The Church & The ‘Inner Oprah’


Finding Your Inner Oprah

Though I am grateful for the blessings of wealth, it hasn’t changed who I am. My feet are still on the ground. I’m just wearing better shoes.

Oprah Winfrey

You have to be who you want to be before you’ll become wealthy. Money won’t make you smarter, won’t make you get along with your in-laws any better, won’t make you irresistable to either sex in any real way. You’ll still be the same poor you.

For Oprah, that’s a good thing. She knows exactly who she is and she did exactly what was needed to become wealthy. For one thing, she worked her ass off. Back in the day when there were few black people on television at all, Oprah was overweight, black, female (there’s your three strikes) and wanted to change the world in her own way. She was thrown a lot of crap, but she never let it touch what was real inside her.

She was “Oprah” before the world could possibly know what that meant.

So she did everything she needed to do to become wealthy – as long as it fit with her vision of herself. As long as she could keep her feet on the ground and look at herself in the mirror.

OK, we all know what an inspiration she is and how perfect she is and blah blah blah. But I don’t think she would ever describe herself like that. Her feet are on the ground.

Nonetheless, I think we’d all be closer to wealth – closer to all the blessings life offers – if we really knew and believed in our inner “Oprah.” I don’t yet know mine. I’ve seen glimpses, but I’ve got so much work to do. I’m a dreamer. I sometimes have more ideas in a day than I could implement in a lifetime. Sometimes just trying to write down all the possibilities is exhausting, and ultimately defeating.

I don’t have my feet on the ground yet. Still, my inner Oprah is somewhere inside me. And she’s waiting for me work out my warped sense of priorities and my skewed vision of what wealth is. What I – and you – will someday become is exactly who are, without the baggage, without the limitations of scarcity, without fear.

Our feet will be firmly planted in abundance and we’ll be wearing some damn fine shoes.

12 thoughts on “The Church & The ‘Inner Oprah’

  1. The reason why this article is linked to C3 and the others tags is:
    – because C3’s recent association with some church members being on the Oprah show in Australia.
    – because the overall emergent/seeker/prosperity movement has a focus of being relevant and popular using popular techniques, self-help techniques and aspirations to become great. I can’t help but notice the similarities.
    – i was expecting people may bring up Hillsong, C3 and the emergent/emerging church similarities with the success of Oprah. How is the church preaching ‘Your Best Life Now’ any different to Oprah offering inspiration to people living their best life now? Is this not the same sacred cow? Have we really replaced the Holy Spirit with an inner Oprah aspiration?

    Therefore the tags were appropriate.

    I should have asked the question: Is the inner Oprah or the Holy Spirit leading the church to see people saved?

  2. @ Specks – a hard-hitting observation from Phoenix Preacher

    “Church Whores – I love to read the Older Testament…God does not mince words in it, especially when Gods people fall into idolatry.

    “If a man divorces his wife and she goes from him and becomes another man’s wife, will he return to her? Would not that land be greatly polluted? You have played the whore with many lovers; and would you return to me? declares the LORD. Lift up your eyes to the bare heights, and see! Where have you not been ravished? By the waysides you have sat awaiting lovers like an Arab in the wilderness. You have polluted the land with your vile whoredom.”
    (Jeremiah 3:1–2 ESV)

    “How can I pardon you? Your children have forsaken me and have sworn by those who are no gods. When I fed them to the full, they committed adultery and trooped to the houses of whores. They were well-fed, lusty stallions, each neighing for his neighbor’s wife. Shall I not punish them for these things?”
    (Jeremiah 5:7–9 ESV)

    My personal favorite…

    “a wild donkey used to the wilderness, in her heat sniffing the wind! Who can restrain her lust? None who seek her need weary themselves; in her month they will find her.”(Jeremiah 2:24 ESV)

    That’s my kind of writing.

    It is also as relevant to Gods people today as it was when God first inspired it…our idolatry models that of the world and God is every bit as displeased.

    Today’s idols are youth,success,and power and the church lusts for it all.

    I’ve had a number of brochures sent to me lately for conferences on “leadership” and “successful ministry” and I’m convinced we have lost any concept of what those things mean biblically.

    If you have the ability to draw a crowd and you’re under forty the church will chase you like a donkey in heat.

    Listen to me…and listen good lest I rant again…the ability to draw a crowd is nowhere given as a spiritual gift or a measure of success in the Bible.

    Jeremiah, whose lovely words I’ve quoted, had a grand total of two conversions during his ministry.

    The job of the pastor/ elder is to make disciples…to teach people to live for Christ and to die in Christ while modeling how to do both.

    Teaching on Sunday and Wednesday is part of that…to be honest, that part is easy.

    The discipleship happens before and after…in homes, by deathbeds, in hospitals, in counseling, in walking with a certain group of God given people from cradle to grave, through every phase of life in faithfulness to Christ.

    If the folks under a pastors care die in faith…that was success.

    We don’t have conferences on how to do those things because most of the folks they parade in front of us either never have done those things or ceased doing them after they became “successful”.

    Those who have worked those fields faithfully have no name and fewer numbers, so we’re not interested.

    We have exchanged the wisdom and maturity of Baxters “Reformed Pastor” for the latest faux hawked kid from SoCal that can draw a crowd.

    The older men sold their birthright for political power and now seek to ride any wave that comes by.

    It’s idolatry, it’s wrong, and it’s one more reason why when the world looks at the church it doesn’t see a “peculiar people” seeking a real God but a bunch of posers chasing the same wind they are.

    God have mercy”

  3. I’ve heard a few people over the last few years label the teachings in the AOG as magazine preachin. Now I can see it.

    5 Ways to Be a Successful Christian!
    Feeling Down? Try These Works!

  4. @Pheonix Preacher…’That’s my kind of writing.’

    Indeed, and it completely misses the point of context, context, context! Or do you want us to go back under the Mosaic Law for context?

    Jeremiah wasn’t sent to us. He was sent to a reprobate, idolatrous Israel, who had no hope of sainthood or salvation because his era predated Christ, and the New Covenant. They lived under a covenant which was impossible for them to keep because they were unable to be relieved of the sin nature. They predated the cross, and Christ’s work of redemption.

    We do not live in those times, nor are we Israel.

    We can look at the example of how they suffered because of their idolatry and take note, and all scripture is beneficial to us, but we are no longer liable for the same punishment they received as a rebellious nation – the apple of God’s, Israel, which was set apart to usher in the Messiah.

    We are the Gentiles, the Goyim, the Nations, apart from Israel, which were once not a people, but now, through Christ and his Cross, and by God’s grace, have been made a nation in Him, through faith in Him.

    We are under grace. We have had the Hand of peace extended to us. We are offered the free gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ. God is long-suffering towards us. He has sent his Son to pay the price of sin.

    He does not accredit our trespasses to us. ‘God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them’. He has forgiven us our trespasses through the finished work of Christ on the cross. Now we have access, through faith, into this grace in which we stand, having been justified, through faith.

    His wrath is still towards the fallen world, but his grace covers us until the coming of Christ and the judgement.

    Preaching Old Testament wrath is no better than Danny Nalliah’s prophecies of doom and judgment.

    God gave us a New Covenant in Christ’s blood because the Old Covenant did not work, so why continue to preach the Old Covenant as if it is the Gospel?

    Grace through faith supersedes the Law. Yet here we have a classic example of Law preaching, rather than Gospel preaching.

    Jesus commanded us to go into all the world and preach the good news of glad tidings.

    When New Testament preachers get the context, context, context of what they are called to preach, we will see a less judgmental attitude towards the rest of the Body.

    ‘Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life’.

    Our best life began at the cross!

  5. @ Kipling – so there’s no idolatry in the church today? No pastor twisting scripture like a rubber nose to suit his agenda? No pastor claiming that God is not sovereign? No pastor claiming that God has no power of life and death? How many pastors are preaching the Word in context? Our concerns were ignored all the way to the top – that’s why we left.

    And found a church that does deal with Gods Word faithfully………….

  6. @teddy…

    I don’t mind the odd preaching rant, and a straightening out kind of message. I think most believers like to be set straight by preaching from time to time. Great! And justified! Rebuke, exhort, admonish, instruct.

    But the implication made by Pheonix Preacher is that the Church is in such a terrible mess, like the Israel which had to go into captivity in Babylon, and that preachers should always be in their faces like these passages quoted from an Old Testament prophet, sent specifically to Israel to warn them of their impending tragedy, as if the saints are a rubbish rabble filled with trouble.

    Are you suggesting that the Church is about to go into captivity?

    Or has Christ done everything he needed to do to set the Church apart as his particular people? Is he big enough and powerful enough to build the Church, so that the Gates of Hades will not prevail against it? Check this out…

    Hebrews 12
    14* Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:
    15* looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;
    16* lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.
    17* For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.
    18* For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest,
    19* and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore.
    20* (For they could not endure what was commanded: “And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow.”
    21* And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.”)
    22* But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels,
    23* to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect,
    24* to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.
    25* See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven,
    26* whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.”
    27* Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.
    28* Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
    29* For our God is a consuming fire.

    Now that is preaching!

  7. @ Kipling – have a look at Phoenix Preacher’ blog (great blog by the way). He is an ex Calvary Chapel now Reformed pastor. Look at the aforementioned article “Church Whores” and the accompanying comments. I don’t think you’re reading it the way he intended…….

  8. Hi,

    I feel I need to address an untruth here.

    You said: “because C3′s recent association with some church members being on the Oprah show in Australia.”

    C3 had nothing to do with any part of the Oprah show in Australia. The people in question may attend C3 but there has been nothing made of their appearance on the show at all from the pulpit. They’re not trying to get mileage out of it, unlike the poster of this story.

    The family in question are fighting a very serious fight, cancer. The generosity shown by the Oprah show towards this family should not be used as a platform to take aim at their church, or anyone else for that matter. For goodness sake, the guy is fighting to stay alive and you’re using it to argue theology? I’m astounded.

    You don’t have to agree or disagree with Pringle etc to know that it’s just in very, very poor taste. I hope that maybe common decency might prevail here and you’ll at least remove any reference to the family in question and leave them out of your fight against C3.

    As an aside, if you’d like to know how he’s doing and maybe put a face to your opportunism, you can visit a blog he keeps here:

Comments are closed.