Posts Tagged ‘Keep it real’

Ah yes. Another scintillating video from Cross Eyed (or video evangelism).

While on a sabbatical of my own this week, I ran across a delightful chiding from none other than John MacArthur. Since the inception, “well wishers” to The Writing on the Wall have tried to tell me I’ve been a little harsh on one Joel Osteen (namely our landmark series on “Victoria’s Secret“).

Sure, I think he’s corralling a ton of lukewarm sheep in the manger ready for slaughter. Yes, I believe his Caspar Milquetoast stance on, well everything, is liable to get a menial child of God a sardonic beatdown. And you bet, I think there is a little bit of John Osteen respecters who believe the boy is shaming his old man’s ministry.

However, thanks to this hide tanning by John MacArthur. I am not alone. Big shouts out to the teacher here.

[And a masonry shout out to the fine outlet 'Defending. Contending.' for the find.]

Jesus protect the Church from poor excuses for Christians

Movies like this wouldn't exist if there wasn't the need

Quick quiz: Think of a Christian who has a recent positive contribution to mankind. [Cue Jeopardy music]

No, not that guy. He died for your sins and does heavenly stuff like that everyday. Come on, someone else. Someone more… human. Yeah, that’s seems to be an issue going around.

According to the Denver Post, there’s a new Barna poll out there and the saints aren’t looking too well.

One in four Americans said they couldn’t think of a single positive societal contribution made by Christians in recent years, according to a nationwide survey released Monday. Also, one in 10 adults said they couldn’t think of a recent positive contribution because Christians hadn’t made one, the Barna Group reported.

Think about that: 25 percent of all Americans – many of which are saved – can’t think of one thing a Christian has contributed to society.

Why? That’s because most of the Christians they encounter are just “Christians.”

You know the type: Go to some milquetoast collection of sanctimonious, pretentious tools on Christmas, Mother’s Day and on Sundays after a weekend bender, get a feel good catch phrase the pastor found in a Bartleby’s collection book and go back to work acting like a total heathen all week long.
And those are most of the “Christians” considered in this highly biased poll. Regretfully. How do I know?

Barna researchers asked two open-ended questions: What were Christians’ recent positive contributions and what were the negative ones? “Overall,” researchers noted, “there was a more extensive and diverse list of complaints about Christians and their churches than there was of examples of the benefits they have provided to society.

This is what blows. Forget the amazing Christ followers who are being persecuted overseas. Ignore the missionaries in foreign lands translating the Bible and fulfilling the Great Commission. Avoid thinking about the millions of church volunteers who serve the Lord because there’s a need.

Yeah, give them all the Heisman! Let’s focus our energy on all the D-bags that selfishly fill up the pews of churches across the country and who make us all look bad.

Those folk aren’t doing us any favor, saints. Yet, what are we doing about it?

Maybe I am just speaking to thin air, but this concerns me a lot. What can I do to impact the world around me… and take away attention from the rest of these dolts. They’re not making a Christian life any easier.

The fraudulent televangelists. The pathetic pastors. The deplorable witnesses.

What’s even more upsetting is for every one of the aforementioned, there are a half dozen awe-striking stalwarts for the Gospel. You can find them in the mission field, on the job, at the church and yes, even on TV.

These questions were basic. The answers were terrible. The response? Well, that’s up to the rest of us (because it’s not like we can reach those big-time pastors on Twitter or anything. Just sayin’.)

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’

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.

According to the generically entitled “theologian” Sam Storms, it is.

And to his credit, he brought up some salient points at Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City, Okla. about man’s plight into this eternal quest for a payday and the pablum that necessitates it.

“For most professing believers if God is love he must promise to minimize my struggles and maximize my pleasure,” he lamented. “Many believe it’s their spiritual birthright to experience comfort and prosperity and that it’s God divine obligation to provide it.

See, regretfully, this entire doxology has created a distorted view of the love of God. To some who attend certain megachurches or follow particular global ministries, that love is a credit card with no limit allowing God’s children to be footloose and fancy free because whatever happens, “God loves me.”

(NOTE: There is no generalization here. Many big churches and ministries are fulfilling God’s purpose, but it’s the snake oil salesmen that ruin it for everybody.)

It’s a brainwashing tactic, not a biblical exhortation, of which we have become all too familiar thanks to many misanthrope swindlers who have used it to their advantage and not for the benefit of their sheep (i.e. Kenneth Copeland, Rod Parsley, Benny Hinn and now entering the fold, Ed Young).

People give, give and give believing they are doing the right thing (admirable) and that God must give it back so “that I may lack nothing” because he loves me. See, it’s twisted because of three reasons:

  1. God does love us more than can we ever comprehend
  2. We are his children and because of that, why would he ever want us to suffer
  3. There is an enemy and “our Daddy can kick your Daddy’s tail in a minute”

All that is very true. However, what the sheep are not told before they are sheered is they may experience heartache despite the checks they donate. Essentially, God is the mighty purveyor of “Opposite Day” – if Satan wants me to experience lack, then God will cause me to experience abundance.

Yes… and a big no.

The so-called prosperity gospel that teaches wealth and good health is a sign of God’s favor and blessing is prevalent in the church, Storm lamented. Underlining the seriousness of the problematic theology many preachers have picked up, the Oklahoma City pastor called it a “corrosive and disintegrative pox” on the church and “a disease far more infectious and ultimately fatal to the soul than the worst bubonic plague and the affects it might have on the human body.”

Man, and I just want God to help me pay my light bill… now this?!

I see what he is saying. People are becoming sorely irresponsible with accountability, not just the malefactors exhorting but also the men and women experiencing. Aside from having favor, blessing, abundance or whatever words fit from the slimy televangelist thesaurus there, 2 Timothy 2:3 reminds us we still have an enemy because “you therefore endure hardship, as a good soldier in Christ.

The only check that isn’t unveiled at one of these pep rally for Jesus crusades is the reality check.

If you want to sum up this walk with the Lord in one sentence, try this: God hates sin and has provided Jesus to escape it, while Satan hates you and will do everything to make you leave God.

Help us to see what you have for us, oh God.

Raise your hand if you have suffered at all this last year. Well, joy comes in the morning and for many of us, it’s been one long night. We could all use a break, and thanks to God’s grace and mercy, we got more of those than we realize.

The suffering is the clue that a blessing is coming because God works to get stuff to us and the enemy fights it every time. Sometimes the fight is so quick, it doesn’t phase you. Other times, the fight is long because the enemy is real and he fights to win.

It’s a losing battle, praise God, but a battle nonetheless.

I once heard a stoic pastor say, “Good is the worst enemy of best, because anyone can provide good but only God can give you his best.”

The prosperity gospel shows us that you shouldn’t have to wait for that filet mignon God has intended for you because if you eat all that fat-induced ground beef, you still feel full… and isn’t that satisfying? Sometimes Wall Watchers, we have to wait… but it is so worth it.

We will endure hardship while still being favored of God. We will experience a rough patch before things get smooth. We will walk through the valley of the shadow of death… but at least we are walking. We will go through hell to get to heaven.

Use whatever axiom you wish. God is real and you aren’t him, so rejoice that there is a plan and when you give money to a church or a minister, do it not to buy God’s grace but because you have some grace to give to others.

Still don’t believe me? Take it from Peter who incurred a ton of heartache and he walked next to Jesus.

Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.

If you’re abused because of Christ, count yourself fortunate. It’s the Spirit of God and his glory in you that brought you to the notice of others. If they’re on you because you broke the law or disturbed the peace, that’s a different matter. But if it’s because you’re a Christian, don’t give it a second thought. Be proud of the distinguished status reflected in that name!

It’s judgment time for God’s own family. We’re first in line. If it starts with us, think what it’s going to be like for those who refuse God’s Message!

If good people barely make it,
What’s in store for the bad?
So if you find life difficult because you’re doing what God said, take it in stride. Trust him. He knows what he’s doing, and he’ll keep on doing it. (1 Peter 4:12-19 MSG)