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Archive for September, 2008

My opening statement is here: I will take Gay Marriage serious when we decide to take Straight Marriage seriously. If I am going to vote for a bill to be passed that defines marriage as “between one man and woman” then that bill most also contain “and divorce and remarriage is only allowed for martial (proven) unfaithfulness”. How about that for a Federal Marriage Amendment?

It is funny that we Christians always want to control what is right and wrong in our culture while simultaneously disobeying direct commands from Jesus himself. So we want to tell our Gay and Lesbian communities that it is wrong for them to marry one another when they are in love (I am not advocating this) but in turn we divorce whenever we feel we are “out of love”. So we are telling our Gay and Lesbian communities “do as I say and not as I do” and I think the last time I checked that is defined as hypocrisy! Who are we to pass judgment when we being the people of God don’t obey! Man, that makes me sick.

Let me give an example. For all of the preachers who have fought and encouraged their congregation in this fight against gay marriage. I want to know how many of their congregants were divorced and remarried against the direct commands of God? I will tell you a lot. The last study showed that the divorce rate for Christians (evangelicals) was right around 50% and the majority of them were remarried. Now here is a verse that I haven’t seen preached enough and if it is preached no church discipline has been instituted to prevent it from happening as frequently as it does in the “church”.

They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”

Do we take the words of Jesus seriously as believers? Let me ask a serious question. When have we seen church discipline practiced for violating this scripture? I tell you I haven ‘t seen it once. Now we will split with Christians over having women in the pulpits, for thinking differently on the gifts, we want to punt the emerging church because of their subjectivity of the scriptures, we call them “postmodern” but in the same vein, the same people who are fighting against gay marriage and “postmodernism” bury their heads in the sand on this one. So yes I am bit frustrated.

So if we are to fight for the sanctity of marriage lets not stop at preventing our Gay and Lesbian citizens from being married! Lets take it all the way to preventing the selfish liberty of divorce that permeates the church in every denomination. If we want to help our children and save them from the “shamefulness of gay marriage” then lets save them from the “shamefulness” of heterosexual divorce on demand! Our kids aren’t being destroyed by gay marriage. Gay marriage isn’t the decline of the moral fabric in America. Heterosexual divorce is though. Especially “heterosexual Christan” divorces. Just look this Christmas when kids will have to spend the holidays apart from their “christian” parents because they had selfish ambition oh.. I mean irreconcilable differences. Because Mommy and Daddy wanted things their way and because they couldn’t be adults and not to mention submit to the Lordship of Christ they had a bitter split. Because Mommy and Daddy profess Christ with their mouth, the profess their allegiance and submission to Him in word only, because when it all boils down, I don’t want Jesus telling me who I should stay married to and isn’t my happiness more important, than the Christ, the Church and my kids. They all understand right? Wrong!

So the next time I hear so phony, over emotional, sensational, right wing Christian appeal to get a federal law passed to ban homosexual marriage, I am going to scream. Because those same people refuse to obey Jesus Christ themselves and that is hypocrisy. Oh, not to mention we now have “divorce care” ministries popping up across the globe. Not saying they are bad, but unless it was for marital unfaithfulness then, umhhh, well… maybe they shouldn’t be allowed to be cared for. My two cents anyway.

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Uncondtional Love

Let me first say that I am an advocate of the permanence of marriage. This is a position that is rare amongst believer’s to say the least. John Piper also holds this position linked here. Not as if Piper is the final point of arbitration-for he is not. I linked it so you would be able to read his stance to get an idea of what I am talking about here. My stance is a lot more exhaustive but at least you’ll get an idea from reading his article on the matter. I have had a formal debate about the matter with my dearly beloved brother from Stand Up Ministries-Saiko Woods already and really don’t want to argue about it anymore-but just thought I would share. Let me tell you a story and see if you can imagine what you would do…..

Your beautiful wife(or husband) of 3 years finds out that she is pregnant!! You are both estatic over the matter and start to make preparations for the new child. You and your spouse have already agreed that she will stay home  for a few years and you will work. So the man gets 3 jobs to slowly peck away at the debt and the wife searches for work to do at home on the computer all while making preparations to eventually come home from her day job.  Soon enough the beautiful child is born and all seems to be going well. The good news is that you are making the ends meet with your 3 jobs but the bad news is that your relationship is dwindling because you are never at home with the family.

The husband realized this is not working as planned so the wife searches for work outside the home again since the at home computer thing just isn’t working out. The husbands approves of her new found job and they work opposite shifts in order to have round the clock care for the baby. In the time you took preparing for the baby-you also pull your family from a heavy word of faith-prosperity-seeker sensitive church and in retrospect, this move; strengthened your faith and weakened your spouses. You realize that the Lord spoke to you and saved you through this ordeal and in the process realized that your spouse is not a believer.

In the course of the next 3 months the relationship continues to dwindle and your spouse drops the bomb!! “I commited adultery!” Ironically(sovereign grace) enough you have been studying how to be a better spouse and how that is liken unto Christ and His Church. You now being a believer understand that when you recieve truth it must be followed by action, fueled by love-otherwise it is meaningless or useless. What to you do? Do you take the “Exception Clause” view and run for the hills as if you have not been a sinner who was dispatched an unlimited amount of grace or do you see this as an excusable reason to divorce your spouse? On the one hand you say, ” This is messed up Lord and this is NOT what I signed up for!” on the other you say, “What an extraordinary way to be like Christ and bask in the fellowship of His suffering.”

You see how your spouse has become the total opposite of what you had come to know and love and scriptures run through your mind regarding persecution and how the Lord said “I have not come to bring Peace…..” Listen here…

The Dictionary or the world defines love as this;
A deep, tender, ineffable “feeling” of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness.
A feeling of intense desire and attraction toward a person with whom one is disposed to make a pair; the emotion of sex and romance.

How does this contrast with the Biblical Worldview of Love? Let us look and see.

1 Corinthians 13(emphasis mine)

1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

First let me say; Isn’t it ironic how truth is connected to love? No coincidence here. Truth is conformity with fact and reality or whatever corresponds to reality. The type of love we see in these passages are rarely seen in our culture today. Yes we see couples who are happy and love without limits but are they manifesting true Biblical love? We see couples continuously getting divorces over ridiculous things. Most commonly we see divorces due to selfishness. In our culture people love and they will say it is unconditional but when something goes not according to their plan they retract their love like a rattle snake after a vicious strike to its victim. Really their love for you is tied to how they perceive your love for them. This is NOT Biblical Love, it is love centered around their own selfish will. Let me pause and say, “I have not arrived and I am learning this daily in my marriage and my wife can be a witness to this fact” I have seen enormous flaws in my past with the way I loved my wife and people in general and it is always tied to how I am treated versus how I would like to be treated regardless of their reaction towards me. You see our relationship to God is first and to people second. The way we treat people is a direct correlation of our understanding and obedience to God.

James 4:1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God.

In this James hits the nail on the head. We are self-centered by our Adamic nature from birth but we are now striving after the qualities and nature of Christ and they are contrary to this world. If you look into your life, just think how putting the needs of others would make a difference in every situation. This is no way makes men passive or feminized, it on the contrary emulates the attributes of Christ with love and truth hand and hand; you see it can be no other way. For example-If you love your friend or family member, your love for them compels you to tell them the truth about their corrupt state, that is true love.

John 15:9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last.(emphasis mine)

1 Peter4:12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. 14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.(emphasis mine)

Being in Love-I have come to the realization that this is not a Biblical Term.  Biblical Love is never a state. Love is always a commitment, a choice, or an action. So the Bible crucifies what we call “In Love”, in this we see people say they fall out of love or fall into love as if it is some magical hole in the air. Love is something totally(maybe not totally but in conjunction with) aside from our fickle emotions. If you look at people in the Bible in Acts, at the time of conversion you very rarely see any documentation of emotions tied to their salvation aside from joy and happiness in their suffering in which they see it as an honor to be counted worthy to suffer for HIM. We are to Love our wives as Christ Loves the church and love one another as our self. If love is simply tied to feeling or sex, when we have hard times the marriage will diminish and a allegory can be made from that to how we see the false gospel preached and when people go through storms of life(in which the Bible promises persecution to every true believer) they fade away.(parable of the Sower)

Analyze your love in the face of the truth of God’s infallible Word. I assure you that you will see a immediate need for a change in the way you deal with people and not just your spouse. Remember your horizontal relationships are just a reflection of your vertical relationship with the Creator of all. In Christ

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Here is a video so you can understand where I am going.

 

Here is the scripture I want to discuss:

Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving

I want to come to this two-fold. I want to preface that I am not attempting to be legalistic, nor judgmental, but I do want to express my concern with Mr. Tripp’s perspective.

1. Culture drives the definition

As Paul is writing this, he doesn’t give the Ephesians a list of “cuss words” so to say. He is very broad in his approach and I believe this to be a strategic move. Why? Well because he would have probably needed to write an encyclopedia and have someone keep it up to date daily. What do I mean? Well simply put culture is always coming up with words that are filthy, foolish and crude. Check the latest movie and there are always no words or euphemisms that are all of the above. Just watch the latest music video or read the latest book or go to your local barbershop or visit a social website.

So instead of trying to draft and exhaustive list Paul simply makes categories which are: Filthy, Foolish or Coarse. As an Ephesian reading this letter they would have immediately understood and I believe we do also. Now there are some words that have been transcendent and we label them cuss words. Across the board they are cuss words, some words sort of fall in between. Such as: piss, bastard, suck, screwed up, and the like. But there are some words that we all know as bad, plain and simple, and we are only lying to ourselves, because if our kids were to say it during an Easter Sunday speech or during show and tell we would be embarrassed beyond belief.

So again Paul makes broad categories which they would have automatically started to compartmentalize, they probably wouldn’t have agreed with all of them but they sure would have been able to agree on the majority of them with little wavering. Such is for us today. We know which words are unacceptable and Mr. Tripp’s answer to the word he uses quite frequently is one we all agree on. We wouldn’t want are kids saying it, we wouldn’t say it in an interview, you wouldn’t want a pastor using it if he dropped his sermon on Sunday morning, and you wouldn’t want the cartoons your kids watch saying it either. No excuse there.

2 Even more importantly our Brothers and Sisters.

Paul writes this:

13 Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. 14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. 15 For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. 16 So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

Because of our liberty driven, self-serving, autonomous Christianity, here in the West this is one of the MOST overlooked doctrines in the Christian church. It is funny that in His incarnation Jesus sets aside His rights as God and becomes subject to His own laws and the Roman Government to serve us, and we flaunt our liberty as believers recklessly. As if Philippians 2 “don’t look out for your own interest only” isn’t to be applied to every area of our Christian lives. We have brothers and sisters who are offended by certain language, and not only do we continue to use it. We have men like Driscoll who boast and when challenged by others (unless they are Piper, Grudem or some other prized theologian) instead of repenting he calls them cowards. Wow!

Just say this is an issue of liberty. What does Paul say about eating meat in another section “that I will never eat meat at the offence of my brother”. This isn’t limited to meat. It involves many other aspects of the Christian walk and language is one. Again as a nation called the United States, we have language that we deem unacceptable. Even the non-believers agree on most of what we deem filthy language, we then in turn say “well if we need to get a point across then…..”. Many of the older generation would see this video and automatically tune Mr. Tripp out, they would listen to (and have listened to) Driscoll and say no way! Even after the talk with Grudem, it seem weird that Piper would post this video which happens to be more vulgar in its usage than what Grudem challenged him on.

Finally a challenge to Mr. Tripp would be this. When we hear the word s_it. What comes to mind? Is it not filthy? I think of a toliet stool and someone sitting on it. Is that appropriate imagery to cast into someone’s mind? I don’t know, but that word seems like one we have agreed upon at least the last 30 years. When I used it one day at my house when I thought my Grandmother was gone to communicate my dissatisfaction with my sister, my grandmother made me a bit more acquantied with one of my belts.

In closing. Paul gives us an imperative, instead of trying to find ways to scoot around it or walk a tight rope on what Paul really meant, lets try to ALWAYS have our language seasoned with salt, and void of things that has been labeled filthy. instead of trying to theologically argue away this charge, lets just try to walk in holiness in every area of our lives. We don’t need to impress other people by using foul language. We can impress them by serving and loving them as Jesus did. A sidenote, no one I know has come to Jesus because of foul language or an argument that it was acceptable, and no one in the bible said “man Jesus that’s a nice way to  use that cuss word, can I be one of your disciples”. Jesus loved and laid down His life, we are given one way to introduce people to Jesus and that is the Gospel. No need to get creative.

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Its The Remix Baby #14

1 Corinthians 13:9-10

For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes which happens to be the canon that will be finalized 200 years or so from now, the partial sign” gifts will pass away and all we will need is our bibles. (TSV, Theological Standard Version)

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It’s The Remix Baby #13

Matthew 17:19-20

19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” 20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith Bible knowledge. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, study your bible more and learn more theological truth,   you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” (TSV, Traditional Standard Version)

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“I finally got it!!” I spent 4 years in a Prosperity-Word of Faith cult, 1 of which I was awakened to my ignorance by the grace of God and then decided to get out and search for a Biblical body of believer’s. I could imagine this is how I felt once the Lord rescued me from that madness.  8 months later I would find a church; join and from this point-trying as hard as I could to keep  away from the likes of the heresies taught by many faith teachers and charlatans. In my attempt to do this I; in my Reformed(Biblical) circles, skip over the scriptures that speak of things that seem charismatic or too faith oriented to grasp. I gradually place “Faith” on the shelf of the past and proceed for Biblical sound doctrine since I finally found what I was looking for. This is going to be somewhat of a culmination of what I have been studying and experiencing in the past couple of months on finances, faith, and life..so please excuse the clutter.

First let me clarify that I am trying very hard to lose the term “Reformed” and hence forth, that word will be replaced with “Biblical.” I have hastily come to the conclusion that reformed does not describe what I believe and is too broad of a term to really encompass who I(we) am in Christ. “Biblical” can more closely define who we are in Christ.  I, along with Lionel am reading “The Reformers and Their Stepchildren”, by Leonard Verduin. This book is great and closely examines the reformation and brings to light-when we say reformed-what do we really mean?

I am a part of a great home congregation in which i believe the Lord is leading and has been with us and guiding us daily. Now I finally found a Biblical church and got away from the craziness. To my surprise I come to the knowledge that these believer’s like so many in the Charismatic circles have experiences to go along with their testimonies just like those in the Word of Faith churches. Is this wrong or is it Biblical? Isn’t there a little subjectivity along with everyone’s objective faith in Christ? Yes, just think of Moses, Samuel, Paul and so many others. Now what about “Faith” and what part does that play in “Biblical” circles. How do we build our Faith? How is Faith apart of our every day lives? Do we allow the Lord room to show Himself? Faith seemed to be such a integral part of peoples lives in the time when Christ was ministering before His ascension. I just recently realized that in my attempt to get away for the Charis-mania that I somehow lost the zeal to exercise Faith in ways that would not exactly fit into western christian reformed circles. What do I mean? Well, this may seem simple to some but…the last time your car broke down, what did you do? When your air conditioner went out in your house…when your family member died and you did not have the money to travel…when your child was sick..when you were sick…

Well I can answer for myself and say..I without thinking ran to my credit cards before praying for the Lord to intervene or provide without going into debt and using other resources. When my son gets sick I run to the doctor sometimes while praying other times without praying about it until afterwards. What aspects of our life in this western world do we see the Lord moving mightily and the result only able to be attributed to the work of God. My next book read is going to be on the life of George Mueller. I have heard rave reviews of this man and his faith, prayer life, and testimony.

I have read so many “Biblical” books about the Apostles and the works they did and for the life of me cannot be satisfied by this answer—-The miracles and work that the apostles did was only to authenticate the Gospel. HOGWASH!!! Exegetically being faithful to the texts we cannot make that answer walk on all four’s. It just does not hold water.  I have stood by that answer for a long time now and it just is an excuse for us to explain away, possibly our lack of faith. I have even stood by Macarthur’s explanation (1 Cor 13:10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.) about gifts but how we exclude certain gifts and then keep others?

Here is the question I leave you. How do we know when to exercise faith and believe God versus handling it ourselves? Is their a relationship of Faith and Works modeled by Abraham in laying with his wife after receiving the promise of a child? Are we to view our Faith as Synergistic or Monergistic? These are questions I ponder a lot in seeking the Lord about many things like salvation of loved ones, getting out of debt to be freed up for missions and ministry, and the lists goes on. Throughout the entire New Testament we are constantly reminded of the faith of others and how the Lord uses faith in the life of His people. Again…

How do we know when to exercise faith and believe God versus handling it ourselves?

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From Milk to Meat CD

When I say unofficial I mean I paid for the album and am reviewing it without the endorsement of CM Records.

I will attempt to do something different with this review. First I will rate a few categories in stars, then I will tier the songs so to say. So with no further due lets get into this review.

Production: 4 Stars

Lyrics: 5 Stars

Hooks: 3 Stars

Cameos: 4 Stars

Overall 4 Stars

I want to give this album 4.5 to 5 stars but I can’t due to the hooks, and a few tracks that could have been left off the album. There are a total of 19 songs, 3 are interludes thus 16 full length songs. Of those songs I will rate Great, Good, Okay and Bad. I will remain as fair as possible, but I want to also be honest in my assessment.

Great:Gimmie Dat, Jesus, Talk A Lot (maybe the hottest track on the album, this is actually one of Ambasadors greatest songs to me anyway), Love & Grace

Good:  Checking For My God, Listen Up, Hardcore, The Cost, The Day I Met U

Okay:Whatu Going Do, Deeper, The Opener, The Chop Chop, Hope Man,

Bad: The rest

The most challenging part of the album is I believe that Mr. Branch squeezed some song on the album to give it some weight which could have been left off. The hooks on some songs are a little dated, but that could be due to the fact that The Ambassador has the lyrical giftedness to convey the Gospel to this generation with ease but still has an older fan base, thus some of the beats and flow don’t match with the hooks at all and it seems like they were written by someone who didn’t write the lyrics. I also think there are a few mix match beats that don’t complement The Ambassadors flow but may have been used to communicate to a younger crowd.

All in all I give the album a 4 and is worth buying a copy for yourself and a friend who may not be a believer but likes hip hop. Niether will be disappointed and they may jsut be pleasently suprised that a preacher can flow better than 90% of those who call themselves rappers today.

When Ambassador does a best of, there are about 3-4 tracks that will make the list from this album I am sure. Jesus, Gimmie Dat and Talk A Lot (which I honestly am still all warm and fuzzy about) will definitely make the list.  Please buy it and enjoy it. This is suppose to be Ambassadors last album, but I tell you this, it isn’t because of flow and relevance, maybe he will walk away from this venue of communicating the Gospel like my man Barry Sanders did for the Lions in his prime with others screaming for an encore, especially me.

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