Author Archives: Mark Hughes


A few years ago a pastor friend of mine in the American Mid-West had to conduct a very sad funeral for a 7 year old girl. It was one of those really tough ones, as one of life’s most painful and unfortunate experiences is to lose a child. The anguish in the heart of the young parents is unimaginable, except by maybe those who have lived through this kind of tragedy themselves. The circumstances surrounding the death of this precocious little grade one student made it even more unbearable. Friday evening after work her father came home to find his two daughters, age 7 and 10, playing in the back yard. He joined them for 20 minutes of frolicking in the snow until it was time to come in for dinner. Just inside the back door the father bent down to help his youngest daughter remove her boots. His legally obtained and loaded handgun fell out of his jacket pocket, hit the floor and accidentally discharged. It shot her in the head killing her instantly.

The father was not law enforcement, requiring him to carry a gun, nor does the family live in a high crime neighbourhood where people think they need to carry a gun for protection. In fact much of the community is made up of Mennonites and Amish, not people normally known as violent offenders. My pastor friend told me that on any given Sunday there might be a dozen men ‘packing heat’ in the church service. He felt somehow comforted by that fact. I personally would be terrified given that it is usually me that offends people in church. One ill-conceived Mennonite joke in a sermon and I might have a dozen bullets flying my way. No thanks.

The oft quoted and tired defense of the pro-gun lobby is, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”  There are many variations of it such as:

guns-dont-kill-people-people-that-dont-value-human-life-2524418PS_1076W_DADS_KILL                                         if guns kill2

None of these clever slogans will ever lessen the grief of the family of the 7 year old girl. And I know that many would unsympathetically squarely blame the father who carelessly and improperly carried his loaded handgun around in his pocket. But here is the point I am going to make in this post. The more guns that are out there, the more innocent people are going to die. Guns actually do kill people. There is no doubt that if the father did not own a handgun, his daughter would still be alive. It is that simple.

In the last few weeks we have seen some horrendous gun related tragedies south of the border. In June, a 29 year old Omar Mateen entered an Orlando night club killing 49 and wounding 53. He was armed with a Sig MCX semi automatic sub machine gun (that in the US you can by at Cabela’s) and a handgun. A few weeks later 25 year old  Micah Xavier Johnson opened fire on a group of Dallas police officers killing 5 and wounding 9 others. He was armed with a Saiga AK-74 assault rifle and a handgun. After each of these incidences there was renewed talk about banning the sale of assault rifles to the public. Paradoxically, as the result of these announcements there were massive increases in sales of assault rifles at guns shops all across America. To be perfectly clear on one point, this type of weapon has only one intended use, killing people.  They are almost useless for hunting or target practice but they do an excellent job of killing people.


Absurdly, the American solution to the epidemic of gun violence seems to be – you guessed it, more guns. Many of them live with this false sense of security that in order to protect yourself against violent criminals the best defense is to carry a gun yourself. I have discussed this many times with my American friends and they just simply cannot seem to connect the dots that the more deadly weapons you have in circulation, the more people are going to die as a result. They have bought into the Second Amendment mentality that everybody needs a gun to defend themselves. The stupidity of this logic is, that if you did happen to encounter an armed career criminal, they are going to kill you long before you have the presence of mind to secure your weapon and shoot it at another human being. Something you are not even psychologically capable of doing. Killing is not normal human behaviour. (Soldiers in the first World War more often than not shot over the heads of their enemy because humans are naturally averse to killing. Today the military must use de-sensitivity training to ingrain the ability to use lethal force.) Today there are more guns in the US than there are people (Over 300 million at a per-capita rate of 112 guns/100 people). The sheer number of weapons in circulation creates an environment where criminal and imbalanced people have unlimited access to killing devices, which in of itself, creates a culture where people live under a continual threat of violence.

Graph-1 (1)

In the interests of full disclosure, I am a gun owner. I have two shotguns and a .22 cal rifle. My guns were properly registered (no longer required), stored securely with trigger locks and the ammunition stored in a separate location where a thief would never be able to find. I do not bring my guns to church or carry them around in my pocket. They only see the light of day when they are used for their intended purpose. I am not prepared to get into a debate about animal rights here, so I am not going to say what I hunt. Although one Thanksgiving I decided to shoot my own turkey. It did not end well, the meat department manager at Safeway told me to leave and never come back. But seriously, I would have no trouble giving up my guns to help the cause. In fact I might.


This culture of gun violence is now being imported around the world. Dr. Samantha Nutt is a Canadian humanitarian who is the founder of War Child Canada.  She has spent most of her adult life working in war torn countries like Iraq, AfghanistanSomalia, Congo, Sierra Leone and Darfur, Sudan. She has done an incredible TedTalk where she pointedly describes how the 5 permanent members of UN Security Council (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) plus Germany produce 80% of the world’s weapons. Always in search for a new market and driven only by profit, they have been importing weapons to the developing world at such alarming volumes that, “In many places in which I have worked, it is easier to get access to an automatic rifle, than it is to get access to clean drinking water,” Nutt says. She also claims that an AK47 can be purchased for as little as $10. As a consequence anybody, including elementary school age children, have access to small arms. Some are being trained by militia groups to become ‘freedom fighters’ and have committed their first murder by 8 or 9 years old. 40 million people have died or been displaced in the Global South by the proliferation of small arms. Nutt’s indictment of the West is,“that most of the people who are dying in war are living in poor countries, and yet most of the people who are profiting from war are living in rich countries — people like you and me.” The madness needs to stop!

I will say it again, guns actually do kill people. When you look around the world at places where gun ownership is low, gun violence is proportionately low. In England where even the police do not carry guns, gun violence is almost nonexistent.


We have a promise that one day we will all live in a peaceful world where there is no more war, no more violence, no more killing… and no more weapons. He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore. (Isaiah 2:4) That day cannot come too soon because the world has gone completely gun crazy mad.

ADDENDUM:  After reading the comments on this post for the past few days I think I may have been slightly misunderstood as to what I was saying.  I am not advocating the outlawing of guns. As I mentioned I have been a gun owner almost my entire life and passed the hunter safety course when I was 12 years old. I have no problem with farmers, ranchers, hunters, and target shooters owning guns. I am trying to expose the fallacy that owning guns for protection makes people safer. It does exactly the opposite by accommodating an ever increasing mindset that violence is viable option in personal crisis. . The arms manufacturers are not unlike the tobacco industry and are committed to putting a gun in the hand of every man, woman and child. They are driven to profit off the misfortune and deaths of others. The wholesale arming of unstable war torn parts of the world has to be immoral on some level. Canada and Great Britain are empirically much safer countries than America and Sudan because we do not readily sell handguns and assault weapons to the general public. The gun murder rate in the US is 25 times higher than that of other developed countries. 91 people are killed everyday in the US by guns. Seven of them are children. I think we are being deceived by the gun lobby when we buy into the logic that it is somehow our civic right to own an assault rifle or handgun for protection. There are just too many nutcases out there. We should be alarmed and concerned about the epidemic of gun violence in our world today.

Jesus clearly rebuked the use of weaponry against our fellow man. “Then Jesus said to him, “put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” (Matt 26:52)  Conversely Jesus advocated only non-violence. He told His follows to ‘turn the other cheek’, to ‘love their enemy’ and “to do good to those who hate you”. Never once does he recommend killing someone, even in self defense. Luke 22:36 is the only place where Jesus suggests it is OK to use lethal force but that is only if read out of context. Here is what its says, Luke 22:35-38, [Jesus] asked them  “When I sent you out without a purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “No, not a thing.”  He said to them, “But now the one who has a purse must take it, and likewise a bag. And the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you, this scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered among the lawless’; and indeed what is written about me is being fulfilled.” They  said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.” “It is enough,” He replied. 

Enough for what? Not for defending themselves against the Romans, But enough to be considered a band of criminals thus fulfilling the prophecy that He was numbered among the lawless. So shortly after this when the Romans show up Peter cuts off one of their ears. Jesus tells him to put the sword away claiming that to live by the sword is to die by the sword. Then is it immoral to use a weapon in warfare, or police work etc? Not at all… but your chances of dying by a like weapon is so much greater. After years of studying the Word of God I have become convinced that the message of Jesus is always one of forgiveness and non-violence. I believe it is far more christian-like to die for our faith… than to kill for it.


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Let me preface this post by saying I have never claimed to be a prophet. I have never liked the responsibility that goes along with it. In the Old Testament when a prophet prophesied falsely he was to be ignored or worse yet put to death. ‘But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak… that prophet shall die.’ (Deut 18:20) Today when false prophecy is declared it usually has something to do with Israel or Iran and becomes a bestselling book. Instead of being ignored when none of it comes to pass the author scores yet another book deal and makes millions.  I belong to the much safer ‘Niels Bohr school of prophecy’. He was the Danish physicist who said, “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.”


Sarcasm aside, today more than ever we actually do need the prophets and spiritual leaders that have some semblance of understanding what is going on in the world.1Chronicles 12:32 says “The sons of Issachar who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.” So as we enter 2016, I thought I would share my analysis of what it looks like is going on in the world. I figure if I put it in these uncertain terms you will have little cause to stone me at the end of the year. But maybe instead we can have a discussion to see how far off I was.

1) The Economy will falter in 2016

I would dub the era we live in the Decade of Denial. After the near cataclysmic world-wide economic meltdown of 2008 the stock market has been on a 7 year tear. Investors have been happy as clams as their RRSP’s and 401k’s (US) roared back to life. People have been once again spending liberally. They are buying vacation properties and new cars. Porsche sales in Canada were up 30% in 2015. That said most of us never bother to look behind the curtain to see that the Wizard of Oz is pulling the levers and putting on a good show and none of it is real. After the financial crash the US government gave some $16 trillion in bailouts to various corporations. Many of them were the very people that caused the problem in the first place like Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley. Instead of using that money to make funds available to consumers, they used it for mergers and acquisitions and buying up stock market equites at bargain basement prices driving the market to the record levels of 2015. These greed motivated corporations made huge profits while many families lost their homes. The financial markets are completely manipulated and designed for the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer. Mysteriously to me few ever asked the question where the trillions came from. The answer is; ‘thin air’. Government is the only organization in the world that can write cheques with no funds in their bank account. After the bailouts they began an economic campaign called Quantitative Easing. This is just a fancy term for; printing money out of thin air to stimulate the economy. Eventually something has to give and a day of reckoning must come. What goes up, must come down. Here is the best description I have seen on the process.

Most economists are calling for modest economic growth in 2016. I don’t believe it. The so called economic recovery is a ruse. Jobs have not been created, wages have not risen above inflation and stock fundamentals have not really improved. China, a major driver of the world’s economy, is in a massive recession. Canada already entered recession territory in 2015 (defined by two quarters of economic contraction) and yet few will admit it. Our TSX stock market was down 11% last year, the Canadian dollar was down 20%, and oil prices were off 50% from last spring. That does not look like growth to me. The economic systems of the world have all become dangerously linked together. When one country sneezes, they all get a cold. The bible predicts that one of these days the entire world economy will come crashing down.  ‘Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour your judgment has come. And the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her, for no one buys their merchandise anymore”  (Rev 18:10-11) Now  I don’t think that time is quite yet, and please don’t make any investment decisions based on my assumptions, but I think the entire world is in for a very bad year economically. That is prediction number one for 2016.

end is near

2) Bad things will happen in 2016

The Islamic State (IS, ISIS in Syria, ISIL in Iraq) is clearly the most destabilizing force in the world at the moment. There are lots of problems in lots of places but they all pale compared to the threat of IS. They are the most violent and ruthless radical Islam group in history. Their beheadings and rampage of ethnic cleansing have made Osama Bin Laden look like a Sunday school teacher. ISIL fighters in Iraq are told that they are free to have sex with or rape non-Muslim women, predominantly from minority Christian and Yazidi communities, and even take them captive as sex slaves. IS has contributed majorly to the chaos in the Middle East that has created 6 million refugees in a humanitarian crisis of biblical proportions. In June of 2014 the group called for a worldwide Caliphate. This is a call for Muslims everywhere to unite to fight for a one-world Islamic government that would conquer the West and rule the world. Of course, most Muslims have rejected the call and want to just live peaceably, however the propaganda campaign using social media has been very effective in recruiting young idealistic people to the cause. The Islamic State has proven impossible to fight since it is a terror cell based and grass roots organization. There is no large standing army on a battlefield somewhere, just crazed ultra-violent men and women in small cells wreaking havoc and destruction in their paths. I am always reluctant to interpret the Book of Revelation in the light of current events (since as I mentioned we are usually wrong) but there are many troublesome similarities to IS found in the book.  Not the least of them the persecution of Christians and the method of execution.  “…and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus….” (Rev 20:4). This past November Barrack Obama declared that ISIS had not been defeated but that they could confidently say that ‘they were contained’. The very next day coordinated attacks in Paris killed 130 people and injured 100’s more. Unfortunately I expect to see the Islamic State continue to spread, dominate the news and regrettably be responsible for even greater acts of terrorism in 2016.


3) The Donald will dominate the news.

Some people have been annoyed with the fact that I enjoy making fun of Donald Trump for being loud, arrogant and having bad hair. However, I no longer think he is a joke. Almost all the political pundits are writing him off as a real contender for the US Republican presidential nominee. I however think they are dead wrong. The Donald has now gone from being mildly amusing to downright dangerous. He has dominated the news by becoming more outrageous every day. He is maybe the most polarizing political figure since racist and segregationist Alabama Governor George Wallace ran for president in 1968. First Trump announced he wanted to build a wall along the Mexican border to keep out illegals and now he has said he would no longer allow Muslims to enter the US. Both of these brash statements have garnered immense support from many Americans including Christians.


Here’s what makes him so dangerous. Firstly, it is entirely unconstitutional to discriminate against others based on their religion. The moment a nation starts down this path, everybody’s religious freedom is then in jeopardy. The very Christians that cheer him on today could be the ones being deported tomorrow. Secondly, he is accountable to no one. He does not answer to his party, to any advisors or to anybody else. In political terms they call these people dictators if they gain power. North Korea comes to mind. Thirdly, he fits the very model of a demagogue, who by definition gain political power by playing on people’s fear of others and racial prejudices. I am always surprised that he can make completely absurd statements and his crowds cheer wildly. Trump said he would build the 2000 mile long wall on the Mexican border and make Mexica pay for it. In another incredibly vague and sweeping statement regarding ISIS he said, “Nobody would be tougher than Donald Trump. Hit them so hard and so fast that they wouldn’t know what happened.” He said he would find a general like Douglas Macarthur and then in his typical half sentences he describes the plan. “You gotta hit ’em hard, you gotta hit ’em firm and you can’t play games. You gotta go hard and fast and firm”. I have no idea what that means. However recently he told CNN part of his plan would be to take away their oil by “bombing the hell out of their oil fields”. Sounds like a proposed declaration of war. Trump has positioned himself as the poster boy of the ISIS recruitment campaign. His antagonistic rhetoric can do nothing but inflame their anger against the West.

In the end however, I think Donald Trump is going to be most successful at ensuring that Hilary Clinton becomes America’s first female president as he polarizes the American electorate like never before.  Mark that one down for 2016.


4) Jesus will NOT return in 2016.

Anytime people predict when Jesus will come they are always wrong. By saying He will not return I have a very good chance of being right, and if I am wrong that would still be good, right?

5) The Church will be triumphant in 2016

Here’s the good news. The church always does well in unstable times. As long as things are perking along nicely many people fail to see the need for their creator.  “… when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God…” (Deut 8:10-14) When times get troubled and people get fearful, the church becomes the one lone bastion of hope.

Psalm 20:7 says, “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the LORD our God.” This refers to the mistake of trusting in worldly resources or security. Though I see tough times ahead of us, the people of faith have little to worry about. God takes care of His own. The first century when the book of Acts was playing out was one of the worst times ever to be a Christian. They were persecuted, displaced and discredited and yet the church grew exponentially and the people lived victoriously.

My last prediction is that 2016 is going to be a great year for those that remember the Lord our God. It is the easiest prediction of all because we have God’s word on it.  “A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you.” Psalm 91:7

So, there you have it, troubled times?  I think so, but if God is for you who can be against you? Have a great 2016.

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If there is one question that every human being needs to ask, on their short spin on this celestial orb, it is this: What on ‘earth’ am I doing here? I like to joke that I ask it every time I go down into the basement… mostly because I have forgotten what I went down there for by the time I get there. But on a serious level, one of the greatest tragedies is that many many people will go through their entire lives and never genuinely ask that question even once.


One thing I have become convinced of in 30 years of ministry is that every human was created for a divine purpose. It would have made no sense at all for God to have placed billions of people onto the earth without giving them some sort of raison d’etre (French -purpose for existing). The Apostle Paul put it this way, For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:10) So, according to scripture, our purpose for living existed even before we did.

Unfortunately we get so distracted by life that we often miss what I call the greater purpose. We pursue success or finances or recognition or things and never really achieve a meaningful sense of fulfillment. That is primarily because there is no earthly reward that can possibly fill the God shaped void in our souls. The only real sense of fulfillment comes when we begin to discover why we were put on this earth in the first place. One simple exercise I always suggest for putting this all into perspective is to plan your own funeral. Oh, I don’t mean the flowers, the casket and the little sandwiches with the crusts cut off. Those things will be forgotten by the next day. (Can you honestly remember what any casket you have ever seen looks like?  You have a better chance of remembering the little sandwiches.) No, I am referring to planning what people will say about you after you are gone. Those words will almost always reflect the contribution you made to your world. No one will talk about the money you made, the car you drove, or the house you lived in because none of that has any lasting value. They will however talk about how your life made the lives of others better. At the end of the day the difference we made in the lives of others is the only lasting thing we leave behind. The key is to imagine those words now and begin to live as that person you would really like to be.


Recently Kathy and I watched the film Selma, the story of the turning point of the ‘civil rights movement’ under Martin Luther King Jr in Selma, Alabama in 1965. Though perhaps as a movie it was slightly drawn out, as a story it is nothing short of inspiring. It beautifully underscored the incredible personal price many were willing to pay for true freedom and the greater good. For some it cost them their lives. I would like to add a postscript to the story. In 1968, exactly two months to the day before Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated, he preached a sermon where he imagined his own funeral. Here is an excerpt:

And every now and then I think about my own death and I think about my own funeral. And I don’t think of it in a morbid sense. And every now and then I ask myself, “What is it that I would want said?” And I leave the word to you this morning. If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don’t want a long funeral. And if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy, tell them not to talk too long. And every now and then I wonder what I want them to say. Tell them not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize—that isn’t important. Tell them not to mention that I have three or four hundred other awards—that’s not important. Tell them not to mention where I went to school. 

I’d like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others.  

I’d like for somebody to say that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to love somebody.

I want you to say that day that I tried to be right on the war question. 

I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry. 

And I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe those who were naked. 

I want you to say on that day that I did try in my life to visit those who were in prison. 

I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity. 

Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace.  I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter.  I won’t have any money to leave behind. I won’t have the fine and luxurious things of life to leave behind. But I just want to leave a committed life behind.  And that’s all I want to say.


It is remarkable to me that after all his incredible earthly achievements he only wanted to be remembered as someone who tried to love and serve humanity.  The greater purpose can be simply described as living for a purpose greater than ourselves. The only real sense of fulfillment we will achieve will likely not come from our worldly pursuits but from discovering our God ordained call in life. For the last two years I have been working on a book that will help people discover their own greater purpose. It was such a long drawn out process at times it felt like it was never going to happen. Well, I am pleased to announce that this month it is actually in print. It includes many inspiring stories of how others have found their way, as well as some examples of those that lost their way. In the end it is written in such a manner as to lay out the journey we all need to take to find our place in God’s great big space. Here is the video of the sermon by the same title that will give you a very good idea of what the book is all about.

Our goal is to try to get the books into as many hands as possible. That is why we are marketing it as a ministry project. For every book someone buys we will donate a second book to ministry. We are planning on giving them to inmates in prison, prostitutes trying to get off the street, seekers that may be far from God but are seeking spiritual truth, new converts, pastors and missionaries overseas etc. You can purchase your copy here BUY NOW  And you can always pick up a copy at the church building if you are in Winnipeg. You can download the first chapter here for FREE




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Years ago I was at a pastors’ conference where one of the speakers had the dubious nickname, ‘The Prophet of Prosperity’. After hearing him speak I was certain they had misspelled ‘prophet’ and they meant to use the more apt alternative ‘profit’. In his ‘sermon’ he described the quality of his suit and shoes, along with an elaborate explanation of the importance of a $10,000 diamond tie pin, and then he spent the rest of the message talking about his car… which was a Rolls Royce. You know, the luxury car that the Queen of England pulls out for special occasions. After describing the burlwood  dash and aluminum body panels he made this bizarre statement, “Where do you think a design for a car like this comes… the pit of hell?” …suggesting of course that anything so beautiful could have only come from heaven. His text was 1 John 4:17…as He is, so are we in this world”. His thesis was that because Jesus would drive a Rolls Royce in heaven, we therefore should do likewise on  earth. I AM NOT MAKING THIS STORY UP!

Though a priceless 1925 Jonckheere Rolls-Royce Phantom l Aerodynamic Coupe (below) may be the coolest car ever, it was actually built in Belgium not heaven.


First off, he absolutely butchered the hermeneutic of the scripture, and used the verse completely out of context. John is specifically and definitively talking about love, not cars or things. In other words, as Christ loves us, we should love one another, because as He is, so are we in this world. Not complicated stuff. Nevertheless after 30 minutes or so of this I was tangibly aggravated and ready to spit, gag or maybe even throw up. He knew he had provoked a few of the more thinking people in the crowd (the mindless lemmings were already shouting ‘Amen’.)  Then he made this statement. “Some of you are thinking, ‘Show me a scripture that says Jesus drives a Rolls Royce.’ I say to you, ‘Show me one that says He doesn’t'”. (Did I mention that I am not making this up?) At this point I did something I have never done before or since, and hope I never do again. I stood up and in a spirit of righteous contempt said, “The scripture says He rides a white horse” and walked out of the  meeting. Because there were 2000 people in the room, and I didn’t shout it, the speaker most likely didn’t hear me, but those around me did. In retrospect, I am glad I didn’t say it louder and make a scene as it wasn’t my place to correct him publicly. There was no need to add my insolence to his arrogance.

Jesus hasn’t always driven a white horse (Rev 19:11). While He was stationed on earth most of the time Jesus walked.  This chosen mode of transportation once caused Him to be four days late for a friend’s funeral (John 11:17).  Maybe His Rolls was in the shop. “Show me a scripture that says it wasn’t!” (Sarcasm) On the rare occasion when He did need a proper vehicle He rode a donkey (Matt 21) and… it was borrowed.


Today I realize how that moment in my life has affected my values. I actually really enjoy cars. I have been to many car shows, read the magazines and I am a big fan of the Tesla Model S P85 D that can do 0-60 mph in 2.8 seconds in their appropriately named ‘Ludicrous Mode’. I could engage in an educated discussion about cars with any auto aficionado, but I have never owned anything but high mileage mini vans.  I drove my last one to 450k before it got donated to Teen Challenge and  my current one is just shy of 300k. People in our congregation sometimes see me in my van and instead of waving they point and laugh. For the record, I am paid well enough I don’t need to drive a 15 year old vehicle. I think it is a bit of an overreaction to my above stated encounter with the Profit of Prosperity. I think I was just so disgusted that I never wanted to be identified with that kind of avarice.

There are a few sins in the Western church we have somehow convinced ourselves that they are virtues not vices. Greed is certainly among them. South of our border some preachers have taken the American dream, wrapped it in the gospel and have convinced millions that God’s will for their life is to be rich, fat and happy. Recently Creflo Dollar, whose mantra is,” God didn’t call me Dollar for nothing” sent a letter to his partners asking of them to donate $300 each so he could buy a $65 million Gulfstream G650 plane. I guess he banged up his current jet on a botched landing. The G650 is the latest and greatest in the world of private jets and is flown by multinationals like Walmart and Exxon. Billionaires like Warren Buffet and Oprah Winfrey were on the waiting list. It cruises at 700 mph and is the ultimate in luxurious private jets. Somehow our brother Creflo felt is was necessary for him to join the in-crowd of the ultra rich. By the way Creflo doesn’t own a Rolls Royce… he owns two of them. At any rate the Christian community, to their credit, did not respond favourably to the campaign and it was quickly withdrawn. That is not to say the good Reverend Dollar will not get his jet, he will. His Board announced that they were going to take the $65-70M out of petty cash and buy the deserving humble servant of God his plane anyway.


I don’t think it is unkind or critical to ask the question; Is this really necessary for the furtherance of the gospel? Is there really no other way for the Reverend to shuttle his entourage between his congregations in Atlanta and Brooklyn? Should pastors, even highly successful ones, be living the same lifestyles as movie stars or rap artists? This is his house in an ultra exclusive neighbourhood of Atlanta.

creflo home

Is there any way for us to even imagine the earthbound Jesus driving a Rolls, flying a private jet or living in a palatial mansion?  Matt 8:20 answers the question. “And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.'” I am not suggesting that none of us should own cars or houses or even a plane for that matter. In the interest of full disclosure my Board wanted to buy me a plane and I accepted. I am still learning to pilot it and yesterday I crashed it right into the couch.


What I am suggesting is that heaven can wait. We will one day live in mansions that will make Buckingham Palace look like a dump. But we are not called to try to recreate heaven on earth. Any attempt to do so will cause us to miss the greater purpose. Jesus told the Rich Young Ruler to sell all he had and give it to the poor and to come and follow Him. The young man hung his head and walked away because his possessions were great. Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” (Mark 10:23) A few chapters later Jesus said it another way,  “and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. (Mark 4:19)  Paul said it this way, “For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.” (1 Cor 1:26) Things and the desire for things can have a profound and devastating affect on us. Jesus could not have been more clear when He said “You cannot serve two masters… you cannot serve both God and Mammon (riches)”. Matt 6:24


I personally will never be able to live up to the example of Jesus’ minimalist earthly lifestyle. After all Jesus didn’t have children he needed to drive to soccer games. If you are even four ‘minutes’ late your kid won’t play. (Soccer and mini vans go hand in hand. It’s the world I from which I come.) Jesus also didn’t have to pay their swimming lessons and their band trips and put them through university etc.  We have to live life as it is. We can’t really opt out of the rat race. And if you drive a nice car, I would never judge you for that. I might actually be a little jealous. We have a red Jaguar that frequents our parking lot Sunday morning that always catches my fancy. No, my big beef is with churches that offer up materialism as a virtue instead of a vice and with Christians that are running to them instead of a running away from them. Next time you get the urge to buy something you really don’t need and really can’t afford, just do what I do and ask yourself the question, what would Jesus drive?

Posted in Pastor Mark's Blog | 10 Comments