(Or, How I Almost Got Lost in a Dream)
I must be an idiot. I should have known something was up when a mega-church minister from India came to me and bragged about how he never attended Seminary or Bible school. He said he didn’t need to because he had the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to guide him. I don’t judge ministers by their resumes. I’ve met some who had impressive resumes and could care less about the people around them. And, I’ve met ministers without formal training who loved people and did amazing things in Jesus’ name. So I wasn’t bothered with the no formal background comment. For some strange reason my new friend saw his lack of education as a plus. I should have seen his boasting as a red flag.
The other red flag? Along with the boasting came a big vision with a little bribe attached to it. My overseas Pastor friend had big dreams. He wants to build an empire, 200 churches throughout the world all connected to him. My little church would get in on the ground floor. We would grow and prosper by latching onto his coattails. Everybody wins. But wait, there’s more. He needed an employee in the USA to help him make his dream come true. And that employee would be well compensated.
Just like that, all of my dreams seemed to come true. My little church, struggling for people and money, would be restored to its former glory. My own pocketbook, too often empty, would suddenly bulge with well-endowed paychecks. And I would be a part of a grand world-wide vision that could become like; dare I say… The Billy Graham Crusade!!!
All right, calm down Bill. Take long, deep breaths.
Every crazy dream flashed before my eyes. That’s how you get caught. All you see is the grand vision stretched out before your eyes. You reach out for it, and the fisherman starts to set the hook… But thank God, I wiggled off the line before I could be reeled in.
A friend told me to look closer at the visiting Pastor’s website. I started to click on every link I could find, and there it was. Good old fashioned Christian heresy.
“Adam voluntarily handed over his crown and throne to satan when he chose to obey satan and disobey God. From then satan became the god of this world. The present situation is such that God cannot interfere directly in the affairs of this world. He needs a legal and logical basis to do so. That is the reason God wants us to pray for everything. If God interferes in the affairs of this world, satan can and will question God "why are you encroaching into my territory?"
Huh? God the creator can’t act in our world? Without getting permission from satan? Huh?
Or should I say; D’oh!
No need to quote anymore. This guy is a whack job.
Well, after I read lots of stuff like the above on his website, I told my Indian mega-church friend; thanks but no thanks. Time for you to head back to India. And time for me to get back to reality.
Too many times, we allow our emotions to cloud our judgments. Because our day dreaming feels good, and our hopes for the future can give us a temporary high, we can get caught in the snares of the enemy. It has happened twice in my ministry. The first time, false dreams almost destroyed me. This time it has come and gone very quickly with little damage done. For some, temptation arrives with false promises of material gain and emotional fulfillment. For me, temptation comes out of my desire to be a successful minister. A worthy goal, turned into the tempters snare.
Oh well, my big dreams will have to wait for another day. Right now, I have the people in my small church to take care of. This is the dream that is very real.
God bless you,