Prophets, Profits, Prosperity, and Speedo's: Ingredients for Repentance
by Samuel Connelly 4/25/2009 / Christian Living
Yesterday, I found myself, again, at McDonald's, not eating Big Macs, Big N' Tastys, or their sugar saturated french fries (that's right, I seen the documentary too), but drinking coffee, sitting in my favorite corner booth (the only one that has an outlet for my computer), watching the world news while typing away at my current novel, on my sweet new mini laptop that a friend gave me when I spotted a very interesting character park his new Harley Electroglide into the spot next to my car. I love the electroglide, let me through that in there, right now.
The guys was a big white guy, balding but had a Trump-style comb-over, which had blown down to the right side, no doubt from the wind smacking it around as he cruised the streets with his sweet ride. He wore a leather jacket that had a large Harley emblem on the back, and instead of maybe some denim jeans, or even leather pants, he wore knee length Speedos.
He opened the seat compartment, (which, by the way he had his black helmet snapped too, instead of protecting his melon and rich hair-dew), and pulled out a thick black wallet and a large leather bound bible. He looked into his side mirror, took a black comb from his jacket, brushed his hair back...no, over, and then walked into McDonald's, as his hair fell back comfortably laying in his left shoulder.
As he ordered his food, my attention was drawn to the television when I heard the news anchor say the name "David Wilkerson". I quickly grabbed my pen and paper, because anytime Wilkerson is in the news, it is always something big.
"Pastor Dave Wilkerson, founder of Time Square Church in New York city, and author of The Cross and the Switchblade, a bestselling book that ranked #32 in Christianity Today's list of "Top 50 Books That Have Shaped Evangelicals, is creating quite a talk amongst the faith community." The anchor reported, "In a ministry blog, Wilkerson, the founder of Teen Challenge, a ministry that reaches out to teens struggling with addictions warned 'AN EARTH-SHATTERING CALAMITY IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN. IT IS GOING TO BE SO FRIGHTENING, WE ARE ALL GOING TO TREMBLE -- EVEN THE GODLIEST AMONG US.'"
"Poor Wilkerson has really missed it this time." Someone said.
I looked up from my paper and there was my speedo sporting biker friend. His dirty blond hair was now dangling around his left shoulder, except for a few strands that were stuck in the sweat which seemed to glaze his head like a krispy kream donut.
I just smiled, knowing that my writing time was over. I didn't fight it this time. I put my hand out and asked the question: "Would you like to sit here?"
He dropped his tray on the table with three burgers of some kind, large fries, two apple pies, and enough ketchup to heat up and eat as a meal. He put his large cola on the table next to my laptop, which I quickly shut off and tucked away, safely in its case.
"I'm Prophet Jim Tomlin (that's not really his name, of course)"
"Hi Jim, I'm Walter Crack." I lied. I don't like to give out my name because I've had too many crazy people remember it and look me up. Got to protect my family in these crazy days, right. Where I got Walter Crack...not sure, I think it was the name of a dog in some book I read my daughter before bed last week.
"Mr. Crack" He said.
"Call me, Walt" I chuckled. Hearing him call me Mr.Crack almost made me shoot coffee out of my nostrils.
"OK, thanks. You can call me Jim, or James, or anything" He smacked his large stomach, "Anything but late for dinner." he chuckled.
"Of course, Jim"
"So I saw you writing here, with your computer, and books, and stuff. Are you are reporter or something?"
"I write the warnings on canned foods." I said with the most serious face I could muster.
"I didn't know someone did that?"
"They don't print themselves." I said smiling.
"I guess not. Well praise God. Do you mind if I pray over my food?"
"Not at all" I said and we both bowed our heads.
Jim interlocked his massive sausage fingers, which turned red, while his finger nails turned white. He prayed for the missionaries in Uganda, the homeless, the President, the cooks that made his food, orphans, Dr. Tiller (abortion doctor in Wichita). He got louder and louder as he prayed for the kingdom of God to come, and for revival.
I looked opened my eyes for a moment. This man was very genuine. His eyes were closed so tight that it looked like his face had swallowed them. Sweat poured from his head, streams flowed down his face and dripped, some from his ears, some from his nose, and some traveled down his neck disappearing under his collar. He finished his prayer calling monetary finances from the north, south, east, and west. I am sure that the only thing he missed was his meal.
He opened his eyes and looked at me. Grabbing a hand full of napkins and wiping his face, neck and head he said, "You saved, Walt?"
Part of me wanted to say "no", as I do many times, curious to see how the person would explain the Good News of the Gospel, but I didn't.
"Yes, yes I am."
"Good." He unwrapped his second burger. I didn't realize the first had been consumed. I looked under the table to see if it had fallen while we were praying.
He nodded towards the television. "Wilkerson. You know, he's wrong." He said while taking a bite of his burger that was so big i thought I seen the missing burger.
"How do you know?" I asked. Not that I wanted to ask, but this was the whole reason he had stood at my table waiting for my invitation to join me.
"There is no big calamity about to fall on America." He shook his burger at me. A partially eaten pickle slice fell and landed on my pad of paper. I discreetly wiped it off with my pinkie. "God has told us, the prophets, that there will be some hard times, but a season of prosperity is coming. Not Calamity." He took another bite, and wiped his mouth while holding eye contact with me. "What do you think about that?"
"I don't know."
"You believe it don't you? You believe in the word of the Lord, don't you?"
"Of course, I do."
"Then what's there not to know?"
"I'm not sure that God's definition of prosperity, is the same as our definition." I said as I reached across the table and flipped his bible open, and flipped it to revelation. "This book describes real prosperity."
"The end of all things?" He said, opening his third burger.
"No, the time leading up to the coming of Jesus, or the end of it all. The Bible says that there will many sinners saved. It says that Christians will be persecuted and even killed for their faith, but they would stand in the heat of it all and not shrink. It says that they would overcome by the blood of the Lamb, the word of their testimony,and they would not love their lives so much that they would run from death. That, Jim, is real prosperity. Is that what the prophets are seeing?"
"That time will come. But what God is saying right now is that a time of monetary wealth is coming for us. The wealth of the wicked laid up for the righteous. The feast in the midst of famine. Years of plenty, milk and honey running in the dessert." His face lit up, and his chubby cheeks turned red as his envisioned it. I tried to envision it but the thought of me and him rolling around in a stream of honey and milk with his speedos made me laugh.
"You see it?" He asked.
"Oh yea, I see it" I chuckled. "Here is what I want to know. Why would God send all of this on The Church, and with hold it from the world. God doesn't see pleasure in the suffering of anyone."
"It's because we are His children. We are the righteous in God. It is our inheritance."
"Yes. I believe that. I also believe that we have eternity to be pampered, and, roll around in honey with each other, but while on earth we have a mission. A mission to carry the message of the cross into every corner of the planet, to meet the needs, to touch peoples lives, as Jesus did."
"If Jesus would have been in our time, he would have been the most prosperous people on the planet. Prosperity would have sought him out. See a lot of people thought Jesus was a poor man, but he was the owner of his earthly father's carpentry business. He had money and houses."
"Where is that in the Bible?" I asked
"It's not. It has been revealed through history and revelation."
"OK, I will have to agree to disagree on trusting the reliability of the history of Jesus as revealed through his modern day prophets. Let's look at your concept of prosperity. Paint me a picture so I can better understand: what does prosperity do for Christians?"
"Walt, if you are walking a hundred percent in God's realm of prosperity, you will have no financial burdens. See, God wants you to have the best. He wants to put loads of money in your bank account. He wants to amaze you with so much you can't even handle it all. God desires to wow you with the desires of your heart; homes, mansions, estates, cars, Harley's like mine- over above and beyond measure. Isn't that what you want?" He said with a smile that showed all of his teeth.
I found that I was become fond of Jim. He sincere, and totally believed everything he said, and conveyed a contagious passions and joy as he said what he did. I really was not wanting to discourage him, or contradict his beliefs, but I just as firmly believe that Christianity is not possibly so shallow.
"No, Jim. No. I do not want that." I said shaking my head. "A few years ago I had a pastor prayed over me and my wife, and he prayed that God would bless us with a three hundred thousand dollar house. Later driving home I was pleased to hear my wife say, 'I don't want God to give us that house, it would be more trouble trying to sell it to pay off bills and help get our family and friends out of dept', Jim, I was so glad she said that. I don't want a home that is so big that I can't see the homeless around me. I don't want to be unreachable. I don't want to be in a place that I haveso much that I become disconnected with reality."
"What reality, Walt? It sounds like you have a good heart, but have a hard time accepting God's love." He said pushing nearly an entire apple pie into his mouth.
"The reality that 142,000 people die every day, many splitting hell wide open. The reality that more than a thousand children die every night due to starvation. That their are homeless people that will die in our town tonight because of hunger, depression, drug abuse, or alcoholism. That there are food riots happening in Mexico and other countries where people are killing each other for food because grocery stores are emptying out." We looked at each other in silence for a moment.
"I don't know what you want me to say." He said.
"I don't want to you say anything, Jim. What I want to understand is why David Wilkerson is wrong when he says, bad times are coming. Be prepared, and do not forget the lost. I want to understand why some Christians believe that they have the right to demand estates, and cars, and things, which are all going to burn anyways, when the world is hurting. I want to know why Christians think it is ok to have too much, when children are dying. I want to know why churches are postponing mission trips into Mexico and other countries, because there is danger, when Jesus told us to go. Jim, I just don't understand Christianity today."
The issue got me very emotionally stirred and I felt a tear slip from my eye.
Jim slid out of his booth across from me, came over and put his hand on my shoulder. "Let me pray for you." He said. I was feeling quite convicted of my own lack of seriousness of the global situation, and I repented under my breath.
Jim prayed for me. He prayed that I would allow my heart to break for the Word of the Lord. He prayed that I would allow God's love to come in, that I would allow God to bless me and my family. He prayed that I would not be so focused on the world and more focused on the Kingdom of God and what God desires to do for us. He prayed that I would hold out my hands and get ready to expand my tents so God could bless us financially. He called finances from the north and the south and the east and west.
He thanked God. And had no idea why I was crying.
I left that table and got in my car to go pick up my son and daughter from school. As I pulled into the school parking lot I thought about how truly sincere Jim was. I did appreciate it. He moved me with his passion for what he believed.
As my son and daughter came running to the car I thought about how important it is for parents to train up their children in the way they should go, and not let society or even the Church house alone, do all the training. Parents must be more involved. This is also reality.
I live in Wichita Ks. Have a few short stories, articles and several poems published. Finishing up two novels. I am a former youth minister and VJ for a Sky Angel Christian rock show. I'm a deli manager and certified coffee expert by day and write like crazy by night.