Posts Tagged ‘evangelism’

Michael Brea killing his mother in the name of God? No way.

Yannick Brea, 55, who was slashed to death by son, is taken from her Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, home. (Source: NY Daily News)

Back to the “Making us all look bad” department: Have you heard about this terrible story involving a disgruntled actor from “Ugly Betty”?

[Actor Michael Brea of 'Ugly Betty' fame] Convinced his church-going mom was possessed by Satan, a Scripture-spouting killer hacked her to death with a 3-foot sword as she knelt in their apartment, police sources said.

It sounds like a B-horror-flick, but this is all true. I have been to church half my life and I have never felt the urge to evangelize so hard that I want to explore what a knife does for salvation. Much less a Masonic sword. And on my mother.

I mean, this story just gets more and more depressing.

Yannick Brea, 55, was found kneeling – as if offering a final prayer – after she was butchered during her son’s demented diatribe about repentance, police said. “Sinner! Sinner!” howled Michael Brea.” Neighbors and police sources said. “You never accepted Jesus!”

What made this possessed, demented dude think killing her would make a difference is beyond me.

Saints, we need to pray that anyone and everyone who claim they know God come to experience the love of Christ! If they did, the Church would become more open, Christians – or “Christians” – would seem more tangible and Jesus would be discussed in terms of splendor and wonder, instead of bitterness and angst.

This story is tragic, but in tragedy, there is truth. Enter Brea’s uncle:

“Something happened that made him do it,” Brea’s uncle told the New York Daily News. “The devil entered him.”

Enough said. The enemy is real, folks. Let’s spread that word and perhaps we can become more vigilant about prayer.

Something happier coming tomorrow. Promise.

Can you blame this church for calling a spade, a spade. Or better yet, the Church, a haven for a bunch of self-righteous jerks? Not me.

And apparently neither can Christ Covenant Church in Beaumont, Texas – the transparent refuge for a bunch of tools. Well, watch the video. You’ll understand:

Yes. WAY!

For centuries, the Church (yours, mine, just about everyone’s) has been under the collective microscope of every person outside of salvation. And why? The answer is as simple, as it is complex.

Think “The Great Commission.” Maybe you’ve heard of it?

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16-20 ESV)

The problem with this – and Jesus knew it when he put it into motion – is that evangelism is a sales job. We are promoting a better life with Christ Almighty. And the only the runaway sheep can find the shepherd is to follow him… and like-minded sheep.

Remember, sheep follow. And since they can’t physically see Christ, they have to go with the next best thing: Christ followers.

So, what happens if said Christ followers are – shall we say – “a bunch of jerks”? My guess is atheism will go through the roof… oh, would you look at that? It is! And it’s all our fault.

Yes, when Jesus said “Go therefore”, he knew very well what it was there for, only he wanted us to get out of the way. We didn’t, and that’s why thought-provoking churches like this one in Beaumont, Texas are calling us all out.

“Jerks.” Well, we’ve been called a lot worse. Now, we need to fix it and the church’s lead minister has a nice idea.

“How do we tell this community that we want to be different? This is like our mea culpa. We know we’ve failed,” said Chris Beard, the church’s lead minister.

I know. I know. Some of you are too sanctimonious to have this junior-section, Affliction-wearing t-shirt guy speak for you, but unless the lost realize the fraudulent televangelists, the hypocritical pastors, the two-faced Christians out there (and you know who you are) do not speak for us, then evangelism will continue to be a difficult proposition these days.

After all, what is the number one cause for atheism and cynicism these days? Christians. Well, the jerks.

 

Courtesy: SomethingPositive.net

Acclaimed vampire author and official nocturnal lady, Anne Rice, has denounced her relationship with Christianity via CNN.

Yeah, she was a solider. She hung up her bat wings and affinity for Nosferatu to write about cherubs and “Christ the Lord.” (And it was a nice read.) Alas, things went awry along the way, but what? Rice seemed dedicated to writing about God.

She even penned an autobiography about being “Called out of the Darkness.” So, what gives? The dimwitted “Twilight” and “Trublood” rage call her back to her enigmatic roots?

Before folk get all up in a huff about this announcement not on her website but via Facebook of all things, remember she is an author – a brilliant one. Read the words, not the sentiment:

For those who care, and I understand if you don’t: Today, I quit being a Christian. I remain committed to Christ as always, but not to being “Christian” or to being part of Christianity. It’s simply impossible for me to belong to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious and deserved infamous group. For 10 years, I’ve tried. I’ve failed. My conscience will allow nothing else.

While this is a sad commentary about one’s faith in Jesus regardless of the source, look a little deeper and I believe you will see a trend – an all-too-familiar one to those in the Church who demand more out of God’s children in the face of a world that is beginning to demand less out of God.

Rice apparently wasn’t done explaining her vitriol and basing her discussion, so back on Facebook she updates her status:

My faith in Christ is central to my life. My conversion from a pessimistic atheist lost in a world I didn’t understand, to an optimistic believer in a universe created and sustained by a loving God is crucial to me, but following Christ does not mean following His followers. Christ is infinitely more important than Christianity and always will be, no matter what Christianity is, has been or might become.

And there’s the rub. God’s children. Again.

Do you understand the shape the Church is in, and how many people warming pews could give a crap less about its bastardized geometry?!

While preachers are gallivanting across Rome with alleged, elicit trysts, butchering the Family Feud in the pulpit and esteemed ministry leaders using the Word of God to jetset and look like ‘Big Pimpin’, the rest of the Church are left to do one of three things without no one caring:

  1. Despite the headlines, the rumors and the glaring facts, continue to press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14 NIV).
  2. Lump the entire Church into one toxic, smoldering pond and figure everyone is the same because of the freaks we see plastered on the Wall (this one namely)
  3. Live like most newly converted Christians with an unnerving testimony or appearance – sit in the back of church, folk point at you and you walk out the back door without no one knowing you left… that is, until you update your Facebook page that Christians suck.

This was the plight of Anne Rice and so, so many more Christians who happen to have one too many body piercings, or have slept with one too many people, or have had one too many abortions, or been to prison for one too many years. In other words, there are one too many people the Church allows to slip right through its pretentious fingers because they don’t add up to what is considered the status quo.

Christians are sheep for a reason

Think about it. We are sheep for a reason.

Just because you meet someone who acts like they have been in the Lord’s way for decades, doesn’t mean you should act that way. Because consider the source… he been in the Lord’s WAY. God can’t do anything through that fool, so find another role model. Try the Bible, not the lectern at [insert a maligned megachurch pastor here] church.

Tell me. Did Jesus sacrifice his entire life for folk that look like the Waltons? The Cleavers? The Munsters? The idiots on Jersey Shore? The answer is yes!

Regardless of your Beverly Hillbillies baggage you bring to God, he accepts you. Despite your brash and offensive expressions, God loves you. And no matter of the amount of black you wear, cloves you smoke and cuss words you dish, Jesus is still there with arms wide open.

Here’s the catch: THEY CAN’T SEE THAT UNLESS YOU TROGLODYTE TWITS DO IT!

Jesus needs all Christians to act like, well, Christ! If needed a fashion police, Mr. TBN Big Shot, believe me, he would hire one. If he wanted someone to hurl the condemnatory Pentecostal finger in someone’s face, trust me, he would give you one first for making a child of his feel like trash.

How many Anne Rices have walked in the front door of the Church waiting for the love of God to envelop them, but instead some shady, ne’er-do-well usher with an utter disregard for the aforementioned agape judges one of these newly crowned saints, looks at him or her through the bottom of that flat, fat nose of his, forces the saint to sit in the back of this monolithic church in shame, and out the back door they leave never to be heard from again?

So, there’s a lot of hype and ballyhoo over Anne Rice “leaving” Christianity, but I contend she was never there in the first place. Largely, thanks to the Body of Christ that never loved on her in the first place.

Sound like anyone you know? Of course not, because most of us don’t know those people were ever there. And if you do have the fortune of meeting them, get to know them. You never know when one of them could write a blog, blast anyone who makes his Daddy in heaven look stupid and puts all charlatans on notice.

Just sayin’

You really can go home again

Here’s a name from the past: Steve Hill. Name still not ringing a bell? Think about a church service happening nightly with a line around the building.

Brownsville Revival, anyone? Oh, that Steve Hill.

If you think that he sure has been quiet since the glory fell in the late 90s, you would be right. But he has certainly still been active, as we see in this story from Charisma.

Hill has been a pastor in Irving, Texas of Heartland Church since 2003. This came as a shock to me because I – like tens of 1000s around the world – have been touched by his ministry. Then suddenly in 2000, he vanished like Elijah’s chariot visited the tropical state and swooped him up.

Before we touch on the cool thing he is doing now, a little about where he’s been.

Hill left Brownsville in 2000 and later founded Heartland Church. But since being diagnosed with a “vicious” melanoma in 2001 that has spread into his bloodstream, forming two tumors near his lungs, Hill has increasingly been using the Internet to evangelize.

Who knew? That is so sad considering all the lives he touched, and when he was sick, no one could touch back. Ah well, back to the story. Apparently, while the fiery evangelist realized talking wasn’t a big thing for him at the moment, he could still type feverishly, so he did.

Early last year, Hill launched ProdigalsOnly.com and, much like his brimstone bellowing in Brownsville, this net casting venture is catching quite the school of fish for Jesus:

Hill said God showed him there were 20 million prodigals in the U.S. alone, but the site has drawn visitors from 130 nations, including China, the United Arab Emirates and Japan. On the website, Hill shares his testimony of overcoming addiction and the parable of the prodigal son from Luke 15. He then invites visitors to recommit to Christ and share their stories with the ministry, which is working to help direct people to a local church.

As quiet as its kept, Hill is about to endure his third clinic trial at M.D. Anderson Center in Houston – considered one of the best cancer treatment facilities in the world.

In fact, at his church next month, Heartland is having a reunion service featuring John Kilpatrick and Lindell Cooley (That brother can blow on stage. Talk about anointed.) This service is going to be a fund raiser hoping to offset Hill’s medical costs.

Think about that? At one time, you were known as the world’s soul catcher. Then, once the glorious haze lifted, you disappear only to fulfill a call as a pastor in a city with so many megachurches anyway.

The one gift you have is quelled because of cancer. Do you quit? Nope. You speak through your fingers and reach 1000s more prodigals because that’s what you were created to do.

Talk about practice what you preach. Wall Watchers, let’s talk to God for him and for a healing. Peace be unto you.

In life, there are certain signs that are visible; yet silent that scream “Danger Will Robinson” as your brain begins to go into screen saver mode much more frequently. Things such as:

  1. Folk calling you at 7 p.m. and their first sentence is, “I didn’t wake you, right?”
  2. The term “Good Grass” now only applies when discussing the neighbor’s lawn.
  3. You pee every morning like clockwork at 6:30 a.m. – only you don’t wake up until 8 a.m.
The connection from church to gay isn't that far for some priests

I post. You decide. And possibly giggle.

Another is when you are successful, powerful, influential and suddenly… you hire a lawyer?! Really? Such is life for one Joseph “Pope B16″ Ratzinger, according to this article from Yahoo! and AP.

Everything is groovy at St. Peter’s Basilica. You know, the guys in funny suits harking to every whim, a nation at your disposal and a world as your footstool for those kicking red shoes (this ain’t Kansas anymore, B. Word. Up.)

Until one day, Il Papa gets a call that his righteous judgment is in question about a serial child molester who was never defrocked, much less punished by law. Oh, and you were the one at the helm when it happened over a period of one… or two… eh, decades.

And so, in a fit of divine inspiration and sublime panic, the Vatican realizes God isn’t enough protection for this ballyhoo:

But as the Vatican reels from a swirling clerical sex abuse crisis, the Holy See has turned to an unusual advocate: a tennis-loving, Saab-driving solo practitioner from Berkeley, Calif., whose obscure interest in sovereign immunity law and fluency in Italian landed him the job of the pope’s U.S. lawyer.

There’s a mantra in public relations that says, “Perception is reality.” So, which one is this?

Does the Bishop of Rome and leader of the Roman Catholic Church just need some legal advice or is there something to hide? Is he sweeping something under that big funny hat of his or just in need of a friend who happens to understand this enigmatic “sovereign immunity law”?

[His] latest project: defend Pope Benedict XVI against allegations that he personally, and the Vatican generally, turned a blind eye to decades of rapes and molestation of children by priests. The Vatican has vehemently denied such reports, saying the pope has done more than anyone to root out abusers.

“What is most important for people to know is that he does understand, that his heart is moved,” Lena said. “He has seen the files, he gets it, and indeed he got it long before most others did.”

Yet, there’s the 800-pound gorilla in the room wearing a nice, flowing robe, blinging with some gold-encrusted crucifix and that nice, silk beanie missing the twirling propeller. We know when confronted with a sinister man who sexually abused hundreds of deaf boys – and admitted it – the once Cardinal Ratzinger was more concerned about the media hit than the welfare of the acolytes.

To borrow a slogan, "They need hope and change."

And now? It seems the Holy See is still concerned about the perception instead of the reality.

I appreciate his recent tearful homily in Malta where the Pope said he would “seek justice for pedophile priests and implement effective measures to protect young people from abuse.” However, if you knew the Catholic Church had so many raging freaks on the down low, why not come out swinging the moment the black smoke billowed in the Vatican sky?

Is this apoplectic concern because you are tired of the madness, or just sick of being called out for it?

Pope Benedict even visited some of these victims. According to the USA Today story:

“He prayed with them and assured them that the Church is doing, and will continue to do, all in its power to investigate allegations, to bring to justice those responsible for abuse and to implement effective measures designed to safeguard young people in the future,” the Vatican statement said.

I applaud that. I get that. But there’s still that lawyer thing. Out of nowhere is a simple man who probably smells of Chai tea, fresh ink and day-old Brut cologne. Yet, he is the appointed counsel for the Holy See… who is supposed to getting his counsel from our holy Father.

Lawyers provide protection, comfort and peace in the midst of a tumultuous storm, but is that necessary unless you are out in a boat amidst a hurricane? The Vatican certainly is getting pelted with a flurry of law suits, and rightly so. However, there is a demand for stronger action against these freaks who abuse innocent boys.

Please? Defrocking a priest is a slap on the wrist compared to the righteous judgment they deserve; yet that doesn’t even happen to some of these dudes with soiled collars.

There are good priests, phenomenal in their church and communities who watch this mess and know their names are stained because of the work of these dolts. Those bad seeds should be plucked out and exposed for the fools they are, but instead, their fearless leader gets legal representation.

It just smacks more of hiding than fighting… and in a time of despair, there needs to be some righteous indignation and holy fisticuffs coming from the Papal offices. Instead, we get a sinewy finger pointing in our direction as if it’s our fault.

Consider this story from USA Today and a report from the Pope demanding “We must repent.”

“I must say, we Christians, even in recent times, have often avoided the word ‘repent,’ which seemed too tough,” ANSA [the Pontifical News Agency] quoted Benedict as saying. “But now under attack from the world, which has been telling us about our sins … we realize that it’s necessary to repent, in other words, recognize what is wrong in our lives.”

Sorry my brother but we need to repent daily for our sins… but this ain’t one of them. Enough posturing, blaming and running. People demand backbones from their leaders – not wishbones.

The Papal office is supposed to be the divine revelation of God. What the Catholic Church needs, nee should demand is for that office to become the divine representation of God as well.

And that is something not found in a legal brief or a courtroom. It comes with prayer, repentance and an earnest desire to hearken to the Spirit of God. If there is anyone on this planet who is capable of focusing on God’s will, it’s this guy. Church – and I mean all of us – we need to pray for the Pope as never before.

Lord Jesus, bring peace to this petulance. Bring hope for the hurting. Bring a solution for the suffering.

Whether you attend a Catholic Church, this guy needs our support because there are more than a billion ardent people looking to Rome for an answer and some action. They don’t need to see legal writ or spin control. They need action and an unction from Pope Benedict to put an end to this sardonic behavior, face the evil that it is and sick the legion of heaven on it.

Heck, I saw “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels and Demons.” I know that can happen. Perception is reality. Remember?