Archive for August, 2008

“I Have A Dream” – 45 years ago today

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered the famous “I Have A Dream” speech 45 years ago today.

Enjoy and be united.

Are we missing something?

Okay, I try to keep my blog as free from politics as I can. People have said to me that I should be involved in local politics. I’ve told them that I can’t be in politics because I care about people too much. But as we draw closer to November 4th – the day we vote for our next President here in the States – and as the DNC is here and the RNC is fastly approaching, the “issues” keep coming to mind.

Now, I have not 100% supported a candidate yet, and PUBLICALLY I won’t. If you want to know who I THINK I’m voting for, call me or email me. I won’t discuss it publically or on my blog. What I AM NOT is a blind party voter. I’m actually a proud registered independant.

But as the “issues” get thrown around, my question to my Christian brothers and sisters is this: Are we missing something? We argue vehemently about abortion and gay marriage. I agree, abortion in most cases is wrong. (Let’s save that discussion for another thread, okay?) But are there OTHER issues that we should be on the front lines of fighting for and we aren’t? Are there other HIGHLY MORAL issues that require the Church to be front and center on that we are leaving in the shadows of our fight for abortion? Is there something that the Church SHOULD be the champion on and instead we’ve chosen to be an innocent bystander?

Or, is abortion the only giant we need to slay? Would we reclaim or “Christian Nation” status after we rid America of abortion or are there other evils we need to be in the forefront of fighting?

What do you think? Is abortion it, or is there something else?

Live Big

This month, in our youth church I’ve been leading a series called “Go Big.” The 3 things we honed in on during this series are:

Week 1: Pray Big

Week 2: Love Big

Week 3: Live Big

This past week was part 3 and I must admit, it was the most encouraging, inspiring and challenging message I’ve done. It wasn’t as “motivational” so to speak as the first 2 weeks, but it was definitely the most hard hitting. 

I asked the question “How would you live if you knew God had called you and was with you?” I heard a near unanimous “wow, that’s deep!” This question took on a whole new meaning for me before I preached this message.

Last Sunday, we had the main missionary we support and one of my pastor’s mentors Dr. George Kutty pay us a visit. My pastor being the gracious mentee, gave him a few minutes to speak after service. These few minutes would be earth shaking for me. While talking about his missionary work to India – where he has a Bible college and a vision to plant 10,000 churches in South Asia – he mentioned that his next trip is going to be in the hostile environment of Yemen. WHOA! He said some people were worried for him and his safety on this trip. And after he said that, his next statement rocked me to my core. He said:

I’m not worried about Yemen. I fully expected to be martyred on my last trip to India, so I know God still has more for me to do.

He said he EXPECTED TO BE MARTYRED! And he went anyway! He willing packed his bags and went on a trip to India EXPECTING to die. WHAT?!?! He didn’t say he was thinking it may happen, he said he FULLY EXPECTED IT! And he STILL willing packed his suitcases and bought a plane ticket.

This brings a brand new meaning to the question “How would you live if knew God had called you and was with you?”

So think about that question, read this and this. After doing that, do what I believe I’m pushing myself to do more and what I believe Dr. Kutty is doing – LIVE BIG.

On behalf of the screw ups – I’m sorry

The history of Evangelical Christendom has seen its share of glorious highs and embarrassing lows. From the respect and adoration that Billy Graham has earned throughout the decades to the scandals of Jim Baker and Ted Haggert.

Many of you reading this blog may have been scarred by the effects of the negative things that have taken place in recent history. From Ted Haggert’s misconduct, to Todd Bentley to most recently The Healer song debacle. The fall out from these events may have left you hurt and may have even damaged your faith in God.

Realistically, you know that not all of us so-called “evangelicals” are like the negative images you see on the TV or on the internet. Despite what you know, the preacher that cursed at you personally or lied to the world globally has left you with a bad taste about God, the Bible and Christianity. In your eyes, you believe that they royally screwed up. And not only did they screw up, it seems like everyone is acting like what happened to you is not a big deal – and THAT is the most frustrating part.

Well, on behalf of all of the screw ups who lied, cheated, stole, deceived, adultered, murdered and molested – allow me to say one thing: I’m sorry.

I’m sorry those things happened to you. I’m not sticking up for them, I’m not defending them. I am simply apologizing to you for what happened on behalf of my brothers and sisters. I don’t think you deserved what happened to you. I’m just taking what happened to you and putting it in the open so that you can finally have some sort of closure.

Please, I ask that you forgive my brothers and sisters in Christ for what they have done. Not because they “deserve” your forgiveness, but because you deserve to live free from what has happened to you and you deserve the right to see God clearly. You deserve the chance to hear what God has to say to you without the filter of the pain that my brothers and sisters have caused you. Forgiveness will give you the chance to remove that filter.

Understand my heart, I’m not saying that I’m some super Christian without faults. i have my faults, and I recognize my faults are many. I’m not here to judge you or my Christian siblings for what happened. God knows, that honestly I am capable of the same thing – if not something worse. And really, neither you or I can take the righteous high ground to say that either of us is better. I know I can’t. I’m imperfect and I need God’s grace and quite honestly I need the grace of others too sometimes.

I’m not saying what happened to you wasn’t a big deal. It was, and for that again – I apologize. I ask that you extend forgiveness to my brothers and sisters in Christ who have wronged you. Not for their sake, but for yours and mine. Your sake so that you can lift that remove that anger and see God clearly. My sake so that when we meet, you won’t see them when you see me – but you’ll see me.

So, on behalf of the screw ups – I’m sorry.

The “Healer” Lie – The Aftermath

The Healer controversy is shaking up worship and youth ministry communities across the globe. Now, apparently Mike G. is being ordered to appear before the cops to explain what happened to all of the money that was raised for him. This rabbit hole goes deeper and deeper.

But here’s a better question, what will the aftermath of this be? Given the blackeyes the evangelical community has taken in recent weeks with Todd Bentley leaving his wife and ministry and now this situation, what will the fallout be? How should the church at large respond?  Should the church at large respond at all? Should it be handled by his family, parents and pastors?

Are we going too easy on him? Where does the church draw the line between John 8:6-11 and 1st Corinthians 5:5?

My question for the Body is not a question of forgiveness because I don’t think we should harbor anything in that regard. Christ died for us and forgave us, so ought to forgive others.

A bigger issue that the church needs to be prepared for is the fact that the people who were influenced by this song may have some very, very negative reflexes from this. How do we counsel them? I’m not worried about Mike G. because he seems to have enough good people around him to help restore him, just like scripture suggests. But how do we deal with the reaction to this type of deceit? Do we sweep it under the rug and pretend it didn’t happen? Do we say “but the song is still awesome”? Do we say “I know you have been deceived by someone and your trust has been violated and on behalf of my brother in Christ – I’m sorry”?

The “Healer” story is a LIE! NOOOOO!!!!

I’m NOT trying to be “that guy” but I have personally never been settled with the story of the international Christian hit song “The Healer.” I tried watching the story and video on line and I never can get through it. I always asked myself – “What if this is a fake? What if this guy is lying?”

Well, come to find out -HE IS LYING!

Check out this article.

I know this song has been an inspiration to Christians the world over. What does this story do for you? Does it invalidate the inspiration? Does it anger you?

Personally, I’m PISSED! God doesn’t need your lie to further his purpose. He’s good all by Himself and has healed MILLIONS of people LEGITIMATELY to not need this foolishness.

Sound off…what do you think?

***btw, I tried to find the song on Youtube and Hillsong pulled it for “copyright” reasons. Yeah, more like false statements

And the winner is…

Sharon Spriester! Sharon, thanks for your post! You win a free copy of Mark Batterson’s “Wild Goose Chase” AND a free copy of my new music!

Congrats to you! Send an email to czarmusic@gmail.com with your shipping address and I’ll ship them off to you.

Thanks for participating and enjoy your reading/listening!

How do YOU bridge the gap?

Do you remember Johnny Carson’s “The Great Carnac” routine? What about Matlock, remember that show? Oh, what about 21 Jump Street – the launching pad of Johnny Dep, remember that? Do you remember when you got your first Word Processor? Do you remember when you were cool because you knew about dialing *69 on your phone and your friends didn’t? Or what about the first time you got caller ID? Wasn’t that INCREDIBLE! I remember sitting by phone waiting for someone to call just so I could see it work.

Remember pagers? I remember a time when the people who had pagers were doctors and drug dealers. Do you remember life BEFORE the internet? Or what about having to do research using encyclopedias instead just hoping on Google, remember that?

I remember when 8bit graphics were the thing to have, when the Gameboy came out and screen was the wretched spinach green color – and we LIKED IT and call waiting meant waiting for the person to get off of the phone because everytime you called there was a busy signal. I remember when it was important to know the Dewey Decimal System.

I remember when Kurt Cobain died. I remember when Cartoon Network aired for the first time.  I remember the first USA olympic Dream Team. I remember David Karesh. I remember the Oklahoma City bombing. I remember when I got my first pair of Patrick Ewing shoes! I remember watching new episodes of The Cosby Show. I remember the first episode of The Simpson’s. I remember new episodes of Married With Children. In fact, I remember watching the Fox channel and wondering if it was going to survive as a network! I remember the scandles of Clarence Thomas and Bill Clinton. I remember the FIRST World Trade Center attack. I remember when Michael Jackson was an attractive black male (not the ugly white “thing” he is now). I remember ALF, Amen, The Facts of Life, Martin and 227.

Do you remember these things? If you’re in youth ministry – you probably do. And if you’re in youth ministry, the people you minister do not. Most of the people we minister to as youth pastors were born after the year 1990. In fact, the biggest group of people in your youth church were probably born between 1993 and 1995. They don’t remember life before cell phones, playstation and the internet.

For them, music you danced to at your prom is “old school.” Don’t believe me? Turn to your local pop music radio station at noon for the “Lunchtime Rewind” and that’ll prove it. For them Donkey Kong is unplayable, Gameboy’s aren’t viewable and MC Hammer is just the guy from the insurance company commercial during the Superbowl. Janet Jackson is only the lady with the wardrobe malfunction and most didn’t even know she is Michael Jackson’s sister. And they all want to know “Who is that guy who sang with Beyonce a few years back at the Grammy’s named ‘Prince’?”

The events and people that shaped us are historical footnotes to the people we minister to on a weekly basis. So, how do YOU bridge the gap? I know what I do, but what do you do to bridge the gap? Do you personally even try?

Thoughts?

Join the “Wild Goose Chase”

I got my advanced copy of Mark Batterson’s new book “Wild Goose Chase” and was asked to give a review of the book. But, before I go any further, you need to know that this is NOT an exhaustive critique nor is it an exhaustive review. If I were to blog about EVERYTHING this book hit me with, I’d have to write my own book. So, in order to not violate the rules of blogging, I’ll do my best to keep this short (well, as short as I can.)

First off, I need to confess something. I did not like Mark Batterson’s first book “In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day.” I can’t fully explain why I didn’t like his first book. I love reading his blog regularly; I’m amazed at his leadership insights; I thoroughly enjoy and am encouraged by the story of his church, National Community Church.; “In A  Pit…” came HIGHLY recommended by a friend of mine. Everything was in place for me to like it…but I didn’t. “Wild Goose Chase” on the other hand is a book I 100% recommend.

WGC ignited me, inspired me, challenged me, pushed me and flat out changed me. The Celtic Christians had a word for the Holy Spirit: “the Wild Goose.” It points to the unpredictability of what its like to follow the Holy Spirit. WGC is a book about chasing after God’s will adventurously. Yes, I said it – adventurously. I know “adventure” isn’t a word usually associated with Christianity, but living a life going after God’s will by faith is nothing short of an adventure. Batterson did a GREAT reminding us all of that. He not only reminds us of the adventure, but also gives some ways for each of us to break free from the “cages” that keep us back. Fantastic metaphor.

Don’t mistake this book for motivational mumbo-jumbo hidden in Christian subtext. Its not. The book doesn’t have you and me at the center of it. It truly has God and His call and His mission squarely as the central character of his writing. This isn’t Mark Batterson doing his best Zig Ziglar impression. Its his own voice in his own unique conversational style.

I won’t steal any of Mark Batterson’s thunder by quoting the “best” parts of the book. Do yourself a favor, go buy the book and find what your favorite lines are. Trust me, there will be LOTS of them! Buy the book or make a comment on my blog by 5pm and be put in the drawing to receive a free copy. Get the book and chase the “wild goose.”

A couple people you should check out

Looking for some new stuff for your RSS feeder? Here’s a couple people you should check out.

1st up is Jeff Hamada. Jeff is a graphic design BEAST! He’s done work for EA Sports, recenly just designed some new snow boards for a major company, currently does designs for the clothing line 3sixteen and has even done some work for your’s truly. He designed our youth ministry logo when we were “The Mix.” He’s got a great blog and he has a great talent. And before the legalists come running allow me to answer the question – yes, he is a Christian.

2nd up is Leonce Crump. Leonce is a church leader in Tennessee, former NFLer (that always looks good on a church resume for some reason) and wrestling enthusist. Real wrestling, not WWE or TNA. He also has a great blog with some great thoughts and ideas about ministry. You should check him out, tell him Steve sent cha.

Quick note. So far, JBoyce is the front runner for the free copy of Mark Batterson’s new book Wild Goose Chase and a free copy of my new music release “Life Support Vol 1.” Anyone else want to throw there name in the hat? Drawing will be held tomorrow.

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