you are who/what you retweet.

Twitter is an atmosphere in which one can enter the minds of people & celebrities (or actually their PR manager, but I can’t prove that) on a tweet by tweet basis. But, I see a growing trend in retweeting any vague reference to God that they submit.  That’s an interesting concept worth exploring.

The good.

Sometimes I see a celebrity tweet something about prayer & immediately people send encouraging replies. It’s encouraging to see people humble themselves & ask for help. Imagine people from all over the world praying to God petitioning, not manipulating, on the behalf of a humbled heart.

Also, social justice causes will have more publicity with a celebrity name attached #truth. If someone gets to have a meal on their table because @whoever pubbed for it, then so be it.

The honorable.

It’s honorable to see the transparency in some celebrities. Some people will come out & be real about how they feel about something, proclaiming truisms. Christian or not, you can have an opinion. We all push our thoughts on others, even when we tell others not to push their truth on us … we are inevitably pushing our truth on someone. The irony, think about it.

For instance, if someone says that we should not talk about religion & politics they are talking about religion & politics. What they are actually saying is, I have the truth & your truth is not welcome here. I can make exclusive claims to my philosophy on religion but yours are wrong & should be converted to my way of thought.

The bad.

The bad, in this subject of retweeting, is that people seem to retweet any vague reference to God that any celebrity tweets. This is reflective of ones own heart & their definition of justification. I call it the “celebrity-award-show-complex,” & it is very much extended to twitter. You know, when a celebrity raps/sings/acts about everything that breaks God’s heart & blasphemes his name by saying that he commissioned their work to do that. Self-justifying themselves by rap-praying on the last track, saying God (or at least Him) on a gospel-ish track, or doing a Christian-ish movie. They tweet about booty, butts, cheeks, & then a non-biblical God.  A non-biblical God tweet isn’t a God tweet but a god tweet; the god of themselves & their desire for justification.

Stop judging die_dd!

I am judging, & if you think I am judging you are judging me. Oh the irony, think about it. Or as Keller would say, “Those who condemn the self-righteous for the sake of self-discovery do so with ironic self-righteousness.”

The sad truth is that we all stand judged & condemned. We all have gone our own way & blaspheme God by self-justifying ourselves as if God backs our tweets. We tweet about every trending topic that captures our fleshly desires. Out of the abundance of the heart our fingers tweet. We are broken people in need to be made whole. That’s the bad news.

The honorable news is that your tweets are proof that you need help. Critically analyze your tweets & you will discover your idols. Another word for celebrity is idol.

God the Father follows no one but has two followers, the Holy Spirit & Jesus, and on twitter, the Spirit doesn’t accept follow requests unless you already follow Jesus. But, to follow Christ you must unfollow your other idols (repent & believe). Upon following Christ the Spirit immediately follows you & allows you to see the retweets of the Father God.

That’s the good news. The glorious news that Jesus entered the hypocrisy of the world & cut through it with love in the shape of a cross. Caring for us when we were ungodly, tweeting evil.

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8 #absolutetruth

Break Free: “One in the Gospel” (Galatians 2:1-10)

Radio Reconcile

 

Radio Reconcile

Confessions of a Preacher

*preface* This may be too transparent for some of you. If you have an image of a crispy clean young man who’s “on fire” for God, read with caution if at all…

There are many times (really all the time) when I just pause at the idea of me being a Christian. I’m so much more morally bankrupt than those unsaved people around me. I stumble into pride, lust, hypocrisy, gluttony, laziness and foolishness often…there are folk who if they had my shoes would be doing much better morally, I know it. I know it because they are in situations much worse than me and are much more moral than I am. The fact that God’s mercy is new every morning is still not fully grasped in my heart, which is a lack of faith, another testament of my shortcomings and God’s grace in spite of myself.

I really don’t NEED to hang around folk. My desire and idolization of acceptance pushes me to hang around folk, but my other idol of self dependence and secrecy push me to be alone. Even when I play spades with folk, often my aim is to win and big up myself, not simply enjoy community. A thing as simple and seemingly innocent as spades becomes a prop to the idol of self preservation and improvement… I glory in being a winner, in being right, even in a stupid game of cards.

As much as I rail against the unloving self righteous pseudo Christian, I am extremely unloving to those people, or people I self-righteously judge to be so, making me just as bad as those I tweet/preach/facebook against. “Oh, I get on your nerves? Then don’t talk to me, it’s not like you’re adding anything to my growth. You don’t like how I preach? Well forget you then, if you knew the Gospel you’d like it. I don’t need your community or your love, I do well just by myself.” The same arrogant, entrepreneurial, hypocritical Christianity I preach against I myself find myself living in with sprinkles of “Gospel-centeredness” on top.

I work hard. Very hard. 3-5 jobs hard. I justify it by saying I’m giving it and saving it to plan for a family that will glorify God. I hardly give to the local church as much as I budget initially, and even when I do I battle a fierce beast of pride and self righteousness. I don’t look to the fact that Jesus has established me through His work on the Cross because I look at my own work and think I am established, or at least close. I fail to work out my salvation with fear and trembling and instead work to fill my pockets with fearless pride. I justify who and how valuable I am through the jobs and money I have saved, the things I can afford on my own, failing to realize God is the one who gave me everything to earn what I don’t even give back to Him.

….I could go on. But pause and think about this: God through Himself saved me knowing I would be where I am and loves me enough to continue to not leave me or forsake me, but in fact sanctify me. He continues to reign down on my life…mercies and grace. My life doesn’t make any sense in a karma sense. In fact, I deserve death, but God in the blood of my own menstrual rags of righteousness said live…I am so nobody. No..body. But Jesus is Somebody and was Somebody for me on the Cross dying and raising for me…freeing me from living up to the expectations presented by my parents, society, even the expectations set by myself. Those character flaws listed are not up to me to correct because they have been paid for on the Cross. Even me re-realizing my identity in Jesus and submitting to the Spirit is done through the mind of Christ given to me by Christ. Thankful.

Please pray for me. I want to love more, submit more, lead more….die more to live more.

I love you.

Healing, oh Healing, where for art thou?

There have been a few instances in my life in which I can honestly say that I felt broken beyond repair. Daily I waited to see if God’s promises were true. I would read the psalms for hope & some sign that God was on my side. But, I ended up realizing that my sin caused these seasons of brokenness.

I said, “O LORD, have mercy on me; heal me, for I have sinned against you. – psalm 41:4

There have been a few instances in my life in which I can honestly say that I would be so scared of letting people know how hurt I was by a situation that I would only tell God. Usually the situation involved others & for the sake of guarding the position of others I bore the hurt. Thinking that it was my position to bear the pain & it would be gossip to think otherwise.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” – psalm 14:3

There have been a few instances in my life in which I can honestly say that I waited in anticipation of healing. The idea was so beautiful. One day God would come & personally heal me from all of the sins done by me and to me. I pictured God as catering specifically to me.

He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.” – psalm 107:20

There have been a few instances in my life in which I can honestly say that God has used the preached Word, the Word, & the incarnate Word to rescue me from my self-made hell. In times of shame & guilt God showed me that my guilt is taken away, and my sin atoned for by Jesus Christ through a sermon from the Bible.

For this is what the high and lofty One says–he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.” – isaiah 57:15

There have been a few instances in my life in which I can honestly say that the notion of God dwelling inside me has been comforting beyond compare. Jesus, whose name is holy & dwells in Heaven, came down & dwelt among creation. The creation he created rejected his offering of healing, but he brought healing anyways. You could find Jesus among the broken. In that same sense the Holy Spirit dwells in the broken & is tirelessly pushing us towards the healing Jesus brought forth on the cross.

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,” – isaiah 61:1

There have been many instances in my life in which I can honestly say that the good news of Jesus Christ has set people free. Although we have deep scars from past hurts & new cuts from present situations, it is a promise from God that he will bind up the brokenhearted. That is the gospel, that Jesus was sent to heal us who would humbly accept his love. Realizing that you’re hurting yourself & that you’re hurting others & most of all you’re hurting God is the beginning of the road to healing, but you must simultaneously turn towards God. It’s called repenting & believing in the gospel.

wait in anticipation of healing, although through the cross you are healed.

exhaustion.

do you see , what i see –
a body , exhausted – almost lifeless.
can you feel what i feel , a point of surrender.
stripped , his body is unclothed and explicitly exposed
to the world , for the world to see.

beads of sweat dripped , traveled down the side of his face
rolled down his expanded ribcage , as he lay there.
and all people could do was walk passed , shake their head , some laughed.
as his body laid there , helpless , hopeless
in front of the world , for the world to see.

when you’ve got nothing left to live for , do you surrender?
do you give up , let go because you have nothing left to hold?
are you afraid of what they may say or think?
if you lay your life down before the world , even further , before the Lord?
in front of the world , for the world to see how
lifeless your life has been – now that you’ve discovered
you’ve got nothing else to live for.

he did.

jason terry’s tattoo preaches.

do you see that? look a litter closer. it’s on his right bicep. yes, that’s the larry o’brien trophy that is awarded to the nba franchise that wins the nba finals. and no, he didn’t scramble to the nearest tattoo parlor in miami directly after the game 6, championship-clinching victory over the heat to get inked up. jason “the jet” terry got that tattoo before the start of the 2010-2011 season. in full faith, the jet basically guaranteed that the mavericks would be the 2011 nba world champions.

jason the jet terry > harold camping.

don’t miss this. jason terry believed the mavericks were going to win the championship. he then got a permanent tattoo of the prime tangible reward on the inside of his arm (the same arm responsible for lighting lebron up). and then after the job was done, inherited the reward.

13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee [1] of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, [2] to the praise of his glory.

when we hear the gospel of Jesus Christ as it pertains to our salvation (that God created us all good, then we sinned and were separated from an all good God, then bad/corruption ensued but immediately after we sinned God, being good, promised a good savior through Jesus Christ despite the bad/corruption of mankind and the world to come, then God being good came down as Christ and was good for life but died for our bad selves and whosoever believes in Him shall obtain eternal life – #quick) – by grace it sinks into the depths of our wretched souls, only to liberate us from death, to life, upon belief. if we reject that, well, hell – no pitchfork.

after liberation comes permeation, in which the Holy Spirit of God literally takes residence inside of us, giving us life, just as it did for the one-time-virgin mary. this Holy Ghost not only powers us to be Christ-like, He seals us for everything that God has promised to us, including Himself! but this is no ordinary lick-the-envelope seal. this is a “once saved, always saved” type of seal …

sphragizo from sphragis = seal, engraved object used to make a mark – denoting ownership, approval, or closure of something normally done by pressing into heated wax usually attached to a document or letter) means to set a seal upon or to mark with a seal. To mark so as to certify that something is so. Seals were used to make something secure, to serve as a guarantee of the correctness of the contents, to indicate authenticity, to indicate ownership. Sacrificial animals were examined and sealed if perfect. Jars, sacks of fruit or grain were sealed.  To mark with a seal as a means of identification in Greek secular writings was used to mark all kinds of animals, so that the mark denoting ownership also carries with it the protection of the owner. – (http://preceptaustin.org)

i hope you didn’t miss that! those of us in Christ are permanently stamped, in a tattoo manner, with the promised Spirit of God, who is our owner (God that is). we are secure in Him and will inherit what He has for us, and this is not of our doing, but simply because of Christ winning, for us, the game of life that we couldn’t win! even believing in the Him of the gospel is by grace!

are you “tatted?” if not, just believe! after liberation and permeation comes celebration! thank you Jesus!

Dear Graduate…

If I could sum up my graduation in one word it would be finality. Graduation was the period in the last paragraph on the last page of that chapter in my life.  At my university you cross the stage, get your diploma, then exit this grand arch, symbolizing your exit from the institution. Liberating finality.

I received a lot of graduation cards that were filled with well wishes and congratulations. A lot of cards had these ‘it’s your turn now, go out there and make a difference’ type of  messages. But there was one card in particular that stood out to me, it read, “You are the future for believers.” The individual is a long time friend. I don’t want her words to get misquoted. She is a believer and understands that the only future and hope is in Jesus Christ. But what she was communicating in that sentence was a charge, a responsibility, it was a benediction.

The charge, to care for believers to come. The responsibility: the future church. The body parts that will take over after I am removed. The benediction: the blessing to go forth and do this. The guidance: this is what I should do. I have a role to play for future believers. See, the task in college had been to specialize in a subject & then to study that subject so that upon graduation I could go out into the world and apply my expertise in a given field. For the past four years my classmates and I had been readying ourselves. But as a student of Christ, a follower, a disciple of Christ, what was the task?

“Create disciples who make disciples. Disciple Cycles. ”

It wasn’t until recently that I’ve begun to fully realize that my generation is becoming the church. The elders in my community of believers have been extending their hands to my generation for several years now. And slowly they are beginning to pull us into position. My peers are beginning to preach from the pulpit, lead Bible studies, conduct major church events, and disciple. My generation has become exceedingly involved with the youth, so while we’re still holding on to the hands of our elders, we’re turning around and reaching our hands out to the youth, the future of the church.

I’m so reminded of David in this instance. David had a desire to build a temple for God, but God said that the task did not belong to David, but to David’s son Solomon. And David’s response blows me away. He looks at his son Solomon and recognizes that Solomon is inexperienced and immature, so in a great display of selflessness David begins to lay out instructions for the temple, he begins to gather materials from far off lands and store them up for Solomon to use, he blesses Solomon, gives him words of wisdom and wishes him success.

David realizes he isn’t the end all be all king of Israel, he can’t do it all, and there will be kings after him, but he prepares the way. The greater David, Jesus Christ, was the way, He laid down His life to prepare the way to the Father, He discipled and gave instruction to disciples. He knew that although He is always with us, His physical manifested presence would not always be with us. He prophesied that in times to come the church would do greater things than He had done while on earth, so He prepared the way and equipped us to do these greater things.

I’m so grateful for these realizations because they’ve given me tunnel vision. I see outside myself, I see the church outside my generation. I see the opportunity for me to bless the younger generation, I see the opportunity to better myself for them. I want to study more diligently, because I am not just gathering knowledge for myself but also for them. When I listen to sermons, I’m not listening just for me, but I’m gathering wisdom for those to come. As we experience success and failures in our ministry, we’re not gaining this experience just for us to learn from. I’m so encouraged to be the future for believers.