Posts Tagged ‘Christ’s Reps’

Jesus was so large of heart, so large of spirit, so endless in consciousness. Like, you don’t even need to think he is the son of God. Just think of him, first, as a man. He was such a man of beauty. Impatient with hate, dismissive of judgement, large of heart. Jesus was a beautiful man. Giving, forgiving, listening, understanding, relating, empathising. He was what some call, a son of mercy. How did his followers get so angry, and faithful and full of the fury of condemnation, and … xenophobia.

It’s all this ‘heretical’ teachings that take symbols and words and twist and bed them to fit whatever prejudice is in vogue in that age. Every generation has had its interpretation of the book of Revelations for 2000+ years. To fit its social context, and in this generation, our apocalyptic influencers insist the job of Christians is to delay the anti-Christ. *Shudders* And delaying the anti christ often means, in their telling, fighting ‘sin’, attacking the ‘sinful’, fighting cultural wars. To do this, they often descend on the book of Revelations and stretch and pull every word and symbol until it fits that assignment.

I have no doubt that they truly, truly believe in what they say, and their hearts may be in the right place. But it’s oh so dangerous. When Christians leave the simple, clear words and teachings of Jesus and the example of his life and witness, to pursue… evil.

Like sometimes I understand why the world is so cynical, so suspicious of Christians and Christian motive. Why they disconnect from our culture, and attack beautiful experiences like worship, or tongues, or prayer. They don’t see what I see when I am in many gatherings and I see the family of God’s children in worship, in fellowship, Connected, broken, emptied of self and ego and ambition, and fear and hate. Ah, worship, it’s a blessing to watch people in worship.

Then, those same people get into the world after service and then they become this judgemental, angry set of people. It really confuses me. Really confounds me. Like, how did you lose that pure state, that Jesus-state, so soon? How did you let it go? How did you let love go? How did you let compassion go?

Jesus was a disruptor. He was a spiritual disruptor. And that disruption was to the Judaism, Zoroastrianism, and all of that of the times the eye-for-an-eye, God-of-wrath stranglehold. His disruption was love. If it wasn’t love, then there was no point of His coming. The religions of the time already had judgement, condemnation down to a part. If that’s what he came here for, then it was unnecessary. But he came because his message was radical and revolutionary.

The way I see it. God was tired of the disruption of his true image for millions of years. He sent Jesus to make it right. To reveal his true nature that prophets and priests had struggled with for years. Jesus came to earth to model God’s true nature. That’s why it’s so difficult to justify a gospel of hate with his life. You can’t use Jesus’s words to justify this self-righteousness. You often have to turn to flawed apostles, or visioners. I’ll stick with Jesus. I’ll always cast my lot with Jesus. Stop “fighting for God”. He doesn’t need your help. What he asked you do is work on your life and bring others to him through that life. 

Listen, Jesus didn’t send the church to fight the devil for him. Nope. Jesus already won that battle on the cross. It is finished.

Anytime the Bible teaches about the Devil, it’s in relation to a Christian’s personal life. Resist the devil and he will flee “FROM YOU”. It’s not for you to carry weapons and go claiming you are fighting the devil. God doesn’t need your help to fight the devil. God needs you help to fight for your salvation and to draw others to him. And his weapon for that is love. The more you spend time fighting the world, the less time you have living a better life as a Christian. 

Matthew 7:5

Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye. (NLT) 

When Christians stop persuading and start coercing, we have moved so far from what Jesus thought, we’ve practically turned our backs on Him.  Here’s what Walter Brueggemann has to say about “Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God.” 

I so desperately want people to meet Jesus. To meet this beautiful, incredible guy. All this hate from Christians makes it so hard. 

Important reading: “The Problem with, Hate the Sin Love the Sinner” 

“Using “hate the sin” as a license for cruelty defeats the purpose of proclaiming truth.”

how-to-be-a-godly-manOne of the questions that men often ask is “How Do I Become a Godly Man?” A few years ago pastor, Todd Wagner, gave a message entitled, “Act Like Men: Defining and Discussing God’s Calling for Men” where he outlined some key characteristics of a Godly man with Scriptures to go along with each. In addition, he posted a handout on his personal blog that can be downloaded, printed, and shared. Here is a smooth guide to becoming a Godly Man with Help from Pastor Todd

We hope you these characteristics, and accompanying verses, help spur you on to be the kind of man God created you to be!

1. STEP UP: Lead. Initiate. Be a man of action. Assume it is your job and your moment. Hate apathy. Reject passivity.

When David heard of it, he sent Joab and all the army, the mighty men…”Be strong, and let us show ourselves courageous for the sake of our people and for the cities of our God; and may the LORD do what is good in His sight.” –2 Samuel 10:7,12

“I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.” – Ezekiel 22:30

Other Scripture:

Psalm 101, Proverbs 14:23, Proverbs 20:6, Jeremiah 5:1, Ezekiel 22:23-31, John 10:11-13, James 1:23-25

2. SPEAK OUT: Silence in the midst of sin is a sin. Be courageous. Fear God not man. Speak the truth in love.

Better is open rebuke than love that is concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy. – Proverbs 27:5-6

Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all the unfortunate. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the afflicted and needy. – Proverbs 31:8-9

But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence. – 1 Peter 3:15

Other Scripture:

Proverbs 14:25, Proverbs 15:1-2, Proverbs 24:11-12, Isaiah 8:11-13, Jeremiah 1:17, Romans 1:16

3. STAND STRONG: Don’t give in when you are challenged, attacked or criticized.

“Now behold, I have made you today as a fortified city and as a pillar of iron and as walls of bronze against the whole land, to the kings of Judah, to its princes, to its priests and to the people of the land. They will fight against you, but they will not overcome you, for I am with you to deliver you,” declares the LORD. – Jeremiah 1:18-19

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. – I Corinthians 15:58

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. – 1 Peter 5:8-9

Other Scripture:

2 Chron. 16:9, Prov. 24:10, Isaiah 41:10, Jeremiah 12:5, 1 Corinthians 10:13, Galatians 1:10, Philippians 1:27-28

4. STAY HUMBLE: Be vigilant against pride. Get the log out of your eye. Don’t think less of yourself, think of yourself less.

Let the righteous smite me in kindness and reprove me; It is oil upon the head; Do not let my head refuse it, for still my prayer is against their wicked deeds. – Psalm 141:5

You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:5-7

Other Scripture:

Proverbs 3:5-6, Proverbs 12:1, Isaiah 66:2, Micah 6:8, John 15:5, Philippians 2:3-5

5. SERVE THE KING: Seek first His Kingdom, His glory, His righteousness. Hope in the eternal. Live for a greater reward.

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” – Matthew 6:33

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:45

Other Scripture:

Joshua 24:14-15, Psalm 16:11, Psalm 84:10-12,2 Corinthians 5:10, Hebrews 6:10, 1 Peter 2:21-23

How are you doing on these characteristics? Leave a comment below and let us know how we can pray for you!

how-to-be-a-godly-womanOne of the questions that’s often asked around in Christian circles is “How to be a Godly man?” and today I wanted to write a post answering another question we often hear; “How do I become a Godly Woman?” Below you’ll find five characteristics of a Godly woman with verses that go along with them. There is also a Handout to help you become one. it will be available shortly.

We hope these characteristics, and accompanying verses, help spur you on to be the kind of woman that God created you to be!

1. SEEK GOD FIRST: Reject the lie that anything or anyone else can satisfy you.

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:33-34

Other Scripture:

1 Chronicles 16:8-12Psalm 9:10Psalm 27:1-5Psalm 34:10-14Psalm 40:16,Jeremiah 29:11-13Zephaniah 2:3Matthew 6:25-34

2.  SPEAK FAITHFULLY: Love others with godly wisdom, boldness, and kindness as a faithful completer of others.

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” – Genesis 2:18

Better is open rebuke than love that is concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy. – Proverbs 27:5-6

Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all the unfortunate. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the afflicted and needy. – Proverbs 31:8-9

She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. –Proverbs 31:26

Other Scripture:

Psalms 19:14Proverbs 12:18Proverbs 13:3Proverbs 16:13Proverbs 20:15,Proverbs 24:26

3. SHOW TRUE BEAUTY: Bodies deteriorate, persons develop. Invest in that which lasts.

Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. – Proverbs 31:30

Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness. – 1 Timothy 2:9-10

Other Scripture:

1 Samuel 16:7Proverbs 11:22,1 Peter 3:3-5

4. STAY HUMBLE: Be constantly aware of ‘pride and selfishness. Don’t think less of yourself but think of yourself less.

“Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the LORD. “These arc the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.” – Isaiah 66:2

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 2:3-5

Other Scripture:

Psalm 141:5Proverbs 3:5-6Proverbs 12:1Micah 6:8John 15:5, 1 Peter 3:8-9,1 Peter 5:5-7

5. SERVE THE LORD: Set your mind on eternal things, serve the eternal King, live to please only Him.

“He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.” – John 12:25-26

For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. – Galatians 1:10

Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men. –Colossians 3:23

Other Scripture:

Psalm 16:11Psalm 84:10-12Mark 10:42-45,2 Corinthians 5:10, Philippians 1:21,Hebrews 6:10,1 Peter 2:21-23

How are you doing on these characteristics? Leave a comment below and let us know how we can pray for you!

Is it ok for a Christian to have a concealed handgun license? In this quick video Pastor Todd Wagner of the Watermark Church explains…

Watch and be informed.

Click here to watch

As a child I enjoyed going to church. Back then, churches were big on moral education. Jesus was projected as the ultimate exemplar of spiritual and moral excellence. Whenever we face a moral dilemma we were told to simply ask ourselves this question: What would Jesus do if He was in our situation? The right answer to this question spells the right thing to do. Quite evidently this lasting moral lesson I received as a child has inspired the title of this piece.

As an attempt to sidestep the pitfalls of sweeping generalization, the title of this piece is couched to tacitly suggest, there is an ideal type of “Nigerian pastor”. However, this ideal type is possibly suffused with some trite notions. Since, it highlights subjective features and impressions. If it is, there is no cause for alarm. Facts are inherent in cliched perspectives. Inherited ideas are not bad, if they are rooted in observable reality, useful for social reconstruction and non-discriminatory. Perception is still a valid way of gleaning knowledge.

A quick look at Jesus and the Nigerian Pastor is a study in contrast. It elicits paradigm-shattering dissonance. Jesus is the epitome of selflessness. Sacrificial love was the signature of His services to God, humanity, state and society. Similarly, it was the grand motif of his teachings. But the converse is true of the Nigerian Pastor. The governing maxim of his ministerial endeavors is inspired by the capitalists checklist: What is in it for me? This is making the Nigerian pastor a well-known avatar of greed. Around the globe, those who want to take lessons in the idiocy of profligate highlife are turning their attention to him. To the Nigerian Pastor, self is supreme. God is secondary. Pleasure is the essence of life. People are doormats. Or, they are seen as mere expendable launch pads to the stratosphere of fame and fortune.

If Jesus was a Nigerian Pastor, He would be a servant of God to the people. His wholehearted commitment to alleviating the atrocious living and working conditions of the poor would be a gospel anti-poverty agencies would draw inspiration from. His passionate pursuit of the transcendent would not blindfold Him to the appalling material misery of those around Him. He would not widen the socio-economic gap between the haves and the have-nots.

He would not be known for setting financial targets? for His church members, a practice that has compromised the faith and purity of many. Of what good is it for a young poor lady to sell her body in order to meet such  set targets? Unlike the boastful, wasteful hedonistic Nigerian pastor, He would have embodied Puritan ethics, which is a stimulus for capital accumulation for enterprise building. He would have raised frontline entrepreneurs by freely and gladly sharing the business sense He acquired as a carpenter par excellence.

If Jesus was a Nigerian Pastor, he would not be a tag-along denizen of Aso Rock. He would make the annexation of His ministry to the structures of political power impossible. Certainly, now and then, He would dine and wine with politicians. Whenever there is a legitimate reason, He would likely visit the seats of political power. However, He would maintain a dignified distance from them. So that He can speak truth to power with the unmistakable voice of authority. Painfully, the Nigerian pastor is increasingly becoming voiceless. He is seen in political arenas, but not heard. His shameless backslapping gestures have eroded his moral authority to be a voice of truth to power.

If Jesus was a Nigerian Pastor, He would not promote the baseless fatality that comes with hatred of difference. There is hardly anything that assaults the sublime nature of prayer like making it an expression of homicidal rage. In fact, the God-centric life that Jesus models is hardly enemy-conscious. One truth the Nigerian pastor seems not to grasp is that if prayer is fear-inspired, not God-centred and love-based, it is prone to become a tool of the devil.

If Jesus was a Nigerian Pastor, He would not organise programmes in places that will impede vehicular movement. He knows there is a nexus between the good life and trouble-free movement. Fixing bad roads, fighting poverty, beautifying the environment would have been on His agenda for socio-economic development. Unlike the Nigerian pastor, Jesus would not build a multi-billion naira ultra-modern mega-church in a squalid environment with unmotorable roads. He would do his best to develop the socio-economic infrastructure in His domain of influence for the benefit of all.

If Jesus was a Nigerian Pastor, He would not shutdown churches that are not commercially viable. His ministries would not be confined to cities. He will gladly pastor in villages like Karangiya in Sokoto, Anong in Cross River. The Nigerian Pastor needs to jettison the illusion that God dwells only in cities. And its corollary, you can’t have a thriving church outside Lagos, Abuja, Warri, Port Harcourt, Kaduna, etc.

Well, if to the Nigerian Pastor ministry is a gravy train, a means to own a private jet; it will be easier for pigs to fly than for his expectations to come through in a village church. But the truth is, if the Nigerian Pastor is truly like Jesus, geographical location will not debar the growth and influence of his ministry. Didn’t the city dwellers go to the wilderness to hear John the Baptist?

Let me assume I am in a position to advise the Nigerian Pastor on how to truly create heaven on earth.

Dear Pastor, please model Christ. Endeavour to be selfless. Stop conveying the impression that you are a parasitic opportunist. Build sanctuaries of care for the vulnerable. Pay attention to the real needs of the world. Poverty abounds, join the fight to alleviate it. Step out of your grand soapbox, pickup your workbag and hit the street. Without cameras, please.

It is interesting how movements begin. I love looking back and seeing how history unfolds. Opportunities arise for people to step up and call their generation to see things differently, to believe accurately and live passionately. Some movements are short-lived while others have a lasting impact. You have micro-movements of subcultures—smaller cultures within the greater culture. You also see macro movements that can change nations or potentially the world. They are led by imperfect people who oftentimes did not necessarily desire to start a movement. God, in His sovereign plan, weaves people into His story to play roles that bring about His purposes. They are bit players in a bigger drama.
I have been thinking about a specific group of guys for a long time. I have watched their lives and considered the impact they are having. I have wondered how far reaching their scope potentially could be and marveled at how God has orchestrated their lives for such a time as this. I have often thought about how powerful the gospel is to transform and redeem as I have considered their ways. In short, this group has been an encouragement to me in a way that has caught me off guard. This group consists of four front-line artists who simply don’t want to waste their lives: LecraeTedashiiTrip Lee and Sho Baraka.

They are Christian rappers who formed ReachRecords and 116 Clique with a passion to reach this generation with the gospel. It’s not gimmickry. It’s not ego. It’s not hype. They are cultural missionaries who use the medium of rap to share the message of Christ. It’s not unlike a medical missionary using the medium of surgery to win the opportunity to share the message of Christ. They are preachers without a pulpit, teachers without a podium. They are slowly infiltrating the hip-hop culture with turntables and microphones, seizing the opportunity to share the gospel by utilizing their gift as a platform.

I found their calling significant for several reasons. First, they are unashamedly preaching the gospel of Christ. Their music is Christocentric and culturally decipherable. Every song and every lyric points to the Savior in some form or fashion. Every event is a crusade. Every medium is an opportunity to preach.

Second, rap and hip-hop is far reaching in scope. Rap music appeals to the inner-city teenager as much as it does to the upper-middle class yuppie. This style of music draws from a diverse group of people. It is hard to profile; therefore, their reach is wide.

Third, they are African-American role models. The fatherless epidemic has plagued the inner-city and contributes to many of the cycles that continue to bind this segment of society. Here is a group of men being faithful husbands and faithful fathers. Here is a group upholding the worth of marriage and esteeming the role of a father. Here is a group deflecting fame and fortune to show that Christ is better. As they live faithful lives, a generation is watching.

Fourth, they are doctrinally solid. On the whole, the African-American church has been strong in faith but weak in doctrine. These men espouse the need for both. They are not watering down lyrics to make them palatable; instead, their lyrics are rich with sound doctrine that teaches the deep truths of God’s worth. They are Christ-centered, not man-centered. They call a generation to forsake worldly pleasures and seek prosperity in Christ alone.

Fifth and finally, their calling reminds me that mine is no different. We certainly have different mediums and spheres of influence, but I am called to unashamedly preach the gospel of Christ. God has placed me in an arena of influence in which I am to be faithful. I am a role model to the next generation. Even if I impact no one else, I will impact my family. I want my wife to marvel at the love of God because of how I love her. I want my children to see a marriage saturated with grace, godliness and goodness. I want to pass on to my little ones the beautiful reality of the Savior and watch them, by God’s grace, pass it along to their own. I want to see chains broken and new branches of a family tree begin. I desire to see our little home play its part well in the drama of God’s unfolding, redemptive story. I want to teach them the rich and deep truths of Scripture. I want our home to be free in the Lord and bound in His love. Regardless of musical taste, we have a lot more in common through Christ. It is stronger than beats or rhythms. It’s a family called the Church and each member is faithfully playing their part.

I hope this is much bigger than a movement. I hope it’s a revolution, a gospel-centered revolution. Rap it. Preach it. Live it. Don’t waste your life.