Is it OK for Pastors to Be Rich–and Fine? Let’s Rev’ up!

“He’s so fine.” I heard a young woman sitting behind me say of a certain pastor who arguably looks like Leonardo DiCaprio. He’s full of charm and charisma, slick hair, decked in shirts that tease some chest and flaunt buff biceps, tight Kim-Kardashian-for-guys jeans, I couldn’t deny I, too, found myself having to fight off similar thoughts and focus instead on what he was saying.

This incident happened over six years ago, and it wasn’t even a year before I packed up my spiritual bags and left that club-like environment that initially drew me because of its youthful “passion for Jesus,” but eventually left me hungry for a more authentic reflection of what it means to have a relationship with the Holy, Holy, Holy, God Almighty described in the book of Revelation, of whom often, when He’d appear to believers, would cause them to drop almost dead in fear and awe of Him.

The Church says we want a revival of those coming to Christ, and that is great, but what about those who have already confessed Him as Lord, but are wallowing and drowning in sin? Reverence has become taboo at best and downright offensive and altogether avoided by many in the Church. But sisters, if a Church tiptoes around or evades entirely the topics of holiness, sanctification, hating evil and loving good, then you are on a spiritual diet that is highly lacking in necessary and beneficial nutrients for growth. Please indulge me a little longer.

Is your character stagnant? Do you find yourself struggling with the same sins, feeling very weak, vulnerable, tempted, etc.? What are your Christian leaders like? Is everything “positive and uplifting?” Is Church service this fun time that’s full of inspirational jargon?

Encouragement isn’t evil–but in the wrong hands it’s deadly. In fact, what you’re hearing at many pulpits is actually flattery and deception. We are not even close to being worthy of God and His forgiveness and love. It is by His grace, which means “UNDESERVED FAVOR” that we have been saved. There’s nothing we can boast about regarding ourselves yet many pastors will parade on a stage like they’re all that and tickle your ears or flat out tempt you with their “spiritual” sensuality. You know, those pastors who are evidently very concerned with their outward appearance because they spend hours in the gym, always have their hair cut and styled on point, and “dressed to kill” as my grandma says.

Do you know what Paul said about himself and the other Apostles, the head honchos of the first church?

For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? You are already full! You are already rich! You have reigned as kings without us—and indeed I could wish you did reign, that we also might reign with you! For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. 10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored! 11 To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. 12 And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; 13 being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now.”-1 cor 4:7-13

So many pastors are living like kings–and far from being “poorly clothed–spending a million dollars on a home when they could still very comfortably live off quite less and give more. These career pastors often “preach” messages that are universally accepted, easy to tolerate, and relatable to the majority. Yet biblically, we see the gospel and the standards for Christians as taught in the bible are focused heavily on living for God, pleasing Him, loving, serving, and honoring others. And how can you know if you’re pleasing to God or “acceptable” to Him if you aren’t reading His Word much, but heavily relying on your pastor’s word? How can you know if your pastor is teaching you how to please God, or if he’s teaching you how to please yourself?

See, these pastors and teachers enjoy making the bible seem secondary and optional at best. They love this because then, in your hunger for spirituality and positivity, instead of finding it in the Bible, you’ll buy their books. Think about it: they make a profit off of teaching you “spiritual truths.” If, in your search for answers, you relied heavily or solely on Scripture, then you wouldn’t need their books and then there goes their millions.

These guys are smart. There is a successful business model in pursuing a pastoral career. Make yourself look good, be charismatic, don’t preach or emphasize the bible too much, be as cool as possible, as positive as possible, flatter as naturally as possible, give out free coffee, and your church will grow. When you’ve got a big following, then you pump out and market your books to them and bam, your chances at becoming a millionaire are deliciously accessible.

Caveat: Recently, I pulled my own spiritual books off of Amazon, leaving just my fantasy novel, and posting the relationship advice ones for free on Wattpad. I’m just not comfortable selling spiritual advice. The apostles said it was okay to survive off of the gospel, but that’s for missionary men and women to have their needs met, that wasn’t an affirmation for inspirational “pastors” to become rich off of the gospel, teaching and making disciples, and then living lavishly. In fact, Paul said specifically in his day there were many peddling the gospel and preaching for “dishonest gain” (2 Corinthians 2:17, Titus 1:11). And, there’s still lots of them today who hypocritically say, “Well, I got rich off of my books, not church tithes, so it’s okay if I spend this money lavishly on myself.” Can you imagine what Paul would say to some of these men? And many of them come out as having some serious sin or accept really, greedily high salaries.

See, there’s no reverence. There is no fear of God, which the bible says is the beginning of wisdom. Many in the church are walking around just as Paul warned us not to: foolishly, when he told us to be wise, knowing what is acceptable to the Lord (Ephesians 5:10). Many don’t even know these warnings about walking worthily (Ephesians 4:1; Colossians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 2:12), seeking if you’re behaving acceptably to God, even exist in the bible. I make my case: these men don’t want you to know they exist! Because then you might become “woke” to their fake-ness and greed, having the biblical discernment to see right through them and then totally pass on buying their books and other goodies.

God wants us to, “work out our salvation with fear and trembling,” (Philippians 2:12) because it’s “a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God,” (Hebrews 10:31).

Jesus said the path to destruction is wide and there are MANY who travel it, but the road leading to life is, “narrow and difficult” and there are “few who find it,” (Matthew 7:13-14).

I pray in Jesus’ name that you–and myself–are among the latter.

There’s only one cure for loneliness, and it isn’t popularity.

Flipping through the pages of a Billboard magazine I don’t remember subscribing to, I see lots of brightly dressed celebrities with large blue wigs and dyed pink hair–their get-ups resembling that of a super-hero film set in the seventies. I see several different photos of some of the same artists–each one their apparel getting all the more flamboyant–and it suddenly hits me: these poor souls are just desperate for attention. Any will do, be it positive or negative, commending or defaming, as long as someone is noticing them. These people crave it, live for it. They’re like fiends who can’t get enough strangers yelling their name’s and taking photos of them. They hope this will satisfy the hunger in their hearts, the gaping hole that eats at them every day, enlarging before they go to sleep at night. But it isn’t working. So they turn to drugs, to sex, to things that bring their bodies momentary pleasure. After a while, this too fails them. They think, ‘I know what I need to do: clean up my act, and get married.’ Most of the time, it only takes a year (sometimes even less than that), to realize even this doesn’t satisfy. So they tell themselves, ‘Wait! I know what will put an end to this burning desire: a family!’ They have a kid, or two, or six, and although the hole that consumes them is slightly numbed, it still isn’t pacified. “I don’t understand,” they say. “I have everything! Fame, riches, and a family. Why do I still feel this way? What could possibly be missing?” They can’t figure it out, or they refuse to cry out to the one they’ve ignored all their life, so despair consumes them, and they end their life.

This is the story of too many of them. I don’t need to say their names, we all know the famous suicides who had the entire world in their hands, and found it to not be enough. But I want to prevent those who are still with us today. The ones heading down that same road of destruction, that same empty road whose promises, in the end, never deliver the needed satisfaction.

Dear, Lady Gaga, I bring a message of hope. There is One that satisfies like the things of this world can’t. There is One who takes your brokenness, and pieces you back together again. There is One who gives you a never-ending supply of the most powerful force in the universe and in heaven itself–unconditional love. Pure love, untainted by the lies. A love that knows every sin you’ve ever committed, yet longs to forgive you for each one of them. His arms are open wide, He doesn’t care if you’ve murdered, lied, cheated, stolen, abused, blasphemed–if you will just turn to Him. Why gain the whole world, yet lose your own soul? Why live for the temporal, when your life is in His hands, and He decides when it ends? Why ignore judgement, as if you will escape it? Do you not know that God, “is a consuming fire,” and, “it is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God”? Demons tremble at the power of His name, darkness flees from His presence, it cannot stand against it. He is more powerful than everything you cling to, and if you’re not on His side, in the end, you will lose. Love cries out, it shouts from the mountains and echoes in the hills, “Come to Me, let Me make you new.”

Despite what you’ve encountered in this fallen world, His love for you is unchanging. Every second He grants you life, He gives you opportunity to come to Him, to surrender to His love. He brings glory and honor, if you only knew. The world and all its glory is fading, but the glory of Jesus Christ never fades.

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but it’s path ends in death.”

Choose life, choose love. He’s waiting.

My Holy Ghost Celebrity Hit List

So, I have a Holy Ghost Hit list (i.e. the people I pray come to Christ), and I have a few celebs that I pray for daily. Stefani Joanne (Lady Gaga), Jared Leto, Kim Kardashian, Katy Perry, Ryan Murphy and his casting director Robert Ulrich, along with his choreographer, Zach Woodle, The Jonas Brothers, and Beyonce. I’ve prayed for many celeb’s salvation, but these are the ones I pray for every day. I was wondering, if you’re a Christian, do you have any celebs on your Holy Ghost Hit list? I think it’s important to pray for celebrities, because when the flashing lights stop, and the screaming fans are gone, they are just as lost as anyone else without Christ. So, if you’re a believer and pray for celebrities, make my day and please share which ones God has laid on your heart.

Ignorant Christians

Ignorant Christians: One’s who try to defend Christianity without knowing the Bible.

This frustrates me because most of the time these Christians or, what Paul would call them, “immature” or baby Christians (in some cases, not even true Christians at all), end up misrepresenting God, despite if their point is valid. Why? Because they defend God while simultaneously disobeying God.

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.-Colossians 3:12-14

Always be humble and gentle.-Ephesians 4:2

And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way.-1 Peter 3:15-16

Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.-1 Timothy 1:5-7

Some of these Christians are simply immature i.e. they don’t read their Bible often or have just begun to read it, and they just need some growing to do. And others are not Christians at all.

In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.-1 John 3:10

Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.-1 John 3:15

Yes, there are people who stand around with hateful picket signs and burn crosses and hate their fellow man yet claim to be Christians. These people are liars and what the Bible calls murderers [at heart]. So please, next time you encounter one of those, just remember these verses and pray for them.

Back to the immature Christians. We need to be patient with people who do not believe that Jesus is God incarnate, that came to this earth to show them His love and to die in all of our places. Because if you truly love them, if you really trust in Jesus and believe every word He taught, you would have a compassion that suffers long. You would even weep for them because if you believe the Bible, you’d believe if they were to die tonight without trusting in Christ they’d be traveling to the place originally made for Satan and his angels. A place of torment and eternal separation from God.

And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.-2 Timothy 2:24

So pray for them, love them. For crying out loud, you used to be in their shoes! (If you were “raised Christian” I’d say check yourself because you may very well be in their shoes right now i.e. just because your family claims to be Christian that doesn’t mean you automatically are. Christianity means accepting you’ve missed the mark morally and need Jesus’ perfect sacrfice to be forgiven and to enter into present and eternal relationship with the Father. It’s a choice that you have to consciously make, it isn’t something you’re born into).

So Christians, read your Bibles and as James says, don’t simply be a hearer, but a doer as well. No, we’re not perfect and I’m not claiming to be either, I still have impatience issues when it comes to my work and getting stuff done, making time to serve others, thinking before speaking, amongst other things, but my point is, if you claim to love Jesus or maybe you’ve just given your life to Him, start to pursue knowing Him. And He’ll begin to change you with the only effort on your part being spending time with Him and getting to know Him. I didn’t make a conscious effort to quit drinking and cursing and to stop being quick tempered. He stripped those things away from me without me realizing until one day I stubbed a toe or something and cried, “Snap, crackle, pop!” instead of my usual F bomb and reflected on how many others things had changed. Let God do it. Then you won’t be like those who make Him look so bad =PP