The Invasion

I couldn’t hardly believe it. I had seen the tweets so I rushed to a computer and punched in www.bet.com. Sure enough there was Trip Lee, a Christian rap artist, on the 106&Park page. Recently I was given the opportunity to serve as an artist assistant at a concert Trip did in Houston at Good Hope, I mean I had just seen the man in the flesh and there he was a few days later being featured on BET, he had crossed over into a popular ‘secular’ venue.  I mean his picture was on the website for all to see, the gospel message was conveyed in his song, and the entire video played on national television!

A couple days later I saw a tweet put out by Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (pictured to the right). Curry’s tweet implied that he was a Trip Lee fan! In my mind I was like my goodness, through hip hop and rap God is allowing the gospel to enter the homes of many and music like Trip Lee’s is being promoted and publicly talked about by popular figures in our culture like Curry. I was ecstatic. This thing felt like a movement fa real, it felt like gospel music was infiltrating the world!

But where was the shock coming from? I had thoughts like-they’re listening to what WE listen to? Hey look, that’s OUR music! Wow, what does BET want with a gospel artist? These thoughts weren’t born out of selfishness, I just didn’t quite understand.

If you read the book of Acts you’ll see that one of the greatest barriers to spreading the gospel was the Jewish-Gentile conflict. Most Jews thought it unlawful to speak or hang around Gentiles. That’s why it was so radical for Jews to see Jesus chillin with tax collectors or prostitutes. Today we would call Gentiles non-Christians. But if you closely examine Jesus’ life on earth, you’ll find that it was the people culture had deemed unclean, unworthy, or unrespectable who felt the most comfortable around Jesus. And rightly so, because they recognized their need for a Savior, they were willing to admit that they needed Him. And they were the very reason Jesus had come. ‘ It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick…for I have not come to call the righteous, but the sinners’ (Matt 9:12-13). He had come for the unclean and the unrespectable, those who were spiritually sick.

It’s easy to get caught up in making sure that you belong in the group of respectables. The church today has an affinity for attracting middle-class, respectable attendees. We’re happy to sit in our bubbles of respectable-ness, separating ourselves from the world of non-Christians.

Not everyone was happy that Trip would agree to appear on BET. But as agents of change we are here to seek the lost, here to point the sick to the Healer. In an interview Trip did while in Houston he said, “Every culture needs missionaries…” He went on to explain that hip-hop is a culture and we just can’t turn our backs to it because it’s viewed as ‘secular.’

Trip’s point was, whether it’s hip hop, the armed services, or scrapbooking, every culture needs missionaries proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is our commission; there should be no shock, no surprise when we see Christians reaching into the secular world. What are we doing if we do not reach into the secular world? What are you doing if you are not impacting the culture you are a part of? Who are you helping if you don’t bring light to the darkness around you? This is our commandment that we ‘Go into ALL the world and preach the good news to ALL creation’ (Mark 16:15).

This series of events has been a major reminder of the great commission. The Holy Spirit will move and God will have His way whether you’re willing to go or not. I just pray that we make ourselves available to Him, so that we can be used to reach all races, in every culture, throughout all the world.

Eyes on Me

Sometimes I feel like once you set yourself apart as a Christian, you notice that people start watching you. They want to see if you walk what you talk? They want to watch how you react in certain situations or how you handle certain problems? And when you fall, they see it too.

And my initial reaction is to unleash my pride, “Hey!! I’m human; I’m not perfect so don’t put me on a pedestal. You shouldn’t be looking at me anyway; you should be looking at Jesus!”

But what if I’m the only Jesus someone will ever see?

What if I’m the only model of Christ’s love that person will encounter, the only model of how a Christian should live?

The Bible has called us to be faithful stewards. Paul was always saying “I am a steward of God’s grace” or “I have been given a stewardship from God for you.” Webster’s definition for steward includes words like manager, agent, and employee.

“By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you”                           2 Timothy 2:14

The gospel in its fullest sense is the basis of the Christian faith. We have the gospel, God has entrusted it to us. If we are stewards, then we are like agents with a mission of guarding a very special, life changing package which is the gospel. Yet sometimes our actions, mainly sinful actions, prevent us from being faithful to the mission.

“Be imitators of me, as I imitate Christ”                          1 Corinthians 11:1

There are a lot of people looking in from the outside; there are a lot of new believers, or struggling believers that learn more about Christ by watching us. They are watching and even imitating, and if our actions don’t point them to the cross, where are we leading them?

Paul was beasty enough to stand in front and say follow me because I know that I follow Christ. How many of us could say that about our actions?

As I continue to coach in Good Hope’s Crossover basketball program, I feel urged daily by the Holy Spirit to sanctify myself and thirst after Christ with all that I am. The kids in the program are disadvantaged, coming from situations that you can’t even imagine. Through Crossover it has become so clear to me that I may be the only Jesus that some of these kids see. Imitating Christ, being faithful to the stewardship God has laid upon my life with my actions may very well be the difference between eternal life or eternal death for those kids.

I hope that this message is viewed as an encouragement, not a guilt trip. I pray that you are moved to sanctify your life not only for your sake but for the sake of those who are watching you. It is my prayer that leaders, mentors, and every follower of Christ is moved to guard the gospel with the utmost responsibility, especially with how we condct our self privately and publicly.

You may be saved, you got yours, now why not help someone else find his. Paul said it best, to die for him was gain, he knew he was going to spend eternity in heaven. But he pressed on for the sake of others, and we MUST follow suit. Stand up and tell em eyes on me, I’ll lead you to the cross.

Why You’re Screwed (?)

“Nobody’s Perfect”

We say this…a lot. And we should, as it’s true (mostly, but we’ll get to that later). We all know that each of us fall short of a standard we know we should be reaching. We mess/goof/[insert word] up everyday. But we reconcile our shortcomings with the statement “nobody’s perfect” and we somehow work ourselves to sleep for the night and repeat this imperfect process over and over….and (you guessed it) over again. We know we aren’t perfect, and consider that if we were to die, God will accept us because, well… “nobody’s perfect” right?

This is the Problem

The problem with this is that…God is Holy. Consider a white wedding dress ladies, or for the fellas a pair of those all white air forces. Would you still wear that dress or those forces if there was a small red spot on them? I’m going to guess not. Well in God’s economy, we’re those spots, but we aren’t small, we’re huge blots on God’s all whites of righteousness , so God really wants nothing to do with us. Let me park under the Christmas tree, sit down, and “unpack” it like this:

The fact that you are not perfect does not excuse the fact that God demands perfection to be in relationship with Him.

Do you see the problem? You’re not perfect, but the One true God demands perfection to be in relationship with Him. On your best day, God considers your good (avoiding “big sins” , praying, church attendance, helping at the old folks home) to be blackened bloody maxi-pads (Isaiah 64:6). You disgust a Holy God. So, it would seem as if…well…

You’re Screwed.

What is the answer? Well…it’s almost true that nobody’s perfect. There’s an exception to that  statement though-Jesus Christ.

He literally breathed perfection, not a stain on Him…ever, anywhere. And honestly, what does that have to do with you? He lived this perfect life, not you. But wait- He lived this perfect life on Earth…. for you, then died for…well you, if you believe in Him. Upon turning away from your old life and belief in Jesus, God takes the perfect life that His Son Jesus lived and gives it to you. Jesus takes your sin, and you take His perfection [2 Corinthians 5:21] so now in the eyes of a God that demands perfection, your are perfect.

Your life is now a lifestyle of being perfected and walking in that perfection, while being positionally perfect in God’s judicial system. It’s an amazing thing. All you have to do is repent and believe in Jesus.

Will you repent and believe in Jesus?


Toilet Bowl Christianity

This is a blog about poop.

                                 (Well, sort of.)

Pooping is a private matter, (at least it is for most). It’s a necessary process that we as functional human beings are frequently involved in because we are all naturally poopers. When we have to poop, we go to a bathroom, stall, or behind a tree to “handle our business.” Then we wipe up (hopefully) and it’s back to business (work, school, friendships, relationships, etc.) as usual. We certainly don’t share the going-ons in that most private, moment with others…after all, it’s pooping and I sir do NOT wish to hear about it. Keep it to yourself.

Now take the words in red and in blue and replace them with Religion, Religious, be Religious and Religion respectfully and then Church, Mosque or Temple respectfully. Let me show you what you should have gotten:

Religion is a private matter, (at least it is for most). It’s a necessary process that we as functioning human beings are frequently involved in because we are all naturally religious. When we have to be religious, we go to a Church, Mosque, Temple to “handle our business.” Then we wipe up (hopefully) and it’s back to business (work, school, friendships, relationships, etc.) as usual. We certainly don’t share the going-ons in that most private, moment with others…after all, it’s religion and I sir do NOT wish to hear about it. Keep it to yourself.

Religion, like pooping, is pretty gross business. It’s shameful, private and discouraged from being discussed in company because it (like pooping) really doesn’t help anybody.

The Good News is that Jesus is not religion. Unlike Ghandi, Buddah, Joseph Smith, and all the others, Jesus is not poop, nor is He full of it.#Ouch, #Pow, #Thatboypreachin

Do you, [“Christian” reading this blog] treat Christianity like this? Then this is for you as well as everyone else on the commode:

Jesus is something that must be shared. Jesus is not a religious leader, social idea, personal emotional experience. Jesus is a freer of people from religion(avoidance of “big sins”, doing good things so God approves of you, church/temple/mosque attendance)! Please turn away from religion, get off your toilet bowls, repent and believe in Christ Jesus, because He loves you!

Grace and Peace.

Religion vs. Relationship, (Part 1)

I used to think that if I prayed, read the bible a certain number of times a week, and went to church on Sunday that I was okay with God.  Heck, I believed if I went to church on Wednesday, God would give me bonus points!!!  Every week I got into a routine that just seemed to be like clockwork.  When I kept that schedule I felt great and righteous, but the weeks I didn’t keep the schedule, I did not feel so good about myself.  In some ways I felt like I was letting God down.  Man, don’t let the occasional “big” sin happen, I was crushed for a few weeks.

However, I had an epiphany of sorts.  I figured out that what I was doing wasn’t working.  I was working under a tremendous amount of guilt because I couldn’t always keep to the things that I set out.  Though I am a Christian, I subconsciously thought that if I did all these things that God would be pleased and that I was on my way to becoming a better person.  I had become religious and thought my being right consisted of the things I did for God.  In the process, I became a slave of my guilt and I became frustrated in my walk.

What I just described to you is a picture of Religion.  We keep a spiritual to-do list, and when we can’t check off everything, we feel frustrated and guilty.  The free gift that God gave us in Jesus doesn’t feel so free anymore.  In fact, the walk as a Christian feels enslaving, draining, and depressing.  Is this what God intended?  What do you think?

Prayer (And Action) For Haiti

For the Chu’ch, we are always to be in prayer and always to be giving: Deuteronomy 15:11,  Matthew 25:35-41.

The current crisis in Haiti provides a very clear and necessary venue for Christians to direct their love and charities — and a multitude of prayers.

The Situation currently:

Tuesday, 4:50 p.m., an  7.0 magnitude magnitude hit the island of Haiti.
A weak infrastructure has left whole neighborhoods destroyed.
Many international and local relief buildings and hospitals within Haiti have been destroyed.
The destruction has left potentially tens-hundreds of thousands dead.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYFXX_mCvVs]

The Needs Currently:

Medical supplies/personel,
Clean water,
Shelters,
Food,
Rescue and relief workers,

God’s unbounded grace and mercy and supernatural assisstance for those who have survived.

Donations:

For those of us who cannot fly out to Haiti to assisst, here are two sites with more information on where and how you can send assistance. Please investigate, and invest. Prayers and resources.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/01/13/help-haiti
http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2007/impact/
http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/01/earthquake_in_haiti.html

As natural disasters in our own home have shown us: rescues, relief,  and full repairs take time. I urge you to stay interested and involved and aware of what is going on as over 3 million people are physically affected and an entire nation of people seek to recover from this horrific natural disaster. Get to know about Haiti and the struggles that may face in the future as they strive to rebuild and recoup from this disaster.

And Remember…

This is a time when the Love of Christ is absolutely necessary. Take the opportunity to share the same love that Christ has shown you. He saw us in our disasters, and not only did He desire that our situation (seperation from the eternal love of the Father) be changed, but He acted (put on humanity that He might die and suffer in our stead.)