Our Invitation to Rest

“Come to me, who all heavy burdened and I will give you rest” -Matthew 11:28

As we come to realize, we are indeed weary and heavy laden people. The spiritual poverty is real. The desolation of the soul exists worldwide. Many methods have undertaken to ease the restlessness.  The end result? More restlessness! You know because you tried it all. I know I did. I can have a successful career, house, wife, kids, friends, be well liked by all, even be honored in death yet never finding that rest in life. You want to know why? Neither you or I can give ourselves rest because we are not the source of rest. Only Jesus Christ.

For the unbeliever, they want nothing to do with God. They hate him and try to shut out those who try to share the Gospel with them. Or perhaps, they have questions about Him. Either way, Christ calls them to partake in His rest by coming to know Him. For the believer, they recognize that this journey is difficult. Many things plague their lives: persecution, hardships, temptations, complacency, and so forth. Moreover, they feel like God is not pleased with them. Even though Christ is acknowledged as Lord and Savior, He is viewed as someone with their arms crossed. Let me tell you something, His arms aren’t crossed, they are wide open for He bids all to come rest. May Christ reassure them in His rest that they are His children, His bride, His church, His elect and His remnant!

O what a comfort it is to all who are weary and heavy laden! This ain’t for those who think they are “just fine” on their own. Yet Christ calls them too for ultimately they are without true rest. As famously said by Augustine,  ‘Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.’ Until that is recognized, the restlessness remains. For only Christ can bring rest for He is our rest! Won’t you rest in Him today?

God, Greed and (Prosperity Gospel): How Truth Overwhelms a Life Built on Lies by Costi Hinn

Costi Hinn’s book takes us through his spiritual journey from his upbringing in the prosperity gospel, to his desire in serving alongside his uncle Benny Hinn- one of the biggest names in the Word of Faith/prosperity gospel.  Discussed in the book is Costi’s gradual concerns of his family’s theological beliefs to his conversion, including exposure to sound doctrine and pursuit of pastoral calling.

The book separated twofold: autobiography and doctrine, providing easy comprehension to non scholarly believers. It is not just a study of the prosperity gospel but a personal story of one coming out of its deceptive grasps. Moreover, its about someone whose uncle is one of the most well known names in the movement. But by God’s grace, Costi’s eyes were opened to that with contradicts Scripture. Yet these preachers proof text their theology, claiming that it’s “divine revelation” from the Lord. However, such claims are debunked with a proper study of the Bible in context.

Furthermore, the book features a biblical understanding of health and wealth to promote healthy discussions with loved ones still in the movement. Costi Hinn has done a tremendous testimony in which many more in the movement will  open their eyes and leave, by God’s grace. So  that is you, please get this book to learn in-depth and answer any questions you have. It is one worth reading over and over again. I know, because I couldn’t put it down! In an age where false teaching is the norm, the demand of exposing it’s deceit is greater than ever. May there be a revival of sound preaching of The Word of God in the church today!

Notable in-book quotes

“By an early age, as a part of the Hinn family, I viewed Jesus Christ as our magic genie—rub him right, and he’ll give you whatever your heart desires. I quoted verses from the Bible like Psalm 37:4, which says, “Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart,” and John 14:14, where Jesus says, “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” The meaning of these Scriptures was so obvious to me: believe in Jesus Christ, ask for things by saying, “In Jesus’ name,” and you’ll have whatever you want. Seriously—that simple. Not difficult to understand. Besides, it sure seemed to be working for us!”

“What are we? Pastors? Celebrities? Both? It just didn’t add up. I was beginning to think that there was a difference between being well known for faithful ministry and behaving like this. Shouldn’t money be a tool for doing more ministry? I’m sure it’s okay for a pastor to own a home and be paid an adequate salary to care for his family, but tens of millions of dollars are going into our houses, cars, jewelry, hotels, and shopping. Could the critics be at least just a little bit right?”

“The sovereignty of God matters to Christianity, and we could go as far as to say that it is un-Christian to deny the sovereignty of God. The prosperity gospel certainly denies the sovereignty of God to the extent that it demeans God to the position of a puppet and elevates man to the position of a puppet master who makes confessional demands by faith. It does this by considering faith as a force and God as the one who must respond to our faith. This is a heretical twisting of true faith.”

“When we get the sovereignty of God wrong, we get God wrong. When we get the abundant life wrong, we get Jesus wrong. When we get faith and confession wrong, we get salvation wrong. Why is that a huge deal? Because all roads that the prosperity gospel paves lead to hell.”

“I’ve got good news for you: the abundant life is about the security of your soul for eternity. The abundant life is not a comfortable seventy years, courtesy of the prosperity gospel and leading to infinite suffering in hell if you don’t follow the biblical Christ as your Savior.”

“Without Jesus, heaven would be hell. All the health and wealth this world can offer can never compare to the vast riches of abiding with the Son of God for all eternity. Jesus is everything. The prosperity gospel makes human satisfaction to be material and Jesus to be the cherry on top. If it makes Jesus a central focus, it’s that he is the main avenue to getting what you want. This version of Jesus is a shell of who he really is. The prosperity gospel promises people the abundant life that Jesus offers only to deliver a gospel with no Jesus at all.”

Spurgeon’s Sorrows by Zack Erswine (book review)

Charles Spurgeon is one of my favorite preachers and writers. He was definitely God’s gift to his  generation. Fortunately, his sermons and books can still be checked out today. They are well worth checking out as they are rich in biblical truth. As impactful as he is, he is still a mere man who struggled with depression. So when I heard how this book discusses that in detail, I knew I had to read it! That being said, here’s my thoughts.

What I enjoyed about “Spurgeon’s Sorrows” is that displays Spurgeon in a different light. Yes, he is highly regarded as a tremendous preacher but here, he is shown more sympathetic manner. This book makes it distinctly evident that he struggled with depression, especially in ministry. Great detail is given in Spurgeon’s depression and how he brought it up in his sermons because he knew that there were hurting church members. As church leaders, it is important to learn to suffer along with depressed congregants who usually feel intimated to share with them. Sadly,  many leader’s have erred in handling it appropriately by just telling them to snap out of it. Yet it does more harm than good. But Spurgeon’s vulnerability allowed people to see that they are not alone in their struggle and that is key for pastors to do, to become wounded with the wounded.

In closing, I enjoyed this book. It is not a “how to” book, rather it discusses the experience of someone who’s been there, a man of God no less. Moreover, we have a Savior who knows and relates to our pain. Yet He is also our hope. So please read this book, and read it alongside with someone. It is meant to be shared.  As dark as depression may be, you are not alone. And there there is light, The Light, at the end of the tunnel.

Notable quotes (Spurgeon quotes included)

“The mind can descend far lower than the body, for in it there are bottomless pits. The flesh can bear only a certain number of wounds and no more, but the soul can bleed in ten thousand ways, and die over and over again each hour.” -Charles Spurgeon

“It is Christ and not the absence of depression that saves us. So, we declare this truth. Our sense of God’s absence does not mean that He is so. Though our bodily gloom allows us no feeling of His tender touch, He holds on to us still. Our feelings of Him do not save us. He does. Our hope therefore, does not reside in our ability to preserve a good mood but in His ability to bear us up.”

” In contrast to those who would tell you to get stronger and plead your strengths with God,Charles counters and tells us the opposite: “Let your weakness plead with God through Jesus Christ.”

“No matter how deep you fall, grace goes deeper still. “What was under Elijah when he fell down in that fainting fit under the juniper tree? Why, underneath were the everlasting arms.” No matter how far you fall in your depression, “the eternal arms shall be lower than you are.” -Charles Spurgeon