Posts Tagged ‘faith’

I know ‘The Writing on the Wall” has carried a headline of shock value once or twice, but this is regretfully a direct quote.

I KNOW! Can you believe someone would have the unmitigated gall to utter a thought like that? Check the story from the U.K. Mail Online:

A South African pastor has provoked outrage after beginning a recent sermon with the claim that Jesus Christ was HIV-positive. Xola Skosana stunned his congregation in Cape Town’s Khayelitsha township with the bold statement, news of which then quickly spread across the country.

Pastor says Jesus had AIDS

What? Jesus was a hemophiliac too?

Keep it classy, Xola. Look, I understand the world is going political correct as some sort of etiquette class, and it seems being gay is trendy, but this is insane.

The Bible says something I think this twit just perverted:
Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help. (Hebrews 4:14 – 16 MSG)
You get that, dude? He was tempted with everything, but that doesn’t mean he shacked up with some guy he met at an alternative bar wearing a Village People outfit.
Here’s his explanation. Well, kinda:
Of course, there’s no scientific evidence that Jesus had the HI virus in his bloodstream. The best gift we can give to people who are HIV-positive is to help de-stigmatise Aids and create an environment where they know God is not against them, he’s not ashamed of them.’
Let me get this right. I meet a guy who is suffering from crack addiction and want to witness to him about the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
Do I start the conversation with an ice breaker like, “Did you know Jesus had powder-stained lips and stole his disciples’ TVs for a quick fix of the base out back of Pilate’s temple? After all, that’s where most of the dregs hung out for the quality scraps.”
Uh, no! So why in the world would you testify to folk dealing with this treacherous disease – some of which got through other circumstances other than the obvious – with Jesus had AIDS?!
Unless you are anointed with CSI superpowers, I would recommend shutting your pie hole and stick with the Beatitudes. Just a thought.

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?

Ramadan speeches. Clandestine trips to the Middle East. Fighting for Islamic equality.

Is it any secret that according to a recent Pew Research poll, 1 out of 5 Americans think Barack Obama is a Muslim? And if so, consider his middle name is Hussein and people in the country tend to be a skosh on the narrow-minded side of things.

What’s probably even more concerning is the amount of people in this country that can’t tell:

Alan Cooperman, associate director of research for the Pew Forum, says, “I think overall the picture that we see is of uncertainty and confusion about the president and religion.” Cooperman also says, “When we simply ask people, ‘Do you happen to know what is Barack Obama’s religion?’ it is only one-third of Americans who say he is a Christian. The largest single percentage, almost half of Americans, don’t know what religion he is.

The Graying of America

Being president can’t be easy, as seen by the rapid need for ‘Just for Men’ products on that cropped hair of his. Sure his teeth have gotten mysteriously whiter, but that head is becoming silver like the lining he keeps searching for on the clouds looming overhead.

But I digress… everyone wants to put him in a box. What side of the fence are you, Mr. President? What color are you, Mr. President? Where were you born, Mr. President? If you love the planet, you’ll get a hybrid… an American one, right Mr. President?

However, the one that has probably caused the most gray hairs high atop his afro is “What religion are you, Mr. President?”

This is a man whose trek to find a church became national headlines. As was his inability to find one. Sure, he says he is a Christian and many preachers vouch for the guy, but wouldn’t you fall in line with that one rudimentary principle in the Bible:

Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Matthew 7:19-20 NKJV)

If you take this gig, you do so at your own peril. Everything you do will be under the microscope of American perception. So far, what has been perceived is the only fruits President Obama attracts are the ones who… ah, that’s too easy. Never mind, but you get the idea.

Jesus and President Obama - the odd couple?

Jesus is always looming over Obama's shoulder

Where is his prayer life taking him besides Martha’s Vineyard for some much needed R&R? Why does American media types only seem to catch him knee-deep in Arabic shawls and bowing to leaders of Middle Eastern nations? Other than Rick Warren at the inauguration, what relationship has this president had with the Christian population he so desperately tried to court in the election?

Ever since the kerfuffle about the Islamic activity center mosque place being suggested to be built around Ground Zero, this country has become the compass of the Church and demanding to see his “I got saved and baptized in the 80s” card.

Why? Or better yet, why now?

They lost interest years ago in his faith, but now that he seems to advocate an Imam with a death wish, inquiring (and narrow) minds want to know.

Of course, where the media is going for answers is rather obvious. No one is going to clown the president during a presser about the economy, so let’s ask someone who should know [cue CNN]:

Asked by CNN Chief National Correspondent John King if Franklin Graham had any doubts about Obama’s Christian faith, Graham, who has made controversial comments about Islam in the past, said the president’s background is fueling the false perception that he is a Muslim.

“I think the president’s problem is that he was born a Muslim, his father was a Muslim. The seed of Islam is passed through the father like the seed of Judaism is passed through the mother. He was born a Muslim, his father gave him an Islamic name,” Graham said. “Now it’s obvious that the president has renounced the prophet Mohammed and he has renounced Islam and he has accepted Jesus Christ. That is what he says he has done, I cannot say that he hasn’t. So I just have to believe that the president is what he has said,” Graham continued.

Again with the “Perception is reality” card, Mr. President. Where is your fruit? Sitting in a bowl on the Resolute Desk? Somewhere in your chambers? Or are they seemingly like your Bible, resting comfortably in the rear windshield of your Suburban collecting dust?

The Christian Science Monitor recently wrote a great article about this very conundrum entitled “Why doesn’t Obama wear his religion on his sleeve?” In the article, it asks a question I dare you to answer objectively:

What will it take for President Obama to convince the world that he’s a Christian … or at least not a Muslim?

Is that his job? Really?

Isn’t he supposed to be about creating jobs for the 17 percent of Americans who either do not have a job or are egregiously underemployed? Isn’t the office of the President supposed to be about protecting our soldiers who fight for us to have this inane debate?

Then if that is so, does he really have to convince us of anything concerning faith? Sure, if it is determined that he is not saved and all he was doing was playing politics, then he’s a tool for lying to so many in the Body of Christ. However, that doesn’t affect his ability (or lack thereof) to govern. That rests in his resume post-election.

And if I was President Obama, I would be looking at that dimly scuttled portfolio and praying for results. See there? Fruit after all.

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.

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’