Tuesday, December 28, 2010

We Love to Rock, but Hate to Read

Hey yawl. Man...it's been a minute. But you know how December is. Everyone getting ready for Christmas and that includes me. Can't use Christmas for an excuse though. Truth is, I've just been plain lazy the last few weeks. Forgive me. Writing is a tough job. Freelance. Non-fiction and fiction book preparation. Curriculum. But I promise yawl I will try to keep it more consistent.

Now, to what we'd like to talk about tonight. We're rocking, but not reading. There's another dangerous characteristic I've observed in the church. I'm sure you've observed it as well. When the music in church is pumping, church folk love to rock.

Hips swinging.
Hands clapping.
Feet stomping.

But when the music stops and the preaching starts, what are the same ROCKIN' church folk doing? SLEEPING. Not just sleeping....SNORING. Church folk are KNOCKED OUT.

Is there a Bible in hand? Sad...but no, there isn't. Can't tell you how many times I have seen church folk dancin to the music, but they have no Bible in their hands when it's time for the leader to read the Scriptures. In church - where the Word of God is priority - but no Word! What's wrong with this picture? Do we go to class without books? Do we catch a flight without a boarding pass? Do we drive our cars without gas? Do we drive without a license? Do we fish without bait? Can we write without a pen or pencil? These are absolutely NECESSARY to carry these activities out.

So, how can we hear from God when we care not to READ His Word? No wonder our lives are jacked up. The Word of God isn't a priority for many.

We love to rock, but Hate to Read.

We'll pack out a concert, but we'll hear crickets at Bible Study. So, when the devil starts beating us up with the cares of life, we cannot fight because we've gone to war without a weapon. No Word? No Victory! But we sure do know how to move that body, don't we? Some folk forget they're in church...gyrating like they're in a club somewhere. Wow. For real?

My brothers and sisters, man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. If we want to be successful according to God's standards, we must love His Word. Nothing wrong with music....I LOVE IT. All kinds of music too. But the music and entertainment in church should never take priority over the Word of God.

Blessings,

Your Brother,
Sid

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Disease of Christian Catch Phrases?

Hey everybody. Back on the Dangerous blog and God is still good. I know I have a witness. Wanted to share another entry that has been on my heart for a while. The Disease of Christian Catch Phrases. Check this out, yawl.

In Christendom there is an ever-increasing danger lurking around the the na├»ve mind. It crouches, it waits and then it pounces. And once this predator has its prey trapped in its jaws, the window of escape usually narrows. In fact, many victims never break free at all. The result is painful, embarrassing and deadly. The souls of naive Christians devoured in plain view of an audience overwhelmed with laughter and contempt.


What is this marauder, this disease that eats at the spirit the same way cancer eats at the body? It's a parasite feasting on the whims of untrained and biblically uneducated churchgoers. The culprit is sly and cunning, influencing the borderline Christian to rip and swallow verses of Scripture from their context and to regurgitate them as pretext. The cancer spreads and continues to infect the body of Christ at alarming rates. What is this disease, this virus that kills the minds of more churchgoers than AIDS kills humans?

The modern church suffers from the disease of Christian catchphrases, those empty and powerless slogans that have no benefit. We define a catchphrase as a favorite saying of a sect or political group. Unfortunately, the church is drowning in a cesspool of battle cries and mottos:

"Blessed and highly favored."
"God helps those who help themselves."
"Name it and claim it." (*I really LOVE this one)
"Too equipped to be whipped."
"God said it, I believe it and that settles it."
"God knows my heart."
"Don't put a question mark where God put a period."

Some of these trite expressions are verses we oftentimes butcher beyond recognition and phrases that don't even appear within the pages of sacred Scripture.

What is the cure? What is the antidote? I believe the cure is a deep, exegetical and systematic study of the Bible. Let's talk about my favorite one - "Name it and claim it."
 
There is no verse in Scripture that says this, by the way. Yet I hear it all the time. How about yawl?" Ever heard that one before?" Well let's see if this so-called Christian jargon actually works.
 
I have had the pleasure of hearing some people say they will "name" the brand spankin' new Lexus and "claim" it as theirs. God told us to name it, they say. (..ummm. No He didn't). Well...again, let's look at that. We can "name" the Lexus all we like, but the only way we will "claim" it - drive it off the lot - we'll have to claim something else:
 
Car note!
Car insurance!
Car registration!
 
Just because you name it and claim it, doesn't make it free. And depending on which model you get...those numbers could be pretty steep. I've heard people claim cars and houses and didn't even have a job. How in the world does one plan on paying for it? Now, if you WANT it just be honest. You would like to have it. Don't bring God into the equation, because if it isn't His will, that same Lexus will come with some problems. Heaven forbid the Lexus you "name and claim" gets repossessed for default on your loan. What kind of witness is that to the favor of God? In other words, He tells you to name and claim it, but makes sure you can't maintain it? Sounds like a lot of heartache and sorrow.
 
Is that God? Not according to Proverbs 10:22. "The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it." This blessing the proverb talks about is found in the pathway of obedience. Chasing after Satan's stuff leaves pain and disappointment.
 
Now, if you can afford it, what's the purpose of naming it? Just go buy it.
 
Another scenario - true story.
 
Old acquaintance of mine back home used to tell me every week about a certain girl in the church that he named and claimed as his future wife. He was confident God told him - "She's YOURS." Every Sunday I'd see him in church - he named her and claimed her. He made the wrong move though...
 
Built up enough nerve to tell her she was his wife to be...
Uh oh.
 
Apparently, she hadn't "named and claimed" HIM. Can't tell you just how embarrassing it was when he told her. And I'm too embarrassed to repeat what she said to him. All that Christian jargon left him disappointed.
 
But what makes this so dangerous, since we are on the dangerous blog? The disease is contagious. If it sounds catchy, it will catch on with a lot of people. And many of us grab it without verifying it with what the Scriptures actually say. And if we live and move OUTSIDE of biblical instructions, pain is the outcome. Dangerous.
 
"Blessed and highly favored?" Real popular one. I have an honest question because I need clarity. Is this phrase a ploy to sound spiritual? I'm serious. Does it give the impression that the phrase quoter is DEEP? But how is that? Some of the people I've heard use this phrase are some of the meanest "Christians" in the world. I'm as serious as cancer of the colon. For real. Now, when people ask me how am I doing, you know what I say? "Fine. How about yourself?" Do I really need a catch phrase and a compendium of Scriptures to convince people I'm spiritual? If I do, something's wrong with my character. Some folks will run the table with catch phrases and all you did was ask them "How you doing?"
 
Crazy. 
 
Well...let's be a bit more biblically savvy, shall we? God desires that we soak up His Word like a sponge. If we drown ourselves in His Word, the right "words" will come out.
 
Blessings
 
Your brother,
Sid

Monday, November 22, 2010

Spiritual Mannequins: The Pinchbeck Churchgoers

Hey everybody...yeah, I know...it's been a minute. But better late than never, right? Been ripping and running. Please pray for a brother...so long as you're not one of the prayer warriors in the last entry.
How about this for a subject? Spiritual Mannequins. I actually wrote about this in my second book in the Church Folk series, Church Folk: What's Love Got to Do With It? What better place to revamp it than the blog?

Question. Have you ever noticed a mannequin from a distance and mistook it for an actual human? If you don't wish to admit it, I'll put myself out there. Been fooled a couple of times. Unless we're up close, sometimes it's hard to tell we're looking at something plastic. It's similar to the love of some church folk.

Fakers have the "appearance of love" from a distance. But it takes us getting closer to find out just how plastic they really are. Yep, plastic. They claim they love you, but it's all counterfeit. Love doesn't look for something in return, it always gives. But I've come across a lot of church folk who want to know "What's in it for me?" Just like a no good joker giving a woman flowers and treating her to dinner, because he expects dessert. Some church folk are the same way. It's what I call a "pinchbeck" churchgoer.

Merriam Webster defines "pinchbeck" as an alloy of copper and zinc used especially to imitate gold in jewelry. It isn't REAL gold, it's FOOL's gold. An alloy is a compound of MIXED metals. In it's archaic form, a WEAK metal is mixed with a more DURABLE metal to give some desired quality. It adds up to something of worth being closely imitated.

Enter the Spiritual Mannequin: The Pinchbeck Churchgoer.

Phony and counterfeit love is a mixture of the PURE love of Christ ( the VALUABLE ) metal and the fake love of the churchgoer ( the LESS DURABLE) metal. So, what we see from a distance in church is nothing more than an alloy - FAKE LOVE. And much like a mannequin, some church folk are hard and heartless. Mannequins look real, but how many of us can share an intimate moment with them? Try to kiss one...see if it returns the smooch. Embrace one...see if it returns the hug.

Same result - hard and heartless.

Let me encourage yawl. Be careful getting intimate with spiritual mannequins. They act like they love us, but they're waging war in their hearts against us. Just like Judas...betraying the Lord with a kiss.

1) They'll tell all your business.
2) They'll try to steal your spouse.
3) They'll mooch off you....and won't pay you back! ( And will get an attitude with you and THEY'RE the ones who owe YOU.)
4) They'll cuss you out when the mood strikes.
5) They'll turn others against you.
6) They'll take credit for the work you've done in ministry
7) They'll lie TO you and ON you...deliberately

Can we hang out with some REAL folk? Please? Church DOES have them, but you have to search far, wide and deep to find them.  KEEP SEARCHING. The Lord will put them in your path.

Don't sell out looking for love in all the wrong places. The devil loves church. His minions love church. Fallen spirits hang out in the church.

But God is still on His throne. He has His own disciples in His house. Find em and hold on tight.

Much love,

Your bro.
Sid

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Please Don't Pray For Me

Hey everybody. Been away for a minute, especially since I focused a lot of my attention on responding to comments made on my last blog. Minister or Maniac stirred up a hornet's nest, but God is still good. His Word always prevails.

Back with an interesting post here. "Please Don't Pray For Me." What in the world is the Scribe talking about on this one? Everyone needs prayer, right? I agree. As long as the prayer is for God's ears and as long as the prayer is sincere. But I have had the displeasure of hearing some church folk drop the goods on someone else in the form of a prayer request. Clever way to disguise gossip, isn't it? Let me illustrate.

Say we're all in a circle, preparing to leave the worship experience and it's time to close out in prayer. "Any prayer requests?" the religious leader asks. Someone in the audience raises a hand. Now...here we go.

"Pastor...I would like the church to pray for sister so and so and we must pray earnestly. The devil is busy! We need to pray that God convicts her, because she's living with a man and has been in that state for a while. Shackin' is wrong church, so we need to pray that God speaks to her heart, turn her from her wicked ways.  Those who know the worth of prayer, pray her strength in the Lord. Amen."

Hmmm.....what just happened? Everybody in the prayer circle now knows the sister's been shackin' up. I have seen this happen and I'm sure many of you have too. Maybe not this particular scenario, but someone's personal affairs have been brought public under the guise of concern. We must be more discerning listeners to determine what is true prayer and what is pretense.

What will happen after that? Now...the spiritual Christian cringes, because the request didn't have to be that detailed. And those who love the Lord won't take that information any further. But how many of us know, not everyone in church is spiritual. Everybody can't hold water. So, before the fakers hit the vestibule, cell phones blowing up! Something to talk about. Hot off the presses. So, the dangerous churchgoer who kicked off the prayer pretended to show concern and at the same time dropped a bug in everyone's ear about a "family" member. We have no business airing out someone else's dirty laundry in a prayer to God. That is NOT what prayer is for!

Should the sin be exposed? Absolutely. But not in a public prayer! But as one of the anonymous bloggers said in my last post, the offender is addressed PRIVATELY. If the sister doesn't hear...take a witness. If she doesn't hear after that...THEN we bring her before the church, with the sole purpose of leading her to repentance (cf. Matt. 18). If she doesn't hear the church...the Bible says treat her as a heathen or a tax collecter (cf. Matt 18:17). AVOIDANCE or excommunication. And God is our model for this procedure. Throughout Scripture, He warned His people repeatedly before bringing judgment.

Who would I like praying for me? Those who know and appreciate the heart of God. Prayer can't have a clandenstine agenda. Prayer is dialogue between God and people. And our understanding of prayer will correspond to our understanding of God. Would God endorse our calling out a sister like that? Be your own judge. Yes, preach to the BEHAVIOR. Don't expose the PERSON. Ask yourself this question, though. Would we want God entertaining a prayer like that about ourselves? Do we want God putting all OUR business on a big screen for everyone to see? Think about it...we ALL have some issues we hope and PRAY that God won't make public. Those private sins...yawl know what I'm talking about. Those sins only we and God know about. Nobody is  exempt!

Be careful. We reap what we sow. You tell someone's business, your business is gonna get told. The world says it like this, "What goes around, comes around." So...

If you like to gossip....PLEASE DON'T PRAY FOR ME.
If you can't hold water about MY issues...PLEASE DON'T PRAY FOR ME.
If you want the church to consider you the 411....PLEASE DON'T PRAY FOR ME.
If you could care less about God's heart....PLEASE DON'T PRAY FOR ME.
If you don't know or care about the purpose of prayer....PLEASE DON'T PRAY FOR ME.

Who would I like to pray for a brother here? Those who love the Lord with all their heart, mind, soul, body and strength. TALK to God for me! Please! And we DO have folk in the church who don't live dangerously. Gotta appreciate them....much love.

Your Brother,
Sid

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Is He a Minister or a Maniac?

Hey everybody. Taking a break from the True Colors hype. Hope you're enjoying the song and I sincerely hope you're praying its popularity grows. We'll get back to it shortly....just had to deal with something disgusting. Know what I mean? Time to vent...tired of crackpot clergymen.

The question is.."Is he a minister or a maniac?" Good question, right? What I find deplorable are preachers, especially pastors, who call themselves men of God but they continue to tear up the church, the Lord's body. Spreading rumors. Sharing gossip. Tearing down the reputation of another Christian brother or sister. Using sermons as a personal assault weapon and tactic. Supposed to be sharing the Word of God, but attacking God's people with his mouth. Not up front, but secretly. Cowardly. Too devilish to admit he's a pathological liar. Sowing discord among the brethren! I'm sure we've all had the not so distinct pleasure of fellowshipping with a pastor who needed to have his head examined.

Is he Godly or is he gangsta?

My peeps...what could be more diabolical than a pastor who won't admit he's the reason good people leave the church? Not just good people, but Godly people. Instead of coming clean, he sets the stage for others to take the fall and bear the blame. Why? So he can appear innocent?

God knows. We do too.

It's unfortunate, but many pulpits are being occupied by dressed up demons, manipulating the Word of God to launch assaults against parishioners thirsting for God's truths. Like God will back him up because he used Scripture. Bruh -man better rethink the plan. God doesn't back up a nutcase who rips Scripture from its context and uses it as pretext to get his own opinion across. Raping the Word of God to satisfy a demented mindset.

Am I angry? Ummm....whaddya think?

But why so hostile, Sid? I'm exhausted yawl. Tired of seeing good people taking the heat for someone else's craziness. Destroying families. Tearing up marriages. Mad with married couples who get along with each other. What's the problem? Wuzzup with a PASTOR tearing up a family? Thought a pastor's job was to reconcile? It's demonic....no other way to explain it.

Is he a minister or a maniac?

If he's a minister, then he should minister, not manhandle and maneuver. We gotta keep these men of God in prayer before God does something that everyone will talk about. A proverb. A byword. A parable. If these so-called men of God will not straighten up and straighten up quick, God might just use them to teach others what NOT to do. And we do not wish to see that. May these preachers see the error of their ways and repent. God's house is no place to play.

Love yawl

Stay tuned and stay prayerful

Your brother,
Sid

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Now we see your TRUE COLORS!

As promised...the Lord has allowed me to drop this single. Spread the Word for me everybody. Would love to make this a huge hit.

Stay tuned and stay prayerful

Your brother

Sid

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Church Bashers: Religious Leaders Criticizing Obama


Hey yawl. Time for another conversation about the dangers that continue to plague the church. Another sensitive topic, one that should have our hearts bleed.

I'm not one for getting involved in politics. In fact, I hate politics. For some odd reason, politicians are getting really nasty in these last days. Mud slinging. Bashing the other opponent. Never dealing with issues, only the dirt. So, yes...I hate politics.

But here's something else that should really bother true Christians. How pastors and religious leaders - whether they are Black or White - are criticizing the President of the United States, Barak Obama. Here is a quote from an Arizona baptist preacher, a pastor, mind you.

"I hope Obama catches brain cancer, today."

First of all, several problems with this ideology. How can a pastor wish death on the President, but still submit to Romans 13, where it says in vs. 1 "Let every soul be subject to the higher powers." How can he defend himself when coming across 1 Timothy 2:1-2, which says, "First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people. For kings (i.e. president and other government officials) and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified and every way. (ESV)" And guess who was the political leader during that time? The Roman Emperor, Nero. The Apostle Paul said to pray for him, the same Emperor that was killing Christians. Nuff said.

What about James 3:8-9, which says, "But no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it, we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God, (ESV)"

Let's look at the James text. You know what this says? It is both hypocrisy and folly to bless God during a worship service and then, after the service to curse someone made in God's image (cf. Genesis 1:26-27). If the curse implies the common practice of invoking the name of God against the person, then this is doubly heinous - ESV Study Bible notes.

To wish death upon someone is invoke a curse - PASTOR! So, how can a religious leader - Black or White - stand in the pulpit and preach the love of God, yet curse the one holding the highest office in the land? Not only the highest office in the land, but he's a human created in God's image. Hypocrite! And church is FULL of them. Sinners saved by God's grace with the nerve to ask God to send somebody they don't like to hell. HYPOCRITE! I won't receive any sermon any pastor would preach who holds to this kind of philosophy.

Now, I'm not talking about people in the world. I am talking about CHURCH FOLK. Dangerous church folk. Because the Bible tells me that I am not responsible for judging those on the outside of the house of God (..see 1 Corinthians 5:12). That's God's responsibility. I have no business judging an atheist or agnostic. Again, that is God's job.

However, those who are IN the church, we are to hold accountable. And if this preacher calls himself a Christian, then other Christians must hold him accountable. Verse 11 tells us we shouldn't even keep company with him. Of course there is a list of character traits we should stay away from, but for the purpose of this blog, we see the word "railer" in verse 11. To rail means to revile in harsh, insolent or abusive language.

Wishing death on a President is "abusive" language - PASTOR. Hypocrite. True Christians must even pray for this pastor, that God would convict his heart and put him back into the Word.

Well...that being said on this blog, the Lord has laid it on my heart to release a song concerning this very issue, called True Colors. Lord willing, SidSan Media Group, LLC (i.e. the company Sandra and I just formed) will drop E.J. Sidney's single this coming Friday. (keep us in prayer on this)

Stay tuned and stay prayerful.

Your brother,
Sid

Hope yawl like the artwork.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dream Killers - Part II

Hey yawl...so sorry it's been a while. But how many of you know the enemy is a trip? Been doing his thing lately - Big Time - but the Lord is bigger and better than anything he can toss my way. So, I'm back to talk some more about his influence. Thank you so much for your patience.

Well...Dream Killers Part II, huh? This one's easy, my friends. These are the naysayers, yawl. I believe secular sources call them haters. We've talked a little bit about that before. But Dream Killers in the church are those always speaking negativity about what God has called you to do. God says you can....they say you can't. God says go...they say stop. God says, "really," they say, "not really." God says true...they say false. God says "get up," they say...."sit down." God says speak up...they say be quiet. See what I mean? Now, these are people in God's house talking crazy about what God can't do...amazing.

Dream Killers.

God may have called you to open your own business. Yeah, it's a lot of work and it's a lot of risk, but when God says to do it, the blessing far outweighs the risk. And the work is worth it. What you can't do is allow dream killing church folk to talk you out of what God has commissioned you to do. This might sound crazy, but if God told me I'd own my own NFL franchise, believe me...I won't be listening to CHURCH FOLK. Because you know what they'll say...."it'll never happen. Impossible"

I'm sure someone told the late Michael Jackson that going solo would be a bad move. Let's see...Off the Wall, Thriller....well, let's stop at Thriller. Hmmm....46 million copies later? Was solo a bad move? You tell me. Can't listen to Dream Killers and expect your dream to live.

And you can't allow everyone to be a part of your plan. Not everyone is permitted to go where God is taking you. (cf. Read Nehemiah 2:20 - see what Nehemiah told his antagonists, Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem) That's why God has cut some folk out of your life. I know it's painful, but it's for the best. Lesson learned, I'm sure. Know this....not everyone has your best interest. They say they're for you, but gain a little success, build an audience and watch the same people who claimed they'd lift you up, TEAR YOU DOWN. Been there, done that....and I'm sure you have too.

Listen to me. Dreams DO come true, as long as God is the one behind the projector throwing images on the blackboard of your mind. As long as your dreams are rooted in reality. I can dream about dunking on Kobe Bryant all day....that's a dream that won't come true. There's no reality to it. But dreaming of being a best selling author is something within my reach. God gave me the passion...and I'm chasing it.

I encourage all of my friends...don't let Dream Killers stifle you. If God said, that settles it, whether they believe or not. Blessings

Stay tuned and stay prayerful.

Your brother,
Sid

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dream Killers - Part I

Hey everybody. It's been a minute since the "Business Meeting" but I assure you, I was working on some other projects. Can't tell it all just yet, but when the time is right, yawl be the first to know. Gotta keep it on the low....church filled with Dream Killers, know what I mean?

Listen....everyone can't handle your vision, nor do they care to. God may have placed a ministry on your heart and you're all excited right? Dangerous church folk will smile, but are they tickled? Better be careful what nuggets you drop in someone's ear. You may have heard from God, but many in the church don't recognize His voice. You receive His Word, but the reject His Word. You absorb His Word....they analyze His Word. Shouldn't take you long to figure out that 2 can't walk together unless they agree.

I remember my Mama tellin' me years ago that I shared too much of my business with the wrong people. How can I put it bluntly? Mama said, "Sidney, you talk too much." She was right. I learned the hard way that pride and loftiness leads to poverty and loss. But I was excited and I expected everyone else to be excited too. Well...depending on what God has for you, jealousy won't allow church folk to get excited. In fact, many of them will try to destroy every dream you have. Nothing new under the sun. In the book of Genesis, Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery. They hated him and they hated all his dreams too.

Know this...

Don't think you're building a support group by involving everyone in your plans. You're really building a hate group. Dream Killers, yawl. Trust me. And the trap is easy to fall into. We believe that church folk are holy and sanctified folk. Certainly they wouldn't do anything to harm me? Certainly they want my dream to come to fruition?

Really?

Good friend of Sandra and I felt the same thing too when she shared all her plans for a stage play with a sister in the Lord. Wasn't long, and that sister put on that same stage play and just changed the name of the director and playwright to herself. Stole her play right from underneath her....IN THE CHURCH. And called it a blessing from the Lord. How you steal somebody's work and think God'll bless you for it? Crazy!!!

I can go on and on with this, but I'll hold back some until the next blog. Love yawl.

Stay tuned and stay prayerful

Your brother,
Sid

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Business Meeting. The Money

In '89, I remember my roommate and I trying to get tickets to the Atlantic 10 Basketball Championship Game between Rutgers and Penn State. Didn't happen. We had to watch our school (Rutgers) beat Penn State from a television set. So, what's the big deal about that? When our school didn't have that great a team, we could find a seat anywhere. And we were regular attendees. Along came the championship, and Rutgers suddenly had a lot of fanfare. We tried to argue our case at the ticket booth. No luck. Didn't matter that we came to the games consistently, even when they were losing. It was the championship. ESPN. Nationally televised.

Our voice went unheard.

Enter the church business meeting. Have you ever felt your needs go unnoticed and your voice unheard at a business meeting, though you attend faithfully and tithe consistently? For some odd reason, the phrase "business meeting" brings out members you've never seen before. New faces. Same agenda. Some of them wackos. Doesn't always happen...but it happens often enough to make you feel uneasy. And dig this...

Most of the fighting is about MONEY...another sensitive topic.

Don't you hate when those who never come to church and never support the church financially get crazy about what the church is doing with the money? It's like Monday Night Raw in some spots. Some even demand the church shell out. Now, what bank do you know will shell out dollars from an account that doesn't exist? Just a question.

Now, when it comes to our money, we all get funny. Seriously, we do. When a music producer I worked with took off with $5,600 of our money, Sandra was about to send the sherriff to the church during worship. Dead serious. When that money is acting funny, our minds switch out sometimes. Mine does. Overworked, underpaid. It's taxing. But just like any business needs money to operate, so does the church. That's why God says, "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house..." (cf. Malachi 3:10a). It's His money, so He's going to get it one way or the other. Don't get amnesia and think that God can't take it from us (i.e. broken down car, another bill you thought you paid, water heater springs a leak). A brother at a church I once attended told me that if he won the lottery, he'd make sure he'd pay the government, because THEY DON'T PLAY. And...ummm...God does? It's to our benefit to tithe. God commands it.

Let me paint the picture for you. It's 100 degrees outside and the a/c in the church is busted. Or what about below freezing weather and the heater is on the fritz. Can't pay the custodian on staff, so when you enter the restroom.....well...you know. (...that'll really mess up your worship experience. Who's thinking about the Word at a time like that? Nah...we're thinking about that nasty bathroom. Can we keep it real?) Not enough coming in to keep the pastor on full time. He needs a job, so he works 40 hrs a week. But the same members that crash the business meeting demand he spend more time visiting the hospitals, nursing homes and prisons. Electric bill? Can't keep the lights on without paying the electric company. Sunday School and Bible study literature? How do the active members get these? What about the hospitality committee? Food? Beverages? And the moochers always seem to walk away from a fellowship with 4 or 5 plates of food they didn't help pay for. I mean, even the preacher in the movie Friday couldn't get any weed from Smokey, cause he hadn't put anything in. So, it takes money.

Back to the business meeting thing.

Our voice is unheard and our needs unchecked because it's similar to the Rutgers/Penn State game. Church be packed out at business meeting. You can hear crickets at Bible study. Sunday School? Don't even think about it. 9 o'clock in the morning? Get real. And most inactive members who crash the meeting are there for one reason...to raise HELL. And many of them do. Cussin' in God's house, fussin' about what they're clueless about. If we ain't careful, we'll be cussin' too. If not out loud, we're thinking it, which means God can hear us.

I ain't particularly concerned about what the pastor is driving, unless of course he's ripping off the church. So what, he's driving a Lexus. Who wouldn't want one? If he can afford it, what's the big deal? "How much did that suit cost, Pastor?" Well....how much did YOURS cost, pew member? Those issues are really trivial.

What should concern us at a business meeting is GOD's business. Nothing else. We shouldn't leave the business meeting ready to knife somebody, shoot somebody. If we spent more time studying the Word, we'd spend less time arguing. I'm going on record...I need to tighten up my private time with Christ. So, that when the business meeting commences, I know how to act. And whatever God decides to do with HIS money is HIS business. What am I going to do about it? Fight Him? Box Him? (...you know my arms are too short) Make Him bow down to me? Give Him an ultimatum? Come on, God Almighty? Gonna lose that fight....every single time. That's a knockout before I even enter the ring.

The inactive members may act crazy at a business meeting, but that doesn't mean that we have to respond with insanity.

Stay tuned and stay prayerful

Your brother,
Sid

Monday, September 6, 2010

Persecution

The legendary Bill Cosby once said, "I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." As we say in the church sometimes, "Say on." Bill betta preach up in here. Mr. Cosby knows what he's talking about. His quote epitomizes the church. Listen yawl. You can't please church folk. They love you one minute, hate you the next. Elastic love. Plastic people. Sorry folks, that AIN'T Christianity. It's church-itis. There's no pleasing EVERYBODY in the church. They'll love you as long as you're doing what they expect you to do.

Stop pleasing THEM and watch the drama unfold. Best bet is for us to please God. For real.


However, don't think that pleasing Christ will happen without a price. Oh, you WILL pay, trust me on this one. My good friend, Veraunda Jackson's company says it all...EHAP, Inc ( Everything Has A Price ). And she's right. Everything DOES have a price. Especially when dealing with churchgoers. Do the right thing in honor of God and church folk will persecute you. I'm a living witness. Let me get a little personal with you, give you a real life scenario. This is gonna be a long one. BUCKLE UP.


Now, I'm a married man. A married PREACHER, no less. And recently a single female—a cute one, mind you and supposedly a Christian—asked me to give her a ride home. I didn't do it, for a couple of reasons. Let's go with the order of importance. 1) I have a deep respect and honor for God. The Word is clear...though I have the liberty to do some things as a Christian, I cannot allow my liberty to be evil spoken of (cf. Rom 14:16). Don't have time to expand this passage. Maybe some other time. Before I get to #2, what do I mean?

I'm a guy who looks at the worst case scenarios. Suppose I drove her home and we were sideswiped by a semi, leaving us both dead? What will the papers say? "Reverend Crudup and an unidentified female—not his wife Sandra of 12 years—were killed in a collision with a mack truck." Can your hear the buzz? The grapevine? The water cooler chatter?

Sound silly?
Not in my mind.

You know they like to make the preacher look bad. Suppose one of her boyfriend's homies spotted her getting out of my car? More drama. Let's not forget the church folk...you KNOW that story will have twists and plots come Sunday. And I REFUSE to give anyone an excuse for not being serious about Christ. At least that's my intent.

2) Sandra doesn't know her. I have a deep love and respect for my wife and my loyalty is only to her. I'm past those days of being selfish and doing what I want to do, acting crazy and not considering her feelings. Those days are over. And she did the same thing for me, not allowing a minister to ride with her to CHURCH. Now that's CHURCH, yawl, the house of God, where we are supposed to be. This girl needed a ride HOME. Meeting the need would have appeared innocent, but why couldn't I return the loyal courtesy to my WIFE? Yet...I'm getting blasted for my decision. PERSECUTED.

Here's what gets me. For all she knows, I could be a serial rapist. Yeah I preach, teach and share the Word of God. But how many other people do these things with shady character? So let me ask my SPIRITUAL SISTERS in the LORD a question. So, I have enough character for her to ask me for a ride, but my character is then suspect when I make the decision to say no? Isn't that a contradiction? If I'm a good enough Christian to bum a ride with—not a serial rapist, murderer or sadomasochist—then shouldn't I be a good enough Christian to make a Godly decision? In this case...NO. So why the hostility towards me now? Was I only a friend for what I do or was I a friend for who I am? Hmmm. Got me wondering. My SPIRITUAL SISTERS...whaddya think?

But that ain't the only thing that gets me, though. Another Christian girl got hot with me concerning this scenario....like it's any of her business. She even stepped to me about it. Just a question. Does this epitomize nosy churchgoers? Not making any accusation, just asking a question. Now, I won't mention names, because I still have the utmost respect for her and the other girl too, even though they're both criticizing me about it. Won't even speak to me. But my respect for other people has nothing to do with how they treat me. I respect and honor people because God commanded me to do it ( cf. 1 Peter 2:17). It's the right thing to do. But thank God for growth. Because had she stepped to me like that when I was in the Navy, I would not have been this respectful. I would've given her the business....SAILOR STYLE! And those in the fleet KNOW what I'm talking about. That's how we roll.

Church folk can be dangerous, yawl.

I still don't get it though. Women pack out the Oprah Show, many of them barking that there are no good men. But when a man steps up to honor his wife by telling another woman...NO, they still complain about what he didn't do. For them, of course. As if I'm not carrying out my Christian duties...Come on, give me a break.

Wanna hear from my SPIRITUAL SISTERS on this. Brothers can chime in too. Need your feedback. Regardless of what the feedback is however, I ain't sorry for stepping up for Sandra. Don't care who gets mad about that.

Love yawl

Stay tuned and stay prayerful

Your brother,
Sid

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Character Killers

Hey everybody. I pray that everything is going well with you. Fine here, won't complain. God is good; and for me, that's not merely a cliche. Hope it isn't for you either.

Well, we've learned the importance of guarding up, because the cunning approaches of dangerous church folk can throw us off course. I'd be remissed if I didn't further warn you about what could happen when you do throw up your guard, though. Doesn't always happen, but it certainly has potential. And what's that? When you shut down the fakes, brace yourself for a bit of character assassination. It's a common ploy of the enemy.

Now, if the devil has no problem assaulting God's character, what makes us believe that his disciples—churchgoers—won't assault ours? Please know that they will. Satan did it with Eve in the Garden of Eden. He assaulted God's character and duped her into believing that God was holding out on her. God—the Holy One—suffers character assassination daily, and we should not think that we are above receiving the same.

So, what happens? It's simple We guard up and shut em down, but what follows is retaliation, an onslaught of slurs, slander and defamation. Politicians do it all the time. Election time is nothing more than mudslinging. It's crazy. If the public has enough dirt on the opponent, maybe the accuser will secure all the votes. Never about issues, but mostly about the dirt.

Trying to live righteously incites the character killer's effort to prove you live wickedly. They dig for evil in our lives to make them feel better about their lives. Think about it. If you're a crackhead, the character killer feels justified in being an alcoholic or vice versa. So, when you guard up—keeping nosy churchgoers at a distance—some feel they have the right to dig deeper. And digging for what? Not for the mere pleasure of digging, but they seek to destroy. In other words, "How dare YOU not tell ME what I want to know. I'll fix you."

Remember your gift? They hate on your gift right? So, if they can create reasonable doubt in the assembly, they know you'll have extreme difficulty in ministering your gift effectively. If people believe the character killer's accusation that you're cheating on your spouse, you'll never be able to exercise your gift in couples' ministry. And marriage counseling? Get real! Forget about it. Your reputation has been destroyed at the hands of character assassins. Their aim is to embarrass you. You had the nerve to guard up and shut em down, so now you'll pay the price. Believe me, I've seen it done, live and in color.

Stay focused. Continue to persevere in the Lord. God has your back. Not only does He have your back, He also has His disciples in the church who can see through all of their smokescreens. So, don't focus too hard on the negative, but simply know that it does happen. Focus more on Christ and the work that He has for you. You're gonna be all right. I believe that.

Blessings.

Stay tuned and stay prayerful

Your brother,
Sid

Monday, August 30, 2010

Guard Up

Hey everybody. I pray that everyone's week has started off right. If not, keep persevering and obeying the Word of God. It's gonna be all right. Tonight's post is all about defense. After all, defense wins championships, right? Put up the #1 offense against the #1 defense and the majority of the time, defense wins.
With that said, one of my favorite football players is Ray Lewis. Talk about a defensive mind. It's like he knows what the offense is planning before the offense knows. Not much of a Ravens fan, but I'll rock Ray's jersey anytime. So, what's the metaphor? Why do we need to guard up? And from whom? You guessed it....nosy church folk.
Here's something to ponder. Why are some nosy church folk—who love dippin' into other folks' business—the first ones to fight when someone dips into theirs? Pause. Think about that. They're 38 Hot. Haymakers and F-bombs, know what I mean? Not church folk? Really? Yes, really. Something to think about, right?
Now I'll be the first to admit. The mind is inquisitive. It's always looking for information. And if we're not careful, we'll salivate when busybodies start dramatizing something juicy. I know I would. I NEED GOD to keep me straight, or I'd be just as nosy as anyone else. We need to let the Holy Spirit's influence kick in when our ears prick up to a story we have no business hearing. Gotta Guard Up. Common sense should tell us that if we fill our minds with junk, then junk is coming out. And believe me, nosy church folk have a lot of garbage at their disposal. That's all they dig for. Trash!!
So, we need to guard up in at least two ways. 1) Don't let your spirit be someone else's garbage can. The ole cliche says, "If a dog will bring a bone...then he'll carry one." If nosy church folk are quick to tell us something about someone else, they are just as quick to tell others what they know about us. And you KNOW that's right. 2) Keep folk out of YOUR business. Don't feel bad when you wish to keep your private affairs private. Your affairs are no one else's business. Nosy church folk won't cause me to lose sleep, no matter how mad they get with me. They're mad and I ain't sorry.
Test case. Nosy church folk are so obvious it's funny. Ever heard this: "I was just in the neighborhood, decided to stop by" Now, you live WAY out the way, in the sticks somewhere, a place that'll fry up your GPS, but they're just in the neighborhood? Come on! Nah...they were looking for you. I've seen it done. Or in my case, when Sandra and I first got engaged, church members took a ride down to the Hue City (i.e. ship where I was stationed in the Navy) to find out more about me. Concern? Negative. It was nosiness...plain and simple.
I'm very careful about who I let in. And you should be careful too. Before you know it, those nosy churchgoers will spread your business in the church, in the workplace, in the beauty shop and in the streets. I encourage you to be more discreet. Guard Up and shut em down.
Remember...DEFENSE wins championships.
Blessings
Stay tuned and stay prayerful
Your brother,
Sid




Friday, August 27, 2010

Remove The WOOD

Hey everybody. I pray that everything's good with you. Been a couple of days since my last post, and I apologize for that. Don't want to wear you out though (lol). And not because I haven't had anything to jot down—heaven knows there's enough to talk about when it comes to churchgoers—but we've been busy. You KNOW how that goes. Ministry is tough. Work is tough. Times are tough. With all that going on, the last thing we need in our lives is gossiping church folk stirring up mess in the lives of other people.

Read an interesting Proverb on yesterday, but I was just too tired to blog on it last night. It was Proverbs 26:20. It says "For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases," (ESV)—English Standard Version. Check this out.

If you stop adding wood to a flame, the flame will eventually fizzle out. So, just like fire goes out by a lack of wood or fuel, difficulties disappear when there's no gossiper going around perpetuating nonsense. Get rid of "talkin" church folk, and the worship experience changes for the better. There's a difference between churchgoers and worshippers.

I can tell you why those in church who know nothing about us can't stand us. Church folk been running their mouths. Spreading rumors. Spreading gossip. Talking lies. Dramatizing everything they say. What kind of life do these "whisperers" have? Not much of one, I'm afraid. If they were busy trying to solve their own problems, they'd have less time stirring up problems for you and I. Know what I mean?

Remove the wood!!!

I can't understand how church folk can have the audacity to ruin people's lives, destroying relationships and wreaking havoc in God's house. Yet, they testify—ooops, I mean, test-a-LIE—about the goodness of God. Shouting. Screaming. Waving their hands. Speaking in tongues and all that. Talkin from both sides of their mouth. Praising God in one breath, and tearing down their church family in the next.

SHUT UP, already!!! Tired of that foolishness. Am I angry? Yes. Who else is? I enjoy friendships. I enjoy relationships. And what angers me is someone allowing the devil to stir up unholy passions and making conflict more difficult to settle. Why should I have to explain myself to someone cutting his/her eyes at me and we've never had one conversation? How do you know ME life that? They don't. They're basing their biases and perceptions on the chatter of unholy, spiritless church folk. Some folk love gossip and will continue to hear it AND speak it.

My brothers and sisters in the Lord. Don't allow the devil to use your mind for his garbage. God demands unity. Not uniformity...but unity. Because we can all wear dark suits and white dresses and look UNIFORM. But if my smile is a disguise for hate, our UNIFORM is meaningless. We may look alike, but we're not thinking and feeling alike.

Remove the wood!!!

Not telling you to disrespect others, but if we are to have holy and compassionate relationships with one another, we cannot tolerate slander. Let's surround ourselves with people who love God and love each other. I love yawl. (...we'll talk about Character Killers in upcoming posts)

Blessings.

Stay tuned and stay prayerful

Your brother,
Sid

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

They're Hatin' On Your Gift

I sure wish I could sing, yawl. Unfortunately, God hasn't blessed me with that gift. My voice is horrible. I'm more of a shower artist, know what I mean? Sandra, my beautiful wife, can tell you about those numerous James Brown and Ray Charles concerts I've had in the master bath. Don't laugh, because many of you do it too. Stop frontin' (LOL).

But I have enough sense to appreciate those in the church who do sing with power and anointing. But not just singing; whatever gifts God has given His children, I've learned to appreciate. How do I do it? I focus on what He gave me. Time out for trying to be the next person or hatin' on a brother/sister because of a gift I wish I had. If I'm not careful, jealousy will rise up in me, and before I know it, I'm hatin' on the gift. Have to be on guard, lest I end up like Cain (cf. Genesis 4).

Unfortunately, not everyone in the church shares the same sentiment. Churchgoers want to be the center of attention for EVERYTHING. They want to be the bride at every wedding, the teacher at every seminar, the headliner at every concert, the soloist in every choir, and even the corpse at every funeral.

Don't put their name in the church bulletin, and watch the fireworks!

If God has blessed you with an awesome gift, they hate you. Preach better than SOME pastors, and they'll start slinging rocks at you from the pulpit and in Bible study (...more on that in another entry). They'll take cheap shots at you and use the Bible to do it. All because they have control of the microphone and the adoration of all their Biblically-illiterate flunkies. Come on now, you KNOW I'm telling the truth. Aight....I'm sorry, I'll be nice.

But for real. When God uses you to bless His people, don't the haters try to cut you down? I'm feeling you. They'll orchestrate a rumor about you. They'll tell folks all about your business. They'll rally other haters to assault you. They'll ostracize you from their fellowship. They roll their eyes, suck their teeth and commence the neck action. Right? I know...been there, done that, got the T-shirt.

Here's a word for you. Hang in there. God knows how to shut your enemies up. He has His own army in the church that'll help build you up, encourage you in the Lord and push you to limits you'd never thought you'd reach. Continue to pray. Focus. Stay busy in the things of God and keep being obedient to the Lord.

They may hate on your gift. But when God decides to blow you up, they'll have no choice but to accept it. Stay humble.

Peace and love to you. (...more to come)

Stay tuned and stay prayerful.

Your brother
Sid.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Cunning Approach - Part II

One of my favorite preachers is John Piper, who heads a ministry called Desiring God out of Minneapolis. Something I heard him say about "flattery" just stuck with me. Nothing all that deep, but it "stuck" with me. Don't remember the phraseology verbatim, but it went something like this. "When someone flatters you, they're trying to take something from you." Like I said, not all that deep, but something worth pondering over. We're not talking about a compliment here, we're talking about excessive praise motivated by self-interest. The culprits are sychophants, plain and simple, no other way to explain them.

My sisters, be on high alert for churchgoing sycophant brothers. "Did he just say...?" Yeah, I said it and I meant it. They're in church and they're on the prowl. As I stated in a previous blog, not everyone is serious about God. Watch the flatterers and pay VERY close attention to the brothers always quoting the Scripture. Most of the time, it's out of context. Many of them are trying to impress you. Now, there's nothing wrong with sincere compliments, really, but discernment needs to kick in high gear to distinguish whether it's delightful or disastrous.

Cunning. Smooth. He might be trying to take something from you!

Some figure they can get away with it, because they're not that many men in church, unfortunately. So, some of them see you—my sisters—as a buffet. I've heard them talk. Felt like hitting a couple of them. For real. I am serious about Christ and I have a burning hatred for fakery. Am I perfect? No! Far from it. But one thing I can't stand...Cunning Approaches.

That's the negative, but what's the positive? A friend of mine rebuked me today concerning my blog, and it was a healthy one. She wanted to make sure I wasn't just dwelling on the negative things happening in church. She was right. So, what's the positive? There are true brothers in the church who are honestly seeking the Lord. And I applaud them. Not all church brothers are dangerous sycophants. Praise God for that.

Hope you've been blessed and informed. More to come....

Stay tuned and stay prayerful.

Your brother,
Sid

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Cunning Approach - Part I

I can't stress enough how important it is to stay alert when interacting with churchgoers. Just a shout to my sisters real quick. Won't deal with how the brothers approach you in this entry, but we'll talk a bit about how the other sisters in church come at you. And it's crazy, because they spring up in a variety of ways. We'll talk about just one right now, all right? Cool. Now, in case you didn't know, these sisters—churchgoers—are fishing for information. 411 operators, know what I mean? And the best way they can do that is to befriend you. Trust me, I've seen it done. And please don't have a good-looking man with you. They'll dig deep to find out about him not you. Hate to say it, but church-going sisters—not worshippers—but church-going, get together and talk about what men they'd like to...you know....get with? And many of the brothers they talk about are married. Heaven forbid he's a good preacher. So, this cunning approach they use is the guise of friendship, just so they can jack your marriage up.

I encourage my true sisters to stay close to Christ. Don't be taken in by the smile and the false concern. Now, the Lord has His remnant in the church, and I encourage you to get to know them. Otherwise, you'll be hurt by the so-called "sanctified" ones. Be safe.

I invite dialogue, comments and criticisms. At least we're talking.

Blessings

Your Brother
Sid

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Eyes Wide Open

My friends, listen up. A lot of them smile, but they aren't tickled. Who? Church folk, who else? It's important we enter the worship experience with eyes wide open, lest the churchgoers hit us from the blind side. Please don't believe everyone in church is serious. Only worshippers are serious. Churchgoers are sinister. Watch out for the cunning approach! (...more on that in the next entry). Watch out for all their flowery words, because in the midst of the bouquet is a dagger. Protect your heart. Protect your mind. Protect your spirit.

In the coming weeks, we'll be sharing some helpful tips, that I believe will help you to navigate through all the murky waters. Sometimes we have to push through the weeds to get to the pearls. Church Folk can be dangerous, yes. But there are some genuine saints who have a passion for God and who desire to see us persevere. So, it's critical that we move in with EYES WIDE OPEN.

More to come

Blessings

Your brother
Sid

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Start Up

In 2002, I wrote my first book, Church Folk Can Be Dangerous People. Unfortunately, nothing has changed in 2010. Just when you think they couldn't get any lower, they get lower. Trust me when I tell you, folks. Look up the word "danger" in the dictionary and you might find a few church members. Nah, I'm just playing. But for real, what's the problem? What's up with all the gossip, fighting and backbiting? It's a shame when an author can continue to write books about the subject and never run out of things to talk about. I wrote my second book in the Church Folk series in 2004. Shock and salvation, right? What a concept.

Thinking about dropping another book in the series next year. Some of you might be wondering why I'd write about such a sensitive topic. Because I'm tired of seeing people searching for healing but finding hell. It doesn't please Christ and it destroys people. We'll be touching on some sensitive issues here at the blog in coming weeks.

Stay tuned and stay prayerful.

Blessings

Your brother,
Sid