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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Faith isn’t passive …

Now That's What I Call Faith

Now That’s What I Call Faith

It’s been starting to frustrate me how people talk about faith as something that ‘just happens’ but the more I read the Bible the more I discover that God often requires us to step out first… and at THAT point God comes and takes over.
Faith is a VERB… a DOING word.

I’ve heard it said “If God wants it to happen it will” and while that is true, it seems that we still have to do something to prepare.
It seems to me that God has placed dreams in our hearts for a reason… and it may be days, weeks, months, years before we see the fruit of that dream… but it must be in our heart for a reason.
Right?
So what are you doing to prepare?

I read through the Bible and I see miracle after miracle where the person had to ‘step out’ first before the miracle happen…
A few examples are:

  • The Israelites were about to enter the Promised Land and God commanded the priest to step into the river (Joshua 3:8) – it wasn’t until they had stepped into the river did the river part.
  • Jesus asked the staff to fill the jugs with water and take them to the head manager of the house before the water turned into wine… not only did the staff know they were taking water to the head of the house but they knew it was from the place where the people got water used to clean their feet.
  • Mark 16:20 says people went forth and preached everywhere… with signs following
  • God told Joshua that he had given the City of Jericho to Joshua… however they still had to walk around the walls 7 times in faith before they saw the miracle happen.

It seems that the Bible is FULL of stories where God asks us to step out in faith first, and then the miracles happen.

We shouldn’t just pray about our dreams… we should act on it.
Act as if God is going to deliver on his promise.

Now let me give FULL disclosure!

  • We don’t want to put God in a box and say “This is the only way that God works miracles” because our God is certainly bigger than anything we could ever believe or imagine.
  • This is NOT some “name it and claim it” scheme. You see it HAS to be in the will of God.
  • It’s not about getting God to give us what WE want.
  • It’s not about working hard to prove anything to God, in exchange for a miracle

So don’t just pray… because if our prayer isn’t accompanied by acting then there is a good chance we won’t go anywhere. It’s about putting feet to our faith or put another way:

“After kneeling down, we need to stand up and step out in faith” – Mark Batterson

I like that…
I once heard Pastor Francis Chan use the analogy of cleaning your room. He says:

“When  my daughter comes to me and I say to her “Go clean your room” she knows better than to come back and say
“Hey Dad I went away and memorized everything you said… you said to me ‘Go clean your room’ ” …
She’s also not going to come back and say “I remembered what you said and I can tell you now that I can say ‘Go clean your room… in GREEK’
Or “We’re going to get our friends together every week and we’re going to study what it might look like if I was to clean my room.”

It doesn’t work does it?We have to at some point we have to step out…
Do you believe that God has planted that dream in your heart… do you know in your knower, that this dream is from God?
Then after you pray… Stand up… and step out in faith.

 

Turn your smartphone on in Church (or #ChurchSocial)

facebook

facebook (Photo credit: sitmonkeysupreme)

The Social Media is becoming a very powerful and useful tool within our society.

There have been whole governments that have fallen because of this powerful medium. However it seems to me that the church is a bit behind the 8 ball when it comes to this tool.

We can scroll through our FaceBook pages, and our Twitter accounts and we can see pages of pictures of what our friends have had for dinner, lunch, and all the snacks in between.

We see pictures of their walks in the park, the scenery, and the blood red sky as the night approaches and the sun goes to rest… but when we start to look at our church life we find our feeds become strangely silent.

I have to ask the question… what makes your dinner (as wonderful and tasty as it looks) more important than the church or more importantly the message that you are hearing?

You see we post things that are important to us right?

So if that is the case shouldn’t we be broadcasting the fact that we go to a great Biblically focused Spirit filled church?
My church (Hope Presbyterian) is pretty good at keeping up with some aspects of Social Media so when you get to church you can actually ‘check in’ to Hope Presbyterian Church on Facebook… (or what ever church you go to!)

Why don’t we let people know that you’re a Christian for those who may not know already…  Start that conversation… say you went to church.

But why not take it further???

If there is a key Bible verse that you hear Tweet that sucker… let everyone know about it!

If there is a great quote send it our on the ethers…

If God talks to you… ponder that question on your news feeds on Facebook.

You see the social media has to be social right?

But why does it have to be shallow?

If we truly think this… then why are we holding back from the world the great stuff that God is talking to you about during church?

Now I’m not saying spend all your time on FaceBook instead of listening to a sermon… but lets be smarter about how God talks to us and the world… why wouldn’t we Tweet that?

Why aren’t we sharing that?

I recently went to the Movies with my brother Nathan and saw Iron Man 3, it was a great movie and I had seen about 6 other friends had checked in at other times to see this film… but when it came to church on Sunday… Silent.

Are we just using the Social Media as a way to show how cool and trendy we are… showing off our baking or our new clothes… but are silent about important ETERNAL issues?
Are we spending our time being so trendy that we are forgetting about adding God to our news feeds?

Shouldn’t our news feeds reflect our lives and the things that are important in our lives?
If so… where’s God and his message on our Social media?
Or are we just creating for ourselves our own online socialite personality???

One Day …

One Day (created by Chris Geldard)

One Day (created by Chris Geldard)

One Day …
T
wo simple words but they seem to be so packed with meaning.

You may have heard them used in every day conversation:
Used to describe a sense of laziness “I’ll get round to it one day…” or “He’ll get round to it one day!”
Used to describe excitement for the future “One day we’ll be married…” or “One day we’ll have kids of our own”
Or of hope “One day I’ll get to Paris”

You see they’re just two words, but they’re packed full of so much meaning.

However when you say something like “One Day …” to a Christian and it seems to change EVERYTHING for them.
I posted a picture I made simply saying “One Day …” on it and posted it to my Facebook page.
Almost immediately someone replied underneath it “We will all be in heaven, praise The Lord!”
You see it seems to me it’s more than just a pipe dream “Oh well, one day…” it’s knowing that what God has placed on your heart he has placed it there for a reason. We need to hold on to those dreams that God has placed on our hearts… and pray over them… keep them in our thoughts… why?
Because by doing that it keeps us on our knees… it keeps us depending on God… because we know that without God we can’t make them happen.
Remember Joseph? You know the guy with the  coat of many colours?
God gave him dreams that seems far fetched… dreams of his brothers bowing down in reverence to him.
I understand why his brothers were a bit jealous of him (especially as his father Jacob already made it clear that he was the favourite!)

The point is… God placed the dream in Josephs heart, there wasn’t anything that Joseph could do about it but have faith that God has given him that dream for that reason.
What you have to remember also is it wasn’t easy for Joseph… he was sold by his own brothers, he was made a slave, he was thrown in prison and waiting to die, before God started to unravel his plans. In the story of Joseph it talks about him having God’s favor upon him it’s even retold in Acts 7.
It sometimes seems that we’re going through a whole lot of pain and anguish for nothing… but Gods favor is upon us when he has placed a dream in our hearts that only he can fulfill.

That brings us back to “One Day …” it brings us back to having faith in God who has a plan far greater and grander than we could ever think of, and because of that it means that we have to stay humble and focused on God because we can’t do anything to make it come to pass apart from being obedient to him (the Author of Life).

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see – Hebrews 11:1

One Day …

One Day …

One Day …

 

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.