Posts Tagged ‘faith’

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)

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Its okay to not like it…really

As both an artist and listener I’ve noticed something fairly peculiar about Christians and their critiques of another artists music. I don’t really see it among so-called “secular” audiences or any other music subset. What is “it” that is so different? Its this :

People feel like they can’t just NOT LIKE the music.

(continue reading and join in the conversation here)

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….

Pray for Amanda Smith

Hey blog family. 

I ask that you fervently pray for Amanda Smith. She’s the mom of one of the people in my youth church. She had an aneurysm last year and  now she has to have more surgery to correct it. Major brain surgery. She’s going in tomorrow and her 15 year old son as well as her 12 year son are FREAKING OUT. 

Please, pray for them just as earnestly as you prayed for my mom-in-law. 

Thanks and I’ll keep you up to date on her status.

What’s your legacy going to be?

As a resident of New England for the last 6.5 years, I have come to despise the Indianapolis Colts.  Patriots vs Colts is well on its way to becoming the best rivalry in football.

On the other hand, I have become a HUGE fan and admirer of Tony Dungy. And my admiration goes FAR beyond the fact that he was the first African American to coach a SuperBowl winner. My admiration is for the legacy he’s established as leader and a man of  God.

As a leader, he’s not only responsible for recruiting effective coaches of color, he’s responsible for mentoring some of the most successful coaches leading their respective teams. His legacy as a leader includes a list of the who’s who in head coaching. Herm Edwards, Ron Meeks, Jim Caldwell, Lovie Smith and Mike Tomlin are people who have taken their cues DIRECTLY from Tony Dungy on a personal level. All of them have been hired by him and mentored by him.  He has generally produced effective leaders. Edwards, Smith and Tomlin have led successful teams to the playoffs – Smith to the SuperBowl (where he lost to his mentor’s Colts) and Tomlin is coaching the SuperBowl favorites this year. Meeks led a GREAT defense in Indy and Jim Caldwell was the assistant head coach there (we’ll see how he does this year).

Then, he proved you can be strong in your faith and lead a football team to victory. He’s famous for being the coach who NEVER cusses at his team and doesn’t allow it in the locker room! Check out this quote from Dungy when talking about his mentee Lovie Smith before they coached against each other in the SuperBowl:

I really wanted to show people you can win all kinds of ways. I always coached the way I’ve wanted to be coached. I know Lovie has done the same thing. For guys to have success where it maybe goes against the grain, against the culture … I know I probably didn’t get a couple of jobs in my career because people could not see my personality or the way I was going to do it … For your faith to be more important than your job, for your family to be more important than that job … We all know that’s the way it should be, but we’re afraid to say that sometimes. Lovie’s not afraid to say it and I’m not afraid to say it.”

His legacy will be one of strong leadership, he developed other strong leaders and showed the world that you can be the best without acting like the rest. He showed you can be effective without losing your soul in the process. He showed people you don’t have to abandon your convictions so that you can succeed. Not only did he display it, he duplicated it in others.

You may not be into sports. You may never have to lead millionare athletes to victory. But you do have the chance to leave a legacy. Your children, the people who attend your church, the people on your sports team, the people on your cheerleading squad, your closest friends or the people who just look up to you – they are all in position to be the testament of your legacy.

What’s your legacy going to be?

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?

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