Ban Preacher Greed!

Brother Bear's Bully Pulpit
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The Lord would say unto a certain caustic-tongued preacher who has failed to grow in the knowledge of My Love: I warn you not to hurt My precious lambs out in the pews, or over the air.  You have taken liberties with the tender hearts of my beloved children, even those who cannot discern truth from error.  They stand in awe of you, and latch onto your every word. They are too afraid of you to question anything you say, for many of them are immature and not yet well-trained in the Word of God.


 “Brother Bear”, you have allowed pride and presumption to enter into your life. You have even placed yourself as judge over My people who are suffering trials of deep humiliation, although I said in My Word: Who are you to judge another (Romans 14:4)? And, with the same measure you judge, you shall also be judged (Matthew 7:1-5). Repent of this haughty attitude, or I shall have to allow you to experience some of the same adversity you despise others for enduring.


You condemn as slothful the poor, even those who set their affections on things above and can truthfully say their inheritance is not of this world.  But I said “Blessed are ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of God (Luke 6:20).”


But you have reviled the poor (James chapter 2), although My Holy Word makes it clear that I have chosen the poor of this world Who genuinely love Me and rely on Me.  These people, so despised by you,  have been blessed with an extra measure of faith (verse 5).  Though poor in this world’s goods they are heirs of My eternal Kingdom.   Yet you lump them all together as leeches on society, worthless bums who produce nothing and “are just a drain on church resources.” You even take a grudging attitude toward keeping a church pantry for the needy and really think feeding the saints ought to be limited to “spiritual food”, although Jesus divided the loaves and the fishes for a huge crowd as an object lesson to teach them I care for the poor and the hungry. Your real concern is that “spiritual bread” costs less money to break to your flock than material bread.  But James said:  “What good does it do to speak a blessing over your needy brother or sister, unless you also demonstrate practical concern for their bodily needs (James 2:15-16)”?


You’re being inconsistent, aren’t you, Brother Bear?  You say spiritual food is more important, so preaching  the Word to hearts is a much more valuable task to the Kingdom of God than feeding  hungry mouths.  Still, you set at nought the spiritual contributions made by the poorer saints, just because they aren’t paid for serving the Lord in dollars and cents like you are. But their blessed deeds of devotion are infinitely more precious in My sight than filthy lucre is to you. My Son gave His all to enable people to render such service to Me.


I have  saints nation-wide and worldwide who are poor in this world’s goods but rich in good works, and already have treasure laid up in heaven. They pray for your ministry, among others.  A few of them even fast, and when these humble souls do eat, their food isn’t nearly so fine as yours. Some of them sing in the choir, or help out in the nursery. Some teach Sunday School, or visit the sick.  And you’ve got the gall to categorize all poor people as worthless bums!


You lambast your people for their overindulgence in fine food and other luxuries.  Yet you look down on   casually dressed folks and say they don’t have enough self-respect to “dress for success” to help them focus on becoming “prosperous”.  Just what do you mean by that?


Most likely you would even have despised My appearance, for I was not so smartly decked out as you.  And guess what?  I supplied the wine for a very  special party, and even sampled some of it  myself.  I was accused by ascetic religious leaders of being a “winebibber and a glutton”.  I consorted with harlots and publicans, and, most shocking of all,  I wore a beard and sandals, definitely not in keeping with your code of “conservative values”. You would indeed have considered Me, the Son of God, just another lazy hippie bum  because the day came when I quit toiling in  My carpenter shop and became an itinerant preacher who went forth to spread the Good News of the Kingdom of God, living strictly by faith in  My Father’s provision. You would call Me irresponsible because I quit My secular job before I had saved sufficient funds  to finance My ministry for the forthcoming fiscal year.


And what would you have thought of John the Baptist?  With his humble garment and shaggy hair, he was hardly an advertisement for your “success gospel”, which the church borrowed from the world to conform the church TO the world!  That unpolished prophet would have been whisked out of your air-conditioned, sanitized sanctuary before he got a word in edgewise.  Rather than preaching the Gospel of Get he said: “Let those who have food or extra clothes share with those who have none.”  Jesus told the rich young ruler to “sell all that you have and give to the poor.”  THEN, “come, follow me.” Neither Jesus nor John ever  jetted around in champagne luxury to tourist traps, such as you’ve done in the past.  Instead of saddling their congregations with a burdensome mortgage in the name of “Christian commitment”, they held church under the open sky.


You roar against the worldliness of the saints,  but what is more worldly in My sight  than to Christianize the most lucrative of the world’s values?  You worship at the altar of monetary prosperity.  You condemn adultery, pornography, and juvenile delinquency, but what about covetousness?  Don’t you covet the “firstfruits” of other people’s paychecks, and compete for first dibs on what your “targeted donor pool” sets aside for TV ministries?  And then you turn round and lampoon poor people for “living below their privileges”.  You contemptuously view such souls as unworthy of My Love.  You think just because they’re struggling financially  they must be suffering My punishment for sin in their lives. Just what do you demand of them? What do you think they must do to live on a par with their so-called privileges? Become just like you, a man  whose angry  face and angrier tongue belie your pleasurable circumstances?


People on public assistance are one of your favorite targets.  Leeches on society, you call them. Welfare queens. People looking for an easy ride! But look at yourself, with all  your shameless appeals for money, money, money, and ever more money. Your kind are the biggest welfare recipients of all, but it’s respectable because you do it in the name of “God”!!


You commit yourself to exorbitant purchases “for the kingdom of God”, then go crying and begging on TV, expecting your “partners in ministry” to bail you out of a debt you incurred without first consulting them.  Have you ever once tried the same tonic you prescribe for others, tightening your belt and “being a responsible steward”?  Must your ministry always run on the latest technology, or are you just keeping up a prosperous front? Why not just postpone your next luxury cruise to the Lands of the Bible, or make your old suit do an extra year? How about a little macaroni and cheese instead of all those fancy restaurant meals? It won’t kill you! How about driving a used car to make it easier to catch up on your bills? Won’t a cheaper watch tell you it’s time to start your service? I am no respecter of persons. I think religious opportunists fishing for funds in fancy attire have much more to apologize for than jobless  people in faded denims!


Now the shoe’s on the other foot!  How does it feel to be on the receiving end of correction for a change? If you think you’re above being reproved through My humble mouthpiece, you are failing My test of humility and need to seek My forgiveness for pride as well.


How dare you treat My precious children like scavenging dogs!  You have never once walked one mile in the shoes of the people out in the pews!  No,  not since the days of your youth; especially  not since your rise to nationwide prominence as an “expositor of the Word of God”!


What practical use do you make of your Bible?  You wave it above your head to show your underlings who’s boss, then you glare menacingly at them and lay into the “laity” (a man-made distinction in My Body).  You turn the House of the Lord into one  vast woodshed to beat My poor people who must struggle from  paycheck to paycheck so you can skim the  “tithes” off their gross income, plus offerings.  That amounts to bondservice to you, their rich overlord.  Many of them cede to you at least one-seventh or one-eighth of their after-taxes take-home pay BEFORE they even put food on their own tables to feed their own families!  How does THAT square with My teaching that I would rather have mercy than sacrifice! And even though I never ONCE commanded New Testament saints to tithe on money, you threaten them with My retribution if they don’t!


Have you ever once really gotten to know one of your poorer listeners, either in your palatial sanctuary or out in TV Land?  Do you even know how ordinary folk live, or has your affluence blinded you to the way  everyday people must  struggle to survive?  Do you know what it is to set aside your own well-being and carry the sorrows of the afflicted, like the Good Shepherd does?  More than one of your listeners has suffered devastating health problems, or is struggling to raise children alone as a single parent. Many a poor woman cries herself to sleep at night because she’s lost her husband to death or divorce, or perhaps the fellow has run away from his responsibilities as husband and father, and has left her to carry the whole load alone. She dreads the bills the morning mail may bring.  She wonders how she’ll ever meet her rent and child care expenses, how she’ll keep her lights on, how she’ll put food on the table or buy decent school clothes. Her life is a wearisome treadmill. She wonders how long her stamina will last, until the day comes she is too sick to work and might become homeless or destitute. Are you going to call such precious souls lazy just because satan has sent the devourer to sap their physical and financial health and strength?


Once I heard you bellowing:  “There’s twelve hours in a working day,  six working days, and 72 hours in a working  week!  Get to work!” You looked mad, but my, you enjoyed that. But how hard do YOU work, privileged one? I don’t see YOU slaving at a secular job 72 hours a week, Brother Bear. And when people do put in very long working hours, you gripe about how they  neglect their marriages and their kids and fail  to spend “quality time”  with them. Are you so poor at math that you can’t subtract your ideal working week from what’s left? Do YOU have lots of time to be with YOUR family, or are you a slave to the clock; someone who hates his monotonous way of life but who is expected to drag himself out of bed half-rested, then work two jobs.  Why?  Well, it isn’t cheap to  maintain that image of “prosperity” you demand of people.  Some NEED an extra paycheck in order  to  “tithe” on the first one and still have enough money to pay spiraling rent on an apartment which is barely lived in.  It’s just a spot for the slave to crash for a few short hours before a screeching alarm clock rings and  the same old grind starts again!


You really think money should come with great difficulty for everybody else except  those “in ministry”.  After all, grueling toil is the price tag for being descended from sinful Adam and Eve.  But you’re just as sinful as anybody in your congregation, and deep inside you know it, Brother Bear. Still, you have no qualms about enjoying YOUR fine clothes, YOUR perks, YOUR regular jaunts (first-class, of course) to the Holy Land to “get closer to Jesus”. But all you want is to go there to get a religious buzz.  How can you get to know Jesus better  if you refuse to see Me in the faces of the poor who fill your pews, or in the aching weariness of the tired grey masses trekking home each night from their very unglamorous jobs?


No, I don’t see YOU swinging a hammer or waiting on cranky customers in restaurants, or driving a bus. I don’t see YOU sitting up all night with a sick child before having to go to work early the next morning. Rather,  I see you pleading over the air to “prove God” by sending in your best offering, and you’ll gladly  reward the givers with a cheap trinket to say “thank you” for your “love gift to Jesus”.


How demanding you are, like Pharaoh. He reached the point where he demanded his slaves go find their own straw to make bricks with, and doubled their quota too.  You wouldn’t be bothered by some young mother being so overburdened by long working hours she scarcely has time to see her children. You don’t care if some  elderly woman  skips a couple of meals to “save your ministry”. My people are mortgaged to the hilt, and harnessed to the expenses of your ministry.  They can’t be everywhere at once, yet I hear you bellowing about  their lack of service “to the Lord”, their reluctance to get involved in church activities and personal evangelism.  I hear you whining about how the saints are “at ease in Zion”.


But if anybody’s at ease, it’s you and other “shepherds” who fleece the flock.  You hypocrite!  Any wise shepherd  will let his animals wear their own wool in the winter to keep warm, so they won’t perish from cold.  But you are cold-hearted enough to fleece My flock at all seasons, regardless of the sad shape they’re in.  You couldn’t care less about their sorrows.  You’re like one of those Simon Legree slave drivers of the Old South who  refused to provide medical care and proper food for his slaves, reasoning that it was cheaper to wear out a slave and replace him, than to waste resources to care for him.  You know that when people get fed up enough to stop coming to your services, other trusting souls who don’t know any better will take their place out in the pews!


Your sour face masks the enjoyment you get out of your  ministry of meanness. You make a real meal of it, don’t you, Brother Bear?  Speaking of eating, you made an attack on your women disciples who aren’t skinny enough to suit you. Why do you think female fat is a deadlier sin than YOUR fat?


How dare YOU, of all people, preach on physical fitness, or berate people for not fasting enough for your ministry?  YOUR bank account has gotten so fat from fleecing the poor and profiteering off people’s ignorance  that I think it’s a far greater sin to be a fatcat than a stout woman. I much prefer to see someone raid the fridge to dig  into a pint of Haagen-Dazs and “enjoy the guilt” than to see the likes of you raiding widow’s houses and digging into innocent Christians’ consciences and pockets, then enjoying all the guilt trips you lay on people who genuinely desire a closer walk with Me. People who desperately hope and pray  I am not really like you!


Where, oh  where do you ever once read that I  hold women to this world’s measurements of beauty while excusing men from them? Show Me the Scripture! Have YOU looked in the mirror lately, and judged YOURSELF against your own narrow definition of physical fitness?  Remember what I said about first getting rid of the log in your own eye before picking at the speck in your neighbor’s eye! You get my drift. Your sexist double standards wound emotionally vulnerable women who have already been burnt by the Establishment’s dieting and slimness manifesto.  They don’t need to have more of that demonic drivel   crammed down their throats at church.  Rather, the fellowship of the saints is supposed to be a refuge from the oppression of the carnal  cultural edicts of a sex-crazed, money-mad world system.  A system which manipulates the minds of the masses and profits off the very same insecurities it instills in them.  You prefer your pews to be full of “successful-looking” saints whose outward appearance advertises the popular  Prosperity doctrine which has served you so well. Trim and businesslike, smart-looking, reassuringly refined and “nice”.


Well, the hour on My prophetic clock is precariously late  and I don’t have time to put up with your perverse games anymore.  I’m not going to waste My precious time mincing words, either. I have said the things which are highly esteemed in the sight of man are an abomination in My sight (Luke 16:15).  That includes the self-aggrandizement and snobbery of mankind; all its egotistical pride in wealth, social status, or glamor.


I genuinely suspect you’d feel frustrated if your parishioners were closer to perfection than yourself.  It delights you to make them squirm as you  snarl abuse down at them and rob them not only of their human dignity but  the contents of their wallets. Now I’m going to shout back at you, Brother Bear:  Before you come back to My table demanding dessert,  let your poor slaves eat!


When you invent new ways to heap  condemnation on My people you hinder My own work of healing bruised hearts. At present, I’m not getting much help from you. Nothing frustrates my grace more than some sharp-tongued preacher ripping into sensitive souls which really need the Oil of Joy for the spirit of heaviness,  the healing balm of the Love of Christ for emotional bruises, and the Power of the Blood of the Lamb to gain victory over every assault of the enemy, including nagging feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy.  Don’t you dare deny that My people are precious in My sight, or bring them under bondage to condemnation.  They are My heritage which I have purchased with My own precious  Blood.


You have used your chastening rod to drive many sheep back out into the wilderness of the world. With force and with cruelty you have ruled them (Ezekiel 34:4).  People just got so disgusted with your vituperative tongue and continual carping that they left to go look for a new guru. These unstable souls were unable to differentiate between bullies in the pulpit and Christ, Who is meek and lowly in heart; the gentle, merciful Savior Whose yoke is easy and Whose burden is light.


Your greatest delight has been not to show forth My love, but to “give lukewarm Christians a kick in the pants to spur them on to greater holiness”.  But that is not My way.  I am a loving Father, not a  slave driver wielding a whip.


There were times you actually forgot all about the offering and felt like your motives for performing your ministry were noble, and no one else could fill your place.  In the beginning people thought your approach was like a breath of fresh air, after all the mealy-mouthed, double-tongued preachers they’d listened to before.  Until your words hit home hard and hurt them too much.


In your misguided  zeal you have laid many grievous burdens upon My precious sheep, which I never authorized you to do. Yet you would never touch one of these burdens with a ten-foot pole (Matthew 23:4). Just how long could you last, if I placed on your neck just one of the burdens so many of My people “out in the pews” are under? Could YOU work a nurse’s double shift, or slave on an assembly line all day?  How could YOU cope with feeling like your precious years were going down the drain and you felt frustrated, and saw yourself as just another cog in a machine at some factory,  living to work, rather than working to live ? How would YOU feel if YOUR boss fired you for some trivial reason, and YOU spent many weary weeks searching for a new job? Why should  poor people have to suffer your caustic criticisms on top of everything else they have to contend with daily!!!!!


Brother Bear, you’re at it again from your bully pulpit.  In times past you’ve lambasted My people over the head with misapplied Scriptures and vain traditions of men in order to FORCE them to pay unscriptural “tithes” on their paychecks and wages.  With FORCE and with CRUELTY many fat, well-fed  pharaohs have ruled My people (Ezek.34:4). Brother Bear, you’ve even threatened My people with the fires of hell for “robbing god” (yourself?) and you’ve sent many hard-working single moms and unemployed parents to bed weeping that I couldn’t give to them unless they shelled out the cash FIRST to PAY for those blessings. The riches of My infinite love which I FREELY share with My beloved children have been substituted for EARTHLY prosperity which I SELL to fearful, cringing, begging slaves in exchange for painful sacrifices!


Your LATEST vendetta is against stay-at-home dads who lovingly babysit their own kids instead of toiling at some  “secular” job.  Which planet are you on, anyway? Are you so out of touch with this economic recession that you begrudge some family the extra income a better-educated and better-qualified wife can bring in?  The Virtuous Woman of Proverbs 31 was capable of rolling up her sleeves and bringing in the bacon when necessary.  And if she DOES go out to work to save the family home from foreclosure, who’s gonna stay home and mind the children? It’s a catch-22 situation, Brother Bear. The man’s wages would BARELY be enough to pay for a substitute baby-sitter.  So why would it be far better for him to leave his own precious children to the care of strangers who may not even be Christian? Are YOU gonna shell out money for the man’s nursery fees out of your own extra fat so he can afford to go back to work at his low-paid job and actually get to contribute a meaningful amount to the household budget?  When hell freezes over! You FOREVER beg the “pew Christians” for extra “offerings” and “tithes” to finance something the “church” needs, but they would NEVER EVEN THINK of showing up on your own doorstep to ask for help in time of need.  Some of them have never even some within a few feet of you to say “hello”.  What kind of shepherd are you, anyway?  A good shepherd KNOWS his own sheep (John 10:14)..  Read Ezekiel 34 for a precise description of yourself! The Good Shepherd doesn’t beat the stuffing out of his sheep when they’re down, he HEALS them!  Now you’re telling that poor stay-at-home dad he’s going to fry in hell for all eternity in unquenchable fire with satan and his demons while you go to yet another heaven for yet another easy life.  Unless you repent and come to My Son for forgiveness and cleansing, Brother Bear, don’t bank on it! Don’t you realize My Son warned that if you called your brother “raca” (worthless) you’d be in danger of My divine judgment council (Matt.5:22)?


Why is it that if this same “Mr. MOM” was being PAID to run a day-care center to babysit OTHER PEOPLE’S KIDS you wouldn’t even think of calling  him a “lazy bum on his way to hell”, but since he’s not earning a solitary cent by keeping his OWN kids, he’s committing an unforgivable sin?  I would charge that man with the sin of slothfulness if he laid around on the couch all day guzzling on a beer watching TV while his kids ran wild.  But there’s a lot of GOOD Christian dads out there, Brother Bear, who deal with the REAL world as it is today in the best way they can. How can YOU possibly relate to the real world, son, where dads are a WELCOME extra pair of loving arms to cradle a sick baby while his tired wife takes a well-earned break? Do YOU ever get tired, Brother Bear? Do YOU have servants in all those fancy mansions you possess to make your life sweet and easy?  Or do you at least own a dishwasher, to clean the backlog of sour, grime-encrusted dishes generated by a houseful of rambunctious youngsters?  What about the yardwork that always needs doing, or the things that get broken around the house which the woman of the house doesn’t have the expertise to fix?  Maybe the woman’s real short and can’t even reach that broken electrical fixture!  Maybe the woman’s way too WEAK to lift heavy furniture or appliances that need tending to.  Anybody, whether male or female, who cares for a houseful of kids all day long and does the job conscientiously and well gets My reward and commendation, not My condemnation!


You forget, Brother Bear, that before the Industrial Revolution, it wasn’t unusual for men to work “at home”.  Adam and Eve worked together at similar tasks in the Garden of Eden.  Adam didn’t grab a sack lunch and hop onto an express bus to Smog City to toil in some factory.  My own earthly foster father Joseph ran his carpentry shop just a few steps away from our living quarters.  In an emergency situation Joseph could lay down his tools awhile and lend Mary a hand to help with some unusual problem Mary herself was too weak to take care of.  Unless he was away on a special job or had to go get supplies, My foster father did not “commute” to his daily employment.  Whenever necessary My mother could even come into the carpenter’s shop to help hold down a plank while her husband sawed.  She could help him clear light debris out of the shop and help make it tidy.  That’s what being a family is all about, Brother Bear. Sharing and caring, not accumulating a stockpile of money.  Each member of the family helps out the other when one of them is overwhelmed or needs the special expertise of some better qualified member of the family.  I care more about sharing and caring and bearing one another’s burdens in love than I do about sticking to traditional role models in the workplace.  So long as a husband does what he can WHEN he can and displays love, tenderness, godliness and courage in caring for his family, I find no fault in the way he carries out his role.


OR, could it possibly be that you have ulterior motives for questioning the masculinity of the house-husbands of your congregation?  You know full well that in being a cook, dishwasher, cleaner, launderer, shopper, meal-planner, baby-sitter, errand-runner, football coach, secretary, and amateur doctor for his family, that man’s services must be worth at least a five-figure sum, though he is FREELY giving these services out of love.  Even if the man’s wife is a qualified university professor making a six-figure salary, you gripe about the fact that only ONE tithe check will be coming your way from that household instead of two! Ideally, you’d love to have TWO slaves out there working their guts out to make life cushier for you, wouldn’t you, Brother Bear? When was the last time you sent a sympathy card to the family of some member of your congregation who died prematurely because of job-related stress or poverty?


You yell about the breakup of the American family, but who are YOU to point the finger of accusation?  You left the wife of your youth for a younger, fresher face.  You committed adultery against a loving wife who had bore you some lovely children, then remarried the object of your affections, having a second family with her.  I love ALL your children and will do My utmost to see to it that they all have a fighting chance to make it to heaven, since they are ALL precious in My sight.  Yet the fact remains that you’re continuing in the ministry, contrary to  I Tim.3:2, Titus 1:6 and Mark 10:11, which plainly states that in putting away your first wife without just cause and remarrying another you’re living in sin.  John the Baptist warned King Herod that it wasn’t lawful for him to have Herodias, yet you could care less about that Biblical example and think it’s only for other people.  You ignore My Word as you pamper your flesh and do what you want.  At the same time you excoriate the members of your congregation for being lazy, unspiritual and selfish with their money!


When was the last time you thanked your people for all  their loving support? Without  the little people out there in the pews, you’d be out of a job, and you’d have to toil for your daily bread like them. It takes far more faith to live without money than with with it. Have you ever once thanked your people for getting up early on their one day off (for many of them), getting themselves and their children ready, wolfing down a hurried breakfast, then braving  traffic jams and all kinds of weather on Sunday, which is supposedly a day of rest?


My Love is gentle and meek, but  about the only gentleness they ever get from you is the deceptively mild warmup to your real sermon, which builds into a roaring crescendo of rankling bitterness. Finally, your pent-up anger  bursts out and you let My people know what you really do think of them. They’re just “lazy hot-tub saints who’d be lucky to get the strip off a tin can as a crown on Judgment Day”. But what kind of a crown do YOU expect for browbeating your fellow-servants in your Master’s absence, then making a tidy pile for being an overbearing bear? (Matthew 24: 48-51).


Even newborn babies fresh from heaven aren’t spared your  bile. I blessed little children and babies, but you call them little vipers who will grow up to be juvenile delinquents unless they’re treated with a firm hand from the youngest age, though all tiny infants want is to be loved and cherished.


If anybody enters your church feeling like a special,  beloved child  of God, you know how to break him of that habit in a hurry.   I am extremely patient with babes in Christ who simply don’t know any better than to overzealously pick at each other, especially about issues that are  cultural obsessions of a fallen world, not actual sins.  But you, a man who was converted a long time ago, have used your power and influence to make the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad (Ezekiel 13:22a).


Old hurts you suffered as a young boy are still festering deep in your soul. Others misunderstood you and were impatient with you, even your own overstrict dad.  So now you feel driven to perpetuate your unresolved hurt by lashing out at your own congregation and nitpicking at everything which doesn’t fit into your confused notion of what a church should be.  Rather than insulting some wounded woman out in the pews and reducing her to tears, you really should bring all your old hurts to me, dear son, and I would do a miracle of healing and restoration deep in your soul. I would help you to forgive your earthly father, the one you’re really angry at; a misguided man who hurt you by always being quick to discipline you, even before he knew the full story of what had happened. Ask Me to teach you how to love before it’s everlastingly too late to undo the damage which has already been done.


Grow up, or you’ll be ashamed when you stand before My Judgment Seat.  Repent of your hardheartedness now.  Why should you have to stand tongue-tied before the Bema Judgment Seat and watch your work of discouraging the saints go up in smoke?