Planetshakers Insider

Musings on Life, the Christian Journey and being a part of Planetshakers City Church

Mike Guglielmucci in Psychiatric Hospital, Police “No Basis for Charges”, Secret Accounts Audited but Not Released

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I missed this article that was published 3 days ago…

For the sake of telling the whole story, here’s what’s been reported in The Adelaide Advertiser:

SOUTH Australian police are unlikely to lay criminal charges against “porn pastor” Michael Guglielmucci over the fake cancer donation controversy.

The police say while they have taken a “very proactive approach to it”, no one had made a formal complaint.

The Advertiser understands that Mr Guglielmucci is in hospital receiving psychiatric care after confessing to faking a battle with terminal cancer to hide his 16-year obsession with pornography.

But police say the former pentecostal preacher, who performed his hit song Healer with an oxygen tube in his nose, may not face further investigations. Detective Superintendent Jim Jeffery said police were finalising their investigations.

“Unless further information comes to light or people that may have been affected by Mr Guglielmucci action’s come forward, no further police investigations are likely,” he said.

At the centre of the inquiry was a website, established by a friend of Mr Guglielmucci, asking for donations to the Praying Together for Mike Guglielmucci cancer cause.

“We have tracked that but as far as monetary amounts are concerned, we can’t comment on that,” Det-Supt Jeffery said.

Despite two people complaining to The Advertiser about feeling duped after donating money to cause, police said the majority of people who gave money were interstate.

No one has yet made any formal complaint to police interstate.

Mr Guglielmucci’s father, Danny, the founder of Edge Church at Reynella, yesterday confirmed four people had received refunds after writing to a post office box the church established.

“They were small amounts,” a spokesman said yesterday.

The church has also assisted police with auditing the accounts of Michael Guglielmucci, but despite repeated requests The Advertiser has been unable to view records for those accounts.

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Written by Planetshakers Insider

September 15, 2008 at 4:27 am

Planetshakers, and Why We Should Shake-Off Bad Beliefs

with 40 comments

I had someone who didn’t leave their name, but is apparently a Planetshakers member, ask a question recently:

…do you truly believe that this blog contributes any value to the church? If so how?

By asking questions; by being public and open; by engaging people, and getting people to think deeper; by questioning beliefs so that beliefs that are wrong or mistaken can be shed, and beliefs that are correct and stand up to questioning can be strengthened.

All protestant churches (non-Roman-Catholic churches – including Pentecostal churches like Planetshakers) came out of the Reformation – and began with Martin Luther.

The catalyst for the reformation was Martin Luther’s “Ninety-Five Theses” – which he nailed to the Castle Church in Wittenburg, Saxony (modern-day Germany).

These were 95 points for debate that criticized the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope.

The “Theses” included points criticizing practice of selling “indulgences” – the Roman Catholic Church at the time was making people PAY MONEY in order to be forgiven of their sins, and be sanctified in order to gain God’s favor and get into heaven.

You know it’s wrong, I know it’s wrong – but the average person at that time knew no better.

At the time, the Bible was written in Greek – (Martin Luther himself was responsible for the first translation into the “common man’s language”, which put the bible in everyone’s reach). So the church was able to get away with practically anything

Martin Luther, because he understood and was able to interpret the bible, and wasn’t willing to accept a bastardized version of God’s message – a version that benefited the Church financially, but was wrong biblically – so he spoke up.

His work began the reformation – and the reformation saw the Bible being translated into common languages worldwide (including the King James Version in England – which we still use today), it saw some of the greatest Christian philosophers in history (including Calvin and Luther himself), eventually led to most non-Roman-Catholic church movements (Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist, Anglican, Pentecostal, Revivalist, etc), and saw the church come much closer to the ideals described in the Bible.

This was one of the most influential turning points in world history, let alone Christendom.

And it came because someone spoke up when they saw something was wrong.

People accused Martin Luther of bringing about “disunity” and “dissent” – they made him an outlaw, banned his work, and called him a heretic – someone who was “of the devil”.

And in many ways he did create disunity and dissent – but he also spoke the truth.. And as a result, he did God’s work.

You see, God doesn’t call us to blind unity, for the sake of unity in the body of Christ.

Take Jesus’ example – when he came across the money-changers and herders in the temple, he angrily made a whip of cords, drove out the animals, violently turned over the tables strewing the money all over the ground…

“Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

Jesus acted when he saw wrong.

Martin Luther did the same.

I’m far from anything that Jesus is, and I’m no Martin Luther either – I’m just a human, and I sin as much as the next one.

But I see things that are wrong – and I speak out too.

Just like every Christian should.

Certainly I don’t act as violently as Jesus acted, and certainly not as loudly or as controversially as Martin Luther – but I speak out and act nonetheless.

Is it wrong that I should speak?

Just as one example – In the Bible, Paul writes (in 1 Cor. 14:27-28):

27If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God.

So is it wrong if I were to question whether or not we are justified in God when Senior Pastor Sam Evans speaks in tongues at the end of worship at Planetshakers (with no interpretation), and encourages others to join in?

Is it wrong that I question Planetshakers for claiming they had nothing to do with Mike Guglielmucci for the past 18 months, and distancing themselves from him, when it was clear that his cancer lie started while he was at Planetshakers 22 months prior?

Is it wrong that I look around and see hurting people and people with weak faith, and question what pastoral care these people receive when their small-group leaders aren’t skilled enough to help, don’t recognize the problem, or are too busy to do anything?

Is it wrong to wonder why people cheer loudly when a preacher is “on a roll” in his sermon, or when a superstar preacher’s name is flashed on the giant screens – and wonder whether people’s focus is on Jesus or the Church? And similarly, wonder whether the church is focussed more on growth, or building deep relationships between churchgoers and Jesus?

Planetshakers is a good church – but Planetshakers is not the way, the truth and the life – Jesus is.

So when the church falls short (like we all do) – who questions?

Or are we so blindly following Planetshakers that we forget to follow Jesus?

The most frustrating part is how blindly people will follow – without questioning anything at all.

In fact, some people are willing to go to any extreme – just so long as you don’t disagree, have a different opinion, or question a belief.

  • I can live with people hating me;
  • I can live with people calling me every name they can think of (which is part of the reason why I’m now moderating slanderous posts so heavily);
  • I can live with people signing my email address up to spam email services (it’s started happening lately – I got the opt-in messages to prove it);
  • I can live with people trying to hack into my email account to stop this blog (it’s happened 8 times so far – I’ve got the password reset messages to prove it);
  • I can live with people trying to silence this blog by trying to gain access into the admin panel (it’s happened 5 times so far – again, got the password reset messages…);

But why would a Christian do any of this, instead of just speaking the truth?

I assume that these people are Christians if they are offended by what I might say – but whoever they are, why would they choose to act out of hatred or malice, and want to be slanderous and hurtful and attack me rather than simply disproving me – if I am so obviously wrong in what I might write.

But the surprising (and at times frustrating) part for me is how little some christians seem to want to do anything – just so long as they don’t have to think for themselves.

Even when something is so opposed, so contradictory to what is in the Bible – when the shepherd might be leading them astray – they seem to simply follow.

For unity, perhaps.

  • Perhaps I’m dealing with deep-ingrained and evil spiritual forces that are much greater than me and this blog.
  • Perhaps I’m just encountering Christian zealots who believe what I’m doing is wrong – but don’t have the biblical knowledge to potentially see where I might be right, or if I’m wrong to disprove me.
  • Perhaps they believe that if I’m wrong and evil, acting against me in any way is justified – even if the action they take might be sinful itself.
  • Perhaps their faith is weak, and rather than building their faith on the rock (Jesus) they have built it in Planetshakers – so anything that questions Planetshakers also questions (and shakes) their faith.
  • Perhaps I’m missing something.

I don’t know.

I don’t know what good this blog will do – but surely any sense of accountability, debate, and questioning beliefs in order to find the truth is a good thing, because it means we’re vigilant – and if we’re vigilant (as the Bible says) we avoid being led astray, and we avoid trouble from our enemies.

Surely our faith is strong enough for us to ask questions.

Surely our faith is strong enough that we’re willing to be vigilant, rather than blindly follow a church because… well, just because.

As I said at the start of this post…

Asking questions; being public and open; engaging people, getting people to think deeper; questioning beliefs so that beliefs that are wrong or mistaken can be shed, and beliefs that are correct and stand up to questioning can be strengthened – surely this is good, and not bad.

Can You Imagine Singing a Hymn about Pornography?

with 9 comments

Nate Davis, Worship Pastor of Mosaic Church, has some insightful comments re: Mike Guglielmucci:

Satan has completely succeeded in the battle of pornography. He has everyone who struggles with it fooled to think they can’t tell anyone because of the repercussions. In the case of Mike G., fooled to the point that he would make up a lie like CANCER! to cover up the addiction!!!!! Think about it. If Mike Guglielmucci was interviewed saying, “yeah I really battle with porn and I came home one night, sat down, and wrote this song believing that God could heal me from this nightmare addiction” everyone would have cringed. I know porn is bad, I know it’s shameful, but Jesus is bigger than that crap and if you’ll be brave enough to fess up you’ll defeat the enemy and you’ll feel freedom like you never have!!! We need to start bringing this stuff into the light NOW Church so Satan won’t take down another one of our leaders with it.

Fantastic thoughts.

By the way – if you have a chance, have a listen to some of Erwin McMannus’s Mosaic Podcasts (sermons from Mosaic church). Many are also very insightful. [Edit: It turns out a different Mosaic church *doh* – thanks for the correction, Nate :)]

There was one particularly interesting sermon where he took questions from the congregation prior (from memory, about “faith” – perhaps someone can confirm?), and answered them. This podcast, and this type of inquisitive church culture was something that was playing on my mind before I began this blog.

Enough is Enough

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I read on Bill Muehlenberg’s CultureWatch blog recently:

Now is not the time to be soft on one another. It certainly is not the time to be soft on ourselves. The heavenly Father chastens those whom he loves (Hebrews 12:1-13). And we are called to encourage each other, warn each other, challenge each other, and seek the best for each other.

It reminded me about the spirit of gentleness that God rebukes us with – with one hand rebuking us, but the other comforting us.

And it also reminded me how we, as Christians, should be treating each other.

There has been a lot of negativity (read: abusiveness) in comments recently – comments that don’t contribute any valuable insights, but exist to belittle other people.

This blog isn’t a place for people to vent anger and hatred to one-another.

It’s a place for people to discuss issues of culture that affect our church in a thoughtful and reflective manner.

Previously, I’ve let all comments pass (assuming they weren’t spam), choosing not to censor any comment – I believed that everyone has something valuable to offer.

But now, I’m going to be ruthless in deleting comments that are just plain abusive.

If you don’t have anything valuable to contribute, if you want to call other commenters names, or if you just want to be abusive – this isn’t the place for you.

To the 90% of people who contribute their valuable information, discussion, debate and insights to this blog – keep up the great work.

I don’t agree with you all the time, but your thoughtful comments are more than welcome here 🙂

Written by Planetshakers Insider

September 9, 2008 at 5:02 am

Planetshakers Placing Son On Stage Too Young?

with 16 comments

Received an interesting message via SMS.

Tomorrow’s Father’s Day church service at Planetshakers will feature 3 generations of the Evans family… Including Russell Evans’ eldest child, Jonathan (still primary school aged).

I wonder to myself… Is this appropriate?

Obviously it would be inappropriate to have Jonathan delivering a message, because 1 Timothy speaks against promoting novice pastors.

But is it also inappropriate to be placing the child on a pedestal alongside his revered father and grandfather?

I can’t help but think of Mike Guglielmucci, and the shame and torment that began for him at a slightly older age. Surely some of this was caused by the expectations he felt he had to live up to, as we heard that he bottled his sins up inside, put his best foot forward – while suffering horrible physical and emotional symptoms.

While every good parent (and I don’t doubt Russell Evans is a good parent) wants to build their child’s self esteem, and lift up their son and say “This is my son, in whom I am proud” – it seems unnecessary and potentially harmful…

… And yet again, it takes the focus off Jesus and places it on the Superstars of Planetshakers – in this case, the Evans Family.

Written by Planetshakers Insider

September 7, 2008 at 3:10 am

Scutinize All Things; Hold Fast What Is Good

with 4 comments

Thought this post was interesting and insightful:

This is a bit of a sidebar but it feeds into some of the other comments.

We certainly need to minister the “grace and truth” of Christ to those who have fallen but it is also biblical and helpful to ask if there are things within the church culture that are contributing to the problems we are experiencing.

Part of the problem is the “marketing and packaging” – image first, celebrity status, lack of open inquiry, no accountiblity (other than their chosen circle of friends), leadership and teaching in some of these churches, which have substituted orginizational growth over Jesus’ command to make disciples..

I don’t know the specifics of this church or the situation but we had better take heed to the warning of Christ — “Let no man deceive you”. Deception is rampant in our culture and is strongly influincing much of the church.

In reading a recent newsletter from a well known and respected Pastor in Minnesota who was addressing “avoiding division” in the church I was alarmed to see his postion. He said we “absolutely cannot let the enemy” enter our thinking by causing us to question the credibility of the ministry (ministers) God has chosen to connect you with.

This is a real problem we face. It also violates the teaching of Scripture.

1 Thes 5:21, Test (scrutinize) all things; hold fast what is good.

Strong’s #1381 – Dokimazo: test, prove, approve, discern, examine.
1. to test, examine, prove, scrutinize (to see whether a thing is genuine or not), as metals
2. to recognize as genuine after examination, to approve, deem worthy

Scrutinize: To examine carefully for accuracy with the intent of verification, so that an informed decision can be made concerning the proper course of action.

This is not a suggestion, it is a command.

This same word is used in Rom 12:2, Phil 1:9-*10, 1 John 4:1.

“Gullibility is not synonymous with spirituality. Faith is not a mental habit leading its possessor to open his mouth and swallow everything that has about it the color of the supernatural” (or has a Christian label slapped on it).

“Faith keeps its heart open to whatever is of God, and rejects everything that is not of God, however wonderful it may be. ‘Try the spirits’ is a command of the Holy Spirit to the Church. We may sin as certainly by approving the spurious (false) as by rejecting the genuine (truth). And the current habit of refusing to take sides is not the way to avoid the question. To appraise things with a heart of love and then to act on the results is an obligation resting upon every Christian in the world. And the more as we see the day approaching.” ( A.W. Tozer)

The enemies attack is two-fold: get you to believe a lie or reject the truth.

Make sure your church is “rightly dividing the Word of truth” and be alarmed if there is not an environment that welcomes and encourages open inquiry.

Peace!

Written by Planetshakers Insider

September 7, 2008 at 2:58 am

When is someone ready for leadership?

with 33 comments

“The Doctor” posts an interesting series of ponderings:

A few things I have been pondering on …

Firstly, 1 Timothy contains instruction that would encourage elders (pastors) to be appointed who are not young men – promote not a novice. From what I have read although Timothy is referred to as a yound man, he was probably in his late twenties or early thirties … How old was Michael when he was appointed and annointed for minsitry?
Whilst there may be a case for the appoinment of some young men such as Timothy the clear injunction for the church (and Senior Pastors who seem to have two votes on most eldership boards) is not to appoint too early, take time to observe character – not charisma! And of course the family name seems to open doors that are often closed to other “lesser lights”.

Secondly, it seems to me that bad teaching plays a part in leading to this type of behaviour. After all having to acknowledge sin as a habitual problem in your life is considered amongst those who have it “all together” as a sign of weakness. The magic formula works for us (your peers in ministry), it should work for you. If it doesn’t then the problem is yours – you are not doing it right, not trying hard enough, or let’s maximise the guilt and shame by saying, you just don’t have enough faith brother! After all what place does weakness have in this type modern derivative of Christianity influenced heavily with a KINGDOM NOW Theology. That is, ALL of heaven is mine to enjoy NOW, in this life, right NOW – healing NOW, sinless perfection NOW, financial prosperity NOW, success in all I do NOW.

Thirdly, we as Christians are called to forgive and distribute mercy as freely as we have received it. We are all sinners and can bring the name of Christ into disrepute through our actions. The tragedy in Michaels case is the tremendously damaging effects of such a public fall from grace – it magnifies the reproach to the name of Christ because of the media and internet.

In closing, this is a timely reminder of the days in which we live where in the last days men will fall away because of iniquity. Therefore we should exhort each other to live a life that honours Christ and His holy Name, rather than the modern approach which exalts charismatic men and makes idols of them. Rather than the greatest shall be your servant we now have the servant shall become your master.

Honour and Serve Your King, and keep your “lesser light” shining !!!!

The question “The Doctor” raises about the right age for ministry is interesting. There’s no shortage of young leaders within Planetshakers – Russell Evans, Mike Guglielmucci and many more Planetshakers began working in ministry at reletively young ages.

Yet again, read this post at face value.

I have more questions than answers.

It’s just a shame that the culture of Planetshakers discourages discussion of these sorts of questions…

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August 29, 2008 at 5:00 pm