Saying What Needs to be Said

I realize that what I’m about to address will more than likely be picked apart by some.  I’m fine with that because we should test all things.  I want to go on the record and state that I’m no expert on this topic but do have fifteen years of experience under my belt in dealing with this issue on a day to day and month to month basis.   I also realize that I will more than likely receive “hate mail” over this piece.  That is fine, also, but before you send me mail disagreeing with my understanding, please, I respectfully and humbly implore you to come down and visit me and walk with me in the ministry for a minimum of three months.  Then, write me your hate mail.  For the most part, most of you who will read this will have no clue who Crucified Life Ministries is or what we do.  I’m not going to waste your time here trying to explain either.  The website, as well as a Youtube video, clearly lays out the information of who, when, what, and why of C.L.M. Each person that reads this is responsible to go do his or her homework.  It will take me a little time in this piece to get to the heart of the matter, but please, bear with me in order to lay a foundation.

My observation, or maybe assumption, is that other ministers in our movement would like to address this issue, but out of concerns of losing financial support and being labeled as causers of strife and division, it seems to never be addressed other than behind closed doors.  If someone has been addressing this or has addressed this in the past wholesale, please, bring this to my attention because I haven’t seen it yet.  If it has been addressed, then I apologize in advance for not having prior knowledge.

I am trying not to make this about me or the ministry, but in the end, this is the reality of it.  Why?  It affects each and every person who is in ministry.  After multiple months of observing peoples’ posts on social media platforms and personally talking with people within our movement, I’ve come to see a trend developing.  The trend, in my opinion, is actually in its root an accusation, not only against ministers and fellow brothers in the faith but outright against Yah as well.  It is this writer’s belief that these accusations have caused our movement to high-center in a rut, hindering instead of helping the Good News advance.

I would like to begin by addressing the false.  The “prosperity gospel” has spiritually raped believers in Y’shua for some time now.  It has not only taken its toll on Christians but has affected the way many Hebrew Roots and Messianics view giving, even to the point where some no longer give at all.  Why?  Many Hebrew Roots and Messianics have come out of a Christian church and feel as they were lied to and tricked.  I would say that this observation carries some weight but not to the point of permitting offense and bitterness to take root in one’s life.

This is where the rubber meets the road because out of this offense and hurt many people begin to attack others.  What do I mean?  For example, many times when a woman or girl is raped, it causes issues with anger, trust, bitterness, and offense.  Some women are able to get delivered and free from these issues, but others aren’t.  The ones who aren’t able to get free struggle with being able to trust another man even if that man might be a good one and only looking to love and serve them.  Am I saying that the woman is a bad person or at fault?  No, I’m not at all, but in the example I used, this creates harsh judgments and causes cloudy discernment because of someone else’s actions joined with not forgiving.  My point is that because people have seen the false prosperity gospel for so long and have become so offended by it, it has caused their discernment to become cloudy.  It also has caused harsh judgments to come forth not just against those spreading the prosperity gospel propaganda but even against those who are truly out in the trenches building the Kingdom of the God of Israel.

Now, let’s deal with the accusation.  The trendy accusation goes something like this. “It is wrong for a minister to ‘charge’ for their teaching materials because of what Y’shua said in Matthew 10:8.”   Let’s take a look at the context of Matthew 10 and not just one verse to see if we can come to the whole conclusion.

Matthew 10:5-15

These twelve Y’shua sent out with the following instructions: “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment. Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts, no bag for your journey, or two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for laborers deserve their food. Whatever town or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave. As you enter the house, greet it. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. Truly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.

I will say there can be a lengthy debate over these passages, and most debates tend to focus only on freely you have received so freely you should give, which in my opinion is not referring to charging for materials (the cost to put together) but receiving payment for someone’s salvation, deliverance, healing, and/or resurrection from the dead.  We see an example of this when Peter addresses this very thing when someone tried to buy the power of YHVH.

Acts 8:17-20

Then Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, “Give me also this power so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain God’s gift with money!

While looking at the whole passage we see something interesting.  Actually, the brethren in the assembly were supposed to do their part and take care of the disciples needs.  The disciples were instructed not to carry all this stuff with them because the laborers deserve their food!  That is interesting to me which leads me to make the following point about this trend of freely you have received so freely you should give.

Let’s just say that I’m wrong for the sake of argument and that ministers shouldn’t be charging for their teachings.  If this is true, then doesn’t the context of this passage actually place the responsibility on those receiving from those who are giving freely?  Could the reason why teachers today are ‘charging’ for their materials be that there can “be food”?  Could it be that the Body of Y’shua hasn’t fully come together to do their part in sharing, giving, and contributing financially and that this is forcing teachers to ‘charge’ for their materials?  I’m not saying; I’m just saying!!! Think about that long and hard.  Ask yourself that question.  I can’t answer for you because I don’t know you or your heart.  I can only answer for myself.

If you remember, most of the emissaries were either businessmen (fishermen) or tax collectors; they were used to money and the concepts of money in that culture.  I don’t personally know if they had issues with mammon or not. Judas definitely did, but I’m not sure about the others. Arguably, that could be another explanation for why Y’shua addressed the subject with His twelve. I lean more towards the following reasoning.  Y’shua, in my opinion, in Matthew 10 was giving his disciples a foundation that prepared them for what was going to take place in the book of Acts.

Acts 4:32-35

Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.

In other words, in the beginning of their ministries they were given a foundation that taught them how to keep their altar pure when it came to not being swayed, manipulated, or controlled by mammon, and this was what Y’shua was doing in Matthew 10.  My point is that if the spirit of mammon wasn’t dealt with in the twelve they wouldn’t have been able to properly distribute the offerings of the assembly to those who had need.  Also, something to take note of in verse 34 is that there “was not a needy person amongst them”.  Why?  The body of Y’shua was doing their part in giving, sharing, contributing, tithing, and donating so that others wouldn’t have any needs.

Can we say this about the body of Y’shua today?  I believe this is a big reason why we aren’t producing the same results as the twelve or filling our streets with our teachings (Acts 5:28).  It’s hard to fill the streets with our teachings when folks have needs that aren’t being met.  If you didn’t notice, it does take finances to live and support your family.  It takes finances to do ministry.  It takes finances to sustain the message of truth.  It takes finances to sustain a movement of YHVH.  These statements can be seen in the beginning chapters of Acts.

I will go out on a limb here and make a bold statement which I hope will be wrong.  If there isn’t an attitude adjustment with Hebrew Roots and Messianic believers towards giving, stick a fork in us.  If folks aren’t delivered and healed from their offenses in the area of giving, sharing, contributing, tithing, and offerings, stick a fork in us; we are done.

What happened to Israel will happen to the Hebrew Roots and Messianic believers.  Oh, we will continue to have form, but there will be no function to go along with that form.  We will continue walking around year after year in the same circle going through the same stuff never learning our lesson.  Brothers and sisters, it’s time to grow up, mature, and get over our offenses.  Let’s forgive and choose to forget so that we can move on and make a difference!  We must stop focusing on what YHVH hasn’t done for us and focus on what He has already done and is doing!  When we focus on what He hasn’t done, we become offended and accuse Him.  We say things like, “Yah, You told me You were going to do this and that, and You promised me You were going to give me this and that. It’s been five years, and I got nothing.”  Brethren, that is an accusation, and if that accusation is entertained long enough, it will take root. You will have a nice little plant of offense growing in your heart that over time, if not uprooted, will produce the fruit of bitterness.  This is a perfect picture of what happened to Israel in the desert.  They weren’t willing to commit to keeping their responsibilities, and Yah said, “OK, well keep walking.  I’ll keep your shoes from wearing out and your clothes from deteriorating while you walk in circles.”

What happened to Sodom and Gomorrah will happen to our movement if we don’t make the proper adjustments.  I’m not saying that fire and brimstone will rain down, but Ezekiel gives us the picture as to why Sodom and Gomorrah was judged.  Was there wickedness and sexual immorality in Sodom and Gomorrah?  You bet it was, but what was the root reason why this place was judged?

Ezekiel 16:49-50

This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty, and did abominable things before me; therefore I removed them when I saw it.

Sodom and Gomorrah had pride, fullness of bread, idleness (everyone having too much time to get into someone else’s business), and didn’t extend justice and righteousness to the poor and needy.  There is a judgment that comes upon a nation and a people that no longer practice justice and righteousness.  Sodom is one example, and Y’shua is another example.  He comes to restore justice and righteousness, and in doing so, it produces judgment against the religious system as well as the leaders of Israel.  What happened?  The religious leaders lost their influence over the people, and eventually the temple was destroyed with Israel being overrun.  Did the religious leaders keep their positions (form)?  Yes, but they no longer were making a difference (function) in the lives of the people!  This is where I believe the Torah observant movement is at, and if we don’t begin to practice and extend justice and righteousness to others, unfortunately, we are done.

I don’t want to keep walking in circles.  I want to enter into the fullness of what He has for us as a body of believers and a nation.  In order to do this there is a lot of change that must take place.  We must stop passing our responsibilities off on others.  I believe one of the biggest areas that must change has to do with our attitude towards making financial sacrifices.  I understand sacrifice is painful, and it comes with a big price tag.  It crucifies our flesh, but Y’shua never said following Him would be easy and painless.  Y’shua went all the way to the point of laying down His life.  If He is our example like we all say He is, what are we waiting on?

Luke 9:23-25

Then he said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves?

Now that I’ve been addressing giving, I would like to finish this piece by discussing the idea that teachers need to give away their materials for free. We already live in an entitlement society as it is.  I’ve seen the damage done when things are given away for “free”.  Why? There is no value associated with it.  For example, I freely gave a book to six Costa Rican leaders of Hebrew Roots communities and specifically told them I wanted to know what they thought about the book.  I was interested in bringing the author in to do some meetings and needed their feedback.  One person got back to me out of the six.  Do you know why the other five probably didn’t?  They more than likely haven’t picked the free book up from where they placed it after I gave it to them.  Would it have been a different story if they had paid for it?  I can’t say for sure, but more than likely they would have read it by now because it would have had value.

Think back to when you were teens and your parents bought you something that didn’t cost you anything.  If you were like me, you never fully appreciated them because they were given freely even though it cost my parents something.  Heck, it was what I expected because I was their child.  In other words, I didn’t value those things because it didn’t cost anything.  The other issue I have with the free mentality is that, like the old saying goes, nothing is for free.  It costs someone somewhere down the line.  I know the commander-in-chief of the country said his new healthcare program would be free, but we all knew who would be footing the bill on that!  That saying applies here to teachers in our movement.  I’m not going to list all the costs that a teacher incurs in order to bring us their teachings, but you will get the bigger picture.  Production of materials (CD/DVD/Printing Inserts for those media), maintaining a website (storage and bandwidth fees), traveling expenses (many teachers pay their own expenses to go share in communities), time away from home, wife, and children (yes this is big expense and takes a toll on families), and books and study materials in order to give us the high quality teachings that they are doing are just to name a few.

There could be so much more said to address this issue, but I must finish for now on this subject.  I do want to add something about those teachers who are accused of being wrong for ‘charging’ for their materials.  If you are still offended at these teachers because they don’t have their materials for free, please, go to their own websites, YouTube channels, Hebrew Nation Radio, Hebraic Roots Network, Way to Zion, or simply Google their names in order to find a plethora of ‘free’ material that they have granted permission to be used even though it cost them to make it.

Brother and sisters, stop with the accusations that these guys ‘charge’ for their materials.  Ask Yah to bring deliverance and a complete healing into your life so that you can go help others.  One of my mentors had a saying that said, “Hurt people hurt others while healthy people bring healing to others.”  I like that statement because there is much truth in it.  Brethren, these teachers aren’t in this for money.  As a matter of fact, if you think there is so much money in being a minister, teacher, or missionary, please quit your job and grab your Bible and start a ministry.  Six months later, if you can make it that long, come back, and let’s have a civil conversation.  You would be shocked at some the teacher’s salaries and probably have to repent for wrongly judging.  Some of you might not even be able to live five months off of what some of these teachers receive in offerings in a year.

If you are having hard times financially and can’t afford a teaching, then every one of these guys would give it to you.  All you would have to do is contact them.  They would be more than glad to bless you with a teaching.  I would, too, with no questions asked.

As I finish here, I don’t want to leave the impression that I’ve tried to promote what I’m doing now to get offerings.  As I before, please come down and walk with me for a minimum of three months before you make a judgment about me, the ministry I administrate, or any other teacher in our movement getting ‘rich’ off the labors of others.  Before you tell me to go get a job, know that I actually have a secular job that goes into supporting my family of six, paying our bills, putting diesel in my vehicle, doing ministry, and helping widows, orphans, and needy people.  I understand the importance of investing in the Kingdom.  As teachers, how can we expect others to invest in what we are doing if we aren’t willing to invest ourselves first?  If it weren’t for the handful of faithful supporters, grace and mercy of YHVH, and the secular job He has given me, I would have left the mission field a long time ago and no longer be serving in the building of Yah’s Kingdom.  If you walked with some of us, you would probably be shocked and wonder how some ministers can even afford to put food on their tables.

How about we all finally come together, commit, shoulder our responsibilities, and contribute our part so that the teachers no longer have to ‘charge’ for their materials and are able to fully do what YHWH has called them to do?

1 Timothy 5:17-18 The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. 18For the Scripture says, “YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”

2017-01-13T12:11:25+00:00