Monday, November 19, 2007

Covert Christian TV Fundraising

I won't comment yet. But here's what I watched during an illness-induced moment of weakness today, as I lay on the couch recovering from a head cold.

I flip on TBN to the Paula White show. I've never seen her before. She looks about thirty, thin, blonde, made up. The shows almost over and she's wrapping up a few main points from, presumably, her show's topic today....

"...And then the third key is this: Give thanks to him and bless his name. To be thankful means 'to hold out the hand and to throw, especially to revere or worship with extended hands.' Someone once said, 'Paula, why do you lift your hands when you worship?'

If someone came and held you up at gunpoint, and the first thing you would do is you lift your hands. What are you saying? I surrender. So worship--which I’m going to teach you in a program real soon--worship is this: 'God, this isn’t about me.' It’s a surrendered life. 'I surrender. You are lord. You’re lord over my life. I extend my hands to you to say I live a surrendered life. This isn’t about Paula. This is about you.' And so it says to be thankful and bless [here the text from Psalm 100:4 appears overlaying a field of wheat]. 'Bless' means 'to kneel as an act of adoration.' So not only do we extend up, but we also get down, we kneel, saying, 'God I understand that you are Lord over my life. And I kneel as an act of adoration, reverence and respect for who you are.'

God wants to show up in your life. I challenge you right now. Don’t miss out on the spiritual possibilities that God wants to give to you. There is a passage that you have right now, a portal to enter into his gates, into his portal and to receive the presence of God in a very profound way. But you have to do it this way: You have to bring him a thanks offering. It’s the first thing.
What do you mean Paula? [one might ask] Just like what I taught: What is the value of God in your life? Your sacrifice, YOUR sacrifice validates his value. Call that toll free number right now. Get up and go to the phone and say, 'God I want to honor you, I want to worship you. I want to denote the worthiness of your value in my life by extending my hand with a sacrifice.' And maybe it’s simply to say, 'Thank you God for the unexpected blessing.' Maybe it’s a vow for something you’re believing God for. Or maybe it’s simply to honor and recognize who God is in your life. Whatever the reason, whatever the motive, it’s the act of worship that says 'God, because of who you are, I can’t help but to sacrifice, to exchange what I call valuable for something else: your presence in my life.'

During this thanksgiving season, have an attitude of gratitude...

[At this the visual of Paula is lost. Her voice blares out over a still frame of a cornucopia filled with pumpkins, squash, apples and corn. “Honor God with a Special Thanksgiving Offering!” reads the headline at the top of the screen. Below that viewers are instructed to “include your praise report and a list of 5 things you are thankful for.”]

...and not only bring an offering to the Lord, but why don’t you write down 2 or 3, maybe 4 or 5 things you are grateful for. I promise you your perception’s going to change. As you call that number, as you go to the website, or write the p.o. box, and you extend your hand with a valuable sacrifice, a seed that magnifies who God is in your life, also write down those things, or tell that person [on the phone] what you’re grateful for. It is imperative. I believe the best is yet to come in your life. And as you do it God’s way, expect God-results."

In case Paula's message hasn't hit home yet, a deep male-announcer voice speaks as the camera pans over a thanksgiving table, feast laid out, glassware and dishes awaiting food:

"The thanksgiving season is more than turkey and dressing, family and friends. In psalm 100, we are commanded to enter his gates, ...

[the image now: double doors opening in a stone archway. Beyond the doors is a great light]

...or divine presence, with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise, to be thankful unto him and bless and honor his name.

[Image: a written list of the ‘commandments’ overlay the darkness on the viewers' side of the double doors: “1. Enter His gates with thanksgiving; 2: Into his courts with praise; 3: Be thankful unto him and bless his name."]

. . .There are two simple steps you can take. . .

[Image: a bleach-blonde viewer with perm-curly hair in her twenties, with frosted blue eyeshadow, sits on her living room sofa and smiles at the camera. Underneath her are the words “A Spirit of Thanksgiving”. Quickly the image changes to an African-American (?) couple who are nestling into one another, looking VERY thankful. The man is kissing the woman's cheek and wraps his arms around her shoulders as they both look up and smile at the camera]

. . .to come before God with a spirit of thanksgiving. [1] Give the Lord a special thanksgiving offering today as an act of gratitude for the things he has done and will do in your life by calling toll-free, writing, or visiting on-line and sowing into God’s kingdom through the worldwide outreach of Paula White ministries. 2) write down five things you are thankful for and include them when you write. In appreciation for your best thanksgiving offering unto God, Paula will send you her newest teaching series, “An Attitude of Gratitude,” featuring five messages on your choice of CD or DVD. Enter through his gates of thanksgiving this year through a life of greater blessing through an ‘Attitude of Gratitude.’

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