How Many Kings

Luke describes Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. The attitude of the crowd on Sunday is quite different from what it will be on Friday. Jesus is greeted with praise and honor. On Friday, the cheers have turned to jeers and cursing.  As I was reading through Luke I am reminded that none of this took Jesus by surprise. That Sunday as he was entering Jerusalem he what was going to happen on Friday. Jesus knew his purpose for coming.

How Many Kings by Downhere

Follow the star to a place unexpected
Would you believe, after all we’ve projected,
A child in a manger?
Lowly and small, the weakest of all
Unlikeliest hero, wrapped in his mother’s shawl –
Just a child –
Is this who we’ve waited for? ’cause…

How many kings step down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
And how many gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that is torn all apart
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?

Bringing our gifts for the newborn Savior
All that we have, whether costly or meek
Because we believe.
Gold for his honor, and frankincense for his pleasure
And myrrh for the cross he will suffer
Do you believe?
Is this who we’ve waited for?

All for me…
All for you…

God Guide Us

U.S. Flag

Originally posted August 27, 2009 this still applies today. With the recent SCOTUS ruling I’ve seen a lot of Christians posting things that our country is doomed. Personally I believe, our country has been in need of serious prayer for decades. One Supreme Court ruling will not cause the destruction of our society.

There is a business in our town that has a patriotic themed building. Among the decorations is a banner with the following:

God bless America, stand beside her and guide her.

Had to wait at the light near this business today and began thinking about that sign. The first thing that struck me was the last part “… and guide her.”  God is a gentleman and will not force his will on anyone, family, church, or even nation. He will only guide those who are willing to be led by him.

The next thing that struck me was the first statement “God bless America…”. We can’t expect God to bless our lives, family or nation if we are unwilling to be led by Him. To me it seems hypocritical to pray “Lord bless me” when I fail to make my relationship with him a priority.

For change to happen in our nation it must first begin on an individual level. We must first allow God to guide our lives and put him first.

What if…

Christmas is over. Decorations will be put away soon. Christmas vacation will be over soon. Life will return to normal every day busyness.  The focus on peace, good tidings and even Christ will fade.  Does it have to? What would it be like if it didn’t?

What would happen in my life or your life if in 2014 I/we don’t forgot that Christmas is about God’s love for us, redemption and mercy. Instead of focusing on self I/we focus on sharing God’s love and message of redemption with others. I’m not talking about preaching “Turn or Burn type message. But rather living life in a way that reflects my faith. Being aware of opportunities so share or show God’s love and mercy with others.

What if in 2014 like the shepherds and angels my/our focus was on truly worship Christ? What impact would it make in my/your life if worship became more than just an hour on sound?

Come and Stand Amazed by Citizens

Dear Mr. Christian

Heard this song today on the radio. The beat and sound caught my attention and then I listened to the words. I’ve posted the words below. It is one of those songs that makes you think.

Dear Mr. Christian
By Derek Minor Featuring Dee-1 and Lecrae

Verse 1
I was nine years old when daddy first touched me
At 15 I ran away and never stopped running
I met a man who took me in ‘cuz I was pretty though
He said that you could make some money in my video
I get high and drunk just to make it through a show
And act like I’m enjoying it but really this is all a show
I feel degraded, purity obliterated
This is all I know and I really hate it
Mr. Minor are you listening? I know that you’re a Christian
And got computer programs to block me from your vision
And every time you watch me you say that I’m the issue
Your pastor preaching about how not to let me catch you slipping
But maybe I’m a victim, maybe I’m just trapped in the system
And next time you pray maybe I might get a mention (please)
Before you talk about me remember that I’m lost
And your secret pleasure coming at a cost

Dear Mr. Christian, I know you’re on a mission
I know you say the answer to my problem is religion
I know I’m supposed to change the way I live and stop sinning
But I’d appreciate it if you take some time to listen
Dear Mr. Christian

Verse 2:
Man I’m on that chronic
Higher than a comet
Sippin’ gin and tonic
Drinking till I vomit
Tatted on my arms, tatted on my face
Pants hanging low, nina on my waist
I be slanging soft, plus I got that hard
Die for my hood, ride for my boulevard
I got love for my dogs but never for these girls
It’s M.O.E. ‘cuz money rule the world
But Mr. Dee-1, I grew up crummy
Saw my pops get killed in front of me
Saw my momma do dope in front of me
Felt like ain’t nobody love me
Uniform dirty, dressing bummy
Went to school they called me ugly
Caught the bus they used to jump me
God I just prayed to you Sunday
Now it’s Monday, I’m starving
Sip sour milk out of the carton
Talk to myself while I’m out walking should I put myself in a coffin?
I don’t know! All I grew up with was trouble
Ain’t know no role model, I knew the struggle

Dear Mr. Christian, I know you’re on a mission
I know you say the answer to my problem is religion
I know I’m supposed to change the way I live and stop sinning
But I’d appreciate it if you take some time to listen
Dear Mr. Christian

Verse 3:
Excuse me, I don’t quite understand you
Propaganda and banter and all of this empty chatter
And amidst these amens, hallelujahs, and shuckin’ jivin’
I see a lot of hypocrites and hyper-criticizing
Mr. Lecrae my momma sold me up the river for some rocks
And daddy told me I was nothing but a problem
Now here you come telling me I’m a low down dirty sinner
And you got the nerve to wonder why I’m in these streets robbin’?
Well go and get batman, and go get back man
I don’t need to be judged by you and all of your wack friends
Ain’t gluttony a sin? Why you staring at my gin?
Where I’m from we don’t pretend
We know we ain’t gettin’ in
Now the world don’t trust me
And these streets done crushed me
Thought you were known for love but you just love to judge me
Truth is, ironically you need me around though
‘Cuz otherwise you got nobody else to look down on

Dear Mr. Christian, I know you’re on a mission
I know you say the answer to my problem is religion
I know I’m supposed to change the way I live and stop sinning
But I’d appreciate it if you take some time to listen
Dear Mr. Christian

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How Deep the Father’s Love for Us

Performed by Selah

How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon the cross
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed to hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that kept Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

It’s all a gift undeserved that I shouldn’t have known.

“It’s all a gift undeserved that I shouldn’t have known.”

The above line from  Boasting by Lecrae has  stuck in my head for the past few days. Everything I have, am or even just another breath is because of what Christ did for me.

BOASTING BY Lecrae featuring Anthony Evans

If this life has anything to gain at all I count it lost if I can’t hear you, feel you, ’cause I need you.
Can’t walk this earth alone.
I recognize I’m not my own, so before I fall I need to hear you,
feel you, as I live to make my boast in you alone.

Verse 1:
With every breath I take, with every heart beat,
Sunrise and the moon lights in the dark street.
Every glance, every dance, every note of a song.
It’s all a gift undeserved that I shouldn’t have known.
Every day that I lie, every moment I covet I’m deserving to die, I’m just earning your judgment.
I, without the cross there’s only condemnation.
If Jesus wasn’t executed there’s no celebration.
So in times that are good, in times that are bad,
For any times that I’ve had it all I will be glad.
And I will boast in the cross. I boast in my pains.
I will boast in the sunshine, boast in his reign.
What’s my life if it’s not praising you.
Another dollar in my bank account of vain pursuit.
I do not count my life as any value or precious at all. Let me finish my race, let me answer my call.

Repeat Chorus

Verse 2:
Tomorrow’s never promised, but it is we swear.
Think we holding our own, just a fist full of air.
God has never been obligated to give us life.
If we fought for our rights, we’d be in hell tonight.
Mere sinners own nothing but a fierce hand.
We never loved him, we pushed away his pierced hands.
I rejected his love, grace, kindness, and mercy.
Dying of thirst, yet, willing to die thirsty.
Eternally worthy, how could I live for less?
Patiently you turn my heart away from selfishness.
I volunteer for your sanctifying surgery.
I know the spirit’s purging me of everything that’s hurting me. Remove the veil from my darkened eyes.
So now every morning I open your word and see the Son rise.
I hope in nothin, boast in nothin, only in your suffering.
I live to show your glory, dying to tell your story.

Repeat Chorus

Glory was solely meant for you,
doing what no one else could do.
With All I have to give, (With all I have to Give)
I’ll use my life, I’ll use my lips. (My Lips Yeaaa)
I’ll only glory in your Word.
What gift to me I don’t deserve.
I’ll live in such a way that it reflects to you my praise.

Repeat Chorus

What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ (Philippians 3:8, New International Version)

Conversation with a Jehovah’s Witness

Saturday morning as I was trying to put up the bounty from my trip to the farmer’s market a team of Jehovah’s Witness representatives came to my door. My first thought was oh great I don’t have time for this. I really wanted to just brush them off because I was too busy and didn’t really see the point. I as surprised to be greeted by 2 young men in their late teens or early twenties rather than the usual middle age or older adults that usually come to our door. As I was deciding on my response several things hit me.

First, while I do not agree with their beliefs these young men are to be commended for the zeal they have for their faith. How many evangelicals, much less 20 somethings, are out before noon on a Saturday morning sharing their faith? I am neither condoning their methods or beliefs. It hit me that I need to be more alert and aware of opportunities to share my faith.

Second, that these young men were created in God’s image and desperately need to be presented with the truth.  Many Christians believe that is is somehow acceptable to be rude, combative or argumentative with Jehovah’s Witnesses because of what they believe.  Those tactics rarely work. In fact, they only build walls and prevent any opportunity to share the truth. As my Granddaddy used to say, “You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”

My approach was to dialogue with these young men. I was very clear about my beliefs and background. I answered their questions about the Bible and God’s name with truth that raised points they were unfamiliar with. Further, they left with something to think about and the invitation to come back and if they had anymore questions.