I was sitting on my couch while my grandson Noah ate a tomato, a red, white and blue Popsicle, a small plastic cup of extra large Virginia peanuts in Sea Salt, and a grilled cheese sandwich. We were in between pool visits at the condo complex where Donna and I currently reside. We had to vacate for a couple hours because the pool was being shocked with chlorine because of all the rain that has fallen here the last week.
As I sat on the couch this thought flashed in my mind: “The American Dream is killing American Christianity, or Christians in America.”
“What on earth are you saying Kevin?” I am so glad you asked!
Please remember, God told Adam and Eve that if they ate the forbidden fruit they would die. Of course the devil caused them to doubt what God clearly communicated. They ate but they did not physically die. Instead, they died spiritually in the sense they cut themselves off from the sweet spiritual fellowship they had enjoyed with God in the Garden. They were literally the original walking dead. Are you dead and don’t know it?
God has a dream for every person on the planet. Years ago in the church my wife Donna and I pastored for 16 years we had a young girl that went to heaven in her spirit. What she experienced was mind blowing. She saw and spoke with Jesus and He took her to His bedroom. She reported that she was shocked and said to Jesus, “Why do you have a bedroom? The Bible says that you never sleep nor slumber.” Jesus responded to her saying, “That is true! But I wanted you to see where I dream about you.”
God has dreams about us?
God has dreams for us?
Is this true?
I believe that He does dream about us and have dreams for us. Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
Granted, this verse does not have the word dream in it but it clearly communicates God had foreknowledge [prepared beforehand [in advance]] of what our purpose in life would be.
The question is this – which dream [plan, purpose] are you chasing – the American Dream or God’s Dream?
If those two are one and the same then glory to God! If they are not then . . .
Jesus said this, “36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? 37 For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” [Mark 8]
Losing one’s soul can mean more than one thing but I am convinced it means losing the very essence of who God created the person to be and what they were saved to do.
There is so much compromise and corruption in the organized Christian church that it is no wonder the world we live in is winning the war for the hearts and minds of the planet’s population. It is one thing to have so much compromise and corruption in the world’s systems and structures but to have them so prevalent in God’s system and structure is unconscionable.
According to Scripture Christians are supposed to be in the world but not of the world. Yet, instead of infiltrating and transforming the world the world continues to infiltrate and transform the church by infecting Christians with the ways of the world. In fact, James said wanting to be like the world makes a person an enemy of God [See James 4:4]. The English version of James’ wording is this: “Makes himself an enemy of God.”
Yes, God has enemies contrary to what some would have us believe!
The word ‘himself’ is not in the Greek so it reads this way: “Makes an enemy of God.” The Greek word for ‘makes’ means to appoint, ordain, set in place or position.
The person making themselves friends with the world has the creative ability to make themselves into an enemy of God. ‘Enemy’ in the Greek literally means to be in opposition to God, or to be the opposite of God, to be an adversary to God like Satan, to be hostile to divine government.
Jesus said, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” [Luke 6:46]
What is He saying?
What are you saying in what you are chasing?
I don’t know about you but to me that does not look or sound like a very good place to be!
James was writing to people who were God’s kids. We know this because of what he wrote in chapter 1:
“1 James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings.
2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
One may think that James was writing to dispersed Jews. He was not. Here is why I say that:
- “Brethren” means from the womb and unless unsaved Jewish people are clearly in the text the word refers to Christians [See Romans 9:3; Hebrews 7:5].
- He would not have encouraged unbelieving Jews to allow the testing of their faith to produce endurance because they had not exercised faith in God or His plan of salvation in the Person of His Son the Lord Jesus Christ.
- He would not have written to unbelieving Jews to let endurance produce in them perfection [full grown, mature, reached their fulfilled and finished character], and complete [in all its parts, free from sin, entirely whole in spirit, soul and body].
- He would not have written to unbelieving Jews telling them they lacked nothing [being inferior in any way]. By the way, Jews thought they were God’s only kids and that they lacked nothing as it pertained to their relationship to God [See John 8].
The American organized church has some decisions to make as it pertains to who they want to be friends with!
Jesus said this about who His friends were, “You are My friends if you do what I command you.” [John 15:14]
In fact, He told those Jews who believed Him that to be His disciple they had to continue in His Word [John 8:31].
Jesus did not mean read the Scriptures daily. It means being continually transformed by the Word of God and the God of the Word.
By the way, the whole point of Christianity is discipleship to the Lordship of Jesus, not just a conversion [See Matthew 18:3; 28:19; Mark 10:15; Luke 18:17 – Study the words ‘children’ and ‘child’ in MT 18:3; MK 10:15: LK 18:17 – In fact do a study on the different meanings of the 4 words for ‘child’ in the New Testament].
So many American Christians are chasing the wrong dream for their life and in doing so are in danger of leaving a legacy of mediocrity, if not outright compromise and corruption to their children and their children’s children.
It is interesting to me that people of great faith and small financial portfolios are considered failures in today’s American Dream church construct, but Scripture tells us something entirely different.
“Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?”
The Greek word for ‘poor’ in this verse is the same Matthew used in chapter five verse three where he wrote that Jesus said this, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
It is interesting isn’t it that Jesus began teaching His disciples about kingdom life in an Old Testament Jewish culture with the recognition that without God you are spiritually bankrupt. Many of those He taught that day were financially well off.
Possibly two decades later, James, Jesus’ half brother [same mother different father] who was not present when Jesus taught the Sermon on the Mount, writes those who are the spiritually richest are some of the most materially poorest people on the planet. My how times and priorities have changed!
The inheritance a righteous man is to leave to his children’s children has been reduced to material things which are temporary. Why isn’t great faith considered precious in the sight of God’s people anymore? Why do so many of God’s people see giving their children an advantage in life is more about natural and material things instead of spiritual things such as a sold out life to Christ, and a lifestyle of unmitigated faith in Him and faithfulness to Him?
It seems Christians have allowed the world to dictate the priorities for so many of the people of “faith.”
Keep in mind faith means complete trust in and fidelity to – God – at ALL costs! What does it cost to be Jesus’ disciple? EVERYTHING! Salvation is free to the one receiving it – Jesus paid for it in full! Discipleship to the Lordship of Jesus means the person forfeits all rights to their life to Jesus – He paid for that privilege!
Please do not misunderstand what I am saying. I am not anti-prosperity for Christians or even Christian ministers and ministries. There are abuses within both sides of the prosperity and anti-prosperity Christian camps. What I am getting at in this Blog is your dream, your dream life, and your pursuit of it.
There are those who even take the easy road to Christian licensing or ordination by purchasing theirs online.
Instead of accepting the process and responsibilities kingdom culture [God’s dream] requires they take the world’s way [a short cut] of getting licensed or ordained by doing an online search and paying for it.
When we have not prepared by paying the necessary price pressure causes us to compromise [take the road of least resistance]. Compromise more times than not leads to corruption.
This may not be exclusively an American way but it is indicative of where Christianity is in the world. It is a very sad commentary of the compromise and corruption so many “believers” have settled in, and for.
Think about this for a moment. Only in a compromised condition would someone think it is okay to purchase online a license or ordination to do Christian ministry. Is a person who does that submitted in a tangible way to the person or organization who sold them the license or ordination? Is it a one time fee or a yearly fee? Where in Scripture does a person seek ordination? Doesn’t God have a say who represents Him in ministry?
To me it is the same as “gaming the system.”
It makes me wonder if those who take the easy way to licensing or ordination would hire or use a doctor, lawyer, plumber, electrician, contractor, jet pilot, or any other number of normal jobs and professions where the person purchased their license online instead of earning it through the relevant educational and training process.
It certainly speaks to the lack of honor, respect, and value people, even Christian people, have for ministries and ministers.
In a time of God ordained personal transition 20 years ago I was offered an opportunity to get ordained from an organization I had no relationship with. The people I was relating to did not ordain ministers and they recommended that I use the organization as they had a relationship with the leaders of that organization. I chose not to go that route and instead waited on God trusting the kingdom way would work out. A few years later someone senior to me in age and years of ministry contacted me about ordination and I was re-ordained by someone who valued me, my call and my current place in God. I received an immediate upgrade in several areas. One being revelation in God’s word began exploding in my spirit.
Jesus said this to His original disciples and all who would hear what He was teaching. I wonder how this sermon would be received today in most modern, especially American, organized churches.
“10 ‘He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? 12 And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? 13 No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.’
14 Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and were scoffing at Him.
15 And He said to them, ‘You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.
16 The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.'”
Many marvelous things are detailed in this discourse. I will start at verse sixteen and work my way back to verse ten.
Verse 16 – “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.”
Keep in mind John’s voice [message] was the first the natural Jew had heard in over four hundred years [Malachi to John the Baptist]. Jesus is revealing in verse sixteen, 1] God’s kingdom arrived with John. Remember John preached, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is here” just like Jesus, 2] God’s kingdom was not static but advancing even then, 3] People were doing what was necessary to not miss out on what God was doing, and 4] John began the messaging of the kingdom of God’s ministry in the earth [gospel of Jesus Christ].
This is also what Mark wrote in chapter one of his gospel.
1″ The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
‘Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You, who will prepare Your way; 3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.’
4 John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 And all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. 6 John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist, and his diet was locusts and wild honey. 7 And he was preaching, and saying, “After me One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals. 8 I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” [I exegete John’s lifestyle and apparel in my Book, Welcome to the Wilderness]
It is interesting to me Mark reveals the gospel of Jesus Christ includes the baptism in the Holy Spirit [Verse 8].
Verses 14, 15 – “14 Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and were scoffing at Him. 15 And He said to them, ‘You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.'”
Man pleasers and man pleasing abounds in the modern American Dream church.
And it can be traced many times to pursuing a paycheck, position and or promotion!
One of the attributes of a Pharisee is they talk a great game but are horrible at playing it. In Texas there is a saying, “That person is all hat and no cattle.” Growing up my mom had a Chihuahua named Sheba who was ferocious when a door separated her from the person approaching it. Once the door opened she either ran for cover or rolled over to have her belly rubbed.
Are you ferocious behind the door? Have you run for cover? Have you rolled over to have someone rub your belly?
Jesus called them out on the fact that they may have fooled the people but they had not fooled the Father. How many people who claim to love God and are serving Him are serving Him for what they can get out of it not what the people they serve are getting out of it. Also, the religious system was so corrupt in Jesus day those in positions of authority had gotten there by intrigue instead of integrity. Some things never change do they?
Verses 10-13 – “10 ‘He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? 12 And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? 13 No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.'”
This is a classic text on commitment to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Faithfulness in insignificant things includes things that do not garner the attention or praise of men but gets God’s attention. Now you can see why the Pharisees were listening closely. Jesus taught His disciples in the Sermon on the Mount that if their righteousness did not exceed the scribes and Pharisees they would never enter the kingdom He said was given to the poor in spirit [Matthew 5:20,3]
The Pharisees had perverted the privilege to be the keepers of God’s Word yet were preaching and teaching from a commentary of a commentary of what God had said [written]. And they did not even abide by their own compromised teachings they were so compromised and corrupt. They were being weighed in the balance of God’s divine justice and had been found wanting. And they knew it and were growing more incensed about it.
Jesus called wealth unrighteous! How can that be? Is wealth unrighteous? What if it had been earned legally, ethically and morally? Well, if it was earned by someone who did not glorify God in earning it or who was selfishly spending on themselves instead of using it to further the advancement of God’s kingdom then absolutely it is unrighteous.
I am reminded of a parable Jesus told that illustrates this perfectly, at least to me it does.
16 And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive. 17 And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ 18 Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”‘
20 But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ 21 So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
There is so much I could write about this parable such as God called this man a fool when Jesus said that was not allowed [See Matthew 5:22]. Also, those who are enriching themselves and who are not rich toward God will leave what they accumulated to “who knows.”
Taking it easy was not what God had in mind for the man who was mindless in his eternal preparation.
Remember, all the silver and gold is God’s so how we steward what He entrusts to us reveals how much He can trust us with “true riches.” True riches? What on earth, I mean in heaven, are true riches?
In the Greek the word riches is not in the text. So, what Jesus said is, “Who will entrust the [what is] true to you?”
The word ‘true’ in the Greek speaks of possessing the real nature of what is entrusted as well as the person who entrusted it to you. The juxtaposition of what is unrighteous with what is true is compelling. True riches as compared to what compromised people consider wealth was to provide a clear path to divine purpose [God’s dream] for those Jesus was addressing. True riches could also mean things that are eternal instead of temporary. Maybe true riches are mainly spiritual, not material.
Next, Jesus emphasized the importance of honor for others and their stuff. He stated a person that could not be trusted with what belonged to another person COULD NOT be trusted with their own stuff. In other words, if we will not honor the person who gave or lent us something then God is not required to honor us with our own stuff. It would be foolish of God to entrust things that are valuable with a person who has no value for what was valuable to someone else.
Maybe that is why so many “believers” work so hard to obtain more stuff! Selah
Jesus concludes by emphatically stating God would not allow a person to serve Him and mammon [material things and the spirit that makes it a priority]. “You CANNOT serve God and mammon!” I hope you heard what Jesus said. Jesus did not say, “You will not serve God and mammon.” He said, “You cannot serve God and mammon” which to me means even when people believe they are they are not because God refuses to share the glory with an unholy spirit called mammon.
What dream are you chasing – American or God’s? You cannot chase both unless God says the dream you are chasing is the one He prepared for you and is preparing you for.
Receive and steward God’s passion, power, presence, priority, process, promises, protection, provision, pruning, purging, purity, and purpose!
Dr. Kevin M. Drury, DMin
A radical spiritual revolutionary
Revolution Movement Co-Founder
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