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Kenneth Hagin’s Forgotten Warning (J. Lee Grady)

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Kenneth Hagin is a phenomenal Bible teacher.  His ministry was Scriptural, faith-filled and balanced.  Although he knew that Jesus was not poor and that we are redeemed from poverty, Kenneth Hagin did not agree with some practices making the rounds today.  This article by J. Lee Grady explains exactly what:

Before he died in 2003, the revered father of the Word-Faith movement corrected his spiritual sons for going to extremes with their message of prosperity. Charismatic Bible teacher Kenneth Hagin Sr. is considered the father of the so-called prosperity gospel. The folksy, self-trained “Dad Hagin” started a grass-roots movement in Oklahoma that produced a Bible college and a crop of famous preachers including Kenneth Copeland, Jerry Savelle, Charles Capps, Jesse DuPlantis, Creflo Dollar and dozens of others—all of whom teach that Christians who give generously should expect financial rewards on this side of heaven. Hagin taught that God was not glorified by poverty and that preachers do not have to be poor. But before he died in 2003 and left his Rhema Bible Training Center in the hands of his son, Kenneth Hagin Jr., he summoned many of his colleagues to Tulsa to rebuke them for distorting his message. He was not happy that some of his followers were manipulating the Bible to support what he viewed as greed and selfish indulgence. Those who were close to Hagin Sr. say he was passionate about correcting these abuses before he died. In fact, he wrote a brutally honest book to address his concerns. The Midas Touch was published in 2000, a year after the infamous Tulsa meeting. Many Word-Faith ministers ignored the book. But in light of the recent controversy over prosperity doctrines, it might be a good idea to dust it off and read it again. Here are a few of the points Hagin made in The Midas Touch: 1. Financial prosperity is not a sign of God’s blessing. Hagin wrote: “If wealth alone were a sign of spirituality, then drug traffickers and crime bosses would be spiritual giants. Material wealth can be connected to the blessings of God or it can be totally disconnected from the blessings of God.” 2. People should never give in order to get. Hagin was critical of those who “try to make the offering plate some kind of heavenly vending machine.” He denounced those who link giving to getting, especially those who give cars to get new cars or who give suits to get new suits. He wrote: “There is no spiritual formula to sow a Ford and reap a Mercedes.” 3. It is not biblical to “name your seed” in an offering. Hagin was horrified by this practice, which was popularized in faith conferences during the 1980s. Faith preachers sometimes tell donors that when they give in an offering they should claim a specific benefit to get a blessing in return. Hagin rejected this idea and said that focusing on what you are going to receive “corrupts the very attitude of our giving nature.” 4. The “hundredfold return” is not a biblical concept. Hagin did the math and figured out that if this bizarre notion were true, “we would have Christians walking around with not billions or trillions of dollars, but quadrillions of dollars!” He rejected the popular teaching that a believer should claim a specific monetary payback rate. 5. Preachers who claim to have a “debt-breaking” anointing should not be trusted. Hagin was perplexed by ministers who promise “supernatural debt cancellation” to those who give in certain offerings. He wrote in The Midas Touch: “There is not one bit of Scripture I know about that validates such a practice. I’m afraid it is simply a scheme to raise money for the preacher, and ultimately it can turn out to be dangerous and destructive for all involved.” (Many evangelists who appear on Christian television today use this bogus claim. Usually they insist that the miraculous debt cancellation will occur only if a person “gives right now,” as if the anointing for this miracle suddenly evaporates after the prime time viewing hour. This manipulative claim is more akin to witchcraft than Christian belief.) Hagin condemned other hairbrained gimmicks designed to trick audiences into emptying their wallets. He was especially incensed when a preacher told his radio listeners that he would take their prayer requests to Jesus’ empty tomb in Jerusalem and pray over them there—if donors included a special love gift. “What that radio preacher really wanted was more people to send in offerings,” Hagin wrote. Thanks to the recent resurgence in bizarre donation schemes promoted by American charismatics, the prosperity gospel is back under the nation’s microscope. It’s time to revisit Hagin’s concerns and find a biblical balance. Hagin told his followers: “Overemphasizing or adding to what the Bible actually teaches invariably does more harm than good.” If the man who pioneered the modern concept of biblical prosperity blew the whistle on his own movement, wouldn’t it make sense for us to listen to his admonition?

The Midas Touch is available from Tree of Life Bookshop.

Restoration of Hope

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Tree of Life Church believes that the wonderful news of redemption should be broadcast to the ends of the earth. Here is some information about a couple that have laid down their lives in service of the kingdom of God. They are true heroes:

Restoration of Hope began as a dream in the heart of Donatien Nahimana (Honda). After working for 6 years with African Revival Ministries as a driver, administrator and house parent to orphan children, in January 2004 he established Restoration of Hope with a vision to help the streetboys of Bujumbura – the capital of Burundi.

Honda’s vision was to take boys off the street and to completely change their environment giving them a family, a home, an education and introducing them to a God who has a purpose for their lives – a God who longs to restore their hope!

The project started when Libby (Honda’s wife) was followed home by 3 streetboys looking for food. These boys were soon living in the Nahimana’s home and were quickly joined by many others who required help.

7 months later the first Hope House was opened which is now the home to 13 boys who previously lived on the street. The second Hope House opened in October 2005 and is home to a further 17 boys. Restoration of Hope currently cares for another 21 boys providing food, education and essential medicines in times of need.

Restoration of Hope is funded by individual contributions and is supported by friends and family all over the world.

If you are interested in supporting some of the orphan boys, use this link. Think about this: for just £70 you could pay the school fees of an orphan child for one year. James tells us that if our religion does not help widows and orphans it is not pure. In case maths is not your strong suit, £70 a year is merely £6 a month. You could change someone’s life for £6 a month. Think about that!

Obviously there are so many needs in the world, and in this information age we find out about so many more than we could ever reach, and we know you cannot help them all.

But we know the Lord loves a cheerful giver, so if while reading about the Nahimana’s and their wonderful work you feel happy to help one of the orphans then ask the Lord if that is not His way of letting you know it is a great time to make a kingdom investment.

Blessings,
Ben

Honda and Libby and familyRestoration of Hope, BurundiClass in Session!

The Sower Sows the Word (V)

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The Deceitfulness of Riches

Mark 4.19 tells us that one of the things that will choke the Word of God out of you and that will stop it producing results in your life is the deceitfulness of riches. Today we will look at the deceitfulness of riches and find out what it is and how to stop it choking your prosperity and success in every area of your life.

Firstly, it is vital to understand that it not riches that will choke the Word. The Word working in your life and producing a harvest has nothing to do with how much money you have. A rich person can have the Word of God produce in their life and so can a poor person. A famous quote that isn’t even in the Bible is: “Money is the root of all evil”. The correct reference is “The love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Tim. 6.10). Even a poor person can love money. Money is a great slave, but a lousy master.

It is vital to understand this because a lie infiltrated Christianity that says that money is evil. It lead to many horrible situations and caused many dreadful things to happen. It has many faces that I simply cannot go into due to time constraints. Some Christians have even taken vows of poverty. This is ridiculous – God is a good God and a giving God. Poverty is a curse, it is a horrible thing to be in. But praise God, Christ redeemed us and set us free from poverty.

The problem is not having money, but listening to it. Even the world is bright enough to know that “money talks”, but what the world has failed to tell us is that money lies. You can have as much money as you like – prosperity is part of your inheritance in Christ – but just don’t listen to it.

Wealth is deceitful. You could say it this way: money lies. The main lie that money will tell you is that it is all you need. Money will lie to you. It will tell you that it will make you happy and that without it you will fail in life. It is a lie.

You might be in a situation where your boss wants you to tell a lie, and money will tell you to do it because otherwise you will lose your job and lose your money, so you break the Word of God because you listened to money. You ignored God to listen to money.

Money will tell you to accept a promotion several hundred miles from home when you know there is not a strong Word-teaching, love God love people church anywhere near there and you are part of a great church. You ignored God to listen to money.

Money will tell you not to spend time in prayer, in intimacy with the Father, but rather worry about how your bills will be paid or how you will feed the children. You ignored God and listened to money, and worried rather than meditated on the Word.

A young preacher is struggling to survive so at offering time he makes a long drawn out offering, highlighting Scriptures on giving and the benefits of giving.

The Scriptural truths might be true, but using them to manipulate people to give when the Lord loves people who are cheerful givers, not those who walk out the church feeling they just had a wallet extraction, is plain wrong. Money talked, and the preacher listened. And this goes on all across Christianity, even in major ministries. Here is a rule of thumb I have: I never give to a ministry that preaches faith for finances unless they appear to actually have faith for their own finances! And if they are begging for bread, they do not have faith for finances, simple as.

This is how the deceitfulness of riches works: it lies to you and makes you make wrong choices. Choices based on mis-information.

The solution is threefold:

1. to spend time in the Word of God. If you can hear the voice of the Lord clearly and know His Word, you will not be deceived by the lies of money. Learn the Scriptural truth about money. Find out what Jesus said about money, and study it out.

2. to cultivate a generous spirit. If you are continually giving money away, it cannot speak to you. Ensure you are generous to your local church and to Christians who are lacking or going through difficult times.

3. Speak back to money. If it says “if you give that in the offering you will go broke”, tell it to shut up. Tell it that if you give it will be given to you, pressed down, shaken together and in good measure (Luke 6.38). If the bill comes in and you cannot pay it, say out loud “God will provide the money.” You may think it is strange to speak to money, but I think it is a lot stranger to listen to it, and many Christians do.

Deal with this issue and you will allow the Word of God to multiply in your life and produce results. A life of victory and peace is on its way – so get excited.

Blessings,
Ben

Without Faith it is Impossible to Please God

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I was listening to a radio preacher this week who quoted Hebrews 11.6: “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”

The preacher then said after reading this Scripture that he didn’t know why it was that we needed faith to please God.

That surprised me because I always considered that it was obvious why it is that you need faith to make God happy: you need faith to please anyone you are in a love-based relationship with.

Can you imagine marrying a wonderful person who says that they will love you always, serve you without hesitation, tell everyone I meet how wonderful you are, always cook your favourite meal for you, go on holiday where you want and let you control the remote every night? But – they will not believe a single word you say!

That would not please you, and it wouldn’t please anyone. We all want people to know when we speak that our words are honest and we can be trusted.

But that is how many Christians treat God – I will serve Him with all my heart, I will go to church, I will pray and fast and work and serve, I will evangelize, I will do this and that and this and that, but I refuse to believe His Word.

Don’t do that, because you won’t please God. If He says that “By His stripes you were healed” then you were healed and you are healed. Take Him at His Word! If He says “I will supply all your needs” then get excited – your needs WILL be met. If He says He will be your Shepherd then you don’t ever have to worry about getting lost.

Not only will you please God, but if you take Him at His Word, then you will simply walk in peace in your life. Now that makes God really happy – you being at peace. He loves you so much and you having peace makes Him really happy,

Blessings,
Ben

Prospering in the Time of Famine

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http://www.studytheword.net/2008/09/21/prospering-in-the-time-of-famine/

In this online sermon, Pastor Mike from Grace Church in Ireland teaches how to live in an economic famine. Pastor Mike has been a wonderful support to us as we are pioneering our church in east London, and has a wealth of teaching resources on the Internet.

The Sky is Not Falling

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Andrew Wommack has written what I consider to be the best, most Biblical article on the economic issues facing the world today. I thought it was important to share this with you. It can be accessed at this link:

http://www.awmi.net/extra/article/sky_falling

Blessings,
Ben

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