At various points in my life I have always been a part of a church. Attending a physical church. As a very small child (my first memories are of me being around the ages of 2 and 3) I was absolutely over-joyed to go to church! I was also very fortunate to be able to attend even when my parents did not because my Daddy’s brother is a reverend, Rev. L.C. Carson. When I was younger he was hands down my favorite uncle (and I did have choices I had a total of 8 combined on my dads and mother’s sides)! Every Sunday I got to dress up in cute little dresses, (some of which my favorite Uncle and Aunt bought for me) shiny shoes, and sit (for what seemed like hours) in a small but joyous church ( I really loved the singing & music parts). When service was over sometimes I’d get a nice dinner and some sort of sweet dessert from the congregation’s pot-luck. On the occasions when we didn’t have food afterwards my Uncle L.C. always came through with some sort of a treat for his (I naturally assumed) favorite niece. This tradition continued even after we’d moved into another suburb farther away from my Uncle. I could always dote on my Uncle to come and get me, that is until around the age of five. I just remember getting all dressed up and ready to go and my Uncle not showing up. I remember being really sad. My parents told me that my Uncle no longer had room to pick me up and maybe some thing about the mileage or gas. My Dad was un-willing to take me because he didn’t attend and had no intentions of becoming a member and my Mom didn’t drive. So, I was kind of left hanging in the wind. While I didn’t really understand everything that was preached at church I did like attending, and after that Sunday I just lost the interest. I mean I was five and a little heart broken. We had just moved into a new house, I was attending this place called Kindergarten and life was really tough for me (smile). So having to make “another” adjustment was just a lot to try to understand at that age.
Proverbs 22:6 6 Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.1
I didn’t attend church again until we moved out to the country (I was nine years old). And when I say country I really mean country. Like population no more than 40 and 40 may be a vast exaggeration. This number included children. Ironically, I started attending a church called Church of the Living God, who was headed by non other than my Uncle Rev. L.C. Carson! Now imagine my thought process, “How in the world can my Uncle drive 90 miles one way each Sunday to preach at a congregation way out in the country (this very small down is where my mother was born and raised and all of my dads brothers and sisters where born and raised – he was not) yet he couldn’t come and get me a few measly miles away?” -Again the thought process of a child, but I did have that in my crow. So, I didn’t have that same “fire” when I attended. I was more quiet, more reserved, sat as close to the back as I could get away with. I would leave walking home just as soon as “Amen” was uttered on the closing prayer. I attended only because I was invited, and only out of respect, not because I wanted to be there. Then somehow I managed to get out of going all together. I started attending Salt Creek Baptist church with my cousin-friend and her grandmother. The church was still in our community maybe a mile or two away (so I couldn’t walk) and it was an even smaller congregation (20 members is pushing it and they did not all attended all the time), but I was happy to go. There were some other kids there our age too, so that was a bonus and I liked to hear the singing. It also didn’t hurt that they offered food and sweets at their church.
Matthew 18:10 10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.2
Time passed, and I didn’t always attend every Sunday there and at some point my Uncle stopped preaching at the Church of the Living God and I just didn’t attend church. I still had my Bible. I would read it sometimes (the parts that made since the KJV is no joke with the dated language, especially to a child) when I was sad or confused. Then around the age of 11 I was invited back to The Church of the Living God because they had a new pastor, a younger pastor that they (the congregation) felt the kids in the town could also relate to. I went as did the other town children. I had a blast. He was relate-able most of the time. He did make an effort to include us in the church. We even formed a children’s choir (saying that there was 10 of us may be an exaggeration , maybe closer to 7, but definitely not more than 10). I even got baptized at the age of 12 there. I remember being super excited that I had done it (A full on water baptism) but I remember my parents being a little upset, well a little lot upset. The phrases tossed around were, “Are you sure you understand what you did?” “You are now responsible for all of your sins at the age of twelve, did you know that?” “Being baptized is not a joke, it’s nothing to play with, do you even think you are mature enough to have made a decision like that?” “You know that you can no longer sin now, everything you’ve sinned before is forgiven, but now you have to really walk right or God will be twice a vengeful.” I mean my parents hit me all the way around! Instead of making me feel good about it they made me feel bad about it. Like I had made this huge mistake! Me being me, of course hit back with answers like, “Yes I understand what I did. I wasn’t following others, no one made me” “I know it’s not a joke, yes I am mature enough to make the decision” “I know that I’m not suppose to sin anymore, but I wasn’t suppose to sin before right? This means that all my past sins are forgiven, I get a clean slate, and even if I do sin again I can repent”. I think all this was being conversed in part screams and loud talking. It wasn’t pretty or well received, but one thing I could count on was for them to hold me to a higher accountability.
1 John 2:1-2 1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.3
Acts 2:38 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.4
From as far back as I can remember (a toddler) all of the churches I attended had sermons that were heavily scripture preached. So much scripture was thrown out that most times (for me as a child, a pre-teen, and teenager) the pastors/reverends tended to forget to make it relate-able, or to give a modern example. It was a constant, “Turn to this page in the Bible” and before you could get there they are half way through passage and onto the next one by the time you found it. I often wondered, “How in the world do these people find the exact page within seconds (this is before the time of Bible tabbing, for which I am so grateful for now)?” But the entire sermon was literally reading the Bible. Then to top all of that off the service was like a never ending service. Don’t ask me what was being said to make it that long because I can’t tell you… We would start at eleven o’clock and still be going at 2pm. Most times the ones preaching didn’t notice that they’d completely lost half of the audience until someone started to snore, or the until the restroom became a hot commodity. When I noticed this was a trend that had no intentions of going away anytime soon, I tried to devise a way to stay involved because at this point the only thing interesting was listening to the some of the women try to out sing each other (no seriously funny, over singing, singing louder than necessary, or extending the song just to hear themselves) when the congregation would sing hymns. This is when I discovered a portion of the service called “Sunday School”. Now at first I wasn’t interested. Sunday school started mostly at 8:00 am (depending on the teacher) no later than 9:00 am. This meant I had to get up early, but all was forgiven when I found out that 1. It usually ran 45 minutes no longer than an hour and 2.It was very informative. The teacher actually broken down each scripture and it was an open forum question and answers throughout. No question was silly or stupid, and it was easy. So easy that sometimes we’d loose track of time and the main service time would be upon us. When this happen I was never a happy camper because I was ALWAYS shamed into staying (sigh), sometimes I did most times I respectfully declined and walked home.
James 3:1 1 Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.5
About a year after I was baptized I stopped attending The Church of the Living God. I began to see a lot of hypocrites in the church, mishandling of church funds, gossip gooseys, and hollier than thou attitudes. So whatever message was being thrown out I didn’t receive it. Oh and did I ever so hear it from my parents! See, you got baptized at that church and now you don’t even want to attend that church. Of course me being me said, “Just because I got baptized at that church doesn’t mean I am chained to that church. I got baptized because of Jesus not because I owe something to the church”. I think they tried to throw a “Yes you are” in there and I rebuked it. From the age of 14 or 15 I opted to church hop/church visit. I would attend other demonstrations in other towns, every type from Baptist to Pentecostal, to Holiness Pentecostal, to Church of Living Christ. Some I liked, others I just didn’t while some I just found questionable. I am cautious now about who and what I listen to. I don’t sit idly by and I don’t accept just anyone’s answer or interpretation. I ask a lot of questions. I’ve always asked questions, but now? I REALLY ASK A LOT OF QUESTIONS. I’ve upset a lot of people. One thing that has always stuck with me is “Be-aware of false prophets”. That meaning to me is more than just teaching lies. It’s teaching one thing and practicing another. It’s bad or just flat wrong interpretation of the scripture. It encompasses a lot to me. I feel like I have a hard enough time keeping myself out of trouble, keeping myself from going to hell by my own indiscretions and I do not need anyone else ushering me in to hell with false teachings or bad doctrine.
2 Timothy 2:16 16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.6
One of my sisters never attends church, but attends television church or televangelist. This has never been my thing. Something about it just irritates me. Maybe it stems back to seeing Jimmy Lee Swaggart and Tammy Faye Baker on my TV as child. They were always crying and begging, crying and begging and it just didn’t resonate with me. So, later when the world found out it was just one big scam or scandal my little insides just felt all better because I knew all along something wasn’t right. But I digress. My sister spends a lot of time listening to televangelist. She picks up a lot of their personal books or writings. She’s even donated to a lot of them. She also likes to tell me who and what I should be listing to. Of course with a heavy sigh I listen to who she thinks is the latest and greatest . Who she thinks I should listen to, to get closer to Jesus and God ( I honestly don’t need a middle man, but again, I digress). Each time, I don’t immediately shoot her down. I mean if I haven’t listened to them, how can I say anything bad about them right? So the first one, and I believe still a favorite one of hers was T.D. Jakes. This was back in 1995 and 1996. I would listen to him and he seemed okay, but something about him just didn’t feel right. It’s not something that he said, but more of his movements, or demeanor. I just couldn’t place it. Then around 1999 and 2000 he had become very popular and still I was just like eh… Next came Joyce Meyers and Joel Olsteen and as of late Paula White (whom I still have yet to listen to). For whatever reason I can’t listen to more than five or ten minutes of Joyce. When she talks I hear a lot of arrogance. But Joel? He was actually easy to swallow. If that makes any sense. He’s a cool, calm, smooth talking speaker. A very positive inspirational speaker. But yet and still I didn’t follow him on television. I may catch an episode here or there, and then just parts. I may catch him on a talk show promoting a book or something, but nothing really moved me to commit 100%. There was something still questionable there. Then something came up in the news about an airline incident were his wife allegedly belittled an airline stewardess. That made me go hmmm… Sure it wasn’t him but it was an extension of him. Then around the latter part of 2014 I was having a lot of problems in my life. Like the problems just kept piling up, soon as I get rid of one, here’s another. Month after month, no let up. So, one night I was changing the channel on TV, and Joel Olsteen appeared. And I stopped because he was talking about hard times and due season. I said to myself, hmm, I’m having a hard time, what’s this due season business? So I sat and I listened. When the service was over I felt better than I did when I had started it, so I recorded it. I had my fiance at the time look at it too. He got maybe 15 minutes in and was like, “Blah, blah, blah due season, blah, blah, blah repeat to yourself due season.” Then he just went to sleep. I was frustrated, because he didn’t even take it seriously. I’m thinking, “I’m praying and it just keeps getting worst. You’re not doing anything, and Joel is saying it’s my due season!” Still I wasn’t really thinking about the message like I should have because I was lost in my issues and just wanted help.
Romans 16:17 17 I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. 18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.7
So the new year rolls in and a few weeks passed and I just kept telling myself, “It’s my due season.” Being really positive and happy while thinking it. Then after about a month of this, something said, “Your due season for what?” I said, “My prosperity.” Again the question was asked, “Your due season for what?” So at this point I’m a little irritated and questioning. I go back to my DVR list, it’s still there and I re-watch it, but this time with a questioning ear, and a questioning eye. And you know what I noticed? We went through this entire sermon without a scripture. It was all positive thinking, and self success. I was like Dear God! What is this?!? And He was glad to answer. (He also lead me to an interview Joel Olsteen had with Larry King, where he stated he didn’t know if homosexuals would or wouldn’t get into heaven or not) He lead me to Lucierian teachings. Now that name just sounds scary right? I’m like, say what now? Their teachings are by speaking positive thoughts into the universe and receiving positive back. Whatever energy you put out is whatever energy you receive in return. So do bad get bad, do good get good. There’s also the belief that you can do or be whatever you want just by thinking it. You, yourself can empower yourself with the power of thought. They support the protection of the natural world. They look to art and science for human development. Their belief is all should be focused on this life. You’ll hear a lot of , “live your best life now”. They recognize good and evil, positive and negative and think of themselves as highlighting the truth. They believe in the freedom of will and worshiping one’s self for an inner power. A lot of teaching on personal growth. They do not believe that you should have fear of eternal punishment to distinguish right from wrong. Some of this teaching comes from masonic and morning star teachings. BEWARE!!!!!
2 Peter 2:1-3 1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.8
Also, be mindful of pagan beliefs as a lot of their outlooks have infiltrated the Christian community. Think about Earth Day, Eco Friendly vehicles, Ecological concerns. Those refusing to judge others ways as wrong simply because they are different from your own – These fall under paganism. They honor the dead – and now so do a lot of Christians. They are heavily into seasons (which made me go wow….) Summer, Winter, Autumn and Spring. They go by slightly different names (another word behind each season, if you want know more look it up). In marriage they believe in “handfasting”. The right hands of the bride and groom are tied together during the ceremony and then untied when finished taking the oath signifying that they remain together of free will. The jump the broom-stick to signify leaving the past and jumping into the future together. Be careful. Question. How often do you hear people talking about mother nature? Even meteorologist! How often do you hear about Goddesses? Pagans believe that the sexes should be equal. That the man is no higher than the woman, and in some cases they flat out believe a woman is higher or above a man. There is the belief of, “If it doesn’t harm anyone, do as you will”. I believe a lot of this has been re-branded as “New Age” or slipped in the back door as Christian. Do not be fooled. Preaching should have scripture. And not just have it, whatever is being taught or explained should come directly from scripture. Even with that, keep your eyes and ears open. I can hand my Bible to three different people reading the same scripture and get three different answers on the meaning. Always, always seek God for the answer and he will explain it. A lot of these pastors, ministers, bishops, etc are misleading people by the thousands! Why does Crefflo Dollar Ministries need a 60 million dollar jet? Why was the congregation asked foot the bill? Why do these ministers have several million dollar homes when some of the people that’s in their congregations don’t have homes? Why when prompted for transparency of finances they don’t comply? Just be mindful people. May God Bless you and give you the answers you seek. May He give you any and all clarity you need. Ask God and you shall receive.
Hebrews 13:9 9 Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by eating ceremonial foods, which is of no benefit to those who do so.9
Timothy 6:3-5 3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.10
- (KJV)Proverbs 22:6 6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
- (KJV)Matthew 18:10 10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.
- (KJV)1 John 2:1-2 2 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
- (KJV)Acts 2:38 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
- (KJV)James 3:1 3 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.
- (KJV)2 Timothy 2:16 16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
- (KJV)Romans 16:17 17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
- (KJV)2 Peter 2:1-3 2 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
- (KJV)Hebrews 13:9 9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.
- (KJV)1 Timothy 6:3-5 3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.