We are a Kanye (Re-Blog)

I don’t usually repost a blog but I  thought this was a great blog from Odd Thomas of Humble Beast fame. This was taken from The Resurgence.

From this album Kanye proclaims ‘I am a God’

Yesterday, Kanye West’s latest album Yeezus dropped with the third track titled, “I Am A God (Feat. God).” The song has already sparked reaction and has been likened to John Lennon’s remarks about the Beatles’ being “more popular than Jesus.” But maybe Kanye’s song is something we identify with more than we’d like to admit?

There are times when our culture presents to us controversial statements and issues which cause us to respond with a sense of urgency. We instinctively know that what is being communicated is wrong and therefore we become anxious to make our (presumably right) perspective known. In the case of Kanye West’s new song “I Am a God,” the immediate reaction from the Christian community is to get offended and defensive.

Kanye’s worldview quickly reveals itself with ridiculous lines like:

I’m not the most high,
but I’m a close high.

Wait, did Kanye just compare himself to God? Yes, he did! He draws this conclusion based on his genuine power and influence in the culture. It’s not only what he is saying that offends us, but it’s also the platform from which he says it. The size of his soapbox makes the sting of his statements all the more severe.

Issues of the heart

As we survey the culture and pass judgment, it is easy to bypass the issues of our own hearts (Jer. 17:9). The things in the culture that offend us most can often act as a mirror into our own souls. As Kanye presents himself as a “god” in his lyrics, we do the same in our thoughts and with our actions, desiring to be a god over our own little kingdoms. How many times have we esteemed ourselves more than our brothers? How many times do we exploit our position of influence for our own benefit? Even good theology can become a point of arrogance when we lord our understanding over our weaker brothers. As we praise God for his grace, we conveniently find ways to give the credit back to ourselves. We compare our achievements to others and pat ourselves on the back for all our accomplishments. The heart of the issue is a desire to be bigger, better, and more known than all the people around us—including God (Rom. 1:18–23).

The things in the culture that offend us most can often act as a mirror into our own souls.

In this way, we sing the same song as Kanye. His lyrics reflect back the reality of our sin. We share the same sin and contribute our own verse of self-exaltation to Kanye’s song. We all, whether we acknowledge it or not, are contributors to this track, which is the soundtrack to our lives. And rather than peering into culture and placing ourselves above it, we must take this opportunity to see ourselves as a Kanye. We must repent of our own idolatry and look to the one who truly sits high above the heavens on his eternal throne.

We are not a “god”

The truth is we are not a god. We are creatures made by the one true God. We have been made to reflect him, not be him.

But what is God like?

Consider the life of Jesus and the characteristics he displayed as “the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (Heb. 1:3). Being all-powerful and worthy of all praise, he emptied himself and became the suffering servant to fill our greatest need (Phil. 2:5–8).

When you think about power and influence, consider God, who created the entire universe, including the very voice box of Kanye. He lowered himself by becoming a man and dwelt among us in humility. He came to serve, not to be served (Matt. 20:28). The bread of life did not come “demanding croissants” but rather offered himself as a sacrifice for others. He demonstrated compassion toward us by taking upon himself the judgment that we deserved because of our sin and our claim to be our own god.

So when the radio plays “I Am A God” fifty times a day, remember your idolatry. Remember we are a Kanye, and remember the length to which God went to save us from our sin

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If Jesus is dead… (or “Why I like butterflies … “)

English: Resurrection of Christ

English: Resurrection of Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. – 1 Corinthians 15:17

Paul is quite right… If Jesus had not been raised to life, then our faith is useless… or to put it another way:

If Jesus is dead then Christianity is dead.
It’s pointless… worthless…

You see without the Resurrection of Christ, there is no saviour or salvation, no forgiveness and no Resurrection hope for a life in eternity.
You see the resurrection of Christ is one of the foundations that Christianity stands on. Without this Christians are just fools who are putting their trust in a dead man.
Now some people might think… that explains Christians PERFECTLY, fools worshiping a legend or folk hero however there are a few things that set Jesus apart.

One of the keys proofs for me of the authenticity of it (if you want to put it that way) is the reaction of the disciples.
You see after his death the disciples ran away, they hid… they fled and that makes sense, if they could kill Jesus what would it mean for the rest of them?

However that all changed after the resurrection… after the resurrection they were bold… they died for their faith.
What would it take for a group of scared and frightened men and woman to make a complete turn around and be willing for them to die for something?
They certainly wouldn’t be willing to die for something that they knew was a lie… and all but one of the disciples died for their faith in a resurrected Christ. If it was a lie (and they knew it was a lie) then it wouldn’t make sense for them ALL to be willing to go through some of the pain that the apostles did.

for example:

Mark died in Alexandria, Egypt, dragged by horses through the streets until he was dead.

John was boiled in a huge basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution in Rome. However, he miraculously survived.  The Apostle John put into prison was later freed and returned to serve as a bishop in modern Turkey. He died an old man, the only Apostle to die peacefully.

Peter, was crucified upside down on an x-shaped cross, according to Church tradition, because he told his tormentors that he felt unworthy to die the same way that Jesus Christ had died.

You see there was a cost.

For me the biggest thing to convince me was the transformation of Jesus’ brother James… he went from someone who was so totally skeptical of Jesus, but after the resurrection become a firm believer.
This is astounding for a number of reasons.

  1. What would it take to convince you that your brother was the son of God?
  2. Would the turn around be worth dying for (James was thrown of the highest point of a temple and then was also beaten to death when it was shown that he survived the fall)

It seems to me that the resurrection did something to the early believers… it seemed to transform them… change them.
And the great news is that the same resurrecting power does the same change in us.

Just like a caterpillar thinks it’s the end of the world… it then is transformed into something new… something different… a new creation.
The old life is gone… the skin is just a shell… a new life has been born again… and we see the beauty in the butterfly.

That’s why I love it when I see a butterfly… it reminds me that there is more to come… it reminds me to have faith in what I can’t see or know or understand fully… because this is just one chapter.
Death isn’t the end… it’s not the ultimate enemy… death to your old life for Christians is just the beginning of new life.
A new chapter has begun… and it ends with eternity.

Faith @ Home

baby shoots on stump

new growth

In research done by the Barna group in the USA showed that only 27% of church going school kids had some sort of prayer or devotion at home… this number is REALLY low.

However what’s the most alarming is that if you take out grace at dinner time… the number drops to between 10-12%

So that means that almost 90% of church going school kids never get any kind of devotion…
Now parents in Christian homes tell me that they want their kids to discover a relationship in Christ… so the question has to be asked…

How are they expecting that to happen osmosis? 

John Piper writes: “If there is one memory that our children should have of our families and of our church it is this; they should remember God. god was first. God was central”

The Bible tells us to get the Bible message inside our children…

Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.
Deuteronomy 6:6

Kids need and long to hear from us…

Our Testimonies… Our Experiences… Our personal encounters with God.

You see they want to know that what you believe isn’t just real but life changing.

Here’s the thing if parents don’t start to impress these on our children… you can bet that the enemy of souls will… in a subtle… but very real way.

Our kids are FAR TO VALUABLE to just to hand over to the enemy without a fight!

If you have children under the age of 12… and really would like resources for the home to help give your children EVERY opportunity to discover the amazing adventure God has in store for them. I would recommend Faith box.
For more information click on the link here!

and even better… I would strongly recommend you purchase it!

 

How much do you love your kids?

Kids playing in a lake at a church camp

Kids playing in a lake

According to research from the Barna group in the U.S.

60-90% of Church going School kids will not carry their faith with them into young adulthood – they just let it go.
When asked “why?”, by far the largest reason was “hypocrisy”.

You see what they heard at church and what they saw at home wasn’t the same thing.
There was never the God conversations, between their parents… they never saw how the parents faith impacted their lives.

We talk about how important it is for our kids to grow up in a Christian environment yet we’re treating church like a drop of zone for them to get their weekly ‘Jesus dose’ – but we wouldn’t not feed our kids Monday to Saturday and only feed them on Sunday would we?

So why do we do that to ourselves and our relationship with Christ?

Just as importantly why would we do it to our kids and jeopardize them having a lasting relationship with God?

Why would you, a parent do that to your child?

Why wouldn’t you give them the opportunity to discover the amazing adventure Christ has in store for them?

Start children off on the way they should go,
and even when they are old they will not turn from it
Proverbs 22:6

Our kids need and long to hear from us as parents…
OUR testimonies… this is what God has done for me

 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. 1 Peter 3:15

Are you ready to talk to your kids about your Christian hope?

OUR experiences…  This is the adventure God took me on

OUR personal encounters with the living God
… God changed me, I once was this and now I’m this.

The bottom line is this… if we want our kids to have the faith that influences the way they live their lives then in our homes we need to be modelling faith through a personal relationship with Christ…

I’m not talking about just putting on some Christian music in your house every now and then

I’m not talking about saying grace before you eat your dinner

I’m not talking about saying prayers before bed.

What I’m talking about is this: how does your faith… and your relationship with Christ impact your life and those around you?

You see it has to do with not just teaching faith… but journeying with your children.

FAITH starts at home… is faith at your home?

Hark the Herald Angels sing…

Hark The Herald Angels Sing

Hark The Herald Angels Sing (Photo credit: KaleidoscopePhotos)

To say I love Christmas is an understatement…

I LOVE CHRISTMAS…

I even start playing the Christmas Carols a month out… I love it. There are some REALLY cool Christmas carols, but one of my favourites lyrically is ‘Hark the Herald Angels sing’ a song originally written in  the 1700’s – I think it’s the simplicity of the words and the fact that the more you look into what they mean the more they reveal.

One of the verses particularly stands out for me:

Mild he lays his glory by
Born that man no more shall die
Born to raise  the sons of Earth
Born to give them second birth…

Did you pick that up?

Among the story of a baby born into the world in one of the most unlikely places… there is a future.
But not the future of this baby… a future for us.

Here lies this baby… growing up… to die for us.

“Born that man no more shall die…”

Let that sink in for a while… he died for you…

 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation,  and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.
1 Peter 1:3-4

You see Christmas is more than the story of when a baby was born into the world… this is a story of a rescue, God laying aside his Gloryand putting himself in the place where we should have been… taking the punishment of death for the sins that we did… the punishment that WE deserved.

God was giving us a second chance…

Hark the Herald angels sing.

Re-focusing on Christmas.

Christmas in the post-War United States

Refocusing on Christmas

Christmas seems to be getting crazier every year… more things to do… more things to buy… more sales… more tinsel… more… more… more.

And if you’re a Christian like me you hear the same stories over and over again… and while these stories are often well intended or even true after a while they start to sound a bit stale… and that’s sometimes hard to focus on what the real meaning of Christmas is.

For me it’s about one word that translated in English means three words:

Emmanuel: God with us!

Think about it GOD… the creator of the universe and everything in it… someone who is so HUGE that it’s often easier for people to intellectualise him away… to say “I can’t even think of how that would work… therefore it can’t be true” than to think of the vastness of a God who really wants to spend time with you… and that’s part of the irony isn’t it?
A God who doesn’t need us… but wants us, while we desperately and totally need God and yet we don’t really want him most of the time.

God WITH: he wasn’t just God who studied us from afar like some ant farm experiment… he was WITH us.. he came and lived with us… not as a King… not as a person of stature… but one of us… the ordinary… the plain… the broken… and he suffered and he died in a way that none of us would never be able to understand… one commentator calls it the most vicious way any person could invent to kill someone else.
And yet knowing this God came down… to be WITH usknowing that we’ll reject him.

God with US: You and me… Jesus came to die for us… and he dies on the cross knowing our past sins… and our future sins… and yet he went and died for us anyway… because there was no other way for us to have our sins removed
We can earn our way to heaven… we can’t beg our way to heaven… we can’t even evangelize our way to heaven…
The only way is through Jesus…
Emmanuel… God With US…

When we look at Christmas through the lens of that one word… EMMANUEL… it changes everything.
Why aren’t we telling our kids this all the time… Why aren’t we passing this on?
Don’t we want our kids to experience God’s grace?
Isn’t this the Good News we want them to hear… that there is hope in this world… that there is something to live for in this world… and it’s far bigger than you and it’s far bigger than me… and that’s GREAT… that’s the way it should be… because anything that would be in our control we would stuff up so monumentally that it would never work…

And yes it will be hard – but if life were easy… then we wouldn’t need to rely on God would we?

Emmanuel: God with US… and he’s still with us… so why do you only remind yourself of that at Christmas?

 

Encourage Each Other…

English: A western spur rowel showing chap gua...

A western spur

Isn’t it so easy these days to not engage with anyone… or you might engage but on a really small  shallow level…
I was thinking about the things that influenced me the most… and it was two things.

Things that made me happy… and things that made me sad

Do you remember the things that your parents said to you when they said something like “You must always remember this…” – it’s great if you do… but I certainly don’t… the things I remember are the times that someone gave me encouragement, lifted me up… a parent telling me that they were proud of me… a friend giving me an ‘atta-boy’ at going a good job… it’s those things that stick…

On the flip side however it’s the things that often hurt the most that stay in your mind too… the time when you felt betrayed, shamed or guilty…. these things when held onto can hold back and cripple someone.

My thought is… if the things that impact us the most are so influenced by the people who are part of our lives, and if we are filled with the Holy Spirit and different from the rest of the world… then why don’t we encourage each other more and help take away those negative thoughts???

  “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.”
Hebrews 10:24

We’re to ENCOURAGE each other… lift each other up… motivate each other.

How?

“By acts of love and good works…”

It seems to me that when we are being counter cultural to the norm  and we start to show our love for others… and do things for these people… it makes a real impact. The world expects people to take advantage of them, to use them when they are weak, and to hold a grudge… what are we doing to counter that?
Notice however it does not say “just saying nice things”... but it’s “doing” nice things… it’s putting your money where your mouth is… it’s walking the talk!
After all LOVE is a verb.

And what starts to happen when we start to do things for other people and love them how Christ loved us (which is unconditionally – after all he died for us when we were still sinners) then not only do we see those around us change… but we start to change too.
You see we’re called to spur each other on… but how do you even start that??

We need to make sure that we’re taking our cues from the Holy Spirit… just ask if there is anyone in mind that he thinks you should ‘spur’ on… or maybe there is someone that comes to your mind straight away… how are you going to make them feel encouraged?

However here’s the thing…
Spurs often hurt… sometimes you need to give the person that you are trying to encourage a bit of a ‘dig’…

Wounds from a sincere friend
are better than many kisses from an enemy.
Proverbs 27:6

Sometimes you have to say the ‘hard word’ to a friend… sometimes you have to give your friend a reality check… and it can be hard and it can be painful… however if your friend knows that you’re saying it from a sincere place… and if you feel that you’re saying it as a prompting from the Holy Spirit… it may be the things that sets them free from some of the pain that they have been holding onto for sometime.

So are you encouraging your friends?
Are you spurring them on?
What are you doing to change the life of your friends?

Because isn’t it easier to be right… than it is to love someone?
Lets not choose the easy option!