Is material prosperity a legitimate spiritual goal?
Posted on November 28, 2007
Earlier this week Richard Roberts was forced to resign as President of Oral Roberts University amidst allegations and lawsuits alleging financial improprieties. Although I am grieved by what is happening I am not surprised. When we emphasize the wrong things it is only a matter of time until we reap what we have sowed. For nearly three decades Charismatic ministers have been preaching prosperity and it is finally catching up with us. We have developed an attitude of entitlement. It is our ministry and the assets are ours to do with as we see fit with only our conscience to guide us.
That's a precarious place to be in and few of us can manage it. Over the years I have observed a deadly progression. We start out accepting the "perks" that go with our position. Then we expect them, then we demand them and finally we abuse them.
Is this what happened at ORU? It would appear so, especially if the allegations of a stable of horses for the Roberts' girls and a $39,000 shopping spree for Lindsey Roberts on the University's tab are any indication of what really happened. This does not make Richard and Lindsey bad people but it certainly makes them misguided ones. With the University $52 million in debt and the campus desperately in need of repairs frugality would seem to be in order.
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How Does Anyone Stay Married for 50 Years?
Posted on November 08, 2007
During the closing months of WW II, the man who was to become my father began exchanging letters with a beautiful, but timid, eighteen year old girl named Irene. They could hardly have been less alike. She was a true innocent, having never traveled more than ten miles from her birthplace in Northeastern Colorado, while he was a Navy man having spent much of the war stationed in Hawaii. As the war was winding down in the fall of 1945 he was transferred to the Naval base in Corpus Christi, Texas, and given a two week furlough. Making his way to Sterling, Colorado, he determined to find out if that dark-eyed beauty was as pretty as her picture
Not surprisingly it was “love at first sight” and after a whirlwind courtship they were married on November 7, 1945. For sixty-one years, three months and one day they remained completely devoted to one another -- a devotion that seems all the more amazing given the social climate in which we now live with its throw away marriages. When it became impossible for my father to leave his bed during the last week of his life mother remained by his side, taking what little food she ate sitting up in bed beside him. Hour after hour she lay beside him, propping herself up on one elbow so she could look at Daddy. Although we urged her to take a break she refused, saying over and over again, "I promised Daddy I would never leave him and I'm going to stay right here." And that's where she was when Daddy took his last breath and went to be with the Lord.
Had Daddy lived, today would have been their sixty-second wedding anniversary and I can't help but marvel at the love they shared. Following their fiftieth anniversary reception the entire family returned to their home where we shared memories and family stories late into the evening. Finally my nine year old niece snuggled up on the couch beside her grandmother and when there was a pause in the conversation she asked, "Grandma, how does anyone stayed married for fifty years?"
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I wouldn't Do it for Anyone but Jesus
Posted on November 01, 2007
I've been home just over forty-eight hours and my body clock is still upside down. The Philippines are thirteen hours ahead of the time here in Arkansas so my body is shutting down when I should be waking up. Of course the nights are no better. While Brenda sleeps I am up reading or roaming the house. I'm tired too. I was gone fourteen days and three of those days were travel days, the shortest being eighteen hours and the longest almost thirty hours. During the other eleven days I preached twenty-one times. As I told Brenda I wouldn't do that for anyone but Jesus!
As you have probably guessed I hate the travel but I love the ministry. While in Hawaii I preached the District Ministers and Wives retreat and in three different churches on Sunday. Their hospitality and generosity was overwhelming. From there I flew to Manila where I preached a one day retreat for all of the International Correspondent Institute workers. ICI has published five of my books for the Philippines so ministering to the team was extra special. On Friday I preached four times at a national pastor's conference and the Lord moved in a powerful way encouraging and renewing pastors. On Saturday I preached three times at a national youth conference. In the final session twenty-nine young people answered the call to full time ministry. On Sunday I preached in a local church and the altars were filled as people responded to the invitation to receive Jesus as their Lord and savior!
I want to thank all of you who supported the ministry with your prayers. Although it was a grueling schedule the Lord gave me special strength and I am convinced it was a direct result of your prayers. We are co-workers together with God and I couldn't do it without you. I have four more engagements before Thanksgiving and I covet your continued prayers. Please check the web site (www.richardexleyministies.org) for our schedule so you will know how to pray specifically.
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