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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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?

 

You’re Awesome…

Caps-Lock is FULL OF AWESOME!!1!

Hit the AWESOME button

The word awesome is a bit of a funny word isn’t it?…
Awesome… it’s like “I have some awe… but that’s all”… yet we use it to mean “Wow… that’s more than amazing”

An even funnier word is ‘Awful’… it’s obviously a bad word… yet it would seem it should be a much happier word… “I’m full of AWE”

Either way… I like the word AWESOME… it may seem at times to be over used… but I genuinely like it as a word… there is nothing  better than hearing someone say to you “You’re awesome”… and it feels just as good telling someone “You’re pretty awesome”
It warms up your heart… it’s one of those ‘Awwwwww moment’ words

Yet why do we think of ourselves less than Awesome?

You see not only are you made in God’s image… but you were saved from Sin, even when you weren’t worth saving.
Do you see that?
God really likes you… he thinks that you’re awesome enough to save you, even when you had turned away from him… even when you didn’t want to know him…
And he did what only he could do… you couldn’t save yourself… but God loved you so much that he sent his only son to die in your place.
You see you matter to God… anyone would be happy to take a hit for someone who was good… but for Jesus to DIE for us in our wretched state only shows how much you mean to God.
God thinks that you’re pretty awesome.

So why do we hide away in our own self pity… or knock ourselves down?
The rest of the world tries to knock us down… so why should we?

“let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.” Romans 12:6 (The Message)

God loves you so much… and not in a cliche sticky sweet way… but God actually likes you… he really likes you!!

He thinks… You’re AWESOME.

I wish you could know that for yourself…

You’re AWESOME…
not because of what you’ve done…
or achieved…
or look like…
but because you are God’s masterpiece (Eph 2:10)…  God doesn’t make junk.

You’re AWESOME

 

Figuring out the Magicians tricks…

English: Yin yang

Is science and faith really like Yin and Yang?

Science vs Faith… I’ve never understood this debate.
Why do they need to be against each other?
Doesn’t one believe in truth… while the other is in search for it?

You see in our day and ages there seems to be an understanding that science and faith are opposite… like black and white, like heads and tails or yin and yang as if there was some invisible force separating them meaning we must choose one or the other.

Do you realise that The Bible doesn’t actually agree with this?

In 1 Corinthians 3:20 it says “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise;  he knows they are worthless.”

God knows it all FIRST… any idea we have is only second hand.

You see truth is never our enemy… because true truth belongs to God, and nothing true ever contradicts God’s revealed word in the Bible… however as Matt Chandler wrote in the book Explicit Gospel “discovered truth sometimes contradicts the words of Christians”.

God knows everything there ever is to know… and any ‘new’ discovery is only dependent on God revealing it anyway, because it was an old idea to God.

We think we know it all… yet we are just little dust men and women… made from dust… our lives are just a blip.

We have more knowledge now than any generation before us… and it’s made us arrogant and we’ve let the ‘knowledge’ creep into our churches and our lives… and we’re now starting to think we can break God down into bite sized portion… or a bumper sticker or t-shirt… and we have starved ourselves of the AWE of God… the wonder of God. We’ve been like kids trying to figure out how a magician does a trick like it was something to figure out… but God doesn’t roll like that.

In Romans 11:33 we are told:

 “Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!”

We’ve made God just a little bigger than us and quite frankly that isn’t God…

Once we have come to the understanding on just how much we don’t have a clue about anything, and every new discovery is revealed to us … and how vast and huge God is then we can rediscover the awe and wonder that we are missing in our lives.

Now and zen

Abstract Colorful Universe Wallpaper - TTdesign

In this day and age there are heaps of people looking for ‘spiritual enlightenment’ and it’s understandable… because we were made as both physical and spiritual beings…

One of the wisest guys who ever lived a guy called King Solomon once said this near the end of his life

“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” – Ecclesiastes 3:11

You see Solomon could see that people had a craving… a yearning… a longing to be set free… not only physically… but spirituality.
He realised it was something that was planted in his very soul.

The problem with a whole lot of the religious systems out there is that they are all about what YOU can do to get to a better place… Now I know myself well enough to know that I just can’t trust myself enough to put that sort of pressure on myself. I mean how good is good enough… surely if this was a make or break deal from getting to a better place surely ‘The Universe’ would have made things a little clearer… but ‘The Universe’ has given us nothing…

I mean where do we stop being good enough? When we’re kids? If so… what age do we stop being innocent?

And I can understand the need to get out and be one with nature… but there is a fine line with being in Awe of what is around us and worshiping it.

You see while nature may make us FEEL better… it can’t save us… or help us… or free us.

There seems to me that there is something bigger than we can see or imagine… and THAT is the kind of God I want to worship.
There is no point worshiping something that is just within reach… something that is just a little bit bigger than our imagination…

So you can be one with nature…

Or you can be free to enjoy life… and a life in ALL it’s fullness.

 

Remember Who You Are…

Child 1

Remember who you are…

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what sort of knowledge I would like to impart to our Children…

What sort of Legacy will I leave?

I could play football with them, I could sing and play guitar with them, I could act crazy and have a lot of laughs with them… and it seems to me that all that is good… in fact it’s very good, and I would love to spend more time doing that.

But it still leaves me with the question…
What sort of Legacy will I leave?

The guy who has been considered the wisest guy who ever lived said this:

Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.
– Proverbs 22:6 New Living Translation

And it got me thinking… I could teach them all sorts of cool stuff.
I could teach them music and about rugby and the Bible… HOWEVER…
I had this sudden prompting, that all that stuff (yes including reading the Bible) means nothing unless my kids know who they are.

It’s about application…

And it has many layers…

As a Goose-kid: (part of OUR family)
We don’t steal, we don’t hit, we respect each other, we don’t swear, we are polite, we invite people into our play rather than exclude… etc

As a Christian: (part of God’s family)
We believe the Bible is the inspired word of God, We believe that Jesus died for us and paid the price for our sin on the cross… etc

Of Course I could add to the list for days…

but the more we start to unpack all these things the more our children start to have as sense of not only what they are… but who they are… and they understand why some of the things that we do are different to what the rest of the world does.

It’s not because the rest of the world is wrong… but because we (our team) play by a different play book… a different set of rules.

The plan is that as we grow up we develop an understanding so that as our children venture out into the world… we can stand… and not give the standard lecture that we were all given as we head into the unknown…

But we can say…

“Hey REMEMBER who you are…”

“And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.”
Deuteronomy 6:6 NLT

Album Review: The Vespers ‘The Fourth Wall’

The Vesper - 'The Fourth Wall'

In a world full of electronic sounds, remakes and dub-overs, remixes and auto tune it is great to hear a sound that doesn’t manufacture a foot tap with a Phat bass line… but a sound that makes your soul smile with the simplicity of the song… the honesty of the band and the melody and rhythm that mirrors life….

There seems to be a ground swelling of people who are looking for ‘real music’ and bands like ‘Rend Collective Experiment’ New Zealand’s ‘Avalanche City’ with their single ‘Love Love Love’ the rawkus ‘Mumford and Sons’ and the list goes on…

Now you can add to this list ‘The Vespers’ Indie music’s new secret weapon… armed with ukulele, banjo, love and some really catchy tunes, you can expect hearing some more from this group.

‘The Fourth Wall’ is the bands second album and it has all the potential to do some great things… and while the album has moments of honey sweet sounds and effervescent bubbles of pop sensitivity there is so much more depth and width to this album that you feel yourself drawn into the music.

Like a lot of bands with siblings (lead vocalists Callie and Phoebe Cryar are sisters and Bruno and Taylor Jones are brothers) there is a sound of familiarity… not familiarity in the music but in the sound that is produced… it doesn’t feel forced but feels ‘worn in’… comfortable… nurtured and it is a real credit to The Vespers to be able to have you pulled into the sound.

This album is rooted in faith and in life… and the sounds echo that.

All through the album there is a real folk and roots sound often tinged with pop… or gospel… or bluegrass or gospel spiritual but it is organic and it is real and it is good.

This band is all about people and connecting with them and the title of the album ‘The Fourth Wall’ is a extension of that belief. The fourth wall, in theatre terms, is the invisible wall between the audience and performers… The Vespers are becoming masters of breaking down those walls… and with their great music… their honest lyrics and melodies to pull you in… this is the album to either break you out of your coldest Winter… or help lift your warmest Summer.

Here’s a taste of what The Vespers do best.