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Archive for September, 2008

  “[A preacher’s message] is not to rely on theatrics. It is not to rely on technique. It is to rely on God the Holy Spirit Himself to sovereignly work within the hearts of those who sit under his message. [A preachers] duty is to bring the word of the cross to the listeners, and by the power of God and the holy spirit to come upon his listeners and to bring upon the result…[But] Exposition has given way to entertainment. Theology has been replaced theatrics. Doctrine has been yielded to drama. Profundity has been overcome by popularity. And men are more intent on filling the building than filling pulpit.”
-Steve Lawson

Amen, Brother Lawson! Did you catch that? Read it again…

            Many churches today have adopted a consumer mentality. No longer is the main intent to make clear the Good news of the cross. Instead, Churches are attempting to fill their pews and appeal to the ears of their listeners by watering down the message of Jesus Christ. They are more concerned about making the “sermon” more relevant to the culture than the hearts of man.
          No longer does the sound of ruffling pages fill the sanctuary of a bible believing church, ready to explore the goodness of God’s word. Instead, members of the congregation file into their seats waiting for the show to begin. At the end of the service file out, murmuring to another that the worship was a little off, or where they want to eat lunch, carrying a false sense of satisfaction that they received their spiritual brownie points by attending what we now call the church.

Am I going too far by saying this? Let’s take a look at what’s going on in the world… shall we?

          Pastor Rob Seagers has been basing his sermons on movie blockbusters and dressing up as their characters. This summer he has performed his message by dressing up as The Hulk, Batman, The Joker, Indiana Jones, and others. To make his sermons more relevant “he sees the movie, then prays about how to extract a biblical message.”
           For example, Mama Mia, about a bride to be searching for her father, resulted in the sermon
“Who’s Your Daddy?” –finding one’s spiritual father. 
        (Information found at Washingtonpost.com.)

The Oaks fellowship Church recently had a series entitled: “Theolggins for your Noggins.” Their website states:
                   
“Lessons are most often learned when our imagination is engaged. Probably no one understood this better or had a more profound effect on generations of children than Dr. Seuss. Many of the more than 40 books he wrote have incredibly deep spiritual parallels. In this series we will rediscover four classic Dr. Seuss stories and learn the practical Biblical truths found in them.”
(
www.theoaksfellowship.org )

A Bible study series has been created from the popular sitcom “The Office.” The lessons pertain to how to make the most of your career, addressing issues such as dealing with incompetent bosses or co-workers.

It breaks my heart! What about the bible? What about the word of God, breathed by God, written to convict and delight the hearts of man? If we teach from the world, how will we ever truly find God?
This is how a person can live their life in church, and eternity in hell.

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I want to be the God of my Godliness. I just want to be in control. I want be the Christian that has it all together, but not the Christian who is moved by Christ. I want to move myself for christ.
I want to love others, but I wont let others love me. I don’t want to be needy. I want to be in control.

And I needed help. And I received Help. And I was miserable.

I don’t want to be like the lady with no toes, I wanted to be the girl that gave her the shoes.
I didn’t want to be helpless… I wanted to be  the helper.
(check previous post)

But I need to realize that God is in control. And just as I receive an incredible blessing by blessing others… God wants to bless others by blessing me.

God help me, I really need to get off this ego trip.

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Despite what was probably my better judgment, I wrote a response to a blogger who was bent on slandering Christianity.

Matthew 7:6

 6“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.

 

Okay, Okay, Okay, Bible!  I know.

But there has to be a right time to defend your faith?

A right time to speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15) and let the word of God that is living and active be sharper than any double-edged sword, so it can penetrate even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; as well as judge the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12)?

OF COURSE! What the Great Commission is to be commissioned greatly to all people!

Can I help that I have a righteous anger that burns against those who blaspheme the name of the true and living God? Is this wrong when I clearly see that it goes against scripture?

There is a time and place for all things under heaven.

I guess it’s a matter of trusting in God and allowing His wisdom to guide your judgment.

What do you think? Please drop me a note.

 

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Sometimes, when humanity strikes me, I become lonely. Grappling at the love of God with no avail for the putrid lack of righteousness that inhabits my flesh.
I often feel full of contempt.

I was sitting in my dorm and I began to think about Love.
How we are all searching for it.
How it only comes from God.
How we often reject God, and therefore reject the love that we so desire.
But we who have been transformed by the Love of God, are called to share that love with others.
With out Love, we are nothing.

So I decided to connect myself to the source, and overflow into others.
Like a branch is to its vine, so i wanted to connect myself with the love of God, producing a fruit that others could benefit from.

So. I went to Target.
I found an old woman sitting by herself eating a bagel. I asked if I could sit with her. She seemed very pleased, and very lonely. She talked about numbers and accounting… the most boring thing in the world.
At the end of her bagel, I thanked her for her time and moved on.

I still felt like that wasn’t enough. I began to chase a woman down that worked there. I ended up in the infant shoe section, and she finally turned around and looked at me.
“Can I help you?” She thought I was crazy.
“Nope… just looking around…” At infant shoes? I felt crazy.

I picked up a few things that I needed and headed to the cash register.
DEFEAT! It seemed that my prayer for God to show me someone to love went unanswered.

Then I saw her. A woman, waiting in line with a look of disgust on her face. She grabbed her perfectly pigtailed child close to her, and smoothed her own golden hair with the ends of her manicured nails.
I got out of line and started walking towards her.
Then I walked right past her. I’m sure God loved her, but someone else was going to have to show it to her because I went after the object of her disgust.

Another woman with her hair in dreadlocks, a few rotten teeth, a “shirt” held together with string (and failing at its job), and her feet were wrapped up in scrap cloth, walked into Target looking like she had just walked out of a dust bowl.

“What are you shopping for?”
“Shoes! Ive been in Dallas ghettos, Houston ghettos.. but never in my life has someone stolen my shoes from me while I was sleeping. I thought this was suppose to be a nice town, with cowboys.”
“Well, Hey! I have a gift card, I would love to buy those shoes for you.”

She stopped and looked at me.
Her smell… caressed me sourly.
“Uh, okay” she said reluctantly.

I don’t know what most people think homeless people are like. But they usually do not want your hand outs…  but they usually still take them.

I would describe her further… but I don’t even think that a picture would do her justice. She needed more than just words of love.. she needed a shower.

It was quite fun shopping with her. It felt like a spectator sport. I’ve never had so many funny looks in my life. I guess its okay to help homeless people on the streets, but to bring them into “our” territory… well that’s something else.
IT WAS VICTORIOUS! I bought her two sports bras!!
Along with new pants, shirt, socks, and shoes.

I let her talk. She told me about her lesbian friends… (things that make you go “ugh!”) And how she was trying to raise awareness for the Native Americans, how she usually just lives on reservations.

We checked out and she left. I checked out my own things separately so i could give her the receipt.

I met her outside on a bench as she put on her new shoes. They were size 4… she had no toes! I’m serious! What happened to them??? I don’t know.
I don’t know how homelessness could steal your toes. Its beyond me.
Maybe they froze off! All of them? She still had her fingers. <sigh>
I’m so blessed.

I asked her how I could pray for her. She said to pray for the Indians. And her husband in jail that gets raped 6 times a day because he’s an Indian, who was sent to jail for murder after he was caught stealing a candy bar from a drug store.
<sigh> I am so blessed.

I talked to her more as she puffed her cigarette. She thanked me a thousand times. I told her that I couldn’t help but Love her because God had Loved me, and that I hoped she found that love more than anything else.

As I stood up to leave, I saw a boy, around 17, sitting at the next bench who was apparently listening to the conversation. He had a jaded cigarette in his hand, and what looked like a tears in his eye. I smiled at him brightly as I walked by.

As I got in my car to leave, I had the overwhelming feeling that God had not sent me to help Lili, the homeless woman, but that Boy.
Wow.

Where ever he is, I hope that Christ is there also.
God is so good.

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One cool thing about the beginning of a new year at college. Churches give out a lot of free food.
I’ve had so many hamburgers I could vomit.

But I was at one church, and searching for the bathroom, I found a girl sitting out side under a breezeway to get out of the rain. 
I invited her in for a hamburger. She was dusty, wearing a sonic uniform and 8 months pregnant. Her pants didn’t fit her buldging stomach, and she tried, with great difficulty, to pull down her shirt to keep herself covered.  
We talked. She had a tough life growing up. She was 18 and now sleeping on the floor of a shack that she shared several other people, one being the father of her child.
She claimed Mormonism. I tried to speak truth to her, with no avail. But I was able to share the love of Christ, it was transparent by her reaction that she was touched. She really liked the hambuger too.

She had a phone, so I gave her my number. I wanted to take her shopping for some maternity clothes, because she bussed at sonic. I assume its very difficult to serve food with pants that you cant even zip up.
But when I called her, she had moved because the father of her child had beat her severely.
<sigh>
They seem to slip right through my fingers.

I still text her. She loves to text… I try to keep up, but I don’t nearly enjoy punching buttons on my phone as she does. And as far as she’s told me, shes going to a Baptist church.
I pray that God will send people to love on her. She needs it desperately.

So pray for Kandace.

“give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that Ive been missing
Give me your love for humanity.”

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During my schools orientation I saw a boy from my home town. I didn’t know him well, but  I knew was not a christian.
His Name is Garrett.

I started to talk to him, and I asked him if anyone had made the gospel clear to him.

He said he no one had.

I asked him if I could.

He said “lol please do”
(because this was done over facebook)

I was excited! I talked to him more, and we settled that we would get together once school started and I would share Jesus with him. Did I mention my excitement?

I was excited.
Why?
Because I felt God moving.
I love that feeling.
I knew that God had something in store
I was hoping that this thing was something that started with “Sal” and ended in “vation.”

Sunday. The day before school started, I got a phone call.
I was walking down the hall in my dorm when the words fell into my ears made me sink onto the floor.
“What?” I felt everything collapse.
This had never happened to me before, I have never been stricken with news that hit me so hard that I lost the ability to stand. I started to sob.

The news was that Garrett was in a car accident. He wasn’t expected to live to see the next day.

Hell has never been more of a reality. I felt as if I were a watchman like Ezekiel, watching someone pass through my fingers into eternity. I’ve never felt so helpless.

My mascara was a just add water kit for a black face mask. When I finally had the strength to walk back to my room, I tried to look normal. Then I realized, as I gazed in the mirror, that I looked like a demented clown.
I cried some more.

All things work together for good those who know and love the Lord.
If anything in the world is true: I love the Lord. (often not the way I should… another subject. another time)

“What was wrong?” One of my dorm members asked later. I was able to share my conviction, desire and compassion to carry out the great commission, with a hint of urgency with the current situation.

I got news that he was still hanging on for life.

The next day I met some of his buddies that were on the same end of salvation with Garrett. I was able to share with them how I had planned to witness to them, and how important it is to me that others come to salvation. But I felt the holy spirit pressing to wait on His timing before I shared the gospel with them, specifically a boy named Alex. God has a plan for his life. I’m to wait on His timing.

The next day I get a call from  the newspaper. They saw my conversation on facebook and interviewed me. I witnessed to the reporter. It was awesome

The next day the newspaper printed the article. My name was on it. I got several calls from several people from all different standpoints. I got to share what God was doing.

As for Garrett. He is a Miracle. Despite his truck landing on top of him, he is still miraculously hanging in there. I haven’t seen him, b.c they care flighted Him. Hes still sedated. I hope to see Him when he is conscious. I keep praying for another miracle. Preferably the one that started with “Sal” and ended in “Vation.”

Keep him in your prayers.

“Greater things have yet to come. Greater things are still to be done in this city!”

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I have summer planning anxiety already.

The last 5 years Ive been in camp ministry, but I know that I need a change of scenery.

But what should I do?
I would love to go to Jerusalem..
I would love to do forigen missions
I would love to get some more school knocked out
I want to try out for Student Life Conference Drama team.

 

But I think the coolest thing would be able to travel from church to church ministering to high school groups.

I could come and be a speaker on a Wednesday night, but I wouldn’t want to stop there.
Why leave when the best things that are to be said are one one one. I’d like to stay for the week and schedule time with the kids to minister to their needs. I could stay in peoples houses like the apostle Paul.

THAT WOULD BE AWESOME! Love it… It would be to good to be true.

Any takers? Talk to your youth minister.

I’ll get back to you after I actually pray about it.

 

NOTE: READ MY LAST POST!
There are times where i cant lay claim to what I write, because I know it was Christ speaking through me. It gives me chill bumps every time I read it.
Go do it!

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