Posts Tagged ‘witness’

Tonight is Halloween.

See the title? Is that something you can say? If not, you should.

Think about it: Children and parents from all over your neighborhood are coming to your door looking for a handouts all night long.

Consider them as Jehovah’s Witnesses, only in drag. Or in super hero panty hose. And cute.

You have a golden opportunity to quell the ire of the enemy and let people know that this is just another day to thank God for his faithfulness.

If you don’t who will? Think about that witnessing chance while you watch this video. Peace.

 

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’.)

In Hollywood, where doth my help come from?

“Christian Movie.” It’s a phrase that has plagued both Hollywood and the Church for decades because the two sides don’t really talk, even if there was the awkward Thanksgiving dinner.

Separate: The two don’t have an inkling enough knowledge of the other to understand what the market demands. Together: Former “celebs” who get real with Christ are considered sellouts because the first that happens is TBN fawns all over them and gets them preaching.

So, what does it mean to be a “Christian Movie”? Is it focus on the “Greatest Story Ever Told,” because honestly, if you have seen the movie (aside from the meaning, people), it really is not the greatest. Not even Top 10.

The one that changed Christian film making was not “The Omega Code,” which looked like the IRS came and repossessed the movie set halfway into the film. No, it was “The Passion of the Christ.

Real. Violent. Authentic. Visceral.

And an A-list celeb created it, without the aforementioned megalomaniac drool from Paul and Jan. Then, of course, that A-list celeb went off the deep end and offending every Jew, black person and woman on the face of God’s planet. So much for his clout. Next?

Sure, Kirk Cameron made a nice swim through a resurrection (of his career) but that was short-lived, and short-marketed. “Fireproof” was nice, really nice, but it lacked the big Hollywood backing.

No one was really 'running' from the Church to catch this one

Recently, Disney saw a glimmer of hope in this once forgotten Christian market, and put out a movie that had all the makings of the next great “Christian Movie.” To use the introduction from a riveting BrandWeek article:

On the face of it, Disney’s feel-good drama Secretariat seemed to have all the makings of a hit with the God-fearing crowd: Its writer and director are devout Christians, it opens with a lengthy Bible quote, it uses an earnest spiritual tune at a key emotional moment and it’s uplifting. Then there was a specific marketing campaign to the faith-based audience, spearheaded by filmmaker Randall Wallace, who has legitimate street cred in those circles.

Quick show of hands for all the Christ followers who saw this flick? Yeah, me neither.

This is a movie that supposed to be the feel-good hit of the summer and Hollywood was counting on the Church. Only, it wasn’t marketed to the Church, so who knew?

Therein lies the rub.

The Church either goes one way or the other when it comes to movie selections:

  1. We are either incognito at Rated-R flicks – Groucho Marx glasses and all – and only be seen watching Pixar movies with the kids.
  2. Or, we go see any horror or drama made with a staunch “So what” to anyone in the Church that has an issue with your film-viewing pleasures.

Then there are those in-between who really want to see God show up in films outside of anything dealing with the crucifixion, resurrection or anything starring Charlton Heston.

Why? According to this story, Christians aren’t as naive and sheepish as Hollywood thinks:

Any movie that has a happy ending or a hopeful message gets peddled to Christian leaders and faith-based media. That crowd may be conservative, but they’re not dumb, said entertainment industry veteran and marketing consultant Mark Joseph.

“The traditionalist audience is far more savvy, post-‘Passion,’ and is tired of being told that ‘Polar Express’ or ‘Rocky VI’ are actually allegories about Christ,” said Joseph, also a film producer who’s worked on The Passion of the Christ and other marketing campaigns. “This group is suspicious of Hollywood.”

Not only is this group “suspicious” of Hollywood; they are also lazy to demand otherwise from it.

Yes, I paid good money to see “Inception”, “Iron Man 2″ and “Robin Hood” this summer. And why? Because I am a child of God that can see a movie that doesn’t exalt Christ and still find pleasure in it. Sure, I wish it mentioned, alluded to or flat-out praised him, but if it doesn’t, I’ll go for a gripping storyline and stimulating writing any day.

And no, I didn’t pay a dime to see anything else from TBN studios, the “Veggie Tales” movie or “The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry.” Why? Just because the American Family Association gives it two crosses up doesn’t mean it’s good; it just means it’s sanctified.

Jesus made the ministrel of music. We should own it.

Amen!

It’s the same old problem that has plagued Christian music and fashion. We demand quality too.

When the world had old-school hip hop, the Church had D.C. Talk. (Sure, later came DII, SFC, PID and Freedom of Soul… but toby Mac and the guys pretty screwed that up for the rest of them). When the world had friendship pins, Swatch watches and Coca-Cola shirts, we had cheaply made Garanimals with an icthtus emblazoned on the crest.

Sigh.

In short, just because you have a fish on your business card, doesn’t guarantee me doing business with you. It only means I am leery of you because you expect a hand-out or a hand-up. We need to earn our keep in Hollywood, and not be afraid of the backlash just because we admit we love Jesus in public circles.

It’s happened with music (e.g. Hillsong, Mercy Me, David Crowder, anything alternative that has made the crossover, and on and on and on). Now, it’s time to stop trying to remake the Passion and just get passionate about evangelism with a great movie.

We need to vote with our dollars, in addition to our prayers. (And please, we do NOT do that).

So my definition of “Christian Movie”? It’s a great movie that happens to talk about Christ and sticks to the meaning of his message.

You know, rather than a lukewarm message of love and hate, right and wrong with a crappy script, a couple of has-been actors and something that goes straight to DVD cloaked as a movie.

Think about it people. When we demand more, we will get more. Peace.

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.

 

This is a story with the happiest ending of all.

Once upon a time there was a man named Jesus who came to this jacked-up place to sacrifice his life for mankind.

You see, his Daddy determined a perfect sacrifice is what was necessary to redeem the lives of the rest of us. So, there he was. Resting on the cross, burdened with the sins of every nasty person on earth, asked by the masses, “How much do you love us?”

And he opened his arms t…h…i…s much… and he died.

It was a gift to all of us, but like with any coupon, you have to redeem it in order to reap the rewards. You know, that implies a choice. As in, a choice all of us have to make in order to experience what happened those more than 2,000 years ago.

Fast forward to today and we meet a boy named Barack who completely lied through his grape Kool-Aid stained lips and pearly whites to every child of God he met in order to win their vote. He told them he would go to church for a vote. And that he would talk about Jesus for a vote.

But… not so much. Just ask him, like this chic did.

Seriously. Anyone catch that dazzling epiphany?

I am a Christian by choice,” Obama began, standing beneath a blazing sun, when asked why he is a Christian. “I came to my Christian faith later in life, and it was because the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead,” Obama said.

“Being my brothers’ and sisters’ keeper. Treating others as they would treat me. And I think also understanding that, you know, that Jesus Christ dying for my sins spoke to the humility that we all have to have as human beings.”

Man, that’s deep. He may be calling on Jesus, but I call B.S.

Doesn’t he understand this didn’t fool a soul?! He is a Christian… wait for it… by choice. Oh. Oh. Wait. One other thing. He is also subject to… wait for it… by the forces of gravity.

Yes, sports fans. As much as Barack Obama is compared to the Messiah, he really can’t walk on water, doesn’t encounter stigmata or get offended when folk cuss using his name. Yet when confronted by a mild-mannered victims of his romancing swoons of deceit regarding his faith, he issues two half-baked verses and connected them to some universal thought that would make Carlton Pearson shout for joy.

“This is a country that is still predominantly Christian, but we have Jews, Muslims, Hindus, atheists, agnostics, Buddhists” and others, he said, adding that “their own path to grace is one that we have to revere and respect as much as our own, and that is part of what makes this country what it is.

Country? Yes. Kingdom of God… you know, heaven? No way.

Someone needs to get a memo to our betrothed president and let him know that Jesus Christ is not a politician. In fact, he could care less. So while Barack Obama is wailing on and on about how folk in this country are singing Kumbaya, he still isn’t any closer to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ unless he stops farting around and gets real.

Choose that… then you’re a Christian. And not one second sooner. That’s no story, Mr. President. That’s real life. Brother.