Archive for January, 2011

If you look at my music category, you will see quite a few posts from artists on Reach Records. The reason for this is because I love the theology packed lyrical content in their music. Two artists on this label are Lecrae and Trip Lee. Below is a video where they talk frankly about their ministry.

00:00—3:35 // Trip’s testimony
3:35—9:00 // Lecrae’s testimony
9:00—12:35 // Trip’s path from conversion to today
12:35—16:20 // Lecrae’s path from conversion to today
16:20—17:45 // Lecrae on Reach Records and Reach Life as soundtrack and resources for the movement
17:45—21:35 // Trip on hip-hop as an in-your-face content-heavy art form
21:35—25:11 // Lecrae gives an example of content-packing from “Don’t Waste Your Life”
25:11—27:15 // Lecrae on the origins of Christian rap
27:15—28:57 // Lecrae on the poetical elements of the genre
28:57—30:00 // Trip gives an example from his songs
30:00—32:50 // Lecrae on Reformed theology and race relations
32:50—33:55 // Trip on the diversity of their audience
33:55—36:40 // Lecrae and Trip on being an indigenous missionaries to the urban culture and Reformed theology
36:40—38:00 // Trip on what’s next for him in the next five years
38:00—41:55 // Lecrae on what’s next for him and the opportunities ahead in the cities
41:55—46:20 // Trip and Lecrae on the need to deflect adulation from fans
46:20—47:15 // Trip on Christian hip-hop as one stream of the Reformed resurgence
47:15—49:05 // Lecrae on how folks can be praying for them

For those interested, Lecrae’s new album, The Overdose, is now available . And here’s a blog post from Trip explaining that he’s taking a break from music to become an intern at Capitol Hill Baptist Church.

Advertisements

Here is a question for you? Do your work colleagues or your school friends know that you are a Christian. If so, how do you act in front of them? Does your light shine? Do you laugh at their ungodly jokes? If most of us are honest, we have all failed in one or more of these areas

However, the bible gives us instructions on how to act in these situations

14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life… (Phil 2:4-16)

Being blameless doesn’t mean we can be sinless but what it means is that our life should be such that the unbelievers
around you will have to really pick their brains to say anything bad about you that will damage or destroy your christian witness

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.  (Matthew 5:14-16)

Jesus said that if we ashamed of him then he will be ashamed of us. This does not mean that you preach at them at every opportunity. This would be totally inappropriate but what it does mean is that they should be aware, in one form or another, that you are different. The bible says that we should be ready at all times to give someone an answer to the hope that lies in us (1 Peter 3:15). If someone is hopeless, be the one who can give them hope. As stated above in Phillipians 2:16, ‘hold up the word of life’ to them

Another thing we need to do is…wait for it….work. And not just when our bosses and teachers are watching us.

 5 Slaves (employees/students), obey your earthly masters (employers/bosses/teachers) with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. 7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, 8 because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.

 9 And masters (employers/teachers/bosses) , treat your slaves (employers/students) in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.  Eph 6:5-9) (italics added by me)

 I have a Christian group at my work place and I received this email so thought I would share it with you

In Between Times 17.9: Sleep and Awake: Joseph’s Career

Discovering The Therapy of Work

When Joseph was 17 years old, he had a dream that his father and brothers would bow down to him. As a result of that dream, his brothers treated him terribly and then lied to their father. Joseph experienced nearly 15 year of injustice as a direct result of his brothers’ reaction to his dream.

During those 15 awful years, Joseph was a slave and a prisoner, working long hours for no pay and little comfort. It was an agonising ‘in between time’ and there must have been times when he really struggled to understand what was going on. He was slandered, abused, used and forgotten , and needed all his strength to carry on.

There was one stream of life in which he found his path. Sure he was faithful to God and seemed to find reasons for hope under terrible circumstances.

But Joseph’s expression of faith during this dream-initiated ‘in between time’ was his conscientious work ethic. Everywhere he went, he did his job well. In Potiphar’s house he was a professional, upright estate manager. In prison he became a supervisor over other prisoners. For Joseph, his work-style was his therapy, his sanity, and in the end, his passport to success. It was his work that earned him a place in the national government and gave him the route to the fulfillment of his dreams. It was his career path that enabled him to confront his family damage and a toxic behaviour of his brothers.

Many of you reading this piece will know only too well some of its themes. Around 17 years of age, lots of us carry a dream, an ambition or a hope. Similarly, life can be unjust, unfair and damaging both in family and work context. Surely one key feature of Joseph’s story is that his conscientious, uncompromising, honourable and hard working approach to his job opportunities paved the path for dream fulfillment and family reintegration. Perhaps this year is a good time to choose working hard and well as a redemptive path, all the time recognising the inner work of God as your source of progress, so in 2011 work well.

I dont know about you but every now and then, I just like to stop and think.  I also like to look up at the sky and all around me, marvelling at God’s creation with all it complexities.  No wonder the bible states that the fool has said in his heart, “There is no God” (Psalms 14:1).

Psalms 19:1-6 states the following about God’s creation

1 The heavens declare the glory of God,
   and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
2Day to day pours out speech,
   and night to night reveals knowledge.
3There is no speech, nor are there words,
   whose voice is not heard.
4 Their voice goes out through all the earth,
   and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
 5 which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
   and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
6Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
   and its circuit to the end of them,
   and there is nothing hidden from its heat.

Francis Chan shows us the awe factor of God

HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD!!

If I’m honest, I was hesitant in sharing this video as I know God has a way of testing you on what you put out there (forgive me Lord) but I pray that it will minister to somebody

Around every corner is the lure to consume. A desire to be satisfied. Unfortunately no human being has found anything under the sun that brings satisfaction. So we consume more, and more, and more.  Eventually, we overdose. However, there is hope–if Christianity is our Rehab. In Jesus, satisfaction can be found. Grace, love, peace and hope can be found…and there is always more. Consume more of Jesus. Overdose. 

Rehab: The Overdose officially hits stores and online outlets 1.11.11.

Check out the promo video below.

Also, place your order today so you can be among the first to get an extra dose! 

To pre-order Rehab: The Overdose album go here.

To pre-order Rehab: The Overdose combo packages go here.

To pre-order the new The Overdose Tshirt go here.

Get ready for The Overdose on 1.11.11!

When you first saw this title you probably thought ‘what on earth has happened to Alan’? And if you read that by itself, you would have every right to be concerned. However, if you read the statement below, you would have a different view.

“Do you want to know who has been very influential in my life? Yo mama

Can you see how the context makes all the difference? Yet many christians are fed many scriptures out of context or . We cannot just pick and choose verses and say that it is for us. Yet many churches are doing just that and are pulling out scriptures as proof texts for their doctrine, twisting scriptures and some are even using it as their declaration for the year.

Here are a few examples.

In one of my previous churches, the proof text that was given that women shouldn’t wear jewelry was 1 Peter 3:3 which stated

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear

But lets look at the context and the surrounding verses

1Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word,they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2when they see yourrespectful and pure conduct. 3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4but let your adorning bethe hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

We can see from the context that the bible was not prohibiting women from wearing jewelry but saying that true beauty is not found externally but internally. Context changes EVERYTHING.

Another scripture verse that is often quoted out of context to prove that God plans to prosper us is Jeremiah 29:11.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Even though all of the bible is FOR us, not all of the bible is TO us. Does this verse mean that God always has ‘good’ plans for us? Lets look at the context again

10 This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” (Jeremiah 29:10-14)

So the first question to ask is who is this adressed to? Who is the ‘you’ in verse 10? Verse 1 in the same chapter tells us that it is “to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon

For more of an explanation on this verse, click here. Below is an example of the damage that is done when passages are misquoted. Sienna asked

Is Jeremiah 29:11 supposed to be aimed at everybody?

Because if it is – God’s lying!

I’m really struggling with this one at the moment. For those that aren’t sure, Jeremiah 29:11 is when God says “I have plans for you, plans to prosper you, not to harm you” – now, I’ve been a Christian my whole life, and my whole life I have known everyone around me to interpret this verse personally – youth leaders and church leaders use it as an encouragement to others, God has plans for you, which are prosperous and not harmful… but the honest fact of the matter is, not everyone in life will have prosperous lives, that aren’t harmful.

Take for example my friend Sophie, she was diagnosed with Cancer due to exposure to Asbestos several years ago – she was a committed, submitted and trustworthy Christian, even though she spent most of her life in hospital – she made 4 friends in hospital who had the same diagnosis as her, who were roughly the same age… and she lost every one of them to the illness until last year, she was the only one left. Now we all had faith that God would heal her from this cancer, she would have an incredible testimony and use it in evangelism and Christian Theatre, and that God had this amazing plan for her life. Earlier this year, she died, the day before Summer Theatre School (best event of her year) – aged 18.

Now I’m sorry – but in what part of Sophie short life, did God have plans for her that were to prosper her and not to harm her? What did she do to prevent those plans for her life not be allowed to happen?

Again this ties in with giving people false hopes and deceiving them with false promises. I know many people who have been misled by churches in one form or another.

As one writer stated:

A TEXT WITHOUT A CONTEXT IS A PRETEXT FOR A PROOF TEXT

It simply means this: Scripture without context will be used by people to try and get the Bible to say whatever they want it to say, instead of (with context) what it actually says”. When we quote scriptures out of context, we do not only dishonour those very scriptures but more importantly, we dishonour the God of those scriptures.

Recommend reading:

Never Read a Bible Verse by Stand to Reason

Related Posts:

Ten Rules of Biblical Interpretation

Bible: The Users Manual

Why is it important to interpret the bible objectively?

To all my readers, Happy New Year and thankyou to those who have subscribed to my posts and have contributed in one way or another.

I posted this last year so thought I would repeat this article again which can be found at The Center for Biblical Spirituality

Once, when the people of God had become careless in their relationship with Him, the Lord rebuked them through the prophet Haggai. “Consider your ways!” (Haggai 1:5) he declared, urging them to reflect on some of the things happening to them, and to evaluate their slipshod spirituality in light of what God had told them.

Even those most faithful to God occasionally need to pause and think about the direction of their lives. It’s so easy to bump along from one busy week to another without ever stopping to ponder where we’re going and where we should be going.

The beginning of a new year is an ideal time to stop, look up, and get our bearings. To that end, here are some questions to ask prayerfully in the presence of God.

1. What’s one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?

2. What’s the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this year?

3. What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year?

4. In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year, and what will you do about it?

5. What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year?

6. What is the most helpful new way you could strengthen your church?

7. For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year?

8. What’s the most important way you will, by God’s grace, try to make this year different from last year?

9. What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year?

10. What single thing that you plan to do this year will matter most in ten years? In eternity?

In addition to these ten questions, here are twenty-one more to help you “Consider your ways.” Think on the entire list at one sitting, or answer one question each day for a month.

11. What’s the most important decision you need to make this year?

12. What area of your life most needs simplifying, and what’s one way you could simplify in that area?

13. What’s the most important need you feel burdened to meet this year?

14. What habit would you most like to establish this year?

15. Who is the person you most want to encourage this year?

16. What is your most important financial goal this year, and what is the most important step you can take toward achieving it?

17. What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your work life this year?

18. What’s one new way you could be a blessing to your pastor (or to another who ministers to you) this year?

19. What’s one thing you could do this year to enrich the spiritual legacy you will leave to your children and grandchildren?

20. What book, in addition to the Bible, do you most want to read this year?

21. What one thing do you most regret about last year, and what will you do about it this year?

22. What single blessing from God do you want to seek most earnestly this year?

23. In what area of your life do you most need growth, and what will you do about it this year?

24. What’s the most important trip you want to take this year?

25. What skill do you most want to learn or improve this year?

26. To what need or ministry will you try to give an unprecedented amount this year?

27. What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your commute this year?

28. What one biblical doctrine do you most want to understand better this year, and what will you do about it?

29. If those who know you best gave you one piece of advice, what would they say? Would they be right? What will you do about it?

30. What’s the most important new item you want to buy this year?

31. In what area of your life do you most need change, and what will you do about it this year?

The value of many of these questions is not in their profundity, but in the simple fact that they bring an issue or commitment into focus. For example, just by articulating which person you most want to encourage this year is more likely to help you remember to encourage that person than if you hadn’t considered the question.

If you’ve found these questions helpful, you might want to put them someplace—in a day planner, PDA, calendar, bulletin board, etc.—where you can review them more frequently than once a year.

So let’s evaluate our lives, make plans and goals, and live this new year with biblical diligence, remembering that, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage” (Proverbs 21:5). But in all things let’s also remember our dependence on our King who said, “Apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

It’s one thing to be positive about 2011 and to have make our resolutions but it’s another thing to be truthful. The truth is we don’t even know what is going to happen tomorrow and 2011 could be worse than 2010 BUT what I do know is that with Christ, it’s all good when it’s all bad because He holds my tomorrow and my 2011. I pray that you will be able to say the same thing

Related Post

Thought for the Day – Happy New Year?