I would often go away for 3-4 days to seek the Lord through prayer and fasting. Some of these times were spent at a place called Cedar Springs Christian Retreat Centre in Sumas Washington.
On the occasion of the first poem "Inspired.. Not for sale." I had just been out for a walk around the grounds and was praising the Lord. When I got back to my cabin, I heard the Lord say, "Get pen and paper." I
thought I was going to get a regular word from the Lord, perhaps direction or a message for someone. But when I sat at the table and began to write, I was totally surprised. This poem came forth and was completed in
20 minutes. Now that may not mean much to some people, but considering that I am not a poet and this was totally out of my normal realm of operation, it was above the ordinary for me.
The second poem came on the next trip to Sumas and in a very similar way.
I must admit that I have not in the past been inclined to writing poetry nor interested much in it, and have somewhat "downplayed" this beautiful method that God can speak to us through... Forgive me Lord. I claim
no credit as I know they did not come from me personally.... I am just the messenger, to HIM be all the glory.
- Prayerfully submitted, Ian Oliver
By Ian Oliver
There's money to be made! for sure,
Within the Christian setting:
But are our motives really pure,
With all this gain were getting.
Let's take a look deep down within,
Our hearts and motive see;
Could be were clouded in with sin,
When the gain obtained should be free.
We quickly claim what was given "Inspired"
Or given us by God's Spirit...
But make a fortune in passing it on,
As if by our own merit.
We get so much gain from what was given,
To us from our Lord so free.
So when ministry by money is clearly driven,
Then corrupt it surely must be.
Jesus told us how we should go,
"No script" or "purse" said He;
So writing and charging was not His way,
For the gospel message to be.
Now making money is not a sin,
From business, work or our lands;
But to take what's freely given by God,
And charge for ? As if by our hands!
If you say "It's inspired by God" as you do,
Whether sermon, song, poem or book,
How dare you charge an exorbitant price,
That others must pay just to look.
The cost of it's making can be seen,
As a legitimate price one must spend,
But when charging much more for profit galore,
The Scriptures we clearly must bend.
I once heard a preacher on the radio tell,
Of another who met his disdain,
For an MLM he was involved in now
His livelihood trying to maintain.
The radio preacher was insistent you see.
To make money this way must be wrong.
It's okay to make a bundle of money;
Through a sermon or poem or song.
More proper it seems to make gain from our schemes,
If they're not wicked, corrupt or evil.
But what's given by God there should not be a charge;
As this would give place to the Devil.
You see them on TV saying "send me some money"
And "God's word will I forward to you"
But these prophets of gain, are servants of Baal.
Though quoting the scriptures they do.
The Devil himself quoted scripture,
to try to corrupt the Lord Jesus as well
It's an old tactic friend, you pay in the end,
For the corrupted words that they sell.
Much gain there is to be had
From a ministry, pure from above.
When the flow of God's Spirit is continually in it.
Then souls will be won in His love.
So if making great gain from the ministry gift
That God has entrusted to you
Your reward will be... Exactly your fee
Don't look for a blessing from above.
Now "How do I live?" I can hear you say.
"If I don't charge, for what I do in my name"
It's plain to see, you must be admired
So admit it is you and not "it's inspired"
If it's money you want from the things that you do,
Then don't "spiritualize" it, just be plain and true.
Say "This is the way I make my living"
" I can't live by faith and trust to your giving".
Now remember it's not wrong to cover your cost,
When inspired by God to reach to the lost.
But if moneys your goal in the thing that you do,
And the saints are your target God is warning you.
If you're making great gain from the things He inspired
I'm telling you friend, The Lord's getting tired
Of corrupting His message for profit and gain
So, repent and give freely, what is done in His name.
The labourer is truly worthy of his hire
But that's not the case for what HE inspires
Though we are fellow labourers with HIM
To charge for HIS gift is surely a sin.
Jesus will not modernize,
To fit our mortals plan;
He is the same forever,
He is the great I AM;
The Alpha & Omega,
The beginning and the end;
He's not about to upgrade,
To fit our latest trend.
The Church is always changing,
"Upgrading" they may say;
We must do all things new,
As we reach out to the lost;
But something here is very wrong,
They haven't count the cost.
To change the Church to win the world,
Is not the Bible way
The Holy Spirit is the same,
As He was in Jesus day;
So, Church wake up, get on your knees,
And really start to pray.
Turn back to God and trust His power,
You'll find He really can;
Win the lost in this last hour,
Without a change of plan:
His method has not changed,
Though years have come and gone,
Through the foolishness of preaching,
He turns us to His Son.
The foolishness of preaching,
Is His established way;
Not foolish preaching as we hear
So much in Church today.
Reliance on the Holy Ghost
Has long since gone away...
Repentance... Conviction... Sound Doctrine...
They're not in Church today.
We are fulfilling Scripture,
On this we can be clear.
The Church is full of people
Who have an itching ear:
The preachers are adapt to this,
And know just what to say;
To keep the people entertained and
Not drive them all away.
Our Churches may be full its true,
But full of what we ask?
With men afraid to preach The Word,
And rise up to the task.
"The offerings will go down" I hear,
So many of them say;
" We can't afford to preach that truth,
it will empty all our pews....
And then we will be bankrupt,
And that would make the news!"
"We must keep face, whatever the cost
so compromise we must,
With programs, buildings, sermons,
that win the peoples trust...
A little to the right or left,
Whatever makes it fit,
We'll keep our people entertained,
With a play, or dance or skit.
Now these themselves may not be wrong,
As I am sure we all agree,
But something here is missing too,
And it is plain to see,
When churches aim to please the crowd
Including you or me,
Their motives now are questionable,
As we may clearly see.
"Well tantalize the people and make them feel so good;
The more elated that they are,
The better this will be,
When offering time comes around,
They'll pay for this you see....
But if we preach conviction or
Repentance as we should,
Our offerings will go way down,
And that would not be good.
The bills just keep on coming,
And these must all get paid...
Like, salaries, the mortgage oops! -
That new program we just made:
We'll give some to the poor you know,
This keeps things looking right,
The board is good at budgeting,
And keep things squeaky tight.
It's hard to watch this going on
Within the Church today.
But friends this is REALITY,
Though sad it is to say.
This travesty is rampant...true!
But all is not yet lost,
We can return to God's ways
Regardless of the cost.
Humility will be the key that brings us back in line.
A cut in salaries perhaps, or is that much too strong?
Remember what our Lord said...
Or have I got it wrong?
"Freely you received". How come the people pay?
For what our Lord has given us,
To freely give away??
Now I can see you're getting mad,
As I hear you boldly say
"We preach prosperity in my Church,
And it begins with me...
An example to the people,
I must clearly be.
No other message will we hear within our Church wall.
For that would be a heresy,
And cause us all to fall.
Again my friends you missed the goal,
Of God's intended plan.
Thinking prosperity is worldly gain,
Of which you preach the whole.
But that is not God's meaning;
Of the word contained therein;
Salvation of our souls &
Freedom from our sin....
A greater gain there cannot be,
Than this one expressed herein.
So Church we must turn back in time,
To what the Bible says...
Reliance on the Holy Ghost,
And God's eternal plan......
So lay aside your programs, the edifice of man..
Your gimmicks and high salaries
And that new "with - it" program.
Lets ask our Father to reach down,
With His great saving hand.
Perhaps then we will see
Revival sweep our land.
Jesus will not modernize
To fit our mortals plan;
He is the same forever,
He is the great I AM.
The Alpha and Omega,
The beginning and the end.
He will not update what He does,
To suite our latest trend.
So lets ensure that what we do, Is fitted to His way.
The plans He has, we should adopt,
And live from day to day.
Not pleasing man, but pleasing God,
Should be our daily task;
We may just find He will give us
Much more than we could ask.
Lets abandon all our programs,
Our gimmicks, goals and ways
And trust the Holy Ghost to light
Our path from day to day.
Applying His eternal Word
To what we do and say....
Will keep us living close to Him,
Along the narrow way.
You may go down the broader path,
It's easier.... that's true!
But you must be prepared my friend,
For what's in store for you;
No treasure for eternity will you
have gladly earned,
The wood, straw, stubble of this earth,
Will truly all be burned!
You can store up your treasures,
As God has surely planned.
By doing things the way He wants,
And not by pleasing man.
By living in accordance, with God's eternal Word.
Then you'll hear the words of Jesus;
Enter into the JOY OF THE LORD.