AUDIO VERSION: YouTube Podbean
I want your money. If I mug you in an alley, I’ll probably end up in jail. That’s not very satisfying. Besides, I don’t want to just mug you, I want to mug thousands of people at the same time and take all of their money without ever being accused of a crime. But how can I possibly pull this off? Clearly physical strategies won’t work, so it’s time to turn to something far more effective: mind games. Suppose I manage to convince you that I’m amazing—so amazing that you actually consider it a privilege to hand over all of your money to me. That sounds tantalizing. But how do I get there? You don’t even know me, and I don’t want to know you. I don’t want a relationship, I just want your money. Hm. I need to find a backer. I need someone who already has your respect to publicly endorse me—then I’ll have your respect as well. But who can I get? Other people don’t know me, and I don’t want to have to work at making social connections. I’m far too egotistical to kiss up to anyone—I want the world to kiss up to me. So who can I get to back me? Here’s a brilliant idea: I’ll get God. After all, you don’t know God very well, and neither do I. But that’s what makes it so perfect, because now I can make God be whoever I want Him to be. I can put words in His mouth—words that make me sound fabulous—and you’ll never know the difference. This is a plan with all kinds of potential.
Okay, so what’s the fastest way for me to convince you that God finds me fabulous? There’s no time for insightful sermons, and I don’t have anything insightful to say. I just want to wow you so much that you’ll hand over your cash. I’ve got it: God has super powers, right? That’s what makes Him God. So what if I make you think that I am in control of those super powers—like God sees me as His right hand man? Surely that will impress you. If you see me curing people of ailments, driving out their demons, and bringing blessings down on their heads, you’ll be quick to park your brains and think I’ve got it all figured out. Then you’ll start kissing up to me in hopes that I’ll use my super powers and Divine connections to bring blessings into your life. This is a great plan.
All I need now is some proof of my amazing command over the supernatural realms. Public proof. But I don’t just want to wow you, I want to wow thousands of people at the same time because I want to get my hands on a lot of money as fast as possible. Hm. Clearly this will have to be a staged event—something I can schedule ahead of time. But isn’t it pretty stupid to claim that I can schedule God? Won’t you immediately see through my act? Not if I wow you enough. If I can get my hands on a couple of good actors, I can put on a pretty impressive show.
Well, I found my actors: they’re a couple of people who are greedy like me. I quickly won them over with my generous offer. One of them is going to play the part of a demon possessed man. He does a mean convulsion act—we practiced in his living room the other day and I was quite impressed. The woman will play the part of a deaf woman who I will magically heal on command. I was hoping for something more dramatic—like healing a paralytic—but my prop guys tell me they can’t rustle up a gurney in time for our show tomorrow night. At least my lady friend is a great crier—she can flip on the waterworks on cue. To convince the audience of her deafness, I’m having another woman stand next to me on stage doing sign language. Then when I do my dramatic shout and point to restore the woman’s hearing, she’ll gasp and cry and start sobbing out loud “Praise Jesus! Thank You Jesus!” Between her and my spastic demon man, I should be looking good tomorrow night.
Now both of my actors will be surprise events—I’ll pass it off like I wasn’t expecting to heal anyone. I’ve advertised the event as a simple prayer and share time—the bulk of the evening will be spent listening to testimonials about how God has performed miraculous healings in the lives of my loyal followers—“loyal” meaning those who have already given me large amounts of money. I wrote all the testimonials myself, but I was careful to use a variety of vernaculars in order to make them sound authentic. I’ve coached all of my testimony givers and I’ve carefully selected a rainbow of ethnicities and demographics to speak on stage: rich, poor, male, female, old, young. I want to engage as much of my audience as possible. I’ve even got a bunch of people in the audience ready to start sniffling, crying, applauding and cheering on cue. It’s all in the stage lights—when they see certain color changes, they’ll know which emotion to turn on.
Well, my show was a raving success. Everyone believed the testimonials. The deaf woman I miraculously healed was held up for hours after retelling her testimony to people. My demon guy was superb, even though he gave himself a headache by hitting his head on the floor too many times. I’m exhausted from all the tension—but what a night! We raked in a ton of money and this was just our first big event. I’m already working on my next one. This time it will be even grander. I’m going to double the amount of testimonials, and this time I want to perform six different miracles. It’s going to take a lot of planning and rehearsing, but it’s worth it. I’m starting to get fan mail. Finally all the hours I’ve been spending on line writing phony testimonials on my website is starting to pay off. I’m getting more hits than ever, and people are starting to send in some pretty beefy donations along with their prayer requests. I told them that if they donated more than $100, I’d personally lay my hands on printed copies of all of their requests and pray for them. What a crock. I just delete them from my inbox and keep the money. People are such dopes. But here’s the good part: I’ve been invited to have lunch with a guy who has been doing this sort of thing for years. I can’t wait to hear what tips and tricks he can tell me…
When you look around at the Church today, you will see a thriving population of miracle performing prophets, healers and exorcists in our midst. But how did these people get so rich and famous? How have they managed to gain such large, loyal followings? It all starts with you not knowing who your God is. It starts with you checking your brains at the door and believing anything you’re told by a guy who is standing on stage holding a bible in his hand. You should have been very suspicious the first time you heard one of these jokers advertise a healing seminar. Since when do people tell the Holy Spirit when and where to show up? Since when do we put events on God’s calendar for Him?
Why is it that when an actor gives a testimony in a movie, you know it’s fiction, but when an actor gives a testimonial about God on a public stage, you believe him? The answer is context. Because you’re watching a fictional movie the first time, you blow off everything the actors say as fantasy. But because you’re sitting in church the second time, you assume the man on stage is truthful. What makes you assume this? Since when does mounting the steps of a stage in a church turn a man into a pillar of integrity? If a man can do a persuasive job of acting out a fictional character in a movie, he can certainly pretend to be miraculously healed from some epic emotional, physical, mental, or spiritual crisis. Why do you just believe what you’re told? Hasn’t anyone ever told you how dangerous this is for your soul? If not, we’re telling you now. People lie to you. When money is involved, people lie even faster. People are greedy and they are smart enough to figure out that the terms “God” and “Jesus” are very powerful words in the ears of trusting Christians. This is why you need to stop being so trusting. It’s time for you to get suspicious and untrusting. You need to start expecting pastors, prophets, evangelists, and all other leaders in the church to lie to you. You need to wake up to the ugly truth that there are far more false shepherds in the Church today than there are good ones. Good shepherds sincerely care about the welfare of your soul and they will try to protect you from harm. Bad shepherds will gladly trample your soul underfoot and leave you to rot. Bad shepherds are after your money, your worship, and your advertising power. They want you to worship them and teach others to do the same. You are like their slave—you go around serving them and helping them, except you don’t get any wages. Instead, you keep paying them a regular salary for destroying your theology. It’s called a tithe. False shepherds like to teach that if you don’t tithe to them, you’ll go to Hell. God’s wrath and the fiery lake of Hell—these are the two scary concepts that false shepherds like to pin you between whenever you start getting out of line. When you’re being a well-behaved slave and paying them their regular salaries, then they reward you with empty promises about glorious things God will never give you. They keep jacking up your hopes with false testimonies and false miracles which they put on using shills. Shills are lowlife actors who agree to help false shepherds take you down by putting on dramatic shows. Browse through YouTube and you can find a ton of these jerks at work. They love to capture their well-timed stunts on film because not only can they reach a worldwide audience, they can also edit the tape to make it look like anything they want.
Can people really jump off of skyscrapers and fly? No, when people jump off skyscrapers they plummet to the ground and die a gruesome death. If we give you a Batman suit and take you to the top of a skyscraper, are you going to leap off in confidence? No, because you understand that Batman isn’t real. You might watch a Batman movie, but you don’t trust it to be real. This is a good thing—you shouldn’t believe what you see in movies. When a character in a movie has a bottle of wine smashed against his skull only to shake it off and go on fighting, you should be rolling your eyes at how absurd the whole thing is. In the same way, when you see a man standing on a brightly-lit stage zapping people well in the Name of Jesus, you should be rolling your eyes at the ego fest. God doesn’t perform on cue. Has He ever done a legitimate miracle in public? Of course, many of them. But does He back up these egotistical glory hounds who are only using His Name and reputation to exalt themselves in the eyes of the world? No, He does not. God always leads, He doesn’t follow. When you see these staged performances that are scheduled months in advance, what you’re watching is a well-rehearsed scam. It is very easy to fake miracles. Start watching more closely and ask yourself, “How easy would it be to act this?” You’ll realize that 99% of the show is about body language and voice tone. With a little practice, you could easily play the role of someone who is demon possessed. With a mic that’s set to warp the tone of your voice, you could easily utter strange guttural sounds and speak in a register that sounds abnormally low. With an invisible ear piece, you could receive all kinds of cues from staff members hidden around the room which would enable you to look like you can read thoughts, know names, and reveal secrets about strangers.
Once you assume all the miracles you see are being faked, you begin to realize how hard it is to prove that these things are genuine. Any fool can clutch his stomach and groan—but how can you prove he is actually in pain? Even a doctor in a hospital can’t prove whether a patient feels pain or not—he is stuck having to give his patients some degree of credibility. Patients know this, which is why those who are just after free drugs will lie about their symptoms and pretend to be in horrible pain just to make doctors feel morally obligated to hand over the opiates. It happens all the time. Whenever you have a system that is built on blind trust, you are extremely vulnerable to being deceived. But when you go to church, you are not a doctor who is trying to choose the most ethical course of action. You are not obligated to believe anyone who gets up and spins some yarn about how they bribed God into blessing them by dumping thousands of dollars into the offering plate. You do not have to just hand these people your trust, and you shouldn’t. Trust needs to be earned. When God is the subject being discussed, there is only one right course of action. Before you believe anything someone says about God, you must ask God Himself to confirm the truth of their words to you.
God created the universe from nothing. He is currently directing every molecule in existence. Given His obvious skills, how hard do you think it is for Him to convince your little brain that what you just saw or heard was legitimate? One of the biggest traps Christians fall into is thinking of themselves as lesser sheep in God’s flock. They decide that there are only certain souls who God speaks to directly and everyone else is left to fend for themselves. But no, this is NOT who God is. God loves you just as much as the know-it-all leader who is always trying to play Holy Spirit in your life. God DOES talk to you, and God WILL give you personal confirmation anytime He wants you to believe something. Personal confirmation is just that: PERSONAL. It is something that happens between the Holy Spirit and your own soul. It is not something that any human being can provide for you—it comes from within. You MUST wait for God to confirm something as true before you go trying to stand on it. You cannot go through life with your theology being some open bucket or false shepherds are just going to load you up with a bunch of foul smelling rot. You have to be very choosy about the things you allow to be integrated into your faith.
Do you want to work on a computer that has no antivirus software? No, because you know that the internet is loaded with viruses which can permanently damage your machine, suck out personal data, and cause you major problems in life. But why is the internet so full of viruses? Because there is a large population of souls in this world who get their jollies off of sticking it to strangers. Hackers don’t even know you, but they still find it fun to trash your equipment and steal your identity. False shepherds in the Church are much more dangerous than hackers. False shepherds don’t just trash your computer, they cripple your soul by getting you to put your trust in them instead of God. Trusting in false shepherds is the same as trusting in demons, because demons are who these people are serving. Who is going to protect you against these vicious snakes? Where is your spiritual antivirus protection? Most Christians are choosing to live in some la-la land where they think the titles “pastor” and “prophet” are synonyms for “wise and trustworthy.” These Christians are delusional, and you need to not follow them over the cliff of destruction.
God is the ONLY Authority on the subject of God, and you have to look to HIM to educate you about who He is, how He operates, and what He wants from you. All information about God that you come across must be prayed about and kept at arm’s length until you receive internal confirmation from the Holy Spirit. You must not put your faith in anyone other than God Himself. There is no other advisor in life who you can afford to fully trust. God is the only Shepherd who will never fail you. Humans are imperfect and flawed. Humans fail. Humans get led astray by temptation. Good shepherds can sometimes turn bad, and if you have put your faith in them, you’ll be carried away into their delusions with them. God is the ONLY One you can trust. Ask Him to teach you how to put all of your trust in Him alone and He will. Ask Him to teach you how to recognize His leading in your life and refuse to believe anything you read, hear, or see about God until you have had a chance to pray about it. There are no lesser sheep in God’s flock. There are only priceless souls who He will faithfully guard and protect IF they will rely on Him alone to guide them. But if God’s lambs insist on putting their faith in shepherds other than Him, then He will let them be led over cliffs of delusions and He will stand back while they are eaten alive by their evil leaders. God will not force you to follow Him, but it’s spiritual suicide if you don’t.