Posts Tagged ‘business’

When the Feast of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Without warning there was a sound like a strong wind, gale force—no one could tell where it came from. It filled the whole building. Then, like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks, and they started speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted them. (Acts 2:1-4 MSG)

Yeah, those were the good ol’ days, eh?

Today, the church spends cash, not time, to muster God

Courtesy: Jews for Jesus

Folk gathered together. In one accord even. Ready to worship God just because he is God.

They were not concerned about what tunic to wear in case “that saint” sees them. They did not get all up in a stiff wind when Captain Christian walks by and does not call on them to be the fill-in usher.

No, these were people who loved Jesus because he loved them, didn’t have sins in the closet (largely because they didn’t know how to hide them) and most importantly, discovered that it didn’t matter what song was playing softly in the background, they could still press in and experience Christ.

It seems people are spending all kinds of cash to bring God down to their level instead of time in prayer to get the Church to go up to his level. That should not be. Big churches are nice only if they can be broken down one small church at a time.

These days? Not so much.

People are pretentious, megalomaniacal, self-centered and disinterested in dealing with common prayers. And those are just a smattering of today’s megachurch pastor. Let’s not discuss the “Sunday brunch attending, no manners having, get on my last nerves being” saints just warming a pew. Lord have mercy.

There are some that desire to touch the hem of his garment still, which is why, according to this story in the Denver Post and Yahoo! News, some folk are leaving the church and deciding to be the Church elsewhere.

Megachurch, meet microchurch. Growing numbers believe the tiny house church, also called a simple church or an organic church, might be the mightier transformer of Christian lives. A recliner becomes a pulpit. A sofa and some armchairs serve as pews… The key element is that the group is small enough for everyone to participate fully and to connect intimately. In this, the new followers believe, they are like the earliest Christians, who also met in small groups in homes.

See through a brand to get to the man Jesus

Go to the Golden Gates! Not the Arches.

To many Christians these days, size indeed does not matter. And egos are still in check. People no longer want to sit in a cozy chair and hear about Jesus. They want to get involved in a group and experience Jesus!

They aren’t interested in “Mr. Megachurch’s Ego Boost Tower of Babel.” They believe they have as much right into the Holy of Holies as the guy with the stained collar does. So why not demand it, or better yet, change your surroundings to demand it? Many already are, but why now?

Religion surveyors, theologians and other experts say millions of American adults are experimenting with new forms of spiritual communities. Many are abandoning traditional church because, among many reasons, the Americanized church has become, for them, too corporate and consumeristic.

Odd, isn’t it?! America sits through church on Sundays minding their watch religiously. And why? To get to Luby’s.

Sunday is not about an embrace; it’s about a brand. Worshiping God is not about the music carrying you into heaven; it’s having a concert with eardrum splitting decibels so loud, you can shout to heaven.

There are ATMs in churches. Starbucks in churches. Merry go rounds in churches. And I get it, so spare the rhetoric of “we need to attract the lost before we bring them to Jesus.” Yes, but you are allowing the church to do all the work.

Get that? “WE bring them to Jesus.” Not the church, not the church’s accutrements, not the megachurch pastor’s whimsical way with ministering the Gospel. All that is fluff. It is about you getting off your blessed assurance and making the invite.

Perhaps that invite would be easier to someone’s living room than a nouveau riche ‘Upper Room’? Who knows?

“It’s kind of seen as an alternative or radical kind or approach,” [Reggie McNeal, church consultant] said. “An increasing number of people are saying that they don’t want to go to (any) church so there better be a way for church to just be where people already are.”

By and large, folk are tired of being fake and wearing a mask. They already do it to work, around “Friends” and even at home. Let us begin to be real at church and if you can’t, perhaps you should consider finding another place to worship.

Only understand this: There is no perfect church, only a perfect Jesus. Serve wherever. Worship whenever. Pray however. But, for the love of God, if you can’t do any of that in the privacy of your own home, church is nothing but lip service.

Spare the Carmex, folks and get real with Jesus!

And before you ask, yes, this is legit sans photoshop.

That is a Playboy magazine cover with what looks like a silly choir boy depicting Jesus Christ holding hands with a half butt-naked, Portuguese model. And although this is completely blasphemous, you think anyone is raising a kerfuffle about this?

What’s that? Haven’t heard this story on CNN? Didn’t catch wind of this through ABC? Was even a mystery on TBN and Daystar, for God’s sake?

Yeppers.

Why did they do something so heinous, so sardonic and so blatant. ‘Cause they can.

Once again, my theory rings true: Christianity is the world’s only legal prejudice – without reprocussion, without fear.

And add to the list the publisher of Playboy Portugal. Well, former publisher as it seems even porno, viagra should-be spokesman Hugh Hefner has scruples, according to MSNBC.

Theresa Hennessy, who is vice president of public relations at Playboy, told the newspaper, “We did not see or approve the cover and pictorial in the July issue of Playboy Portugal,” adding that “it is a shocking breach of our standards and we would have not allowed it to be published if we had seen it in advance.”

“We are in the process of terminating our agreement with the Portuguese publisher,” Hennessy said.

Ya’ think?! Yes, it would be lovely if Christians everywhere united and got off their blessed assurance to call the publication and demand more than just a slight “termination” (because you know the executives will be given jobs at Playboy Ukraine or something like that). But I enjoy living so I don’t think I will hold my breath.

What I will do is this: groan, kick and scream at anyone who bothers to spread the crap a skosh too thin with the half-baked “It’s freedom of press and speech” argument. Can you imagine if that was Muhammad on the cover? Hell, Louis Farrakhan even?

Hef’s brothel would be carpetbombed within the hour! Yet, here we go, back to church on Sunday, “Gurl… can you believe that cover. Child, please. You know God don’t like ugly.”

“Come on HiScrivener. They are cancelling the publication. What more do you want?”

Yeah, not so fast. Here’s the real reason:

The magazine’s Portuguese subsidiary, Frestacom-Lisbon Media Publishing, reportedly neglected to show the cover to Playboy before publication, thereby breaching the licensing agreement between the two companies.

Ah well. So much for scruples.

UFC 116 just happened… and for those of you either don’t in the know or in the care, it was off the chain! Great fights, good drama and one intense heavyweight championship in which a former WWE superstar arrived as an MMA powerhouse, Brock Lesnar.

Oh, sorry?

Does my rah-rah session of mixed martial arts shock you? What is a fire-baptized, spirit-filled child of God (and martial artist of almost two decades) doing watching MMA?

Easy. Thoroughly enjoying it.

Once a Power Ranger now an MMA Hero

Who needs white armor when you have all that ink

And I’m not alone according to this story in the Houston Chronicle about a man with not a familiar name, but definitely a familiar past and now he is making a mark for Christ in the world of the UFC, Strikeforce and MMA.

Meet Jason David Frank (yeah, this cat), the owner and creator of Jesus Didn’t Tap, a reference to “tapping out,” or forfeiting a fight.

His line of Jesus-branded MMA merchandise is on display on his studio walls, on the backs of his young students and even on cars across the country.

By the way, Frank famously fought evil villains with white metallic armor and a talking saber as Tommy on the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. (Parents everywhere along the wall just became interested in this story. Whatever works.)

For Frank and his Christian fans, Jesus Didn’t Tap is more than just a logo; it’s part of their philosophy. “Jesus is the only one that truly didn’t tap. They say, ‘Oh, he was nailed to the cross so he couldn’t tap.’ Well, you can verbally tap, you can verbally cry, ‘I quit! I give up!’ That’s not what he did. He got crucified for all our sins,” said Frank, 36, who wears the company’s logo tattooed across his forearm.

No sport is perfect. And whether we are viewing and cheering the bone-chilling tackles on a football field or a sweet rear-naked choke in the Octagon, it is still sport… and I can still be saved enjoying it.

This is not a Christian world, folks. Therefore, in the midst of it, we should just strive to be the image of Christ in this world for everyone to view, enjoy and want to emulate. That’s precisely what Frank is doing as he positions “Jesus Didn’t Tap.”

And this “trend” isn’t going anywhere.

Think about it? You got some dude jacked up on machismo and bitter from some so-called Christian who scorched his earth. Is there anyway he comes to church via your invitation? Uh, no. However, invite the guy for some UFC or Strikeforce pay-per-view and he is in there.

Fighting ministries help churches reach out to men, who are less likely to attend services, believe in God or consider religion important in their lives, according to a study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

And you aren’t crazy about that statistic, consider the Bible and Paul’s final words to Timothy:

But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses. And I charge you before God, who gives life to all, and before Christ Jesus, who gave a good testimony before Pontius Pilate, that you obey this command without wavering. Then no one can find fault with you from now until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. (1 Timothy 6:11-14 NLT).

Jesus is alive in the world of MMA

MMA meet WWJD

Fight. I know, I know. It’s not showing the turn the other cheek mentality. Consider, we “wrestle” not against flesh and blood. Besides, I have actually had someone to whom I was witnessing try to kick my blessed assurance.

And yes, I turned the other cheek… because he sucker-punched the first one. So, in the name of Jesus, I had to throw down my “I must protect this house” card and proceed to stomp a mudhole and walk it dry.

Then, I shared the Good News of Christ. It worked too… he’s saved today.

Wall Watchers, we need to pray for brands like this that want to be all things to all men, all Paul professed.

Several MMA sites sell Jesus Didn’t Tap gear alongside top secular brands like TapOut and Affliction. Their shirts depict Jesus fighting the devil (and winning, of course) and slogans like “Jesus loves me and my new tattoos” and “Putting the Jew in jiu jitsu.”

On the real? Jesus didn’t tap… and neither will any of us in these last days. Praise God for the real face of Christianity that despite what the world thinks of Jesus, we can turn that cheek too and introduce them to another side of a complete God.

I have often uttered a phrase of resolution, and typically it is directed at apathetic Christ followers (or those who say they are… but meh?) for their lack of commitment:

Get off your blessed assurance and do something!

Jesus in an orange

Jesus? Orange you glad something is being done?

How can you expect God to work through you if he can’t get to you? (MEMO to all pastors: You may use that free of charge, but uh, source a brother).

Many Christians are faced with the dilemma on a frequent basis.

It’s no secret most folk walk their walk in their pastor’s shoes. Regardless of the size of his feet, at least he is doing the walking… and that is quite okay for those lethargic slugs.

Now, that pandemic is being addressed through the “Orange Movement.” Yeah, the “Orange” movement:

At a time when an estimated two-thirds or more of the younger generation is walking from the Christian faith after high school, churches (yellow for light) and families (red for heart) are realizing the need to become true partners.

Oh, I see. The red… and the yellow… carry the one… get orange… yeah, moving on:

Todd Clark, founding pastor of Discovery Church in Simi Valley, Calif., contends the Orange philosophy combats what he calls “surrogate faith.” Just as a surrogate mother carries a child that is not her own but for someone else, there are many Christians who are carrying a faith that is not their own, Clark explained at The Orange Conference.

Oh, testify my brother! Ain’t that the truth? How many Christ followers end up broke, busted and disgusted because their faith level can’t exceed John 3:16? And that is because they watch a lot of football?

There is something to this color coding of faith. We are to be the light of the world, and we are washed by the blood of the lamb. But what happens when they can’t get through us to see Jesus?

We have to meet them in the middle. And trust me, if you suck as a witness for Christ, then they will blow right by you who should be all orange and miss the scarlet red love of Jesus.

Pastor Clark is on to something, Wall Watchers. Something we should all mind closely.

“They (parents) want us to do baptism to them (children) and not with them; they want us to basically program out the child’s life to where the church is responsible for their faith rather than the parent and that way the parent never has to go to God. They can get everything through their favorite book,” Clark lamented.

However, what happens to that lazy Christian when that lukewarm pablum book is out of reach? How does this person walk on the water when he hasn’t spent time in the Bible long enough to know how to swim? How can a child become a child of God when the only father he knows doesn’t introduce him to the father in heaven he should know?

Evidently, the answer is somewhere between red and yellow.

Jesus. In Orange.

Orange Jesus is watching you.

Home and church are two crucial links to someone’s walk with Christ. And if the homelife is rocky, church isn’t going to be a picnic.

Also, is church folk act like – well, you know – church folk, then meditation with God at home is going to be about as long as Wilt Chamberlain’s… well, his mama’s… pinkie.

Very few things in life are really as they same, but most of can rely on the colors of the rainbow. The prism of which we use to look at life is about as real Jesus wants us to be.

Providing we are not color blind or so completely desensitized from the light of God that all we see is black, then we should understand what it takes to be effective for Christ.

We are far from perfect, so being red is obviously out. And unless you represent the entire body of Christ (and by the way most of you drive… and still have an Ichthus on the ride, you do not), then I would suggest avoid yellow and working out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

Because, quite honestly, as long as you are sitting on the couch praying and wishing for more Christians to do your jober, something, the only thing you will be working is my last nerve.

Lord, hear my orange prayer.

Once again, HiScrivener’s “Legal Prejudice” theory strikes gold with yet another example of how no one gives a flip about offending the Body of Christ. Shoot, stray dogs get more respect and advocacy than Christians do these days.

Jesus Christ in his own talk show on South Park

WWJI? "Who Would Jesus Interview?!"

Exhibit A: The crack pipe smoking crew at Comedy Central… and I used to love this channel, so this pains me.

A couple of weeks ago, the makers of South Park (never seen an episode; don’t care to do so) created quite a kerfuffle when they depicted a search for the Prophet Muhammad. As you can imagine, the Nation of Islam were shouting “Allahu Akbar” to anyone with a fancy title at the network.

According to the New York Times, South Park received a “death prediction” because it’s a huge no-no to have Muhammad on anything except Muslim approved propagandaer, materials.

Now, these are guys on South Park that have very little scruples. Bashing religion is open season over there, but this “prediction” got up their dander.

“After we delivered the show, and prior to broadcast, Comedy Central placed numerous additional audio bleeps throughout the episode,” the message said. It added that the network was not allowing the episode to be streamed on the Web site, where “South Park” shows generally appear after they are broadcast on Comedy Central.

Muhammad wasn’t removed, but his likeness was. A small victory… and so, they have found someone bigger to pick on at the repugnant network. Jesus Christ. In fact, not just for an insulting cameo appearance, but an entire near-sacrilegious show.

According to the Huffington Post, we see Comedy Central is far from done and ostracizing the Body of Christ:

Comedy Central said Thursday that it has a cartoon series about Jesus Christ in the works. “JC” is one of 23 potential series the network said it has in development. It depicts Christ as a “regular guy” who moves to New York to “escape his father’s enormous shadow.”

Although “JC” has been a reoccurring theme in South Park, the fun and yuks will continue if this gets approved as ‘God’ is presented as an apathetic man who would rather play video games than listen to his son talk about his new life. Yeah, because that’s friggin’ hilarious!

And once again, the ONLY God-fearing individual who is saying anything is William Donahue, president of Catholic League for Civil and Religious Rights. (And before you complain about what he is – or is not – saying about the outrageous travesty inside the Catholic Church… have you spoke out against this mess. No? Then, moving on…)

“It’s not certain what is more despicable: the nonstop Christian bashing featured on the network, or Comedy Central’s decision to censor all depictions of Muhammad,” he said in the aforementioned link.

Now while the overreaction of death threats is way out of line and nowhere near indicative of what true Islam resembles, I understand the angst and have been waiting… and waiting… and waiting for these high-powered TBN preachers to do something about this. Alas, nothing has happened unless Jan and Paul Crouch are planning on a call drive to Comedy Central in the near future.

No? Moving on again…

So, in an effort to prevent the presumed sandstorm of Christian acrimony, we have this tepid explanation from Comedy Central:

“In general, comedy in its purest form always makes some people uncomfortable,” said Comedy Central head of original programming Kent Alterman.

I get it: The real stuff is always the funny stuff. But there is a line that is not so blurred to some of us who actually rever Christ, holmes.

Comedy Central has crossed that ubiquitous line and the Body of Christ has yet to defend it. Muslims fight for their deity. Scientologists fight each other for theirs. Christians? We just whisper after church at Luby’s and “pray for people to do it for us.”

Here goes nothing: two addresses and please, I’m not asking for chain letters, but forward this on to folk and DO SOMETHING!

  • Tony Fox, corporate communications executive vice president of Comedy Central, can be reached at (212) 767-8746 or tony.fox@comedycentral.com.
  • Doug Herzog, president of Comedy Central, can be reached at (310) 407-4790 or doug.herzog@comedycentral.com.

And when you reply, be sure to let them both know that while the network calls this ballyhoo “comedy”, we – as a united body of believers – will work to make you and your sponsors uncomfortable.

Anyone with me? God, I pray so.