Undergroundchurch Blog

Preparing the Church for the future

Posts Tagged ‘money’

Some Thoughts on the End Times – Part 1

Posted by undergroundchurch on October 1, 2009

I might as well do what everybody else seems to do and give a quick thought [teaching] on the End Times.

However, you probably won’t find this quite is comfortable sounding as the Sunday morning version.

Most End Time teaching basically follow this format.

  • The End Comes
  • The Church is Raptured
  • All chaos errupts
  • Jesus comes with all the believers and reigns a 1000 years
  • Final judgement
  • Everyone designated for Hell go there, those designated for Heaven, go there

I may have left out some detail, but you get the gist.

The biggest problem I personally have with this format is that

  1. It isn’t exactly a healthy and accurate assessement and
  2. It gives a false sense that the Church is not going to experience trouble

I call this Sunday morning approach the “Escapist Syndrome

Basically, the Book of Revelation is approached as a letter for those who are left behind.  What I find strange about that is that a large portion of the church teaching that I hear around the nation is on a subject that, according to the syndrome, doesn’t even apply to them.

2 Thessalonian 2:3 and 1 Timothy 4:1 along with other scriptures, speak of a “falling away” in the last days. This has to be about believers, because non-believers can’t fall away by definition. I have always thought that apathy would be the culprit, which may still be the case.  But I fear that there is going to be another unintended consequence to current teaching that will cause many to flee the faith.

There is a phobia, I believe, in pulpits to talk about bad things.  Blessings and prosperity, God’s best for your life, God loves you, all have their place, but we are inundated by an unhealthy amount of rose petal teaching. Even roses, though, have thorns, and the teachings of Jesus, Paul, James, and John do a much better job painting reality and have a much more balanced approach to understanding the end times than we American Christians pocesses.

The Right Balance

Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.” – Mark 4:16 and 17

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:35-40

Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” – Matthew 24:9-13

Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. – John 15:20

And I could go on and on.

I think that church leaders fear that if the truth of persecution, the reality of hard times, and the fate of being hated as Jesus was hated were preached from a pulpit, they wouldn’t fill the chairs on a Sunday morning, but I think that the greater disservice is not telling followers of Christ the truth.  Tough times are coming! The church in America will be one day like the church in China and North Korea having to hide their $10,000 signs and abandon the $20 million buildings.  It is only a matter of time.

But in it all, no matter what happens, Jesus prepared us for this inevitable outcome.  All the prayer in the world, though it may delay it, will not stop it because it is part of the Plan of God.

I will end this part with what I consider to be the problem facing the future church because of the methodology of church teaching today.

The falling away will most likely come from Christians who have succumbed to the escapism syndrome and when the persecution in American and other “free nations” comes, they will ask the question,

Why? Why didn’t you tell me?  Why did you get my hopes up?  Why didn’t you prepare me?”

And they simply won’t have the strength to stand up under the pressure because they will feel betrayed and misled.  They will think that Jesus is not ever coming back because they never thought they’d be thrown into a prison in America just because they gathered with like believers.  The concerns of their world will outweigh their perceived need for a savior.

They thought is was all about prosperity and glory, but will find that the reality of the coming of the Son of Man will be like the birth of a child.  It will be painful while the child prepares to arrive, but the joy for those that endure to the end will be like holding that little baby in the arms.  All the pain in the birthing process will quickly fade in the joy of a new life with Christ forever.


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Your Role in Life

Posted by undergroundchurch on May 4, 2009

There are really two attitudes you take in this life  – what can I get out of it and what can I do to make a difference. A shortened way of saying this is that you are either selfish or selfless.

You’re probably thinking, “that’s pretty narrow minded”, but the fact of the matter is that everything you do in life can be put in one of these two categories.  

The answer to the title of this blog starts with your attitude.  If you are the selfish type, you will look at life for what you can get out of it.  Many of the people that live life in this category honestly don’t want to be here, and they get into a endless cycle that keeps them returning to an attitude of selfishness. 

By nature, mankind is bent toward the selfish approach to life.  It was the very thing that got Adam and Eve into trouble.

 “[Eve] saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it and gave somet to her husband who was with her and he ate it too.” Genesis 3:6

The selfsish person is one that feeds off the system… whatever that system may be. For example, these are the people that attend church and do nothing about being active in the church.  These are the people that live for themselves and spend all their untaxed money on themselves.  These are the people that, though they may hurt for those in need, really do little to nothing about it. Everything tends to be about them.  

The other attitude is quite different because though they may have their moments of selfishness, for the most part they act selfless.  They take on a ministry in a church, they feed the hungry, give money like it grows on trees, they invest in other people and like the selfless person, they hurt for the hurting and do something about it. And when things happen to them, they don’t take it personal instead seeing the bigger picture.

The best part of all this is that you determine your attitude.  Yes, you can change your role in life.  Our pastor mentioned this week that Charles Stanley once said that the one thing in your life you have complete control over is your attitude. You can’t blame anybody but yourself for your attitude in life. Read the story of Joseph in the Bible.  Very few people were hurt by others like he was, yet his attitude was always one of selflessness.

I have been in both arenas in my life.  At times, I fluctuate back and forth between them.  But on the whole, I strive to live a selfless life.

A motto I repeat to myself every so often to remind myself of my purpose is, “What can I do to make you better off than you were a minute ago.”  When I think like this, it tends to take the focus off of me and changes my attitude.  

The result is that when I please myself, my feeling of satisfaction is usually brief and unfulilling. When I meet others needs and bring a little light into their lives, I get a deeper, richer and more profound feeling of satisfaction that lasts much longer and really makes a difference in my role in life.

Posted in Living, Quick Thoughts | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Church vs. the Money Hungry Government

Posted by undergroundchurch on April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Ok, I know that the title of this article is a bit strong, but the reality remains; we have a very money hungry government that is about to go on a binge.

Let’s look at some facts:

According to the CBO (Congressional Budget Office), the recently passed $789 billion spendulus bill that was supposed to stimulate the economy will cost an actual $3.27 Trillion over the next 10 years.  The main reason is that it contains items that will have to be renewed annually and a cool $744 billion in debt servicing (interest and the like). Source

That’s like buying a house for $100,000 which will actually cost you $220,000 over the next thirty years because of interest.  Only the building project ran into overruns and you end up paying $200,000 for the house.  Now it is going to cost you $400,000 for that $100,000 house and you have to pay it back in 10 years, not 30 years. To make matters worse, this is a house that you won’t even use.  You already pay for a house somewhere else that you can’t afford; now you are adding to your debt load.

At some point, you won’t even be able to pay the interest on the loans you have with the money you have coming in.  You will need to find new sources of income. 

This is where the government is right now.  They are adding huge amounts of debt at an astonishing rate.  It will break the bank and the government will be forced to look for new sources of income.  Now where can they look?

The rich are always a nice source to tap.  Only problem there is that there are not a whole lot of them around, and that well is going to run dry eventually.  The rich will only allow themselves to be shafted so long and then is astalavista baby. Don’t forget that it is the rich that employ the rest of us.

We know they will never raise the tax on the lower and middle class.  They are the voters that keep them in office.  They are the recipients of all the government prize money. The only thing they will do is lower the top end of the middle class definition, but not too much.  They want to stay in power. (A little sarcasm I know, but it is true)

What other source is available?  What about groups and organizations that don’t pay taxes like non-profits and churches.  It’s time they step up and contribute.

There are two ways the government will do this.  First, they will lower or remove altogether the tax deductible nature of the charitable donation.  Second, they will tax non-profits (including churches) according to their income. 

We will discuss how this is going to unfold in my next article.

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