Posts Tagged ‘change’

Today is September 11, Patriot Day, a moment in time that will also live in infamy.

On that day nine years ago, religion didn’t matter, race wasn’t an issue and your political party was a moot point. What was important was birthright – we were all Americans, united by God.

Captain Dale Goetz

Capt. Dale Goetz (1967 - 2010)

This week, a tragedy happened during war that has not happened since the Vietnam War and brought back the concept of this being “God’s Country” – a Chaplain died in the line of duty, for his country and for Christ.

U.S. Army chaplain Capt. Dale Goetz, 43, was killed in the Arghandab River Valley in Afghanistan, when the convoy he was traveling in was struck by an improvised explosive device, according to the Department of Defense. Four other soldiers also were killed in the attack. Goetz was serving as the battalion chaplain for the 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment.

What was once a unifying issue has now become a political one. Dead soldiers are no longer symbols of bravery and honor; they are unwilling pawns in a slothful, apathetic game of Congressional chess. Case in point – this story.

Did you catch it? Anywhere?

It was news because of its calamitous significance, but hardly made a ripple in the sea of polluted water known as “breaking news.” And why? There was no political leverage to be made. He was a Chaplain.

In the Christian media, that was a different story (take this blog, for example). Christian Post and Christianity Today both did a nice job covering statements and testimony of the Army chaplain:

“He had a great burden for the soldiers,” recalled Jason Parker, pastor of High Country Baptist Church of Colorado Springs. “His specific prayer request was to see 300 soldiers come to Christ. He was also praying for God to call ten of those soldiers into the ministry. That was one of his specific prayer requests.”

Get that. The man was more than a Chaplain to our stalwarts overseas; he was their pastor encouraging God’s calling to manifest in – and through – their lives. Now that’s news.

Goetz joined the Army one year before the disastrous events and today, his life serves as a stark reminder to the Body of Christ that there is a lot more to this drama in Afghanistan than some nappy bearded, extremist recluse that no one can find. Well, except for every TV camera working for Al Jazeera.

There is a dire need for prayer. We need to pray for our country, our troops and our government. That’s a trinity that needs to be held in the highest regard, saints. What is going on over there has nothing to do with politics; it’s all about purpose. We should be mindful of our troops more than on Veterans Day, Memorial Day and 9/11. They need prayer. They need God’s people.

Pray for our troops for protection and peace

I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD watches over you— the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore. (Psalm 121 NIV)

May God bless all the men and women who serve our country with valor… and the men and women who serve them for Christ. Never forget… remember?

Plenty of headlines. Choose one.

8.5 percent.

Many don’t relate to the number of America’s unemployed. Mainly because percentages are faceless, unless you are one of them. Now add the statistics of those not receiving benefits any more because it’s been too long or those who were making a nice living and are now settling for sacking groceries.

Add those – the underemployed – and that terrible but nameless number spikes to 17 percent. To make it real, there are more than 309 million people in America. Doing the math, there are 54,075,000 people in this country dealing with the economy worse than most.

Now that’s real. And what is the Church doing about it? Praying about it? That’s sweet considering 10 percent of your church is probably one of these people in need of a miracle. Anything else?

An article from a Charisma magazine says we should doing much more in lieu of a government that is not:

With unemployment at record highs, churches and Christian organizations are stepping in to help job seekers both practically and spiritually. Ministries such as Florida-based Christian HELP and Career Solutions in Dallas began helping the unemployed find work long before the recession hit in 2008. But since the unemployment rate shot up, the groups say the ministry needs—and opportunities—are growing.

The Church is to be a place where we take care of each other, but how many churches have job boards in the bulletin or employment workshops on Wednesday nights? Prayer changes things… but so do prayerful people doing things.

“Most people don’t realize just how deeply affected people are, and the church is not doing near what it could do,” says [Career Solutions founder David Rawles, author of Finding a Job God's Way] Rawles, a former human resources executive at GTE and Disney who developed career coaching curriculum for churches.

It’s no secret the birth of this blog came as a result of being unemployed. I was begging God for something to do to bless him while I was waiting for him to bless me… and the ‘Wall’ happened.

That unemployment lasted many months and took quite a toll on my life. It’s bad enough if you are single dealing with it. Now, raise a family and be without work? It’s torturous and although I greatly appreciated the prayer, I would rather some hand me a business card, you know?

According to the article, some churches across the country are taking a cue from these necessary ministries and creating job placement groups for their congregations:

Entrepreneur Tim Krauss estimates that less than 40 percent of churches offer some form of employment ministry, but he hopes to change that through his Job Connection. The online service enables churches to list available jobs in their areas while weeding out scams. It costs $195 to set up, with a monthly service fee ranging from $95 for churches of 6,000 or less to $245 for larger congregations. So far, more than a dozen ministries are on board, including Willow Creek Community Church and Salem Baptist Church in Chicago, and Second Baptist Church in Houston.

If that investment is what it takes for your congregation, then it’s worth it. The Church is a safe haven for the hurting, and right now there are more than 54 million people hurting. And this is the pain that can cause addictions, divorce or even death.

Pastors and church leaders, I encourage you to consider a ministry like this in your church. You know some of the unemployed, but there are many more that may surprise you. Bring in community advocates, job placement experts, human resource recruiters and even hold a job fair for the community in your lobby.

Whatever you do, do something. Now is the time for the Church to stand up and lend a hand because that action alone could be the difference:

“At the very least [the ministry has] provided a better hope,” says [a facilitator of a similar church ministry in Michigan, Geoff] Brown, who became the first to find a job through the ministry. “And I think that’s the biggest thing I needed after nine months of unemployment—hope.

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!

Unfortunately, June was a slow month for the spirit of God in the cameo department.

As we have come to notice on the Wall, at least once a month, God, Jesus or even Mary decides to show up in front of some folk in terms of cheetos, bathroom tile or a tub of pizza sauce. Why? Just because they can and it’s good for kicks on home movies.

Jesus as found on Google Earth

On Google Earth As It Is In Heaven

That said, he had to show his face in a big way. I mean, huge. And he didn’t disappoint as we see in the Telegraph (UK) and a fable discussing Google Earth:

The resemblance was found by a 26-year-old man as he used the mapping website to look for holiday destinations. Zach Evans, from Southampton, spotted the outline in satellite pictures of a field on farmland near Puspokladany in Hungary.

“I’m not a religious person looking for images of Mary or Jesus in everything, but this is obvious.”

The aforementioned sightings of deity is easy to point a Pentecostal finger and crack jokes, but this?

Well, let’s just say there are aliens who wish they could Da Vinci crop circles this good.

Cloud shadows? Topography issues? What do you see?

Whatever it is you are looking at, admit it… you’re going to check out Google Earth right after this. Perhaps these oddball sightings create a skosh of faith. Regardless, you’re still looking.

That sound you hear is millions of Christians staring at their Thomas Kinkade tchotchkey-du-jour in their house and hurling a plate of nachos at it. CRASH!

Thomas Kinkade gets his own picture - a mug shot

Looks like that 'light' is shining too brightly into his bloodshot eyes

Yes, it’s true. The great talent. The anointed vessel. The child of God Thomas Kinkade, affectionately known as “The Painter of Light,” evidently had a mind that went dark when he took the wheel while seriously under the sauce, thanks to FOX News:

Police initially pulled over the Mercedes driven by artist Thomas Kinkade in the city of Carmel last weekend because the car didn’t have a front license plate, Sheriff’s Cmdr. Mike Richards told The Herald.

Police then detected the smell of alcohol and conducted a sobriety test during which Kinkade, 52, “displayed signs of impairment to the officer,” California Highway Patrol spokesman Robert Lehman said.

Doh! Seriously? What’s this dude thinking? I’m sorry but he’s a painter. Did he think “Don’t you know who I am” would work, because odds are if you must ask that question, they probably don’t know who you are.

MEMO to the Man in the Mug: You’re Thomas Kinkade, not some frat boy on a two-day binge. What are you doing? Yes, Jesus forgave you the minute you began sipping but there are many holders of your precious, illuminated artwork that may have forced them to forget you.

Toxicology tests are still pending, but take a gander at the beleaguered artist here. Although he appears a few fries short of a happy meal, this guy can throw down on a buffet, and that means he gets thirsty.

Yes, he was hammered. Yes, he will try to fight this. Yes, he will blame medication. And no, many folk won’t believe him.

Thomas Kinkade and a roll of toilet paper. Funny stuff.

Thomas' believes in the rock and his name is on the... what again?

In fact, in a Christian book store in my fare burgh, would you believe his art was “taken to the back for business reasons?” Yes way. Christian folk can be some of the most narrow-minded, yes? Too bad I love them. Many folk think I am a tool as well.

Kinkade’s art has now slid down the value meter and could end up as Exhibit A if he just ignores this ever happened… that is, until we get a nice discount.

God’s people are far from being perfect, but you have to be smarter than that to cover up for your own humanity.

Poor guy. What kind of picture does this paint for “America’s Most Collected Living Artist”? My guess it looks like a Picasso right now.