Posts Tagged ‘atheist’

secular-sacred

 

Look at the image above and be honest. If you turn left, what do you expect to find? And turn right and what do you expect to find? And more importantly, where do you think God resides most.

TURN LEFT: Most people will think this involves going to work, school, college, going to a bar or pub with friends, going to the movies, doing sports, going to the gym, engaging in your hobbies, playing secular music, going to the Notting Hill Carnival and dancing is what would normally be in ‘Secular’ camp

TURN RIGHT: Most people people would think that church, prayer, fasting, reading the bible, attending Christian conferences etc would all appear in the ‘Sacred’ camp

And if most of us as Christians are honest, we think that God is more on the right hand side than the left.

The video below gives a quick summary

As the video says, we as believers will say that we know that our Christianity should be displayed in all of our life but subconsciously, we divide our lives into sacred and secular and into areas which are more spiritual than other areas.

One of the things that I said that I learnt last year in this post was that:

People go through some really hard things in life and sometimes, it can be so comfortable to live in the church/Christian bubble without ever really engaging in the culture or the real world with real people who have real problems. I don’t want to be so involved in churchianity that Christ is in the background and is not relevant at all to the man on the street. I want Christ to be seen in me IN ALL of my daily life and that may mean sometimes doing stuff that traditionally ‘church folk’ don’t do. God is interested in the whole man.

I have had a few transitional points in my Christian journey and I believe that right now, I am in the middle (not there yet) of another one. The Holy Spirit has been teaching me a lot and most of it is not by me turning right to the sacred camp. Just by looking at people lives or watching the news makes me look at things with a Christian worldview. I have also been frustrated sometimes with the ‘Come and See’ mentality of churches. The fact of the matter is the vast majority of unbelievers have no interest in church or church events so what happens to them? How do we impact the culture?

I am involved with an employee network which aims to promote fairness for Black and Asian employees so that we are represented at all levels and so that there is true diversity, especially at senior levels. As it stands right now, it has been acknowledged by senior leaders that this is not the case. Is this less important to God than me attending a mid week prayer meeting?

In one of my old churches, whenever there was a public holiday, the churches would have some kind of convention where it was expected that members would attend and I always used to think to myself, why don’t they just let people stay at home and spend quality time with their families instead of expecting people to attend church all the time?

On March 22, 2013 at Convocation, North America’s largest weekly gathering of Christian students, Lecrae talked about erasing the secular-sacred divide. He pointed out that everything is God’s, so there shouldn’t be a division between our role in society and our role in the church. As representatives of God’s kingdom, we should engage, love, & rehabilitate every aspect of today’s culture for His purposes. Check out the video below

So I would like to summarise this post with Colossians 3:17 which states

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Those words ‘whatever’ and ‘everything’ mean………..you guessed it. ‘whatever’ and ‘everything’. Not just ‘church’ stuff.

I would also recommend listening to this podcast from Matt Reagan

 

 

Did you know that you make the bible say anything you want? One of the main problems that we see from the pulpit and from Christians in general is that we used eisegesis instead of exegesis. What do I mean? What many people do is start with THEIR thoughts and their views and then read that INTO scripture instead of starting with scripture and read OUT of it, not having any pre conceived thoughts or ideas and letting the scripture speak for itself, taking into account the historical context. A typical example of eisegesis is with Pastor Clarence McClendon in this clip at the 1:15 mark

Here he starts with a view of the prosperity gospel and then reads INTO 3 John 2 where it states that:

” Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”

But you only need to go back one verse to see who he was talking to

The Elder,

To the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth:

John was not trying to make a doctrine about prosperity here. All he was doing was greeting Gaius. It would be the equivalent of us today writing a letter saying “I hope everything is going well with you”. That is all

However, if I told them that the White Camelia Knights of the Klu Klux Klan use the same process to justify doing what they do, I’m sure they would not agree. For example on their website which can be viewed here, they have started with their racist views and then use scriptures such as the below to justify their views

Exodus 33:16 “So shall we be separated: I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the Earth”

Leviticus 20:24 ” I am the Lord they God which have separated you from other people”

Now some may say that this is extreme but it really no different than what is preached Sunday after Sunday in many churches. It is so easy for us in the western world to imprint our western thoughts INTO scripture which is where many false doctrines begin.

Francis Chan explains the difference between eisegesis and exegesis below

I saw this video below which is mainly for those who are preaching sermons but the general princple here should be used by every Christian when interpreting the scriptures and I would encourage every Christian (not only preachers) to use these very useful tips and guidelines when studying the bible. It could put a lot of fasle teachers out of business.

So next time you hear your preacher talking of Blessings, Breakthroughs and Divine Favor and your destiny which seems to be the norm now, ask yourself, are they reading that stuff INTO the scripture or OUT of the scriptures?

One of the things that really frustrates me about Christians sometimes is that we sometimes believe that we above non-christians. We think that somehow that we are exempt from some of the troubles that life throws at us. Yes, we expect to ‘go through’ but there are some things that we don’t expect to go through because we are the ‘King’s kids’. And at one point early on in my Christian life, I used to think like that but then my check engine light came on. Things didnt ‘work’ as I was taught on the pulpit. I started to ask questions. I gave tithes but never saw blessings (in what I thought was blessing) happen to me that was any different to those who didn’t give. I saw those who didn’t give tithes who were getting ‘blessed’ above me. However, I looked at the scriptures and looked at the the life of the main person (apart from Jesus) in the New Testament and that was the apostle Paul. Did I see him being exempt from certain trials as a believer? On the contrary. This is what I saw in 2 Corinthians 11:

But whatever anyone else dares to boast of—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast of that. 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they offspring of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. 24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant?

30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, he who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. 32 At Damascus, the governor under King Aretas was guarding the city of Damascus in order to seize me, 33 but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall and escaped his hands.

A gospel full of Blessings, Breakthroughs and Divine Favor, is not a gospel at all. If this is all you are hearing in your church, then I would say that you need to run from such teachings and don’t be blinded by false promises. You cannot plead the blood out of a situation. Life is life. Here are some issues that Christians sadly have had to go through in life

- Rick Warren’s son committing suicide
Tedashii (the Christian rapper) losing his one year old son
Marvin Sapp’s wife dies of cancer
Rev David Wilkerson dies in car crash

Then Hebrews 11 goes on to talk about some who…

….were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— 38 of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.”

When we have a false view and expectations God and Christianity based on some of the rubbish that is perpetuated on many pulpits, when stuff happens, we have just set ourselves up for a fall.

So lets be real Christian and not give others this false impression. We will go through EXACTLY (and maybe more) problems than a non Christian but know we have Christ with us THROUGH the trial.

new-begin-2013-to-2014_72147488208

Happy New Year readers. As you may have noticed, I haven’t really blogged a lot lately. Why I hear you say? In a word….LIFE. I have been doing a lot of learning and self examination in recent months as well as going through some stuff personally in my life….but God is still on the throne and I love him for being faithful to me even when I haven’t been faithful to him. So what have I learned last year? Here are a few things.

  1. First I have learned more about myself. The more I learn about God and closer I get to him, the more of my sin comes to light and I recognize how unworthy I am of God’s grace. Paul said he was the chiefest of sinners. I am forever in debt Christ for the sacrifice that he made to bridge the gap between me and God and to take the punishment for my sins. On the surface, everything may seem OK, but we all struggle with something in our lives which may not always been seen externally. This can sometimes be something as subtle as pride or self righteousness. Romans 7: 15-25 statesFor I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! 
  2. I have learnt that for some reason, Christians are afraid to question things and reluctant to ask questions that are not normally asked in Church. Many are satisfied to follow the crowd without checking things out for themselves. This can be questions such as is Tithing biblical, why do we have Armor Bearers or where in scripture do we see anyone pleading the blood? I thank God for my friends Elgin Bailey and the twins John and Jonathan Bolton on Real Talk Radio who are not afraid to address this issues and questions head on. Check out their shows here.
  3. More and more I am learning that the hardships of life is no respect of persons and just because you are a Christian does not give us any special pass. No matter how many times you try to ‘speak those things’ or ‘decree and declare‘, you will go through EXACTLY the same things that a non believer goes through. Whether that be sickness, financial difficulties, relationship problems and the like. The difference is as Christians, we are going through it WITH Christ and that gives us hope unlike unbelievers. Even though I have always known this, this year has bought it to the forefront in my life
  4. Life is like a vapor. As I get older, I know that I am just on the conveyor belt of life. I saw last year that the older generation are now beginning to drop off like flies. And not only them, but people who are not far away from my age are dying as well. James 4:13-14 says  “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” I have to make this life matter, not just for now on earth but for eternal. I know that I wont be here forever, so I want to leave an eternal legacy, especially in the life of my children.
  5. I have to make the most of the ‘windows’ in my children’s’ life. What do I mean? Well last year, my son turned 16, my daughter turned 20 and my step daughter also turned 16. There are many windows in your children’s life that you have to make the most of because that window of  opportunity will not last for ever. For example, when they were younger, we used to do a lot of things together. As I stated on my Dear Daddy post, this could be swimming, going to the park. going to the cinema etc. Now they are at that age where I am no longer the person to go out with because they have their own friends and its not cool to be out with Dad all the time. I cannot get those old windows back. It makes it even harder that I do not live with my biological kids but I am still determined to be there for them, no matter what.
  6. People go through some really hard things in life and sometimes, it can be so comfortable to live in the church/christian bubble without ever really engaging in the culture or the real world with real people who have real problems. I don’t want to be so involved in churchianity that Christ is in the background and is not relevant at all to the man on the street. I want Christ to be seen in me IN ALL of my daily life and that may mean sometimes doing stuff that traditionally ‘church folk’ don’t do. God is interested in the whole man.

These are just a few of the things that I learnt last year. I know that I will learn more this year in this school called LIFE. The question is, what will I do with these lessons?

I mentioned this in the ten things I don’t want to be as a Christian but last year I began to realise more and more about how God is interested in the whole man and not just one part as they are all related in one way or another. Let me give you an example of what I am talking about. If you feel stressed (the emotional side), it can cause you to have a stomach ulcer (the physical side). If you have a painful ulcer, it can affect your prayer life (the spiritual side). Lack of prayer may result in things not changing in your life which my stress you out, and the cycle carries on. Admittedly, that was a simplistic example but I hope you understand the point I am trying to make. God does not want you to only take care of your spiritual side but wants you to have a life more abundant in other areas as well. As I stated in the blog,

This may be going to the cinema, going to the park with the family, taking a holiday, going salsa dancing, going out to dinner with friends, going to a wine bar and the list goes on. If you haven’t got one, take up a hobby. I personally love roller skating. Just remember that  “whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor 10:31)

balance-wheel

Some people think that doing the practical things above is not spiritual but all these things can enrich a person’s life. Just spending quality time with the children is practical but is part of a bigger puzzle when it comes to the quality of the child’s life and how it will shape them as they become an adult. Also it is those small things that will matter in the end. My friend tweeted

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”

There must be a balance in everything. If you have to miss church to spend some quality time with your spouse, don’t be made to feel guilty doing so. If you have to miss a prayer meeting because you are physically and/or emotionally drained. Take a rest and replenish yourself. Even God took a rest on the seventh day. If you have been working all the hours that God sends, take a vacation and refuel. Take care of yourself in EVERY way. Make sure you try to stay healthy and get regular exercise. That is the way God made the human body, to be mobile. Not for you to be a couch potato watching the Christian channels all the time

Don’t neglect one part. God is interested in the whole man and not just the ‘spiritual’ side.

1: I don’t want to follow the crowd

I have done this in the past and you can see a bit of my story in the About Me section on this blog. I have followed the crowd in the past and even though I did question a lot of stuff internally, externally I just did what everyone else did. However, as you may have guessed from some of my posts, those days are well and truly over. I have to be a Berean and make sure that everything I hear lines up to scripture. I refuse to swallow any spiritual junk that maybe fed to me, whether that be in the pulpit, or on the tv/radio by a popular preacher

2. I don’t want to bring just a bench warmer in church.

Jesus said that he did not come into this world to be served but to serve. Yet many of us as Christians do not want to serve in our local church at any point. The Bible says that the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. I have personally decided to be fully committed to just one ministry in my church as I would rather be effective in one ministry than ineffective in two or three. In many churches you find the few carrying the load of the many. If you are not involved in your local church, just think what could happen if every christian got involved (and was committed) to at least one ministry, sharing the burden. I understand that different churches will have different requirements e.g. a smaller church, but I hope you get the gist of what I am trying to say. I also understand that there are exceptions and circumstances which may be unavoidable but try to be a participator and not just a spectator

3. I don’t want to be a person who never tells other people about Jesus.

If you read my post about the fishless fishermen, you will understand where I am coming from. I dont want to just have a come to my church and see mentality. As much as I enjoy church, if I don’t periodically give someone the gospel in one form or another, I feel as if I’m being selfish in keeping this good news to myself. If I know how to be saved from Gods wrath, because of the price that Jesus paid on the cross for my sins, how can I not share this with others and tell them how they can be rescued as well? Jesus has commanded me to tell others. My christianity should not just stop with myself

4. I don’t want to be a success at church and/or work and a failure at home

God’s order has always been God > Family > Church/Work. If you change the order in any way, the order is messed up. I have witnessed many times people who have been burnt out by church. I am very fortunate to be part of a church that is VERY family orientated and puts a lot of emphasis on family and actively makes sure that we have a healthy rest from ministry if need be and that there is a balance. I am part of the music ministry in my church and one of the thing that my leader actively enforces is that we are not ministering all the time and that we take a break. In one of my previous churches, this was not the case and we were made to feel guilty if we were not ‘ministering’ every week, even at the expense of spending time with the family in the congregation. This only is not healthy but can actually have a negative affect on the person, even to the point where spiritual abuse may come into it. I particularly would like to leave a lasting spiritual legacy to my children. To see them live for Christ. Not because of me but because that is their own desire even though at present, they don’t wan’t to follow God 

5. I don’t want to be a Sunday Christian who just go through the motions

I’ve done that in the past and my Christianity became a burden instead of being joyous, even when serving as per number 2. I want to be passionate everyday of the week and see how my Christianity can be lived out and affect people directly or indirectly every day of the week, whether that be at home, at church, at work, on the street and just going to the shops

6. I don’t want to be self righteous

This does not mean that if I see wrong, that I refrain from pointing it out but at the same time, I must remember that people are at different stages in their Christian journey and may not be as mature as I am. When I was young in the faith, I did a lot of things in ignorance and learned a lot of things along the way, some through my mistakes, some through following incorrect doctrine. But I am where I am today because of the many up and downs of my journey and I’m sure in 10-20 years time, I will look back at today and still see some faults in my current thinking. I am constantly learning.

7.  I dont want to be a dumb Christian who doesn’t think

I have found that for some reason, some Christians don’t like to use their brains and think for themselves but just swallow everything that they hear. Some like to spiritualise everything and forget that we live in a physical world and God has given us a brain to use. We go to work and school and we use our brains and do things practically but when it comes to God stuff, we leave our brains at the door. Yes I understand that God doesn’t always do things according to logic but on the whole, we just need to use wisdom in a lot of things. This can be something as simple as choosing a school for your child or looking for a partner which I have mentioned in a previous post.

8. I don’t want to be a Christian who isn’t real

One of the things that we as Christians are very good at is putting on a mask, pretending that we don’t have personal struggles. We like to make people think that we have it all together. We don’t like to share our struggles. We are humans and we go through EXACTLY the same ups and downs of life like anyone else and are not exempt from it. We suffer tragedy and heartache. I have found that the people who helped me the most are those who can relate to me with what they are REALLY feeling and are not ‘faking it to make it’

Blessed by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; 4 who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.  5 For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. (2 Cor 1:3-5)

9. I don’t want to be unbalanced.

I will be writing a separate post about this but life is not all about church. 1 Tim 6:17 states that God has given us ALL things to enjoy. God has given us many things non-church related to enjoy. This may be going to the cinema, going to the park with the family, taking a holiday, going salsa dancing, going out to dinner with friends etc. If you haven’t got one, take up a hobby. I personally love roller skating. Just remember that  “whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor 10:31)

10. I dont want to be a bad witness for Christ

I am always conscious that for some, my life will be the only ‘bible’ that they will read. What will they see on the pages? Will they see hypocrisy? Will they see a light shining bright or a light hidden. Will they see a reflection of Christ or will they see a fleshy Alan. I know that my life should NOT primarily be about me but should be about Christ. My favorite scripture is “For me to live is Christ, to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21)

What are the things that you don’t want?

They Had Everything in Common

32 Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. 33 And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34  There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold 35 and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. 36 Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, 37 sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money andlaid it at the apostles’ feet.

Looking at the scripture above, I have always thought of ways that we as Christians could do something similar to the above in our 21st Century so that there is ‘not a needy person’ among our fellow brothers and sisters

Well my church has recently setup a ‘recycle’ Facebook group where….

…. you can bless your brothers and sisters and be blessed by them as… well. You can ask for what you need and God willing that need will be met andyou can offer to give a gift of something that you own but do not need anymore and bless someone in need. There is only one principleto be followed : You must give freely and do not ask for anything in return! God bless all of you!
 
I have seen how so many people have been blessed and also been a blessing to others as a result of this group and how the local (church) body’s needs have been supplied. I’m sure those who have been giving also have had a sense of satisfaction as God works on both their hearts and the heart of the receiver.
 
This is just one of the ways of using social media for the glory of God. 
 
Why don’t you try something similar for your local church?