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The Hallelujah Network

The Hallelujah Network

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Published by Patricia Backora
A rib-ticklin' tale of powerful preacher repentance. Cowboy Bill Blessing spills the beans about Biblical tithin'.
A rib-ticklin' tale of powerful preacher repentance. Cowboy Bill Blessing spills the beans about Biblical tithin'.

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Published by: Patricia Backora on Aug 13, 2008
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05/26/2010

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THE HALLELUJAH NETWORK 
 A Tall Tale of Preacher Repentance
By Patricia BackoraAll Rights Reserved
This document may be freely copied and shared for non-commercial purposes, solong as content remains unchanged and credit is given the author.* * * * *Pink curls bouncing, Gigi Conway did a girlish jig as the magic drum stopped rollingand revealed a new total for the semi-annual Give-a-thon. “O-o-oh. thank you Jesus!We’re up to two million, six hundred thousand dollars! Can you shout ‘amen’,everybody?” Frenzied whistles and cheers split the air. Gigi giggled and jiggled hertamborine. Rich Conway, President of the worldwide Hallelujah TV Network, cried, “Praise God for another MIRACLE! After our next song, sung by our incomparableSusie Sweet, we have a special treat in store for you. Bill Blessing manages our
 
studio in Tomahawk, Texas, and he’s the earth’s most expert expositor on Biblicaleconomics. He hosts our daily program Reaping Richly. He hasn’t been feeling up topar these past few months, but I do believe the Lord is healing him. Still, he servesthe Lord with all he’s got. And man, has he ever got a message for you that’llknock your socks off! Now, Susie, we’ll just sit back and let you minister to us all insong.” Her voice velvety, and her smile angelic, the winsome young soprano sang thehymn “I Surrender All”. Scattered sniffles broke out in the studio audience. Manywondered whether they’d really given their all to Jesus.The telecast shifted to a subsidiary station in Tomahawk, where a lanky Texanstood behind a pulpit, his trademark grin subdued. “Thank you, Brother Conway,” he said in his lazy drawl. “Now before I begin, I’ve got a confession to make. TheBible exhorts us ministers of the Gospel to faithfully share the full counsel of God.Now, this’ll surprise many of y’all, but I’ve failed y’all in this area. For years I’vewithheld certain precious truths that would have set your lives free from financialbondage.” “And why did I do this? ‘Cause I was afraid some of y’all watchin’ might not beable to bear the deeper truths of the Word of God. Remember, the Word of Godpierces through the joints and marrow like a two-edged sword. Will you pleaseforgive me, Brother Conway, for the way I’ve failed God’s people?” Back in Hallelujah TV’s home studio in California, Brother Conway said, softlyand tremulously: “Praise Jesus for such humility in one who has suffered so greatlyin his body, after so many years of faithfully breaking the Bread of Life to us all.Brother Bill, if there’s anything at all to forgive, all I’ve got to say is this: Step boldlyout in faith. Never fear to speak the truth in love. Our precious brothers and sistershave a right to hear the inspired exhortations of Scripture, however difficult theymay be to receive. The Bible says in Hebrews 12: ‘Now no discipline from Godseems to be joyful, but painful. But in the end it yields the good fruit of righteousness to all who receive it’.” Brother Conway brushed away a timely tear. “Father,” he prayed, “in the Nameof Jesus I ask that You would soften many hardened hearts today through the wordsBrother Blessing is about to share. Help me and all our viewers around the globereceive the sincere milk of Your Word into our souls, that we may grow thereby.Amen and amen.”  “Thank you, Brother Conway,Brother Blessing said, lifting his eyes to theoverhead monitor. “Brothers and sisters, we’re all fixin’ to have a ‘Hallelujah goodtime’! Can you shout ‘amen’ everybody?” Whistles and shouts, and rousing ‘amens’ shot back at him from the jam-packedTV studio.A curious grin played at the corner of his lined mouth. “Let’s get down tobusiness, then, praise God. I’m gonna speak tonight on The Fruits of Tithin’.” Moans of mortal agony.“Hey now, y’all, don’t look at me like that, like you’re fixin’ to git a whippin’.This’ll be the best message you’ve heard in a long time, and I guarantee you’ll neverhear another cow-pokin’ pulpiteer preach it with the pizzazz I’m gonna give it.” Sprinklings of applause, and a few guarded smiles.“For years I’ve said that if you give your all to Jesus, it’s a package deal, andyour wallet goes to the foot of the Cross with you. Nobody can argue that, now. AndI also said, if God don’t have your 10%, He don’t have your 90% either. Fact is, Heowns us lock, stock, and barrel. Everything we’ve got is His too, and He’s the OneWho entrusts us as good stewards to wisely use the money in our pockets.Tonight,” he said gravely, “I’ll show y’all how to pay a proper tithe, ‘cause I wanty’all to benefit from wisdom I gleaned from my personal Bible study.” 
 
He turned his head and called: “Honey, bring all the tithes into the storehouse of God!” From the side exit came his wife, leading a caravan of calves, muzzled and ropedtogether. A cowpoke in denim duds followed sheepishly, pushing a wheelbarrowpiled high with equally odd offerings: squash, beans, onions, melons, okra,tomatoes, corn, cucumbers. Presiding over the pile was a squawking hen in achicken wire cage.The already deafening ruckus increased when the man tripped and banged hiswheelbarrow against a chair, toppling the cage. When it hit the floor the bird flewout, squawking. Crazily it ran around, exulting in its liberty.“Hank!” cried Sister Blessing, “catch it!” Hank ran round and round, finally cornering the hen against a showy floraldisplay. He carried it to Brother Blessing, who shoved the bird back in its cage. Heheld it up for all to see and shouted: “Even a dumb chicken’s got enough sense toknow when it’s in bondage! Tonight I’m lettin’ y’all out of your cages! Can you shout ‘hallelujah’, everybody!” Effervescent joy filled every Hallelujah Network studio which didn’t catch asudden “technical difficulty”.Back in California, Brother Conway frantically dialed his cell phone. He didn’twant to make a scene in front of all these people. After all, he had publicly pledgedto receive the Lord’s admonitions in a spirit of meekness.No one answered. Oblivious to the merriment, he slipped away to the ControlRoom.Heart hammering wildy, Brother Conway pummeled the ponderous door. Its solewindow was shaded over. Again, no answer. He yelled as loudly as he dared: “Letme in! NOW!” No one replied.“I’ll fire all of you if you don’t open right now!” he barked.No luck. He paged Security on his cell phone.“Arrest the Control Room engineers!” he yelled. “Break the door down if you haveto!” “No need to, sir, “ a voice droned back at him through a loudspeaker.“And why not!” “We’re interrogating them right now, Brother Conway. Relax. Everything’s undercontrol in the Control Room.” “Oh, Jake, please,” the preacher pleaded, “make them scramble that signal fromTomahawk!” “We will, Brother Conway, when we’re done questioning them.” The offering cleared away, Brother Blessing’s sermon was in progress.“That’s right, folks, that’s the kind of tithe people in the Bible really paid, thekind I never did preach on. I own a big spread fifteen miles west of here, the BigBlesing Ranch. We raise cattle, hens, hogs, and organic produce for the yuppiemarket. Only reason I didn’t tithe on the hogs,” he sniffed, “was they ain’t kosherenough. Which triggers off a powerful point: If money-hungry preachers hung ontoMoses’ dietary regulations like they hang onto tithin, they wouldn’t have theirfingers stuck in the pork barrel all the time.” Deafening laughter, claps and whistles. At length Brother Blessing said, “NowI’m gonna tell y’all why I’ve done this about-face, and truthfully, part of my reason isselfish. For months now I’ve been mighty sick of a blood disorder, and short of amiracle, I’ll be meetin’ my Maker in a year or so. Even after I found out, I still keptGod’s truth secret, hopin’ they’d find a miracle cure so I could keep livin’ high on thehog off your money!” “Y’all probably know, ‘cause I recognize a lot of your faces, but when I’m homefrom all my travels, I serve as a lay preacher at Green Harvest Assembly, here in

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