One of the worst mistakes the church in America is making today is attempting to turn God into an ATM. These preachers (I will refer to them as Twinkie Peddlers because they are not preachers) are doing it by teaching so many congregations that God wants them wealthy. If they follow the steps that the Twinkie Peddler offers, they can earn God’s favor. I heard a televangelist (Twinkie Peddler with a TV show) tell his audience, “You can’t serve the Lord if you have a car that won’t get out of the driveway.” Really?!?! What kind of car did Paul, Peter or Stephen drive? Then he told them that God would bless them with full bank accounts, if they just pledge to send him a “small offering” of $150. The Twinkie Peddlers are much craftier today than 15 years ago when I heard that sermon. The gimmick du jour is “just buy my book,” “come to my stadium, I mean, church,” or “think positive thoughts,” and “claim fortune on your life,” whatever that means. People flock to these guys expecting life to become the bed of roses they’ve described. When trials come, these unfortunate souls go buy another book, post more inspirational quotes, and devote themselves even more to the Twinkie Peddler. After all it can’t be the Twinkie’s fault, can it?
These days the Bible is rarely opened in the pulpits of America. The Twinkie Peddler has too many one-liners he can deliver with his toothy grin and Hollywood hair to be bothered with something as irrelevant as Scripture. On the rare occasion when they actually do open a Bible, all they give you is one line out of context then misquote, misconstrue, misunderstand, and butcher God’s Word. They give you fluff, sugar, and grease with no expiration date (or an arbitrary one). TWINKIES.
A relationship with Christ is more than bank accounts, comfort, feelings, and getting what you want. It’s about forgiveness because you fall short of God’s glory. It’s about reconciliation because you were separated from God. It’s about sacrifice because Jesus died for you and you have to die to yourself in order to live in Christ. It’s about obedience in the face of trials and suffering. It’s about unconditional LOVE that is not deterred by circumstances.
Twinkie Peddlers preach a shallow gospel. Their “Good News” shifts, squirms and falls apart in the face of trials and suffering. The Twinkie Eaters that follow them only base their relationship with God on their circumstances. Thank goodness the Disciples and Paul didn’t do that! All of them were persecuted and suffered. All of them except for John were killed for their beliefs. Do Twinkie Peddlers prepare their followers for martyrdom? Are Twinkie Churches producing missionaries sent to places where they will likely be beheaded? What kind of Christian do Twinkies produce? From what I’ve seen they produce sugar-addicted, fluff-loving, lazy, self-centered, fair-weather, lifelong novices who have to keep on giving to the Twinkie Peddler to get their “fix.” This IS NOT the type of disciple the Bible tells us to make. In fact, this is not a disciple at all!
This is why there will never be TWINKIES served up at Pennyroyal Baptist Church. As Job teaches us, our circumstances do NOT determine our favor with God nor will God’s favor dictate our circumstances. The seasons of our lives are ever-changing and as such we will suffer many trials and temptations but the one constant in life is God. He constantly loves you. You are constantly in His favor regardless of what season you’re in. It’s up to you to learn His Will for your life, but He doesn’t leave you alone in this. God gives us His Holy Spirit to reveal His Will to us. God gave us His Word which reveals His Will and if you will Read, Pray, Respond to the Holy Spirit, Surround yourself with God’s people (who don’t like Twinkies), and Serve others, He will be made manifest through you. It isn’t about you or your circumstances and that’s great news! How much of yourself are you willing to get rid of so that God may be seen in you? That’s the question!