“Never Stops” (I Believe) – Reconcile, 007, Corey Paul

free download of “Never Stops” here.

break free.

I know, first hand, that there are a ton of things we as humans latch ourselves on to as if we are leeches, refusing to let go of something until we find that complete satisfaction.  We allow ourselves to be trapped and held captive by things that, in truth, have absolutely NO power over us (if we are saved).  For instance, our old dirt, bad breakups, guilt,  getting drunk, free sex, shame, pornography, even the churchy things like self-righteousness, “living right,” etc.  But in all honesty, there is freedom from these things.  A freedom that can’t be lost.  One that isn’t just felt. One that changes.

I can’t express how deeply sorrowful and deeply compassionate I feel towards people, and even myself, for living in emotional and mental prisons.  Where the prison guards, PORNOGRAPHY, GUILT, and SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS, walk back and forth passed your prison cell with a grimy sneer surfaced on their face because they know that you have absolutely no power to break free from their imprisonment.  All of our energy is invested in the things that are futile … we fall short of believing in the factual and fulfilling Prince of Peace who holds the key to that prison we stay cooped up in, dying.

After a while, those chains get too heavy.  You can make one collect call for the day,  will you choose to call Him?  Will you hear Him out?  Will you allow Him to bail you out, to pay the price for your freedom?  Or will you rest, quietly and comfortably as the days pass by and what left you have of your life begins to seep out of you?  What will you do when you hear Him on the other line saying, “You don’t have to do any work to break free from this bondage you’ve placed yourself in.  I’ll do it for you.  Just listen to me.  Just trust me.  Trust who I am.”  Will you believe?  Will you walk out of that cell and not look back?  What will you do?

Come join us as we venture through the book of Galatians starting June 2nd at Good Hope (3015 N. MacGregor Way) every Thursday night at 7 p.m.  My prayer is that our lives will not just be touched, but that they will change and that we will be freed from the prison we’ve been resting in for all our lives.  There is Someone who has power over all things on this earth.  He loves you so much that He wants to free you from death.  I hope to see you there.

heal me.

I write this as something that has been weighing heavy on my heart. I write this because I have only told no more than a few people. I write this because I once couldn’t talk about it without a hand full of tears.

A few years ago, my sophomore year in college, I was living a reckless and meaningless life. I went to school during the day and worked the clubs at night.  However, as time passed and as the money started to get good, I placed more importance on work, rather than school. Pretty soon my work was all I really had. The money was good so I really had no complaints, but with that mentality, I made no room for other things such as school, family, friends, and dating. This was not until I ran into an old classmate at the local grocer, and there we exchanged numbers with hopes of catching dinner to reminisce and play catch-up.  After I walked away from the conversation, I had no real intention of following through with anything we planned. Like I said, I was busy with making money. I had no time for anything else. After exchanging numbers, he persistently called me and text me, trying to arrange a time where we could meet up. After a couple of missed calls and unresponsive texts, it went from “let’s hang out” to “I want to take you out to dinner.” It was only when he expressed a small crush on me that I started to respond and warm up to the idea of a date. Weeks went by until we finally arranged a time and place to meet.

So I cleared my work schedule for this particular night for us to go out on a date. In my head, I did not trust many people due to my work environment, but I went to high school with this guy, so I let my guard down. He picked me up from the house and took me to, what then, I thought was a fancy restaurant. That night he was the perfect gentleman.  Because of his kind actions I started to think there could be a second date in our cards. It was not until the night was coming to an end when things took a turn for the worst. What first started out as just hanging out after dinner, he then popped in the “movie.” But we never made it mid-way into the movie until, of course, he made his move on me. What was then welcome turned into uncomfort. My moving away and “NO” was not enough to stop this guy from whatever he had on his agenda.  I could only lay there as an unwilling participant, waiting for the moment to be over. What may have been 10 minutes felt like an eternity.

I had just been raped.

After that I went straight home to wash off the night, the experience, and the shame off my body. But days of scrubbing and washing did not rid the shame. Shame then turned to anger toward everyone around. My anger was even aimed at God.  I thought I was His child? Why would He allow someone I knew from highschool make me another victim? I thought He would never leave me! I was so angry at the world that I started acting out my anger consciously and subconsciously.

This is when the heavy drinking kicked in. I drank so much it became daily. This is when I started offering up my body to anyone who was interested. This is when I no longer cared. My mindset at the time was, “its just sex, no big deal anymore.” I was so selfish in thinking, that all I could do was look at myself as a victim. It never dawned on me that I was not alone. I never once thought to look to Jesus as my healer. Instead, I looked to alcohol, money, altering my exterior, and another man to heal me. But none of those things lasted. It was not until I had enough of the rebellion that I came crawling back to God to forgive me and heal my open wounds. I told him to take my life, because if He didn’t, my rebellion (sin) would just lead to me killing myself. I am so glad He answered my cry, because I was tired of playing the victim with the baggages of hurt, shame, and guilt.

Its not that God had left me, it’s that I never wanted to hear his voice. I never thought He was sufficient to heal my pain. I selfishly belittled God’s power with doubt.  However, I can now say that I have forgiven the situation, because my Father has forgiven me countless of times.  I know that although this has happened to me, and many of my sisters, it doesn’t take away from God’s love. And I know that because Jesus died on that cross, God accepts me.

I write this to you, not to evoke sympathy from you, and not to create an awakardness. But I write this so that you’ll know that you are free from your past. When you got saved, the old you died with Christ on that cross. When Christ rose on the third day, so did the new you. You are a new creature, who no longer has to carry the baggage of what has happened in the past. The past is your testimony to bring Glory to God. So go out and spread the good news of Jesus Christ. Tell em what God has done for you.

chained slaves.

2 Peter 3:19
they promise them freedom, but they themselves are not free.
they are slaves of things that will be destroyed.
for people are slaves of anything that controls them.

you see, we are screaming, yearning, howling to be set free. failing to fully understand we are our own masters. we place things before ourselves that hold us bondage, unintentionally. our own emotions keep us locked up behind unbreakable bars. we are the builders. we are the facilitators. we are the manufacturers of our own prisons. walking blindly in a world full of gaping holes ready to vacuum our souls and temporarily relieve our chaotic thoughts. addictions+obsessions+misunderstanding+depression. regression becomes the inevitable result of the sabotaged equations we set up, daily. living in ignorance, submitting to self-hatred, bowing down to pride, these are all chains that keep us locked behind our own bars we’ve pieced together and constructed in an attempt of seeking freedom. the Light we constantly seek, we dim with our selfish needs. our selfish desires. our selfish fears. our selfish fulfillments. our selfishness is the hindrance of our liberation. our tranquility. our freedom. constantly chasing after the worlds gifts which are, in actuality, transparent and already destroyed, because it is scripted in The Scripture, “… things that will be destroyed.”

are you really willing to put your life, that has already been promised eternity, on the line for miscellaneous nothings that will ultimately burn in the fiery pits of destruction?

we are entitled to living free. out of bondage. out of captivity. out of confinement. not locked up. not chained up. a prisoner in our own penitentiary. freeing ourselves [the slaves], from ourselves, [the masters]. we have the privilege to be … free.

2 Peter 3:20
they were made free from evil in the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. but if they return to those evil things and those things control them, then it is worse for them than it was before.
His words, not mine. if we are yearning to be free people, free humans, we’ve got to let GO of those evil things that have been set on earth to intercede the connection with the Spirit that guides us. the Spirit that holds us. we’ve become so attached to worldly items and feeble feelings that we forget there’s more in life to live for. if we allow evil things to control our every move, thought, and decision … we become smothered in evilness and we begin to spread evil around. if we leave it up to Him, we have absolutely no reason to fret. He has already created the blueprint of our lives. STOP altering what has already been orchestrated. faith is more than speech. faith is more than sight. faith is more than a suggestion. it is believing with our hearts. we’ve got to make the sacrifice for Him just as He did for our salvation. our lives are only temporary on this earth. what residues and remnants will you leave for the world to pick up where you left off? … evil? or righteousness?

we’ve got to choose to be set free eternally through Him. not through ourselves.

*it was a challenge to refrain the useage of “you, they, them, etc.” i’ve got to constantly remind myself, i am walking the same trail as those i long to uplift and enLighten. we are unified under One. we are a major organ in One Body. i refuse to be the vessel that collapse, knowingly. i will not fail my people. most importantly, i will not fail You.*

Why There’s No Way To Smash On Your Salvation

Do Me A Favor? Turn Off Your Lights…

Now grab some incense…maybe some rose petals, get some chocolate and play this video.

Now That I Got You In The Mood, Read This…(Emphasis and Color added)

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (English Standard Version)
9Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,10nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Canton Jones in the song’s hook says,  “you’re cute but not cute enough for my salvation” he also says “see ain’t nobody worth me goin’ to hell.”

This is not a slug against CJ, I enjoy (some) of his music, but the theology here is horribly incorrect.

Much like the people in Corinthians, even though they were presently doing things that don’t merit folk getting into heaven, that is not who they were. Verse 11 says they were justified in Christ. Again, these people did what they were accused of, but that doesn’t make them what they were accused of.

But what is justification?

Justification means that not only were you forgiven of what you did wrong, but you were given goodness. The goodness of who? Well the goodness of Jesus Christ my friend. 😉 <– (that’s a sexy wink)

Maybe an example of what Justification is?

Okay, so let’s say you’re in debt. Like…1,000,342,435,398,534 dollars in debt. You’ll never be able to pay it off and that’s a big deal because if you can’t pay it off..then well… you’ll die. So you get a call and your bank tells you someone has payed your debt, all of it is gone. So now your at 0 dollars. Good right? Yeah! So you’re hopping around happy that someone had paid off all this cash for you, but then the bank says that the same person has put
951,356,363,345,565,989,989,645,456,546,045 dollars in your account.
So not only has your debt been paid, but you’ve been given unlimited riches!  So now, your a quad-gabillion-zillionaire!! With all of these riches, do you think you would go eat in the sewer, play in the mud, or drink box wine? Of course not! That doesn’t match the identity you are now in with the riches you have been given!

So the issue isn’t that having sex outside of marriage will threaten your salvation, but more so that sex outside of marriage doesn’t match the identity you now have with what (or should I say who) you have been given. You don’t do those things because you simply don’t do them. One wouldn’t ask Bill Gates why he doesn’t eat out of the trashcan, he’s rich case closed. And if one did happen to see Bill Gates eating out of the trashcan what would they say, that he’s poor? No! He may be acting like he’s poor, or maybe he simply forgot all the riches he has. Let us not run and do things out of the identity we have been given. Let us remember the cross of Christ who “suffered all the stripes for the lawless types” – (Shai Linne). He died for us then gave us His perfection so that we are made perfect in the eyes of God while still being perfected/sanctified.

Please remember: there’s nothing you can do to beat/smash/becky/etc. on your salvation.

Grace. Peace.

Livin For the Law….Or the God Who Is Above the Law?

Are you living for the law or for the God who is above the law?

The answer seems obvious, but in reality some of us choose the law over a relationship with the One who is above the law. The law is attractive because it offers structure; we can see it and act accordingly.

For example—> some of us create laws for ourselves like, “In order to be a good Christian I must pray three times a day.” Knowing that I only have to pray three times a day seems to make life easier. I simply have to wake up, get my three prayers in, cross praying off my to-do list, and go about my way. And I can feel pretty good about myself because I technically followed the law …right?

We make laws about how many times we should go to church, how often we should read our Bibles, and even what kind of foods we should eat. But how impersonal is the law? In following the law, we miss the opportunity to truly know our Savior.

Looking back on your life you will say, “Yes, I dutifully prayed three times a day as was required by the law.”  But what if Jesus looks back on your life and says, “Yes, you followed the law, but you also missed millions of opportunities to call on my name, you missed having a relationship with me where we could talk at anytime and I could comfort you and guide you. You sent more tweets, facebook messages, and text messages then you sent prayers.”

We get so caught up in religious achievements, our Christian checklists, and our ‘good works’ that we completely miss the opportunity to engage in a love relationship with the God of this universe.

“The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship”               Hebrews 10:1

Hebrews says that the law was a preview of better things to come. On the cross Jesus fulfilled the law; He broke the bondages of the law. And those better things to come are everything offered in a relationship with Christ. Don’t walk in the shadow of the law, following the law is tough and you are bound to slip up. God isn’t a rule book, a religious policeman, or a dictator. He loves you more than you will ever know; He offers freedom, love, forgiveness, and salvation…….the law cant offer any of this. Period. Who will you follow?

Fifty-Six Years Later, Today

This past Monday was celebrated as Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  It is the selfless work of the courageous, loving, and truthful Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that we celebrate.  For many of us, we take an intimate look into the past at Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s leadership during the struggle for freedom and first-class citizen rights for all.  More significantly, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is not only a national holiday in which we celebrate his birthday, but also a time of tribute to the apostle of love and action in which we observe views of American society and his personal treatment of the human race.

In the midst of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, his “I Have A Dream” speech is often the concentration of discussion.  Here we question, “Have We Fulfilled the Dream”, Have We Forgotten the Dream”, and of course, “Will America Ever Achieve the Dream”.

Through the many sermons and speeches we have collected from Martin Luther King, Jr., we are able to grasp a great deal of lessons that transcend his time.  Other than King’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech of 1963, we can recollect on his sermon, “The Three Dimensions of a Complete Life” he delivered on January 24, 1954.  This sermon must be one of the greatest sermons ever delivered.  “The Three Dimensions of a Complete Life” is the street-sweeping sermon in which King states one of his infamous quotes, “even if it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, go out and sweep streets like Michaelangelo painted pictures”.  Fifty-six years later, this sermon could be the “I Have A Dream” speech in action.  Here King says, “we were made for God, and we will be restless until we find rest in Him”. The “Three Dimensions of a Complete Life” is a blueprint on how to live a constructive, fulfilling life, and “life as it should be and life at its best is a life that is complete on all sides” says King.  “If life itself is to be complete it must be three-dimensional”.

The three dimensions are one, length of life, which is about self-acceptance, goals, and self-determination. Second, the breadth of life, which is about a deep concern for others, and last the height of life, which is about one’s relationship with God.

Fifty-six years later, “The Three Dimensions of a Complete Life” sermon is King’s calling to the fulfillment of his dream.  Will we admit fifty-six years later is enough? Or will we be another fifty-six years later?

Here are short excerpts from “The Three Dimensions of a Complete Life” sermon, with a link to the sermon at the end.

The Three Dimensions of Life.

“And there are three dimensions of any complete life to which we can fitly give the words of this text: length, breadth, and height. Now the length of life as we shall use it here is the inward concern for one’s own welfare. In other words, it is that inward concern that causes one to push forward, to achieve his own goals and ambitions. The breadth of life as we shall use it here is the outward concern for the welfare of others. And the height of life is the upward reach for God. Now you got to have all three of these to have a complete life.”

The Length of Life: the inward concern for one’s own welfare.

“So many people are busy trying to be somebody else. God gave all of us something significant. And we must pray every day, asking God to help us to accept ourselves. That means everything.” […] “Now the other thing about the length of life: after accepting ourselves and our tools, we must discover what we are called to do. And once we discover it we should set out to do it with all of the strength and all of the power that we have in our systems.”

The Breadth of Life: the outward concern for the welfare of others.

“And don’t forget in doing something for others that you have what you have because of others. Don’t forget that. We are tied together in life and in the world. And you may think you got all you got by yourself. But you know, before you got out here to church this morning, you were dependent on more than half of the world.”

The Height of Life: the Upward (Godward) life.

“And I’m here to tell you today that we need God. Modern man may know a great deal, but his knowledge does not eliminate God. And I tell you this morning that God is here to stay.” […] “Let nobody make us feel that we don’t need God.”

Conclusion.

“Go out this morning. Love yourself, and that means rational and healthy self-interest. You are commanded to do that. That’s the length of life. Then follow that: Love your neighbor as you love yourself. You are commanded to do that. That’s the breadth of life. And I’m going to take my seat now by letting you know that there’s a first and even greater commandment: “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy strength.” I think the psychologist would just say with all thy personality. And when you do that, you’ve got the height of life.”

read sermon: “The Three Dimensions of a Complete Life”