Posts Tagged ‘church’

I have often wondered to myself why people of faith allow themselves to suffer because of their inability to faithfully walk in the path God has lain before them.  Many times, I have seen people who know that they’re supposed to do great works for God, but choose not to, and suffer because of it.  I have seen ministries falter because the leadership failed to hear the voice and command of God and went a different direction.  I have seen churches who were once pillars of communities for over a century suddenly wither to nothingness because the leadership chose to follow the crowd’s desires instead of God’s.  And all the while, I’ve had to deal with the pain of watching the world burn, and not being able to do anything about it.

Many times as Christians, we are given visions and plans of great works from God, and when we submit these visions to the people, they are not received very well.  Many times, these same people, who claim that they are following the same God, feel as though these visions or plans are not in line with what God wants because it doesn’t look like what they believe God would want in their eyes.  As a result, we, the ones who have the vision and are ready to proceed, have to wait on God to touch the hearts and minds of those who stubbornly kick against the pricks and fight against Him.  In waiting, we have to watch God pick apart those who cannot and/or will not fall in line until they get in line, or are permanently removed from the equation.

I thought that going through the struggle was hard, but I find that in walking with God, the hardest thing to do is to watch people suffer, the guilty who won’t move out of God’s way, and the innocent that are damaged collaterally through the link between them and the guilty.  It is hard to see so many people not receive the benefits of ministries that could be taken to the next level because of men and women in leadership positions that stubbornly hold onto “the way things are.”  It is hard to see lackluster performances from people who relentlessly continue to do things the same way year after year, even though the way does not work.  It is hard to see kids feel neglected by church officials because more attention is given to adult ministries than are the youth.  It is hard to have these ideas, concepts, plans, visions, and innovations in our hearts and minds, and yet when spoken out loud to the ones who should help us, they laugh, scoff, and get angered because they can’t see with their eyes what they should be able to see through their faith.

So as I watch the world burn, I pray that God give me enough patience to endure what I have to see, enough kindness and love to see them through the process, and enough faith to know that one way or another, God’s Will shall be done.  And there’s nothing that anyone can do about it.

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This third part to the “Looking to Jesus” series is based on a comment made in Part II by my sister in Christ mysterytopursue.   In Part II, God had revealed to me that the Bible’s primary utility is to show us who Jesus is and how He is the foundation for which all other Words of God are authenticated (1 Corinthians 3).  Without Jesus, nothing that we do matters, for Jesus is the foundation, the “Chief Cornerstone” by which all ministries, movements, enlightenments, and revelations are built upon, and if He is the foundation, and it is God’s will for these mysteries to be fulfilled, they will surely stand and transcend time, just like the Bible itself has.

Mysterytopursue commented:

Just one thing, though… I’m not sure it made it clear that God’s Word is Jesus, not specifically the Bible. The Bible’s just part of God’s Word because the Hoy spirit inspired it.

I took a moment to think, pray, and listen for God to give me further revelation on this matter, because my intention is not to cause division among the saints.  Rather, and I thank God for this medium to do so, I want to gain further understanding on matters that do cause division so that, if possible, we all may be on one accord.  So here’s what God said to me about the concept of God’s Word being Jesus.

I must consider the fact that John 1:1 states that, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  Furthermore, John 1:14 states that, “…the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us….”  Now, I understand that Jesus is the Word which the author John is referencing, and therefore, the Word is Jesus.  So, in essence, MTP is right, that the Word is Jesus, and as stated in Part II, the Bible is the direct reference to Jesus Himself, as He is prophecized about in the Old Testament, lives, dies, and is reborn in 4 books of the New Testament, and then written further about in the New Testament as the FOUNDATION by which I should model my life after.

BUT, the issue still remains, if Jesus is the Word, and the Bible is not, then how do I know that Jesus is the Word, if not for the words in the Bible that say that Jesus is the Word?  If the Bible says that Jesus is the Word, but the Bible is not God’s Word (God’s spoken/written words to His people), then how can Jesus be the Word?  I have to consider the fact that Jesus DID NOT WRITE anything in the Bible.  I oftentimes dupe myself into believing that God and Jesus wrote actual words in the Bible, but the reality is that they did not write anything in the Bible.  Yet, I still believe in what the Bible says, and I believe that Jesus is who the Bible says He is, even though He did not write anything in it.  I believe that He told Nicodemus that “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”  I believe that He told Peter that “…upon this rock, I shall build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.”  I believe that Jesus told His disciples that “In my Father’s House are many mansions…I go to prepare a place for you.”  I believe that He fed 5,000 men (not including women and children), that He walked on water, that He healed the sick and raised the dead, that He gave sight to the blind and talking to the mute and hearing to the deaf.  I believe that He got on Calvary’s cross and died for me, then rose again so that I may be able to receive the same Spirit that dwells in Him and perform miracles in my life in Jesus’s name for God’s glory.

But I would never, NEVER know these things about Him if I didn’t have the Bible to teach those things to me, and if the Bible are not God’s Words (divinely inspired by the same transcendent Spirit of God to be written by men), then what is the point of even believing in it?  Yes, Jesus is the Word, but I cannot discount where I got that information from.  Does this mean that the Bible is the ONLY Words that come from the mouth of God, not at all.  For God speaks to us all the time, giving us different Words that inspire us to do amazing things.  But I will always have to refer to the Old Landmark, Jesus Himself, and the way to Him is through the text that led me to Him in the first place, the Bible.

In sum, how do I know that Jesus is the Word?  For the Bible tells me so.

😀

This past Mother’s Day weekend was probably one of the hardest Mother’s Days I’ve ever had to endure as I watched the tears fall from my mother’s face.  My siblings and I were on program to sing for the dinner held at the church, and my brother, because of a heated debate about having to “pay to sing,” left the engagement before it even started.  My mother, in a mad scramble, tried to get him to come back, but that attempt failed, and as the program began, my mother sat in her seat, tears rolling from her eyes as if someone had stabbed her in the chest.  I thought she was crying because she missed her grandmother, and it made it difficult a little bit to sing “A Song for Mama” by Boyz II Men watching her bawl. However, we managed (my sister and I) to get through the song without a hiccup, and the program rolled on.  It was later that I found out that my mother was crying because she felt as if neither my brother nor myself wanted to really be there to spend time with her, despite the fact that this Mother’s Day Dinner was a church-sponsored event, AND my mother is the “Pastor’s Wife,” making her the undeclared mother to everyone in the church.  My heart sank to the center of the Earth, and I’ve had a hard time bringing it back to the surface, because for the first time, my mother, as strong, calculated, and nearly emotion-less as she is with me, demonstrated vulnerability and weakness as it relates to our relationship to her IN THE CHURCH, and it has been bothering my heart ever since.

As a P.K. (Pastor’s Kid), I’ve had to learn how to give my emotions a backseat when my mother and father are in the “roles” of Pastor and Wife at the church.  I’m usually the last person to get a hug from my mom, or to be able to talk to her about what I’m going through, or to get an encouraging word from her, or even to say hi, not because she doesn’t want to, but most of the time, she can’t.  She’s helping others get through their issues, giving out hugs after service to every single person who has lined up just to say “hi” and “I love you.”  She’s going to the hospitals at 2 AM to pray for others, and rallying people together for meetings and prayer and such.  And as she is doing all these things, I’m usually just sitting in the background, hoping to get the chance to be like everyone else and say hi not to the “First Lady” or to the “Pastor’s Wife,” but to MY MOTHER.  As a result, I’ve learned to shut my emotions toward my mother down while at church or during church functions so that in case I don’t get the chance to speak to my mother on Sunday, or on Wednesday, or on any other day at church, I don’t get crushed.  After all, I still get to see her on other days and speak, laugh, have a good time, and all that mushy stuff.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten used to it and learned to enjoy the time I do get to have with her, and to allow others to enjoy the time they have with her, for she’ll always be my mother no matter what.

So whem my sister told me what my mother said about the dinner, I found myself rethinking my position as a son and a P.K. at while at the church, because I truly had gotten past looking at my mother as my mother at church to make room for others to be with my mom as the “First Lady.”  I never looked at church being another opportunity to “hang out” with my mama because it never dawned on me that possibly, my mama sees church as a way to hang out with me.  I never imagined that maybe being at church, going to church activities, fellowshipping with the saints, and praying together could be my mom’s way of spending time with me, my wife, and my kid.  It bothered my spirit because it almost felt like a double edged sword cutting me both ways.  When I shut down and treat church functions as church functions, being emotionless as I can be so that my feelings don’t get hurt when I can’t be a son and my mother can’t be my mother, I get gut-checked because my mother wants to spend time with me; but when I want my mother to be my mother at church, I get gut-checked because she’s being a mother to about 2-300 people and does not have time for me.

Being a P.K. is hard sometimes.  But I am grateful to God that I do have a mother that I can sing to, and say hi to, and hug every now and then, and talk to, and hang out with.  Regardless of the occasion, make the time to be there for the ones you love, as I swallowed my pride and stayed at the dinner and kicked it with my mama for a little while.  We never know when we have seen our loved ones for the last time, so make each moment count.  Even as a P.K., I’m still a son, my Pastor is still my dad, and his Wife is still my mama.  And as long as time allows, I’ll love them with all I have in me, and I’ll wait my turn to be a son while the Pastor and Wife tends to the needs of the people, knowing that at the end of the day, we will always return to each other as family.

When doing a research paper, or thinking of a new invention, or developing a new concept, or even writing a new message, it is customary for us, in the age of plagarism, to see if someone has done what we’re attempting to do, or to draw inspiration from what someone has already accomplished, or to gain insight on how not to do something a certain way.  We look for precedents, archetypes, examples, past histories, and anything else by which  we can gain the knowledge we seek to do what we want to do, because it is easier to take on something new when we have a guide to follow, a path to trail from.  We see it happening all the time, in technology (the iPad gets upgraded every 6 months it seems now), in music (autotune took over the music industry and hasn’t looked back since), in fashion (when did the 80’s and 90’s make a huge comeback?), and in social trends (how often do we know our friends’ business nowadays #twitter).  It is an inescapable fact that we look to the past to create in the present in an attempt to matter in the future, sometimes to our benefit, other times to our detriment, but nevertheless a necessary part of life.

As previously suggested in the last post, God’s “Words” don’t stop at the Bible.  God gives His people fresh Words all the time, Words that are relevant to the times and situations we face today, whether they are a shadow of what has happened in the past, or if they are brand new situations never discussed in the Bible.  God’s Word can be found in music, in literature, in the arts, in mathematics and science, technology, fashion, and so on.  God is inspiring people all the time to do amazing things, things that our forefathers and ancestors never dreamed of, and God’s people are being blessed all the time as a result of these inspirations, these new Words that God imparts on His people at His discretion.  So, if God is inspiring His people with new Words all the time, and we in the faith know “trees” by the “fruit they bear,” what, then is the Bible, and what purpose does it serve?

God revealed something to me that, again, made sense before, but after understanding that God’s Word is His Word, I now see His Word as something more.  My grandmother used to (and sometimes still does) tell me that when we don’t know what to do, we have to go back to the old way and walk therein (Jeremiah 6:16), which to her meant that we have to keep doing things the way we used to, ways that satisfy our personal desires and logical ways of thinking, instead of looking to someone who transcends desire and sense.  She used to say that the new ways that people are going into cannot be of God because these new ways of worship, praise, devotion, and relating to God are not her ways, and are not the old ways.  There’s no way that the “New Way” can be of God when Scripture tells us to go the “Old Way.”

But what my grandmother, as well as other Sectarians who believe that their way of worship is the ONLY way to worship and therefore denounce anyone who worships God differently, fail to realize is that yes, we are to walk in the Old Way, but the Old Way is NOT a methodology of worship, it is NOT a style of preaching and teaching, it is NOT brand of Christianity that we pick up off the shelf and conform ourselves to.  The Old Way is, and only is, Jesus Himself.

When we stop and think about how God operates, we must consider that He is all knowing AND all present, which means that He already knows what’s going to happen and how it’s going to happen, AND that he exists everywhere, every time, at the same time.  The same God that exists in 1964 is the same God that exists in 2012, the same Spirit He used to inspire Christians to establish denominations which could meet the needs of the people’s souls in the past is the same Spirit He uses to inspire Christians today to establish blogs and TV ministries to reach millions and edify their souls.  So the Bible, then, acts as the foundation, the precedent, by which we establish God’s work here on planet Earth, as the Bible, in God’s masterful planning, lays the foundation of how Jesus is the mark that we press toward, the Archetype by which we draw inspiration from, the Precedent that we look back to and understand where we are going, the Old Landmark that our forefathers sang about us going back to.  God crafted His Word to show us just how much we need Jesus in our lives to do what we do day to day, for Jesus was there in the Beginning, and He is still here today.  He lived, died, and lives now, all the while demonstrating to His people what it means to love unconditionally and to obey God dutifully.  And His brothers and sisters who lived in this world after His Ascension continued to talk, teach, and preach about Him and how He, not some methodology, is the Mark by which we are to live by.  Without the Bible, we can never fully understand what Jesus did for us, and how the same power He weilds is the same power we weild to do the things that God allows us to do.

That is why the Bible is the Word of God, for it shows us what we are supposed to look back to for inspiration, motivation, encouragement, and confirmation.  We need God’s Word to link to what God has placed in our Spirits (which is the Spirit of God dwelling in us, the same Spirit that dwells in Jesus, that dwells in time and beyond time) so that we know that we are walking in the Path God has ordained us to walk on.  The Word confirms our steps in God, so that despite the obstacles that come with what we are doing in Him, we can know beyond doubt that we are doing exactly what God has commanded us to do.

😀

I was talking with my grandma a few days ago, and she and I were talking about how it’s hard to be a Christian because we are striving so hard to live a life pleasing to God.  She said that that’s part of the reason why she tells people not to be like her, because that means that she has to work twice as hard to live a perfect life and not mess up in life.  That way, her example can be perfect enough for others who are following her to indeed follow.  When she said that, it got me thinking about how often I have tried to live like others, and have told others to live like me, and it never occurred to me that by telling others to live by my example, or by me living by others’ examples, I was actually giving people, and other people were giving me, permission to live an imperfect life, for none of us are perfect, even in our pursuit of perfection.

My dad taught me a few years back that I should not have role models, people who I model my life after and strive to be like, because I don’t know what those people had to go through in order to become what they became, and in order to be like them, I have to endure similar (if not the same) circumstances they faced to become just like them.  For those who are extremely famous and rich and whatnot, I never know what they had to overcome, what they had to do, who they had to cut down, what they had to sell, or anything to become the people they’ve become.  And God, being the desire-giving God He is, would be gracious enough to give me the path to my role models’ successes by paving my road of life with their trials and tribulations so that I can have their success.  Because of that, I should aspire to have success as it comes, and be happy with having that success, because God created me to be my own person, to experience my own trials, tribulations, and tempations, and furthermore have my own successes as a result.  So role models, I should not have at all.

Having said that, though, if I’m not supposed to have a role model, then why is Jesus my role model?  If I’m not supposed to have a role model, and if by having a role model I’m asking for the trials and tribulations that said role models have faced, then why have Jesus as a role model?  After all, He went through SO MUCH MORE than anyone would want to face when dying on the Cross, and I’m not too sure I want to go through that myself.  Why make Him my role model?

God revealed to me that I am an imperfect person, and that people around me are imperfect people, and that everyone on earth is imperfect.  If someone tells me that he/she wants to be just like me, and I allow that person to be just like me, then I’m actually giving that person PERMISSION to live an imperfect life.  Even if I’m striving for perfection, and I’m not purposefully making mistakes due to being imperfect (Romans 8) by definition, if I accept a person’s desire to be like me, then I am giving that person permission to live an imperfect life.  That means that said person can live a double standard lifestyle, one in which that person does everything for God purposefully, but also goes out and does everything outside the will of God purposefully, and there’s nothing I can say about it, because that person is modeling his life after mine, and because my life is imperfect, he actually is not wrong by saying, “If he can do it, then so can I.”

That’s why Jesus is THE ROLE MODEL by which I am to follow.  Because despite the trials, tribulations, and temptations He faced, he NEVER sinned nor fell short of God’s glory.  Regardless of whatever was around Him, regardless of circumstances or situations, even regardless of the ridicule or shame of the Cross, Jesus never fell short of doing God’s will.  That is why Jesus is THE ROLE MODEL, because He is the only person in the world, in history, who lived a perfect life.  And His life is the perfection that I pursue every day.  Even though I will never reach that level of perfection, Jesus’s life is what I model my life after, and I take from Him being my role model the trials, tribulations, and temptations that come with it.  For I know that if He can do it, and the same Spirit that dwelled in Him dwells in me, then I, too, can do all things through Him who gives me the strength, courage, wisdom, and faith!

Be blessed!