Hmmm.....what just happened? Everybody in the prayer circle now knows the sister's been shackin' up. I have seen this happen and I'm sure many of you have too. Maybe not this particular scenario, but someone's personal affairs have been brought public under the guise of concern. We must be more discerning listeners to determine what is true prayer and what is pretense.

What will happen after that? Now...the spiritual Christian cringes, because the request didn't have to be that detailed. And those who love the Lord won't take that information any further. But how many of us know, not everyone in church is spiritual. Everybody can't hold water. So, before the fakers hit the vestibule, cell phones blowing up! Something to talk about. Hot off the presses. So, the dangerous churchgoer who kicked off the prayer pretended to show concern and at the same time dropped a bug in everyone's ear about a "family" member. We have no business airing out someone else's dirty laundry in a prayer to God. That is NOT what prayer is for!

Should the sin be exposed? Absolutely. But not in a public prayer! But as one of the anonymous bloggers said in my last post, the offender is addressed PRIVATELY. If the sister doesn't hear...take a witness. If she doesn't hear after that...THEN we bring her before the church, with the sole purpose of leading her to repentance (cf. Matt. 18). If she doesn't hear the church...the Bible says treat her as a heathen or a tax collecter (cf. Matt 18:17). AVOIDANCE or excommunication. And God is our model for this procedure. Throughout Scripture, He warned His people repeatedly before bringing judgment.

Who would I like praying for me? Those who know and appreciate the heart of God. Prayer can't have a clandenstine agenda. Prayer is dialogue between God and people. And our understanding of prayer will correspond to our understanding of God. Would God endorse our calling out a sister like that? Be your own judge. Yes, preach to the BEHAVIOR. Don't expose the PERSON. Ask yourself this question, though. Would we want God entertaining a prayer like that about ourselves? Do we want God putting all OUR business on a big screen for everyone to see? Think about it...we ALL have some issues we hope and PRAY that God won't make public. Those private sins...yawl know what I'm talking about. Those sins only we and God know about. Nobody is  exempt!

Be careful. We reap what we sow. You tell someone's business, your business is gonna get told. The world says it like this, "What goes around, comes around." So...

If you like to gossip....PLEASE DON'T PRAY FOR ME.
If you can't hold water about MY issues...PLEASE DON'T PRAY FOR ME.
If you want the church to consider you the 411....PLEASE DON'T PRAY FOR ME.
If you could care less about God's heart....PLEASE DON'T PRAY FOR ME.
If you don't know or care about the purpose of prayer....PLEASE DON'T PRAY FOR ME.

Who would I like to pray for a brother here? Those who love the Lord with all their heart, mind, soul, body and strength. TALK to God for me! Please! And we DO have folk in the church who don't live dangerously. Gotta appreciate them....much love.

Your Brother,