Posts tagged ‘Apostles’

The Revolution Will NOT Be Televised: A Christian Uprising

Gil Scott Heron penned one of the most famous urban poems ever when he wrote “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised“. To this day, it speaks of power and promise, hope and an honest evaluation of where we fall on the spectrum of social responsibility and personal integrity. This poem came to me as I was thinking about Christianity, our youth, the Church, and other things. I hope you feel where I’m coming from.

The revolution will not be televised,

But broadcast live across billions of seeking lives

Tired of seeking lies, their cries rise..

Surprised that the message that was told

Is still being told.

That same Gospel started back in the days of old,

Made new, fresh in our views, this Jesus, this King

The one whose very presence causes angels to sing

Let the praises ring, let the reverb resound

Let all honor be unto Him who is worthy of renown.

Now let Him be found, you seekers seeking the truth,

Time to eat the meat, you be done with baby juice

Apples and oranges? Try Acts and Roman letters

Organic, good for your stomach, your growth will be better.

Sending soldiers into the schools where the system tries to bar Him,

Needing Him more and more,

For only He can even tame men.

Students on a mission, fishing, fighting this sin epidemic

So many lives sick, kids suffering from poor treatment.

Starting a movement, moving in on the abused,

Doing the work of Jesus, proving Him of ultimate use.

The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be televised.

 

 

The revolution will not be televised, but

It’s impact still felt along fault lines,

And faulty doctrines, works without faith,

And hurting lives cast aside, and those just along for the ride..

And those with fire insurance without reading the full Policy..

Those apostics and wanna be Apostles in title only,

Christians who’ve ceased in Christ, now minus and kinda nameless

When that day comes, these lives will be stressed.

We delve into the mess, we pull em from the back alleys

Side streets don’t scare us, we never make a fuss,

Cause our dirt and our stains, washed away by one name

Nailed to the Cross for shame, but with victory He was raised.

Blood stained, water rained, He reigned, reigns and still,

Though sometimes a bitter bill, by His stripes I’m still healed.

Regardless of what I feel, this one truth remains..

The revolution will not be televised,

But cast wide on dark skies,

The clarity will be humbling.

As in on the white horse He rides,

Each and every stride calling forth more to rise..

Lifted high into glory, with the Son to reside.

The revolution will not be televised.

Forget what you’ve heard, this movement begins in the heart

That accepts the Savior’s birth.

The revolution will not be televised.

Easter wasn’t the end,

Just a means to and end where Christ could call us His friend.

The revolution will not be televised.

The stone was rolled away,

Therefore there’s no excuse for us to not live victory today.

The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be televised…..

But it’s happening everyday, all across the globe

Souls soul out for Christ, more precious than gold.

The One that prophets foretold

Causing the meek to be bold

Casting down the works of darkness,

His Spirit manifesting in lessons of His omnipotence.

The revolution of the Revolutionary

It will not be televised.

The revolution is being LIVED.

 

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Let the Church Say “AMEN”!

I was having a discussion with a woman who was visiting our church last night. She was telling me how she was new to this whole “church thing”, and that she believed that God was with her wherever she was. She didn’t believe that she needed to be in a church in order to be a Christian. In fact, she is not alone in her belief. Have you ever heard anyone say that they feel like he or she can be a better Christian outside of church than inside of it? If you’ve ever heard anyone use that statement, or some variation of it, it is usually followed by a rant on how hypocritical churches are, how everyone tries to act like they are perfect, how nobody is real in church today.

 

In part, she is correct. You don’t have to go to church to be a Christian, and God does hear our prayers at home just as clearly as He does in a church. He can receive our worship at home just as easily as He can receive it in church. But I wonder how Christians can disregard His command that we not forsake the assembling of ourselves together.  Even in Hebrews 10:25, we are commanded to “not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing.” There are numerous reasons why it is important for Christians to meet together regularly. We can encourage each other, grow one another, assist one another, prepare one another, forgive one another, and many more things. It’s during this time that we are prepped for the work that each individual is called and chosen to do in their community.  When I hear the argument against church buildings, it just feels to me like a complete cop out. Yes, I know that there are people everyday who are hurt and wounded, scarred and scorned within church bodies. I hate that this stuff happens, and to me it seems that this happens because we are not being lead by the Holy Spirit enough. I also understand that we can thrive when in the right fellowship, and sometimes that takes time. But it just feels wrong that so many sit on the sidelines and criticize instead of getting involved. Yes, God is with us always, in every situation, but He knows how important those relationships are to our spiritual growth and maturity. In the early church, they worked everything out as a body. They gave all that they had for the uplifting and establishment of the church in that society. But even more, we have to remember that the church building is nothing but a symbolic atmosphere. Church is not a place that we go to. Church is who we are. Jesus even said as much when he declared that we are the temples of the Holy Spirit.

 

So, we see that church is not something that we do. We don’t do church. We ARE church. The same praise and worship; the same bible study that happens on Sunday mornings or Wednesday evenings, should be the same thing happening in our lives every day. How else can the church be effective if this is not happening? I would also argue that if we are honest with ourselves, we surely have to know that the reason many of our church buildings are not as effective as they could be stems from the lack of Christians willing to step in and step up to their callings. I believe that God created the church to be an entity of self -preserving power from the Holy Spirit. He calls people to church assemblies because they possess gifts and talents that can help prepare and equip that assembly to affect radical change in that community.  In every church body there is everything that church needs to be successful.

 

So, to me, a Christian who has time to complain about what church is not, needs to focus inward. Maybe the reason that your particular church is not meeting your expectations is because you aren’t doing your part. Don’t sow seeds of sedition. Be the change that you want to see in your church.  If there is a ministry that you think would meet your needs, chances are that it would meet others’ needs as well. Start it! DO something! Do ANYTHING! Make sure that your life AS the church is filled with the Spirit of God, so that your life IN the church assembly can be fruitful and powerful.  There is no perfect church, but there are churches all over the world in the midst of being perfected by the Spirit of God.

 

Maybe it is time that we pray for God to take us back to the early days of the church, as seen in Acts. It was a place where nobody had too much, and nobody had too little. It was a place where not only the Apostles did work, but the congregation bared an equal responsibility to preach the word with urgency and love, and signs followed them as well.  It was a church on fire, a Body in the world, yet living very much beyond it. And while it should be easier for us to be more effective, with social media, etc, the true battle lies in our own hearts. We persecute each other, because we are not truly BEING the church.

 

Christ is returning for a church without spot or blemish. What will He find in us, Church?

 

Until next time, be blessed.

A Tribute to My Pastors

I blogged on this topic in my first blog, One Heart Ablaze, but from a different slant. I used Peter’s words, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ” to talk about how we should find people to imitate in life. Imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery, and being under Godly leadership is the best way to imitate someone who is in Christ, while developing your own personal connection with God in Christ as well. Today however, I want to  honor Pastors, particularly the Pastors who have had and continue to shape the kind of man that I am becoming today.

Even when I was not living for Christ, I always admired Pastors. There was something regal about them, even if they themselves did not carry themselves as high and lifted up. They way that could orate and inspire a crowd, or simply motivate a person just by the way that they lived, I always noticed. I’ve had several Pastors in my lifetime, but there are a few who really stand out to me. I’d like to talk about them this morning, as it is Pastor Appreciation Month. To me, a pastor is someone who sees the potential in his or her members, and strives to push them toward the greatness that God has in store for them. A Pastor is unafraid to speak the truth in love, regardless to whether feelings are hurt or not. A Pastor is intent on building relationships and breaking down the walls that can spring up and keep us from coming together. A Pastor is not always just a Pastor. We use the term generally, but I believe that Pastors are often Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers. I think depending on God’s calling and missional purpose for that Pastor, those gifting traits show up in many differing manifestations. These are just my additional add ons. I also subscribe to the qualifications listed in Timothy by Paul.

So, with that being said, here is my list.

Pastor John Chapman is first on my list. He was my father’s brother. He never Pastored in “big” church, but spent his entire life dedicated to building a thriving children’s church at Mt. Helm Baptist Church in Jackson, MS. This man was really something. He was soft spoken, but you could feel the love and intensity of his words. He saw something in me, even as a child. I’ll never understand it. He would always rub my head and say that he was anointing me. His messages in children’s church were never original. They always came from a book that he had, but they were extremely relevant. The personal way that he had with each child he met always reminded me of Jesus saying, “Bring all of the children to me, and forbid them not.” He never turned them away. He personally invested in all of us. I didn’t realize how much of an impact he had on my life until I was older and felt God calling me to ministry. That’s when it hit me. That’s why he anointed me every time he saw me. He saw this calling. Now, I can’t even think of him without some kind of tears coming to my eye. While I didn’t know him supremely well, I knew enough about him to know that God used him to play a big role in where I am, and where I am heading. I love you, Uncle JC.

Pastor Calvin Thomas taught me the joy of praise and worship. While playing organ in a church of traditionally Baptist hymns, the way that he would make even the pipes of the organ shout with praise and adoration always moved me. He sang the loudest. He played with a boisterous energy that bragged of the enormous beauty of our God. He was  always so happy, and he always spoke such warmth into me. He accepted the call to Pastor later in his life and moved away to Florida. The Spirit of God was truly upon him in ways that I can’t even explain. After I preached my first sermon, the next time that he was in town, he came and literally did an anointing ceremony in my house. It was one of the truly amazing experiences of my life. He died years ago, but left me much of his sermon materials and his personal bible that he took notes in. For some reason, I can’t bring myself to open it yet. It feels like a relic.

Pastor John R. Johnson, II was the Pastor who helped me hear God’s voice for myself. When He was the Pastor at Mt Helm, he took an interest in me, even though I was the kid whose life was not quite right. I played the role well. I can remember the day he asked me to start coming to his office to talk with him. The first session, I told him, “Before we even get started, I don’t believe that drinking alcohol is wrong.” He laughed and moved on as if I had never said anything. His life, to me, was just…special. God really stirred his heart. He would lift his hands in worship, and become so excited and energetic, but it was a child like energy. His heart was always fully engaged in loving people. His passion was evident from the beginning to the end. I accepted the call to ministry and made it public the Sunday after he had begun his new assignment with another church. Though we have lost touch, I really credit him with getting me back on track and pushing me to be more for God.

Pastors Matt and Crystal Ingle were the youth Pastors when we first moved to Missouri and attended Destiny Church. When we were getting to know them, there was always something dynamic about them, something more than youth pastorship, even though at that point they were not interested in pasturing a church. In the 5 years that we have been here, I have seen such growth in them. While they are still prone to joking and having fun, the calling of God on them has matured them. They have been the Associate Pastors of our church for about 2-2.5 years.  They are full in the Holy Spirit, and it is evident by the way that they worship and minister. And while we are all around the same age, their wisdom and the way that they carry themselves, just amazes me, and causes me to really look up to them. So, knowing that they will be leaving at some point in the future to plant their own church excites me. I can really see how beautifully they will be affecting lives for God. They compliment each other perfectly, and I am excited to see what happens for them in the future. They may not know how much of an inspiration they have been to me, but they have been monstrous!

Finally, Pastors Gene and Melody Bebee are the Lead Pastors of Destiny Church. To say that we have had long conversations, or in depth sharing over the years would not be true. But the few conversations that we have had, and watching how they carry themselves and lead a church, it is fire inducing. From say one, I have watched everything that they have done. I have watched how they relate to people, how they love on people, how they take control in crisis, how they shepherd a church while remaining faithful to the vision that God has given them. It’s been one of the greatest times of my life, being able to serve under them and alongside them. They both have a heart for worship, and over the past 5 years, I have seen them even grow deeper in that avenue as well. Pastor Gene’s messages have such love and power behind them. His vivid images really tie everything together and bring the truth of the Gospel home in a relatable way. Pastor Mel’s devotion to giving God everything in all facets, pushes us on the worship team to abandon ourselves to a God who deserves nothing less. The cool thing about this is that I can tell that God is doing even greater, deeper things in them, which means that the trickle down effect is gonne be AWESOME!!! Simply put, I can only hope that when God ordains the time for me to Pastor, that my wife and I can do justice to all that Gene and Mel have poured into us simply by watching and observing. We are blessed to have them to lead us. They are the epitome of faithfulness to a calling. That’s all we can even push for; to be faithful completely to God and to love His people.

So, these are MY Pastors. They have influenced me in ways that can not be properly expressed. I love all of them dearly and count myself blessed to have been in their midsts. And while I won’t tout this blog posting to make them see it, I do pray that God will continue to bless those who are alive with vision, and help me to never forget those who have gone to be with Him. I love you all! Happy Pastor’s Appreciation Month.

Until next time, be blessed.