"...When He [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matt 9:36

"Do not rob the poor, because he is poor... for the Lord will take up their case and plunder those who plunder them." Proverbs 22:22-23

Monday, October 17, 2011

October is "Pastor Appreciation Month" - Show Your Pastor Love and Support by Booking a Spot on His 2012 Cruise or Holy Land Trip NOW!!!

Readers: October is "Pastor Appreciation Month", and to show my appreciation to the mega church pastors in my life who have been such a blessing, I make this post!

I want to remind my readers that one of the best things you can do to show appreciation to your "Man of God" this month is to book a reservation on his 2012 Cruise or Holy Land trip! If you can't make it, but are a person of means, the Watchdog would gladly accept a paid-in-full reservation on your pastor's trip!

As you can see above, a Med Cruise on the Norwegian Jade with "The Brunsons" is advertised on the FBC Jax website, and is proudly advertised as an "event" of the church! The people of Jacksonville can feel proud to know that one of the most advertised ministries of the tax-exempt mega downtown church is for the really committed Christians to spend thousands of dollars to cruise with their mega church pastor! The above ad has been prominently displayed on the church's front page website for months as a ministry. The deadline for booking a spot is October 31, 2011, so the time to act is now!

Yes, these are difficult economic days for many people, and church giving is at historically low levels as many Christians are unemployed and underemployed. But mega church pastors continue to display their great faith in God and his sovereignty, by trusting the Lord to provide the travelers to go with them on their 2012 trips!

So the Watchdog's first choice is to cruise the Med on the luxury Norwegian Jade with the Brunsons. Imagine, you can sail the same Mediterranean Sea that Jesus sailed during his earthly ministry. The cruise is a steal for only $3000, and for only $650 more you can walk the same streets of Venice where Jesus vacationed and shopped for sandals during the early days of his earthly ministry.

If the Norwegian Jade cruise with the Brunsons is booked, or sailing on a cruise ship in the Med is just not spiritual enough for you, praise the Lord there are still some other options for Southern Baptists!

You can "Walk Where Jesus Walked" and where Robert Jeffress IS walking by taking a trip to the Holy Land with Robert Jeffress! At the FBC Dallas website advertising this trip, Robert Jeffress said:
"Nothing will do more for your spiritual growth than this time in His land. The hotels are beautiful, the food is fantastic, and the fellowship will be blessed. Do not miss this trip of a lifetime!" Robert Jeffress
Yes, the nation of Israel is "His land". God is there, and you should go there to experience God. Of course the only thing that will do more for your spiritual growth than to go to the Holy Land would be to "slice off a hunk of your assets" and give it to the FBC Dallas building program. But just as good as that is slicing off a hunk and going to the Holy Land! Again, if you can't make it but still want to support your pastor, the Watchdog will travel in your stead.

Update: Rumor has it that for an extra $750 you can spend 3 days and 4 nights after the Holy Land trip, with Dr. Jeffress and Mitt Romney, touring upstate New York to learn about the roots of Mormonism. Robert and Mitt will take you to Palmyra, New York where the angel Moroni delivered the golden plates to be translated by Joseph Smith, which became the book of Mormon.


If that doesn't get it for you, you can go to the holy land with Johnny Hunt and his wife Janet. This is the priciest of the bunch at a whopping $4270, but that is a small price to pay to be "Walking Where Jesus Walked", and to be "Walking Where Johnny is Walking".

The FBC Woodstock website says:
"We'll visit the sea of Galilee and travel to the Jordan River where we will be baptizing."
Can you imagine the spiritual boost you will receive to be baptized in the Jordan River by Johnny Hunt? Go for it!

One more Southern Baptist option: you can travel with Steve and Donna Gaines to the Holy Land on his "Tithe Where Jesus Tithed Pilgrimage". As Brother Steve says in this video:
"One of the best things I've ever done is to take a trip to the Holy Land. There is nothing like a pilgrimage to Israel." Steve Gaines
And the best thing you can do this month is show your love for Bro. Steve and reserve your spot to visit the mega temple where Joseph gave 10% of his family's income to his Levitical pastor to have the curse removed from his finances, enabling Jesus to be the Messiah. You'll visit the very spot where Malachi himself delivered the prophetic words "Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me...in tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse, for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation". Nothing will help you realize the reality of the curse on your finances and the importance of the tithe than seeing where it all started - so Bro. Steve will lead you to the very spot on Mount Moriah where Abraham tithed to Melchizedek.

And if "Walking Where Jesus Walked" and "Vacationing with a Southern Baptist mega church pastor" is an oxymoron to you, then go with Perry Noble on his 2012 Holy Land trip!

And if you can't make it on any of these trips with our Southern Baptist pastors or with emergent church leader Perry Noble, then in the immortal words of Pastor Perry, "you officially suck as a human being".

There you have it, Watchdog readers. These are just some of your traveling options in the coming year. Demonstrate your love and commitment to your pastor during Pastor Appreciation Month by reserving your spot on one of these vacations, er I mean ministries.

I'm hoping and praying that someone will find it in their heart to donate a trip to me and the Mrs. so that I can make my trip to the Holy Land (or sail the Med where Jesus sailed).

32 comments:

New BBC Open Forum said...

You forgot Steve and Donna Gaines. Just $3199 for 10 days plus at least $750 for taxes and gratuities.

Been there, done that said...

Meh. I cruised the same Med as Paul and Jesus did 4 times already. Courtesy of the USN, the worlds greatest navy. One time did the Holy Lands tour, but that might not count since it was led by our ships chaplain, who was Catholic. Best chaplain I ever met, by the way.

Anonymous said...

I am disgusted. The occupy wall street will spill over into the church because of foolishness like this. Can we not see that we are the church at Laodicea? Rev. 3:17. We are rich yet... we ignore the billions around the world dying w/o Christ, with out access to the gospel. People who can walk for days and find no one to tell them about Jesus in their language and we are playing, vacationing, and living it up. Wow. How can we be so blind? God help us.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

New BBC - yes, thank you, I just received word from the travel agent who wanted me to be sure and include the Gaines' "Tithe Where Jesus Tithed" holy land tour. Post has been updated!!

Anonymous said...

These guys are the gift that keeps on giving. Keep up the good work Watchdog.

Anonymous said...

Obviously there are plenty of people who like these trips or they wouldn't be offering them. Maybe you should go on one with Mac and maybe you two could make up. He might even pay your way if you ask him.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon - no doubt, they offer them because people go. They love to travel and identify with their mega church pastor.

Sure, tell Mac to send the invitation and we'll travel with him on the cruise. But I'll have to watch my back when standing close to the railing on the party deck with all the FBCJ'ers around who might not mind if I accidentally go overboard.

:)

Anonymous said...

Why do you care? If people want to do this then let them. It's not your business.

Jack said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

A "depressing" thing about this is that often there is a significant premium added as compared to what you can book the same trip on the open market. But someone has to pay the pastor's trip and make up for the loss in slot machine revenue that will result from a goup of Baptists traveling together.

Anonymous said...

Dawg, you don't need someone to donate tickets for you to go. Have you already forgotten the 50 thousand bucks you got from the citizens of Jacksonville.

It would be great fun for you to book that tour and just show up. It would definitely be priceless.

Ed Franklin said...

@anon10:12...you made me hurt myself laughing....

and, you left out the loss from the bar revenues....staggering....lol

Jennifer McSparin said...

You mean Furtick doesn't have one yet? Or Ed Young? I bet Young's would be a real party.

Anonymous said...

What is so remarkable is that these mission trips are half way around the world while the local citizens who live near the megas are never home and cannot ever be found at home to be witnessed to. Shocking and worse and worse to come.

Anonymous said...

You've missed this Starter Cruise in the Gulf of Mexico, including Cozumel, Mexico (remember that port of call Wade? Just don't Drive there)

Girl’s Get-A-Way Cruise Jan 12-16, 2012

Featuring the following:

Pastor Steve Gaines wife (so Steve will get to be a Chaperone for Free?)

Donna Gaines

Mixed in with a Comedian

Chonda Pierce

A Group Cruise Coordinator

Mary Snyder

"Mary is the author of God, Grace & Girlfriends: Adventures in Faith & Friendship
(releasing December 2011). When she's not on dry land, spending her time as a
writer, speaker, wife, and mom, you can find her on the high seas, as the group
sales coordinator for Premier Christian Cruises.

Mary's less-than-perfect life has become the backdrop for her passion to see
women come to a deeper relationship with the Lord, and live abundantly whatever
their circumstances. With truth, love and a healthy dash of humor, Mary shares
a message of the hope and joy found only in a life of adventure in Christ."

Karen said...

Thanks, WD, for aggregating these trips. I had no idea they were so prevalent. Just goes to show these pastors have no shame in marking up these trips for their own enjoyment at members' expense.


Anon @ 8:39:

You beat me on posting the "Girls Getaway Cruise"!

This is being heavily promoted by Lysa Terkeurst, one of the hosts, along with many of the members of her Proverbs 31 organization. I'd love to know what the kickback is for these "girls" to get others to cough up the money to cruise for the three-and-a-half days. It's definitely inflated at prices ranging from $600 - $1,500.

Oh, and Ms. Terkeurst is a member of Elevation Church and a groupie extraordinaire of Steven Furtick.

Small world, eh?

KarenM in Charlotte, NC

Anonymous said...

For these arrogant Pastors and many others within the Baptist denomination,

Mission trips are no more than paid vacations disguised as "Mission Trips"

The only reason they promote it within the church is so the other rich lay person can go and rub shoulders and "wink wink" use the tax codes to make it a legal deduction for themselves.

Wonder how many poor will be invited or paid for so they can get that " Holy Land " experience.

Baptist members of any of these churches who continue to follow these men and their deception, deserve all the siphoning of their wallets by these Pharisees.

Ed Franklin said...

@Anon 10:11....happy to see you include those so-called "short term mission trips" in with these celebrity preacher cruises.

Now, I would not deny the potential for a genuine Gospel-centered short term trip somewhere, but....most of them I see are just what you imply.

And the small-fry pastors can get in on this gravy train of free vacation with the fat cats of his congregations. One of them I'm familiar with has his Facebook photo pages filled with snaps of his many "mission trips" and pushes them hard to his congregation. Strangely, all of them are to the tourist hot-spots of the world: Hawaii, Alaska, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon...nice little pics of him and the fam suffering for Jesus. It is sickening.

I guess the film was overexposed or something during the trips he took to the 'hood in the inner city and the homeless camps, migrant camps, backwoods enclaves of dirt poor folks living in spiritual darkness.....surely he does not avoid them merely because there are no 4-star hotels nearby.

Anonymous said...

There is Biblical precedent for these boat rides.

Jesus took his disciples on cruises.

Maybe we need to stop judging them and start praying more for them.

I think they are trying really hard to do the right thing.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Ed and others - the point here is not to lump in "mission trips" with these cruises or vacations. The church where we currently attend, the lay people arrange for an annual mission trip to Haiti where their trip is to minister at an orphanage where one of their former members and his wife live and minister. It is arranged for by lay people, funded by lay people, and they sacrifice much to gather medical supplies to take with them. So much good IS done on true missions trips.

What I am criticizing is the marketing of these Holy Land trips and cruises with celebrity pastors on the church website as though they are a ministry, a path to higher spirituality. They push them as though it is one of the best things a Christian can do for their spiritual growth. These are vacations for the well-to-do in the church. They have no place being advertised on a church website, or using any church resources. If the pastor has friends in the church he wants to travel with over to the holy land, so be it. But to advertise it on church websites, bulletins, sanctuary projection screens, mentioning them in the sermons ("if you go with me to the holy land next year, you'll see this exact spot referred to in I Kings 3)" is over the top in my view. All of these trips and cruises on this post here are advertised on the church website, or at least hyperlinked from their church website.

And how over the top is it at the 2011 Pastor's Conference for Mac Brunson to give the platform to an Israel government official to tell the pastors how important it is for them to lead a trip to Israel to walk where Jesus walked? That was shameful and disgraceful. It is very likely that the Israeli government purchased one of the promotions packages from FBCJ for the privilege to hawking holy land trips to the attending pastors. Sick....cont'd....

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

...cont'd....

Many of these pastors who entice the well-to-do in their church to spend $5000 a head on a trip the Holy Land, also tell their peeps they have to give 10% to the church or they are under a curse. This is exactly why the tithing doctrine makes the gospel bad news to the poor, and good news to the rich. The wealthy can give 10% and please God and their pastor, and can the afford to travel overseas with their mega church pastor. Others can't afford 10%, but do give sacrificially, but are told it isn't enough to please God and remove the curse from their finances. Maybe God's plan is sacrificial giving for all, not 10% for all, and then these cruises wouldn't be so well-attended.

I will say that not all of them push their holy land trips as hard as the Brunsons. The Brunsons vacations are advertised the most. The ad for their vacation cruise has been on the FBCJ front page scroll for several months. They scroll them in the auditorium before services.

In some instances church resources are used on these trips. At least once Mac Brunson has taken FBC Jax media people with him to record the event. You know Perry Noble will. Maybe these pastors reimburse the church for the cost of taking media personnel and cameras, I don't know. But I suppose they view it as part of the church's ministry, to record the pastor as he speaks in Israel so the plebe back at home can watch.

As I blogged last year about this same time, I asked:

"Can we put a moratorium on "Holy Land Trips" and "Sail Down the Danube" excursions for just a year or so until the economy gets rolling again and our ministries are on more stable ground? "

The answer to that is a resounding "no". Mega church Pastors are full steam ahead with the marketing of their annual excursions.

And notice I haven't even touched the possiblility that pastors earn $$ or free trips for themselves and their family members based on how many people travel. These pastors should be up front and tell their congregations that they do not receive any $$, and if they receive free travel what they do with the free trips.

Anonymous said...

exactly why the tithing doctrine makes the gospel bad news to the poor,and good news to the rich.


Tom, It could be that the church looks at poor people as not being saved. Proof, If a person is poor then he is not blessed by god making that person lazy not being able to go on luxury trips, moreover, he "THE POOR" dose not have the capability to advance in life because god is not sending him in the correct direction to
become well off as God is powereful and owns everything. Being filled with money is like being God powerful and strong. What we think of as being Christian is what was taught to us, however, some churches act different than traditional concepts.

Anonymous said...

Pastor Appreciation MONTH? These guys live in a world where each new sunrise constitutes Pastor Appreciation DAY. And there are plenty of people just waiting to do anything in the world for them, so they can say "the pastor is MY friend!"

Anonymous said...

This is the real reason more and more people are becoming "unchurched" . . .The Brunson's are gone at least once a month, while paid guest stand in for them - calling these gigs as mission trips is a joke! Brunson is a user - not a shepherd of the flock!

Anonymous said...

There is Biblical precedent for these boat rides.

Jesus took his disciples on cruises.

LOL...surely that is in jest...right?

This comes off the website...www.cruisemates.com...and is under the heading...

FREE CRUISE

"Probably the luckiest people when it comes to getting free cruises are men and women of the cloth: preachers and pastors."

I guess being "lucky" is about the same as being "blessed".

Anonymous said...

Why do you care? If people want to do this then let them. It's not your business.

October 18, 2011 9:31 AM


Why do you care if Tom writes about what your hero's are advertising publicly?

It is every true believers's business. I am trying to picture Paul hawking excursions to Greece so he can get a free vacation.

Are you really so shallow you cannot see it?

Ed Franklin said...

WD, I'm not disagreeing with you at all, and I did not introduce the "mission trip" theme but another commenter. I will insist that despite, as you say, "much good IS done on true missions trips." that not all mission trips are "true" and that they are marketed in the down-scale churches where a $5000/head trip is not on the table. I see dozens of glorified vacations, always to glamour spots, certainly not Haiti, and it's the same old stuff as the cruises absent the celebrity preacher, just the local FBC senior pastor and a dozen of the "leading lights' (read: money folks) of his congregation. Someone asked in this thread about how many poor members of the congregation are taken along at someone else's expense?......yeah, right.

I do grant you this distinction unreservedly:
all cruises are a travesty; some "mission trips" are for real.

cheezewhizchurch said...

It's getting harder and harder to parody these guys. In this clergy cruise site, one of the features listed is "Piece[sic]of mind that all of your information is protected by our 'commitment to your privacy' "

This is a perk -- that the average Joe in the congregation won't somehow come across details of the cruise. That would interfere with the pastor's "piece" of mind, all right.

http://www.mychurchcruise.com/index_p2.php?req=group_leaders

http://www.mychurchcruise.com/pop_window.php?ACTION=CLERGY

Anonymous said...

Anon: 7:35
"I am disgusted. The occupy wall street will spill over into the church because of foolishness like this."

I like the way you think....

Hey, Jesus overturned the tables of the money-changers. It's Biblical. LOL!!

I'm sure that as these pastors and their subservient minions are showboating around on a luxury cruise ship, they are not worrying about all the people in their churches suffering in this economic depression. God forbid, they'd ever work with local businesses to get people back to work, or approach colleges about scholarships for retraining, ect. ect. No, it's all about their decadent lifestyles.

Anonymous said...

I saw this and I am wondering something. Are you familiar with the possibility that the pastors are getting a SIGNIFICANT commission for "hosting" these trips... if the church is going through Dehoney travel agent ??

Check out topix.net, jackson, tn, and look for topic "EBC - Ben Mandrell Holy Land Trip".

If what is being said about commissions being paid to the pastors, then this a very sad commentary. It would also explain the surge in Holy Land trips.

Anonymous said...

I saw this and I am wondering something. Are you familiar with the possibility that the pastors are getting a SIGNIFICANT commission for "hosting" these trips... if the church is going through Dehoney travel agent ??

Check out topix.net, jackson, tn, and look for topic "EBC - Ben Mandrell Holy Land Trip".

If what is being said about commissions being paid to the pastors, then this a very sad commentary. It would also explain the surge in Holy Land trips.

Anonymous said...

You know there are a thousand small church pastors just making it. Working part time jobs to survive. They love to minister my guess they would love to see the Holy land if possible. I know I would but it is impossible. Check the Mega Number of churches who scrape to get by. Who give there time and energy to the community. Really they give there own money to how the church survive. Please report of those men too.