Monday, March 27, 2023

PCG: Give Beyond Your Means


Exit and Support Network has a pdf of a seven-page letter that Lil'Stevie Flurry, the heir apparent of the Philadelphia Church of God recently sent to the faithful of the church instructing them on giving till it hurts as he ties this into the Feast of Tabernacles. This giving is to be of their time and money. Since the church considers 99% of the church incompetent to lead, their main purpose is to be money cash machines This con game of tithing and coercing members into continually sacrificing money to give to the church is appalling. This con game was started by Herbert Armstrong and continues unfettered by the various apostate splinter groups of the church today.

Giving Beyond Our Means 

“We want you to know brethren, about the grace of God which has been shown in the churches of Macedonia, for in severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of liberality on their part” (2 Corinthians 8:1-2; Revised Standard Version). 
Why such an abundance of joy while yet under “severe test of affliction”? Verses 3-4: “For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own free will, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints” (Revised Standard Version).

These brethren in Macedonia really wanted to help. They were giving to the brethren at Jerusalem who were suffering through a drought. 
Notice, the Macedonians gave according to their means, and, when the urgent need arose, many gave beyond their means. Paul was telling the Corinthians this because, a year earlier, they also had volunteered to support the members in Jerusalem. For whatever reason, they did not follow through with their commitment. 
Have you ever done that? Volunteered for something and then, as that day grew closer, hoped people would forget about it? “And this, not as we expected, but first they gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God” (verse 5; Revised Standard Version). Paul was concerned about more than just the material offerings he thought the Corinthians would give. He was concerned that they hadn’t fully given themselves to God! 
The Macedonians, in contrast, gave. And as we give in love, God gives back. That’s why the joy!
“I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine” (verse 8, Revised Standard Version). There were certain things that were commanded of the brethren. But Paul could not command them to go “above and beyond” in their service. 
There is nothing special about just serving where you are commanded to serve. God expects more.
“For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich” (verse 9). If we follow this example, with the attitude of sacrificing everything if need be, we will become rich! 
In the coming months and years, perhaps even at this year’s Feast of Tabernacles, you can be sure that God will test us to see whether our love is genuine—whether our heart is really into serving.
Paul continues “Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have” (verse 11). Yes, the Corinthians had the desire to serve, but they did not have the will to carry it out. 
Ask yourself, does the performance of your service match your desire to serve? Do you give with the attitude of the Macedonians or the attitude of the Corinthians? 
“For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not” (verse 12). If your heart is in it, then the service will be acceptable to God, no matter how small. But no service is acceptable if you do not follow through with what you have committed to. 
Verse 13 states, “For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened.” God is not trying to burden us. He is not asking us to give more than we can give. He is asking us to give all that we can give.

“But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack” (verses 14-15). The point here is that we must give of the abundance God has given us.

Then, to further guilt trips members into giving more, he threatened them with the story of God striking down Ananias and Sapphira when they kept part of the process of the sale of land instead of giving it all to God. According to Lil'Stevie, this is what will happen to PCG members who withhold tithes, don't sell their stocks, participate in fruit sales, and other moneymaking con games that PCG engages members with. As usual, they are in a BAD ATTITUDE when they do this.

An Attitude 
An example in Acts illustrates this principle of godly service. “But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet” (Acts 5:1-2). 
Here is a case where Ananias and Sapphira were giving a lot to the apostles. But they kept back part of what they made while professing that they brought the whole amount. 
“But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to [margin: to deceive ] the Holy [Spirit], and to keep back part of the price of the land?” (verse 3). Sometimes we can deceive ourselves into thinking we are really giving all we have. “Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God” (verse 4). The land was his. There was no obligation placed upon him to sell it. And even after he sold it, the money was his. The problem was that he had volunteered to give it all to the apostles. 
“And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him” (verses 5-6). 
About three hours later, his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. “And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much” (verse 8).
Peter was giving Sapphira a chance to make things right with God. It wasn’t that they didn’t give enough. They just weren’t being honest with what they gave. So, Sapphira ended up suffering the same fate as her husband (verses 9-11). 
Serving goes a lot further than just fulfilling a certain list of requirements. 
Remember the story of Peter and John meeting the lame beggar in front of the temple. Notice what happened: “And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk” (Acts 3:4-6). 
In this case, Peter and John had nothing physical to give. But what they did have, they gave!
Have you ever wondered if you could help God’s Work more? To help in the local area more? To help at the Feast more? Now is your chance! 
There are quite a few who cannot give a lot to the Church financially, but that doesn’t mean they cannot give a lot!

The point is, godly service is an attitude. 
It does not just involve money. It means giving time, encouragement, support, advice, love and affection. 
If we go to the Feast of Tabernacles to serve, and serving is an attitude, then we must make sure we come to the Feast with the right attitude!

Lil'Stevie gets sicker by the minute in how he is coercing his members:

Doing More Than Required 
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). What is our reasonable service? To sacrifice! 
To sacrifice means the “surrender of something for the sake of something else.” In this case, surrendering yourself to better help someone else.

Mr. Armstrong said, “If we do only what is required and what we’re supposed to do, in God’s sight, that is not enough. God requires that we do a little more than that. Many of us think if we do just what is required, we’ll get into the Kingdom of God.

We’re still thinking of how much we can get. As long as you’re thinking how much you can get, you’re probably not going to get into the Kingdom of God.” 
God does require certain basic things from us. To sacrifice, however, is to do more than what is required. 
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (verse 2). Notice again the emphasis on attitude. You obtain the right attitude by the renewing of your mind (see also 2 Corinthians 4:16). 
Moffatt translates Romans 12:2, “... be transformed in nature, able to make out what the will of God is.” God’s will is that we never lose that humble, serving, footwashing attitude. 
“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith” (verse 3). 
God is training us for leadership positions, and this is how we train! 
1 Corinthians 10:12 reminds us, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” When you are in a position of leadership, one of two attitudes comes to the surface: either humility or self-righteousness. Leadership in God’s Church is a position of service, as we saw earlier. 
Mr. Armstrong had tremendous ambition as a young man, but it was all, as he describes it, “pure vanity—a swelled up self- exaltation.” God had to humble him, which He did by stripping him of business success, on several occasions. The jolt made Mr. Armstrong do an about-face in attitude.
Once he was in a right attitude, God began to work with him. What then did Mr. Armstrong do? He sacrificed for the rest of his life! 
“For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another” (Romans 12:4-5).
God’s people need each other. The members of the body are all interdependent upon each other. The success of our Feast of Tabernacles is dependent upon our service and the service of others. 
“Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching” (verses 6-7). 
Despite the fact that there are different areas of responsibility that we all have, there is one thing we can all do: “He that giveth, let him do it with simplicity” (verse 8). We can all give! “With simplicity” is referred to in the margin as “liberally.” We must give, and give a lot.

Proverbs 11:24-25, in the Moffatt, states, “One gives away, and still he grows the richer: another keeps what he should give, and is the poorer. A liberal soul will be enriched, and he who waters will himself be watered.” 
Luke 6:38 backs that point: “Give, and it shall be given unto you.” 
Acts 20:35 states, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” The Moffatt translates it: “To give is happier than to get.”

PCG members are not even allowed to attend the Feast of Tabernacles in peace so they can enjoy its 8 days of observance. The heavy-handed jackboots of the ministry continue to interfere in members' lives by requiring them to work for 8 days straight. It's no wonder so many arrive home exhausted after the Feast. It was never a refreshing foretaste of some kingdom the church pawned off on them that was soon to come.

Reaping Abundant Blessings

Do you understand God’s will for you during the Feast of Tabernacles? If you do, and then don’t follow through and carry on with it in service to God, you will end up being punished more than those who never knew and understood these things (Luke 12:47). 
“But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more” (verse 48). Have we been given a lot? Of course we have. 
Does God expect much from us in return? Absolutely. 
Should we go the extra mile and sacrifice for God at this Feast of Tabernacles? That is our reasonable service. 
2 Corinthians 9:6 states, “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” This is a law. The harder we work or serve, the more we will reap—the more we will grow, and the more we will receive. Put this to the test at this year’s Feast. See if it doesn’t work! 
“Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver” (verse 7). Give of yourself and be happy about it. God loves that!
“And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of everything and may provide in abundance for every good work” (verse 8; Revised Standard Version) Paul is saying, Just give, and God will supply your needs! God has given us an abundance of blessings. Let’s give of that abundance! 
If we give liberally, God will give to us in the same way. That’s a law! 
“For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building” (1 Corinthians 3:9). We are co- workers in the Feast of Tabernacles project—fellow laborers.
“I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase” (verses 6-7). We all have our different roles, but there is one body. 
But notice verse 8: “Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.” We are all in it together—working and serving on the same project. Yet, in the end, we are given our own reward according to our own works! That’s because we are involved in a volunteer service! There are certain things required of us. But there are many jobs and services which are not required. God cannot force you to go above and beyond. You have to desire that and then carry it out.

If you do, you will reap many wonderful, bountiful blessings. Giving yourself in service brings lasting happiness. Doing so at God’s Feast of Tabernacles will make it the most joyous Feast you could imagine!

Armstrongism loves to mock the "prosperity gospel" that some churches believe in, but in truth, they themselves practice the same thing. They just mask it under a supposed requirement of the law. It's certainly not a New Covenant teaching, but this is the COG, after all, the law reigns supreme.



Anonymous said...

Flurry and HWA always exhorted the church to give and give beyond your means and to "sacrifice"? Whenever has Flurry or did HWA sacrifice? I never saw Flurry or HWA having a rummage sale of all their luxury items or a "for sale" sign on his Rolls Royce or he coukd have sold his candlelabras of naked women at an auction house. Maybe Flurry can sell the jet and replace it with a Cessna.

Anonymous said...

Wondering if we'll "make it into the kingdom of God", and asking what we have to do to make it, seems to be a peculiar feature of Armstrong church culture.

Anonymous said...

Ever notice how the Great God of the Universe not getting the message out or much done is directly proportional to how much money comes in? As well, how much the served tell others they need to learn to serve better?

Anonymous said...

Irony is your church telling you to send in money to solve their problem but telling you to pray about it to solve yours.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the son is taking over the [shrinking] operation now and is manifesting a Pack-like brutality--he has to, do you know what it costs to run the Grumman Irish Dance Team Shuttle Bus?

Seems everyone's a prophet these days
-so I'm gonna make a prophecy:
"I predict they will sell the Executive-Jet this year"

Anonymous said...

All the Philadelphia Church of Fraud ever does is misuse and abuse people. Each lying, slandering, local tyrant in the PCG gets to pass off his own satanic abuse as the government of God.

Tonto said...

...go “above and beyond” in their service.

Stephen and Gerald Flurry have definitely "gone above and beyond" in their lunacy!

Anonymous said...

All this non stop giving, helping, serving, sacrifice etc, brainwashing is nothing more than the game of the unjust steward with a biblical veneer. I experienced it in my 10 year stay in Herbs church. You had the regular givers, and the regular entitled getters. These churches never honor property and individual rights.

DW said...

This duo is the sickest in cogdom, imho. Gerry is a vicious, tyrannical monster, who only cares about two things in this world. To be the most HWA-like in all of splinterdom and to get the most toys (also, HWA-like).

L'il Stevie, I'm not sure. I know he is not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but the fantastic articles written by Keiran Underwood?, (sorry, I'm not sure about his last name), said that he and his wife Amy were nice to him when he was ill. I don't know if he has the ruthless, killer attitude his nasty old father does. I will say, these two can torture the Scriptures better than most. Talk about narcigesis! Gerald is in the Bible even more than Dave and has taken more biblical titles than the others combined. 27 at last count.

James said...

They are treating and using the people like they are a ATM machine.

Anonymous said...

Armstrongism gets more perverse by the day. I cannot understand the apologists who continue to make excuses for this kind of abuse and yet claim the church is practicing 1st-century Christianity.

Anonymous said...

It's a near law that if a religion keeps pathologically repeating some concept such serving, giving, helping or obey, yield, surrender, submit, the truth is the exact opposite.

The truth rarely needs to be repeated since it exists in reality. But lies clash with reality and clash with human God given programming. So like with animal trainers, lies have to be repeated least there occurs a reversion to normalcy, instinctive drift as they call it.

Anonymous said...

A possible translation: ....ought to have done and not leave them (judgment, mercy, faith) undone - Mat 23:23; Luke 11:42.

Truth said...

These charlatans are nothing more than prosperity preachers, except they use fear to rake in the money.

Anonymous said...

Armstrongism gets more perverse by the day. I cannot understand the apologists who continue to make excuses for this kind of abuse and yet claim the church is practicing 1st-century Christianity.

Well, what do you expect from apologists who continue to make excuses for the abusive book that the Christian world is based on?

Anonymous said...

As Neitzche pointed out, Christianity is a slave religion based on the wishful thinking that the last shall be first, and on pathological altruism.

Anonymous said...

Ananias and Sapphira were not condemned for not giving all of the proceeds of the sale. They were condemned for pretending they gave it all. Peter told them that it was their's and to do with as they wished. So thee churches cannot use this story to brow beat the members and frighten them and extort money from them. Same goes for the living church of god.

Anonymous said...

12.14 am Actually Ananias and Sapphira were condemned for lying to God about the matter. Pretending that they gave all the money was dishonest, but then people frequently pretend to be a better person than they really are in order to impress others. So God would not have singled them out for attempting to deceive other members.

Anonymous said...

Worshipping and serving That Runt of Sin Gerald Flurry will always end very badly.

Anonymous said...

Notice in the previous post of ESN that if you add up all the foreign site attendees, it only amounts to 1,500. That's all they have. The one in the Philippines have been stuck at 350+ for some time now, though a lot of members have already left, and they also include infants and children in the count. If you add attendees in the US, they're just roughly 3,000 in total. That's pathetic work your tithes and the jet and the Irish dancing is doing, eh?

Anonymous said...

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith” (verse 3.
EVERY man among you! A man like Flurry who who has given himself titles that belong to only Christ is NOT a humble servant man. He is above it all while feigning service. ‘ Worship me! Don’t question me! I am a prophet, your king, Elisha, Ezekiel. What? You want to ask a question? You are hereby disfellowshipped and marked!’
He cannot be questioned. Rings of pope worship to me.
All this telling people to serve more etc just encourages people to ‘serve’ to be seen of men in their own church. “Look at me, Mr so and so, I am setting up some chairs. I am sitting with an elderly lady so you can see me serving.” It is all inward serving each-other for inward gain. Some of the most beautiful serving people are those who do it in secret with no one knowing, but God! Notice how it’s all about serving each-other. Letting their ‘light shine’ they think is about showing off some pagan Irish Celtic dancing. “Look how amazing we are, our children are preaching the gospel now because the adults can’t.” The gospel is free, but they charge for it, so it’s nothing to do with the gospel. They have perverted the gospel! They cut people off and tarnish their name. No one knows the truth because they are forbidden to speak or even look at the fallen member. It is them that have fallen and they don’t even know it. Worshipping men, respecters of persons, lack of Godly love, lack of true servant leadership, twisting the bible , claiming to hold onto the teachings of HWA yet changing things along the way. The PCG resembles nothing of the church it was in the beginning! But even then it was all built on false lies and a wrong foundation by a man just itching to have the power that he does today!

Chill said...

According to court case documents when they sued for HWAs books. G. Flurry pays himself a $60,000 a salary. What do think the other Evangelists are paid?