A post from a friend of mine:

Dear Sisters and Brothers,You might find the following article of interest. It’s found in _BusinessWeek_ and is entitled “Earthly Empires, How Evangelical Churches AreBorrowing from the Business Playbook.”<http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_21/b3934001_mz001.htm>Last week I ate lunch with a man who used to work for Mr. Osteen’s father,and I told him about the interview that I had seen young Joel give on CNN afew weeks ago, on June 7, 2005, on “Paula Zahn Now.”Judy Woodruff: “But critics say it’s all just cotton candy Christianity:tasty, but little substance. There’s no fire and brimstone at Lakewood, notalk of sinners or Satan, no talk of politics, abortion, gay marriage.”Joel Osteen: “I don’t know if I want to go there, you know. I mean, Ijust — you know, I’m for the — I don’t even know where to go. I haven’treally addressed it much.”<http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0506/07/pzn.01.html>I won’t quote what the man said to me, but he confirmed that Joel Osteenskirts issues that will make people feel bad about themselves.With the opening of his new church at Houston’s old Compaq Center, Mr.Osteen is in the news a lot lately. On June 20, 2005, he was on “Larry KingLive.”Larry King, CNN Host: ‘Tonight, Joel Osteen, evangelism’s hottest risingstar, pastor for the biggest congregation in the United States. He literallyfilled the shoes of his late father who founded the church, and wait untilyou hear what he had to overcome to do it. Pastor Joel Osteen is here forthe hour. We’ll take your calls. It’s next on LARRY KING LIVE.’Joel Osteen is the author of the number one “New York Times” best-seller,”Your Best Life Now.” There you see its cover. “Seven Steps to Living atYour Full Potential.” There is now a compendium been published called “YourBest Life Now Journal,” a guide to reaching that full potential. Joel Osteenis pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. His father before him. Hehas been called the smiling preacher. We met.’. . .King: “How many people come to your church?”Osteen: “We have about 30,000 each weekend.”. . .King: “Is it hard to lead a Christian life?”Osteen: “I don’t think it’s that hard. To me it’s fun. We have joy andhappiness. Our family — I don’t feel like that at all. I’m not trying tofollow a set of rules and stuff. I’m just living my life.”King: “But you have rules, don’t you?”Osteen: “We do have rules. But the main rule to me is to honor God with yourlife. To life a life of integrity. Not be selfish. You know, help others.But that’s really the essence of the Christian faith.”King: “That we live in deeds?”Osteen: “I don’t know. What do you mean by that?”King: “Because we’ve had ministers on who said, your record don’t count. Youeither believe in Christ or you don’t. If you believe in Christ, you are,you are going to heaven. And if you don’t no matter what you’ve done in yourlife, you ain’t.”Osteen: “Yeah, I don’t know. There’s probably a balance between. I believeyou have to know Christ. But I think that if you know Christ, if you’re abeliever in God, you’re going to have some good works. I think it’s acop-out to say I’m a Christian but I don’t ever do anything …”King: “What if you’re Jewish or Muslim, you don’t accept Christ at all?”Osteen: “You know, I’m very careful about saying who would and wouldn’t goto heaven. I don’t know …”King: “If you believe you have to believe in Christ? They’re wrong, aren’tthey?”Osteen: “Well, I don’t know if I believe they’re wrong. I believe here’swhat the Bible teaches and from the Christian faith this is what I believe.But I just think that only God with judge a person’s heart. I spent a lot oftime in India with my father. I don’t know all about their religion. But Iknow they love God. And I don’t know. I’ve seen their sincerity. So I don’tknow. I know for me, and what the Bible teaches, I want to have arelationship with Jesus.”<http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0506/20/lkl.01.html>Last night I kept thinking about how much “fun” the Christian life is as mywife and I visited an eighteen year old woman who used to attend our church.She’s facing ten years in prison for a series of arrests over the past sixmonths, all drug related. She was dressed in an orange jumpsuit, and shecried a lot. At one point I left my wife in the interview room with her andwalked over to the sergeant at the desk to ask if I could leave my Biblewith the young woman. He was watching the television monitor and grippinghis Taser, waiting to see if the shouting match between some females downthe hall called for more back-up.After we left our parish jail, we drove over to one of our hospitals to praywith one of our members who had chunks of his large intestine removedbecause of cancer. We are waiting for the test results today to see if thecancer has spread to his lymph nodes. We got home a little after 8:00.What a “fun” evening!Now, don’t get me wrong. We know the joy of the Lord — it is our strength(Nehemiah 8:10.) — but we also what it is to weep. (Romans 12:15.) Since Ipastor a medium sized church, my wife and I personally know the people whoattend, some quite well. And that means that we do a lot of weeping. As myfavorite atheist wrote: “To know people well is to know their tragedy: itis usually the central thing about which their lives are built.” [BertrandRussell, _The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell_ (New York: Routledge,2000), p. 194.]Pro Rege,Bob”Why do you say that you are righteous by faith only? Not that I amacceptable to God on account of the worthiness of my faith, but because onlythe satisfaction, righteousness and holiness of Christ is my righteousnessbefore God; and I can receive the same and make it my own in no other waythan by faith only.” (The Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 23, # 61.)Robert Benn Vincent, Sr.Grace Presbyterian Church4900 Jackson StreetAlexandria, Louisiana 71303-2509Tutissimum Refugium Sanguinis Christi80 Hickory Hill DriveBoyce, Louisiana 71409-8784318.445.7271 church318.443.1034 fax318.793.5354 homebob@rbvincent.comhttp://www.rbvincent.comhttp://www.grace-presbyterian.orghttp://www.gcsla.org

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