Planetshakers Insider

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

Posts Tagged ‘sam evans

Planetshakers’ Beautiful Woman Woman?

with 58 comments

I don’t know what more to say about this…

Planetshakers Blog Hiatus…

with 54 comments

Firstly, thank-you to Mice, Amanda, assembliesofwhat, Grace, theoriginalmattyc, Jason Van Haaster, Grant and all of the others (there are so many of you!) who had positive and thoughtful input on and off this blog.

Your comments were the reason I kept the blog running, and I eagerly looked forward to hearing what you had to say.

Obviously I haven’t been blogging much lately.

The bible talks about guarding your heart…

At my heart, I’m an optimist. I see the positive potential for change. But there were always a handful of bad apples in the bunch – at Planetshakers itself, and visiting this blog.

For these people, change is looked at with skepticism.

Their “Christian” beliefs are so shaky that questioning is met with an almost hostility – almost to a point where they would say “God made it this way, so shut up and deal with it or go find somewhere else.”

The negativity gets to me…

I put church aside for a while…

And I put this blog aside for a while.

I haven’t attended Planetshakers, or any church, in months. And to be honest, the last few months have been some of the best months of my life.

I haven’t worried – worried faith, God, heaven, hell, purpose, direction, sin, worship, life, whatever – I have more confidence – I have purpose – I’m more fulfilled – I’m more successful at work (even being sent overseas to a $8,200 conference) – I have a better relationship with my girlfriend, my immediate family – and so much more.

I’m far away from God – but never felt closer to his promises of peace, wisdom and purpose.

Christians often talk about “filling a hole with Jesus” – that the hole is Jesus-shaped. For me, it was like I was trying to cram Jesus in there.

After years of a desperate search, perhaps he doesn’t want to be found. Perhaps I’m looking in the wrong places. Nobody has been able to tell me yet. I think most haven’t found them, or have fooled themselves that they have him found when what they have found is something inside themselves.

I may continue to search for the true and real God again.

I may continue to blog again.

I don’t know.

But in the mean-time, I wish you peace, happiness, success and fulfilment – however it arrives.

~P.S.I.

Planetshakers Beautiful Woman 2009 Conference

with 32 comments

I’m still struggling to find my thoughts on this Planetshakers ad for the 2009 Beautiful Woman conference at Planetshakers City Church.

Initially, I found it bizarre and somewhat shocking… And now I’m just asking questions 😉

Where are the non-slim, non-blonde, non-white, “Beautiful Women”?

What is the message of the Planetshakers 2009 Beautiful Woman conference?

Is this worshipful to God, idolatry to [wo]man, or is there a message I’m missing?

Is it promoting the inward beauty that Matthew 5:5 talks about (the first line of the advert)? Or is it promoting outward beauty?

I’m told a prominent Planetshakers Pastor responded by saying “It was just marketing – [prominent women’s brand] do it – why shouldn’t the church?”

Should the church set itself apart from the world in marketing? Or does it need to market better in order to save souls?

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.

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

Have You Seen This Man: Russell Evans, Planetshakers Senior Pastor

with 18 comments

Russell Evans, Senior Pastor, Planetshakers City Church, Melbourne The title of this post is tongue-in-cheek, but the question remains… Have you met Pastor Russell Evans?

I was asked today (via email) whether I had met Russell before.

It was a relatively pointed question – the person asked whether he was out amongst his flock, as a shepherd should be – whether he was serving his church.

It made me realize…

No, I hadn’t..

Neither have any of my friends at Planetshakers.

In fact, the only people who I’d met who have met Pastor Russell Evans are in senior leadership positions throughout the church.

I’ve never seen him in the foyer after sermons either… He just, sort-of… disappears…

I realize he’s wanting to build his church through “disciples”, just as Jesus did, but even Jesus walked among his flock.

Is my experience uncommon? Have you met Pastor Russell Evans?

I would be happy if I heard otherwise from hundreds of other Planetshakers members – but it was only that someone brought it up that I came to think how odd it was.

Written by Planetshakers Insider

August 28, 2008 at 1:44 pm

Is Planetshakers Leadership Responsible for Mike Guglielmucci?

with 20 comments

I read a fantastic comment that I wanted to share with you…

No “What if”……. Mike was certainly not untouchable…. As the Shakers and the Hills have run a mile from this boy! All have claimed that he left their congregation “ages” ago. It really is quite sad. No guilt by “dis-association” is there? See…. the loyalty is there ONLY when it suits. I thank God there are churches that rebuild those in the “u2″ church that do fall. How else is restoration put into place?

Not by severing the relationship! Yes… stand him down…. take away his platform… maybe for life…. but don’t stone him to death. I say again…. these leaders raised him up…. so where is there accountability in this? Where was all this all knowing insight?

The most wonderful thing….. his Dad is standing by his side and holding him accountable. And isn’t that what our Heavenly Father does for all of us?

If I ever saw a real world example of this, it has been on the weekend. I applaud his fathers courage and integrity. Sadly… any one can be duped by sin. Isn’t Satan referred to as the great deceiver? And his family are only human.

Again…. pray for Mike. I believe that he is broken before God and wants repentance and not from being caught out by others. You are right… there is no difference in struggles between all of us.

Sadly… the difference always is …..in regards to leaders … is the height of the fall…..

The most obvious part of Planetshakers’ service on Sunday was Planetshakers City Church’s Senior Pastor, Russell Evans, struggling to work out how to respond amongst his own feelings of hurt and disappointment.

The second most obvious part was Pastor Russell Evans repeating multiple times:

“None of us knew about this”

Planetshakers raised Mike Guglielmucci up.

Through his music alongside the Planetshakers Band, and through his ministry at Planetshakers and Planetshakers Conferences, Mike Guglielmucci achieved his status.

Mike Guglielmucci was under Planetshakers’ covering throughout most of his “miraculous” (now questionable or false) healings, and in the beginning months of his fraud.

So does Planetshakers bare any responsibility for his actions?

Is Planetshakers accountable for the actions of the leaders they raise up?

I thought Planetshakers responded reasonably well on Sunday – but I disappointed about what seemed like an “It’s not my fault”, “I didn’t know”, “He left here long ago” attitude.

No Russell – you DIDN’T know. And you DIDN’T perpetrate the lie… I don’t think anyone accuses you of this…

But you SHOULD have known.

He was accountable to you. You raised him up as a leader. You held him up as a mighty man of God. And his cancer deception started in YOUR CHURCH.

Surely Planetshakers needs to take some responsibility instead of dodging blame, and hiding Mike Guglielmucci’s association with the church.

This is a time when we need brave and strong leaders.

It’s not good enough to forgive, heal and move forward. We need to equip ourselves so this doesn’t happen again.