my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. - Hosea 4: 6a (NIV) I cut a deal with God. It really was too good to pass up. Given my history, I was surprised at the deal that was offered to me. The amount of lying and deception I have lived certainly didn't seem to warrant it. Same goes for the cursing and bitterness I have towards others. Not to mention the adultery from the first marriage and pornography addiction. Despite all this though I really got a sweetheart deal. Far better than what I deserved. Nonetheless, the preacher guy welcomed me into the family of God and he should know right? I mean he is called into this line of work by God directly, no? He asked me if I wanted to go to heaven. Thinking back that seems an odd question. Is there anyone this side of an irrational atheist who would say no? Hmm, an eternity in paradise, floating on the clouds in my mansion or screaming in agony in the fires of hell. That wasn't really that tough a call, ya know? Then I was told that this guy named Jesus loves me, which was really convenient because I love me too. That he had a plan and a hope for my life, which was fantastic because I also had a plan and hope for my life and I was just taught that if my plan isn't coming through I just need to draw a circle in the sand and demand that God get on the ball. Seemed a little arrogant but this preacher guy has ten thousand people come see him every week. I mean that many people can't be wrong, right? Then the weird question came. Do I want to invite Jesus into my heart? Like into the left ventricle? What the heck did that mean? I was already at the altar so it wasn't like I was going to turn around and walk away, so I said yes. They kinda tricked me up there. Asked people to raise their hands first about heaven and then challenged their guts basically to come up to the front so they could pray with us. I waited until there were a few people on the move and then thought, let's go for it. Besides, the wife was pushing me, lol. So there I was being asked to allow this Jesus guy into my heart. Based on the sermon that day he sure sounded like a great guy. Healing people, loving people, granting everyone grace for every bad thing they ever did in life without seemingly anything to be done on our end. I mean, that's a pretty good deal, no? That was it. Repeat after me, a three sentence prayer and I was home in time to watch the Giants game. Welcome to the family of God they said and ten thousand people applauded me! It was pretty awesome. They even gave me a free bible! Looks nice on the coffee table. Now, before you think it is all puppies and rainbows, there were some things they asked me to do in exchange for this thing they called salvation. I had to get baptized, which I thought was strange since I was baptized when I was a baby but they think differently then the Catholics. To be honest, this was almost a deal breaker because I don't speak in public and they were talking about me reciting some testimony. But the smiling pastor guy assured me that all I had to do was nod in the affirmative to a couple of questions. Made me think of that scene from the Godfather when they were asking Michael Corleone if he renounced the works of Satan while his boys were finishing off all of his enemies! I can do that, I mean who doesn't want to renounce the bad guy when they are standing in a church? So I had to get baptized, no big deal. They had nice robes for us to wear. Next up was membership at the church. They insisted that God created me for a purpose and that I would be unfulfilled unless I was working at that purpose, apparently at this church. Sounded like a bit of a scam but I thought about and you know what? I thought it would be nice to be identified with this church. I mean they do a lot of good things in the community. They run a soup kitchen. They are building a youth center. They put on the best Christmas plays too. I mean you can tell God has blessed them because so many people show up and tune in on television to hear this guy speak! I really could do worse. So they want me to help out in the church? No problem as long as it doesn't interfere with my life, right? I ended up in the security ministry although it is all about security and not so much about ministry, lol. I am learning the Christianese though. It really is a perfect fit because now I do not even need to be in the sanctuary during service! I can roam the halls or spend time in the security office. Just serving the Lord, hallelujah! Once the baptism, membership, and ministry were resolved they saved the best for last. They wanted ten percent of my income! At first it didn't make a lot of sense. I mean, I have to work for them and pay them for it? They did remind me however that the Jesus guy forgave everything I ever did and anything I ever will do! I did forget about that. That really is the hook in this great deal I cut with God. So, the ten percent may not be such a burden. Besides, I can give it off of my gross if I want and claim it on my taxes. Last year I got three grand back! The church does need the money after all to operate. Hey, nothing in life is free, right? The really good part though is they swore to me that this money operates as a seed and that god would provide for me a harvest if I would just plant it in his kingdom! They read verses about god challenging us to test him and that he would throw open heavens windows and pour blessing upon blessing down upon us. The preacher guy's message today was about how God wants to bless our blessings! It really is an uplifting and encouraging church. I started taking classes there on Wednesday nights about how to be more significant in my community and another on learning positive self talk. I always have been very negative. Seems like Jesus is changing me already! But back to the seed thing. The pastor insisted that no one could buy a miracle or blessing form god - wink wink. I gotchya! I can read between the lines. I sowed the $113 he asked for last week and he promised me that within 113 days, the harvest would come. So I am waiting on you God! Don't let me down! Christians weren't meant to be poor! We were meant to prosper! We were meant to be the head and not the tail. A lender and not a borrower. The preacher guy said so and everyone agreed! This deal just keeps getting better and better. Do security for one service per week. Give ten percent of my income. Go to a couple of classes. In return however, I don't have to spend time falling asleep in the pews, I get a tax write off for the tithing, and am expecting the blessing of Abraham within the next 113 days! Oh and I am saved! That is a pretty sweet deal. If this whole thing is real I am covered from the fires of hell and if it is not, what did it really cost me? My life is pretty much the same. I still go out with the buddies on Friday nights. Yeah, I might have too much to drink now and then but I am only a Christian - I'm not Christ! I still yell at my wife too much but the preacher guy said we are all just a work in progress, right? I feel bad when I might have to hit her but thank God that there is no condemnation for those who go to church. God has really changed how I feel about myself. What a relief it is to know that no matter what I do it is covered by the grace of God! Sure there are always some nut cases in the church but they are everywhere right? I had one the other day try and talk to me about sin even though it is covered already! Imagine the nerve? I may not know a lot of the bible but I know Jesus said judge not! People really need to read their bibles more! Take your legalism somewhere else buddy! I do not need it because I cut a deal with God... "Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’ - Matthew 7: 21-23 (NLT) Rev. Anthony.