‘n Kerk weg van die huis

IMG_4343.JPGNou kom ons by die eintlike rede waarom ons Houston besoek het. Nie almal sal aanklank vind met die volgende skrywe nie, maar ek verklaar egter, sonder enige skaamte dat ek ‘n wedergebore kind van Jesus Christus is. Om hierdie rede is dit vir ons ‘n voorreg om gemeentes reg oor die wêreld te besoek wat die Evangelie uitdra.
Lakewood Church is ‘n 12000 sitplek kerk in die Middestad van Houston. Dit is bykans 60 jaar gelede gestig deur past. John Osteen en sy vrou en het spoedig ‘n 5000 ledetal gehaal,
In Januarie 1999 is John Osteen onverwags oorlede aan ‘n hartaanval. Joël Osteen, sy seun, het duidelik gelei gevoel om die kerk oor te neem en uit te bou na die gemeente wat dit vandag is.
Ons was bevoorreg om ‘n motor in NY te kon huur wat ‘n satelliet radio in het en ek het pal na sy preke geluister, terwyl ons die staat NY deurkruis het.
Hy vertel o.a. die getuienis van hoedat sy pa op ‘n stadium besef het dat hulle ‘n groter kerk sou moes bou. By ‘n spesifieke geleentheid het hulle ‘n naweek van fondsinsamelings gehou, waartydens die $6000 wat nodig was om die fondasies vir die nuwe kerk, te kon oprig,  ingesamel is.                                                          John Osteen was oorstelp hieroor en het vas geglo dat dit die Here se manier was om vir hom te wys dat hy kan voortgaan met die bou van die kerk.     Gedurende die volgende week, ry hy een oggend verby ‘n klein Spaans sprekende gemeente. Die gemeente wou hulle kerk vergroot maar het nie die nodige fondse beskikbaar gehad nie. Hiervan was John Osteen egter nie bewus nie.                                                                                                                                Daardie oggend praat die Here duidelik met hom en sê dat hy die $6000 wat ingesamel is aan hierdie gemeente moet skenk.
Hy was uit die veld geslaan en redeneer toe erg met die Here. Nou ja, toe ek dit hoor, het ek kliphard begin lag en gesê: ‘O Here, ek ken dit tog so goed!!! ‘Uiteindelik gee hy tog gehoor en ry na die pastoor van die gemeente se huis, wat langs die kerk geleë is. By oorhandiging van die geld  huil hierdie man, oor die grootheid van die Here wat hul gebede verhoor het vir die nodige finansies om hul kerk te verbeter.                                                                                                 John Osteen het binne enkele maande ‘n groot oes gesien op sy gehoorsaamheid. Verskeie donateurs het anoniem na vore gekom en geld geskenk – ongeveer ‘n jaar later was Lakewood gemeente se nuwe kerk klaar gebou, kontant, sonder ‘n enkele sent skuld.                                                                                                                In 2003 het die gemeente ‘n langtermyn kontrak met Stad Houston gesluit om die Compaq Centre, vroeër ‘n sportstadium op ‘n langtermyn basis by die Stadsraad te huur. Hulle moes  die huur van $12m voortuit betaal vir die volgende 30 jaar. Die gebou is verander teen ‘n koste van $100m. In 2010 het die Stadsraad met ‘n meerderheid stem besluit om die gebou aan Lakewood Church te verkoop vir $7,5m.                                                                                                        Joël Osteen word baie veroordeel en daar word baie gepraat oor die feit dat hy een van die rykste pastore in Amerika is. Baie kritiek word ook gegee oor die feit dat hulle in ‘n baie mooi huis woon.                                                                             Hierdie is net so ‘n getuienis in sy lewe.  Hy vertel oor die radio dat hulle by geleentheid op soek was na ‘n ander huis.  Hul maak toe ‘n aanbod op ‘n eiendom, maar dit val deur die mat as gevolg van ‘n beter aanbod, wat reeds voor hulle s’n gemaak is.                                                                                                    Die eiendomsagent gaan wys hulle toe ‘n ou huis wat baie verwaarloos is.  Terwyl hy daar rondstaan, hoor hy duidelik die Here se stem wat vir hom sê dat hy ‘n aanbod op die huis moet maak.                                                                            Op daardie oomblik kom Victoria ingestap en sê dat sy voel dit is die huis vir hulle.  Hul het die huis gerestoureer.  ‘n Jaar later kry hy ‘n aanbod op die huis van ‘n ontwikkelaar, wat die eiendom wou ontwikkel in ‘n ontwikkeling.  Die aanbod was vir 10 maal meer as wat hulle betaal het vir die huis.
Ek verstaan hierdie gedeelte baie goed. Ons self het vir jare in Plattekloof, een van die rykmansbuurte van die Noordelike Voorstede in Kaapstad gebly en het self baie jaloersie as gevolg daarvan ervaar.                                                                  Om so ‘n kerk soos Lakeside te kon vestig, het geld gekos en kos baie geld om in stand te hou.  Dit kom nie van bome af nie.  Jy moet daarvoor werk!!!                   Ons het besluit om self te gaan kyk en ervaar hoe Lakewood Church funksioneer.  Ons het twee van die dienste bygewoon en het werklik net seën daar ontvang.                                                                                                                    Heel toevallig hoor ek hoe een van die pastore twee persone voorstel aan een van die gemeentelede en ek hoor die woord ‘South Africa’. By navraag ontdek ons dat beide van ons van Kaapstad af kom en hulle 5 min. van ons af woon.    As ‘n ‘gebore’ Charismaat, groot geword in ‘n Charismatiese, Pinksterkerk, kon ek dadelik die teenwoordigheid van die Here daar ervaar.Van die oomblik wat jy instap in die kerk, voel jy welkom. Ons was gevra of ons besoekers is en na spesiale sitplekke vir besoekers geneem.                                                                    Die lofprysing en aanbidding was fantasties – wat vir my die meeste uitgestaan het is dat hierdie man ‘n nederige man is. Terwyl hy van sy sitplek af na die verhoog toe stap, staan hy stil by ‘n senior dame, ‘n lidmaat van sy gemeente en verneem eers hoe dit gaan. Hy bedank die trio wat ‘n spesiale moedersdag lied gesing het, elkeen met ‘n handdruk.
‘n Uitnodiging word gegee vir diegene wat ‘n behoefte het vir persoonlike gebed. Hy, sy vrou en talle betrokke gemeentelede staan gereed om vir elkeen persoonlik te bid.                                                                                                              Aan die einde van die diens is daar ook ‘n ‘altar call’ waartydens mense  wat hul wil toewy aan die Here, kan opstaan en ‘n gebed vir hulle gedoen word.     Ons het twee van die dienste bygewoon en het werklik net seën daar ontvang.

Joel Osteen’s se preke en skrywes word baie maal gekritiseer daarvoor dat hy die ‘voorspoed evangelie’ bevorder, bedoelende dat hy materiële gewin as beloning vir die vroom Christen sien.                                                                        Word hy egter gevra of hy n leraar van die voorspoed evangelie is, reageer hy deur te sê dat hy by voorspoed bedoel dat God wil hê dat mense moet geseend moet wees met goeie gesondheid en verhoudinge, dit gaan nie omtrent geld nie. Hy stel dit ook duidelik dat hy nooit oor geld preek nie, juis as gevolg can die slegte reputasie van tele-evangeliste. beloning is vir die vrome Christen.    Wanneer hy egter daarna gevra word, reageer hy dat God by voorspoed bedoel dat Hy wil he dat sy kinders moet geseënd wees, gesond wees en goeie verhoudinge moet hê en dat dit nie oor geld gaan nie. Hy beklemtoon ook dat hy nooit oor geld preek nie, juis as gevolg van die reputasie wat verskeie tele-evangeliste het.                                                                                                              Tydens die ere-diens was daar net aangekondig dat die offerende nou opgeneem gaan word en daarmee tesame ‘n skrif uit die Woord wat sê dat hy wat gee, geseend sal wees. Geen onnodige beklemtoning nie, suiwer Woord!!

Diegene wat krities is oor Lakewood en Joël Osteen – maak gerus ‘n punt daarvan om Lakewood te besoek, wanneer jy in die VSA en TX besoek aflê.

Now we come to the real reason why we visited Houston. Not everyone will agree with the following statement, but I declare, without any shame, that I am a born-again child of Jesus Christ and am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this reason, it is a privilege for us to visit churches all over the world who minister the Gospel. Lakewood Church is a 12000 seat church in downtown Houston. It was established almost 60 years ago by pastor John Osteen and his wife. The congregation soon reached a membership of 5000. In January 1999, John Osteen died unexpectedly of a heart attack. His son, Joël, was led by the Holy Spirit to take over the congregation and expand it as it is today. We were privileged to hire a car in NY with satellite radio, and I listened to Joël’s sermons as we crossed the state of NY. Amongst other things, he testified about how his father at one stage realized that the congregation needs a larger church. On a particular occasion, they held a fundraiser weekend, during which the $ 6000 required to erect the foundations for the new church, was collected. Osteen was overwhelmed by this and believed that it was the Lord’s way to show him that he should continue with their plans. During the following week, he drives past a small Spanish-speaking church. The congregation wanted to enlarge their church but did not have the necessary funds available. John Osteen was not aware of this. That morning, the Lord spoke to him and told him to donate the $ 6000 collected, to this specific church. Pastor John was very confused and start reasoning with the Lord. When I heard this, I started laughing and said, “O Lord, I know it so well !!! ‘ Eventually he obeyed and drove to the Spanish pastor’s house, which was located next to the church. Upon handing over the money, this man was overwhelmed by the greatness of God. John Osteen reaped a great harvest within a few months of this act of obedience. Several donors came up anonymously and donated money, and about a year later, Lakewood’s church’s new church was completed, in cash, without any debt.
In 2003, Lakewood concluded a long-term contract with City of Houston to rent the Compaq Center, previously a sports stadium. They had to pay the $ 12m rent in advance for the next 30 years. The building has been changed at a cost of $ 100m. In 2010, the City Council voted by a majority to sell the building for $7.5m to Lakewood Church. Joël Osteen is widely condemned and talked about being one of the wealthiest pastors in America. Many criticisms are also given about the fact that they live in a very beautiful house. This is actually a great testimony in his life. He told his listeners on a radio broadcast of how they were occasionally looking for another residence. They make an offer on a property, but it falls through because of another offer on the property. The real estate agent went to show them a run-down house which apparently been in the market. As he stood there, he distinctly heard the voice of the Lord telling him to make an offer on the house. At that moment, Victoria came in and told Joël that she felt it was the exact house for them. They restored the house. A year later, he received an offer on the property, from a developer who wanted to develop the property. The proposal was 10 times more than they paid for the house. I understand this section very well. For many years, we experienced a lot of jealousy, while staying in Plattekloof, one of the wealthy neighborhoods in the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town.
To manage a church like Lakeside cost money and money does not come from trees. You have to work for it !!!
We decided to go and experience Lakewood Church first handed. I could immediately experience the presence of the Lord. From the moment you enter the church, you feel welcome. We attended two of the services and was not disappointed at all.
The praise and worship were fantastic – what impressed me the most is that this man is very humble. As he walks from his seat to the stage, he takes a moment to chat with a senior lady, a member of his church and inquire about her well-being. He makes time to personally thank each of the trios who performed with a special Mother’s Day song, with a handshake. An invitation is given for those who need personal prayer to come forward to the altar. Together with other congregational members Joël and Victoria were ready to pray for each person individually. At the end of the service, an “altar call” is made, during which people can make a decision to dedicate themselves to the Lord.
Joel Osteen’s sermons and writings are repeatedly criticized for promoting the “prosperity gospel,” meaning that he sees the materialistic as a reward for the pious Christian. However, if Joël is asked if he is a teacher of the prosperity gospel, he responds by saying that he desperately believes that God wants people to be blessed with good health and relationships and it’s not about money. He also states that he never preaches wealth, precisely because of the bad reputation of television evangelists. Rewards are for the pious Christian However when asked about it, Osteen responds by saying that God meant by prosperity that He wants his children to be blessed, to be healthy and to have good relationships and that it is not about money. He also emphasizes that he never preaches prosperity, precisely because of the reputation of several television-evangelists. During the honorary service, it was announced that the sacrifice would be taken up now and, together, a word from the Word that says that he gives gives will be blessed. No additional emphasis was made, only Biblical values were preached. Those who are critical of Joel Osteen and Lakewood Church, please make sure to visit Lakewood when visiting Texas.