May 22, 2000
PEACE AND JOY TO YOU IN CHRIST OUR LORD.
I am going to do my best to answer a number of questions asked by some of our readers. Hopefully you will know our hearts as I share.
- "You pastor a very large church. Does any of my support to your ministry go to the church? Times Square Church ought to be able to pay for its own needs. I really prefer that my missions gifts go directly to the needs of the poor and homeless."
Answer: Times Square Church is self-supporting. No gift to this ministry goes to the support of the church. However, some gifts do assist in some of the church's missions outreaches to devastated areas overseas. (This is explained in #5.)
- "As a pastor of a small church, I was deeply bothered by your suggestion that disgruntled Christians start their own church at home, using video tapes of your Times Square Church services. A few in our church who disagree with me have left and started their own meetings, and they seem determined to shut us down. Do you really believe you heard from the Lord on this?"
Answer: Truthfully, I did not pray this matter through as I should have. It has been a flop. We received probably less than 150 responses, and only a handful have conducted meetings. God has blessed it only in remote areas where there are no churches within miles. I am a pastor - I know the importance of being part of a body of believers, under God-appointed pastors and leaders. And I have repented before the Lord for not acknowledging him on this matter. God knows my heart - and he has gently let the idea die. We will continue to make our videos available, but we are not advocating home churches.
- "Your last book warned of a coming depression. You have been saying for a long time that the stock market is going to blow and America would be chastened by an economic holocaust. I believed you, even though you say you are not a prophet. But there seems to be no sign of a crash. Will you apologize if it doesn't happen reasonably soon?"
Answer: I do not understand God's mercy to America. It could only be his extended mercy that has caused God to not yet chasten our nation. I do not want it to happen. We have a ministry to many needy people, and an economic collapse would affect all we do.
In prayer, I have told the Lord I am ready at any time to confess I am wrong - that I must have spoken from my own fears or that I have spoken unadvisedly. Recently, when the market reached record highs, I wondered if those calling me a false prophet were right. But I know how diligently I seek God. I know what it's like to weep and groan before the Lord as the Holy Spirit shows me what is coming. No matter what others think, I cannot shake off the urgency of the Holy Spirit to warn God's people. Every time I am shut in with God, fasting and praying, I hear the trumpet blowing. I hear God's still, small voice saying, "It is coming. It will happen suddenly. Forget the criticism - warn the people."
I believe what I have been warning about - more than ever! The speculative boom is almost over. The balloon is about to burst. No matter how high the market goes, it is going to collapse. I don't know when but I do know it is certain. God will not delay much longer. The next American president is going to preside over a deeply troubled economy.
- "I am confused by your statement: 'Divorce is never an option.' Are you saying it is not an option when there has been wife beating, unfaithfulness, homosexuality, etc.? I've been divorced because of an abusive husband - but you make it sound like I had no choice."
Answer: I should have made myself clearer on this subject. I believe the Lord made an exception for divorce in the case of adultery. And there are other legitimate reasons for divorce. To discover you have married a homosexual is a hopeless situation. So is the case with physical abuse. My point is: Divorce is not an option for married Christians who refuse to seek God for reconciliation. It takes two to hold a marriage together. I have seen many "hopeless" marriages miraculously healed. Nothing is impossible with God. Often, just one praying mate has saved a marriage.
- "Why don't you tell us more about the miracles happening in your charitable outreaches? I would like to hear more about life changes and what God is doing among the hopeless addicts and the demon possessed. I'd like to know much more about your street-people ministry. Just what is it you are asking me to support?
Answer: We plan to send out a full ministry report in the near future. For all who are new to our ministry, here is a short overview:
I started in New York City in 1958, working with gangs and drug addicts. We called the ministry TEEN CHALLENGE. It quickly grew worldwide. There are now more than 300 in-patient care centers here in the U.S. and in nations overseas with the highest cure rate in the world, through the power of Christ. Though I founded Teen Challenge, each center is now autonomous and self-supporting.
My own ministry organization is WORLD CHALLENGE. Through this interdenominational organization, we started many outreaches and ministries to the poor, the addicted and the homeless. We started TIMES SQUARE CHURCH twelve years ago. We founded Sarah House for addicted and abused women. We also take in their children. (One of our women has five children. We take in all the women's children, no matter how many.) We help fund five addiction rehab centers in New York City. We have the Raven ministry, delivering food to the street people around the city.
We tithe 10 per cent on every dollar sent to us to reach starving people around the world. We help feed over 100,000 hungry children through Latin American Childcare. We feed hungry children in Kosovo, Romania and thousands of homeless people in ravaged Mozambique. These are just a few of the many outreaches we are involved in.
A closing word: A number of people have stopped supporting our ministry. I suppose I've offended them. It seems I offend a lot of people, no matter what I write. But I trust I am obeying the Lord.
We are not broke. We are not in debt. God has been good. I'm just baffled over why those who know I seek to give truth and spiritual food have stopped supporting this vital ministry.
I'm confident the Lord will help us as he has done so faithfully in the past. It would be so encouraging to hear from more of our readers.
God bless and keep you.
You may now find us on the internet at: www.worldchallenge.org. Our e-mail address is:
email@example.com. And you may order literature through: firstname.lastname@example.org.
WORLD CHALLENGE INC. | P. O. Box 260 | Lindale, Texas 75771 USA
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