Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Remember, God Made You Special, And He Loves You Very Much!

Times have changed. Socially, and spiritually. We call it progress, but it's really not.

In 1993, twenty years ago this year (that makes me feel so old), Phil Vischer and Mike Nawrocki produced a children's show called "Veggie-Tales." It was kind of a hit among Christian families, and even to this day I enjoy many of the older episodes. My favorite would probably by Dave And The Giant Pickle, a retelling of David and Goliath. It was about as historically accurate (though dressed up in a couple ways so as to capture children's attention) as the recent "Bible" series that aired on the History Channel. Dave went and got five smooth stones from a brook in the Veggie-Tales episode (which the Bible points that out for a specific reason; an entire book could be devoted to expressing how impressive it was that he took five stones). In the more adult-oriented Bible series, he reaches down into the sand and grabs one. Just one. The children's show from '96 was seriously more accurate in this than the one that was geared for a more mature audience in '12.

The "shalom" at the end of each episode, the farewell, goes "Remember, kids, God made you special, and He loves you very much! Bye!"
If you turn to television evangelists or go to one of these "mega-churches", the basic theme of each sermon will likely (there are many exceptions, but it is growing increasingly common for itching ears to be tickled) be "Remember, adults, God made you special, and He loves you very much!" Yes, they preach more than just that, but it can be summarized in that phrase.
It's true, God did make you special, and He does love you very much. The Bible, summed up, says just that. It's a love story of God and how He cares for you. But what is said in the Word of God that isn't said in these churches is the difference between having peaceful situations and having a peaceful spirit. It is a massive difference.
They preach that nobody will do you wrong, that loved ones won't die, that trials will not come, that everything in life is bunnies and rainbows. Here's a smack-on-the-cheek to that philosophy: Matthew chapter 10. The words of Jesus in that chapter do little for the ideology that only blessings befall those who trust God.
What these preachers (I refrain from calling them pastors because a preacher is a person with a microphone, whereas a pastor is a leader of a flock) say creates a thin faith, a faith based on "God won't let anything bad happen to me." What this does is create the mindset of "If bad things happen, God isn't there."
Instead of this teaching, Paul said to delight in your trials and hardships because they help you in the long run.

I went to a morning and evening Christmas service at a church in another state; it was a fairly large church (goodness, the stained-glass window in front of the room the preacher stepped out of was glorious--one could even describe it as vulgar). Sadly, albeit honestly, cartoons aimed at children that I watched as a kid were as informative as these two services if not moreso.

This is not progress, people.
This is appeasement.
It's offering only appetizers.

"For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry."
That's something not mentioned by these preachers; 2 Timothy 4:3-5
Not only does it prophesy that people will only want to hear happy-go-lucky doctrine (which has come to pass in the last couple centuries, but all the more in the past decade), and that they will find preachers who preach such a doctrine, and also that they will turn away from listening to the truth, but get this; it says to "endure suffering."
Why would it say that if there was nothing but "victory," "favor," "blessings," and the like in our future?

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