Victoria Osteen and Our Conservative Prosperity Gospel

Last night, Christian Twitter was alive with the ridiculous and sad clip of Victoria Osteen’s blatant prosperity gospel declaration. “We go to church, not for God, but for us.” I especially liked the enterprising blogger who affixed Bill Cosby’s “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard” to the end of the clip. Well done. But before we conservatives get too cocky in our outrage, we’d we wise to admit to our own version of the prosperity gospel, a kind of false message that creeps into our gospel proclamation. None of us are offering people paradise like the Osteens, especially those of us who have travelled to third-world countries and have seen first-hand the crippling poverty experienced by people with faith much greater than our own. Nor would we dare to tell our persecuted brothers and sisters in the Middle East that with just a bit more faith they might be able to...

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The God (little “g”) in Your Pocket

I was talking to my mother last week about the readily available technology we have in our smart phones. She was telling me, half-joking, "I can always Google something. So if I'm in a conversation and I don't know what they are talking about, I can quietly Google it and sound smart." We laughed, because we have all been there. And perhaps with Google glasses we won't even have to figure out ways to inconspicuously look down and type it in our phones. It's sure nice to have Google with us. In the middle of the night when my kid is sick and exhibiting symptoms I'm not familiar with, I can quickly google, "Coughing and fever, plus a rash" and get results. If I'm on a trip to Denver for business, I can google, "weather in Denver tomorrow." Or if we are wandering about and looking for a McDonald's with a...

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5 People We Should Pray For Even Though We Don’t Want To

Let's be honest. There are certain types of people we are conditioned, by our culture, to not like. These are the people that nobody is going to give us credit for liking, the people we tend to distance ourselves from. For good reason. And yet, these are the sinners Christ most likely would have sought out to save, the people we should, at the very least, pray for. So here is a list of 5 People We Should Pray For Even Though We Don't Want To: 1) Politicians (and really anyone in a position of power). Have politicians ever held a lower standing the eyes of the American public than they do now? There are whole cottage industries (talk show hosts, pundits, some columnists) who generate millions of dollars essentially mocking and criticizing politicians. Nobody will think you are cool for praying for a politician. Everybody will laugh if you criticize...

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The Rhythm of Forgiveness and Repentance

This past Sunday, in our sermon series Teach us to Pray, we looked at this phrase in the Lord's Prayer: "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors." Now this phrase of this prayer would be really wonderful if it stopped at "Forgive us our debts." That's how most of us pray, if we're honest. The Bible tells us we enter life with a debt--a massive gap between us and God (Romans 3:23; Romans 5:12, among others). Christ's death on the cross and resurrection erased paid that debt and offers reconciliation with God. Anyone who has put their faith in Christ can pray this prayer with hope, knowing his debt has been forgiven. But the prayer doesn't stop there. Jesus says that we’re to pray “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” This word “as” is not just a fill-in word here. It’s a real Greek word, hos that...

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