Thursday, December 30, 2010

Why The Church Should Be More Like Silly Bands

I LOVE the idea of Silly Bands! I find them to be the best trend I have ever seen in my lifetime. I will explain, because to most people Silly Bands are just as foolish as the parents that waste money on them for their kids, when it is just a glorified rubber band. When I was younger there were a ton of trends that were really expensive and at the time my parents couldn't afford to spend money on trends and pay the bills and send me and my brother to Christian school, and tithe, and pay for gas, etc. So I was one of the kids that watched everyone else at the cool table enjoying their trinkets and playing with Pok-e-mon cards and tomigatchis and other worthless things that don't bring real satisfaction, but that do cut other people off, creating an "Us vs. Them" mentality. I absolutely love that Silly Bands are affordable, any family can afford to buy them for their kids, so to quote Bush “No child gets left behind.” Kids trade them, which build community, and even the most socially awkward child will get attention from the cool kids if he has silly bands. I like that they are able to be flexible and yet remain in the same shape. As I have aged and learned more about life, I realize that the Church is guilty of doing the same thing, we spend small fortunes on study Bibles and other really pricey “cool Christian” stuff, isolating the poorer members of the body. We play silly games of superiority and show off our knowledge of Scripture and how amazing we are because we know different doctrines and say the word “grace” in like 10 different ways, but yet we don’t act as graceful as we should.
Like Silly Bands the Church is supposed to reflect the image of some character, the character of Christ Jesus. Jesus never played games of superiority; He was the embodiment of humility. He didn’t flaunt his fancy house or study Bible; in fact He was homeless and didn’t have a dime to His name. Why is the church like a rubber band though and not a Silly Band? First, because the Church has lost its silliness. King David said “I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.” (2 Samuel 6:22) After his wife mocked the seemingly silly dance David did before the Lord. The Church has lost the silly dance it does before the Lord, instead of being different like Christ was, the Church tries to blend in with the world. Our Christian artists follow in the footsteps of secular artists, instead of allowing the Creator to be their inspiration. Our churches follow marketing strategies to get new members, instead of showing the love of God to draw men to Him. How sad is it, that we the followers of Christ follow Satan to bring people to Jesus? Another reason why the church is more rubber than silly, is it has no defined shape.  Ever since the Protestant Reformation it seems like a new denomination pops up every day, I cannot imagine counting how many there are. Third, the Church doesn’t keep its shape up, after a few years of using the same rubber band, it starts to wear out and it eventually falls apart (Sure this will happen to Silly Bands too, but they haven’t been around long enough, so they have the advantage, just play along so I can make my point). Silly bands may take a second, but they always pop back into their original shape.  
                I love the Church, it is as much a part of my life as Jesus. I see the Church daily and talk to it, and love it. Yet I realize that the Church, much like myself is broken, and Jesus said His bride is to be “without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:27). Therefore, I say let us, as the Church become a little bit more clean, more wrinkle free, in other words let us bounce back into our original shape in Christ, having no blemishes. Let us be more inclusive and understanding, let us love without shame, and give without liberality. Most of all, let us love God with all of our hearts, with all our souls, and all of our mind, let us love our neighbors as ourselves. Let the Church be more like a Silly Band, than just a rubber band. I almost forgot, one of my favorite things about Silly Bands is that they are so colorful, rubber bands are just one color, but Silly Bands have every COLOR of the rainbow, every SHAPE and every SIZE, that is just the way the Church should be. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Doing Things Well

"If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you but you must master it."- Genesis 4:7 (God speaking to Cain before he kills Abel)
               In this verse God is speaking to Cain concerning the offering he gave to God that God did not accept. I find it interesting that God tells him "do well", he doesn't tell him how to do it - no secret formulas to "Becoming a better Cain" or "Living His Best Life Now!". God simply tells him to do well. It leads me to believe that God has already implanted with in Cain's heart, as well as all of humanity’s heart, the way to do well, all Cain has to do is: do well.
              The hard part is what God says right after that though "...sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you but you must master it." (Mastering sin - what a crazy thought.) In a novel by John Steinbeck "East of Eden" this same idea was contemplated by the author - in the book one man goes for months studying this one verse in the original Hebrew with elders in his community and they decided that the best interpretation for the verse was that God said "thou mayest master it[sin]" instead "thou must", giving Cain the option to not master it and let it take over his life. As we all know Cain did not master it and went out a killed his brother Abel. Lucky for us God doesn't give us the same choice, because He sent Jesus to master sin for us. "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:21)
              The craziest thing is that God seems to always be giving humanity, as whole, choices and with sin He has said: "thou mayest master it" or basically let it master you. I think the choice we made was the latter. Instead of stopping the gross sins of greed; we allow our governments to make it easy for greedy corporations to destroy our world while overcharging us for the service. Instead of stopping disgusting sexual immorality, the pornography industry capitalizes on people's perverted fetishes making it one of the most profitable industries - making an estimated 10 Billion dollars a year according to a CBS report. Why should continue to allow ourselves to be mastered by sin, when Christ has paved a way for us to walk in spiritual freedom?
I find that there are universal morals - we all know not to murder, not to steal, or lie, cheat, etc. And I know there are some gray areas where even scripture seems to go both ways, but for the most part we all know how to "do well", so I say let's do it! Instead continuing to allow sin to master us, let us show sin that we have a new master, the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Monday, December 27, 2010

All Things Even Courage

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus”.
-Philippians 4:19

         In early spring I attended a Missions conference and it was super amazing, it was during this time that I began to have a lot about myself revealed to me and not in the most of fun ways. It was on a Saturday, the second day of the conference and it was a time for worship, the band was playing one of my favorite worship songs, “I will Exalt Thee” by Hillsong, I was moved as the words “I will not fear…” were sang. It was at that time that the Holy Spirit convicted me of living in fear and not completely following the Father’s call because of fears that I was harboring. I went to the front to be prayed for and the gentleman that prayed for me told me not to live in fear, but to live in Christ. (Or something like that)I prayed that God would provide a way for me to stop living in fear and to start following Him. 
         Afterwards, I went onto to a break-out session on “Power Evangelism” and I decided, with my friends Taylor Epps and Giles Dearman to go and sit in the front for maximum retention of what was being taught. Being the (very) social people that the three of us are we turned around to meet the people sitting behind us, my new-found friend Jamey Atchley was sitting to the left and to the far right his younger sister Adrienne, who introduced herself, in-between them sat their cousin,  named Courage. Yes, his name was Courage, I didn’t believe it myself at first, but courage means (according to “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain etc., without fear; bravery”. I took this to be a little joke God had played on me, but then I realized that like the old hymn says “All I have need of His hand will provide”, God was showing me that He will provide all of my needs, everything, even Courage. 


             So here it is, I have made a blog, I don't really know how often I will post on it, or if anyone will actually read it or if I will basically just be writing to the internet and it will all just fade off into the deep darkness of a server in Google's headquarters and no one will ever realize that I am saying something. (Which is likely to happen.) Although this blog may be a complete waste, I still feel that I need to just to stay sane. Like I told one of my friends "You need to release your emotions somehow, otherwise you will explode." This is just my way of not exploding, if you want to join me, feel free, if not - sad day for you, just kidding, but seriously I think you should read my blog, because it will be fun. And now I will post a bunch of stuff I already have posted on facebook. I hope you will enjoy.