Sunday, March 15, 2015

I'll Fly Away

Many people have this idea Christians aren’t supposed to be prosperous. This belief is often propagated by misquoted Bible verses such as “money is the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10 actually says, “...the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil”). As a result, the secular media and even some believers frown upon ministers who own expensive homes, cars, and especially airplanes. 

This past week a well-known pastor experienced a social media backlash after launching a fundraising campaign for a jet. Since 1999, Creflo Dollar of World Changers Church International has owned a Gulfstream III to transport him and his ministry team plus thousands of pounds of food to be a blessing to others. Last November, Creflo's jet became inoperable due to an accident in London when it slid off the runway during an aborted takeoff.

Creflo now wants to acquire a Gulfstream G650 valued at over $60 million. A video posted on his website (which has since been removed) suggested if 200,000 donors gave $300, Creflo would have the money to buy this jet. Some people think it would be more economical for Creflo to fly commercial, which he is doing in the meantime. Then again with the ridiculous baggage fees airlines charge nowadays, bringing along extra pounds of food could become quite costly.

Most people don’t realize many so-called “prosperity preachers” are generous givers plus have income streams apart from ministry. Creflo said in a 2007 Associated Press interview that he had renounced his church salary. His income now largely comes from personal investments and has published more than 30 books. 

Personally, I won’t ask people to send me specific amounts of money when believing God for something. Psalm 37:25 says, “I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread.” On the other handfundraising campaigns for airplanes have been done by two of my favorite preachers: Jesse Duplantis and Keith Moore. Keith has an excellent teaching series called “Would Jesus Wear a Rolex?” that I recommend hearing.

Kenneth Copeland is another flying preacher I enjoy listening to. One time I heard Kenneth talk about a time the Lord instructed him to fly to Israel to minister to one woman. At first, Kenneth questioned this mission as being a bit extravagant. The Lord told him, “I am extravagant...I am never wasteful.” He then asked Kenneth if one of his daughters was on the other side of the world and would only listen to one person, wouldn’t he send that person to get her out of trouble. 

Kenneth replied, “When do I leave?”

1 Timothy 6:17 says God “ us richly all things to enjoy.” That would include airplanes. Most people don’t mind celebrities like Oprah Winfrey owning multimillion-dollar jets. I’d rather see aircraft like these doing the Lord’s work.

“And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.” - Deuteronomy 8:18

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