What I’m Learning From Mike Warnke All These Years Later

Over a year ago, I wrote a post about one of my absolute favorite Christian comedians, Mike Warnke, called The Ministry of Mike Warnke, where I summarized this man’s career warning to othersand fall from grace. I asked people to offer up their opinions, and boy, did I get some.  I had no idea then, but as it would turn out, Mike Warnke has surpassed Three Boobs and Nipple Shirts as the number one search term on my site. All I can say is…it’s about time! Color me happy! I don’t want those to be the phrases I’m remembered for. :-)

I continue to get comments on my Mike Warnke post almost weekly. People really, really loved this man, and I think it hurt us all when he wouldn’t come clean. His fall from grace tended to be very polarizing it would seem, and I have people visit that article who come close to either hating him or  those who believe his ministry can (and will) be saved. Good or bad, the man is very remembered. His ministry was rather short, but his handling of the lies lives on even today.

I’m somewhere in the middle. I really love his stories; I did not believe they were true. I just chose to ignore his statements of how this was true. It made me laugh, and that was what I needed. So, when it all came out that he was full of it, I wasn’t as freaked out as others were. I didn’t condone it, but I didn’t let it become a big problem in my own faith. Mike answers to Jesus. Jesus will handle it without my input. That didn’t seem to be the normal reaction for other Christians, though, and there were a ton of broken hearts out there.

I’ve had a tiny taste of the pure humiliation that accompanies sinning spectacularly in a  rather public way (lest any of you forget my fantastically humiliating Vodka Posts), and if it sucked for this rather anonymous blog writer, than it really, really had to blow for a man millions of people looked up to. That’s one long fall down to earth, and I’m not going to cast a single stone in his direction. Maybe admitting to people I’ve blown it is easier for me because it’s done on a keyboard out of everyone’s eye. And as for the people in my real life, I’ve been shown a massive amount of mercy and grace. I’m  not afraid of what my true friends and family will think…they don’t judge me harshly. Maybe Mike didn’t have that.  Or, maybe I just have a lot of practice stumbling, and Mike didn’t.. Who knows?

I do know from experience though, that by the time you’re sitting in the room with The Really Big Sin, there was whole road of compromises you travelled to get there. Little compromises with the truth are what paves the way to the really painful sins that everyone notices. I imagine Mike’s road was paved with those too. I know firsthand how quickly things can get away from you, and I really feel sympathy when I think about the guy.  Most of the time, I can empathize with someone else’s story, and while I might not agree, I can understand. Mike paid a heavy price for his lies, and an even heavier one for his refusal to confess his shortcomings. Even in his sin, I’m still learning from him.

But it did make me wonder.

Do we Christians encourage our brothers and sisters who’ve stumbled, or do we attack them mercilessly? I sometimes think that if we did a better job helping each other back up after the inevitable nosedives we are all known to take, maybe it wouldn’t be so hard for some people to get back up, brush off the dust of our sin, and keep on fighting to improve. Isn’t that really what we are all doing in our lives? Trying to get it right?

I wanted to share one man’s comment. I am struggling with some crappy issues in my real life, and when I read this man’s comment a while back, I actually teared up a little. It was a good reminder of who we are and why we shouldn’t judge anyone. Simply put, we all suck. How we deal with the suckiness of others is going to have some effect on how people deal with yours, so be gentle.

Always opt to show too much mercy rather than not enough.

Error on the side of compassion, mercy, kindness… Isn’t that what Jesus did?

I want to thank Stan Sigstad for letting me post this. I hope it touches some of you out there like it did me.

Stan Sigstad says: 

 

 

The only way I believe Mike Warnke can repair his failed ministry is to admit to the public what everyone already knows, that he lied about his past events, beg for forgiveness and go from there. He is a prideful man and pride is what got Lucifer kicked out of Heaven and a third of the angels. I will be praying for Mike in the hopes he repents of his sin then does what is necessary to repair his ministry. God can use anyone for His service.

Moses stuttered.
David’s armor didn’t fit.
John Mark was rejected by Paul.
Timothy had ulcers.
Amos’ only training was in the school of fig-tree pruning.
Jacob was a liar.
David had an affair.
Solomon was too rich.
Abraham was too old.
David was too young.
Peter was afraid of death.
Lazarus was dead.
John was self-righteous.
Naomi was a widow.
Paul was a murderer.
So was Moses.
Jonah ran from God.
Miriam was a gossip.
Gideon and Thomas both doubted.
Jeremiah was a bullfrog;
Just kidding — he was depressed and suicidal.
Elijah was burned out.
Martha was a worry-wart.
Mary may have been lazy.
Samson had long hair.
Noah got drunk, and that’s not all.
Did I mention that Moses had a short fuse?
But God doesn’t require a job interview.
He doesn’t hire and fire like most bosses,
because He’s more our Dad than our Boss.
He doesn’t look at financial gain or loss.
He’s not prejudiced or partial, not judging, grudging,
sassy, or brassy, not deaf to our cry, not blind to our need.

If God can use these great men with their shortcomings He can definitely use Mike Warnke for His glory. Mike knows what to do but must bury his pride, repent of his sin of lies and be lead by God. To God be the glory. Amen.

 

Unlike Mike, God reached right into the occult world and yanked Stan out of it. He once was in the occult, and unlike Mike, he finds nothing redeeming about the experience.  His answer below resonates something true to me about his past sins that I never sensed in Mike’s stories. Disgust. Disappointment in oneself. Relief to be set free. An appreciation for what Jesus did on the cross that is born from the knowledge that we simply don’t deserve it.

Stan Sigstad says:

I won’t judge Mike, not because I’m not allowed to but because he won’t budge and there’s no point in doing it. The verse says not only to not judge but if you do you’ll be judged with the same judgement you judge with. I see myself as the lowest of the low, less than the filthiest homeless person. I do not feel worthy to be a minister because of my past even though Jesus forgave me. I think about all the horrible stuff I’ve done, even before going into the occult, and feel ashamed. I’ve entered into the Berean School of the Bible for a two year training program to become ordained through the Assembly of God churches but raise my arms and ask God why me? I’m a piece of garbage. God reminds me of the countless people in the Bible, men and women, who society viewed as worthless but He still used them anyway. I’m still stifled that He chose me and still feel unworthy. Since I first became a Christian 12 years ago I’ve tried to start a ministry to reach the occult depressed but it failed miserably, I feel because of my lack of training as a minister. I took short cuts by becoming an ordained minister in the Universal Life Church, got a bunch of their degrees but still felt very empty and lacking of knowledge and wisdom. The training I’m receiving now is VERY intense but I can’t get enough of it. The more I study the more I want to study. Inside me I’m like the Grand Canyon, very empty, begging to be filled. My goal is to not brag about what I did while in the occult but brag about the goodness of God and what He has to offer. I feel so deeply honored that God is allowing me to study with this school and become a minister. Honored but feeling unworthy. Thank you Jesus for seeing something important in me. Amen.

 

Jesus is the only one who got it right the first time. The rest of us need a little mercy. For those who have fallen, get up! Keep trying until you succeed or die! It’s only you keeping count anyways!! The rest of us all lost count forever ago!! We all wrestle, and utterly fail, with something. Keep giving it to Jesus. He knew this about you before He called you. You aren’t surprising Him.

And for those who watch the weaker ones fall, be merciful. Self-discipline doesn’t come easy to some people, and if you have that awesome trait, consider yourself blessed. Every big sin I’ve ever committed was rooted in my inability to control my own flesh. No self-discipline. Some of us ride the spiritual short bus, but we’ll get there. Just enjoy learning from our mistakes…. :-) You’re welcome!

Thanks again, Stan. Kick butt in your ministry school. Coupled with the wisdom of experience, and the demise of your pride, and your sheer gratitude for what Jesus has done for you, you will be dangerous to satan’s agenda. I’m glad you’re on our side. :-)

– Bird

 

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9 Comments

  1. Well, I have no idea who Mike Warnke is….now I have to look him up. BUT I agree with the rest. I haven’t read your stuff in a while, Miss Bird. I have not been too involved in WordPress for a while….. I need to read & catch up with your journey.

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    • Well, welcome back, Stranger! How odd that you would neglect cyberworld for a real life…lol. There’s just been so much happening. Catching up might take a while!

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  2. There are several ‘ministers of the word’ who fell prey to the same pride that Warnke did…. deny, hide, some say they’re sorry but then expect to just carry on in their ministry where they left off… without humbling themselves and removing themselves at least temporarily to have a real look at who they are…. I dislike intensely ‘crocodile’ tears …. ‘truth’ is so fundamental…. Diane

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  3. Thank you Bird for the words of encouragement in this blog. I recently learned about the Pharasees, Saducees, Scribes, Zealots Essenes all of which helps me understand struggles modern day Christians are going through. Since I’ve just begun to study these intensive lessons I still struggle with things, one of which is treating someone with the love of Christ. I’ve just recently learned the difference between liking someone and loving them with Christ’s love. One fellow at our church had difficulties with another Christian man who had bad habits like eating food nosily smacking his lips etc while at a Bible study, cell phone ringing while in church and answering it etc, that type of stuff. His bad habits would really get on the nerves of this brother. While at this one Bible study the only seat available was next to this guy who was totally annoying and guess who had to sit next to him, my brother who was so irritated by him. After working a 16 hour shift that day he was really grouchy. After sitting down, the topic came up about did anyone have anything that bothered them. My brother turned toward the man who was so annoying and told him that if it wasn’t for Christ he wouldn’t have anything to do with him but because he was a Christian he loved him with the love of Christ, then hugged him which made the guy break out in tears. The guy still has those annoying habits but they don’t bother my brother any longer.

    I am now beginning to see the difference between like and love. As far as I can tell so far, you could really not like someone for whatever reason but using Christ’s love you are to treat them with great love. I began to look at the Apostles and it is starting to all make sense now. Some of the Apostles were a real rough bunch, one was a tax collector who back then was considered the most hated type of person. The tax collector would extort money from people, lie to them, threaten and much more, not like the tax collectors today but like a thug. Mary Magdeline caught in prostitution and about to be stoned to death Jesus took pity on her forgiving her. She became a virtuous woman afterward.

    People are not good examples to follow and will fail you every single time. I’m focusing my attention on how Christ dealt with people but feel I have a ton more to learn. Fortunately I just began the part of my studies that are on Christ from birth to death so I’ll get some good input in the next few days. Dang, I didn’t realize what a wind bag I was until I looked up and saw how much I’ve written. :)

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  4. grammatteus

     /  August 31, 2013

    I too have been away, finishing my Masters degree, but I had a reply to this that ended up being quite long, so I posted it on my own blog (http://thealternativeulsterman.wordpress.com/2013/09/01/judgmentality/). Suffice to say here that again I concur with what you say: we should learn from our own mistakes AND those that others make, and not be so quick to judge (if at all!)

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    • I try not to judge anyone. The Bible says not to judge of course but it also says if you judge then you will be judged with the same judgement that you judge others with. Well I hope so! If I am getting too close into the occult I hope and pray someone will let me know and encourage them to bring it to my attention. I have more than log in my eye, I have a whole forest. Some people at my church have seen Mike, he was at the church some time in the past to preach. They don’t think he is all that bad. I had to make the decision to either tell them all the bad about him or just keep my mouth shut. After pondering on it I decided to keep my mouth shut because if I told them about all his lies then I might push Mike further into hell and possibly turn them away from Christ. My flesh wants to tell them about Mike but my spirit wants to keep quiet about it. I believe God is whispering to me to be quiet about it. I might not be the brightest light bulb in the pack but God tells me when I am stepping out of line, when I listen to Him that is. I’m working hard to listen to His voice.

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  5. I was a Christian in the 80s and was so impressed with Mike Warnke at the time. It did not rock my boat or anything when I found out, I just had a hard time believing it. My problem is this, although I do not JUDGE the man, I see he is coming back into ministry, (with yet ANOTHER wife), and I just have a hard time believing anything he says. I personally think his problem is NOT lying about being a Satanist, but that is a symptom of a much deeper problem of being a pathological liar in general. Now, I believe he can be SAVED, that is not the issue. The issue is ministry. A fellow with a life controlling problem like that strikes me as the type who needs to sit on a pew and become Godly, not run a ministry again. I think that people are extremely confused when they do not separate the difference between restoration to a loving God, and restoration to public ministry. Nevertheless, not MY will be done but God’s. Sometimes God chooses the very one you would never think could be used at all. Who knows, maybe he has received deliverance and forgiveness? I just know that I would not want to sit under him unless I was sure there was a total change.

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    • Very good point, Avril. I believe this man has the gift of evangelism, not being a pastor of a church or leader of any church ministry. He’s been trying to resurrect his ministry for decades, but something always stops him. He is an absolutely gifted comedian and speaker, but he gets no where. That tells me that God is not going to allow him to be in that position at this moment. If Mike is pathological, that is something that has to be worked on for a long time…I’ve never seen anyone miraculously become truthful and honest overnight. I used to wonder why God didn’t seem to be instantly healing people (mainly me) of these flaws hindering our own ministries. Turns out, we learn nothing that way. I don’t know Mike or his life or his heart. I do believe that God can use anything in our lives to glorify Jesus, but first, we have to give that life to him completely. I wish Mike the best; I hope he is progressing in his journey the same as the rest of us. I just feel sad that another talented example for Christians is so tainted. We seem to always be so surprised that one of our own stumbles in sin, and for all that we are taught about mercy and forgiveness, we tend to be less merciful with our own fellow Christians who are struggling. Thanks for the comment. It is a very good point.

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