Archive for spiritual

I feel like Big Meech? That explains a lot!

I heard a song on the radio the other night and it BOTHERED ME to my core. Maybe you’ve seen it performed on Late Night w/ Jimmy Falon. Its the new song from Rick Ross aka Ricky Rozay (huh?) on his new #1 selling album -180K sold in the first week- “Teflon Don” called B.M.F. (Blowing Money Fast). As soon as I heard the chorus I became enraged. It starts like this:

I feel like Big Meech, Larry Hoover…

Right there, in my car, in my own way – I lost it. Why? Because I saw what was happening. What was happening was… (read more)

Advertisements

What’s RIGHT with…(part 1)

“Read my new blog, titled ‘what’s wrong with Christian Hip-Hop’…read my new blog ‘what’s wrong with the Church…read my new blog ‘what’s wrong with Christian leadership…” Good lord, the ship must be sinking. Call the National Guard and get us out of here because this ship is GOING DOWN! Somebody please call 911. Christian Hip-Hop is in a state of emergency! The Church is in a state of emergency! Leadership is in a state of emergency! SOMEONE HEEEEEEEELP!!!!

wait…what?…its really not that bad?

Who the heck are all of these Chicken Little’s screaming about what is WRONG with everything?!?! You want to know what’s wrong with all of these things? The bloggers running around like mini-Glenn Becks talking about what’s wrong with everything. “Yeah, but I also provide a solution to what I’m talking about too!” WHO CARES!?! So what happens, if we dont listen to your opinions, its all doomed? Allow me to use my free speech to respectfully ask you to refrain from using yours for a while.

Allow me to use my free speech to tell you about what is RIGHT with the local church.

You know what’s RIGHT about the local church? The countless numbers of people who you will NEVER hear of feeding the homeless and treating them like the image bearers of God they are. The kind of loving treatment that is the hallmark of the Body of Christ. The kind of love that sends a fame through out the collective, unknown members of the city that have no homes or phones but they have each other and brag about the love they received at that local church.

What’s right about the local church is the number of unknown people that dedicate their time, talent and treasure to seeing the Gospel of Jesus Christ propelled through out their communities. What’s right about the local church is countless, nameless saints of God helping the single mom out with her daily needs because the child’s father REFUSES to pay child support and money she makes from her 3 jobs just barely covers her rent and utilities.

What’s RIGHT about the local church is the number of men who wrap their arms around the younger men to encourage them, pray for them and give them incredible, invaluable amounts of encouragement. The men who silently love their wives and children in a God honoring way so that their sons and daughters see a healthy definition of a man.

What’s right about the church is the number of untold miracles that didn’t come with a fake shake and a fall to the ground. The miracles that didn’t come with a book table and an annointed rag to purchase. But the miracles that were done in tearful prayer after the service when no one was there. The miracles done in another believer’s living room as they held an informal prayer gathering.

The countless stories of needs being met, pained people comforted by the God inspired love of their brothers and sisters in Christ, the untold salvations happening in public school cafeterias, the people dedicating their time to see illiterate youth learning to read, the people breaking free from addictions,  the people going from worship of self to the worship of the one true God, the people selling things on eBay to give to families ravaged by storms and for tents in Haiti, the people running marathons to raise awareness and funds for issues like sex slave trafficking, the people fighting to erradicate poverty– THAT’S WHAT’S RIGHT WITH THE CHURCH!

And if you don’t see it, then maybe you need a new church or maybe you need to spark a change in your own.

So share with the rest of us, what do you think is RIGHT with the church?

What if part 1: But what if God doesn’t?

The entitlement of the American Christian aggravates me to no end sometimes. The “Me-anity” (well put Marco), we live is so not Biblical its crazy. We approach God with, not our requests but, our demands as if He exists for us. As if He exists to fulfill our will. As if God is there saying to US “Not my will but yours be done o humans.”  But what happens when God doesn’t answer our requests? And I don’t mean the “delayed but not denied” answers. I don’t mean the “He may not come when we want but He’s always on time” answers. I mean the flat out “God is not going to do that” answers. Can you trust His sovereignty in that?

I listen to some of these TV preachers that talk about “God wants to give you everything you want” and then I read the Bible and it doesn’t line up. What about in Hebrews 11 where it says “and they died WITHOUT receiving the promise.” And this was written to say they HAD FAITH! What about us? Would we continue to honor God if He doesn’t heal our child or bless our family the way we want? What if that family member dies of cancer despite your prayers? Is He still good? What if you lose your house even though you’ve printed all of the prosperity scriptures and posted them on your mirror? Is He still sovereign? What if your situation requires a miracle or life is going to get REALLY bad? Is God still sovereign?

Too many times I’ve seen people honor God for what they think they can get. They do the Christian rituals because they think God will change their situation. And then when they don’t get the desired result- out go the Bibles, prayers, church and Christian friends. Then, without fail, they say “I tried it and it didn’t work for me” as if the Christian faith was a diet or something. As if their Bibles came with a disclaimer that said “Results may vary.” 

So what am I saying? I’m saying let’s worship, honor and recklessly and relentlessly live for God not because what we want from Him, but because of who He is. Because even if He doesn’t move on my every beck and call, I recognize He is God – and I am not. The only REAL promise I have as I live this life is “In this life you will face trials and hard times. But don’t be afraid because I have overcome the world.” He overcame this world, so my final hope is not in this life. My final hope is in HIM and the eternal life He prepared for me.

Some recent influences

Recently, some people have influenced me in silent yet powerful way.

Matt Chandler has influenced me to have a greater love for the Word. Which is powerful because I CHERISH God’s word.

Mike Servello and Marco Debarros has influenced me to have a greater love for the local church. Which is powerful because I ADORE my church.

Leonce Crump has influenced me to have a greater love for my city. To me that is significant because I had struggled to find real, significant ways to serve Newport, RI in a secondary way. Secondary because the preaching of the gospel will ALWAYS be the primary mission.

Who has influenced you?

What to do…part 2 Ask yourself, “Do I Give a Crap?”

So, what should you do when you don’t know your personal purpose, feel the Spirit’s leading or hear God’s voice to do something? You should be lead by compassion. I know the idea sounds completely emotional and devoid of any spiritual depth – but it is probably one of the most overlooked spiritual indicators.

Compassion comes to us in English as a Latin compound word com meaning “with” and patti – meaning “to suffer.” So compassion literally means “to suffer with.” And this idea of suffering with others was the leading cause of many of Jesus’ miracles.

Jesus heard God’s voice at baptism and repeated what He “heard from the Father” when He spoke. He was “lead by the Spirit” to be “tempted by the devil” (look it up in Luke). But He was lead by compassion to do the miracles He did. Most of the things we marvel at that happened during Jesus’ ministry was the result of compassion. He rose the boy from the dead during his funeral procession because he was lead by compassion. Not because he was dead but because he saw the pain of the boy’s mother. There was no father in the picture and when He saw that woman’s pain, He identified with her pain – He suffered with her – and was moved to do something about it. He did MANY miracles because of compassion.

Go back and read the gospels and notice how many times He saw the suffering of others, identified with their pain and then moved in to action. So, instead of looking for some hyper spiritual experience to be moved to do something, take a look around, see the needs of others, identify with their pain and allow that suffering to move you into action.

You can do GREAT things for God’s kingdom. All it takes is a life dedicated to Christ and a heart that (bluntly stated) gives a crap about others.  

So after you read this, ask yourself “Do I give acrap?” If so, take that heart and do something for His kingdom.

What to do when you don’t feel God’s leading (part 1)

So much of today’s ministry is filled with the existential ideology of purpose and calling. WE wrap it up real nice with scripture and tell people that a life lived in our God given calling is the pennacle of all living. But what should we do if we don’t feel called? Pastors talk a lot about purpose and Holy Spirit leading , but what if we genuinely don’t feel any compulsion to do anything based on those factors?

Maybe you’re 17 and you don’t feel “called.” Maybe you’re 21 and you don’t know your “purpose.” Maybe you are 45 and you don’t feel the “Holy Spirit leading” you do anything.  Do these things mean we can’t live lives used by God and impacting the world? NO! Most people are clueless of their calling, purpose or even the Spirit’s leading until they embrace a little known act of true spirituality; it is the act of COMPASSION.

to be continued….

Scientists say we are hardwired to believe in God

I read this article that says we are genetically hardwired to believe in God. It strikes an interesting converstion. Does this mean that science proves that God designed us to believe in Him? Christianity teaches this as does other religions of the world. OR does this mean we believe in God because of an over-complicated primal instinct that has more to do with our evolutionary survival than it does our spirituality?

What do you think?

Reminded that God is sovereign

Okay, this has been a really soft subject for me and I kept a secret from most of the people I know because it hurt SO MUCH. Its time for me to share this story though because I know it will encourage someone else.

Last year, I experienced one of the greatest joys of my life. It was when my wife and I looked each other in eyes said “I can’t believe it, we are REALLY having a baby!” The joy that raced through my body was only matched by the joy I felt when I said “I do.” But that joy was short-lived.

After running the blood work a few times, a trip to the ER and 3 sonograms our worst fears were confirmed: we had a miscarriage. I had heard of people having miscarriages, but I didn’t really understand the sadness associated with it until we had our own. The pain from that equalled the joy of pregancy. I literally well up with tears thinking about it as I type this. We were 7 weeks  along when the baby was lost.

We cried and hugged and cried some more. I started to ask God “why!?!?!?” but instead I rested in Romans 8:28. I didn’t know how, but I knew it would work out for our good.

3 weeks later, mom collapsed. My wife was a mess! First the miscarriage, now this. As I watched her being so stressed out it made her physically ill, I had the thought “what if she was still pregnant?” The stress she was under at this time, she would have had a miscarriage and the guilt would have been tremendous. She would have felt guilty that she couldn’t control her emotions enough to save the baby. She would have been mad at God or her mom for having this happen and causing that to lose our baby. The family would have been crushed to deal with mom’s condition AND losing our baby. That would have been too much for us to bare.

So now I see that God, in His sovereignty showed us we could have children (something we were beginning to be concerned about) but didn’t put us in an unbareable situation. It hurts like heck, but so does alot of other stuff that works for my good.

So to you I say what God inspired Paul to write to the Roman church:

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Your gift isn’t enough

During my time of prayer and meditation the other day, I was stressing! I mean STRESSING! “God, how is the youth chuch going to grow? God, how do we reach more people for You? God how do we grow the saved to be more like Jesus?”

I started thinking about what stories I could share to help people get excited about Jesus. What experiences do I have that will push people even more? What can I do to improve my teaching gift, etc, etc. I started to rely on what I could do to make it happen.

 I was thinking of all this stuff  and then I got molly-wopped internally and heard this: “Its not by my gift or by my experience – its by God’s spirit.” It wasn’t a direct scripture quote but I knew it was His word re-applied to me directly. The scripture that flooded my mind after that was: “Its not by power or by might, but by my Spirit says God.” I felt crushed and relieved at the same time. Crushed because I realized I was taking on ALL of the responsibility for God’s ministry. Relieved because I was reminded that while I outwardly do the stuff, its only by God’s Spirit behind the scenes that changes lives eternally.

Have you ever found yourself trying to accomplish His work in your power? What happened? What changes did you make?

Let’s pray for each other

I really need your prayers for a few things coming up. Really. Not like typical church jargon “pray for me brother”. I mean I need your effectual, fervent prayers.

1. I’m facing a BIG decision to finally do something that I’ve been hoping to see the Church do for years. Its one thing to want to SEE revolution and its another to actually strap up and do it. I love the opportunity – it excites me and frightens me at the same time. I need prayer to hear God clearly on HOW to do it effectively.

2. I’m launching into writing worship-type music. SOOOOOOOOOO far outside of my comfort zone but not outside of my skill set. Pray that I write the songs that are in me.

3. Its time to PUSH the first album I did (have you bought it yet?) and record some NEW MUSIC I’ve been working on. Need prayer for the doors to open and for me to be able to take advantage of those opportunities.

4. For my mom-in-law’s full recovery. She’s home and rehabbing spectacularly. Talking, laughing and her mind is sharp. Pray for her FULL recovery and for her peace. Her current limitations are aggravating to her right now so pray for her peace and joy.

So those are the major things. How can I pray for you?

« Previous entries