Posts Tagged ‘revival’

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’.)

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It seems one of the Ten Commandments was "Thou Shalt iPhone"

Possibly not an actual picture

Ever since Steve Jobs and the iPhone posse came down from on high and delivered to us common folk his revolutionary technology, people have been looking like Cujo for the latest in “apps”.

It’s now an advertising pop culture reference but seriously, regardless of what inane need you have… hit it… “there’s an app for that.” Thanks to an oddball list in Fortune, here’s a few of the dumbest:

  • iNap – Need that power nap, then use this to play stupid noises like PC typing as your cover. As if your boss couldn’t look over your cube half wall to tell you are counting sheep.
  • Fat Burner – Can’t get rid of that spare tire, then use this app closely located above your bellybutton and watch your phone vibrate the pounds away. Suck it “The Biggest Loser.”
  • Flick a Booger – Never understand all the hubbub about “being mature” and “growing up”? Then this app’s for you.

And now, thanks to a story in the New York Times, apps have pressed an all-time low:

For religious skeptics, the “BibleThumper” iPhone app boasts that it “allows the atheist to keep the most funny and irrational Bible verses right in their pocket” to be “always ready to confront fundamentalist Christians or have a little fun among friends.”

Quite naturally, not to be outdone, some preacher’s kid living in his dad’s garage made a retort version:

Publishers of Christian material have begun producing iPhone applications that can cough up quick comebacks and rhetorical strategies for believers who want to fight back against what they view as a new strain of strident atheism.

How some real apps for thatNever mind all that Bible rhetoric and silly memory verses. Let’s make witnessing rely on straight technology. Forget all that “your word never returns void” mess. This makes preaching very… well, user-friendly.

With this dazzling display of “Wait, hold that misguided and sardonic thought” happening on any street corner near you, it seems these apps aren’t only for snarky comebacks, but the rules of engagement. Like they need that explained:

In a dozen new phone applications, whether faith-based or faith-bashing, the prospective debater is given a primer on the basic rules of engagement — how to parry the circular argument, the false dichotomy, the ad-hominem attack, the straw man — and then coached on all the likely flashpoints of contention. Why Darwinism is scientifically sound, or not. The differences between intelligent design and creationism, and whether either theory has any merit. The proof that America was, or was not, founded on Christian principles.

What kind of dolt needs a software program for the perfect bite-sized nugget in God’s Word in retort? Not this guy. Can you imagine you have that chance to lead someone to Christ on a street corner or in a restaurant, he or she is a little hostile what with all the hurting in the world and you say, “Um, hold that thought… Dear? Where’s my iPhone? I need to preach.”

Or on the other hand this bitter dude is so ready to give you the business about ‘If God is so good then so why do many bad people exist’ but first, find the app to hate on Christians because your debate skills aren’t quite what they used to be in high school.

Whatever happened to good ol’ Tetris?! Pac Man to help the time go by? Donkey Kong to assist you during those long bus ridge? Regardless, someone please stop the madness. I need to get off.

All I know is these apps are becoming a sincere pain in my Asteroids.

But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. (Acts 5:29 – 31 NKJV).

A cross or a tree, Jesus still died for our sins

Imagine worship without this picture in mind? Me neither.

Rappers, athletes, entertainers and Christians alike adorn themselves in bedazzled crosses or even a blinging crucifix to show how upstanding with the Lord they really are. Why? That’s the universal symbol of where Jesus gave his life for us.

Yet, thanks to this story from CNN and AOL News, we read one Swedish theologian who believes that’s not the case and perhaps the aforementioned verse in Acts is closer to the truth of Jesus’ crucifixion.

The Gospels do not say Jesus was crucified, Gunnar Samuelsson says. In fact, he argues, in the original Greek, the ancient texts reveal only that Jesus carried “some kind of torture or execution device” to a hill where “he was suspended” and died, says Samuelsson, who is an evangelical pastor as well as a New Testament scholar.

What the what?

First, I doubt dude was just doing an exegesis on the temperament of Christ, when perchance he tripped and slid his pen over to the crucifixion. No, he set out to do this and knew he would get the 10-inch headline before we had a chance to refute this hullabaloo.

So, congrats?

Anywhoo, it begs an interesting thought… although based in a wheelbarrow of bunk. Why does Paul write that in Acts? “Hanging on a tree.” I have read that verse many times and just considered it a synonym to two trees in the form of a cross. Didn’t you?

“When the Gospels refer to the death of Jesus, they just say that he was forced to carry a “stauros” out to Calvary,” he told AOL News. Many scholars have interpreted that ancient Greek noun as meaning “cross,” and the verb derived from it, “anastauroun,” as implying crucifixion.

“‘Stauros’ is actually used to describe a lot of different poles and execution devices,” he says. “So the device described in the Gospels could have been a cross, but it could also have been a spiked pole, or a tree trunk, or something entirely different.” In turn, “anastauroun” was used to signify everything from the act of “raising hands to suspending a musical instrument.”

Yeah, can’t you see every crucifixion scene in Hollywood depicting the Christ hung on a saxophone? Dimwit, of course that’s not what this instance means. Listen, crucifixion was different in different lands, nonetheless it was the death du jour for the Roman Empire. In fact, Caesar is said to line the main streets with crucified criminals … on crosses … to show the rest of the country, “Screw with Rome and do so at your peril.”

Roman crosses

Whatever the shape, a cross is all he needed.

Crosses are mainly Ts, for the Greek letter Tau. Legs had to held together and arms had to be spread apart to display surrender, helplessness and also eliminate any opportunity for preventing asphyxiation, because all that weight will certainly choke you if the pain doesn’t first.

For me, the moral of this story is this: Who cares. This should do nothing but galvanize our faith.

Jesus’ gift to us should not be relegated to a T, X or any other letter of the alphabet. Let jewelers and people who adorn the Vatican worry about that.

This guy may or may not have tried to undermine Christianity. I doubt it, but he did know this research would get his name on the theological map. Again, kudos Magellan.

Regardless of the research (and it is impressive), the end of the story is still the same.

Whether Jesus was hung on a high Tau with just “INRI” inscribed at the top, the regaled low Tau as seen in Catholic churches everywhere or even on a tree with branches flailing in either direction, the fact is irrefutable – he died, rose again and lives forevermore awaiting a triumphant return.

And for that, I’ll still wear my Christian jewelry, worship at the feet of Jesus and envision him there for me… on a cross, an X or a huge sequoia. Makes no difference to me. I’m still saved as a result.

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.

Source: FreakingNews.com

I have been belaboring this subject for a few days when the news became official about these two on the rocks, but a couple of salient posts from Another Bricks on the Wall Bene Diction Blogs On and I’m Speaking Truth inspired a brother.

Here goes…

I am not a proponent of divorce, as you can see in the previous tag on the Wall. If you can work it out, you should… that said, the Hinns worked everything out for more than 30 years. And now she leaves his tail?! No, no, despite the prayer vigils on TBN, something is not kosher with this situation.

Suzanne Hinn filed the papers in Orange County Superior Court on Feb. 1, citing irreconcilable differences, after more than 30 years of marriage. The papers note the two separated on Jan. 26 and that Hinn has been living in Dana Point, a wealthy coastal community in southern Orange County.

This is a woman who had the cash, the fame, the notoriety and didn’t have to do a thing… and still, she serves Brother Benny. This wasn’t some fresh revelation from God, folks. She has been harboring resentment against this coifed-hair-having, Nehru-suit-wearing dude for quite some time.

Think about it [cue harp music].

She has sat through the plights of vicious investigative reportingand stayed. She dealt with Sen. Charles Grassley demanding to thumb through the ministry’s mysterious financesand remained faithful. She put up with the fashion faux pas pandemics of his hair and his wardrobe… yet, she was still seen in public with the guy.

But now she is tired of his schtick and files for divorce. Um, not so fast lady. While you may have taken him off guard, some of us have you figured out. For instance, from the ministry’s global HQ in North Texas:

Pastor Benny Hinn and his immediate family were shocked and saddened to learn of this news without any previous notice. The couple has been married for more than 30 years. Although Pastor Hinn has faithfully endeavored to bring healing to their relationship, those efforts failed and were met with the petition for divorce that was filed without notice.

Get that, “endeavored”. This drama has been going on for a while; yet he never saw it coming? [Enter your own “Didn’t God tell him joke” here]. And “citing irreconcilable differences” is lawyer-speak for “she can’t stand you man now give her half”.

Why the sudden change of heart? Perhaps, she got tired of the game? Maybe, the stories of people who believed they were healed by God only to discover they were swindled by man finally reached the breaking point. While has been showing everyone he is bathing in the waters of revival, perhaps she was the only one who knew he was drowning in a river of shame and sacrilege.

You know, is Suzanne around so we can ask her?

Um… “Holy Ghost Enema?

You know, maybe heartache and heartbreak has nothing to do with it. Perhaps she is just as bananas as he is. God only knows why this marriage didn’t work because we dang sure don’t after that cavalcade of insanity.