Bruh, Man Up (Submission, part 1)

There’s a incorrect popular idea in masculine culture ,and especially even Christianity, that the practice and idea of submission is primarily the responsibility of the woman. The usual themes I see on Twitter, Facebook, college campuses, Sunday mornings,  Wednesday night Bible studies, etc., go something like this:

Woman Submits to Man, Man Submits to nobody. Man is King.

Let’s look at the story of a famous King and see how the popular idea of submission matches up.

So there was a man who God called to preach to a city called Nineveh; his name was Jonah.  After a crazy journey to get there, he finally preaches to the city of Nineveh to repent – to turn away from their sin and turn to God. This was the King of that city’s response:

Jonah 3

6 The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.7 And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water,8 but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands.9 Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.”

The city of Nineveh was horrible, very much like the terrorist culture of Al Qaeda. They were known for torturing folk, pillaging other nations, and the worship of various false gods. The King of this city literally ran all of these things. He was the head. Nineveh was his world, or so he thought. However, peep the text and let’s peep what he does in light of the message Jonah preached:

1. Arose from his throne

The King of this mighty nation, the ruler of everything around Him, this man of renown and power, arose from his throne. This man had a seat of authority, influence, wealth, power, women, you name it. But in response to God, the King got off of his throne. This points to the fact that he was willing to give all of what he had up to be in alignment with what God’s desires were for him.

2. Removed his robe

The robe of the King was a public display of his position. This is who he was. Folk saw this Kings robe and knew who he was. This was his identity. Again though, this man was willing to give up who he found himself to be, as well as who others found Him to be in response to God.

3. Put on sackcloth and sat in ashes

Even without knowing the Bible, The King was able to understand God’s will to such an extent that He was willing to take off “everything” and put on nothing. In this realization, the King was able to put on humility- and to sit in humility. All in response to a message from God.

Keep reading the text. Look at how he took these steps in response to God, leading his community to follow suit. This is what Biblical submission looks like for men. Men are called to submit to God. They are called to get off of the thrones of their own hearts, take off the identity given to them by the world, and sit in humility- agreeing to the role that God has for them- which is always one of leadership in some degree, and always one that leads others to turn to God.

So we know what submission is, but the question is how do we do this? It’s hard to get off the throne of your own herd, take off your identity that the world gives you, and then sit in humility. I dare say it’s impossible. So how do we do it? Quick verse and we’ll wrap up part 1…

Philippians 4:12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

The answer is Jesus. We need Him for us to submit … that means we repent -turn away from our sins and turn to Him, to believe in His work on His Cross where he paid the debt of sin against God that we owe. Through Him we can do this thing men. Next time we’re going to talk about another King who submitted so that we can really unpack this thing even further.

Part 2 coming soon!

grace and peace.

Facing Giants

Everywhere I go these days, I’m greeted with the same question. “So what’s after college?” And I give an answer, but usually it’s vague with no specifics. Not because I don’t have any plans, but because I have a fear of verbally expressing in detail exactly what I truly want to do with my life. Maybe I feel like if I actually say it, then people will hold me to it and will be disappointed if I don’t actually do it. Maybe I don’t say it, because I will be disappointed if I don’t do it.

It’s actually a point of frustration for me. I see my strengths and my attributes, and I see in my mind’s eye what I could actually do with my skills. I see how I could incorporate ministry and how I could create something special, and it’s a beautiful picture, but I get frustrated because I’m not sure I’ll ever get to see that beautiful picture in reality.

When God led the Israelites out of Egypt, He brought them to a land, they saw the land, and they saw how good the land was. God told them to go in and take possession of the land. Now they had seen some giants in the land and even though God had commanded them to take the land and had told them that He would go in before them, the Israelites started shakin in their boots. Moses recalls how they responded in Deuteronomy 1:26- 27…

“Yet you would not go up, but rebelled against the command of the Lord your God. 27 And you murmured in your tents and said, ‘Because the Lord hated us he has brought us out of the land of Egypt, to give us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us.”

Before truly reading this verse I would have said that the Israelites just had fear, they had a trust issue. I never saw their failure to ‘go in’ and ‘take possession’ as an act of rebellion also. They were in direct disobedience of a command from God.

Then there’s this murmuring part and I know exactly how that goes. “If God loved me he would make this happen for me!” “If God loved me he would take the challenge of pursuing my goals away!” “Why would God give me the desire to do this with my life, if He was gonna make it impossible for me to actually achieve!”

Rebellion & trust issues. Moses spends the rest of the chapter rebuking the people. He tells them to remember the awesome works that God had already performed in their lives. He reminds them that their swag is on one hundred thousand trillion, because God has been rolling with them the whole time. God has allowed us all to have gifts and talents and way back in Genesis, He told us to cultivate-develop, learn, and progress our talents to the fullest- and subdue-use our talents in the world to the glorification of God. That’s a command!

We see the fields that we can apply ourselves too, and we see how good it could be, and the Lord has told us to go into those fields and own them for Him. But then we start seeing giants. Big scary giants like the giants of hard work and the giants of impossibility. At the sight of these giants, we decide to blame God because we feel frustrated or restrained thinking that our dreams and goals are out of reach. As a believer, God’s hand has been too mighty upon my life for me to not trust in Him. I know He has my back so the only thing truly frustrating about my future is my rebellion or failure to cultivate and subdue. I know that in order to feel unrestrained I have to surrender all to God, giving Him the controls and trusting that He will provide. Whichever land I go in, there’s for sure gonna be a fight, a struggle. The giants aren’t going anywhere, and sure I’m only 5’10” but my shadow reaches beyond the heavens.

Mission Trip: New Orleans.

After months of fundraising, faithful supporters and prayers, this past week, myself and 9 other people were gifted the opportunity to travel to the vibrant city of New Orleans on a mission trip hosted by Mission Lab of Vintage Church in Gentilly, New Orleans, LA.

We stayed at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and the accommodations were excellent.  Our days started early at 7 a.m. and ended around 11 p.m. with activities for every hour of every day.  We were fed some of the best meals each day and we were given the opportunity to hear a message from the pastor of the church and his friend every other night while we were there.  The theme of the messages were “Loving the City” with emphasis on our responsibilities as the church.

Throughout our week in New Orleans, we were taken around the city and we were assigned various evangelistic opportunities such as renewing a baseball field, sharing our faith on different campuses (University of New Orleans and Xavier University), giving to the displaced people in the downtown area, prayer walking in the Irish Channel (one of the highest crime areas in New Orleans), visiting the Lower Ninth Ward and much, much more.

Visiting the city, I assumed that my assignment from God would solely be spreading His Gospel of Salvation and drawing others closer to His goodness.  That was only one part of the assignment He had for me, and I can confidently say the same on behalf of those who went with me.  He revealed and taught to us that the church is NOT the building that we walk into and go out of.  Instead, the church is WHO WE ARE.  Missions is not some task to be accomplished on a checklist.  It is a desire from God to reach the souls of others and for Him to sanctify and teach the souls of ourselves.

We were greeted with all types of personalities in New Orleans and everyday came with a new surprise.  I expected nothing of what I experienced and it was a journey that God took us on to not only speak to others, but for Him to speak to us a message we take lightly: love your neighbors as you love yourself.

Here are a few photos from our week in New Orleans and you can find a day-to-day summary with more photos at this website: http://ratedh.tumblr.com.

We stopped on our way to New Orleans to get something to eat.  It’s true when they say everything is bigger in Texas!
Our first night of worship.

This was our first assignment: to dig bases on a baseball field.
We visited the University of New Orleans to share our faith with the students on campus and we teamed up with students from Xavier University and a school from Georgia.The man on the right was preaching the Gospel while the young man on the left spoke against it.
This is a teddy bear that was found in the debris after Hurricane Katrina.
French Quarters.People search everywhere for the truth.

This is the Super Dome.This is our dear friend Mike from Mission Lab telling us about the Irish Channel before we began our prayer walk.
This is Kirk Joseph, the son of trombonist Waldren”Frog” Joseph.  He was just sitting out on his porch as we approached him and he offered us water, encouraged us with the song “When the Saints Go Marching,” told us about his late father and prayed with us in his home.  Add him on Facebook! :)
This is Waldren Joseph, Kirk’s father.  He has a wall in the house.This is Ms. Kathy.  We saw her on the corner of a street cutting grass from the cracks of concrete.  She said she had worked in an office for so many years that any chance she gets to go outside, she takes it and she goes out to help clean up the community, in the Irish Channel.  Her prayer and many others were the same, that the violence would stop and that children would stop killing one another.
Getting ready to give baby wipes, water, snacks and prayer to the displaced people in the New Orleans downtown area.

This is Mickey.  He was such an encouraging inspiration.  He said that all he plays is Gospel music and people hate that he does it.  But because he knows what God has done for him in his life, he refuses to stop praising him through song!  He even played and sang a tune for us.
During some down time, we heard live music and the guys decided to take advantage of it by enjoying the music and dance with strangers that became friends.
the levees right before we entered the Lower Ninth Ward.
If you look closely, you can see rust on the white thing that is hanging on the pole – that is where the water surfaced during Hurricane Katrina – 16 ft.  This is in the Lower Ninth Ward where the hurricane did the most damage.
This was our lot to clean out!
This is Ms. Linda Jackson, the President of the Lower  Ninth Ward Homeowners Association.  She gave us our assignment as well as some background information on Katrina and the Lower Ninth Ward community.
As we were working hard, we were greeted by Stanley Stewart, a Katrina victim, who now has an incredible story to share with the world.  He invited us in to tell us his story.
Stanley Stewart is now a renown name with an inspiring story on the rebuilding of his home, of his future.  Visit his website here.
Our lot after a long time of hard work!!!  God gave us some strength because it was a tedious task under the sun!
In return, God sent the ice cream truck right down our street and we were TOO excited!!!
The next day, we visited Xavier University to share our faith with college students.
These are the students of the Impact group at Xavier that we teamed up with.  They were a great help!!!
We got to park and ride on a trolly that took us downtown!  It was the longest ride ever.  But we all got to talk to other people riding  the trolly about their experience in New Orleans.
Live music and good food!

Our last night out together in New Orleans!!!

U Rydin (Live at SXSW)

Generally speaking, if the topic of discussion is Christian music and Frontline, one would likely think the dialogue is about the influential Christian record label, Frontline Records, that changed the game and created a legacy for Christian music during the late 80’s and early 90’s.

However, last week at the SXSW festival in Austin, TX, Frontline Movement (a trio from Houston, including Reconcile, Corey Paul, & F.O.E.) hit the stage near the Hip Hop Hope Unity concert’s end, and literally woke up the crowd with a performance of their raw song titled, “U Rydin”.

If you watch closely at about the 4:20 mark, you’d notice Corey Paul trying to corral Reconcile & F.O.E. to re-introduce themselves after what was seemingly the end of their set. Little do they know, the performance was so dope and the crowd was so energized, that the DJ encored the track! Wow!

thread about the encore via twitter

Personally, I remember when Reconcile gave me an exclusive listen to “U Rydin”, months ago. It was on a Thursday night of fellowship with our fam @thecitygoodhope as we waited for our food at IHOP.  After giving the song a listen, I distinctly remember looking over at him and saying, “Bro, this is really good … like anthem or soundtrack music, good!”  I’m not sure if he took me serious then or not, though.  I wonder if he’ll take the comment below from a well-respected journalist serious?

via twitter

Frontline — a movement already buzzing — has already undoubtedly figured a couple of things out that could lead them to making a much greater impact from the “Christian Hip Hop” arena. The artists are working closely, building with each other and off of each other, making relatable music, as well as taking their light to the streets (on the Matthew 5:14-16 tip) after the music stops.

Download “U Rydin” for free here.

See more from Frontline Movement here.

Stay tuned with us for the official “U Rydin” video.

3 Minute Devotional

Let’s eat:

Psalm 84:10-11 (emphasis added)

10 For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly

_______________________________________________________________________

The writer of this Psalm was a king. He had many many great things. Women, land, money, whatever. It was his. In light of that fact, he writes this. One day as a doorkeeper (a servant, a non ruler, a slave) in the house of God is worth more than a 1,000 days anywhere else. Why? Because simply, God is good. He’s the source of life and a simultaneous protector. His worth outweighs whatever the world offers thousands of times over. The writer understood the weight of God and His Goodness by way of a promise. For us that promise has been fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Is a day in and with Jesus Christ worth a 1,000 days anywhere else for you?

Grace.

Anchoring Ambassadors

I love to re-read a book or re-watch a movie and discover something new. To me, it means that the book or movie has depth and it reflects the intellect of the author. With that said, the Bible definitely has depth and the Author’s thoughts are so far above ours, that I am constantly amazed at the new things the Holy Spirit is revealing to me every time I read.

In re-visiting the story of Noah and the ark, I was lead to think about the folk who didn’t make it on the boat. How many cats stood outside of the ark laughing at Noah? Day one of the rain came, and they figured “no biggie, it’s rained for whole days before.” Then day 2 came … then day 3 … and then day 6. When did they start to think to themselves that maybe Noah did know what he was talking about? How many folk were banging on the ark’s door as the water began to rise up their bodies? How many people tried to hang on to the ark or tried to climb on top of it; their efforts all in vain?

It’s a harsh reality, but an even harsher reality for some, is the fact that God will flood the earth again, but the second time it will be with fire, and the destruction will be forever. For folk who do not believe in Jesus Christ, there will be no second chance to get on the boat, no banging on the door, no pleading; the door will simply be closed.

If you are saved, you represent the boat folk. And as boat folk, we have a task at hand. We are ambassadors. We are called to anchor as many people as we can to the boat, so that when our Captain, Jesus Christ, comes back, we will all be ready to pull up and sail to paradise (Col. 1:28).

In Colossians, Paul expresses how much he works and struggles for the sake of spreading the gospel, training men to follow Christ. He tells the Colossians in chapter 2, verse 6, “Therefore as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”

The word that sticks out to me is the word taught. In order for them to have learned, someone had to have taught them. Someone built them up, discipled them, and instructed them.  In verse 8 he expounds on why it is so important to teach and to make sure folk are rooted when he says, “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world and not according to Christ.” Even then, a lack of theology, or a lack of roots, left men susceptible to worldly winds of theology that is not of God.

Sometimes we’re content to watch people who think they don’t need the Ark get swept away by pride. They either try to catch the wave of fame, or they get carried off by education and dreams of success. Little do they know that these futile waves are only carrying them out to danger, and they will disappoint them when they fizzle out – or will crush them when they get toppled by an even bigger wave. Then the day will come when it is too late to stop riding the waves of the world, and the boat folk will be called up.

This reality has got to lead us to compassion. It makes me think of myself and my efforts. Will I toil and struggle, and work, in order to anchor my family and friends in Christ? Who have I helped anchor so that they are not swayed by the religions and philosophies of this world? As an ambassador, who knows that soon the door of this second ark will be shut without any chance of re-opening, will I seize that fact with immediacy? Will I be moved to action?

Will you?

deadly desires.

there is a difference between the desires of the Spirit and the desires of the flesh.

that is, one conceives Life, the other conceives death.

the more we submit to ourselves and

offer ourselves up as “living sacrifices” to the altar of ourselves,

the further we drown in the desires of our flesh and

we end up being suffocated to death by … death.

but the more we submit to Christ and

offer ourselves up as living sacrifices to the altar of our Savior,

the closer we are drawn to restoration and regeneration.

what pleasure do we really gain from becoming one, with ourselves?

there is no fulfillment in submitting to our fleshly desires because

we begin to search for new ways to complete a void that’s

too big and too wide for anything or anyone other than

the Creator of this universe, God.

will we continue to give in to the desires of our unsatisfying flesh

that seeks to lead you to death,

or our completely satisfied Savior,

who longs to witness you live, eternally?

which one will you choose?