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CrossPolitic Studios
Having Two Legs: School Choice [Pastor Toby's Blog]

CrossPolitic Studios

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 30, 2023 12:54


School Choice Introduction Whenever something sounds too good to be true, the rule of any sane person should be to consider it a scam until proven otherwise. When you get that email from that Saudi Arabian Prince wanting to share his inheritance with you, I’m no financial advisor or Middle Eastern political dilettante, but I advise you to use your trash button vigorously. So when a movement begins picking up steam calling for “school choice,” thoughtful Christians and conservatives should have all their hackles done up for a party and their rhetorical guns at the ready. Remember, we live in a land that celebrates “choice,” and that means murdering babies. We live in a land that celebrates “choice,” and grooms little kids into sexual confusion and madness, secretly castrates teenagers without parental knowledge or consent, and demands you take injections of unspecified content because… shut up, you bigot. That’s the world we live in. So when people begin heralding a new found freedom of choice, freedom to choose whatever school you want your children to attend, dollars following kids, and so on, it would be good, healthy even, to get all of your defenses up, and maybe even pull out a few knives. This is the exact same scene of many crimes in our land. Your cursor should be hovering over that trash button. Don’t get me wrong. I think we should exploit every opportunity to dismantle the government education monopoly. I think we should ride every bit of this wave to press for real educational freedom and parental sovereignty and responsibility, but conservative Christians have a bad habit of being manipulated through soundbites and ending up in worse positions than before. So let’s review. Currently, as far as I know, the way government education works in the United States is that everyone who owns property pays into a state fund, that state fund is augmented by various federal programs and subsidies, which are taken of course from federal income taxes, and then those moneys are redistributed to counties and school districts based on various state guidelines, including number of children enrolled in school. This means that parents who do not want to send their children to public schools, must pay into the government education programs via property taxes even though you don’t use the program, and don’t forget that if you pay rent, you are still paying into the program via your monthly rent. Your landlord is making sure that your rent covers all his property taxes. This is educational welfare, redistribution, and unjust taxation. Millions of Americans have defied this educational socialism and Marxism by bearing the costs of home schooling and private schooling on top of the taxes they are already paying for government schools they don’t use. This is why I tweeted recently: “One of the greatest modern rebellions has been the homeschool/private school movement: millions of Americans making the sacrifice to pay tuition/costs on top of their taxes, effectively paying tuition twice. The next step is getting our tax money back with no strings attached.” Which brings us to the so-called “school choice” movement. I would love to be wrong about this. I would love to find out that some state really is letting parents completely opt out of government regulation, government coercion, and government redistribution for education. But as far as I know, the “school choice” programs being pushed are actually an expansion of government regulation and redistribution and no lessening of the foundational coercion involved in the unjust taxation. The most common program being championed by “school choice” advocates right now are ESA’s – Education Savings Accounts. In these programs, the state agrees to deposit money in a savings account for qualified parents to use on qualified educational programs. The key words in that last sentence are “state” and “qualified” and “qualified.” This tells you most of what you need to know. In these schemes, the “state” is still claiming sovereignty over the educational venture, and this is proven by the fact that the state is determining which families are “qualified” to have some of their money back and which educational programs are “qualified” to receive those monies. Now I’m happy to grant that there may be some short term wins for parents in these programs. A poor, single mom that wants to send her kids to a Classical Christian school suddenly has the tuition dollars and doesn’t feel trapped in the public school where her kids are being brainwashed all day long. I totally get it. But we are Christians, and we have to think further ahead than the next five minutes. But first, while I have all kinds of compassion for that single mom, I want to insist that a community that has not already given her all kinds of resources to pull her kids out of government schools and enroll them in a Christian option of her choice is a community that is not ready for a gush of greenbacks from the government teat. The community that has not already declared war on the communism inherent in government schools and made the great sacrifices to evacuate their children from those occupied territories is not a community that has proven to have the wisdom, discernment, or compassion necessary to see through this minefield. Second, consider the fallout of expanded government redistribution and regulation. We’ve already seen this in higher education. What happened over the last forty years with Pell grants and government loans? Our higher education system has gone to Hell. And I mean that literally. Even most of the so-called Christian colleges and universities are loaded up with Diversity Inclusion and Equity clowns. The current is so strong that even Grove City College, one of the only colleges in the nation that doesn’t take government money, is in the thick of controversy over diversity and woke policies. I know of a young woman personally who was forced to leave during COVID because she refused to comply with their anti-science masking regime. What will the result be of government funding through ESAs? Mass compromise. Why? Because money ill-gotten corrupts. That money being put in your ESA? That’s blood money. Property taxes are an evil and immoral stain on our land since they imply that if you don’t pay taxes on the land and home that you “own,” they may be seized to pay for your back taxes, which essentially means that you are in a long term lease agreement with the government for your so-called property. So much for private property. The impact of these wicked laws is wide ranging, but landing on the elderly and others with fixed incomes the hardest. As communities grow and develop, home and property values tend to rise, and with values rising, taxes rise. An elderly widow whose husband faithfully provided for her will often find it difficult to continue paying rising property taxes and be forced to sell her family estate. This is nothing short of Ahab’s theft of Naboth’s Vineyard in slow motion. If Ahab offers to let you use some of Naboth’s vineyard for a garden, is it moral to take him up on that offer? Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not arguing that all taxation is theft. I’m simply arguing that taxation of property, with the implicit threat of seizing assets if you don’t pay, is highway robbery in a bureaucratic business suit, even if the measure passed by 99% of the vote. It’s never OK to demand someone pay you something they don’t want or use with the threat of stealing their stuff if they don’t pay you.Everything the government funds ends up costing more and driving quality down. If you don’t think that will happen with ESAs there’s a Saudi Arabian prince I’d like to introduce you to. When money is more easily gotten, the pressure to raise prices increases. But when the money easily gotten is not based on real goods and services (real values), those price increases are simply inflation. And when you start down a path of incrementally accepting more money without a corresponding demand for increasing quality or quantity, you are already accepting a downgrade of quality. Again, I refer you to the American college scene, where billions of dollars are not only being spent to brainwash future teachers, doctors, and lawyers into believing Darwinian and Marxist lies, but they are also doing so with waterslides, climbing walls, jacuzzis, and dormitory amenities that keep STD rates high and virginity rates low. Conclusion I’ve heard some proposing “school choice” in the form of tax credits. The plus side of tax credits would be relative lack of strings attached. The downside would still be the government pretending to have the authority to take our money in the first place. This would also likely continue to include some measure of redistribution since tax credits are often awarded based on income levels, granting larger credits to those with lower incomes. If tax credits were matched to actual taxation payments that would be even closer to giving people back the money stolen from them, but then why do we continue to allow our money to be taken in the first place? On what planet is it OK for the government to require you to pay for services that you object to, that you refuse, that you aren’t using? If Christians have gotten their heads around the need to defund Planned Parenthood because we object to our tax dollars funding the murder of little babies, why can’t we get our heads around the right of parents to decide how to spend their own money on the education of their own children? Why can’t we simply demand the right to opt out? The cry and hue goes up that unless the state provides education, the poor will suffer, and the social and economic impact will be disastrous. But this really is ridiculous, government programs have the worst track records. They are bloated with regulations, red tape, and nuisance bureaucracy. The government insisting that if they don’t take care of education, the poor will suffer, is like an obese man insisting that if he doesn’t run the exercise and nutrition programs everyone will be sick and unhealthy. Just look at San Fransisco, Seattle, Portland. Look at those Marxist utopian paradises. Our answer needs to simply be that we will take care of our own poor, thank you very much. You have done quite enough, Mr. Fat Ass Government. Get your greasy paws off our schools. I suspect that there are backroom deals being made with these “school choice” programs. I suspect that Big Tech and Big Business are somewhere in those backrooms pulling strings. Education is a massive business (like health care), and if you don’t think there’s corruption involved have I told you that I’m a Saudi Arabian prince with a gold mine I need to unload? While there is some resistance on the Left that might make “school choice” seem like a real suckerpunch to their beloved Democrat training centers, er, I mean schools, Christians must understand that they do not have any real “school choice,” until they have full and complete choice over how to spend their own money for their own children. If we’re going to make some kind of deal, the deal has to include the right of parents to opt out of the government education system. Since the god of Big Tech and Big Government is Mammon, I would suggest trying to broker a deal between some corporate fat cats and government fat cats. Could we convince the true believers in government education to let us leave this Egypt if they could give all their teachers a raise and every student a laptop and lifetime supply of condoms because Google is buying a few seats on the State Education board? Short of a radical gospel Reformation in our land, we need to be thinking and praying strategically. Can we off them a deal they can’t refuse so that we can get out? But convincing them to let us use some of the money they stole isn’t really a jailbreak; it’s more like building an addition on the jail and letting you invite your school to use the new “wing.”

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day (Audio)
Rambam: Nizkei Mammon, Chapter 14

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day (Audio)

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 19, 2023 31:10


Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day (Audio)
Rambam: Nizkei Mammon, Chapter 13

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day (Audio)

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 19, 2023 40:49


Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day (Audio)
Rambam: Nizkei Mammon, Chapter 12

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day (Audio)

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 19, 2023 44:23


Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day (Audio)
Rambam: Nizkei Mammon, Chapter 11

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day (Audio)

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 18, 2023 24:25


Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day (Audio)
Rambam: Nizkei Mammon, Chapter 10

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day (Audio)

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 18, 2023 31:00


Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day (Audio)
Rambam: Nizkei Mammon, Chapter 9

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day (Audio)

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 18, 2023 40:06


Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day (Audio)
Rambam: Nizkei Mammon, Chapter 6

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day (Audio)

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 17, 2023 23:12


Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day (Audio)
Rambam: Nizkei Mammon, Chapter 8

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day (Audio)

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 17, 2023 33:22


Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day (Audio)
Rambam: Nizkei Mammon, Chapter 7

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day (Audio)

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 17, 2023 36:13


Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day (Audio)
Rambam: Nizkei Mammon, Chapter 5

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day (Audio)

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 16, 2023 29:25


Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day (Audio)
Rambam: Nizkei Mammon, Chapter 4

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day (Audio)

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 16, 2023 29:57


Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day (Audio)
Rambam: Nizkei Mammon, Chapter 3

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day (Audio)

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 16, 2023 32:12


Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day (Audio)
Rambam: Nizkei Mammon, Chapter 2

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day (Audio)

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 15, 2023 29:54


Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day (Audio)
Rambam: Nizkei Mammon, Chapter 1

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day (Audio)

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 15, 2023 34:44


Union Chapel Ministries
True Riches

Union Chapel Ministries

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 15, 2023 44:17


Luke 16:10-13I. True RichesMatthew 6:19-21What are the “true riches” the “treasures in heaven?” It's people and relationships. When we use money for righteous purposes, we are laying up treasure in heaven. II. TithingLuke 16:10The Bible says that we must be faithful with a little before we will be entrusted with much. It's not how much we have but whose it is. The tithe “belongs” to God. The message is if we will return the tithe, then God will bless or redeem the rest.People say, “The reason I don't tithe is because I can't afford it.” You will never be able to afford to tithe until you tithe because tithing is what breaks the curse and opens the windows.III. MammonThis is what the spirit of mammon tries to tell us: You don't need God. Trust in riches!Mammon promises us those things that only God can give – security, significance, identity, independence, power and freedom. Mammon tells us that it can insulate us from life's problems and that money is the answer to every situation.I Timothy 6:10- Money is not the answer to life's problems – God is.IV. Poverty and PrideMammon has friends. They will keep you from being blessed and fulfilled. They are called poverty and pride.Both poverty and pride have a common root – they get us to focus on “stuff” rather than God.Pride says, “Wealth comes from hard work.”Poverty says, “Wealth comes from the devil.”If you have been blessed by God because you've done things His way, stop feeling guilty. Don't be ashamed of having a heart God can bless!

Sermons For Everyday Living
Sermons 01/11/23 - Brightness of Eternal Light

Sermons For Everyday Living

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 11, 2023 55:19


Holy Name of Jesus, Brightness of Eternal Light *Who Do You Serve More, God or Mammon? *Immaculate Humility *Abandon Ourselves to Jesus

New Breed of Business
Divorce Baal / Mammon

New Breed of Business

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 11, 2023 117:23


Romans 911 and NBB Study – Part 5: Divorce Baal/Mammon Background Syllabus September's Study: R911/NBB Study IntroOctober's Study: Key Principles Part 1November’s Study: Key Principles Part 2December’s Study: One New Man Obstacles We will be entering into a teaching time followed by prayer time of Coming out of Babylon and Divorcing Baal / Mammon (deliverance and healing prayer). Homework Read and watch/listen Come out of Babylon page […]

Generous Business Owner
Greg Baumer: God, Money, and True Generosity

Generous Business Owner

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 10, 2023 49:06


In this episode, Jeff, Jeff, and Greg discuss: What he learned about God and Money at Harvard Business School. Utilizing our successes for God's purposes. Where to find your true value. Anchoring transparency around money in gratitude and celebration.   Key Takeaways: There are 2350 verses about money in the Bible. Everything we have truly belongs to God. This is a point of divergence between practice and belief. “How much do I get to keep?” is a more accurate question than “How much do I need?” because God is a generous God and wants to bless us with more than we know. Giving is a joyful act of worship, not a rulebook or rote formula. It is an opportunity to recognize God's character as lavishly generous and reflect that character back to Him.  "One of the biggest benefits of this financial finish line is that it does allow us to give more, and that's great, but more so it protects our heart from the damage that happens over multi-decades being surrounded by our culture's worship of Mammon." —  Greg Baumer About Greg Baumer: Greg Baumer is co-author of the books God and Money: How We Discovered True Riches at Harvard Business School and True Riches: What Jesus Really Said About Money and Your Heart. Greg and his co-author John Cortines are passionate about helping individuals and families experience more wholehearted life in Christ by better understanding the generosity of God and His invitation for us to live generously. Greg also serves on the Board of Generous Giving, a nonprofit that exists to spread the message of biblical generosity, as well as BibleProject and the Nashville chapters of The Signatry and Generous.Life. Greg and his wife Alison live in Nashville, TN where they are raising four beautiful children aged eight years to five months. His day job is focused on investing in and building startups in the healthcare space. Connect with Greg Baumer:Generous Giving Website: https://generousgiving.org/Website: https://navihealth.com/LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gregorybaumer/God and Money Book: http://www.godandmoney.net/True Riches: What Jesus Really Said About Money and Your Heart Book: https://www.amazon.com/True-Riches-Jesus-Really-About/dp/140020853X  Connect with Jeff Thomas: Website: https://www.arkosglobal.com/Book: https://www.arkosglobal.com/trading-upEmail: jeff.thomas@arkosglobal.comTwitter: https://twitter.com/ArkosGlobalAdv Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/arkosglobal/LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/arkosglobaladvisorsInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/arkosglobaladvisors/ 

365 Days With God
Who Is Your Master?

365 Days With God

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 10, 2023 10:41


Jesus says who is your master? You can't serve two masters. You can't serve God and Mammon!! Tap in!!

Creflo Dollar Ministries Audio Podcast

The spirit of mammon has one main goal: to lure us away from trusting God. It tries to wiggle its way into all aspects of our lives, including our finances, and tells us the exact opposite of what God tells us. Mammon says money is the answer to our problems and wants to convince us that it can give us what only God can give us. If we let it, mammon will generate fear in us about our money while putting us in debt; in short, it wants to rule our lives. We can stay free from this spirit by trusting God, acknowledging we need him daily, and being generous givers. To support the ministry financially, text "CDMPodcast" to 74483 or visit www.worldchangers.org.

Living Words
The Fourth Sunday in Advent: The Voice Crying in the Wilderness

Living Words

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 18, 2022


The Fourth Sunday in Advent: The Voice Crying in the Wilderness Philippians 4:4-7 & St. John 1:19-28 by William Klock The days have been getting shorter and shorter. I walk home from the church in the dark most days. Just before the snow fell I rode my bike up the Mountain on the logging roads to Lost Lake and found myself riding back down in the dark, which came more quickly than I anticipated. I was glad I took my headlight with me. The short days can be very dreary. It occurs to me that this is why Christmas lights are so popular, bringing some light and cheer into the darkness. Whether people realise it or not, in Jesus the light has come into the darkness and even people who wouldn't know the gospel from a hole in the ground live in that light. Jesus has changed everything—even for people who think Christmas is just about Santa and Rudolph and Frosty. The light has come into the world and the world has not overcome it. But think about Israel in the time of the Gospels. In the time of Mary and Joseph, of Elizabeth and Zechariah, of John the Baptist and of Jesus, of Herod. The world was dark…oh so dark. The nation was enslaved to false gods and to wicked kings who, themselves, claimed divinity. St. Paul writes of demonic forces that enslaved the nations—forces broken and defeated by the gospel—but that victory was decades away. The world was dark. Even little Israel, called to be the light of the world, lay in spiritual darkness. The candlestick in the temple was kept lit, but the cloud of glory that had once filled the holy of holies, the very presence of God, had been absent for five-hundred years. God's people were ruled by pagans and pretenders. And apart from a faithful remnant, the nation had been consumed by the darkness, a holy people in little other than their calling. But the people knew the words of the prophets, the promises of their God. It would not be this way forever. That's the setting for today's Gospel, which begins at John 1:19. Here's what John writes: And this is the testimony of John [this is John the Baptist, not John the Evangelist who writes these words], when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,' as the prophet Isaiah said.” (John 1:19-28) The Pharisees sent Levitical and priestly inquirers to interrogate John, to find out who he was—or who he thought he was. If someone showed up with a message from God, the Pharisees were sure to show up and to ask questions to see if it was legit. The Jews really were expecting someone. John anticipates this in his answers. They ask who he thinks he is and the first thing he says is, “I am not the Christ.” “Christ” is the Greek word for Messiah. “I am not the Messiah.” That's the one everyone was really anxious to see. The Messiah would lift the darkness. The Messiah would fix everything that was wrong with the world. The Messiah would deliver his people and reign as David once had. There had been others in recent memory who had claimed to be the Messiah and things hadn't gone well for them. I expect the Pharisees expected the same was true of John, but hey, you never know. Eventually the real Messiah really would come, so they might as well ask some questions. “Well, then,” they ask, “who are you?” John first denies that he's Elijah and then he denies that he's “the prophet”. What's that about. Well, first, Malachi had prophesied that Elijah, Israel's greatest prophet—after Moses, that is—would return one day. This is what he wrote: Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. (Malachi 4:5) We have a pretty good sense, based on the literature of the time, that a lot of people interpreted this to mean that Elijah himself would literally return in the flesh. Sort of like a King Arthur to return to rescue Britain at its darkest hour. Some people connected this Elijah Redivivus with the coming of the Messiah. Considering that Elijah, rather than dying like everyone else, was swept up by a fiery chariot into heaven, it's not surprising that people would take Malachi this way. I suspect this sort of literal fulfilment of the prophecy is why John denied that he was Elijah. In contrast, in last week's Gospel, we saw Jesus affirm that John was indeed the one to come in fulfilment of Malachi's prophecy. Maybe John was just exceedingly humble, maybe it never occurred to him that he was, indeed, fulfilling Malachi's prophecy, but it may have been that he knew he wasn't literally Elijah returned as many expected. He denies, too, that he's “the prophet”. This is a reference to a passage in Deuteronomy 18 in which the Lord promises that he will one day raise up a prophet like Moses, who will declare the Lord's own words. Like the Elijah who was to come, many associated the prophet with the Messiah. “Nope,” John says, “that's not me either.” But here's the point. Even if they were wrong about who the Messiah would be and when and how he would come, the Jews were living in hopeful expectation of the Messiah. They were in their own Advent. The days were dark. They were supposed to be the people who lived with the Lord in their midst, but his presence had been gone for five hundred years. They'd returned from exile, but without the Lord's presence and with foreign pagans ruling over them, they might as well have still been in exile. They longed for the light to dawn in the darkness and they trusted it would happen, because they knew their story. They knew that the Lord is faithful to fulfil his promises. They belonged to him. Just as he'd once rescued them from Pharaoh, he would rescue them from Caesar. John was sure of all this, too. He may have denied that he was the one prophesied to come like Elijah or Moses—and it's worth noting that in Matthew and Mark, Jesus actually did affirm that John had come in fulfilment of the Elijah prophecy—but John knew the story, too, and he knew his place in it. When the Pharisees finally let John speak for himself, he told them: “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.'” He quotes straight from Isaiah 40:3. I think this gets at the reason John answered “No” to the questions about Elijah and the Prophet, but given the chance to identify himself, he looks back to this prophecy of Isaiah. This passage from Isaiah is just as Messianic, but John saw the heart of his role and his ministry here. And while there were people who confused the one coming like Elijah or Moses with the Messiah, this voice crying in the wilderness is clearly the Messiah's forerunner—or at least that's how John saw it. He was not the Messiah. He was the one sent ahead to prepare Israel to receive the Messiah. And then the question they pose about baptism gives him a chance to expand on this. Baptism was an act of cleansing that fit well with what the Messiah might be and do when he came. But John has just denied that he is the Messiah. “So,” the Pharisees wonder, “why is John baptising people if he's not the Messiah?” Look at 25-27: They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” Again, baptism did have place in Jewish life. Think back to our study of Exodus and the passages about purity and cleansing—washing with water, and all that. Baptism was a symbol of cleansing, of ritual purity. At this point the other gospel-writers are helpful as they expand on John's answer. Mark tells us that his was a baptism of repentance—it was a preparatory act in light of the coming judgement the Messiah would bring. And Matthew and Luke also report John continuing about this one who will come, this one greater than John: “He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Matthew 3:11, Luke 3:16). In other words, John is calling Israel to repentance in anticipation of the Messiah, who will fulfil the Lord's promises to set Israel to rights by filling his people with his own Spirit. The law written on stone tablets would finally be inscribed on the hearts of God's people that they might fulfil his law of love. But the Messiah was also coming in judgement. He would baptise the repentant with God's own Spirit, but he would baptise unrepentant Israel with fire. These are the two sides of the gospel coin: Jesus' advent brought mercy to the repentant, but it also brought judgement on the unrepentant within Israel. What's significant for us here, Brothers and Sisters, is that this exchange between John and the Pharisees reminds us of the Messiah's place in Israel's story and of the faithfulness of God to his promises. It is this manifestation of the Lord's faithfulness (and of his goodness, mercy, grace, and wisdom) to Israel—something we see brought to its climax in the coming, the death, the resurrection, and the ascension of Jesus, that has drawn us to the God of Israel and that, by faith, has incorporated us into the people of God. Through our incorporation into this people, through our being made adopted sons and daughters of Abraham, we've come to know God's mercy and the life of the Spirit, too. Because of the faithfulness of God, revealed in Jesus and in power of the gospel, the darkness that Mary and Joseph, Elizabeth and Zechariah, John the Baptist and Jesus knew, that deep, deep darkness full of false gods and wicked kings and demonic power is but a shadow of its former self. The light has come into the darkness, his gospel has thrown those powers down and lit up the world. And you and I live in the glory of that light. And this is where our Epistle today takes off. There are practical implications of our being incorporated into the story of the people of God. Paul writes those wonderful and challenging words in Philippians 4:4: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. What specifically prompted Paul to write this? Well, just two verses earlier, Paul exhorted two women, Euodia and Syntyche, to agree with each other. They had once been fellow labourers with Paul, but had apparently had some kind of dispute or falling out. In response, he calls the Philippian Christian to rejoice in the Lord. Instead of a public display of disunity or resentment or anger—whatever it was that was going on between these two women, the Church was to put joy on display, to celebrate the life of God. They were people of the light, but they were living in the dark. It was imperative that they come back into the light. Paul then writes: Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. (Philippians 4:5a) The King James says, “Let your moderation be known unto all men.” “Moderation” or “reasonableness” aren't really very helpful translations. Paul uses the same word in 2 Corinthians 10 to describe the meekness of Jesus as a model for Christians. What Paul's getting at there is that Jesus is the King. The gospel reveals and proclaims him in all his divine majesty. And yet it also reveals his gentleness. And it's not just gentleness. It's the sort of gentleness that only the one who is truly the Lord of the cosmos can show. This is the gentleness we see revealed as Jesus, the one to whom heaven and earth belong, humbles himself to be born one of us, to die on the cross, and to show mercy to his enemies. This kind of meekness or gentleness is unique to Jesus, and yet Paul stresses that as his people, as stewards of the gospel, we're called to witness this same gentleness ourselves. As it should be the resolution to so many disputes in the Church, it was the resolution to whatever had driven Euodia and Syntyche apart. Brothers and Sisters, when we demand our rights, when we grasp for power, when we nurse grudges, we undermine our witness to the world—we exhibit the very darkness from which we've been delivered by the one who is light. In contrast Paul calls us to rejoice in the Lord and to manifest Christlike gentleness in our relationships. Remember, as people whom God has graciously and mercifully restored to himself, we ought to witness that in our own joyful unity in Jesus. Consider that every time we hold a grudge, allow a relationship to break down, or follow the world's advice to cut those problem or negative people out of our lives, we undermine the Church's witness to the world. But that's not all. Paul goes on: The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. There's that Advent theme again: Jesus has given us a job to do. He's given us treasure to steward in his absence. In the meantime, rather than being anxious, we should take our needs to God. Jesus made the same point in the Sermon on the Mount. The pagans worry about what they'll eat, what they'll wear, and where they'll sleep. God's people should know better than to worry unduly about these things. God will provide just as he always has. He is faithful to his promises and the story of his dealings with Israel is the proof. So go to the Lord with your needs and ask. And while you're at it, give thanks, because you know his faithfulness and his love. This is part of the witness of the people of God—it's how we are light in the darkness—and it ties back into rejoicing. When Paul talks about rejoicing, at least part of what he's got in mind is a public display or a public witness. The pagan Greeks in Philippi regularly held public celebrations to honour their gods. In the decades before Paul wrote, new rites to honour and to celebrate—to rejoice in—Caesar had been introduced and embraced by the people. And yet the pagans, as Jesus said, were always anxious. Why? Because their gods never delivered. Pagan religion was a non-stop game of trial and error, trying to guess what the gods wanted, trying to guess what you may have done wrong to offend them, and then guessing at what you might offer to appease their anger or to ingratiate them to you in order to get what you needed or wanted. The pagan gods were silent and they were notoriously capricious and unreliable. And in this context Paul exhorts the Philippian Christians: Rejoice yourselves. Let the pagans see you celebrating the fact that the Creator of the universe has, through Jesus, made you his own and lives in your midst by his own Holy Spirit. Let the pagans, who know only mean and capricious gods and who live in a dog-eat-dog world, let them see the gentleness of God in you. Live in such a way that they see in you the God who humbles himself to die for the sake of his enemies. And let the pagans see you living in faith, praying in confident thankfulness to the God whose story reveals an unfailing pattern of promise and fulfilment. Shine the light of Jesus into the darkness of the world. And the result of all this? Look at verse 7: And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. I think we tend to look at Paul's exhortation here as something we should do in order to experience the peace of God ourselves, but given the context in Philippians, I think Paul's point is actually more about our witness. If we truly live as stewards of the good news about Jesus, if we truly live as people who know the faithfulness of God revealed in Jesus and particularly in his death and resurrection, the peace of God—rather than the strife and anxiety of the world—will guard our hearts and minds in a way that will astound the pagans around us. I said last Sunday that we are called both to proclaim and to live the gospel. This is that living it, right here. And coupled with our proclamation, to truly live in light of Jesus and what he reveals about God, should cause the world to stand up and take note. It will result in many giving glory to God for his faithfulness and then coming to him in faith as we have. And it will threaten many who are invested in the pagan and fallen systems of the world. Like John the Baptist, we are a voice in the wilderness. The difference is that Jesus has now been enthroned as Lord. But we need to ask: Does the world see our joy? Are we the voice crying in the wilderness? Are we the royal heralds the Lord has called us to be, summoning the word to let go of its false gods and to come to the Lord Jesus? Two years ago the government barred us from meeting as it tried to slow the spread of COVID. A lot of people were shouting about persecution. Brothers and Sisters, I really think we were dealing with something worse than persecution. Here's what I mean. Persecution happens when people fear the Church and fear our witness. Last week I mentioned Rod Dreher's new book, Live Not by Lies. In that book he talks about his conversations with people who lived under Communism in Eastern Europe. The Soviets clamped down on Christians because they understood that the gospel, that the message that Jesus is Lord was a threat to their atheistic philosophy. And it wasn't theoretical. It was often Christians who took a stand against the Communists and they did so in light of the gospel. And they were persecuted horribly for their stand for Jesus. Brothers and Sisters, that's not what we saw here. When the health threat passed, the orders banning public gatherings were lifted. You can agree or disagree with the wisdom or rightness of those health orders, but it wasn't persecution. It was something worse. It was indifference to the Church. The government isn't afraid of us or our message. It's not afraid we'll undermine its often godless and immoral dictates and agendas. They aren't hostile to us. They're simply indifferent. As far as the Health Minister or Provincial Health Officer were concerned, churches (and synagogues, mosques, temples, and gurdwaras) are just hobbies and social clubs and if that's all we are, well, we can suspend our gatherings or take them online. Leaders in previous generations, in the midst of national crises, called the Church to prayer. They understood the value of God's people gathered together to pray for the community, the nation, and the world. But not anymore. I'm not aware of any time when our Prime Minister, Premier, or Provincial Health Officer ever asked Christians (or anyone else, for that matter) to pray for the province or the nation. It didn't occur to them that prayer is important or makes a difference—or, for that matter, that God is in control. And we really have ourselves to blame. Why? Because we have not been the witnesses God calls us to be. We have been mealy-mouthed and, quite often, just plain silent in our proclamation and because we have been half-hearted and unfaithful in our gospel living. Like old Israel, we pray to God, but we've failed to tear down the old altars to Mammon and Aphrodite and Caesar. We name Jesus, but we deal dishonestly in business, we sell our souls to the commercialism that surrounds us, we look to politics or to science as our saviours, and we dabble in the sexual immorality of the age. We've failed to proclaim the gospel and we justify it, saying that we'll preach it with our lives. But if we stop to ask what the world sees in our lives, is it really very different? Does the world see us rejoicing in the Lord? Does the world see us manifesting the merciful gentleness of Jesus? Does the world see us living in faithful prayer and trusting in God, or does it see people just as anxious as everyone else? Does the world see the peace of God ruling our hearts and minds? Does the world see us, holding high the gospel, as a challenge to its gods and kings? It should. But sadly, I think that for the Church at large, the answer more often than not is “no”. And, all too often, when we do proclaim the gospel, we do so without power or authority. We hold the gospel out as good advice, rather than as the good news that it is. Friends, the gospel is the royal summons to submit in faith to Jesus, the world's true Lord—the Lord who has come with mercy so that the repentant will escape when he comes one day in judgement. This was the power behind John the Baptist' preaching. But all too often we present the gospel as just another option on the religious smorgasbord—something you might want to try. See if you like it. See if it works for you. If not…oh well. Brothers and Sisters, that's not the gospel. The gospel is good news to the people living in the midst of darkness: the king who will set the world to rights has come. And that means the gospel, when preached as it should be, will challenge and upset the Herods and Caesars of our age and all those invested in the false gods of the world. Brothers and Sisters, the Church today has so failed at being stewards of the gospel that we're provoking neither response: neither hostility and persecution on the one hand, or a harvest of new believers attracted to our faithful preaching and living. The Advent message is to be prepared. Jesus has given us a gospel mission to take the good news of his death, his resurrection, and his lordship into the world. Brothers and Sisters, pray that we will be faithful to our mission—faithful enough to provoke persecution, because that's the kind of faithfulness that also reaps a harvest people for the kingdom. Pray for the holy boldness of John the Baptist. Pray that we will be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Pray that the joy of the Lord will overcome us. Brothers and Sisters, Rejoice! Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I say rejoice. Let's pray: O Lord, come among us, we pray, with your power and strengthen us with your great might; that whereas, through our sins and wickedness we are grievously hindered in running the race that is set before us, your bountiful grace and mercy may speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, to whom with you and the Holy Spirit, be honour and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

Gospel Rant
What's God's Real Beef With Money? (SOM 49)

Gospel Rant

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 18, 2022 23:35


What is Jesus saying? I have a choice either to serve God or Mammon? Am I good? Have I done enough? All Christians spend great deal of time worrying about tithing. We pastors make it even worse by implying guilt through such passages as this one. Honestly, though, like most of the other verses I note Sermon on the Mount, to do so would be to buy the actual headline. If you wonder about God and what He thinks about money, and more to the point your money, you are not alone. You know someone who is struggling. They may be wealthy or poor. Please consider sending them the link to they podcast. They may just thank you.

All Souls Daily Worship
Grace Group: Finance (Part II) What is mammon?

All Souls Daily Worship

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 16, 2022 54:07


An exploration of Biblical words like "tithe" and "mammon" in search of how God's grace transforms the way we hold our finances towards freedom and generosity. Resources and discussion guides available here. 

Why Did Peter Sink?
The Gate of God (part 16)

Why Did Peter Sink?

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 16, 2022 36:40


There are seven stages of empire. America has leveled-up, careening around stage four, past stage five, and we don't really fully realize it yet but we are already leaning over the cliff of stage six. While everyone gets worried or excited about the coming decline and collapse, let me be the one yelling, “All is well!” A century ago, the Austro-Hungarians were the winners, and now their capitals are lovely little tourist stops on a river cruise. We are going the route of the City of Man, which is to collapse, just like what happened at Babel. In fact, in our arrogance in denying God, we have worshipped and enabled the demonic powers to guide us, and thus the nation must be reset and humbled. This is basic Spiritual Physics. The seven stages of empire are: * The Age of Pioneers* The Age of Conquests* The Age of Commerce* The Age of Affluence* The Age of Intellect* The Age of Decadence* The Age of Decline & CollapseWe will go this path because the decline must play out. It must. The last season must come. This cycle is not anything new or surprising, or it shouldn't be, as Plato wrote about this process long before Edward Gibbon wrote The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Collapse of empire's gone wild is as old as human writing. We are in the last days of Babel, and it's worth noting how we got here, and why it's happening. But this fall of empire is not something to worry about because it is inevitable. The loss of your soul, however, is not. For that you have a choice to make. Free will is the great gift, from a God who will not coerce his followers. And joy is the gigantic secret that Christ shares with his followers. The real question for our time is: how will you endure the coming change? How will you persevere? How will you stay sane? How can you stand strong when the world starts to burn around you? How?The answer is: “By your endurance you will gain your soul.” Never take your eyes off of the truth. Never look away from Jesus when the wind comes up on the water. Never forget your own sin. Never forget your need for redemption. Never forget why the Cross had to be the way. Never look away from his love for you. By his life, by his death, by his resurrection, by his ascension - tunnel your gaze to that truth. Forget “my truth,” surrender to the the way, the truth, and the life, who all happen to be the same person. That is how you endure. When Jesus said that a follower of Him must follow him and even hate his own father and mother, his own family, he meant it. Because if anything can sway you to look away, to make you turn back to something of this world, then you have not endured, and you will not gain your soul. There is only one way to be free, to have certainty, and that is to never look away from the truth of Him. Today's president is tomorrow's dust. Today's billionaire is poor if he lacks faith. Today's popular opinion is tomorrow's joke. There is only one who rules the real kingdom, who wields real power, and who deserves all glory. The Tower of Babel is a warning about a bad way of thinking for a nation or a people. The rejection of God at a social level, where sin is selected as policy, is the problem in Babylon. Empire alone is not the problem. The word “empire” is not bad, just as the word and action of “sex” isn't bad. God made all things and saw that it was good. However, it all depends on what the thing is used for and how it is used. The story of Babel tells of everyone speaking the same language, but language in this case does not necessarily mean grammar and vocabulary (as I've beaten to a pulp in this series). You can read it literally, but it's boring. There is another way to think of language, and language here means worldview. And the worldview that is a problem is the one where money, honor, power, and pleasure become virtues, replacing actual virtues. The language of Babylon is that of most of our modern thinkers, Thomas Jefferson, Karl Marx, David Hume, Jean-Paul Sartre, Michel Foucault, right up to Ibram X. Kendi. The language is the denial of sin and the rejection of God in favor of man's Tower. There is a fundamental difference that everyone misses between Catholic theology and all other “solutions” like liberalism, Marxism, Protestant theology, liberation theology, Prosperity Gospel, modernism, and all the other -isms. The problem isn't people or government. The problem is spiritual and we are in a spiritual war. We have been in the spiritual way since the first two humans. Genesis does not disagree with science as much as people like to think. Even on an evolutionary path, somewhere along the two people's genes and souls were altered into something radically different from all other creatures. Just as the Big Bang matches with “Let there be light,” and as archaeologists keep confirming Biblical geography locations, and as the last ice age coincides with the ubiquitous worldwide stories of the Great Flood around 9000 B.C., we know through reason that something changed with humans that separated their way of life and worldview from neanderthals. The desires of humans have no bottom. They cannot be filled. There is a darkness in humans that does not exist in apes or any other creature. Thoughts and ideas come to human brains that make no sense and serve no purpose, aside from evil. That is what the spiritual war is about; keeping evil at bay, casting it back into the pit. If we fail to fight the spiritual war, we lose track of the problem. When we take our eyes off of Jesus, the devil embodies whatever we are looking at. If we see government as the solution, then the devil moves there. If we see sexual identity as the solution, the devil goes there. Even if we become too fixated on the Church as the solution instead of as a means to holiness, then the devil will occupy that space. The enemy is cunning and shifts shape, always waiting for you to forget about him. The number one enemy in the spiritual war is pride. This is why it's so telling that “Pride” is a celebrated virtue today, when in every possible case of hubris, pride leads to destruction. Always. Invariably. Every fairy tale, Bible story, fable, and even in stories like the Titanic or the Theranos fraud, pride always leads to destruction. There is no other outcome for the balloon of pride than to be deflated. It is a fact that even pure rationalists understand: what goes up, must come down. The interesting thing is this: if we wonder why God allows this evil, you have to realize this key secondary effect: to be reborn in the spirit, you have to go all the way down. God allows us pride in order to find our way to the truth and be reborn. Pride is the language we costume our ideas in, using intellectual arguments about how to organize an economy or how your identity is oppressed. Getting what you want, when you want it, and how you want it is what is considered “good” today. The unofficial virtues of America are those advocated by Gordon Gecko and the Marquis de Sade. The Marquis says, “Let us give ourselves indiscriminately to everything our passions suggest, and we will always be happy. Conscience is not the voice of Nature but only the voice of prejudice.”As for helping yourself to all thing, “Greed is good,” says Gecko. This language is all over our culture. “If winning isn't everything, then why do we keep score?” says the sports god, Vince Lombardi. “Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing,” says UCLA coach “Red” Sanders. So say we all! Competition and money and self-justification are the vocabulary and grammar, the pillars of the American language. That is how we speak, it's what we respect, what we aspire toward, what we aim our children at, how we measure success, how we measure someone's worth. For us, competition is the way, the truth, and the life. And it is the utter opposite of the message of Jesus Christ. “You justify yourselves in the sight of others, but God knows your hearts; for what is of human esteem is an abomination in the sight of God.” (Lk 16:15)In other words, the Lombardi trophy is an abomination, as is Gordon Gecko's wealth. Mark Zuckerberg's billions of dollars and users will be used against him in the court of God. Trump will have to answer for his gold toilet seat and various wives. Michael Jordan's championship rings will be gravel to be tossed aside. Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos may be first in line today, but the first will be last in the world to come. Those who cling to identity lies will be easy cases in the Last Judgment, because their language of self-assertion is the rejection of their real identities as sinners. Whatever we have think we have won or gotten power over in this world is perfectly useless and powerless in the next. If you are playing this game of fame and fortune and pleasure and striving to outdo your neighbor by elevating your desires, you are shoveling dirt out of your own grave. You cannot serve God and mammon. Mammon is a strange term. Mammon is the ego and all it's baubles: money, sex, drugs, power, diplomas. We are all about the mammon. It is fitting that Ben Franklin is on the $100 bill and he is now the symbol of the Benja-mammon. He is the idol of those seeking the “Benjamins,” the graven image that everyone is serving. When we are serving ourselves, we are serving our sins. This alone tells the tale. If any political issue concerns you more than the person of Christ, you have completely missed the message of Christ. He is the message. If you want to see some of kind of sin erased through political action, you don't understand what sin is or that you are a sinner. The language of Babel is the language of competition and the elevation of the self over God. Conservative Christians want to thump the commandments and liberal Christians forget that sin exists. And what are they all arguing about? “Stand for the flag and kneel for the Cross” vs. “Love is love.” Could someone help me find those in the Bible? God is over all things, and God is love. These equally empty platitudes of the political world have no meaningful grasp of Christianity, as they ignore Christ and ignore the spiritual battle entirely. What I have learned is that you can wear a cross and have no idea who Christ is. I've learned that you can call others scriptural cherry-pickers while holding a basket of picked cherries. Because in my reading, Christ does not endorse America, nor does he endorse greed, nor does he endorse racism, nor does he endorse same-sex marriage, nor does he endorse carving up your body, nor does he endorse Pontius Pilate's language that states: “What is truth?” He endorses chastity, marriage, humility, compassion, obedience, patience, and charity. He utterly rejects sin and all self-serving motives. As the Incarnation of the Living God, He is the Truth. If you cannot see this, then you may not know him as well as you think. Ask for help to get there. Go to God's information booth, otherwise known as prayer, because unless you come to know Jesus, you will not know the truth, and without him you cannot fight the spiritual combat. You can get win all you want, get all the laws passed through Congress that you think will save the world, but if you are not rooted in Christ, you will lose your soul. And once you do come to know him, the experiences and toys you desire here in this world will seem like trifles. They become like trinkets from gum-ball machines once you compare them to the value of faith granted from God. Worthless trifles will be set aside, just as Peter set aside the largest catch of fish he ever had and “dropped the nets” to follow him. Whatever exotic sexual fix you are seeking, or your desire to own the latest Tesla, those ideas will seem like distant memories of a childish phase of life. What once made you proud will suddenly be embarrassing. You will laugh at how you idealized the wants of the caterpillar after you are flying as a butterfly. You thought the creeping, crawling phase was the end, and whatever you got while still a struggling inchworm was all there was. Then you learn that you were far too easily pleased, as C.S. Lewis pointed out:If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. (“The Weight of Glory” p.26)So before you start defending that sin you love the most, like getting high or having one-night-stands, read the Gospels again. You want the wrong things. Remind yourself what Jesus endorsed: humility before God, serving the poor, healing the sick, partaking in the sacraments, and obeying God's law - including, and especially, one marriage in this life being between man and a woman. To take up our cross and follow him means to endure the struggles and burdens and problems of our lives, not to affirm our problems as our identities. Our crosses are made to be carried, not re-interpreted as virtues and carried as trophies. Your cross can become a gift, but only if it is carried with Him. This ancient language of Babel is what we still speak today. It is the language of twists and turns, like Odysseus, who lies and cheats and pillages his way through the Greek epic to get what he wants in all cases. It is the language of “me first,” of taking what I please, of justifying my desires, of shaping God to fit my sins. When speaking that language, I am the potter on the wheel, not God, and I will shape the world to fit my desires. The reason that Pentecost marked a new day in the world is because from Babel onward, God confused the language and scattered the cultures of the world. Literally or metaphorically, this is important. The various cultures could not coalesce into a sin-rejecting juggernaut, but they were still competing and scrapping for pieces of this world. The language was still competition, but the death match was happening in the ponds, not the ocean. So when Peter stepped out on Pentecost and spoke, everyone understood him. The apostles all started speaking and the people of “all languages” understood. Why? How did they understand? Again, literally or metaphorically, it works either way. Their message was getting through. The message was heard. And what was the message? “Jesus the Nazorean was a man commended to you by God with mighty deeds, wonders, and signs, which God worked through him in your midst, as you yourselves know. This man, delivered up by the set plan and foreknowledge of God, you killed, using lawless men to crucify him…God raised this Jesus; of this we are all witnesses…Exalted at the right hand of God, he received the promise of the holy Spirit from the Father and poured it forth, as you (both) see and hear. God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.” (Acts 2:14-41)Was it the words? Or was it the change in Peter and the Apostles that was seen? Was it the message seen, as they lived it out in their lives? Or was it heard by language, as God briefly “unscattered” the tongues of people. Somehow I think it was something bigger than Google Translate. I don't think it was only hearing the words. The language of Babel was that of competition and ego. The language of Peter was the opposite. His message was the un-Babel. He gave the world a non-compete clause, that you could follow through Christ. There was a way out of the fighting pit, the one-up-manship could finally end. There was a way to live that didn't require all the fake nonsense and puffery that we are used to living among. The reason Peter's message was fluent to all observers, is because the non-compete clause was given to us all. To stop fighting is what we all want. To stop competing with one another. We want peace. We want rest. We want healing. We're tired of being offended and wanting revenge. When Jesus appeared to the apostles, his first words were, “Peace be with you.” He gave it right then and there. Peace. All goodness and rest comes from a life in Christ, not through our own efforts to win or achieve. Peace does not come through our instinct, or through our competitive culture, and not via coercive policies. There is only one way to heaven and Jesus showed the way. He plowed the way to daylight through this blizzard called life. Still, for the science minded, how could they really understand what Peter was saying? How to get past this miracle? It's too miraculous to conceive as possible. I would just say, “Ask for belief,” but do you even need to ask in this case? We can understand it without a miracle. Did they even need to hear the words? When someone is free, can you not tell? When a child starts playing or singing or dancing, does it matter if you are the same nationality or speak the same language as the child? No. Any English speaking person can interact with a Chinese, Spanish, or Kenyan child and see the innocence and joy in the child. The listeners who heard and saw Peter could see it on his face, could tell by how he was preaching. How? Because he was open. He was no longer hiding. The fig leaves were dropped. The fear was gone. The pretenses were gone. The fake promises of a salesmen were nowhere to be found. He had returned to the faith of a child. This is why Babel is the opposite of Pentecost. God withdrew from selfish people at Babel, but he enkindled the fire of his love at Pentecost. Babel turned the world gray and the color came back at Pentecost. It's like the horrible movie Pleasantville, except in Acts of the Apostle, it's not the embrace of sin that adds color the world, it's the conquering of sin. The only way to heaven is through the cross. You can't avoid it, you must carry it and voluntarily let your ego die upon it. Then you will be like a child, like Peter, closer to Jesus. If you follow him, all the way, you will be a brother of Christ and son of God. When you observe the angry banter online today, if you can stand it, take notice that the person of Jesus is rarely mentioned unless it's to score political points. We have turned Jesus into a basketball, or a weapon. We've taken Jesus' non-compete clause and used him as a club to compete. It's the opposite of what he told us to do. Surrender to him. Surrender the need to win. Do you need to comment? Do you need to reply? When they come for you, and accuse you, and slander you, do you need to win? Jesus, using his non-compete, shows us that you do not need to reply. You do not need to get angry. Though harshly treated, he submitted and did not open his mouth; Like a lamb led to slaughter or a sheep silent before shearers, he did not open his mouth. (Is 53:7) This is the forever the permanent danger of shifting our focus from Christ as the fully divine and fully human second person of the holy Trinity. The minute you look away, you sink. You return to the pit, gladly leaping in and entering the fray. We just can't resist the language of Babel, and take up jockeying for position because we fear for our ego, our reputation, our loss of self. We think somehow this time it will be different, but when the fear strikes us, we begin…to sink. Must we do ask this same question again? Yes. We must. It's why this website is named what it is. Why Did Peter Sink? Because he looked away from Jesus. How was he saved? He asked for help. He said, “Lord, save me!”Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Mt 14:22-33)Why did we doubt? Why did we jump into the fight again? Why do we do what we do? Because you think you got this. You assume superiority. You want power and honor. But let it be known: you ain't got nothin'. Jesus is seated in heaven, waiting. He is not cheering for our ego. He is not waving the flag of America. Or did we all fool ourselves into thinking that it was Jesus that helped Jefferson craft the Declaration? I think we did. This “City on a Hill” tale is an invention. America does not have divine guidance. Let go of that fairy tale. Thomas Jefferson was a Deist that completely denied the divinity of Christ. Or do we imagine that Jesus got us walking on water like a toddler in 1776, and then we learned to do miracles alone without him, while we still kept slaves and were westward-ho steamrolling natives? Does any of this sound like the work of Jesus Christ that he performed in this world? The greatest fib of America is that this is a Christian nation, as it wasn't in the beginning, is not now, and never will be. There has always been many, many Christians in America, and that is why the nation has had such success. But as for the Founders and their ideals, it is a foundation built on sand from the Enlightenment. The fact that Lincoln and many presidents were believers does not mean that Christianity ruled in Washington. Without millions of Christians as bedrock, the Deist ideas collapse, as we are now seeing with liberalism and modernism. It was families - black, white, or in-between - rooted in Christian values that provided the glue the entire time. It was not politicians or businessmen. If anything, the wealthy used Christians as instruments to get what they wanted, because, after all, “God helps those who help themselves.” Following God's will is a goal of Christians, and nefarious forces are always at work to use and abuse that. Those who “help themselves” throughout history have looked at other people, especially Christians, like a shovel to be used for their own projects, not as tools to carry out God's will. Not everything America has done is evil, and not everything it has done is good, but America is not the marker or sign of the last days any more than was Imperial Japan or the Spanish Empire. We are in the final age, the messianic age, and it was not called or named the “American age.” Unhitch your nationalism from the message of Christ, otherwise you are taking up Jesus' non-compete clause and using it as a club. Jesus is not cheering for America any more than he is the Dallas Cowboys. He is cheering for us to carry out his Great Commission, to spread the word, to believe, to keep his commandments, to be joyful sinners, and move toward holiness by keeping practice of the Sacraments. Jesus rules over all of the nations, all of the powers and principalities of this world, which includes the United States. This current moment is just the latest empire in a long list of empires. We are just another Babylon, another Rome. They all crumble, but God's kingdom is here and being slowly worked out. The slowness is the hard part, since we are accustomed to getting what we want immediately. We think the world is under our control, but it's not, and we tire of waiting to we help ourselves and forget about God. That's how we fall into the water. That's how a nation sinks. We get cocky and forget of our frailty. We get rich and comfortable. What happens to nations, happens to the Church, too, just as it does for individuals, just as it did for Peter on the water. There is no way to be saved but through him, with him, in him, in the person of Christ. The focus must remain on him. He is the question, the answer, the truth, the way, the light, the life. Neither our selves nor the Constitution of this country can save you. Science can't save you. Money can't save you. Only He can. We are the people of a lost empire that thinks it is has been found. Individuals within this empire have been found, but the empire itself is foundering. The whole structure has been long held up by believers, but their arms are fewer now and fatigue is setting in. Shortly after World War II, somewhere in the 1960s, the soul of nation turned away from God. Then the fall began, as we began to value sex, drugs, and “the college experience” more than the gifts of the Holy Spirit. All authority began to tumble. As Satan said in Paradise Lost, “Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven.” That became the national motto and adolescence began to creep past its sell-by date. Duty was replaced with honor for the derelict. Now we move into a last phase, where the drunk sailors are in the command center, guiding us to destruction, assuring us that desires alone make for a meaningful identity, and they are assuring us of this, even as we run aground. Thank God we can get lost. Part of his plan is to find the lost sheep. If we follow Jesus' own ministry on earth, he plays the shepherd the entire time, right to the last moments on the Cross when we converts the Penitent Thief. Getting lost is the only way to get found. There is much hope yet. God's plan exceeds our understanding, but he has allowed billions to stray. Could his plan for the smart phone be to reach every last soul on earth? Many end-times writers like to focus on Matthew 24:14:“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the world as a witness to all nations, and then the end will come.”Since God is outside of space and time, he moves salvation history along on his schedule, not ours. Just as Abraham did not begin forming a nation until languages and cities were established, and Jesus did not come until writing had advanced considerably, who is to say that God's allowance of our scrolling on our phones is not the next phase of his plan. Surely most people today has heard of Christ, but not everyone has yet. What better way to reach all people than through a common language, or better yet, a common protocol like http. It's entirely possible that DARPA and Tim Berners-Lee and Steve Jobs were unlikely instruments of God, and by serving themselves (a.k.a. mammon) they will end up serving God. In the meantime, confusion spins our people around as we seem to directing our lives, and our children's lives, with a misaimed compass. To realize that the needle has been sitting next to magnet and steering you off course is terrifying, but it's a relief to even discover that you were going the wrong direction, because then you can take action to change course. Once you finally turn, you can find true north. A person who strays can still be saved. A nation that gets lost can be born again. The word “blessing” means to be “kneeled,” so we should keep saying, over and over, “God bless America, and God please bless me,” because a kneeling is exactly what we need to find peace. How is that to be done? The same way it was done to the Roman empire and every other empire. The nation will be exorcised when people turn to God. When Jesus said, “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand,” he meant it for you, not an abstract thing like America or China. God's salvation plan continues, in ways that we cannot understand, but we know what to do. We need to believe. We need to surrender our lives to God, and be joyful, and keep his commandments, and give to the poor. Forget about the evil that others are selling and focus on the words of Jesus - all focus on all of his words, not just the ones you like. Love God. Love others. Be joyful. Volunteer. Read the Gospel. Tell others about it. Read the Catechism. Go to Confession. Go to Mass. Kneel. Receive the Eucharist. Repeat. This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit whydidpetersink.substack.com

Awestruck
Money on the Floor

Awestruck

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 15, 2022 17:19


Within us is a yearning to experience being - life in its fullest capacity. This divine desire propels us on a quest to find - to seize those experiences that bring us closer to true being. And yet, too often in our haste to experience the fullness of life, we conflate the spiritual well that activates and actualizes being with tactile, temporal offerings. The call of rich, meaningful, inner experiences of being available to us drowns in the cacophony of materialistic voices without. And the more we lose touch with ourselves, the deeper we wade into the waters of materialism until eventually the riptides of greed and lust pull us ever further away from the shore of our own soul. Our materialistic pursuits, though they vary in tone and texture, all converge at this apex: money. Money becomes the well from which we draw in order to satisfy our materialistic goals. And without even realizing it, we have now strayed so far from the shore that we cannot even see it, choking on saltwater in a futile effort to slake our thirst. We have conflated our desire for being with the lust for material things, and we have further decided that to have what we want, we must have money to get it. In most cases, we don't question this mode of living at all. At best, we comfort ourselves by donating a small percentage of our money to what we deem our worthy causes. At worst - we are at our worst - slaves to the master of money as we plod forward in our erroneous belief that money buys things and attracts people that will fulfill our innermost longings. But you can't smell the roses when you're lost at sea. The only way we escape the clutches of money is to return to the shores of our soul and begin the trek inland, exploring the true, rich, fulfilling, divine experiences of being that await until they enrapture us and we forget all else - including and especially money. Source Scripture Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13-15  Connect Twitter: @AwestruckPod Email: info@awestruckpodcast.com Extras The Awestruck Podcast musical playlist  (Apple I Spotify) Meaningless Incense  

Pastor Robert Morris Ministries on Oneplace.com
Breaking the Spirit of Mammon

Pastor Robert Morris Ministries on Oneplace.com

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 13, 2022 24:02


Pastor Robert answers common questions about the spirit behind the love of money, whether money is evil, and what to do with money. (part 4 of 7)

The Secret Teachings
The Secret Teachings 12/9/22 - Godzilla Mode w. Derek Murphy

The Secret Teachings

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 10, 2022 120:01


Unlike goblin-mode, the unapologetically self-indulgent and slovenly attitude dictated by the seven deadly sins, Godzilla-mode is when you became king of your domain. Whereas goblin mode is represented as doing the opposite of trying to better yourself in any capacity - body, mind, or soul - Godzilla-mode is the conquering of the triune elements and the slaying of deadly sins expressed as demons of sloth like Belphegor, of greed like Mammon, or of lust like Asmodeus. When instant gratification becomes so instant that it becomes pre-ordained we no longer are in control of the self; deadly sins, zealotry, and trolling (goblin/gnomes) dominate our personality as we see with Twitter, which is run by the Troll/Goblin king. When we fight bots online we are battling Terminator-like machines that intend to demoralize us into suicidal depression. But Godzilla Mode preserves self awareness, intuition and the ability to know thyself, and it makes us king of the monsters and demons.

Device & Virtue
S8E3 - Turning Devices Into Instruments—with Andy Crouch

Device & Virtue

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 7, 2022 51:38


Author Andy Crouch says that we're doing it all wrong—smartphones aren't giving us the life we're looking for. We asked him how to fix it, plus whether he'd ever own a robot dog. Andy is our first returning guest to Device & Virtue! This time, he joins us to talk about his new book, The Life We're Looking For. We take his ideas for a test drive, and run into everything from dishwashers and furnaces to Slack and electric cars. Plus, we ask Andy to resolve some arguments from past episodes. He weighs in on Ring doorbells, robot dogs, communion online, and AI art generators. His hot takes will keep you on your toes. Andy Crouch is partner for theology and culture at Praxis Labs and author of multiple books including his latest, The Life We're Looking For: Reclaiming Relationship in a Technological World, and his earlier book, The Tech-Wise Family. A public speaker and professional musician, Andy was executive editor of Christianity Today from 2012 to 2016 and served the John Templeton Foundation as senior strategist for communication in 2017. Most importantly, he received a shout-out in Lecrae's 2014 single “Non-Fiction.”  LINKS For more about Andy and all his books, check out his website. Follow him on Twitter. Andy first joined us with his daughter Amy to talk about her book, My Tech-Wise Life, back in Season 5.  Check out our past episodes for more on the topics we talked about with Andy.  DALL-E Electric Cars Slack Robot Dogs Ring Doorbell Communion Online Andy mentions “prompt battles.” We did a little digging. Learn more about them here. Andy adapts his analysis of instruments and devices from the work of philosopher Albert Borgmann, who first introduced “the device paradigm” in his 1984 book, Technology and the Character of Contemporary Life. Borgmann writes more about it in his newer book Power Failure. QUOTES FROM THE LIFE WE'RE LOOKING FOR "God and Mammon ... are precisely opposed to each other. God wishes to put all things into the service of persons and ultimately to bring forth the flourishing of creation through the flourshing of persons. Mammon wants to put all persons into the service of things and ultimately to bring about the exploitation of all creation." (p78) "So, rather than actually creating machines that understand the infinitely creative and complex world of human culture, we will find that it is far easier to create attenuated cultural environments that treat persons like machines." (p97) TALK BACK Reach out to Device & Virtue on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Talk back to Chris and Adam on Twitter. Support Device & Virtue. Learn how. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Creflo Dollar Ministries Audio Podcast
How to Be Free from Mammon

Creflo Dollar Ministries Audio Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 5, 2022 74:45


When we study the issue of money and how it relates to trust, we cannot ignore the presence of mammon. Mammon is an evil spirit that is never far from money, and it tempts us to trust it instead of God. Mammon is the name of the false god of riches in the Old Testament that the people served; putting anyone or anything in first place instead of God amounts to idolatry. Mammon is not the same thing as money. Money is neither righteous nor unrighteous, but when mammon exerts its influence, it opposes everything God does. We must be aware of how this demonic spirit operates so that we can fight it. To support the ministry financially, text "CDMPodcast" to 74483 or visit www.worldchangers.org.

Faith Academy Podcast
#139 THE SPIRIT OF MONEY (Finance Convention Grand Finale || 27.11.22)

Faith Academy Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 30, 2022 97:48


Theme: THE SPIRIT OF MONEY Speaker: Rev. Ebenezer Okronipa Mark 12:13-17 Two types of Money Systems 1. The Ceasar(worldly System). Mark 12:17 2. The Heavenly System. Matthew 6:19 God's system is controlled by the spirit of God. Mammon is a deity that controls money.  Money that mammon comes with cannot be trusted. Mammon hates giving to God because that is the only way it can lose its control over your life. Proverbs 3:5 It always transfers funds from the children of God.  Mammon cannot sustain and maintain wealth. Proverbs 23:4-5. Ecclesiastes 2:26 HOW TO ATTRACT THE SPIRIT OF MONEY. 1. Desire to be a blessing with money. Desire money to touch lives.  2. Respect money. Have a good relationship with money.  3. Create room for money. 4. Fasting and Prayer. 5. Meditation on the word. Psalm 1:1-3 6. Let money serve you. Buy valuable things. 

Connect Church Podcast
Connect Church | The Blessed Life - Mammon | Devin Webb

Connect Church Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 24, 2022 51:16


Engage Heaven with James Levesque

We cannot serve both God and Mammon. We spend so much of our lives around money, yet so few people know how to handle it. 

Crossroads Church
Breaking the Spirit of Mammon | The Blessed Life Week 4 (LIVE)

Crossroads Church

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 22, 2022 41:08


You may've heard the saying “Money is the root of all evil”. This is a misquote. The real Bible verse says “the LOVE of money is the root of all evil”. Money shouldn't be demonized. It's only when we want money more than we want God that the spiritual influence of money darkens us. This effect has an ancient name: Mammon. Today we talk about how you can experience joy, peace and transformation with money and avoid the influence of mammon.

Crossroads Church
Breaking the Spirit of Mammon | The Blessed Life Week 4 (ONLINE)

Crossroads Church

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 18, 2022 22:54


You may've heard the saying “Money is the root of all evil”. This is a misquote. The real Bible verse says “the LOVE of money is the root of all evil”. Money shouldn't be demonized. It's only when we want money more than we want God that the spiritual influence of money darkens us. This effect has an ancient name: Mammon. Today we talk about how you can experience joy, peace and transformation with money and avoid the influence of mammon.

Creflo Dollar Ministries Audio Podcast
Unmasking the Spirit of Mammon

Creflo Dollar Ministries Audio Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 14, 2022 68:22


Money is simply a tool, and it does not carry a spirit on it until we take possession of it. If we are under the influence of mammon, which is an evil spirit in direct contradiction to God, that spirit will be passed on to the money we have. If we are directed by the spirit of God, his spirit will influence our management of money. Because these spirits are in complete opposition to each other, we face a decision as to which one we will serve. To support the ministry financially, text "CDMPodcast" to 74483 or visit www.worldchangers.org.

Ramp Church Manchester
No Toleration For Mammon | Micah Wood

Ramp Church Manchester

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 13, 2022 40:12


Find out more about Ramp Church Manchester by visiting https://ramp.church/mcr I f you would like to partner in giving, please visit: https://ramp.church/mcr/giving

Redesigning Destiny
MAMMON ,ANTICHRIST AND UNDERWORLD

Redesigning Destiny

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 13, 2022 12:10


peniel eternal --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/aei-leon/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/aei-leon/support

ICC NJ- Charis Chapel
Unmasking Mammon by Rev. Stephen Ofori-Abedi

ICC NJ- Charis Chapel

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 10, 2022 53:26


Listen and be blessed 

Creflo Dollar Ministries Audio Podcast
Uncovering the Spirit of Mammon (Part 3)

Creflo Dollar Ministries Audio Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 7, 2022 68:42


The spirit of mammon is a subtle demon that hides from us and tries to disguise itself as the spiritual voice we hear in religion. Jesus taught some powerful lessons about money, and he always discussed it in relation to trust. We must decide for ourselves whether we are being influenced by God or by mammon. To support the ministry financially, text "CDMPodcast" to 74483 or visit www.worldchangers.org.

Catholic Inspiration
Daily Mass: We cannot serve both God and mammon

Catholic Inspiration

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 5, 2022 7:36


The Lord teaches that almsgiving with "dishonest wealth" allows us to use the things of this world for the glory of God, rather than become a tempting trap that distracts and deceives. November 5, 2022 - Cathedral Rectory - Superior, WI Fr. Andrew Ricci - www.studyprayserve.com  

Regnum Christi Daily Meditations
November 5, 2022 - The Choice Between God and Mammon

Regnum Christi Daily Meditations

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 5, 2022 5:06


A Regnum Christi Daily Meditation. Sign up to receive the text in your email daily at RegnumChristi.org.

mammon regnumchristi
Daily Orthodox Christian Bible-Study
28. Matthew 5:24 - You Cannot Serve God and Mammon

Daily Orthodox Christian Bible-Study

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 31, 2022 3:13


The New Testament: Daily Scripture Reading and Commentary with The Orthodox Study Bible.

Creflo Dollar Ministries Audio Podcast
Uncovering the Spirit of Mammon (Part 2)

Creflo Dollar Ministries Audio Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 31, 2022 71:46


Mammon is a sneaky, hateful, evil spirit whose main goal is to steal, kill, and destroy. It readily attaches itself to money and does its best to get us to trust wealth more than God. It always contradicts the word of God, and attempts to persuade us to develop a wrong relationship with money. As Christians, we must be careful not to allow ourselves to be lured away from the Spirit of God and fall under the rule of the spirit of mammon. Studying what the Bible says about money will open our eyes to the work of this spirit so we can recognize it for what it is. To support the ministry financially, text "CDMPodcast" to 74483 or visit www.worldchangers.org.

Creflo Dollar Ministries Audio Podcast
Uncovering the Spirit of Mammon

Creflo Dollar Ministries Audio Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 24, 2022 75:30


The demonic spirit of mammon is very pervasive and subtle, and it can be difficult to detect unless we keep careful watch against it. This spirit is attached to money, and it tries to persuade us to trust money more than God. Wealth and riches cannot buy healing, deliverance, grace, or any other blessings from God; trust is the currency of the kingdom. To support the ministry financially, text "CDMPodcast" to 74483 or visit www.worldchangers.org.

Creflo Dollar Ministries Audio Podcast
The Money-Trust Connection: God vs. Mammon

Creflo Dollar Ministries Audio Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 17, 2022 70:05


Money management is a topic that divides worldly thinking from what is taught in the Bible. The Scriptures tell us that money is the least important thing requiring the smallest amount of faith. When we demonstrate to ourselves through giving that we trust God with our money, we can trust him for bigger things, as well. To support the ministry financially, text "CDMPodcast" to 74483 or visit www.worldchangers.org.

1517 Blogcast
We Cannot Serve God and Mammon

1517 Blogcast

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 11, 2022 10:22


We can appreciate what we have received from God, we can receive it all as free gift, but only when we stop investing in fool's gold

From Babylon, With Love
Greed: The Seven Deadly Sins

From Babylon, With Love

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 9, 2022 43:16


This week we continue our series through the Seven Deadly Sins by looking at the ubiquitous sin of Greed! Yaaay! As Jesus says, "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Mammon." Matt. 6:24