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.

when God was absent, part I

I often don’t feel God“, is a saying that ruled me for a few months.

I’ll be blunt and to the point … I took a hiatus from writing because I didn’t feel worthy to write for a blog committed to truth & the transformation of lives through the love of Christ. I began to doubt if I were ever in it for the right reasons & I began to fall back from accountability, authority, & admonition from others. You too may feel this way in some facet of your life.

I do apologize. My mentality was that sin was so rampant in my life that I am unworthy & I would have to fix myself up before I was worthy to write again. But God, being so rich in mercy showed me that I think far too highly of myself.

Absence made me feel as though God was so far from me & it would take time to rebuild our relationship & just when it felt like we were getting better … I would sin again. Sin being anything from illegitimately fulfilling sexual desires, pridefully asserting authority over others, cowardly avoiding situations to share the love of Christ, arrogantly being self-absorbed, guiltily blaming myself for the guilt of others, & not feeling as if God loved me as much as He used too.

I once felt like me & God were so tight & I thought He had my best interests in mind. I thought that if I followed Him I would be like pastor such & such & always feel joy overflowing. But God, being rich in mercy put my faith to the test. Left & right everything in my life began going wrong. I went from best worker to worst, good painter to worst, and a decent preacher to worst. I felt so condemned.

Every night I stayed up contemplating how to get closer to God … every night I prayed & prayed, but seemingly to no avail. My greatest fear became the idea that my sin became greater than the Holy Spirit living in me. I was scared to even pray because I didn’t want to be let down by God again. This was when things took a turn for the worst & I completely lost who I was.

When I hit rock bottom was when healing came.

I learned that,

  • like Cain all I can do is offer my best offering but be careful because sin is crouching at my door like a predator waiting to pounce (Gen 4:6-7)
  • I was saved by the Spirit so I should stop trying to be sanctified by the flesh & the law (Gal 3:1-3)
  • it doesn’t matter if I look stupid for Jesus (Phil 1:27-28)
  • there is a God who loves me too much to give me over to my idols (thanks Tullian)
  • people actually care about me & I don’t have to pull stunts to earn affection (ain’t got no proof but I feel it, lol)
  • in the midst of sin God can use you to reveal His righteousness (Jonah 1:7-16)
  • an alien righteousness resides in me apart from anything that I do (Phil 3:2-11)
  • I should risk the ocean, because there is only grace (Sometimes – DCB)

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?

the Rise.

hello! hello! thank you for openly inviting me in, subconsciously.
i am your closest friend and your worst enemy – and i play the role quite well.
let me tell you my keen purpose in your life, what i do and how i do it right.
you know when you are starving down to the shifting of your abdominal muscles and you have only a dollar and the lady next to you asks if you need some change. you know what you tell her, “no, thank you!” you know why you tell her, because i live in you.
you know when the rain came toppling down heavily against the pavement and you had no umbrella, no plastic bag, and no time to wait for it to calm – when that man offered you a ride to your car underneath his gigantic umbrella made to cover an army of people, you shook your head ashamedly and murmured underneath your breath, “i’m fine” … as a result, you were drenched in the rain and soaking in disdain. you know why you experienced this, because in you, i exist.
how about the time when she offered to assist you with a subject you terribly struggled with. what was it, political science, or calculus, maybe it was organic chemistry II. it doesn’t matter. she had an A in the class and you were unsteadily sitting on a D- … and you know what you replied to her offer, “what? do you think you’re smarter than me or something? thanks, but no thanks. i can do it on my own. you want to know why you turned her kind offer down, because i float in you all around.
yes, yes. i’ll take a bow. i know, i know, i live up to my title. even when you deny my existence, i am still fully present and my character in you radiates profoundly, you don’t even know what to do. that is why you are perfect to live through.
after all of the internal conflict i have caused within you, i’ve finally decided to formally introduce myself. my name is Pride and it’s a pleasure to finally meet you. :]
pride goes before destruction,
and a haughty spirit before a fall.
proverbs 16:18
there is an ounce of pride inside of every single human being on this planet earth. even in those who do not believe in Jesus Christ and even in those who qualify themselves as super Christians. one beautiful thing i know that is true is the representation of humility in this book of Love i have been reading.
we are alive because of Jesus’ humility … and His love for His Father. it’s beautiful. you’re beautiful. let’s not allow the ugliness of Pride to make us over, but allow Christ to make us new and make us holier.  allow Him to give you an humble spirit in order to Rise above the haughty spirit.  God should consume us, pride should be immune to us.
i know of a Man who has died the death of all deaths just so that you will be able to meet Him face to face.  He has died for your pride to teach you humility and to give you an unconditional Love  – His name is God.  and He longs for you to accept Him into your life.
will you?

self-esteem.

dear self-esteem,

one thing that i have learned about you is that you come to me when you are not welcomed. i’ve been doing fine for the past year and a half without you causing any discrepancies. i promise i have been doing just fine. but somehow you’ve found your way into my life, again. sometimes you are low … sometimes you are high. either way, you exist.

you’re creating chaos in my mind. when i look into the mirror, i see you. at your lowest. and i reflect you, self-esteem. i become low because you are. i see myself in the mirror and i see a figure that resembles a light pole, no shape, no volume, just long and lanky. as a result, i stuff my face with my god named what-a-burger, sometimes i name him wingstop. other times, i’ll name him big mac. i do this for you, self-esteem. because i live to please you.

you’re creating a tornado in my mind. when i sit on the bus, my waist, hips, and bottom fall over into the seat next to me, occupying two full seats – running people away from me. and i feel sweat dripping down my forehead and i see a handsome young man walk on and … in his face hangs a look of complete disgust. as if he just saw a hippopotamus covered in mud with flies surrounding me like vultures. i look down shamefully, weeping. torturing myself, i get off of the bus. stick my finger down my throat. i attempt to regurgitate all the hate, the ugliness, and the pain that lives within me because of you.  and i do this to please you.

you’re creating a war in my mind. when i hold the image of myself in my eyes, i cry. because i am not who i am supposed to be for you, self-esteem. i wallow away from public places and i find corners of privacy that invite me to relinquish all the filthy tears inside of me. all of the tears inspired by you, self-esteem. because you are so low, and at times too high that i can’t even reach you to choke you. to demolish you. to put you to sleep, eternally. i long to do this, just for me.

why are you doing this to me, self-esteem? why am i not fitting the image you have set out for me? why am i considered less than all the other gorgeous women that i see? why, why me? why can’t i just. be. beautiful? when will i learn how to love and accept … myself?

self-esteem, if i ever meet you face to face, i’ll ask you these questions. but until then, i’ll just live, suffering with this self-hate festering within.

sincerely,
your experiment.

i heard a man once say, “self-esteem is pride. what you need is God esteem …” and when i heard those words, i felt all of me shatter into bits and pieces of nothing. because, essentially, i am nothing … without God.

He has called us to love Him with our hearts, our souls, and our minds. additionally, to love our neighbors. there is no third commandment saying, “love thy self” … for God already loves us, and He sees us … beautifully created … with no blemishes, no distortion, no deformities. we are pure in the eyes of our God. and that is never changing. thanks be to our Saviour and Lord, Jesus Christ.

He even mentions in His word that people who are lovers of themselves, upon other things, should be avoided! how will we be able to speak Light into anyone if we are being avoided by everyone … because we are focused on our self?

and our dear friend, paul, reminds us that He died for us all so that we have no more excuses to look and to live and to fall in love with ourselves. He died for us so that we might be raised … in a new body. one made of molecules of divinity.

all that He is asking is to look and seek and ask for His esteem – we shall receive. let’s stop looking at ourselves and focus our sight on God; we did not create ourselves.

dear self-esteem,

i can no longer live another day telling my magnificent Father that He is a screw up. i can no longer tell Him that He created me the wrong way. He is too big and He is too great. you are minuscule. you can no longer live here – here’s your eviction note … thanks be to this new found God-esteem. thank you for teaching me, self-esteem, that you are impossible to be pleased. you are esteemed by yourself, and you are selfish.  you don’t even care about me.  i am no longer living … for you. i have to remember i am not a reflection of me, but i am a reflection of God. just thought i’d let you know.

sincerely,
your ex-periment.

These are My Confessions….

So, I have a story:

On my daily excursion to a University of Houston Cafeteria (go coogs), I saw a young devout man praying to….well for the intensive purposes of this blog we will say his god.” As the picture shows, he had his head down, his rug laid out, and he was talking to allah for about 5 minutes.  I stood silent in the middle of the cafeteria with my mouth slightly agape.

May I Be Honest?

I was bothered.  I mean this person one minute is eating, then his timer goes off and he pulls out a mat in order to pray on it in front of everyone.  Afterwards, he gets up and gets on his cell phone…? I mean, come on! But then I felt #convicted. This is religion and make slaves of so many, and only by God’s grace am I free.

How is religion a slave master?

Religion is about doing things for the sake of being in good with your god, be it prayer, church attendance, avoidance of “big sins”, giving your time, money, talent…it is all a desperate, devout, serious and some times painful plea so that your god can say “well done my good and faithful servant.” There is no relationship, there is no love, there are simply rules that you do your damnedest to follow, so that you will not be damned.

So yeah, even though I know all of this, I did nothing. In my passive arrogance and hate took the picture, shrugged my shoulders and sat down and ate some food, probably some pork to spite this guy indirectly- I cannot remember (but I probably did).

What I Should Have Done

I should have told him there is a God (the true God) that is amazingly powerful. So powerful that He did the unthinkable, and  that  in that unthinkable power and love,  He sent Himself in flesh to live a perfect life for us to meet the standard of perfection that He Himself set long ago, before forever ago, by the simple nature of who He is. Not only did this God (the true God) do that, but also allowed Himself to be put under His own wrath for all the wrong that we have done so that we could escape punishment.

But wait, there is more: Remember that perfect life He lived? He gave it to those who turn away from their sin and believe in Him, so there is no more performance required because not only have you been forgiven, but you have also been given the righteous righteousness of GOD. So the good things you do are not out of fear or merit and demerit, but out of the love from the relationship you are now in, through Him.

*But remember, I did not say any of that, or anything like that.

I pray that I see him again, better yet I pray someone tells him about the True God. If I do seem him again, hopefully I will have the courage and love to tell him because this is truly Good News. I pray for those of you who know this Good News to tell folks about it. Also, I pray if you are in the same boat as those under religion that you see the God (again the true God) that loves you and sent Himself in flesh (#Jesus) to die so that you may not only live, but live more abundantly.


Grace. Peace.

meet humility.

the first official meeting.
God brought a lesson.
Jesus brought announcements.
the Holy Spirit brought a prayer stirred with humility.

running with great strides, there have been hurdles
of great pride in the way of progression.

people walking around with Bibles, high and mighty
quoting Holy scriptures, thinking that they’re righteous
because of themselves.

questioning peoples knowledge of God and their love for God.
comparing their relationship with lovers of God.
placing themselves on the level. of. God.

forcing other people to become unlike God.

but God … offered us a remedy.
from pride to humility.
through God and His sovereignty.

we don’t have to seek the approval of humanity.

because we love God, we want to serve and know Him more.
because He sent His rich Son down to be like the poor.
… we just want to worship Him more.

that’s the remedy.  the remedy.  the Gospel.  the only remedy.

get back to Eden? let us move forward to Jesus

I bet it looked just like this in the Garden...lol.

Disclaimer: this is not a #slug at a popular Christian artist…since that is out of the way let’s get back to business and live on top of the world.

Life is not cyclical. We make it cyclical.

Sin causes us to live cyclically by repeating the same offense to God that was carried out in the garden of Eden…people wanting to be like God (pride). When we try to be God we repeatedly sin because we tell God that we can handle it on our own (pride).

In the garden of Eden were the four rivers of Pishon, Gihon, Tigris, and Euphrates watering the lustrous garden, greens of every kind ready to be eaten (no pigs saying “eat me, eat me, I’m swine & I’m divine” just yet Gen 1:28-30), and Adam. Among the animals God could not find a suitable helper for Adam so God put him into a deep sleep creating Eve from his rib.

Now despite popular belief Eve was not this dime piece everyone expects her to be…all the Bible says is that she looked better than the animals…#wassup?

as I digress, the enemy convinced Eve that if she ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil she would be like God…thus Eve ate  from the tree, with her passive husband watching, and shared some with Adam. Through Adam all died because God said, “as soon as you eat from this tree you shall surely die”. It took one sin to curse us all because we are his seed. how do we know this is true? because even today we suffer from the same sin as them, trying to be God by ignoring His lovingly direct commands (the Bible) and going in our own direction.

where is the hope…?

Jesus said He is the Alpha and the Omega. #pow.

The Alpha and Omega is so rich in meaning. While we were yet cursed and going in circles Jesus entered human history to become a curse so that we may live. The world was going in circles; people sinned, God’s righteous wrath, prophet says repent, kill prophet…repeat. Jesus broke the cycle by absorbing all the sin of those who would believe and being hung on a tree becoming a curse for us (Gal 3). In doing so the cycle of sin was cut off because the Prophet of prophets died to it once and for all. If you repent and believe in Jesus you are taken from the cycle and placed into the linear path of His being. There are only three dates that matter: the day the world was created by Jesus (John 1:1-3), the day Jesus died on a cross (Romans 3:21-26), and the day Jesus will come back (Revelations 19).

Let us keep our eyes on the prize ahead of us and not look back. What happened in the past…well, happened in the past. Your latter will be greater than your past. Look forward to New Jerusalem’s streets of gold, many mansions, Glorified sinless bodies, every tear being wiped away, no hunger, and most of all Christ seated on a throne illuminating the universe with His glory. If I could go back to Eden where is my security being placed because I will sin again just to get kicked out having to repeat the cycle. Besides that, there are angels with flaming swords saying “run up if you want to sucka“…I’m bold…but not that bold. I find security in the fact that life is spiraling headfirst into the throne of Jesus the Omega in which He says I can approach with boldness and without fear of being impaled by a flaming sword. You can go back to Eden but sitting with Jesus seated on a throne with 100’s of millions of angels worshiping Him crying out “Holy is the Lamb who was slain” sounds a whole lot more appetizing…at least to me.

[still not convinced sin will have you going in circles?…Kind of reminds me of Numbers 11:5 and how the Israelites, having the promise of the Promised land, remembered the past “goodness” of Egypt. They begged to go back because living day by day off of their daily bread seemed too hard. God promised a land flowing with milk and honey…but slavery sounded better to them. God made them walk around for 40 years in a CIRCLE for being ungrateful. Like them sin is our Egypt and God has also given us the Promised Land of New Jerusalem. We remember the “goodness” of sin, but not the slavery, and go running back to it when God has the Kingdom of kingdoms waiting for you if you hold out a little while longer…that one is for free…love ya’ll!!!]