A Sidekick's Blog

Missions and the Prosperity Gospel

September 19, 2014
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As if Benny Hinn and other health-and-wealth teachers haven’t exploited enough people already, lately they are “crusading” in third-world nations.

When you carry their teachings to their logical conclusion, though, it only makes sense. It is the poorest of the poor who most desperately need prosperity and healing. So naturally, the folks who support teachers of the prosperity gospel have to insist that the prosperity message be brought to “those who need it most.”

But what of missionary efforts already underway in these third world tribes? How does the message of the media stars impact the work of missionaries who cannot offer promises of riches and divine health, but only simple gospel of salvation from God’s just wrath against sinners? As you might imagine, opposition to the truth is multiplied by the itchy-eared.

Even though the prosperity teachers cannot hope to profit from the desperately poor, they must maintain the appearance of taking the prosperity message to the desperately poor who “need it most.”

Here is a recent example, described by a missionary of the true gospel. He describes his own efforts to counter this exploitation and deception. He describes the angry opposition he encountered from those who have heard what they wanted to hear and eagerly accepted it, and who now fiercely defend their new hope against the truth.

There was a long period of time when I complained loudly to the Lord for many months about the proliferation of false teachers, hirelings and charlatans taking advantage of the Lord’s sheep.

“Judge them, O Lord! Save Your people from being ruined by those who would shear Your sheep; killing them and feasting on Your little lambs!” I cried.

Until I realized a terrible truth.

These false teachers are God’s judgment! He will judge the false teachers in His own time. Just as He sent the Babylonians to judge His own people first, before sending Persia to judge the Babylonians! He will eventually bring “Persia” to judge “Babylon” for bringing false teachings to His sheep. But He judges His own before He judges the world.

Benny Hinn and his fellow heretics are God’s judgment against itchy-eared sheep,

who, wanting to have their ears tickled, gather for themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires, and will turn away from the truth, turning aside to myths (2 Tim 4:3-4 emphasis mine).

Indeed, such was I once. And

such were some of you, but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God (1 Corinthians 6:11).

Many among those being deceived are to be called out later on, and they will need help, just as I did, to overcome the fables and superstitions they were taught. It takes time and patience. But that is why this little forum is here. ExCharisma is a tool for those who have been exploited, betrayed, and damaged by these false teachings. But even if you, dear reader, are not among those who once believed these things, please consider those in your circle who have quit going to church after being betrayed by these self-serving wolves who prey upon the itchy-eared, and now are broken, confused, and have no idea who to trust anymore or what is true anymore. If they’re seeking some plain ol’ back-to-basics gospel truth from Scripture alone, tell them they’re not alone. Tell them about one little sidekick who found his way back. Tell them about ExCharisma.

Thanks, from the bottom of my heart.


A Nation Under Judgment

September 12, 2014
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Yesterday I went to one of the local 9/11 remembrance ceremonies in my small hometown, and it broke my heart.

I wasn’t heartbroken because of the images of that horrible day 13 years ago, nor because of the many lives lost on that occasion and thousands more in the ensuing war on terror. I was heartbroken because in all of the prayers, songs, and speeches from all of the bible-quoting, church-going, rah-rah-for-Jesus participants, there was no call for repentance from the national sins which brought this judgment against our country. This was a pep rally for pride in America instead of a time for mourning and national repentance.

I hold dual citizenship. I am first and foremost a citizen of the Kingdom of God, and loyalty to my King transcends all duties and all loyalties to my country of origin, the United States. It is my King who establishes authority on Earth. He sets kings and presidents, czars and prime ministers in place; and removes them from their places at His will. From ancient times He has used wicked tyrants to bring covenant judgment against even His own chosen people when they forsook His ways and His holy law. The reverse is also true, that there were times that God used His chosen people to cleanse the land from the wickedness of other nations. On those occasions, there was always this warning:

Do not say in your heart when the LORD your God had driven them out before you, “Because of my righteousness the LORD has brought me in to possess this land,” but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is dispossessing them before you. It is not for your righteousness nor for the uprightness of your heart that you are going to possess their land, but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is driving them out before you, in order to confirm the oath which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Know then, it is not because of your righteousness that the LORD your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stubborn people (Deuteronomy 9:6, NASB, emphasis mine).

He is the Lord of all nations. And His holy law is binding upon all men in all of those nations. As He sent the Hebrews to cleanse the promised land of evildoers, so also did He send others to cleanse the land when the Hebrews themselves did evil. There were even times when He used a people far more wicked to judge a less wicked people (read the little book of Habakkuk)! But in every case, the appropriate (and nation-saving) response of a people to such judgment was mourning and repentance from their wickedness! Nations who are righteous enjoy God’s blessings, and He brings calamity against nations who are wicked. Before America outlawed public prayer, expelled God from her classrooms, legalized abortion, sanctioned perversion, and exploited the poor to enrich the powerful, she prospered. But in the years since she rejected God’s laws, she has suffered defeat in war with tragedy and decline at home.

  • Consider America’s national sins of the past 50 years: The killing of her most defenseless citizens, shedding innocent blood as “a woman’s right.” Redefining marriage (which was once the domain of churches rather than governments) to protect homosexuality which God has declared “abominable.” Allowing usury to run amok so that the poor are robbed by the rich.
  • Consider God’s judgments since America institutionalized murder, perversion, and robbery: Storms, drought, economic decline approaching complete collapse, war on multiple fronts, terror, invasion from the southern border, pestilence, inflation. An incompetent, bumbling idiot in the White House, elected twice and presiding over massive decline and ruin while he takes vacations and plays golf – fiddling while Rome burns.
  • Now consider America’s response thus far to God’s judgments: “Gay marriage” legalized in more states. “Nero” re-elected. Government power grabs and tyrannical, crippling regulation. And people who call themselves Christians hold pep rallies like the stupid one I attended yesterday, in which they quote carefully selected positive scripture portions that encourage us to “be strong and courageous, for the Lord is with us,” and “rise up and soar like eagles” instead of calling for repentance for national sin! We should be begging forgiveness and changing our laws, electing righteous men to public office and holding them accountable to God’s law as well as our own Constitution. We should be weeping and fasting and wearing sackcloth and ashes instead of singing and parading and singing feel-good “Christian” songs about prosperity and blessing and being “happy in Jesus.”

That’s why I was heartbroken yesterday. Flag-waving pep rallies that use God’s Name and God’s words while failing to call for national repentance from the very deeds that brought His judgment against us to begin with. Christ did not die so we could all feel good and be happy and get everything we need so we can feel happier and get more. He died to redeem a people for Himself from fallen, depraved humanity. Not to make depraved humans feel better while continuing in their depravity.

For the righteous living in a nation that is under judgment, there is assurance of God’s providential care. But only for the righteous. God may spare a nation for many years for the sake of a few righteous citizens. But He will certainly not fail to bring judgment on any nation that practices evil. The missing ingredient in yesterday’s pep rallies was a call to repent. In its place was a plea for God to bless an unrepentant people. I can tell you on the authority of His word: That ain’t gonna happen.


Starting Over

September 8, 2014
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LETTER TO MY FORMER MANAGER:

(and a warning to other insurance agents who get an offer from Lincoln Heritage Life Insurance Company)

Hello,

I have been full of doubts about this opportunity since I began, and over the last week I have had a chance to do some research on the company and on practices in this industry.

My findings indicate to me that this is not a good fit for me at all, nor I for the company. My research indicates that no ethical insurance company sells leads to its agents. It seems more like playing the lottery than making a consistent living.

I do really like the product, however, and I am very grateful that I filled out the card and was able to get some sort of final expense coverage for my mother-in-law under a modified plan. Many heartfelt thanks to my friend Pedro for his patience and perseverance with my wife and me, and for the peace of mind we enjoy as a result of this superb product.

Attached please find a copy of my notice to terminate the Associate Agent Agreement, mailed today to the home office in Phoenix. I am happy to return all the material I was given. Perhaps I could send it with Pedro or Craig if you like. The folders I was given may not be useable since I wrote my name and number on the inside flap, as instructed, but I will return them nonetheless.

Thank you for the look inside this industry, and for the valuable lessons learned about the rights of families at their time of great need.

Very cordially and respectfully yours,
Robin


Maybe I should Cut My Losses

September 6, 2014
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So while getting some final expense insurance for Suzie’s mom, I asked the insurance agent about his job. Y’see, I have this insurance license I worked hard and spent a bunch of money for, only to be turned away by Aflac – the company that had promised me a high-paying job if I got licensed. “Sorry, we can’t use you after all,” they said, after I had spent hundreds getting licensed. I have been turned away by other companies too, and figured this stupid license was just like my commercial driver’s license – another complete waste of money and time. Again.

Great, now what? Back to the job hunt, for several more months. Nothing. So, back to college then, and living out of savings from my Worker’s Comp settlement. But it is dwindling fast.

Then a ray of hope – this final expense insurance thing, called Funeral Advantage from Lincoln Heritage, sounds like just the ticket. I applied and got accepted! That’s the farthest this stupid license had taken me before. So here I go, spending more money on a uniform shirt, business cards, materials, office supplies, and multiple trips to Orlando all day long for training. Supposedly.

Pep talks is what they really are, to keep agents motivated, since the job involves traveling all over the place and getting doors slammed in your face all day. You buy the leads, you travel, you get turned away, you go home empty handed, with less than you had when you started. I had one single day of actual training, and that’s what it was like all day. I’m out even more money now, and still expected to buy leads and keep filling up the gas tank and using up tires – all while trying to go to college full time. Why do I keep doing this to myself? <headdesk>

Am I a dummy for trying this? Should I just cut my losses and keep looking for a “real job?”

I feel like a total idiot. And I’m about to just surrender my insurance license and CDL, since both only cost a bunch of money to maintain, and go flip burgers, wash cars, or twirl one of those signs that say “We Buy Gold” in front of a pawn shop somewhere. At least as a sign-twirler I can practice my dancing.


New Linux Blog!

September 6, 2014
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Readers of this blog will no longer have to wade through all of “that boring Linux stuff” after tomorrow or Monday. For those that like the Linux stuff, this to to introduce Confessions of a Technophobe, where that boring Linux will be posted from now on. The older Linux stuff is being imported from “adopted sidekick” to the new blog, then it will be deleted from this blog and appear only on Confessions of a Technophobe. That should make this blog easier to read for folks who just want to read about my unremarkable life, my tedious college pursuits, my wonderful family, and my curmudgeonly opinions.

Still, drop in on Confessions and say hello! I’m always looking for opportunities to encourage other technophobes like myself!


Thursday is for Theology

September 4, 2014
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Thursday is for Theology.

Amateur theology, but co-writing on my friend’s blog.  Adoptedsidekick will remain as a “friends and family” blog, the theological stuff will be published on Keachfan, and I’ll create a new separate one for the Linux stuff and move all the posts around accordingly when I get some time at the computer to do it.  Stay tuned!

 

 


Important Notice to Readers

September 1, 2014
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NOTE TO READERS OF “ADOPTED SIDEKICK:”

This blog has too few followers to be worth the trouble of maintaining it. Almost 99% of readers are referred to this blog by Google searches about desktop Linux, and far too few readers ever see “the good stuff” published here that really matters to me: Eternal things, stuff about God and His word, my journey from Charismatic confusion to the Reformation, letters to my kids about bible study, daily time with God, decision-making, and discipleship to Christ. In fact I don’t think my kids even read this blog anymore, and I don’t blame them. It’s a hodgepodge of posts about Linux, which they don’t give a flip about, interspersed with occasional posts that might actually matter to them. Wading through all that window dressing just to find a rare gem or two is too much to ask of my busy readers. The category buttons on the side of the page just don’t do what I had hoped, which was to enable readers to quickly navigate to what interests them.

So I’m thinking I should split the blog into two – a “Linux blog” and a separate one for the theological / biographical / chronicles-of-my-journey stuff. I have been invited to write as a “co-author” on one of my favorite blogs, which is much more widely read than this one. So all of “the good stuff” may end up there, and this blog will disappear into cyber-ether, possibly replaced by my technophobic Linux notes under a different name. I haven’t decided about whether or not to publish the other stuff online at all, much less where to publish it. But stay tuned. When I decide I’ll post notice here and include links to the new blog or blogs, and leave it in place for a month or two before shutting down “adopted sidekick.”


Two Wills of God?

August 12, 2014
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It’s God’s will for EVERYONE to be saved, is it not? Absolutely. He requires all men in all times and all places to repent and believe the gospel (John 3:18), and thus to be saved from His wrath.

But of course, not everyone believes the gospel, and most of humanity is not saved. Does this mean that God’s will is thwarted by men? How can it be His will for everyone to be saved, yet also His will for so many to perish? Does He have “two wills” that conflict with each other? Not at all. Here is why:

Both the righteous and the wicked exist for God’s glory: The righteous to the praise of His mercy and love; and the wicked to the glory of His holiness and justice. BOTH glorify their Creator!

But the question of whether God truly “wants” every person to be saved or not is like the plan of God itself:

this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men… (Acts 2:23)

On one hand, murder is not God’s will! He says, “You shall not kill!” It is not His moral will that anyone should be murdered. And yet even before He created the world He had planned the murder of His only begotten Son, and it occurred exactly as God had determined and planned ages before the fact. His will was not thwarted, but rather carried out “by the hands of godless men,” for a fantastic display of God’s mercy towards undeserving sinners like me!

So while murder is “against God’s will,” we also see that the murder of His Son was God’s will. Is there a conflict between His “moral will” and His “decreative will?” On the surface it looks like it, but His decree – before creation – that the Son would be murdered to purchase a people for Himself from the fallen race of Adam, was in fact, God’s will.

Two “wills” of God?

No. One standard of morality, and one plan to redeem a people. The standard is holiness! The one single attribute of God that is repeated three times by the heavenly beings, in Isaiah and Revelation, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty…” – we never see “Loving, loving, loving” or “merciful, merciful, merciful,” but always, in both Testaments, “Holy, holy, holy.” His “moral will” is His standard. It requires perfection, purity, absolute righteousness from all living beings, period. The plan was and is to have rebellious, fallen men to demonstrate the awesomeness of God’s holiness and purity in the treatment they shall receive at His hands, whether He shows them mercy by granting them repentance and faith, or whether He shows them justice in the everlasting lake of fire.

So is it His “will” for everyone to be saved? That is the standard He holds all men to. He requires faith in Christ of all men (John 3:18). But His plan was to demonstrate BOTH His justice AND His love. The wicked demonstrate His justice, and the redeemed His mercy and love. There is no contradiction between God’s standard and His plan. They are consistent both with who He is and with how He has revealed Himself in His written word.

 


Reformed Blindness?

July 31, 2014
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I just wordlessly quit a Reformed forum that I deeply respected until recent days, when a mystifying blindness to the obvious truth about the present conflict in Gaza became all too obvious.

I am not a Dispensationalist. I don’t believe that the little nation of Israel has a future role in bible prophecy and I’m not looking for a rebuilt Temple there, nor for Jerusalem to become the capitol city of Planet Earth. I do not support Israel out of any heterodox belief that they remain “God’s chosen people.” In fact, no one – Jew or Gentile – comes to the Father except through Christ alone. And no one without Christ can be counted among God’s “chosen people.”

But my theological beliefs about Israel and the Jewish race do not blind me to the simple, proven, obvious FACTS about the present conflicts involving the tiny democracy that has been the only true ally of the United States (my home country) in the Middle East since its birth:

There is only one nation in all of the Middle East where it’s Palestinian citizens enjoy

  • the right to vote
  • the right to own land
  • the right to run for public office

It’s Israel! NONE of the surrounding “Arab” nations treat their Palestinian citizens with such consideration. To them, Palestinians are trash. They are regarded as gypsies, vagabonds, undesirables. Even if they join in the “Death to Israel” chants with their Arab “brethren.”

Israel defends it’s citizens – all of it’s citizens – with state-of-the-art weapons of war. Hamas, by contrast, defends it’s offensive rockets using it’s citizens as human shields. Women and little children are favored for use as human shields because of their value as media pawns, being used to make it appear as though Israel is targeting them. Those tunnels that Israel is destroying were built by captive little boys under threat of rape by their Hamas masters. These are FACTS, overwhelmingly well documented. Hamas holds it’s own children hostage and does not seek peace at all, but the complete annihilation of Israel and of the Jewish race.

Yet in the so-called Reformed community, most obviously and recently in the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (PCUSA) but in equal measure in the broader and supposedly more orthodox Reformed community, a baffling blindness to these facts is shown in discussions and decisions, like the one in which the PCUSA voted to divest itself of companies and churches doing business with Israel in the “disputed territory.”

Even in the forum I just quietly abandoned (although I did click the “delete my account” link), respected Reformed folk urge “tolerance” for Islam, which plainly teaches that all non-Muslims should be forced to convert or be enslaved, taxed into indentured servitude, or outright slaughtered. Throughout it’s bloody history, Islam has been spread chiefly by the sword and by terror rather than by anything similar to Christian evangelism. Tolerating Islam today is akin to tolerating and appeasing Nazism in the 1930s.

What I honestly wish to know is WHY such overwhelmingly obvious, daily observable facts are deliberately ignored and even refuted by so many in Christendom. I can think of only one reason (plain ol’ anti-Semitism), but surely there must be some reasonable explanation for such willful blindness to the plainly obvious.

There can be absolutely no biblical, Christian basis for repeating history yet again by standing still and mute in the face of terror and tyranny as has been the case every other single time in history that tyrants have enslaved and slaughtered thousands and millions of peaceful people. This willful ignorance is every bit as mystifying to me as the liberal American bias in favor of Islamic jihadists – the very same people who would use Sharia law to outlaw every beloved liberal cause, from gay “rights” to the right of women to vote. If their jihadist friends get their way, liberals will be the first to die in defense of their favorite causes. When Christians oppose homosexuality, we are “homophobes.” Yet when Islamic jihadists do the same, it is somehow noble and good. This is beyond willful ignorance, it’s outright suicidal stupidity.

When I similar baseless calls among Christians for “tolerance” of tyranny, false religion, child rape, and calls for genocide, I am more than merely baffled. My disdain is beyond disappointment, it’s outright disgust.


Don’t We All Worship the Same God?

July 23, 2014
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Robin:

One Baptist minister I know called for the hospital chaplain before his surgery. An Orthodox Rabbi responded and the Baptist pastor asked for prayer. “After all,” he said, “we worship the same God.”

Really? Christians worship the Man, Jesus of Nazareth AS GOD, so we not? The Second member of the one Triune God. Orthodox Jews do not worship the Christian Triune God at all. Nor do Mormons. Do these differences matter? My Presbyterian friend Greenbaggins explores the importance of exploring our differences and why they matter:

Originally posted on Green Baggins:

This is a fairly common occurrence. The person you meet who has been in about 5 different denominations tells you that all those denominations worship the same God. The implication (stated or unstated) is that we should stop fighting anything, since we all worship the same God. To them, no other doctrines seem to matter except the doctrine of God. Now, there is a grain of truth to this plea. We should never ignore common ground that we have with people from other denominations, as that is usually a good place to start, and shows good will. However, the unity that is usually (and rightly!) desired by people who believe in the same God cannot be achieved by simply stifling debates and lowering other doctrinal matters to the status of insignificance. This unity cannot happen by simple fiat. It is in fact naive to think this way. In fact, the…

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