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Jesus said, "Deny Yourself Take Your Cross And Follow Me"

Stop Sending Money to Television Preachers, Instead Sow the Seeds in Your Local Churches

If the United States is going to survive as a nation from the next catastrophe similar to those seen in Haiti, Japan, or other places of great disasters, the local churches must be fully equipped with resources to help the people in their milieu. The television preachers are not going to be of much help during disasters because many of them have never helped communities beyond those around their mega churches. Presently, the local churches do not have enough resources to help those suffering around their communities because most of the donations that could have helped the local churches are being siphoned out of those communities by mega church preachers. Sadly, many listeners have been lured by prosperity preachers telling them that if they sow seeds to their ministry, they will become prosperous. Have you ever heard any of them telling people to sow to other ministries? Jesus never preached this kind of gospel. This is part of the problem with some preachers today who are using Jesus as a way of fundraising to enrich their own pockets at the expense of the suffering of the people. I know a businessman who donated a total of $20,000 to a church with the hope of getting a lot of financial blessings from God. After such donation, dollars were not flowing at his door; he stopped going to church entirely. His heart was broken like many others who believed they have been deceived. Why should people donate money to support private jets and multi-million dollars worth of mansions for preachers when an average person is going through very difficult financial time, and the local churches are drained of resources? These preachers from mega churches have enough resources from their church donations. They sell books and tapes from their national exposure including during their national conferences. Those resources should be adequate to fund their television programs instead of taking money out of the local churches. Who is helping the local churches? Who is helping the local churches in fundraising? The television preachers are not helping them. Even in situations when the national preachers have been called to help local communities, many of them refused. Perhaps they are too big to help the local churches.

Perhaps people may be wondering why I am advocating for people to stop sending money to television preachers and invest such money in their local churches. As a Christian, in my personal journey with Jesus, I experienced the opposite of what the prosperity preachers are preaching to the people. I have been working in the ministry for God for over 50 years. One day, I was praying and I asking God to give me a million dollars. I placed a question before him that all these years I had been working for him. When would I receive my own million dollars and be rich like those other rich folks? About a couple of weeks later, Jesus physically appeared before me early in the morning in my living room. It was a little scary because I did not know what to expect when I saw him. Jesus spoke to me and said, "I came to give you an answer to your question." He responded with St. Matthew 16:24, "If you want to follow me, deny yourself, take your cross and follow me." I fell on my face and I started to weep, telling him, I was sorry, and I asked for his forgiveness. This story is the first testimony about Jesus visitations described in my forthcoming book, Closer Walk With Jesus, coming out this summer 2011. The book was ready in 2010, but we have pulled back the release date for more pre-release publicity because of the serious nature of the warnings to the churches. I believe Jesus delivered this message in person due to the seriousness and the urgent nature of the warning to Christians. The ministry of God is not about making money, but more about serving others for God.

At a point during my journey with Jesus, he asked me to strip myself of everything I had. That request made me dejected because I did not know what he meant. As time passed by, I noticed that Jesus was telling me never to place any physical thing of this world ahead of my relationship with him. In St. Luke 12:15, Jesus caution against prosperity preachers when he said, "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses." After Jesus appeared to me, I received all what I needed. But, I did not receive a million dollars I requested from God. Evidently what Jesus was telling me during this critical visitation was, if I wanted to work for him in his ministry, I should be ready to live a life of contentment and sacrifice. Work in the ministry is a selfless service to serve others for the Lord and not my personal pocket.

In the book, Closer Walk With Jesus, published by Lara Publications, 472 pages, to be released to bookstores in summer 2011. I discussed the details of the visitations of Jesus and what he told me in each of those situations, and especially the warnings to the United States about the destructive power of greed. I believe the preachers today are asleep at the pulpit because they are not preaching the gospel message of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Sadly, some are even preaching the messages against that of the gospel of Jesus. Based on what Jesus told me personally, I do not believe in the gospel of material prosperity. Jesus did not base his ministry on a life of material prosperity, but that of spiritual prosperity. The gospel of material prosperity is a way to scam people of their money, by giving them false hope. Jesus did not want us to live a life of poverty either, but that of contentment. Today, I will discourage sending money to any preacher that is not helping their local community. There is no doubt, some of the national television preaches have been effective in preaching the gospel, but their television programs including other programs should be supported by their mega church members. Every national preacher should follow that of Pastor Erwin W. Lutzer of Moody Church in Chicago. Moody Church members support his radio program based on the radio announcement. This prevents him from joining the association of beggar preachers on the airways. If any Christian wants to sow seed money, sow that seed in your local church. At least, you can watch it grow to help others in your community. Partner with your local churches help them to develop banks of resources to help the people during disasters just as the ones we are beginning to see across the globe.

I will give television preachers one credit, they are professional sales people and able to convince people to buy anything from them including vitamins and all kinds of health products. I give them a lot of credit for this, even Jesus did not tell them to be selling these products. They have mastered the trade of fundraising well! Anybody with such a national exposure should be able to do likewise. I will also credit them for selling tapes, books and DVD messages helping people. I personally have learned from them too. But, they should not be advocating for free money from the people. Even Creflo Dollar, a television evangelist, in his latest message is about exchanging things both in the physical and spiritual realms. TD Jakes’ message about repositioning yourself is about some practical applications and tools to help you start in the physical to embrace the blessing coming from the spiritual realm. So, why should we be sending free money to somebody on the television saying, "Just send me your money! I have anointing from God, and God will bless you?" That is a scam!

However, I will also caution the television evangelists living in super-affluent lifestyles at the expense of Jesus. They should think about the story of Lazarus and the rich man clothed in purple narrated by Jesus in St. Luke 16:19-31. After death, Lazarus went to a very comfortable place while the rich man went into a very uncomfortable place. While you are busy riding in your expensive cars and flying your private jets, remember the poor and those that are suffering around you. Remember the faces of those people you pass by in the city who have already lost hope due to the economic crisis. Remember the hard times many people in the inner cities are currently going through. Think about your church members, the married couples who broke up due to economic hard times. Then, go home and enjoy your mansion. You cannot have in both ways. You cannot have mansions on both sides of life. You either have to give up one for the other. Today, we feel comfortable with greed because those in the secular world no longer believe in capitalism that benefits people, but predatory capitalism that inflicts pain to people. This is the type of capitalism we are presently embracing to our detriment. May God help us! Jesus called us into the ministry to live a life of contentment, not super-affluent lifestyle at his expense. I hate to just imagine some well known preachers after death may receive this kind of response from Jesus saying, "Depart from me you cursed into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry, you gave me no food; I was thirsty, you gave me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take me in; naked and you did not clothe me; sick and in prison, and you did not visit me" (St. Matthew 25:41-43). I just pray and hope nobody working in the ministry for the Lord will receive such a reward.

American people are going through very difficult financial times. Many of them have been scammed by scam artists stealing money from their pocket books through credit card murderous interest rates, high gas prices, real estate robbery causing many to lose their homes. I discussed some of these shady financial dealings in the book as directed by God to warn the predatory capitalists and the Wall Street robbers.

What did God say about abusing the poor and the widow? "Thus said the Lord of hosts:

"Execute true justice. Show compassion, everyone to his brother. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien, or the poor. Let none of you plan evil in his heart against his brother" (Zechariah 7:9-10)

When they refused to listen to God, they received the wrath of God:

"Yes, they made their hearts like flint, refusing to hear the law and the words which the Lord of host had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets. Thus great wrath came from the Lord" (Zechariah 7:12).

The Holy Spirit of God asked me to warn the people using the book of Isaiah. Their day of judgment is at hand!!! The worst situation is for the church to join the group of scam artists scamming people of their money. I strongly support paying tithes and offerings to local churches. But be aware of scam artists. Instead of robbing Christians, television preachers should be preparing them for more difficult days ahead. Based on what is coming down the pipe, what we are seeing now may be compared to a picnic considering the coming catastrophe discussed in the book, Closer Walk With Jesus. Could the disasters in Haiti, Japan, and other places around the world be foreshadowing of what may be coming to the United States? Will America as a nation survive the coming catastrophe? I am not so sure. Consequently, I am advocating for people instead of sending money to TV-preachers to donate such money to their local churches so they can be prepared with enough resources to help their communities during disasters. Before things happen, God will give us enough warnings including sending non-celebrity messengers to deliver his messages. We are already on the countdown. Those who have ears, let them hear what the Spirit is telling the people.

By Yinka Vidal, author, Closer Walk With Jesus.