Is coming Sunday to a church near you - All Aboard!
Are any of you going on your church sponsored trip to
the Bahamas or the Caribbean this year?
If you are going, don't forget to heed the instructions
that were given during 'church announcements' -
Bring Your Bikinis!
And who will provide the entertainment aboard the cruise
ship? It will not be the entertainer who never curses,
or the one who is born again - you will be entertained
by a salacious worldly entertainer, who won't get saved
-and one who has one of the filthiest mouths in America!
This year's drinking, dancing, partying, joke-telling,
girl watching cruise will be sponsored by the Worldwide
Christian Holy Sanctified Church and with the full
backing of your church's ministerial team!
I wonder what would Jesus have to say about that?
Ecclesiastes 5:1 KEEP YOUR foot [give your mind to what you are doing] when you go [as Jacob to sacred Bethel] to the house of God. For to draw near to hear and obey is better than to give the sacrifice of fools [carelessly, irreverently] too ignorant to know that they are doing evil.(Amplified version)
2 Corinthians 4:1 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;
2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
Kudos to Bishop Carlton Pearson who once confessed that his now defunct mega-church had been co opted, and was being run by members of his church from the mass-media market. They were running the church Rev Pearson confessed, not God! When will the rest of America's church-entertainment ministers wake up?
Introduction: I was previously asked to be the keynote speaker at a black-tie dinner that was to be held at a luxurious hotel just south of the San Francisco International Airport. The affair was being held to announce ground-breaking ceremonies for a new facility that was to be built for a church in California.
Many of the members of the church who were backing this building project were All-stars from a nearby championship football team, and the number one rapper in the country at the time. The church was awash in money and the architectural plan had been completed. The Lord informed me a year before that 'nothing was going on the foundation that had been laid down by this church full of millionaires'.
I explained to the pastor in private, why I did not want to speak at the elegant affair, however, after hearing what God told me - he said, go ahead and speak what God gave you! I held back that night, not wanting to disparage the guests or members of the church, however, God's word came to pass. In spite of all of the planning, the work that had been done beforehand and the money that was on hand and in the hands of all of these successful and wealthy entertainers, nothing was ever built upon the foundation that was lain.
How could the plan fail, given all of the money and the planning that was available? The pastor conceded that he knew that he had stepped away from the plan of God, and that God had told him to return to the plan that he set for the church that he pastored. Today that church is a successful church and it is operating in another venue. I suspect that it is a successful church because of the nature of that self-deprecating pastor who cared more for the things of God than giving in to the will of the people!
Section I: What Has Been Transpiring In Our Churches Lately!
1). In America of late, anyone who goes to church and either sits through or participates in one of today's religious services, in many churches, has become a part of the church entertainment business. For either he or she is an entertainer themselves, or they are they one of the entertained audience members.
2). Oftentimes, because these programmed entertainment church services are televised, the audience members receive the same warm up instructions that one would expect to receive in a worldly entertainment venue. Audience members are being told where to sit, no spaces are to be left vacant for example, because it doesn't look good on television when there are empty seats. Audience members are told, you may not leave to go to the bathroom 'while the show goes on'.
Infants must not be brought into the audience 'while the show goes on', or they might cry or disturb the comedic atmosphere and the show that is being put on by the minister (or the high-flying choir act).
3. And in between weekly services, the church entertainment teams work feverishly to come up with new material before the following week's service including writing and practising skits, acquiring props, acquiring music and preparing dance steps for the dancers! Have you noticed how some of these choirs dance and gyrate in our churches lately? Folks who are we kidding? Is this church appropriate behavior, or club behavior?
4). Many of our preachers, my fellow men and women of the cloth, are more like entertainers today, than preachers. The music has become more worldly, in fact I have been in services where the church announcements were read or given with worldly sounds and songs playing in the background by Smokey, the Shi-lites or Temptations! And our praise teams dance and sway just like the worldly singing groups of today often do! And no one appears to be concerned about what is taking place.
5). I have also visited several churches who have decided, why just play the music of worldly entertainers (especially the ones who double-back and forth between church and worldly venues), for there ain't nothing like the real thing baby is there? Entertainers who were on the live stage on Saturday night, might be singing at your church on Sunday morning. It could be Howard Hewitt, Faith Evans, Patti Labelle and others.
Sitting among the ministers, in some pulpits that I have visited were luminaries like Smokey Robinson, Chris Tucker, Randall Cunningham, Evander Holyfield, Donna Douglas (Ellie Mae) Clampett or professional football players, rappers like (Kanye West who charged a $35 per person admission fee at the mega AME church near Oxon Hill in Maryland), professional golfers and many more.
And at some services that I missed, appearances were made by Patti Labelle or other worldly entertainers who were the highlight of the worship service. Why are these churches pushing back faithful spirit-filled singers in their churches, and instead having worldly singers come in to sing. That doesn't make any sense! Where is the motivation for the worldly singer that wants to use his or her gift for God to ever get saved?
6). The ministers today pepper their sermons with modern day street patois, double entendres and off the cuff or borderline jokes. The ministers encourage the congregation to 'turnaround and give 3 people a high-five. Sermons are often replaced with or accompanied by pageants, and every church it would seem is trying to come up with a new gimmick, in order to entertain the audience and increase its membership.
A congregation in North Carolina, actually went to the local bars and provided the barhoppers with wine glasses. One minister recently quipped while preaching, 'my congregation drove me so crazy that I started to go and smoke a joint one day'. And by the way when the church puts on a pageant at Easter or Christmas, they are second to none.
And some of the more contemporary Christmas or Easter pageants make you wonder, now what was the message that we were supposed to be getting from that play?
7). I witnessed the church announcements being read at one church that almost made me laugh, if it were not so pitiful. The announcements were about the church's basketball team that had won its divisional playoff game. As the announcer proceeded we also heard about the white-water rafting trip, the singles night out, the Friday night fish fry, soccer practice and the like.
And nothing was ever read about any biblical or historical religious activity that was to be held at the church. Oops! At the Jericho City of Praise in Maryland, placards were handed out to athletes at the church's morning service, following the altar call of course!
8). The pastor at the Jubilee Christian Center in San Jose California (notice that it is not called a church similar to many other of these quasi-chuch forms) reminds me a lot of the televised Tonight Show program. This pastor in his night-show framed pulpit struts peripatetically around the stage telling one joke after another.
And given his white locks, he bears a striking resemblance at times to David Letterman; he also behaves like David Letterman. One would have to wonder where he gets his material from, the American Writer's Guild? How many of you know that pastors actually purchase resources or go on the web to garner jokes, anecdotes and other stories that they can insert into their sermons?
9). The entertainment audience is just as culpable, if not as guilty. Why are church memberships growing astronomically in the entertainment churches? Why are the lines to get into the entertainment church theaters so long? At times the lines of cars, vans and SUV's can stretch as much as a half a mile away from some of these church entertainment meccas, while passengers eagerly wait for their hour or so of Sunday morning church entertainment.
Matthew the 7th chapter comes to mind: Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. 15Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
Is it because people are more interested in being entertained than they are in hearing the word, singing church appropriate songs or behaving in a church appropriate manner, that these venues are filling up? Again, why are all of these cars and SUVs filled with families no less, passing by smaller churches where the word of God is being preached and people are being saved?
10). Entertainment churches actually allow secular dancing in the church, often times it takes place right on the church rostrum during service. One church that I mentioned before, in another thread, the Evangel Theater church in Maryland, applied for a liquor license for its Family Life Center.
11). And where better to play basketball or to stretch than at the churches gym? Haven't these churches actually misplaced their priorities? Are the people heeding the message? Or, on the other hand are they simply coming 'to the theatre' in order to be entertained?
12). In one setting I had to shutdown my engine that tried to engage when the female dancers whirled across the stage in their white linen see-through hip, leg and thigh exposed garb! Burlesque show, strip show or what? A young man sat through a service where the sexy tightly-vestured minister, strutted around the pulpit while tossing her hips to and fro, he said, she turned me on! He wasn't talking about being turned on to Jesus folks!
13). How often have you observed that the pulpit furniture has been removed from the pulpit at your church lately, or the pews or chairs have been removed from the sanctuary in order to make way for the church dance? I was shocked when as an invited guest at a church affair that I attended a few years back, all of the sanctuary furniture had been removed so that the church-members and guests could engage in a 'square dance'!
Many church's sanctuaries today are doubling as religious sanctuaries and dance halls! And what of Jay Moss and his dancers, Cece Winans and her dancers and other singing dance teams? Their dancers dance their hind ends off at churches all around the country. And the kids get up and dance with them!
14). And what are the ministers and the people doing or saying while all of this is going on at the church? They laugh, dance and high-five themselves through the carnal and theatrical entertainment services!
15). Some of the ministers are boasting about the number of people that they are taking in each Sunday. They remind me of King David's numbering of the people, and Gideon's belief in his 32,000 mega army. God showed Gideon that he had only 300 warriors, not even 10 percent of his army were true warriors. Now what does that tell you about the mega ministries of today, some with 32,000, 18,000, 15,000 or even 2000 members?
And guess what, some of the smaller ministries today are beginning to emulate the larger ones - they want to get in on the illusion? The phrase 'take in' is apropos, for the people are truly being taken. This type of minister is often thinking, 'ching ching', he sees dollar signs. His annual raise is dependent upon him or her reaching their quotas in terms of offerings raised and new additions to the church.
One minister told the audience that many of the individuals that were there that Sunday, who were not full participants in the church, were sent by God in order to bring money. He didn't care a whole lot about their souls did he? Would God send individuals to bring money to a church where there aren't any individuals getting saved?
16). I wonder, what will Jesus do when he comes down from off of the mountain? Many of these ministers remind me of what Jesus said to the Pharisees before, 'you have heaven shut up, you are not going into the Kingdom, and you are keeping others from going into the kingdom'. Frankly, many individuals will never enter the Kingdom, because they are caught up into one of these 'everyone is okay' religious entertainment venues!
These ministers and ministries are but tools in Satan's hands! By practising 'a form of godliness', they confuse and prevent those who would do so from ever finding the real thing, when they instead drive by the entrance ways of churches where God's spirit is working and travel to the religious imitation churches in order to be entertained!
Section II. Is this phenomenon new? It is not new at all, let's read the following:
Ezekiel 33:30-33 New Life Version:
The Words Of The Watchman
30 "As for you, son of man, your people are talking to each other about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses. They are saying, 'Come and hear the word that has come from the Lord.'
31 They come and sit in front of you as My people, and listen to the words you say. But they do not do them. With their mouth they speak of love, but their hearts are full of sinful desire.
32 They think of you as nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays music well. For they hear what you say, but they will not do it.
33 When all this comes true, and it will, then they will know that a man of God has been among them."
I am not in any way putting the prophet Ezekiel in the same class as today's entertainment preacher, for Ezekiel brought a serious message to the people of God who were captives. However, during their captivity the Jews would go to hear Ezekiel speak the words of God, however they did so strictly for entertainment purposes.
These captives who were taken by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon in 597BC and placed in the ghettos by the River Chebar, had become very cynical. Going to hear the prophet, the precursor of today's preacher, on a weekly basis was no more than an exercise and distraction from their weekly grind. Can you hear them saying, 'I wonder what old crazy Ezekiel will be talking about or demonstrating today'.
Did you know that some have said that today Ezekiel would be considered a paranoid schiz? Elisha was referred to in his time by the children as 'baldy'. The Jews would go and listen to Ezekiel, in a similar manner that many individuals go to church today. They did not go in order to hear God's word and to make any changes in their lives.
Like today's parishioners many of whom go to church for entertainment purposes, they went to be sung to, to sing and dance and 'wave their hands in the air like they just don't care', to high-five each other or to participate in church entertainment activities or so-called ministries; the Jews went in order to laugh at Ezekiel and his prophecies and his God sent 'demonstrations'.
The true messenger of God has been set aside by God as well as sent by God, and the words that he or she speaks ought to be from God. The church service ought to exemplify God in every way. I heard a man say some years ago that I really don't believe in God, however, I enjoy going to church for the pageantry, and most of all I love looking at the beautiful stained glasses and watching all of the ceremonies.
Section III: The Word of The Messenger Ought To Be:
Ezekiel's message and Commission -The Words Of The Watchman
1 The Word of the Lord came to me saying,
2 "Son of man, speak to the children of your people. Say to them, 'If I bring a sword upon a land, and the people of the land choose one of their men to keep watch for them,
3 and he sees the sword coming upon the land and sounds the horn to tell the people of the danger,
4 then if anyone hears the horn and does not take care, and a sword comes and kills him, he will be to blame for his own death.
5 He heard the sound of the horn, but did not worry about the danger. He will be to blame for his own death. If he had been careful, he would have saved his life.
6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the horn, and the people are not told of the danger, and a sword comes and kills one of them, that man will be taken away because of his sin. But the blood of the watchman must be given.'
7 "Son of man, I have chosen you as a watchman for the people of Israel. So when I give you the word, you must tell them of the danger.
8 When I tell a sinful man that he will die for sure, and you do not speak to him about the danger of his way, that sinful man will die in his sin. But your blood must be given.
9 But if you tell a sinful man to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he will die in his sin. But you have saved your life.
Similar to the ancient watchman, or as in America today where we have an elaborate defense system that was put into place to warn us of an impending attack (it didn't work on 9/11), today's watchmen and watchmwomen aren't 'working' to warn the people either. Many have taught the people to 'lighten up', don't be so serious, take your guards down, and have some fun. Then these ministers provide them with entertainment!
11 Say to them, 'As I live,' says the Lord God, 'I am not pleased when sinful people die. But I am pleased when the sinful turn from their way and live. Turn! Turn from your sinful ways! Why will you die, O people of Israel?'
12 Now, son of man, tell the children of your people, 'If a man does what is right and good, it will not save him when he sins.' And the sins of a sinful man will not make him fall when he turns from his sinful way. But the man who is right and good will not be able to live by his good ways when he sins.
13 When I tell the man who is right and good that he will live, and he trusts in his good ways so much that he sins, none of his good works will be remembered. He will die for the sin he has done.
14 But when I tell the sinful man that he will die, and he turns from his sin and does what is right and good,
15 if he gives back what a person gave him as trust for a promise, pays back what he had stolen, follows the Laws that give life and does not sin, he will live for sure. He will not die.
16 None of the sins he has done will be remembered against him. He has done what is right and good, and he will live for sure.
17 "Yet the children of your people say, 'The way of the Lord is not right.' But it is their way that is not right.
18 When the right and good man turns from his good way and sins, he will die for it. 19 But when the sinful man turns from his sin and does what is right and good, he will live because of it.
20 Yet you say, 'The way of the Lord is not right.' O people of Israel, I will judge each of you by his ways."
Section IV: The People Have Established Their Own Church Forms, Liturgies & Methods and Hired Entertainment Preachers: See Exodus 32:1-10 the Golden Calf.
The captive church in today's modern wilderness has lost its focus and forgotten its purpose, and instead it has gone about and established its own contemporary method of worship and its own self-serving form of righteousness. When we were kids, having been raised in a spirited Christian church and a Christian home, many times we would imitate at home, what we witnessed or participated in at church.
You could refer to it as playing church I suppose, but on the other hand most of the time we were not in the true since of the word playing - we were imitating. Today's churches too often are both 'play churches and imitations of the real thing'. For the most part they are simply places where people can go to and imitate, or play church!
Spoiled 'baby boomers', and the 'X-generations kids are adults now. They are willing to go to church and imitate in some form what their parents did before them. The problem is that these 'highly-educated' baby boom X-generation kids, want to keep one foot inside of the church, and the other in the world! And as a result they have created churches that will provide them with both a religious and a secular atmosphere at the time! Today's parishioners are also more likely to go to church in order to 'network', as opposed to giving their lives to God!
Too many of today's carnal individuals go to carnal churches, Paul talked about carnality and carnal Christians in his writings, in order to play. I mean literally to be in a play, to play in one of the churches athletic activities or at the Family Life Center. Some play in church as they sing and gyrate, and the minister plays from the pulpit as he tells jokes, warms up the audience or occasionally throws in a James Brown 'foot slide of his own'!
Many of today's youth spend more time at the Family Life Center playing ball, or with video games than they spend in church service, teaching or training. I suspect that it is time to stop playing! Today's minister and many of the ministries in today's churches remind me of Aaron and the people of the Exodus, the post-exilic Jews.
When Moses the prophet was summoned to come up and be with God, as Jesus has been summoned today, the people of God had Aaron to form another god, and they began to entertain themselves with that God or as the old King James version read, they rose up to play. As in our churches today they danced, they swayed, they had fun, they even worshipped. And, except for the mercy of God they were almost destroyed.
Just over a decade ago, while the church was at play and its members were trying to figure out how to get rich, do well and enlarge their individual territories (as they were being taught by prosperity ministers to simply take up the prayer of Jabezz), what happened in this nation?
America was attacked while the church was at play! The church no longer watches and prays, and there are a lack of watchmen and watchwomen to truly watch over the sheep. Had the church been 'praying insteading of playing', 9/11 would not have snuck up on America as it did; its watchmen would have warned the church ahead of time. The children of Israel missed the warning of God that was oftentime sent through his prophets, because they were busy at play!
Get your commentary out if you will, and conduct a word study. You will be likely surprised what the term 'play' referred to in scripture. Isn't it time for the church of God to be jolted out of its sleep, and hopefully its ministers as well?
Count the number of jokes your pastor or speaker tells this Sabbath day or Sunday for the 1st day churches. Observe how much of the world has been brought into your church when you listen to your church announcements. Observe the audience and its attirement. Is the audience dressed as if it is going to church, or are the members of the audience dressed as if they were on the way to a nightclub or a rock concert?
And how about the churches rock, blues or hip hop band? Every once in a while you will likely have to remind yourself that you are at church, when you are carried away by the sounds of worldly music. What kind of music will be played at your church this weekend? I witnessed a propfessional basketball player from the Golden State Warriors, at a church service that I attended, run his hands over his girlfriend's hips while standing during service.
The service that I was attending had gotten so worldly, and the minister was encouraging the spirit of the world in the church that the 7 foot basketball player seemingly forgot where he was for a moment. His girlfriend slapped his hands off of her buttocks! A pastor in the mid-west was desposed some years ago because he used his church as a bully pulpit for politicians to come in and use on an almost weekly basis.
His parishioners cried foul to their district Prelate, and eventually this pastor who would not be disuaded from his practices, was summarily removed. I was ministering to a man at an outdoor church service some years ago at the St. James Park in San Jose California. I agreed to participate in the service along with a group that was known at the time as Teen Challenge.
The man asked me, while the 'Christian rock band' rocked on, why are you ministering to me here, this is not a church event? I told him, that believe it or not, it was a church event! You couldn't blame him, one would never known by the music that was being played, and he was drinking.
Summary: Church business is church business and worldly business is worldly business, and there is church appropriate music and behavior, and there is appropriate behavior to be engaged in when you are not at church. When we go to church it ought to be to hear the word, to worship and to reverence God and things that are holy. Some ought to come to church in order to be converted, and others in order to seek growth in God.
If you want to party, dance, play basketball and video games, or sing worldly songs, gyrate or be entertained with jokes or dance, then there are places where you can do that, however, it should never be done at the church! The word teaches us to come out from among them and be seperate. The word also teaches us that "...we are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light".
The point is, one ought to be able to tell the difference and God's people ought to be different from the world! The people of the world and many in the church are actually laughing at the ministers in today's churches, they see you as a joke, they feel comfortable with you because you are just like them, carnal.
One woman saw her pastor out a dance one night and she commented, the pastor could dance better than anyone on the floor. Church rappers make more money than worldly rappers. The church dancers can outstep the worldly dancers, and the worldly dancers, their singers and their audiences are watching the so-called church folks!
Is Faith Evans former wife of the Notoroious BIG, in the church or not? Is Kirk Franklin of, I got the song 'Stomp' and lyrics of other of his hits from worldly singer George Clinton and other worldly entertainers, in the church or not?
Going back years ago, was Aretha Franklin, whose dad Rev. C. L. Franklin proclaimed that 'Aretha never left the church', in or out of the church? Why was there any question about whether or not Aretha was in the church?
Conclusion: A television pastor who was on one of the local television stations in the Los Angeles California area, went into the dealership in order to purchase a new car one day. Apparently his credit was not up to snuff, and he was almost turned away, when the owner of the dealership and his wife recognized him. They asked, aren't you the little funny man that comes on television every Sunday night.
The dealership's owner went on to say that my wife and I watch your show every Sunday night from bed, and we laugh! The minister looked at them and thought, well you folks looks pretty funny to me. How did the story end? Well, because they found the minister and his church service to be so hillarious, particularly when he danced, the dealer told his staff to give the minister any car on the lot that he desired on his okay! Hmm!!
Ministers, the people are talking about you today, and what I have been hearing from some is neither complimentary or flattering! Having said that, I imagine that the SHOW WILL GO ON - at least until God has had enough! And whose blood, will be required at the hands of the failed watchmen and watch women who failed to warn the people of the end that is to come, because they were too busy entertaining them?
Peace & Grace
Rev. C. Solomon
Addenda: Am I crazy? Yes, I know that when the church community desists from these practices that the people will stop coming, however, as God spoke
to Ezekiel, when you speak what I have told you to speak, they
will know that there has been a prophet in Israel. Today's
church members, many of them do not know that there has
been a prophet at the church because there hasn't
Sadly, some ministries knew beforehand what they were getting when they hired the minister that they hired. And, that is the reason that they hired the
minister that they hired in the first place. They wanted an
Aaron minister who would play ball, in other words
someone that they could dictate to - someone
who would play games. These congregations
never wanted to hear from God!
Folks, God did not send Jesus or his ministers to the earth to entertain the people. Jesus was sent and the ministers that he sent were sent in order that we might be saved. It really isn't time to play church.
And if you must play at all, and all of us enjoy a periodic respite or some recreation, do so on your time time. And at the very least, allow
all of the recreational activities of your church to be
placed under a seperate umbrella, and run out of a
seperate office at your church, then
let the spiritual aspects of
the church be directed by
by those who are
And with respect to the entertainment ministers particularly the males, order your
specially tailored suits, get your manicure and your pedicures. Then, have your
hair set, put on your make-up and put on a good show. But remember one
thing, GOD IS WATCHING THE SHOW and He is watching you TOO.
And God is not pleased!
Okay, I am preacher and here is my FINAL close. Imagine if you were still 'in the world', and one night you and your friends went to a club or a house party.
Imagine after arriving there if there were no drinks or drugs, no
party music and no salacious behavior. Now imagine if instead
someone brought out the bible and began to play authentic
church music. Would you stay? Conversely, the
churches have to ask themselves how come
people 'still in the world' are so
comfortable, when they come
to church - and when they
are finished, they still
go back to the club
or to the Party?
Why are the party people so comfortable
at the church today, as they dance,
sing and sway right along with
the music and modern hip
Question: Was John being judgmental when he wrote about the state of the 6 churches in Asia? And neither am I. Somethng is clearly broken in many of our churches in America today - and churches in other countries are beginning to follow the American church models!