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Monday, October 22, 2012

There Are Three Gospels in Relation to Money; Which Do You Follow?

There Are Three Gospels in Relation to Money; Which Do You Follow?

People ask me, “Bo, are you a prosperity preacher?” I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the term, “prosperity gospel”. Even if you’re not, it would be good to know what it is—so when people ask you about it, you’ll know how to answer.

Money Gospel
You see, I believe that in relation to money, there are three types of gospels being preached today. There’s only one Gospel, of course. It’s the Gospel of Jesus. But because we’re human beings, the gospel is preached in various ways with various interpretations.

Here are the three types of gospels in relation to money:
1. Prosperity gospel
2. Poverty gospel
3. Practical gospel

Let me spill the beans here: I preach the practical gospel. By the way, please don’t try to Google “practical gospel”. You won’t find anything about it out there. Because, I coined the phrase myself. It’s my approach to life. There are three big differences between each of these gospels, and I’ll explain them to you now:

First Difference: What Is the Sign of God’s Favor?

These three gospels differ by the signs that say that you have God’s favor on your life…

1. Prosperity Gospel
Prosperity preachers live in luxury. Prosperity preachers live in gated mansions with 14 rooms. They wear Armani suits. They wear a Patek Philippe watch. They drive in a shiny gold Rolls Royce. They fly in their own private Lear jets.

Many people are scandalized because their wealth comes from their huge salaries, taken from the tithes and donations of their church members. Yet they still flaunt their wealth. Why? Because they believe that ostentatious wealth is a sign of God’s favor.

2. Poverty Gospel
From the other side of the spectrum is the poverty gospel. Poverty preachers believe that poverty is a sign of God’s favor. Because we’re a Catholic country, we Filipinos are more familiar with the poverty gospel than the prosperity gospel.

Why? Remember that celibate nuns and priests were our teachers in school—nuns and priests who took the vow of poverty. (Note: I’m not looking down at the vow of poverty. It’s a very special and beautiful call from God to celibates.)

But because of this, deeply etched in our subconscious is the belief that if we really want to be holy, we should be poor like St. Francis of Assisi. If we want to gain brownie points with God, we should be poor like Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

Somewhere in our subconscious, we believe that in God’s sight, rich people are second-class citizens of the Kingdom. That’s not true.

Here’s what I believe in…

3. Practical Prosperity
I don’t believe that ostentatious wealth is a sign of God’s favor. (I believe ostentatious wealth is a sign of foolishness.) Nor do I believe that poverty is a sign of God’s favor too. Here’s the difference between these three gospels:
The prosperity gospel believes in scandalous prosperity. The poverty gospel believes in spiritual prosperity only. The practical gospel believes in simple prosperity. I believe simplicity is the happiest way to live. The sign of God’s favor isn’t wealth or poverty. The sign of God’s favor is GENEROSITY.

Two Benefits of Living Simply

Each year, my income increases. My small businesses are growing. And I work hard to keep on expanding my income every day. But deliberately, my lifestyle has remained simple.


Two reasons:
1. So I can give more.
2. So I can relax more.

Simplicity is the wisest way to live your life!

Why I’m Relaxed

I’m relaxed. I live in a simple house. I live in a small house. It’s so small, if I have visitors, all I have to do is close all the windows and open the door of my refrigerator. And you’d think I have central air-conditioning. I can build a bigger house. But I’ve decided not to do that because I don’t want to complicate my life.

You Can’t Judge if Someone Is Living Simply or Not

By the way, there’s no one standard of simplicity. You can’t peek over your shoulder, looking if the other person beside you is living simply or not. Simplicity is relative. The simpler you are, the less relatives you have. (Sorry, my mind sometimes short circuits and comes up with these terribly corny jokes.) Simplicity is a posture of the heart.

For example, I know of someone who drives a P4 million Volvo. That may not be simple for you but that is simple for him. Why? Because he’s so wealthy, he can afford to own a Ferrari, a Porsche, and a Lamborghini— but he decided not to. So he can give more to God’s work. I repeat: There is no one standard of simplicity. Each person must decide what is simple for him.

Second Big Difference: Does God Want You to Be Rich?

The three gospels differ in answering this very important question…

1. Prosperity Gospel
Prosperity preachers believe that God wants you to be rich and it’s a sin to be poor.

2. Poverty Gospel
Poverty preachers believe the very opposite. They believe that God wants you to be poor and it’s a sin to be rich.

3. Practical Gospel
Here’s what I believe: God wants you to be generous! And to be rich or poor is a choice that God leaves up to you. He really leaves a lot of choices to us: Where to live; how to serve Him; whether to get married or not; whether to dye our hair green or purple…

A lot of people ask me, “Bo, what is God’s will for my life?” They think that God has a detailed plan for them. I don’t believe in that. If God has a detailed plan for us, He shouldn’t have given us a phenomenal brain. He should have made us robots!

But He didn’t. He gave us incredible creativity and a powerful imagination. Why? To fill in the details.

I believe God’s will for us is to a broad vision, not a detailed plan. He calls us to love Him with all our hearts, minds, and souls. How we’ll do that is really up to us. I’m a father for my two boys. My greatest dream for my kids isn’t to become rich. My greatest dream for my kids is to be grown-up men who will live for others. Grown-up men who will give big and gain big.

Now if they can do that as wealthy men, that’ll be wonderful. That’ll be a great bonus. Because they can use their wealth for God’s work. God is Father, and I believe He wants us to be as loving as Jesus is loving. To be rich or poor is our choice.

Third Big Difference: How Do You Prosper?

The way of prosperity is very different for each of these gospels…

1. Prosperity Gospel
Prosperity preachers teach that if you want to prosper, you only have to tithe—and prosperity will come. Go ahead. Pick up a book written by a prosperity preacher. Most likely, you’ll discover that half of the book will be about tithing.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe in tithing. I tell people to tithe all the time. But I also believe that tithing isn’t enough to make you financially blessed.

2. Poverty Gospel
And then there’s the poverty gospel. They believe that you should just tithe, suffer in this valley of tears, and wait for Heaven to come.

3. Practical Gospel
I believe that if you want to succeed in your finances, you need to do two things: You need to tithe and take charge of your finances.

By taking charge, I mean living simply, wiping out your consumer debts, saving and investing, and developing an entrepreneurial thinking!

Both the prosperity and poverty preachers teach you in investing in Heaven only. I believe in investing both in heaven and on earth. I believe that you should give 10 percent as your heavenly investment, and 20 percent as your earthly investment.

Personal Sharing

I love to communicate visually. On stage, I act, I show props, and I tell stories with drama. And one of my favorite visual aids in my talk is my life. Because I believe that “who I am speaks so loudly, you won’t hear what I’m saying.”

My life is far from perfect. Believe me. But I struggle to live by this talk: I earn as much as I can, I save as much as I can, and I give as much as I can. For example? I avoid the prosperity gospel.

I decided not to receive a salary from the tithes of my community, Light of Jesus. Please know that the Bible says we should financially support our leaders. In fact, all our fulltime leaders receive allowances—and rightly so.

I’d love to give them more support for all the fantastic work that they do. But my position is very sensitive: I’m Founder and Presiding Elder. In recent years, there have been many scandals of religious leaders using tithes of their members to fund their mansions and private jets. And because of this, people are watching. That’s why I opted not to receive a salary.

I also did two other things: Being an author of 26 bestselling books, my author’s royalties are quite sizable. But I decided to donate that for ministry too. I’m also one of the highest paid corporate speakers in the country. I also chose to donate all my speakers’ fees back to the ministry.

Why? Being generous gives me so much joy. But because of these decisions, I’ve experienced that God cannot be outdone in generosity. By being extra generous, I believe God has prospered the work of my hands. I’ve tested the practical gospel. It works!

P.S. I don’t want you to remain trapped financially because of your fear and ignorance. Join me. The earlier you get in, the better. You can still catch up. Build your retirement fund. Build a solid financial future. Clink the link below:

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