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.


Your Brother,

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?"
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.
Your brother,